Livestock

Call to act on fly strike

by
December 02, 2017

The VFF wants the sheep industry to come together on the issue of breech strike with a call for unprecedented investment.

The VFF wants the sheep industry to come together on the issue of breech strike with a call for unprecedented investment.

Australian Wool Innovation says fly strike costs wool growers $173million each year, with breech strike having the largest impact on the industry.

The VFF says despite this significant risk, AWI has invested only $3million a year since 2005 to address this critical issue.

Meat & Livestock Australia has publicly criticised the wool industry’s response to the issue, but the VFF says as a major player it needs to lead with investment not rhetoric.

‘‘We want MLA to invest significantly in targeted, blue sky research,’’ VFF livestock president Leonard Vallance said.

‘‘We can’t see why $10million invested by each of MLA and AWI per year over five years isn’t appropriate,’’ he said.

‘‘Let’s look at all the possibilities. What we can put on the sheep, in the sheep, how we can discourage the blowflies — we need to invest in our future.

‘‘AWI have done some good work, but the prioritisation of research needs to be radical.

‘‘Given the animal welfare and the economic impact at stake, we can’t just refine old ways of working. We need to look for new solutions.

‘‘The two industry research and development corporations must come together to work on this issue and deliver for their levy payers.’’

Mr Vallance said genetic breeding was one long-term solution, but current industry culture required a seemingly insurmountable change to implement it effectively.

Pain relief measures are an improvement in practice and enhance animal welfare, but they are only a partial short-term solution.

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