Summer weather and increasing fly populations can present management challenges to livestock farms. High fly populations can cause reduced milk production, reduce feed conversion and thus growth on young animals and can expose all cattle age classes to disease organisms. An on-farm fly management program needs to be multi-pronged to keep the fly population at a low level.
Sanitation needs to be the cornerstone of a fly management program. The life cycle of a fly requires that the eggs, larvae and pupae live in manure, moist hay, spilled silage, wet grain, or other type of organic material for a 10 to 21 day period. Removing these materials on a weekly basis can help break the life cycle. Spreading that material on fields as thinly as possible to ensure it dries out quickly can break the life cycle. Discing or incorporating the waste material into the soil is also effective. Calf pens/hutches, or any livestock housing that utilizes a bedding and manure pack system are critical control areas during the summer months.
Other control options that can be considered for an integrated management approach include:
* Use of parasitic wasps
* Use of sticky tapes, paper and ribbons
* Feeding a fly larvicide
* Use of fly baits
Remember to always read and follow label directions regarding restrictions, rates and other precautions. For more detail on controlling flies, see OSU Extension Bulletin 473, Livestock and Livestock Building Pest Management.
Source: Rory Lewandowski, OSU Extension Educator Wayne County