28/05/2012

Sheep farmers warned of blowfly threat

Sheep farmers have been told to be prepared to deal with the threat of blowfly strike as the weather warms up.

Sheep farmers have been told to be prepared to deal with the threat of blowfly strike as the weather warms up.

Wendy Phillips, a vet with the Herefordshire-based Arrowfield Veterinary Group, said both ewes and lambs will be at risk. Dirty animals, she says, are at an even higher risk.

Blowfly strike is not only a welfare issue but can also cause economic losses."Blowfly strike is not only a welfare issue but can also cause economic losses," she said. "Protecting your lambs at a younger age can work out more economical as less product will be needed to provide full protection.

"Blowfly can emerge very quickly, with eggs hatching within 12 hours. The advice is now to treat your flock and treat them early. However, thought is needed when choosing the most appropriate pour-on at this time of the year."

Helen Langham, product manager with Novartis Animal Health, said she had already received reports of strike earlier this month (May 2012) at a farm near Saltash on the Cornwall-Devon border, with another report coming in last week of a case in Worcestershire.

"The message for dealing with blowfly is to treat preventively," she said.

"We had some reports of strike as early as March but things then went quieter during the colder wet period. Farmers should not be lulled into a false sense of security though. Now the weather is warming up again, we will see optimum conditions for strike."

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