Farmers urged to be on their guard for blowfly strike
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.