Mozzies, flies and feet: Looking after sheep in wet weather

Sheep producers across the state are battling mosquitos, worms, flies and lameness in flocks from the continued wet and unseasonably cool conditions.

Local Land Services is encouraging producers to continue closely monitoring sheep flocks and where possible, put management strategies in place to try and prevent internal parasites and flystrike.

Central West Local Land Services Mixed Farming Officer Matt Jones said he understood it was a tough time for all producers experiencing flock issues on top of flooding.

“Talking with sheep producers around Nyngan, Trangie and Warren they are fighting a number of challenges at once.

“The wet conditions are directly causing feet issues with sheep either walking through water or mud, which is not allowing the feet to dry out and creating lameness,” Mr Jones said.

“Large bodies of water and an abundance of green grass has created the perfect conditions for mosquito populations to explode.”

North West local Land Services District Veterinarian Dr Shaun Slattery said many North West sheep flocks are impacted by flystrike and barber’s pole worm.

“Delays in shearing/crutching, chemical resistance and the need to avoid chemicals that will further delay shearing due to long Wool Harvest Intervals are all challenging for fly strike management.

“To assist with producer decision making the Australian Wool Innovation website has useful resources.

“Wet and mild weather, mobs flood-isolated in small areas and in some cases drench resistance, is also contributing to barber’s pole deaths."

Flocks that have already seen barber's pole cases are most at-risk as they now have heavy pasture larval contamination, Dr Slattery said.

“These will need increased management and drenching to prevent further deaths."

Producers should contact their District Veterinarian or veterinary adviser to discuss on going management in these cases, he said.

South East Local Land Services Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator Marien Stark said livestock growth rates would likely be suppressed by the ongoing wet, cooler conditions.

“In the Tablelands region of the South East, wool quality is expected to be compromised due to the excessive wet conditions with sheep more likely to experience fleece rot/green wool.”

Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian Dr Dione Howard said their team had been working with landholders to diagnose lameness issues, discuss flystrike and worm prevention strategies and reduce the risk of metabolic disease associated with severe weather events.

“If producers have lame sheep the cause of lameness should be diagnosed to make sure the most effective treatment is used," Dr Howard said.

“Managing livestock in ongoing wet conditions is challenging and we encourage people to contact Local Land Services on 1300 795 299 to discuss sheep flock management."



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