Fly control fundamentals

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“Summer mastitis” has been a longtime seasonal challenge for heifers and dry cows.  Renowned mastitis expert and University of Georgia researcher Stephen Nickerson says research performed at Louisiana State University has shown that the prevalence of mastitis in bred heifers was significantly lower in dairy herds that use some form of fly control for their lactating cows, dry cows and heifers, compared to herds that used no fly control.

The study also revealed that bred heifers with teats exhibiting bite lesions and scabs caused by the blood-sucking horn fly exhibited a 70% frequency of intramammary mastitis infections, compared to a 40% infection rate in heifers with healthy teats.  Somatic cell counts (SCCs) also were elevated due to the infections.

Nickerson says fly control measures such as insecticide-treated ear tags; pour-on anthelmintic products; sprays and/or insect growth regulators are recommended to control fly populations; reduce the incidence and spread of mastitis infections; and keep SCCs in check.  Read more of his comments here in a Technical White Paper published by Central Life Sciences.

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