Please wait...

Subscribe to AWI's free e-newsletters

Be informed of important news, events and action alerts

Breech Strike Genetics

Reducing the risk of flystrike in the Australian sheep flock and the reliance mulesing to reduce the risk of breech strike is a key investment area for AWI.

Breeding naturally resistant sheep is the long term, sustainable way to reduce the risk of breech strike and the reliance on mulesing.

An integrated approach to reducing the risk of breech strike will always be required and involve a combination (depending on region risk factors and sheep type) of:

  • timely annual shearing and crutching
  • accelerated shearing or crutching
  • worm control, drenching and paddocking
  • fly control chemicals
  • short timely lambing periods
  • proactive marketing of wool and surplus livestock sales
  • along with breeding for low wrinkle, low dags, low urine stain and low breech wool cover

Since 2007, research has been underway at two key sites to identify sheep with high natural resistance to breech strike. These trials indicate that a range of factors affect sheep differently in different environments.  Sheep most at risk of breech strike:

  • have higher degrees of skin wrinkle and/or wool cover in the breech region, and/or
  • are more susceptible to dag accumulation and urine staining of wool.

Australian Sheep Breeding Values (ASBVs) for the key traits related to flystrike (Breech Wrinkle, Breech Cover and Dag) are now available for many sires through MERINOSELECT.

Bare breech of the ram, Cojak from Calcookara Stud, SA.

Further information

Information and results from research into breech strike genetics is available from the latest AWI’s Breech Flystrike RD&E Technical Update:

Learn more about AWI’s commitment to breech flystrike prevention