Warm, summer hay-making days are on their way, despite some crazy early May weather we’ve been having, but with them come the dreaded nuisance flies. Flies are a burden on livestock and human welfare and it just takes one warm day for them to hatch and start causing havoc. Every farm is different, and each set up will require an alternative and bespoke integrated approach to fly control.

So, how should you assess your set up?

Scenario 1:
Cows are housed all year round, dry cows and youngstock are in straw bedded yards and no animals are kept away for summer grazing.

Intensive set ups are the perfect breeding ground for nuisance flies. Fly parasites are suitable in this environment and overtime will work well to reduce fly populations to an unnoticeable level. This is however reliant on good muck and slurry management to reduce fly breeding sites where possible. It takes a few seasons to get on top of the fly population and peaks may still be noticeable in the first two years of parasite application until they have had chance to form a strong population… good things come to those who wait! During this period, it is advisable to still use appropriate pour on products to help tackle nuisance flies.
Ensure that strict biosecurity policies are in place and that all bought in animals (including bulls) are sourced from low risk herds and keep monitoring through routine testing.

Scenario 2:

  • Cows are grazed all summer
  • Youngstock are housed
  • Away grazing animals more
    than 500m from holding.

It most situations, the flies really do their damage in the parlour. They have a domino effect on everything starting with frustrated cows kicking to frustrated farmers and even health and disease issues in the herd. If the parlour is the problem area but your animals are out grazing, we would still recommend the use of parasites to help with the population on the holding. For animals grazing further away from the holding, it would be advisable to use suitable pour on products in conjunction with the fly parasites back at the main holding if there are fly burden issues at grazing. Nuisance fly populations thrive in dirty, mucky and moisture heavy conditions, so any free-standing muck heaps or stale straw yards are major areas to target with the parasites.

Scenario 3:

Cows are grazing with very limited/zero housing

Generally, nuisance fly populations are relatively low at grazing. However, they will peak in perfect summer conditions which can have adverse effects on cattle such as summer mastitis and new forest eye and can cause fly strike in sheep. Fly parasites can work effectively at grazing in targeted areas and high risk/heavy burden pastures. Again, suitable pour on products dosed correctly are recommended, especially if it is a large grazing area.

In a nutshell, every farm and environment are different so integrated fly control is so important to tackle the issue. We have a wide range of knowledge and products to help make a bespoke plan just for your farm.