Summer challenges on the land

flystrike in sheep

The warm summer months bring high-risk periods for several nasty diseases, most of these being brought on by warm, wet weather. However, a bit of forward planning prior to Christmas allows easy prevention of these.

Internal parasites – drenching

Youngstock (less than 12 to 18 months old) will not yet have developed sufficient immunity against worms, and it is important there is a good worm control strategy in place for these animals. How often they need drenching depends on the product used, weather conditions, numbers of young versus adult animals and species of stock present on the property.

During the Barber’s Pole season (typically February to April), we recommend using a product with persistent activity against Barber’s Pole for sheep, goats, and alpacas.

Facial eczema

Numbers of fungal spores on pasture typically peak from late summer to early autumn and facial eczema occurs after fungal spores are eaten, causing liver damage and secondary skin damage.

There is no treatment for this disease and the key is to prevent the damage before it happens. On lifestyle blocks the most effective way to do this is by using oral zinc boluses (Faceguard and Time Capsules) every 4-6 weeks. Watch our website for updates on spore counts to know when to start treatment.


Sheep are most affected and are initially restless and itchy followed by wool discolouration and loss, and even death in severe cases. Prevention is better than cure and involves avoiding dags by tailing, crutching and good worm control, shearing prior to summer followed by regular protective spray treatment over summer.


Treat for ticks when these are visible on animals or if they are rubbing or have large areas of hair loss.

Ryegrass staggers

Cases typically occur from late November until the end of April. There is no scientifically proven treatment for relieving ryegrass staggers, however, there are some products available that may help. Most animals recover within 1-2 weeks when removed from affected pasture.

Check out our Disesase Management factsheets for more information and recommended products for the conditions discussed.