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Home FlyBoss Management Options for Sheep Annual Flystrike Management Plans for Sheep

Annual Flystrike Management Plans for Sheep

This page guides you through nine steps to follow, and the FlyBoss resources to use, to review your annual flystrike management plan.

Each step provides links to more information on the FlyBoss web site including FlyBoss Tools.

A printable management calendar is also provided, should you wish to record your plan.

The most effective way to reduce the risk of flystrike involves an integrated approach using a suitable combination of management and chemical control. While mulesing has been a very effective component of such plans, community and market pressure for it to be stopped means that producers may wish to reduce their reliance on it and re-assess flystrike risk and the best management program to combat it.

Management strategies

1. Shearing, crutching and lambing dates

Use the Compare management tool to see the impact on flystrike risk from changing your shearing and crutching time. Consider these dates with the ideal lambing time for your situation and decide whether your current shearing and crutching dates should be moved for better flystrike control (depending on the practicality of moving these dates). This tool will show you the times of highest risk of flystrike.

2. Breech modification strategies

The breech modification page describes the available options: no modification, mulesed, clips (or a combination of these). If you still mules sheep, but wish to stop, consider phasing it out in the least susceptible sheep first and assessing whether changed or extra crutching or chemical applications may be needed. Ensure that the tail is docked to the correct length.  

You can also change your breech modification strategy in the Compare management tool to see the impact on flystrike risk.

Breeding strategies

3. Selection strategies (breeding for flystrike resistance)

Different strategies for breeding and selection may be used for rams, ewes and retained wethers.

Rams can be purchased with Australian Sheep Breeding Values for breech wrinkle, breech cover and dag, which can be used in conjunction with performance data. Be aware that housed and coated rams are less exposed to weather and this can mask their susceptibility to fleece rot and flystrike.

Ewes that are less susceptible to flystrike can be chosen using Visual Sheep Scores.  The risk of flystrike can be reduced by selecting for a plainer body and breech, whiter wool, less or no fleece rot, less or no dag, and less wool around the breech.

Decide how to deal with struck sheep. As they are more likely to get struck again in the future, they are best treated and sold when beyond the withholding periods of their treatment. These sheep should not be kept as breeding stock, but could be kept as dry sheep.

4. Dag management strategies

Dag is a major factor in flystrike, especially in winter rainfall areas. Dag can be reduced by selection against it, crutching, improved scour worm control and more gradual transition onto high quality feed.

Chemical strategies

5. Treatment chemical group

The choice of chemical product group may determine how the product must be applied to the sheep.

Resistance of flies to insecticides is common and there are management strategies that sheep producers can adopt to minimise the development of resistance or at least delay the onset of resistance.

6. Application method

The method you choose must be effective. Consider the cost of equipment and skills required for application, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

7. Commercial product

Once a chemical group and application method are decided, use the Products Tool to see which commercial products may be suitable. This will generate a list of products including their withholding period (WHP), wool re-handling interval (WHI), export slaughter interval (ESI) and typical price per pack and per sheep.

8. Optimum time you apply treatment

With a product in mind, review the most effective time to apply the treatment. Use the optimise treatment tool to view how the overall risk of flystrike changes with different products used at different times. Select ‘optimise’ to find the most effective time to apply your chosen chemical.

9. Predicted wool residues

If you aim to sell your wool into a market sensitive for chemical residues, use the Wool Res tool to see whether your chosen chemical and time of application will allow your wool to remain below residue threshold levels.

An overview of the Flyboss risk assessment tools

The FlyBoss tools allow you to assess flystrike risk using local weather and climate data. The graphs below have been generated for two typical sheep environments – one summer rainfall and one winter rainfall. You can use the tools to develop a graph for any sheep production region..

Relative flystrike risk in non-mulesed sheep at Glen Innes NSW – October shearing, March crutching, no chemical treatment
Relative flystrike risk in non-mulesed sheep at Clare, SA – August shearing, February crutching, no chemical treatment

The FlyBoss tools can be used to:

  • Test different management regimes – timing of shearing, crutching and application of chemicals and see the impact on flystrike risk;
  • Compare two different systems of management and see which has the lowest risk profile;
  • Review the chemicals available for flystrike control – their wool harvesting interval (WHI), meat withhold period (WHP) and export slaughter interval (ESI);
  • Develop a flystrike management calendar that is specific and customised for your business.

Annual Flystrike Management Calendar

The Flystrike Management Calendar (download below) has been developed to allow producers to document and summarise their integrated approach to flystrike management.

  • Enter your shearing and crutching dates with an X
  • Indicate the months or periods when sheep will be closely monitored with an X
  • Indicate the months in which breech and body strike will be a High or Medium risk to the flock with a H or an M
  • Identify any breech modificationdag management  or chemical applications required for that class of stock with an X in the relevant month. Use lines to indicate the period of protection and/or withhold periods for the chemicals used.
  • Indicate the breeding and selection activities that you will implement in association with annual management activities to reduce flystrike risk.

Annual Flystrike Management Calendar – pdf for printing (70 KB)

Annual Flystrike Management Calendar – Microsoft Word format (49 KB)

An example of the Flystrike Management Calendar

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