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Beyond the Bale : March 2011
March 2011 BEYOND THE BALE 30 ON-FARM FAST FACTS l Flystrike continues to be the most significant welfare threat to the Australian sheep flock. l AWI has a proactive and committed flystrike prevention research, development and extention (RD&E) program. l AWI supports all woolgrowers in their choice of best practice animal health and welfare control options to manage flystrike. Flystrike RD&E remains high priority 3. IMPROVED MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Ongoing improvements to management practices are providing improved welfare outcomes. CHEMICAL • Recent trial results have indicated that Dicyclanil (ClikTM) -- a long-acting, relatively expensive, preventative chemical treatment -- provides good flystrike control for up to six months. HUSBANDRY • Trials looking at optimal use of jetting and crutching continue. • Appropriate nutrition and pasture management are a key factor in controlling flystrike. Research continues and information is regularly provided to woolgrowers to ensure all factors contributing to flystrike are managed appropriately. PEST MANAGEMENT • WormBoss, LiceBoss and FlyBoss provide woolgrowers with important sources of information for minimising impacts of parasites in their flocks, leading to improved welfare outcomes for sheep. 1. BREEDING AND SELECTION It is expected that genetics and breeding will provide the ultimate solution to flystrike prevention. Breeding and selection is a major focus of RD&E activity. • The Visual Score Guide for breech flystrike indicators has been established to help standardise visual score and language standards. • The heritability and correlations of the four key traits (dags, breech wrinkle, breech cover, and wool colour) which predispose a sheep to flystrike has been determined as moderate to high. Further, the genetic parameters between these traits and all other important production traits have also been quantified. • Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) have been developed and commercially released for Breech Wrinkle, Dags and Breech Cover to enable woolgrowers to breed sheep more resistant to breech flystrike. • Breeding research continues to find additional indicator traits that predispose sheep to breech flystrike. Flystrike control and prevention has generated much debate as Australian farmers have attempted to balance the competing demands of protecting their sheep from flystrike against calls to phase out the procedure of surgical mulesing -- a procedure which has been, and in many cases remains, an important tool to protect sheep from this virulent parasite. 2. BREECH MODIFICATION Several breech modification alternatives have either been developed or are still in the R&D stage. ANTI-FLYSTRIKE CLIPS -- commercialised through Leader Products in 2009. • Clips improve the indicator traits associated with a lower risk of breech flystrike, however other options are also required to provide protection similar to mulesing. PAIN RELIEF • A post-operative pain relief product (Tri-Solfen®) has been developed by Animal Ethics Pty Ltd and is available through Bayer (since 2006). It provides antiseptic, antisepsis and analgesia. • Research continues into pre-operative analgesia. INTRADERMAL/SKINTRACTIONTM -- still in R&D stage. • Application settings are being trialed for SkinTractionTM Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS) and it is awaiting registration through the APVMA. • Larger scale trials will be held in 2011 to further refine the application practicalities of SLS. Australian farmers are committed to and maintain the highest standards of animal welfare and flystrike prevention continues to be AWI's highest RD&E priority, with a large percentage of AWI's on-farm RD&E budget currently invested in this area. To date the company has invested over $25 million in the following five areas to find alternative ways to reduce reliance on surgical flystrike prevention: 1. Breeding and selection 2. Breech modification 3. Improved management practices 4. Grower and industry education and training 5. International supply chain training and communication. Significant progress has been made and the quarterly independent audits of AWI's RD&E and extension program conducted by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) illustrate ongoing improvement and encouraging results from the program. Visit www.wool.com/flystrike for more information. Below is a summary of the RD&E effort and progress. PROGRESS OF FLYSTRIKE PREVENTION RD&E