13th April 2014
2014 looks set to be an early season for Nematodirus battus in the UK. Calculations by Bristol University based on soil temperatures recorded through March, suggest that it will be 3 - 4 weeks earlier than in 2013. This is good news for later lambing flocks because the main threat will be over before their lambs are old enough to be at risk. However, many February and March born lambs will be at risk and action may be required to avoid losses.
The map shows that the South West of England is expected to see a peak of hatching in the next 7-10 days. Wales, the rest of southern and the middle counties of England will be a little later, but we expect to turn these red in the next 7-14 days. The north of England is expected to switch to amber next week. Data for Scotland is expected later this week. The key to the map is as follows:
RED = a peak of hatching is expected. farmers in these areas should take action (see attached pdf for information).
AMBER = soil temperatures have increased and we expect to turn this area red in 7-14 days
YELLOW = lower soil temperatures mean the hatch is not imminent.
NOTE: These forecasts are regional and there will be variation form farm to farm and even field to field. Sheep famers are urged to assess their risk based on the history of the field (lambs last year a high risk for example)and South facing fields will also tend to have an earlier hatch. Altitude is also important and as a guide, every 100m above seas level will delay hatching by about 7 days beyond our forecasts.