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Blowfly Attack - Protect Your Sheep & Cattle


Protecting Your Sheep and Cattle Against Blowfly

An explosion in the fly and midge population is expected this season, which makes it all the more important that livestock farmers are ready for the challenges of battling the blowfly.

Unseasonable climactic conditions can mean some fly species are active at unfamiliar times of year, with activity even spreading into the winter months. The wet mild start to 2014 makes it more likely that there will be an explosion of in fly and midge populations as the weather warms up. 

Flies and midges are not only a nuisance to cattle and sheep in the parlour and at grass, they can also transmit major costly diseases such as summer mastitis, New Forest Eye and the Schmallenberg virus. They also cause significant production losses.

To help protect livestock, producers are being advised to treat livestock earlier with insecticides and use fly control measures to interrupt or disrupt breeding by reducing breeding sites or killing flies to prevent them laying eggs.

Ways in which you can control fly numbers include: 

  • Manage dung heaps by stacking and composting.
  • Clean out empty silage clamps and pools of dirty water.
  • Keep housing and feed areas as clean and dry as possible.
  • Make sure water troughs are clean and not overflowing.
  • Keep stock and flies separate.
  • Use electric fencing to keep stock away from woods and streams where a build-up of dung will attract flies.
  • Graze susceptible stock, such as dry cows, on breezy higher ground.
  • Keep flies out of gathering areas by using fans or sticky fly catchers in parlours and covered yards.

Applying insecticide early in the season will help to both protect sheep and cattle from the first flies of the season and to cut next generation numbers. Kill flies early and you reduce their ability to breed. A seemingly insignificant fly population left untreated can become a huge problem in just four weeks. Two flies can easily become 200 in a month! Waiting until you can see flies on cattle or sheep, or see cows kicking in the parlour – is often too late to help prevent costly fly borne diseases and potential production loss problems. Your aim should be to kill as many insects as possible when the first landing parties arrive on your livestock to feed.

As well as treating cattle early, it’s also important to keep on top of the insect problem as we move through the warmer months. A mixture of different fly and midge species threaten most farms with populations peaking at different times and waves of attackers hatch out to trouble herds all season long. However, regular treatments will reduce the insect threat. And an early first dose will also help control any biting and sucking lice that have built up on animals over the winter housed period. You also get 8-10 weeks fly and lice protection from a single insecticide application. In addition, aim to reduce potential insect breeding sites and consider housing livestock at dawn and dusk if insects are particularly active.

Read more about blowfly in sheep or fly control in cattle

Mole Valley Farmers has a range of different blowfly and parasite treatments including sprays, dip and pour ons for sheep and cattle



Source Details

 Mole Valley Farmers Newsletter 600

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