Club Cowra

Cowra Local Livestock Health Update Time For The First Summer Drench

Written by: The Cowra Phoenix

DSE - ‘Dry Sheep Equivalent

With pastures haying off, now is the time for sheep producers to think about the first summer drench.

The idea behind the first summer drench is to “kick ‘em’ while they’re down”. That is, kill the worms inside the sheep, while the worms on the ground are struggling to survive in the hot, dry conditions. This drench can be very effective in lowering the number of worms on paddocks next autumn and winter, and as such is an important strategic drench.

It is recommended to use a highly effective drench as your first summer drench – this might include one the newer drenches, such as Zolvix and Startect, or one of the triple combination drenches. Which drench you choose will depend on the drenches you’ve used pre-lambing, as ideally they will be different drenches. For many producers, the first summer drench may also coincide with weaning.

For producers weaning closer to Christmas, it is worth considering drenching ewes at lamb marking, as weaning may be a bit late for the first summer drench. Of course, drenching weaners is non-negotiable, as they need all the help they can get to survive and thrive through summer and autumn.

If the weather stays hot and dry, a second summer drench may not be required, and the decision to drench again later in summer should be based on a worm test. Word of warning – if we do get some good summer storms, this can cause a spike in worm numbers, especially for the deadly barber’s pole worm.

If a rainfall event of over 10-15mm has occurred in a day, combined with warm weather, this can be enough to allow the worm eggs to hatch on the pasture and infect sheep. If this does occur, preform a worm egg count 4 weeks after the rainfall event to assess if a drench is required.

Worm test kits are available from the Local Land Services office at 30 Lynch St, Cowra.

If you would like further information or to chat about any animal health issues, please feel free to contact your local District Veterinarian: Em Johnstone (0419 334 077) Or call 1300 795 299

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