Diana Lujano-Gonzales, DCHA Western director and manager of Cameiro Heifer Ranch, a 10,000 head heifer-raising facility in Brawley, Calif., says that fly control is very important at their operation. She knows that getting rid of external parasites will improve efficiency and weight gain. Cameiro Ranch follows DCHA's Gold Standards II, which states that growers should "practice internal and external parasite control based on geography and herd veterinarian's recommendations."
Lujano-Gonzales suggests you set up an IPM fly control program that works best for your region. Basic guidelines may include:
1. Lay out an action plan that allows for rotation of chemical compounds to avoid development of fly resistance.
2. Get the jump on control activities well before the flies become active, and follow through. During changes in weather temperatures, flies may appear to be gone. Actually, they are simply dormant and will still be a threat when it warms up. Don't let your control guards down.
3. Penny-pinching won't work - there are many proven preventives available. Work with your veterinarian, extension livestock specialist or industry representative to decisively rid your area of flies. However, use only what is necessary.
4. Flies are resilient pests. Take these precautions:
- Limit their food supply by keeping food, hay and bedding dry.
- Regulate larvae habitat by managing manure properly. The slightest change in temperature or liquidity levels can result in fewer surviving flies.
- Make use of fly competitors that don't bother livestock or people. These competitors have a real impact on flies and their habitat.
5. During the season, monitor fly populations and adjust protocols as needed.
6. Keeping your fly control practices simple will lessen the chances that something will go wrong.
Lujano-Gonzales says, "Every Tuesday, we put out 'fly bait' from Kunafin. Every Wednesday, we take QuickBayt, a product for dairies and cattle facilities that attracts and kills flies quickly, and line the middle of the drive alleys using a spreader that we attach to a golf cart. This allows us to easily disperse the product on the drive alleys in front of the heifers."
For more information on how to deal with flies and other pests, check out the June issues of DCHA's Heard in the Hutch and Tip of the Week. See DCHA's Gold Standards II to learn more about guidelines on pest management.
Always consult with your veterinarian for specific recommendations for your operation.
Source: Dairy Calf & Heifer Association