Flies are one of the major nuisances around livestock facilities. They are a particular problem during the summer and fall when temperatures work in favor of their reproductive cyle. Flies can negatively affect animal performance, causing reduced feeding and resting time which can result in reduced weight gains and reduced milk production. Flies can also vector some diseases. For all of these reasons, livestock owners and managers need to make an effort to control flies. A few weeks ago in the OSU Extension Beef Cattle letter, Steve Boyles OSU Extension Beef Specialist had a good article about fly control that I will highlight in this column.
If you are going to control flies, you have to know something about where flies breed and rest, what kind of areas and conditions attract flies so that you know where to concentrate your fly control efforts. In his article Steve Boyles pointed out that livestock owners and managers need to pay attention to edges in particular. His list of areas where flies breed and rest includes:
- Fence lines where manure mixed with wet soil accumulates
- The edge of feeding aprons where moisture and manure accumulate
- Edges of potholes, in pen corners, and around gates;
- Along pen drainage channels or edges of holding ponds
- Wet areas around water troughs
- Underneath feed bunks were stale feed accumulates
- The bottom side of fence boards
- In corners of feed bunks where stale feed accumulates
- Manure accumulation under fences/facilities in corral/animal handling areas
- Edges of stored manure and silage.
- Edges around hay storage and damp areas under bales.
- The edge between dark and light are good resting areas (1/2 way in a barn, underneath fences)
These are places can be a focus of sanitation and/or pesticides. An important principle of fly control to keep in mind is that: Flies cannot develop in dry materials. Therefore, some management practices that can help to reduce fly numbers includes:
- Use clean gravel and other fill to eliminate low spots in feedlots and dry lot areas.
- Proper tiling can reduce wet barnyards.
- Cut weeds and control excessive plant growth around facilities. This will also reduce odor problems
- Wet Feeds: Various flies (e.g. stable fly) can develop in plant material, such as old silage in and around feed troughs and trench silos. Whatever can be done to clean up wet feeds and reduce the amount of time wet feeds are around feed bunks and troughs is helpful to reduce fly numbers.
- Don't provide flies the opportunity to utilize crop residues that may be discarded in piles during and after harvest. Spread this material thinly for quick drying or haul it away.
- Uneaten hay where animals are fed in the fields provides fly breeding areas. Spread this material out or haul it away.
- Uneaten grain in or around feed troughs (poor bunk management) or storage bins should be cleaned up on a regular basis.
As a reminder, one of the topics that will be talked about and covered at the twilight dairy tour at Sterling Heights dairy farm (7852 SR 604) on the evening of July 14 is fly control. The tour begins at 6:00 pm. More information about the tour is available on the Wayne County Extension web site at: http://go.osu.edu/agwayne