Optimising Autumn Health

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Autumn is a trying time for all young stock and prevention is the best way to optimise production and avoid deaths.

In sheep it is a battle between Barbers Pole, Facial Eczema, Pneumonia and Flystrike and often it is a combination of these that makes this part of the country especially difficult for young sheep this time of year.

Barbers Pole
(Haemonchus contortus) is a blood sucking parasite that thrives in moist humid conditions.  It causes death from blood loss and lambs are lethargic and pale.  A key to prevention is incorporating long acting drenches that prevent the build up of this parasite.  Two actives that work well are closantel and moxidectin.  Closantel is in Genesis Ultra and will prevent Barbers Pole infection for 42 days following drenching.  Because it treats all stages of liver fluke and has a 56 day meat with-holding period it is ideal for replacement ewe hoggets.  Moxidectin is a good choice for fattening lambs as it only has a ten day meat with-holding period but provides 35 days of protection.  Use cautiously if you use moxidectin commonly and if you have known or unknown ML resistance.
Pneumonia is also a significant player from January through to April.  Lambs/hoggets can appear slow and listless, as with Barbers Pole infection, but the major identifying factor is coughing within the group.  Prevention is the key with this disease and involves avoiding high risk procedures.  Reducing the amount of times sheep are yarded, time spent on the yards and reducing dust will help reduce infection.  Treatment is often unsatisfactory and costly as it is often viruses as well as bacteria that are involved.
Flystrike is always a problem of sheep this time of year, especially with the Aussie green blowfly that lays live maggots.  Sheep are prone to attack 3-4 weeks after shearing and require a product this is effective and long lasting. Products with the active cyromazine (Cyrazin) and ciylanil (CLiK) have no known resistance.  Another very safe product spinosad (Extinosad) is great at killing maggots and is deadly on lice.
Facial Eczema
Facial Eczema is becoming less of a concern in sheep with the widespread use of FE tolerant Coopworth and Romney rams but remember that terminal sires without this genetic selection may deteriorate with severe liver damage.  Consider using a zinc bullet when putting the ram out with the ewes.
Clostridial Diseases
Finally, let's not forget the risk of Clostridial diseases in fast growing stock, replacements and rams.  5in1 vaccine is cheap insurance against these traditional diseases and in some situations such as on specialist crops or stud stock the more recent 6in1 or 10in1 vaccine may have a place.
Worm Resistance Testing
Remember February, March and April are ideal times to test the effectiveness of your drenches.  With detailed knowledge of our unique area we feel extremely well equipped to conduct your first or repeat FERCT in an accurate, repeatable and economical fashion.

Autumn Young Sheep Checklist