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Emily King
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AWI Update on Strategy for Flystrike Control

Posted by Bestprac on Feb 02 2012

New strategy for flystrike control - Progress to date
Source: AWI (18 April 2011)


Researchers from the Mackinnon Project at the University of Melbourne in Victoria have been investigating the impact of a ‘pre-season’ strategic application of dicylanil (Clik™) to prevent flystrike in unmulesed sheep, and so far the results have been extremely positive.

The project was based on the knowledge that most early flystrike is caused by larvae that have over-wintered in the soil.

The study used 3700 Merino hoggets on three properties in southern Victoria and occurred from September 2008 to May 2010. During lamb marking in 2008, the 4 to 6 week old lambs were either mulesed, clipped or left unmulesed.

The unmulesed sheep were given a strategic application of dicylanil, during September or October, which is at or soon after the expected emergence of the first generation of flies from over-wintered larvae. The mulesed and clipped sheep were treated with insecticide only if needed.

Two bands of 5mL were applied on each side of the breech, overlapping at the top of the tail. An additional 5 to 10 mL was applied to sheep with severe dag or stain, with the cost of treatment ranging from $0.50 to $1.00 per head.

Nine out of the 1049 sheep (0.9%) in the unmulesed groups that were treated with dicylanil had breech-strike during spring and early summer. This was similar to the prevalence of breech-strike in mulesed sheep not treated with dicylanil (12 of 1058, or 1.1%). The research also found clipped sheep had a relatively higher risk of breech strike compared to mulesed sheep.

Mackinnon Project researcher, Dr John Larsen, says another promising finding coming out of the research was that the strategic treatment was successful in the unmulesed sheep despite them having heavy breech-soiling (‘dag’) and there being a high population of flies present.

He also noted that reducing the prevalence of dag will be a major part of future strategies to control breech-strike effectively in Merino sheep in Victoria.

In short, this research has shown a ‘strategic’ application of insecticide during spring and early summer offers short to medium-term control of breech-strike for producers in south-eastern Australia.

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Last changed: Feb 06 2012



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