WOOLGROWERS, researchers, consultants, vets and welfare experts discussed the latest developments and trial results from Australian Wool Innovation’s (AWI) flystrike prevention program at a recent update.
Protecting the national flock from flystrike remains a top research priority at AWI, a spokesperson said. Over the past decade, woolgrowers through their research, development and marketing body have invested $47 million in animal health and welfare research, development and extension (RD&E), including more than $27 million on flystrike prevention.
The National R&D Technical Update on Breach Flystrike Prevention heard from a variety of speakers from across Australia.
The genetics and genomics of both sheep and the blowfly continue to be explored to seek new opportunities. The sheep blowfly genome has now been mapped and has been found to contain almost 3000 unique genes that provide opportunities for control.
Breeding for breech strike resistance shows how flystrike resistance is highly heritable and evidence was presented that showed ram breeders were responding to the challenge of producing low wrinkle, high fleece weight, high fertility Merinos.
An update on field trials from SkinTraction® technology was given as well as a summary of the use of liquid nitrogen to reduce wrinkle which has gained a proof of concept in an early scoping study.
The use of laser technology to permanently remove wool follicles has not achieved a proof of concept but new laser technology is being reviewed.
The use of Meloxicam as an animal analgesic was discussed, together with a summary of welfare assessments across various novel fly strike prevention technologies.
Information on the current levels of larvae resistance to flystrike preventative chemicals was presented and showed that they were still measuring up to their label protection periods. The development of www.paraboss.com.au assists woolgrowers to best manage blowfly threats.
A number of growers, brokers and exporters emphasised the ongoing importance of growers completing the National Wool Declaration to meet market requirements. With increased volumes of declared wool on the market on any one day, the wool market can better send market signals back to Australian growers.
The Australian Veterinary Association and Genetic Review panel regularly assess the progress in AWI’s Breech Strike Prevention program and their reports are on the AWI website.
AWI also holds six-monthly meetings with the main animal welfare lobby groups in Australia. AWI undertakes ongoing consultation with state welfare, federal agencies and supply chain customers at the processing, manufacturing and retail sectors. Breeder feedback on breech strike R&D and extension strategy is used to update the RD&E program each year.
AWI program manager, Productivity and Animal Welfare Geoff Lindon summed up the update by stating how "AWI on behalf of woolgrowers continues to leave no stone unturned in the search for practical solutions for woolgrowers to manage flystrike."
Presentations were delivered by CSIRO, Department of Agriculture & Food WA, University of Melbourne, NSW Department of Primary Industries, University of New England and University of Sydney as well as presentations from Troy Laboratories, Cobbett Technologies and Steinfort Agvet. Presentations are available online at www.wool.com