Shearing and crutching

In any district there is a huge variation in shearing dates.

Shearing dates are chosen for many reasons:

  • to fit with lambing time
  • have sale sheep ready for particular markets
  • for staple strength management
  • to reduce grass seed and vegetable matter contamination of fleece
  • shearer availability
  • to fit with the cropping program and labour availability
  • to reduce the risk of flystrike

Time of shearing ranks second behind lambing time as the most critical date in the sheep production system. It is now more important than ever to take flystrike risk into consideration when reviewing the most appropriate time to shear.

The relative risk of flystrike in non-mulesed sheep at Glen Innes (summer rainfall) with an October shearing and March crutching (solid red line) compared to a December shearing and June crutching (dotted blue line)—see below.

Crutching is also an important management tool in managing dag and flystrike risk. Non-mulesed sheep can be more susceptible to dag formation.

Some research has shown that non-mulesed sheep will take longer to crutch – however as your sheep become plainer through breeding, this impact should decline in importance.

Use the FlyBoss tools to evaluate the impact of different shearing and crutching times on relative flystrike risk in your flocks. Having decided on the most appropriate times, enter the information onto your Flystrike Management Calendar .