Fly Control: A Cow's Tail wont get the Job Done

May 14, 2021

Bill Towes
Countryside Feed Livestock Production Specialist
Flies…They might as well be a four-letter word. Although it is impossible to actually eliminate flies, we can’t just throw in the towel. It is our responsibility as cattle producers to practice good stewardship and help our cattle stay comfortable instead of battling these nasty pests, anything less is doing them a disservice. And when we do our job, it is flat out amazing to watch our cows do theirs!
Good fly control programs aren’t just a one-prong approach. Combining several of the following management suggestions is the best way to combat flies in late summer.
  • Feedthrough larvicides
You can put a dent in the number of flies on your operation by feeding Altosid® or Clarifly®. These products prevent larva from developing into adult biting flies. Reduced fly numbers are generally observed about 3 weeks after being introduced to cattle.
  • Limit environmental factors
When possible, clean up areas where cattle congregate. Cleaning dry lot pens and getting rid of unnecessary areas of standing water are good practices. This can be more difficult in pasture settings, but eliminating environmental factors that attract flies can make a big difference.
  • Fly tags
Fly tags are a great option for repeling face flies. Keep in mind when using this tool that they are only effective for about 60 – 90 days. If tags were put in before spring turn out, they will need to be ran back through the chute to put in new tags to be effective July through September.
  • Dust bags, back rubs, oilers
These options can be a cost-effective approach if they located in areas that all cattle are likely to travel frequently or congregate. Make sure to check these fly control tools often to make sure they are loaded up on insecticide.
  • Sprays
There are many fly sprays on the market that are very effective but require frequent application. This is a great option to use during regular pasture checks.
Cows standing in a corner, stomping flies are not eating, not milking well, giving up pounds of calf, and leaving dollars on the table in the long run. Contact your Countryside Feed representative to discuss developing a well-rounded fly control program.

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