A concerted effort by producers to keep worm infection under control, and sufficient feed will be the main concern for sheep producers in the upcoming cold and wet weather system.
That's according to Monica Dickson, a veterinarian at Ballarat Sheep Veterinary Services, who has called on producers to ensure sheep get nutritious feed and effectively protect their sheep in the colder months ahead.
She said the issues concerning cold weather could impact sheep farming operations of all sizes.
"Good nutrition in sheep is essential to get that good body condition because even when worms become an issue, they are somewhat resilient to the infection because of that body condition," she said
"[This Friday] I saw two cases where sheep were in poor body condition, and it's led to the demise of some lambs that have just succumbed to the effects of worms."
Dr Dickson said she is attending more peri-urban and hobby farms that need more assistance with these issues during these times.
But she also says larger farms need help during this time of year too, and can sometimes come across similar problems, and that all farmers prepare to have the feed they need considering there are areas in Victoria where pasture is short.
"When you've got ewes that are about to lamb and if they're in the first stage of their lactation where their feeding lamps in the first three weeks when they're producing a lot of milk, their energy requirements go up quite dramatically," she said.
"If the pasture you have or your feed base doesn't meet those requirements, they can go backwards very quickly, so sometimes you've got to assess your need for supplementary feeding."
The two issues of poor condition and worm infections have far and away been the most common problem she has seen for the past few years.
"This is the second wet winter that we've had in a row, and while I probably have a skewed portion of the population, it is far and away the two most common issues I've been seeing at the moment," she said.
"I've also got a lab in my shed where I do worm egg count monitoring on mobs of sheep, and some have got higher counts than what we normally would see.
"If people were thinking of using long acting drenches, well they've been really helping with keeping those worm counts down."
In addition to the worm and pasture issues, Dr Dickson said the cold, wet mornings could also produce pasture that could be abrasive to a sheep's hoof, which can lead to Interdigital Dermatitis.
She also said recent rains in autumn could possibly rapidly growing spring pasture which can cause a deficiency in Selenium, which in turn can contribute to White Muscle Disease seen in lambs.
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