12 October 2021

Abstract: Flystrike is a significant health and welfare risk to Australian sheep costing up to $170 million each year. A vaccine would be a game changer for farmers around the country.

Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) has committed an extra $650,000 to fast-track CSIRO development of a flystrike vaccine.

The CSIRO says such a vaccine would be an ‘ecologically- and animal welfare-friendly control measure that has no chemical residues and has the potential for long term and cost-efficient flystrike control’.

The Flystrike Vaccine Project is into its second year of research with trials in sheep now underway to test prototypes.

AWI said it released the extra funds to allow for 12 months of ‘supercharged formulation testing’.

AWI’s general manager of research, Dr Jane Littlejohn, told Western District Farmer that, due to the time involved in researching, developing, and taking a vaccine to market, there won’t be a vaccine for growers’ use this time next year. However, Dr Littlejohn hopes CSIRO can take some ‘giant steps towards this ultimate outcome in the next 12 months’.

You can read more about the project on the CSIRO website.

The RSPCA believes that breeding plainer bodied, flystrike resistant sheep is the ultimate goal to end mulesing and manage flystrike risk, while an effective flystrike vaccine will help wool growers manage flystrike risk in the interim. Find out more about mulesing and the RSPCA’s position here.