In central Illinois the summer months are the most critical time for fly control in your beef herd. Fly control is important not only for the comfort of your cows but also for disease prevention and optimizing performance in your herd. Flies can act as a mechanical vector for the spread of "pinkeye" in cattle, which can greatly decrease the profitability of your cow herd.
There are several methods of fly control currently available. You may choose to implement those which best fit your program.
- Topical Sprays: There are several types available on the market today, and most have a duration of activity between 1 to 4 weeks post application.
- Back Rubs or Face Rubs: These are usually positioned in a high traffic area (for example near water or mineral) so the cows get frequent re-application of the fly control.
- Insect Growth Regulator: This product is usually fed via mineral. It can be very effective in lowering the number of flies present in your pastures. However if you have a bordering pasture with cows who are not fed IGR, this method will not be as effective in your herd.
- Fly Tags: There are several different chemicals used in fly tags today. It is important to alternate the type of tag you use every few years so that you do not develop resistance from the flies in your pastures.