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Beyond the Bale : December 2018
Sheep that are stressed by drought conditions may have reduced immunity and show the effects of worm infestation. still in the faecal pellets start to move out. In practice, significant re-infection of sheep is usually some weeks later, once green pasture is well established. When there has been no rain, but areas of green grass continue to grow along creekbanks, channels and drains, in soaks from springs, or even where a trough or pipe is continually leaking into a large area, there is potential for eggs to develop to infective larvae. Stock will concentrate on this looking for any available feed, therefore there will also be a concentration of dung dropped there. The sheep that continue to graze there can then become infected with worms. Unless these areas are very extensive, they are not likely to lead to heavy worm burdens, however worm egg counts are a wise precaution. ON FARM 51 After 6 months of no rain, if sheep have continued access to large moist areas with growing grass, continue to monitor worm egg counts about every 6 weeks. If there is no green grass and there have been no falls of 10–15 mm rain (over a few days) for more than 6 months, extend monitoring to 2-monthly in barber’s pole worm areas and 3-monthly in non-barber’s pole worm areas. Check earlier if you are concerned. WORMS AFTER IT RAINS Drought-breaking rain is not required to cause a large increase in worms. Worm eggs develop and are released from the faecal pellets after about 10–15 mm of rain falling across a few days, although in hotter areas some follow up rain will be required. Green pick resulting after rain is a good indicator that worm eggs have been able to hatch and develop, and larvae are available on pasture. Monitor worm egg counts 5–6 weeks after rainfall that results in green pick, and continue monthly testing as the pasture comes away. SUMMARY Extended periods of dry weather do decrease the ability of worms to develop on pasture. However, drought does not afford sheep protection from worms, as they are likely to go into a drought with worms and even moderate occasional showers can fuel worm hatching. Drought-stricken stock that are poorer in condition are more susceptible to worms. Worm egg counts are a simple and affordable method to monitor stock during drought to give peace of mind and the knowledge of when to drench. MORE INFORMATION www.wormboss.com.au
In the Shops - March 2019