SCOPS warns of Challenging Season for Sheep Farmers as Blowflies Strike Early
Weather conditions in 2011 have led to an early and high challenge from Blowflies. Many sheep farmers have already dealt with a significant number of cases and recent rain will increase the challenge further particularly as most flocks are yet to be shorn.
To help sheep farmers plan and get the most from the products they choose, SCOPS have updated their leaflet on Blowfly control. This contains details of all the products available, the length of protection that can be expected if they are applied properly and withdrawal periods. ‘Forward planning and correct product choice is essential if flocks are to get good, cost effective protection against strike’ says Lesley Stubbings Independent Sheep Consultant.
Blowfly strike is the most widespread ectoparasite affecting sheep in the UK with surveys showing that every year, 80% of flocks will have one or more cases of strike. If not properly controlled, this would result in serious welfare problems and reduced profitability in up to 500,000 sheep.
Reducing the Risks
Good management and planning can help to reduce the risk of strike occurring. Most strikes (over 70%) occur around the breech or tail where there is faecal and/or urine soiling which are very attractive to the flies with the rest on the body or in the feet.
- Dag to reduce soiling and/or remove dirty wool around the breech
- Reduce the incidence of soiling by avoiding nutritional upsets causing scouring and have a sound worm control strategy
- Tail sheep
- Avoid breeding from sheep that are habitually struck and/.or tend to soil themselves due to their conformation
- Dispose of carcases quickly
- Reduce the incidence of footrot
For further health & welfare information, see 'Managing Your Flock for Peak Health', programme 2 in the DVD series 'Sheep on Your Smallholding'.