The sun’s out, and so are the flies! Far from just being a nuisance, flies can have a surprisingly large impact on growth, production and welfare. Research suggests flies can cause a decrease in cattle growth rates of up to 0.3kg/day, and a reduction in milk yield of up to 0.5l/day. In addition, flies also transmit a number of diseases including summer mastitis and new forest eye. In sheep, flies lay eggs on wet or dirty fleece resulting in flystrike – this is an extremely painful and unpleasant condition which can result in death if not picked up soon enough.
Our top tips for keeping flies under control this summer:
- Get fly protection on early – by doing this you can reduce the rate at which flies breed, helping to keep the population under control for the whole season. Products like Spot On or Swish are available for cattle, and for sheep options include Crovect (for prevention and treatment of fly strike) and Clik (long term prevention only).
- Keep livestock away from areas with high densities of flies, such as stagnant water and muck heaps.
- For sheep, plan your shearing in good time – especially this year as shearers are in short supply due to travel restrictions!
- Keep on top of your worm & cocci status – as well as helping growth rates this will reduce faecal staining which attracts flies
- Keep a close eye out for fly-borne diseases and catch & treat any individuals affected by summer mastitis, new forest eye or flystrike promptly – the sooner they are treated the faster they will recover, and the less chance they will have to spread disease around the group!