Shaping the future of animal health

The $280 million question

Did you know that flystrike costs the Australian sheep industry $280 million every year? Make sure flies are not infesting your profits by protecting your flock from flystrike.

Knowing the factors that lead to flystrike can help you prepare. If you have these conditions on your property, then you’d better be ready:

  • The presence of primary species (usually the Australian sheep blowfly).
  • Temperatures between 15 and 38 degrees.
  • Recent rain.
  • Wind speeds below 9km/h.

Preventing flystrike is cheaper than treating it, so be proactive!

Steps for flystrike prevention

Control worms and dags

Scouring is usually caused by sheep worms. Use worm egg counts to check whether worm numbers are reaching significant levels while sheep are on green feed. If scouring is due to large worm burdens, drenching will quickly control it.

Crutching and shearing

Shearing and crutching are key management tools for controlling flystrike, giving up to six weeks protection from breech strike (though if sheep are scouring, this protection can be reduced to three weeks).

Shearing or crutching time should be timed just ahead of the fly season, keeping in mind withholding periods and protection periods of chemical preventatives.

With un-mulesed lambs it is important to crutch prior to significant dags forming. If shearing in autumn then all sheep should be crutched in late winter, a couple of weeks before lambing is due.

Correct tail length

Docking at the correct tail length can reduce stain around the breech area and reduce dag formation. Some studies have demonstrated that tail docking at shorter lengths reduces the ability of sheep to 'twitch' their tails which may in turn reduce the effectiveness of deterring flies.

Chemical Prevention

Using an insect growth regulator such as dicyclanil (Clik®) or cryomazine (Vetrazin®) provides a quick and easy way to give a chemical protective period for your sheep. 

(source: WA Department of Agriculture and Food)