April 20 2017 07:46 AM

A fly control program started early can help keep heifers growing and cows milking.

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

Summer’s heat seems far away. But it will be here soon and so will pesky flies. Don’t wait for flies to emerge to start your fly control program. For maximum effectiveness, now is the time to evaluate and start your fly control strategy.

"Starting a program before flies appear goes a long way in prevention for calves, heifers and cows,” says Gary Geisler, calf and heifer specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “A well-planned, holistic fly control program can keep calves healthier, maintain intakes and growth for heifers, and keep cows milking.”

So, how can you beat the buzz and protect performance?

Consider a feed-through larvicide

A simple and effective way to control fly populations is to use a feed-through larvicide. This form of fly control:

  • Does not require additional labor as compared to other fly control options with multiple steps (i.e. pour-ons, ear tags, walk-throughs, etc.).
  • Is easily combined with an Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM) – a multi-faceted approach to pest management to make the most of your fly control program.
  • Has an Insect Growth Regulator in the manure where flies lay their eggs. This stops the fly life cycle by preventing fly larvae from molting into pupae and, eventually, adult flies.

To be most effective, feed-through larvicides should be fed from 30 days before flies appear through to 30 days after the first killing frost.

“Implementing a feed-through larvicide before flies hatch will help keep fly populations in check. This type of control can help by reducing the first swarm of adult flies’ ability to reproduce,” says Geisler. “The earlier you break the life cycle, the fewer flies you’ll have buzzing around later.”

Look at the big picture

While a feed-through larvicide can help curb fly populations, it’s only one piece of the bigger IPM puzzle.

In addition to using a feed-through larvicide, these management practices can help keep fly populations to a minimum:

  1. Identify the type of flies present and locate where maggots might be. Identifying these will help eliminate additional fly breeding locations and determine how to make these areas less of an attractant for flies.
  2. Determine if there are any other forms of fly control that could help reduce populations in the areas identified.
  3. Clean all pens on a regular basis to help eliminate fly breeding sites and store manure and soiled bedding away from calf and heifer housing.
  4. Keep feed fresh and dry as molasses can be an attractant for flies.
  5. Avoid accumulation of feed, manure and water, which will attract flies.
  6. Use scatter baits for adult flies as needed.

“Taking a look at the whole fly control picture and getting an early start on your program can help calves stay healthy, heifers growing, and cows producing during fly season,” concludes Geisler.

Contact your local Purina representative to learn more, or visit purinamills.com/dairy-feed to learn more about Purina® HEIFERSMART® Booster Tub + ClariFly.

For additional information on dairy nutrition and management, sign-up to receive the monthly Purina®HERDSMART® E-Newsletter; a free online tool to improve operational efficiency by visiting purinaherdsmart.com.

Purina Animal Nutrition (www.purinamills.com) is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers throughout the United States. Driven to unlock the greatest potential in every animal, the company is an industry-leading innovator offering a valued portfolio of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Purina Animal Nutrition is headquartered in Shoreview, Minn., and a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.