Fly Control in Your Herd

Posted: June 13, 2019 | Written By: Leslie Meshke, Form-A-Feed Nutrition and Livestock Production Specialist

fly control

Fly control is sometimes the last thing on producer’s minds in the summertime. There is a lot going on and a lot to do, but fly control should be a high priority. Flies affect your cattle more than you think.

Horn flies are the main cause of distress in cattle. They take about 20-40 blood meals per day. They can ultimately negatively affect 12% growth rate on nursing calves because of their effect on the cow. They increase the amount of energy and time that cows spend defending themselves from the horn flies. Stocker yearlings growth rate are also negatively affected by about 16%.

One way you can control the spread of horn flies and the effects they have on your herd is by using IGR (insect growth regulator) through your mineral supplement. The way IGR works is by stopping the life cycle of horn flies. The cattle consume the mineral with IGR in it and it goes through their system into their manure. The horn flies then lay their eggs in the manure and the IGR from the mineral stops the larvae from developing into adult horn flies, thus stopping the spread of the population of horn flies on your herd. This being said, ideally you would want to start feeding IGR Mineral 30 days prior to the first freeze in the spring and 30 days after the last freeze in the fall so that you can stay ahead of them since IGR cannot help with the horn flies that are already present in your herd. Also, if your herd is close to your neighbors’ herd, flies can jump herds that are nearby. If you are using fly control and your neighbors are not, unfortunately your fly population may not go down even if you are using a fly control method.

One way to control flies on your herd is by feeding Form-A-Feed’s Power Pro Encompass IGR-W Mineral which has fly control in it along with all your vitamins and minerals.  It is weatherized so you can feed it free choice in your pastures, and weather won’t affect its palatability. Feed this mineral at a rate of 4 ounces per head per day. We also have fly control options in our Form-A-Lic tub product line. 

Stay ahead of the flies this summer and keep your cows happy! For questions on what would work best in your pasture feel free to contact a Form-A-Feed representative!