Flies aren’t much of a problem yet, but they certainly could become one very soon. Alberto B. Broce, emeritus professor and livestock entomologist at Kansas State University, reminds producers that high levels of stable flies in spring and early summer most likely come from winter round-bale feeding sites.
Cattle feeding from round bales can waste up to 50 percent of the hay, Broce says. When mixed with manure, this wasted hay becomes an ideal habitat for stable-fly larvae in the spring. Follow these steps now to help limit fly populations later:
• Move pasture feeding tubs frequently to prevent the build-up of hay and manure in one spot.
• Use modified feeders, such as cone feeders, which have been shown to reduce the amount of wasted hay.
• Unroll round bales on pastures, but not over the same site.
• Spread out hay-manure accumulations so they dry out.
• Encourage your neighbors to use similar practices to keep area fly populations under control.