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Forecasters have predicted that temperatures will increase to the season average from the weekend of 13th and 14th April 2013, so experts advise that preventative action against blowfly strike must be considered even after the unseasonal weather.FULL ARTICLE
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Don’t forget blowfly strike, sheep farmers warned
Forecasters have predicted that temperatures will increase to the season average from the weekend of 13th and 14th April 2013, so experts advise that preventative action against blowfly strike must be considered even after the unseasonal weather.
Due to extremely poor weather in 2012 followed by a long, cold winter, the list of problems for sheep farmers has been increasing – additional feed and fuel bills, Schmallenberg and cash flow issues. Now farmers are dealing with the effects of perished livestock from the recent snow and cold weather.
Richard Wall, professor of Zoology at Bristol University and author of a number of published research studies into livestock parasites, has warned sheep farmers not to put blowfly prevention measures off.
Wall explains: “People talk about climate warming but the main issue farmers need to deal with is climate variation. In 2012 we witnessed a very early spring whereas this year it’s extremely late. As a result, getting the timing right for treatment of ewes and lambs against blowfly strike can be extremely difficult - due to the unpredictability of the weather. What we do know, however, is that when the weather warms up so does the incidence of blowfly strike. Recent research shows that a 3°C increase in average seasonal temperature would be expected to approximately double the frequency of strike in lambs and lead to four times more strike in ewes1.”
Wall adds: “Forecasters have predicted that temperatures will increase to around 12°C from this weekend. As soon as the temperature rise above 9°C, blowfly larvae that have overwintered in the soil start to develop and eventually pupate, so the start of the strike season will not be far behind. Farmers, must therefore start to plan their preventative measures, because once the adult flies are on the wing blowfly strike happens extremely quickly. The larvae can mature in as little as 2 to 3 days after the eggs are deposited in the fleece of a susceptible sheep. If an infestation is missed the reality is that a sheep can die from repeated strikes within 1 – 2 weeks.”
Fiona Anderson, vet at Novartis Animal comments: “Blowfly strike occurs on over 80 per cent of sheep farms2. If untreated it can severely affect the welfare of infested sheep, and may result in death. Prevention is always best because adult flies can lay so many eggs on a flock and farmers do not have the time to check their sheep. Blowfly strike can be easily prevented through the use of products which contain insect growth regulators (IGRs). These prevent the development of the damaging second and third stage maggots which are responsible for causing fly strike and stock damage.”
Katherine Openshaw, Ectoparasiticides Category Manager at Novartis Animal Health, says: “According to the research elevated temperatures are likely to bring about increased levels of blowfly strike which can potentially have a devastating impact on flocks. We understand that farmers are already stretched in so many ways and having to check their animals twice a day for strike is an additional pressure. We have developed a campaign aimed at helping farmers prevent the occurrence of blowfly strike. ‘Prepare, Predict, Prevent’ offers simple, yet effective advice to avert an outbreak.”
Protecting the future of flocks
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CLiK® and CLiKZiN® with FleeceBind™ technology offer farmers flexible blowfly prevention products whatever the production schedule. CLiK® gives the longest duration of cover at 16 weeks, which minimises labour requirements for farmers and CLiKZiN® offers farmers greater flexibility when marketing lambs with a 7-day short meat withhold.
1. R Wall, LS Ellse Climate change and livestock parasites: integrated management of blowfly strike in a warmer environment Global Change Biology, 17, (pp. 1770 – 1777), 2011
2. Bisdorff B, Milnes A, Rall R (2006) Prevalence and regional distribution of scab, lice and blowfly in sheep in Great Britain. The Veterinary Record, 158, 749-752
CLiK® Pour On suspension for sheep contains 5% (w/v) dicyclanil. CLiKZiN® Pour-On suspension for sheep contains 1.25% (w/v) dicyclanil. CLiK® and CLiKZiN® are registered trademarks of Novartis AG, Basel, Switzerland. FleeceBind™ is a trademark of Novartis AG, Basel, Switzerland. Advice on the use of these or alternative medicines must be sought from the medicine prescriber. Use medicines responsibly (ww.noah.co.uk/responsible). Legal category: POM-VPS in UK. LM in ROI.