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Beyond the Bale : Jun - Jul 08 Supplement
By Geoff Lindon, AWI a s commercial sheep producers and stud breeders around Australia prepare for the phase-out of mulesing, they will consider a mix of alternatives. Good animal husbandry practices will be more important than ever for real improvements in animal welfare and productivity. While there is no magic solution, woolgrowers are already trialling a number of strategies. The success of these measures will depend on a number of factors, including climatic conditions, sheep types, labour availability and contractor availability. Low flystrike risk paddocks The risk of an outbreak of flystrike can be reduced by putting high-risk mobs, such as weaners, long-wool sheep and wethers grazing lush pastures, in low-risk paddocks. In general, open well-drained paddocks with short native pastures, and non-fertilised paddocks are considered low-risk. If possible, avoid moving high-risk flocks to paddocks with tall lush feed or that are particularly damp and humid. Knowledge of strike patterns in a particular area is of great benefit in determining when early preventive treatment can be beneficial. Controlling scouring A heavy worm burden or a sudden change in feed can cause sheep to scour, leading to flystrike problems. Changes in diet, such as a move onto rich green feed, can also induce scouring. Conducting a fecal egg count test is essential to confirm whether worms are the problem and not the feed. An effective tool for managing your worm burden is WormBoss (www.wormboss.com.au). Scouring from soft feed is generally confined to the higher, wetter and cooler parts of Australia. In these areas, a dietary supplement including roughage may be required to minimise the problem. However, grazing strategies, such as rotational or cell grazing can help reduce worm burdens and associated scouring. Strategic use of flytraps Flytraps (such as LuciTraps) and bait bins can be useful to strategically reduce the number of flies on a property and also monitor blowfly numbers to help identify low-risk paddocks (based on relative fly population). Flytraps or bait bins are most effective when placed near water, near regular sheep camps and in areas protected from the wind. The traps should be activated two or three weeks before an intended stock move and checked at least once a week. Managing ‘dermo’ Dermatophilosis (‘dermo’ or ‘lumpy wool’) is a perfect harbour for blowflies, being smelly, moist, protected and next to an ideal protein source – the live sheep. Dermo is more common in strong-wool sheep and in medium and high-rainfall areas. It particularly affects young sheep and can be confused with fleece rot. Differentiating between dermo and fleece rot is important to breeding because fleece rot is heritable and should be selected against whereas dermo is not heritable. Yarding, moving, handling or transporting stock with dermo should be avoided if possible, especially in damp conditions. Otherwise, dermo could spread throughout the flock. Situations that require the sheep to be closely mobbed when damp should be avoided. good management practices to lessen fly risk the effect of flystrike can be minimised through good husbandry and appropriate management strategies Culling Removing sheep from your flock that are more likely to become flystruck during their lives will reduce the future predisposition of the flock to flystrike. Types of sheep that are more at risk of flystrike than others include those that show a tendency towards fleece rot, worms and scouring, and conformation and fleece faults. Crutching and shearing Crutching and shearing are key physical practices that can help in preventing flystrike by removing long wool from high-risk areas. The timing of crutching and shearing is important to give maximum prevention from breech strike when blowflies are expected or most commonly occur (usually early spring or late summer/autumn). Crutching or shearing before lambing will reduce the incidence of breech strike associated with urine and afterbirth in long wool. A small crutch, commonly known as a ‘bung-hole’, can be a cost-effective alternative to conventional crutching. This can be most effective when a second crutch, within the three-month window prior to shearing, is considered. This method is cheaper, results in fewer second cuts and the loss of less fleece wool. Chemical control Targeted use of chemicals (insect growth regulators, macrocyclic lactones and spinosyn) can help in preventing flystrike. Note withholding periods before shearing and marketing of stock for slaughter. When adopting chemical control measures as part of your management plan to prevent flystrike, the chemical options available to you and the differences between them must be fully understood. If you are uncertain, consult the relevant chemical company, or your veterinarian or consultant. AWI’s LiceBoss website includes the WoolRes tool, which estimates the expected pesticide residue on wool at shearing after the application of common flystrike (and lice) treatments. Stock management Tight lambing periods enable more responsive and timely management practices to be employed during high-risk periods. Some breeders have ceased mulesing wethers and turn them off at young ages as prime lambs. ú More information: ‘fighting flystrike’ Cd, free from the AwI hotline, 1800 070 099; Integrated parasite management – sheep (Ipm-s) website, www.wool.com.au/ipm; liceBoss website, www.liceboss.com.au; wormBoss website, www.wormboss.com.au roAd to 010 SuPPLeMent Beyond the BALe 9 AnImAl husBAndry Pho to: Schu Ster c on Su Lt In G Gr ou P crutching can help prevent flystrike by removing long wool from high-risk areas.
Apr - May 08
Jun - July 08