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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The choice of chemical product group may determine how the product must be applied to the sheep.
Resistance of flies to insecticides is present and there are management strategies that sheep producers can adopt to minimise the development of resistance or at least delay the onset of resistance.
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.
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.
With a product in mind, review the most effective time to apply the treatment. Use the optimize treatment tool to view how the overall risk of flystrike changes with different products used at different times. Select ‘optimize’ to find the most effective time to apply your chosen chemical.
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.
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..
The FlyBoss tools can be used to:
The Flystrike Management Calendar (download below) has been developed to allow producers to document and summarise their integrated approach to flystrike management.