Flystrike risk high this season

Gingin sheep farmers can download a free Flystrike Assist app to help them manage treatment withholding periods. Picture: DPIRD

GINGIN sheep farmers can take advantage of an updated Flystrike Assist app in what is expected to be a busy season for flystrike.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development app has been updated and revamped just in time for farmers who are likely to face perfect conditions for flystrike if warm spring temperatures follow the recent rain.

The department’s agriculture development officer Julia Smith said the app was a useful tool to help sheep producers to manage essential chemical withholding periods.

“Flystrike chemicals have strict withholding periods and as it’s essential for producers to follow label directions to allow the chemical to break down before wool is shorn or the animal is slaughtered,” she said.

“The app enables producers to choose the chemical they intend to apply, access all the details about its withholding requirements and protection period, set an application date and prepare a flock treatment timeline.”

The app does not require the internet to run and can easily be downloaded for free onto mobile devices.

For those who prefer a hard copy, the department has a paper based flystrike chemical planner available on its website.

Ms Smith encouraged producers to monitor their flocks closely as the weather warmed up and to treat affected animals promptly.

“Highly wrinkled sheep are most at risk, as well as those with long wool or showing signs of fleece rot.

“Sheep with high levels of dags are also at risk of breech strike so it’s important to have a sound worm management plan to reduce the risk of flystrike.

“Smaller body strikes can be difficult to pick up, making it important to inspect individual sheep, especially where the strike risk is high. “Any affected sheep should be yarded and treated immediately.’’

The updated Flystrike Assist app is available for free form Android and iOS devices and can be downloaded from the department’s website by searching for ‘flystrike management tools’.

Flystrike is a significant health and welfare issue, which costs Australian sheep producers $280 million annually from lost productivity and treatment costs.