22 August 1997

Guard flock from bought in disease

SHEEP producers should ensure flock health is not compromised by bought-in replacements, tups and store lambs.

That was one of the conclusions of a meeting between the MLC and leading sheep vets. It was the first in a series of consultations aimed at identifying opportunities for improving flock health status.

According to Stewart Hall, MLC sheep strategy manager, the MLC is to become increasingly involved in sheep health as a direct result of industry requests. "One of the points to come from this first meeting is the need for producers to better guard flock health.

"When buying sheep, isolate them from the rest of the flock until you are sure there are no health concerns. That includes ensuring hauliers maintain a high standard of hygiene, and using a separate unloading bay from that used by the regular flock where possible."

Bought-in sheep should be treated for scab, checked and treated – where appropriate – for foot-rot, and wormed, he says.

"Worm using a group two or three product -not a white drench -and remember that worms from treated sheep will still be shed for up to 12 hours after worming."

Producers could choose to worm their purchases while still in pens at markets -this will help ensure worms are not brought onto farm."

Bought-in ewe lambs should, where possible, be kept and lambed separately from the rest of the flock to check for abortion. "Try to buy from abortion-accredited flocks," says Mr Hall.