An animal nutritionist and consultant shares how such a tiny pest can cause huge problems for cattle. “The main culprit is the horn fly. This is a small, parasitic blood-sucking fly that is about half the size of a fly and they live on the backs and sides of cattle. Each fly will take 20 to 30 blood meals a day times the 100s on their backs that it is significant drain and stress on that animal. Then that in turn causes the reduction in average daily gains, and milk production and feed conversions. That is where that cost is. Also then you have the cost associated with transmission of disease — not only pink eye — but other infectious diseases respiratory diseases are also transmitted.”
He says a multi-prong approach to fly control is the best method.
“The most effective is to feed through larvacides that breaks the fly’s reproductive cycle in the manure. Other methods are sprays, baits, dust bags, fly parasites and good sanitation. Good fly management not only pays, it is our responsibility to provide comfort and relief to our livestock.”
The best flies are the ones that never hatch and there are feed-through fly preventiveness that help keep flies away.