This Tip of the Week has been brought to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association.
Reducing external parasites will ultimately boost efficiency and weight gain. According to the DCHA Gold Standards III, heifer growers should "practice internal and external parasite control based on geography and herd veterinarian's recommendations."
One form of parasite control is setting up and implementing an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) fly control program. The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources defines IPM as an ecosystem-based strategy focused on long-term prevention of damage caused by pests. The IPM system uses environmentally sound and effective ways to keep pests from harming your animals and damaging crops.
- Regular site inspections: Identify the type of pests and determine infestation levels.
- Keep a log: Include an identification of the pest, the population size, recommendations for future prevention and complete information on the treatment action used. During the fly season, monitor fly populations and adjust control protocols as needed.
- Stay ahead of the game: Start control activities well before flies become active and follow through with your control activities.
- Maintain a plan: Work with your veterinarian, extension livestock specialist or industry representative to resolutely rid your area of flies. Stick to what is necessary.
Limit environments conducive to flies
Follow these precautions as a means of discouragement:
- Limit pests' food supply by keeping feed, hay and bedding dry.
- Maintain control of larvae habitat by properly managing manure.
The slightest change in temperature or liquidity levels can result in fewer surviving flies.
- Utilize fly products, such as QuickBayt or Kunafin, that are not harmful to livestock or people.
The IPM control program utilizes a combination of techniques such as biological control, habitat manipulation, modification of cultural practices and use of resistant varieties. Pesticides should be utilized as a last resort after monitoring indicates they are needed according to established guidelines. Treatments are made with a specific goal of removing only the target organism - pests and parasites.
Always remember, consult your veterinarian for recommendations suitable for your operation.