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Farmers urged to be on their guard for blowfly strike
"Good preparation for strike control and continuous vigilance are important" - Richard Wall, compiler of the Blowfly Risk Alerts. 
Latest update shows threat is on the rise

Farmers and animal health professionals are being warned to be on their guard for blowfly strike following the latest update from National Animal Disease Information Service and Elanco.

According to the update, risk levels are currently at “medium” across the UK. However, experts believe this is likely to increase in the imminent future.

Reports of blowfly cases by farmers on the Elanco Blowfly Strike Tracker reveal sheep struck across almost the entirety of the UK.  
Richard Wall, professor of zoology and compiler of the Blowfly Risk Alerts said: "Although temperatures are increasing, dry weather stops maggots surviving, particularly on lambs, and so limits strike risk. However, rain in late May or early June will seriously increase the risk, especially for ewes, so consider applying appropriate strike treatment, extra care when checking sheep or early shearing." 
 
"Blowfly populations are generally slow to build up over the early part of Spring and Summer, but warm wet weather can change the risk quickly. Good preparation for strike control and continuous vigilance are important."

Independent sheep veterinary consultant Dr Fiona Lovatt commented: "Many farmers will wait and treat later due to perceived savings in treatment cost, but this is a false economy as the duration of efficacy for some products is so long anyway.”

"Treating earlier in the year means a smaller lamb and so potentially a smaller dose, which is a genuine saving."

A study by Elanco conducted in partnership with the National Farm Research Unit found that 99 per cent of farmers have suffered financial loss as a result of blowfly strike. A further 82 per cent agreed the blowfly season is getting longer, with cases of strike being reported as early as February and as late as November.

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Big Butterfly Count returns

News Story 1
 The world's biggest survey of butterflies is back for 2020!

Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count launches on Friday, 17 July and will run until Sunday 9 August. Members of the public can get involved by downloading the Big Butterfly Count App or recording results on a downloadable sheet available from bigbutterflycount.org/.

'It's a fantastic activity for people from three to 103 years and we'd encourage everyone to take 15 minutes in an appropriate outdoor space during sunny conditions to simply appreciate the nature around them and do their bit to help us understand butterfly populations,' said a Butterfly Conservation spokesperson. 

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News Shorts
WellVet reopens ticket sales to online conference platform

Following the success of its online conference, the organisers behind WellVet Weekend have re-opened ticket sales to allow new delegates to access session recordings and its online networking platform.

The day-long conference saw more than 360 veterinary professionals mix activity sessions with personal development CPD, all hosted within a virtual conference platform. Now, with more than 500 minutes of CPD available, the resource is being re-opened to allow full access to the session recordings until May 2021.

Sessions are aimed at providing delegates with a range of proactive wellbeing tools to explore to find ways of improving their mental and physical health. Tickets are limited in number and on sale at wellvet.co.uk until 30th August 2020.