Despite the cold spring delaying the start of the blowfly strike season, experts are now anticipating significant levels of strike as the weather warms up.
Richard Wall, professor of zoology at University of Bristol, says: “Our recommendation to farmers is to avoid risking flock health and productivity by using an early season application of a preventative strike treatment to ewes.”
Sheep farmers can now access real-time updates on blowfly risk and reported cases in the form of an online tracker.
Prof Wall will be putting together the first tracker using Met Office data and will provide a parasite forecast outlining the blowfly challenge facing sheep across the different UK regions.
The interactive map produced by Elanco will highlight areas hit with blowfly strike in real time.
Fiona Hutchings, technical vet at Elanco, says just monitoring symptoms is not an effective strategy.
“By the time symptoms show themselves, it is often too late. It is easy to overlook even one affected sheep, and strike can cause huge damage in very little time. In addition, using a preventative product early reduces risk later in the season by ensuring a much lower fly count as the season progresses.”