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Flystrike Workshop Testimonials

This has been an excellent and helpful workshop with both a good level of detail and big picture—including info about the boss sites.

Great with regards to incorporating a wide range of tools and suggestions—management,chemicals, industry supplied internet tools—very thorough.

Already well informed but extremely valuable focus and additional information.

Peter Wilkinson, Dandaragan (WA)—Case Study

In the midst of Western Australia’s tough fly season, Dandaragan sheep producer Peter Wilkinson is confident his sheep will stand up to the test thanks to a long-term investment in genetics. Together with parents Ron and Deanna, Mr Wilkinson operates the Challara Merino Stud, which first embraced breeding for body and wool types that were less susceptible to flies almost 20 years ago. “We were seeing a lot of fleece rot on our sheep in the early 1990s and we came to a point with our breeding program where we knew things had to change,” Mr Wilkinson said.

Since then they have adopted many of the principles espoused by the SRS Group, and have been breeding plainer bodied, low-wrinkle sheep, and selecting for whiter, denser and freer-growing wools. The change in body and wool type has resulted in reduced chemical use, with applications now limited to timely treatments as the need arises when fly conditions are at their worst. Such is their confidence in the strategy that the Wilkinsons this year did not mules their lamb drop for the first time.

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Phil and Ann Hammat, Baderloo Poll Merinos (SA)—Case Study

While a wetter than average summer in South Australia has raised the prospects of flystrike problems for many graziers, Phil and Ann Hammat are confident their flock will come through unscathed. The Hammats, of Baderloo Poll Merinos, Spalding, have been selecting for a plain body type and proactively applying preventative chemical treatments since they ceased mulesing in 2004. Their flock of 900 stud Poll Merino ewes and 350 commercial ewes came through unharmed from last year’s wet summer, which delivered an extra 200 mm over and above their annual average of 425 mm of predominantly winter rainfall, and resulted in a fly-wave throughout the Mid North.

“The 2010/11 summer was particularly bad fly wave for body strike in this area, but we didn’t have any problems because we breed plain-bodied sheep, and we also work on a preventative approach with chemical applications when we can see a problem coming,” Mr Hammat said. “We select for very plain-bodied sheep with absolutely no body wrinkle, and a long-staple, white wool with very definite crimp, so that our sheep are flystrike resistant. However, we don’t hesitate to use a backliner if with think there’s going to be a fly wave.” Each year, treatment costs and lost production associated with flystrike of sheep, costs the industry an estimated $280 million.

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