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Flies on a cow's nose

Protect your cattle to prevent costly losses

Those pesky flies are back and we spoke to our Farm Sales Team Leader and Registered Animal Medicines Advisor (RAMA) Zoe Wall about the best way to protect your herd.

Farmers should protect their cattle early from flies to safeguard their health, welfare and production. Although fly control is an added cost, it can have long-term benefits.

You should begin protecting your stock as soon as flies appear in the spring to make control more manageable and effective.

The more flies eradicated at the start of the season, the less flies you will have at the end of the season, as two flies can become a million in just four months.

Once you start seeing large numbers of flies in the summer, it can be much harder to protect your stock, which is why treating in the spring is most effective.

What do you have to lose?

Flies are not only a nuisance to cattle but can cause significant production losses:

• Up to 0.3kg a day of growth due to irritation and reduced feed intake

• Half a litre a day milk loss, mainly due to reduced feed intake

• Flies also transmit diseases like New Forest Eye and summer mastitis

As well as eating into farm profits due to reduced milk yield and daily liveweight gain, diseases like mastitis can be costly to treat and often require antibiotics. Flies begin to emerge when soil temperatures hit 7oC. Increasing temperatures can prolong the fly season meaning extended control may also be required.

How can you reduce the impact?

Speak to your local RAMA to develop a fly control plan. There are two main routes for protecting cattle from flies:

1. Pour-on products

Deltamole can give eight to 10 weeks of protection in cattle, with a zero day milk withdrawal and a 20 day meat withdrawal. It can also be used in pregnant and lactating animals. It contains the active ingredient Deltamethrin, which kills flies on contact, and is proven rainfast. Regular  application is needed for control through the fly season, with more than one application likely for ultimate control.

Deltamole controls nuisance and biting flies in cattle as well as lice. It’s important you select a product treating the correct type of flies affecting your cattle.

2. Season-long protection with ear tags

The Flectron ear tag offers up to five months protection against nuisance and biting flies and has a zero day meat and milk withdrawal. It works by slowly releasing the active ingredient, cypermethrin, onto the tag’s surface. The tag acts as a constant reservoir of insecticide throughout the season. By adding mechanical methods of removing and eradicating flies and their breeding sites you are helping to reduce the fly burden and risk to your cattle.