Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Wool odour could be key to protecting sheep from flystrike


JULY 22, 2019

Credit: CC0 Public Domain
A global research project led by The University of Western Australia in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development Western Australia has identified compounds in Merino sheep wool that are attractive to Australian blowflies.
The discovery, published in Medical and Veterinary Entomology, could help breeders develop fly-resistant flocks of sheep, which will improve animal welfare and productivity.
Professor Phil Vercoe from the UWA Institute of Agriculture and UWA School of Agriculture and Environment said the findings could help to prevent flystrike, a distressing disease caused by blowflies which poses a significant health risk to sheep.
"This research is a step in the right direction towards the development of more clean, green and ethical approaches to preventing flystrike," Professor Vercoe said.
"If future studies find that the wool odor is inherited, then the compounds we've identified could lead to a more effective way to breed sheep that are resistant to flystrike.

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