While late winter rains across many areas of the state were a blessing for many SA croppers, the falls have increased the risk of footrot spread this spring, prompting a reminder to sheep producers to be on the lookout for the disease.
SA footrot program manager Chris van Dissel said four confirmed cases of footrot - a notifiable disease in South Australia - had been reported to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions in August.
"We have had reports this year from both local vets and sheep producers, which is surprising given the cold winter conditions of much of August," he said.
"Those reports have been wide-spread with cases on Eyre Peninsula, as well as in the Mid North, Adelaide Hills and the South East of the state.
"Footrot, which requires average ambient temperatures above 10 degrees Celsius, tends not to spread readily in the colder winter months of much of South Australia," said Mr van Dissel.
"However having adequate moisture in the soil heading into spring will favour footrot development in flocks where infection has been masked in recent drier years or where new infections have occurred."
An influx of restocker sheep from interstate had also increased the likelihood of footrot detections, according to Mr van Dissel, who said early detection was key to footrot disease management.
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"Many people believe that footrot won't spread during the middle of winter but it's interesting when you compare temperature data across different weather stations in SA to see that some areas have already had multiple days warm enough for footrot spread," he said.
He said that any producers who had had rains in the past two months, as well as multiple days over 10 degree Celsius average ambient temperature should be on the lookout for lame animals.
"If footrot is present in any number of sheep - it will spread, particularly if sheep are being yarded for any reason," he said.
Any producers who detect lameness in spring should report the suspected footrot to an Animal Health Adviser or vet to get a qualified diagnosis, and advice on treatment and management.
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