War on Worms workshop summary

Managing worms in livestock is a tricky business for people on small farms. There are many variables to understand and manage including animal factors (breed, age, sex, pregnancy status and nutrition), grazing options and climactic conditions. This workshop was an opportunity for participants to learn about management tools that reduce the need for drenching and maximise the efficiency of drenches when they are used.

Jane Morrison leading the practical demonstration.

Dr Jane Morrison from Coopers Animal Health and Dr Alexandra Stephens from South East Local Land Services spent the day with our participants guiding through the theory of worms and the practical aspects of worm management. Our hosts Suzie and Catherine showed participants how to do DIY faecal egg counts using a microscope.


The following points were the highlights of the workshop for Tracey, one of the participants.

  1. Learning about the life cycle of the different worms in sheep and cattle was really important. I now understand how the worm life cycle can help inform strategic grazing decisions and the class of animal that you might graze on a particular paddock. I found out that temperature and rainfall impact on the survival of worm eggs and larvae on the pasture. There are two main life cycles of worms direct and indirect. Direct life cycles involve only one host, for example round worms and indirect life cycles involve two different types of hosts.

Round worm life cycle

Liver fluke life cycle – an example of an indirect worm life cycle.

  1. Using faecal egg count tests can help inform decision making about drenching livestock and potentially save me time and money. The demonstration of how faecal egg counting is done helped me understand that using worm testing is a good management tool that can enable targeted use of drenches when needed.

Drench decision guide for sheep

  1. Overall, the main benefit of the workshop for me is that I now realise how much detail there is in controlling worms in animals and that improving my knowledge about worms and their management can make a big difference to their health.

Five key components of a worm management strategy

  • Grazing management is the most important factor in controlling worms. Grazing management can include spelling paddocks and choosing the best clean paddocks for the classes of stock that have the highest nutritional demands and susceptibility to worms (weaners and pregnant or lactating ewes). Control worms without drench by using good grazing management including ‘smart grazing’, cross grazing with other species, rotational grazing and the use of fodder crops.

Grazing management and worms

  • Breed and feed for worm resistance. Older animals in good condition have higher immunity to worms than young or poorer animals. Adult cattle and sheep are good at developing worm immunity, except when they are lambing/calving and lactating. Aim for a condition score of 2.5 or above for more resilient animals with stronger immunity. Rams and breeding ewes can be selected for worm resistance – some breeds may have higher immunity to worms including Corriedale and Border Leicester sheep.
  • Use strategic drenching and good drenching principles. Dose correctly to the heaviest animals, calibrate the drench gun, use faecal egg counting to check drench efficiency, choose combination drenches with 2 plus additives. Use long acting drenches judiciously as they can accelerate resistance in worms. Always use a quarantine drench when you purchase new stock even if you have been told that the animals have been drenched. There are special drench combinations that should be used for quarantine drenching. Drench lambs/calves at weaning as they are highly susceptible to worms and are usually being weaned during high worm risk weather. Seek further advice form a vet if you need help.
  • Tactical drenching – these are drenches that are used when a faecal egg count test shows a high result or the animals show clinical signs of worm infestation.

The difference between tactical and strategic drenches – WormBoss

  • Manage worm resistance by informing yourself about the causes and what you can do to help prevent it. Get advice about interpreting faecal egg count tests and managing worms in livestock. Drenching may not be necessary if egg counts are low.

Managing drench resistance

You can contact your Local Land Services office for guidance on managing worms in livestock. Kits for faecal egg count tests are available free from Local Land Services offices and many rural suppliers.

The WormBoss website provides a comprehensive toolkit for managing worms.

 More information and links

Worm Control in Cattle – the Basics – NSW DPI Fact Sheet

Cattle parasite atlas – Meat and Livestock Australia – a comprehensive guide to managing cattle parasites in the different regions of Australia.

South East Local Land Services Animal Health Update – this update includes information on Barbers Pole Worm and Bioworma.

Worm Boss Canberra Region Drench Program

Worm Control in Horses – it’s all changed – Dr Petrea Wait (scroll down to the Animal Health Update February 2018)

DIY worm egg counting

Worm test for livestock and guide to egg counts

Barbervax

Liver Fluke guide from WormBoss

Demonstrating how to drench a sheep

Calf Marking and Cattle Health Workshop

This workshop was an opportunity for a group of small farmers to learn and practice routine animal husbandry procedures for cows and calves. ‘Marking’ refers to a set of husbandry practices for calves that includes vaccination, ear tagging, castration, dehorning and mothering up.

See the MLA’s A Guide to Best Practice Husbandry in Beef Cattle for information on calf marking.

Discussions from the workshop are outlined below.

  • Vaccinations are given subcutaneously – just under the skin. The best place to give the injection is on the side of the calf’s neck (see fact sheet on vaccinations below for a diagram). The 5-in-1 vaccination covers five clostridial diseases, namely pulpy kidney (enterotoxaemia), black disease, tetanus, blackleg, and malignant oedema. 7-in-1 covers the same diseases as 5-in-1 plus Leptospira harjo and Leptospira Pomona. Using 7-in-1 is recommended if you are keeping the stock for breeding. Keep vaccines cool in an esky while you are marking. Hygiene is important – keep the needles and injection site on the animal clean. To be effective these vaccines require an initial dose, a booster 4-6 weeks later and an annual booster.

Future Beef Knowledge Centre information on vaccinations for beef cattle

  • Zoonosis refers to a disease or infection that can transfer from animals to humans – examples include Q Fever and Leptospirosis. People who work with animals should be vaccinated against Q-fever and understand how to minimise the risks of contracting these diseases.
  • Castrate calves as young as possible (around two weeks of age), not more than 3 months or younger than 24 hours. The rubber ring method is the easiest and safest method for small farmers to use on young calves. Using analgesia (pain relief) such as local anaesthetic and/or anti-inflammatory drugs could be beneficial to reduce pain and swelling at the castration site, and improve welfare. There is a 90 day withholding period for some medications given to calves.
  • If you have any concerns about the condition of stock in your area you can contact the NSW Stock Squad or RSPCA. It is not anonymous but it is strictly confidential and protected in accordance with the NSW Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act.

NSW Stock Squad Cooma 02 6452 0099

RSPCA 1300 CRUELTY or online

Additional resources from workshop

Presentation from Dr Lou Baskind – District Veterinarian South East Local Land Services

Prime Fact – Cattle Producers Biosecurity Duty

Spotted anything unusual?

Call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline 1800 675 888

Do not be afraid to contact or report to your District Veterinarian. District veterinarians can help with diagnostic investigations of unexplained deaths or herd syndromes and there are often funding arrangements in place. Some specific signs to report if noted in cattle: sudden or unexpected deaths, red or brown urine, cattle ticks, chronic wasting conditions, lumps along the neck, cysts in meat, or abortions/vaginal discharge.

Other cattle disease information

Tick Fever

Bovine cysticercosis

Enzootic bovin leucosis

Bovine Johnes Disease

Parasitic diseases

Contacting South East Local Land Services

Email enquiry.southeast@lls.nsw.gov.au

Braidwood 02 4842 2594
Goulburn 02 4824 1900
Yass 02 6118 7700

Other workshop summaries for cattle

Cattle Husbandry for introductory information on cattle husbandry and links to the National Livestock Information Scheme (NLIS) and National Vendor Declarations (NVDs) which must be used when buying, selling and moving cattle.

This workshop was funded by the Australian Government and supported by South East Local Land Services. Thanks Dr Lou Baskind from South East Local Land Services for her contribution to this summary.

 

A passion for rations: supplementary feeding workshop summary

Low rainfall and high stock feed prices put significant strain on livestock managers. This workshop presented by Darren Price from Price Rural Consultants and Helen Smith, Agricultural Advisor from South East Local Land Services (LLS), looked at how to feed livestock safely and economically when pasture is in short supply.

Participants Fat Scoring Sheep

Key points and resources

  1. It is time to make tough decisions about your capacity (cost, feed availability and time) to feed livestock in the coming months. Reduce your numbers or destock now if you need to while the animals are in good condition.
  1. Choose which animals stay and go with the goal of improving your herd/flock in the long term. Check the condition of your stock and cull animals that are under performing. Cull any animals that are getting old, with cracked teeth or missing teeth – as a general rule cows over the age of eight years have reached the end of their productive life, although there might be the occasional pet that gets to stay longer. Pregnancy test and cull any stock that are not pregnant (if they should be pregnant). You have to decide if the value of the animal is worth the money and time you invest in feeding them: whether this is the dollars you earn from selling weaners or the satisfaction you have in producing your own food.
  2. Think about the water requirements for your livestock. Get your livestock water storage full and keep as full as possible. Some supplements have salt in them that increases the animal’s requirement for water. Pregnant and lactating animals have a higher demand for water than other classes of stock. Water quality testing kits for livestock drinking water can be sourced from your Local Land Services office.
  1. Remember to undertake routine animal management procedures including managing parasites, giving vaccinations and monitoring animal health during dry conditions. Weaning early to reduce the demand on breeding stock could be a strategy to consider. The Sheep Connect website has webinars about early weaning, feeding and selling sheep during drought.
  • Early weaned animals need high quality feed and careful health management. You can seek advice from Local Land Services, private vets or other agricultural consultants. Talk to your livestock agent about the best time to sell weaners. It might be easier to sell them younger/lighter and let someone else manage them.
  • Parasite burdens can be higher when animals are under stress and pastures are low so monitor with worm egg count testing and treat as needed.
  • Where possible, avoid shearing during winter as this will put extra stress on sheep that already have a high energy demand because of the cold.
  1. Develop your skills for assessing pasture quantity and quality. This is essential for working out the amount of feed that you have in your paddocks. Dry standing feed can be useful for providing gut fill when feeding stock with other supplements.
  • You can make your own pasture measuring stick very easily with a piece of plastic pipe with the distance from the end marked in centimetres. You can use this with a pasture recording sheet to estimate the quantity and quality of the feed that you have on your property.
  • The Meat and Livestock Australia Website describes pasture assessment techniques and has a pasture height recording sheet.
  • Making More from Pasture also has useful information.
  • Pasture assessment takes some practice. The PROGRAZE course can help with learning this skill (contact your local Local Land Services office).
  1. Sheep and cattle can be fed grain or grain based pellets as supplementary feed (must not contain restricted animal material). They will also need a source of fibre (pasture or hay).
  • To work out how much supplementary feed is needed, find out the nutritional requirement of your class of stock and then work out what is the shortfall in the pastures that needs to be replaced. Animals that are in late pregnancy, lactating or growing (weaners) need more feed than other classes of stock. The energy requirements of stock increase in cold conditions. When assessing feed look at the components in the following order: water, energy, protein, minerals and vitamins.
  • An example for feed budgeting for sheep can be found at the Lifetime Wool Website.
  • See NSW DPI Managing Drought Hub for more information
  • Some local guides with suggestions for supplementing pasture:
  • See DPI Drought Feed Calculator app if there is no pasture left.
  • DPI fact sheet full hand feeding of cattle
  • NSW Primefact Full Hand Feeding of Sheep
  1. All new feeds should be introduced gradually over a period of weeks so livestock do not gorge themselves and get bloat or grain poisoning. It takes time for the rumen microbes to adjust to a new feed (including green pastures after long dry periods). When changing feeds, shandy the new feed with the existing ration.
  2. To work out the best value feeds for supplementing pasture, look at the energy value of the feed. Feeds that are cheaper (dollars per kilogram) may not necessarily end up being the best value if the energy content is lower or quality is poor which often results in more wastage.
  1. Molasses can be used to top up energy but is not adequate for survival on its own. Molasses can be given as a liquid or a lick block. The stock must also have access to pasture and/or hay.
  2. Urea can be fed to top up protein but needs to be used very carefully and can be toxic (especially to non-ruminants). Seek advice before using.
  3. Cattle need additional calcium, sodium and magnesium (e.g. in a loose lick) when fed low quality hay or grain-based feeds. For more information visit the Future Beef Website
  4. Sheep need additional calcium and salt when fed grain-based feeds. For more information see Autumn Feeding Guide for Sheep
  5. After 4-6 months without green feed, young animals may need additional Vitamin A (ADE injection) and Vitamin B12 (injection). Seek veterinary advice.

Further information and advice

The NSW DPI booklet Preparing and Managing Drought 2018 provides comprehensive information on managing livestock during drought conditions including planning, feeding, calculating rations, water requirements for livestock and farm management.

Resources to help farmers in drought conditions can be found at:

NSW DPI Drought Hub

South East Local Land Services Offices

This workshop was made possible with funding and in-kind support from South East Local Land Services and the voluntary efforts of the Small Farms Network Capital Region committee.

Biosecurity and Animal Health Workshop

 

Peter Dagg from Eastern Dorpers and White Dorpers

For this workshop our hosts were Peter and Penny Dagg from Eastern Dorpers and White Dorpers who shared their knowledge and experience about managing sheep health with our enthusiastic participants. Our other guest speakers were Dr Kate Sawford, the District Veterinarian from South East Local Land Services and Dr Natasha Lees from Scibus Pty Ltd (so a lineup of four vets in total!). The day included some theory sessions, a paddock walk and a sheep handling demonstration.

Here are some notes from the workshop. Please note that these are general in nature and farmers should seek expert advice for their particular situation.

  • The best methods of disease control are good animal husbandry, including ensuring your stock have access to adequate feed and water, and vaccinating and drenching your stock following best practice advice. If you are new to farming and not sure what to look out for here are some general tips:
    1. Does your stock have adequate nutrition for the stage they are in the production cycle? For example, breeding ewes and cattle have higher nutritional requirements than other classes of stock. Animals that have just calved or lambed have additional requirements.
    2. Some disorders are caused by nutrient deficiencies at certain times of the year.
    3. If you call the vet, have a good case history ready, including how old is the animal, how many are sick, has it just given birth, what do you feed it and when you last vaccinated and drenched the animal.
  • Learn the correct way to vaccinate your animals. Most vaccines are administered subcutaneously, between the skin and muscle. Read the instructions about dosage and administering the vaccine on the box. Try not to accidentally vaccinate yourself since some vaccines can have serious side effects. Vaccines that are particularly high-risk for
    Dr Kate Sawford from South East Local Land Services

    humans include the Gudair vaccine for sheep.

  • Learn the correct way to drench your animals for internal parasites, including worms and liver fluke. WormBoss has lots of information about the different types of worms, drenches and other management strategies for sheep and goats.
  • There are some animal diseases that can transfer to humans and impact on your health. These are called zoonotic diseases. One example is Q fever which is a bacterial infection that causes flu-like symptoms in people and it can have long term effects. It is recommended that people handling sheep, cattle and goats consider getting tested and vaccinated for Q Fever, particularly if they are in contact with breeding animals.  See the NSW Health Website for more information. Many rural-based medical practices offer Q Fever vaccination.
  • You should contact your local vet or District Veterinarian to report animal health concerns affecting several animals or multiple unexplained animal deaths as soon as possible. You can also call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Line on 1800 675 888 and find more on the Animal Health Australia website.
  • When purchasing livestock, ask for an animal health declaration. This covers a range of diseases and parasites. While this is not a mandatory requirement, all good breeders should supply them for sheep, cattle and goats that are moved around Australia.
  • Some diseases move with infected breeding animals like bulls and rams. Diseases like Vibriosis in cattle and Brucellosis in sheep can have a significant, detrimental effect on herd performance.

Vibriosis fact sheet

Ovine Brucellosis fact sheet 

Liver fluke fact sheet

  • Register for a Property Identification Code (PIC). Every landholder who manages livestock (ruminants, pigs and horses) on their property is required to have a PIC. The data collected through the annual stock return for each property is used to create an annual animal census and the data is used in times of natural disaster to aid in recovery and organise fodder drops. The PIC number is also used for food safety requirements and food traceability which is required for international trade and domestic food safety. You can find out more about livestock management including applying for a PIC on the South East Local Land Services – Livestock page.
  • There are a number of steps that you need to take to buy and sell livestock. When purchasing livestock it is important to purchase livestock from a trusted source with a National Vendor Declaration and animal health declaration to avoid importing diseases and parasites onto your property. Information about buying and selling ruminants can be found on the NSW DPI website and the 8 Step Guide to moving and selling sheep and goats. The South East Local Land Services Guide to Moving Stock is another useful resource.
  • Farm biosecurity is a set of measures that you can put in place to manage the risks of diseases, weeds and pests on your property. Simple biosecurity measures that small farmers can take include:
    1. Monitoring inputs and outputs from your farm
    2. Having a place to quarantine new stock to reduce the risk of introducing diseases, worms and weed seeds
    3. Purchasing clean feed (ask for a commodity vendor declaration)
    4. Controlling the movement of vehicles and equipment on and off your property
    5. Not feeding restricted animal material (meat and meat by products) to ruminants or swill to your animals (both are illegal feeds)
    6. Keeping good animal husbandry records of mating, drenching, medications and routine procedures
    7. Having good fencing especially boundary fences that prevent stock from straying into or out of your property
    8. Practicing good farm hygiene – disinfect needles between vaccinations of animals, handle sick animals last to prevent the transfer of diseases, wash and disinfect loaned machinery.
    9. The Animal Health Australia Website has a useful Biosecurity Brochure for farmers.
  • Winter/spring period (2018) is likely to be a difficult time for livestock producers due to the very dry conditions during autumn, and the lack of feed as a result. Feed commodity process are set to rise and supply of quality feed may be low. Now is the time to reduce animal numbers if you don’t think you have enough feed to carry your stock. If you are supplementing your livestock here are some useful links.

Check out the NSW DPI Drought Hub for more information on supplementary feeding. Also look on our website for workshop summaries on animal management.

Sheep Husbandry Workshop summary

Cattle Handling Field Day summary

This event was made possible with funding and in-kind support from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, South East Local Land Services and Scibus Pty Ltd.  This initiative is part of the Australian Government’s Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper, the Government’s plan for Stronger Farmers and a Stronger Community.

The Small Farms Network would like to thank the sponsor of the network The Palerang Local Action Network for Sustainability and the Small Farms Network Capital Region Committee. Finally thank you to our hosts and volunteers Peter and Penny Dagg at Eastern Dorpers and White Dorpers for hosting the field day and sharing their knowledge and expertise.

Lamb Marking and Weaning Field Day Summary

Matthew Lieschke and Dr Bill Johnson from South East Local Land Services led the discussion and practical session about managing lambs and ewes at lamb marking. Lamb marking is a key animal husbandry task for people raising lambs and typically involves ear tagging, vaccination, castration and tail docking. Continue reading “Lamb Marking and Weaning Field Day Summary”

Sheep Husbandry for Small Farms 2017 summary

Small Farms Network Capital Region Sheep Husbandry Workshop

About the workshop

Doug Alcock demonstrating fat scoring
Doug Alcock demonstrating fat scoring

Our 2017 sheep husbandry workshop was delivered by Doug Alcock (Graz Prophet Consultants) in May to a packed house. The workshop covered a huge amount of ground about farming sheep in the Capital region. Our host was Craig Starr at Gold Creek Station (a mighty fine venue for country weddings and other celebrations). Continue reading “Sheep Husbandry for Small Farms 2017 summary”

Cattle Husbandry field day summary

Greg Meaker demonstrating calf marking and basic husbandry

The Cattle Husbandry for Small Farms Field Day was held at DMB Galloways in Sutton on the 29 April 2017. Here is a summary of the key points discussed:

The day was led by Greg Meaker a former educator in beef cattle husbandry and management at Tocal Collage and District Livestock Officer with the NSW Government Industry and Investment, Goulburn. Greg is also owner manager of two working properties in the Gunning district. Continue reading “Cattle Husbandry field day summary”

Healthy Land, Healthy Horse Summary

Hosts from Manna Park Geoff and Mark with Stuart Myers and Brad (on the pony)
Hosts from Manna Park Agistment Centre Geoff and Mark with Stuart Myers and Brad (on the pony)

The Healthy Land, Healthy Horse Field Day was a fascinating day packed with information for horse owners.  Geoff and Mark from Manna Park Agistment Center in Bywong provided a beautiful setting for Stuart Myers from Equiculture to share the Equiculture system of horse management. A range of topics were discussed from horse biology to the importance of maintaining a diversity of plant species on farm for grazing. Continue reading “Healthy Land, Healthy Horse Summary”

Feathers and Fowl Field Day Summary

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Dr Jayne Weller from Exotic Animal Veterinary Service shared her knowledge of the anatomy of chickens and husbandry systems. She is also an expert in health and disease problems in poultry and spent time discussing the nutritional requirements for fowl and routine vaccinations. She also gave a demonstration to how to hold a bird and wing clipping. Continue reading “Feathers and Fowl Field Day Summary”