Cattle health during the dog days of summer: Fly control

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Click here for Part 1: Footrot and Part 2: Pinkeye, of the Cattle health during the dog days of summer articles.

Photo by Laura Mushrush Frustrating and at times hard to kill, fly control offers many benefits to cattle producers. The buzzing pests are the carriers of bacteria and disease, such as anaplasmosis – a cow killing, weight dropping, aborting and bull infertility nightmare. According tosays John Maas, former veterinarian with the University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension, and chairman of the Beef Quality Assurance Advisory Board, fly infestation costs the cattle industry more than $2 billion annually.

But fly control can be tricky.

Treatments such as fly tags, rubbing posts, pour-ons and dust bags have proven to be effective. There are also preventative steps producers can take in fly control. Since horn flies and face flies only lay their eggs in cow manure, oral insecticides have been shown successful in killing larvae laid in manure, ultimately reducing the adult fly population. These can be fed in mineral supplements and go straight through the animal, only residing in the manure.

“Every operation is going to be different in fly control,” says Maas. “It really depends on where you’re at and what you can do.”

However, a different class of insecticide (pyrethroid, methoprene, diflubenzuron, organophosphate, spinosyns – to name a few) must be alternated so flies don’t build a resistance to the treatments. Maas relates it to the way a pitcher throws during a game.

“A pitcher isn’t going to throw a fastball every time, he changes it up so one time is a curveball, another is a screwball, etc.,” he explains. “You want to do the same thing with fly control. If you use an ear tag with organophosphate this year, then look into using a pyrethroid next year. And if you’re mixing methods and using a norganophosphate ear tag, you may want to use a pyrethroid spray-on.”

See the full article and more in the digital edition of the June-July issue of Drovers/CattleNetwork.

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Jim Dinklage    
Nebraska  |  July, 23, 2014 at 08:29 AM

Livestock producers need to use Diatomaceous Earth or Fossil Shell Flour to control flys, parasites and bacteria in livestock and other areas. Organisms will not become immuned to diatoms because it physically kills. DE is organic and environment safe.