Meat & Livestock Australia has issued information for farmers highlighting four ways to keep stock safe this winter.
A MLA spokesperson said, after an unusual summer and heavy falls of rain in many regions, winter is time to take action to safeguard your livestock’s health to maximise production into spring and beyond.
There are various ways to ensure your herd or flock are set up for a successful season.
Get barber’s pole under control
Barber’s pole worm (BPW) occurs in sheep and goats and is particularly prevalent in warm and wet conditions.
While the parasite can occur sporadically in any state, it is especially common in the summer rainfall zones of north-eastern NSW and southern Queensland.
With BPW larvae being killed quickly in a hot and dry summer, the cool, wet summer seen this year in these regions may have enabled barber’s pole worm eggs and larvae to survive – meaning next spring and summer, the larvae could become active and ready to affect livestock.
Your local veterinarian, livestock consultant or ag supplier can assist you to create a plan to help prevent livestock losses from barber’s pole worm this spring and beyond.
They may recommend strategies such as:
• Using a worm test kit to assess worm burdens in mobs and drenching sheep with high worm burdens.
• Some laboratories can also perform a larval culture to identify the types of worms present
• Drenching sheep only when necessary and returning them to ‘clean’ paddocks (paddocks that have not had sheep grazing on them for an extended period).
• Keeping records of what paddocks sheep with worms have been running on, to try to allocate clean paddocks for lambing and weaning.
Invest in pain relief during lamb marking
When castrating and tail docking lambs, consider using pain relief wherever practical to protect your livestock this season.
The NumNuts tool is a pain relief option available for castrating and tail docking lambs.
This tool uses a handheld device to dispense a rubber ring while injecting local anaesthetic to alleviate pain when lambs are marked.
Find out more about NumNuts or take a look at MLA’s factsheet and e-learning module for more information and practical tips on pain mitigation in sheep and lambs.
A factsheet on pain mitigation in cattle is also available from the MLA website.
Keep pulpy kidney at bay
Pulpy kidney (clostridial disease) can affect sheep, cattle and goats of all ages, often striking when animals experience a sudden change in feed – particularly on to lush pastures or to heavy grain feeding.
With heavy rainfall experienced in many production regions of late, vaccination of your herd or flock against this disease could help prevent stock losses and protect livestock health.
Your local veterinarian and rural re-seller can provide advice on the best vaccine to use to protect your livestock against pulpy kidney.