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Controling flys

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Well-known member
Sep 25, 2006
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Eastern Colorado
Not to hijack the other thread, but to discuss the subject; on the topic of fly control, we put fly tags in the calves, and feed Vigortone with IGR. The yearling heifers, 2,3, and 4 year olds are using quite a bit of mineral, and it is helping keep the flys down. The cows over 5 are not using as much mineral, and have a lot more flys. I think that IGR helps. I am also wondering if older cows mineral requirements are less. What is everyone else's experience?
I find it kinda funny how different cattle ward off flies and how they consume mineral. Here we take in cattle from 3 different owners, and from 2 different parts of the country. The cattle here on the river come from around Wagner SD, are mainly Red Angus/Limmy cross cows, with Limmy bulls. By and large most of the high percentage Red Angus cows have vary few flies. The few black and black baldy cows seam to have more flies. We control flies here with a combination of Tactic and Atroban, mixed with diesel. As far as mineral, they are getting free choice salt blocks, mainly yellow, because I gotta heck of a deal on them, plus the mineral is CHS "Profit Maker", and so far the cows have only been eating 1.5 oz/day.

At our north place, the cows came in from 30 miles south of us. Get no fly control, no salt, and are limited to 4 oz/day of "Vitaferm" mineral. ( before any of you go off on how cows need salt, I just put out what the owners provide). The cows are basically Black/ Black Baldies. I do notice that these cows stay bunched up more during the day, but they have grazed the whole pasture, so obviously they are spreading out when I am not there. We do rotate pastures, but not intensively. My big pastures, they stay in 6 or 7 weeks, the smaller ones may 3 or 4, it all depends on the grass.

Just some of my observations.
I feel pest infestations of any kind are a result of a weakened immune system. If an animal is truly healthy flies will be less attracted to it than other weaker animals. We've monitored the cattle for fly resistance for a few years now, and it's a pattern for sure. Certain cows that are always slick and shiny never seem to have as many flies as the cows who are always rough-coated and less thrifty. It's one thing that I agree with Kit Pharo on 100%, is fly resistance. I'm sure he'll see that when he's lurking.

We haven't used any pour-on or Ivermectin for 10 years, no fly tags, no back rubs, etc. We use OLS(Orwig) tubs in the dormant season, nothing in the growing season. Works for us for now. Looking forward to the day when every acre of soil on the place is healthy enough to grow the kind of forage that keeps every animal on the place slick and shiny. Still a long ways to go.

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