There are numerous species of flies that can be a nuisance on a dairy operation. They not only act as an annoyance to animals and humans alike, but can also affect cow comfort, health and profitability. The two species of greatest concern for dairy producers are the house fly (Musca domestica), a disease vector, and the stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans), a blood feeder. Studies have proven that when stable flies feed on the legs of cows, the result can be a reduction in milk production by as much as 20%. To protect the well being of their cattle and avoid lost production, dairy operators should implement a complete Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program to combat nuisance flies.
A successful IPM strategy must approach pest control through a combination of several complementary methods that include the following tactics:
- Improve cultural practices to reduce fly resting, feeding, and breeding sites
- Use natural predators and parasites, such as parasitic wasps to destroy eggs that have been laid in organic matter on the dairy
- Incorporate various physical techniques, like fly traps and sticky tapes to remove adult flies that migrate from surrounding areas
- Use approved pesticides to spray or bait adult flies
- Utilize biological controls with a larvicide such as ClariFly® Larvicide to keep larvae developing in treated manure from ever becoming adult flies
While there are no “single solutions” to provide a fly-free environment, it is possible to significantly reduce the use of pesticides by focusing on the dairy’s “cultural” component of an IPM program. Some entomologists have estimated that fly numbers can be reduced by as much as 75% through properly maintaining dairy facilities and removing feeding and breeding sites. Typical problem areas a dairy operator should concentrate on include:
- Feed storage areas – Flies will breed in the moldy areas created where moisture collects and in decayed feed spilled nearby.
- Calf rearing area – Flies will feed on spilled milk or milk replacer and decaying bedding, which can also serve as a breeding site.
- Cow and heifer housing facility – Timely and consistent manure management is essential, as it serves as the primary fly breeding area. Spilled feed, especially under feed bunks, will attract flies, while rotting materials serve as a breeding ground. Operators should also be mindful of clutter that can create shade sought out by resting flies.
- Milking area – Manure and spilled milk are both common in the milking area, and both are attractants to flies.
- Surrounding vegetation – Weeds and tall grasses on and around a dairy facility are ideal resting places for flies, and should be maintained regularly. Allowing cut vegetation to naturally decompose will provide an attractive breeding site for flies.
Heat Stress Feed Rations:
How your ration gets formulated depends on your goals and situation. Our nutrition consultants offer a wide range of products to cover the needs of many types of rations. As we look ahead to a warm, humid summer, it’s likely you will want to look ahead as well, for a ration specifically formulated to help maintain production when THI peaks. Contact our nutrition consultants today to begin strategizing the best options for your herd.
Pre-Emergent Weed Control:
Getting your fields sprayed in a timely manner results in exceptional weed control–and this is our number one priority. From the front gate to the back 40, our team of experienced custom applicators do a superior job keeping fields protected. An excellent way to get your corn and soybeans off to the best start is to keep your fields clean by applying a good pre-emerge herbicide right after planting. We also offer a full lineup of pesticides and other industry leading products to assure we protect your investment from weeds, insects and diseases. Contact our agronomists today for consultation.