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Victoria worms, flies and lice update - September 2020

VIC WormBoss Worm Control Programs

VIC WormBoss Drench Decision Guides

Sheep

Goats

Sheep

Goats

Dr Lexie Leonard
Dr Lexie Leonard

Hamilton: Lexie Leonard, Livestock Logic (l.leonard@livestocklogic.com.au)

Spring is shaping up to be a good one in south west Victoria. Rainfall in Hamilton is nearly at the September monthly average, with more predicted. With increased rainfall from winter comes increased worms, and we are starting to see an increase in worm egg count (WEC) results in mobs not drenching since winter. Worm activity is mostly progressing as expected, and the main advice to heed over the next month is don’t skimp on monitoring your stock. Areas around Hamilton that often see barber’s pole should keep a close eye out, as we are starting to see some infections.

With plenty of nutrition heading into October, it is important to only drench mature sheep based on WEC results, rather than the date, as sheep should be handling low to moderate worm burdens without issue. Weaned lambs should be regularly (every 3–4 weeks) monitored to ensure maximum production. Low worm burdens (<100 eggs per gram or epg) in weaned lambs are ideal to help promote worm immunity while the feed is good. Similarly for weaner calves, low worm burdens are ideal to promote immunity, however, especially for cattle, an effective summer drench must be used to remove potential stomach worms prior to autumn. 

If you haven’t thought about your summer drenching plan and pasture management, now is good time to start while feed is still growing. Timing the first summer drench as feed dries off and WECs increase is critical to getting the maximum effect of drenching. The high number of mature ewes requiring drenching in September is evidence of the high pasture worm burdens across the south-west region. With this in mind, the timing of your first summer drench will be critical this year. 

Mild and moist conditions will begin to ramp up fly and lice activity, and producers should have a fly plan in place now for managing external parasites over spring.

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