Preventing flystrike using genetics
Breeding for resistance to breech strike offers the best long-term permanent solution. Selecting the best animals for your breeding flock requires selection of both superior rams and ewes using traits that are easily and accurately measured and heritable. Research shows that certain traits are associated with breech strike and these can be used to successfully breed for breech strike resistance. These are called indicator traits.
The traits that have been shown to be related to breech strike in winter rainfall environments are:
- scouring and dags
- breech wrinkle
- breech cover (or alternatively bare area).
Low wrinkle, dags and breech cover are important as individual traits by themselves but are increasingly valuable where two or more of these traits are present on the same animal. The interaction between traits can also impact on the susceptibility of sheep to flystrike.
Genetic selection can be done on the lamb flock, the existing ewe flock and by choosing a ram source that uses genetic selection against flystrike as a breeding objective.