Producers urged to treat for blowfly strike now

Sheep producers should be on high alert for blowfly , as increasing temperature provide optimum conditions for strike.

Vet Wendy Phillips from the Arrowfield Vet Group said both ewes and lambs will be at risk – particularly if they are dirty – as weather conditions change.

“Blowfly strike is not only a welfare issue, but can also cause economic losses. Protecting your lambs at a younger age can work out more economical, as less product will be needed to provide full protection,” she said.

“Blowfly can emerge very quickly, with eggs hatching within 12 hours. The advice now is to treat your flock and treat them early.”

Thomas Tiley, Novartis vet, said farmers should do all they could to prevent strike rather than wait for an issue.

“Blowfly can be rapidly fatal and is a significant welfare issue causing secondary strike or bacteria infection.

“Close monitoring of stock, attention to wounds and the use of an insect-growth regulator pour-on can help to prevent the onset of any problems,” he said.

Miss Philips said some thought was needed when choosing the most appropriate pour-on at this time of year.

When lambs are going as fat lambs they should be treated with a product with a short meat-withhold period. However, when lambs are being retained until autumn, a product that protects for 16 weeks is recommended.

“However, you will have to watch these lambs because they may need a top-up treatment with a medium duration product towards the end of the season,” she said.

Be aware of worm risk

• If conditions remain warm and wet worm burdens could rise rapidly over the next few weeks.

• Sheep producers need to be on the ball and potentially undertake faecal egg count testing more frequently so they are on top of any problems.

• Be aware on high-risk pasture that this year’s worm burden could be high.

• Beef and sheep producers should discuss individual farm risk and treatment strategy with their vet.

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