29 May 1998

Cleanliness best to counter scab

SHEEPproducers and contractors must ensure good hygiene on and between farms to reduce risk of scab spread.

Sheep specialist at SAC Edinburgh, John Vipond, warns that producers continue to forget about quarantine requirements for sheep, equipment and contract staff coming onto farm. "Scab spreads more by being brought onto farm than by any other means."

He says that in some cases, contractors are not paying enough attention to hygiene. "Tags of wool carry scab. If any dipping or shearing equipment arrives with tags attached dont accept it on-farm."

All metal equipment – including shearing hand pieces – should be washed down between farms using strong dairy disinfectant to kill scab mites.

"Its best to assume that all farms have scab – in some cases you cant see it if has just infested the flock – good hygiene is vital."