As Spring arrives and temperatures start to increase so does the number of flies and midges irritating livestock. Although eradication of flies is impossible, effective control is achievable and should be the aim for every farmer.

Worryingly, flies and midges that affect livestock are not only a nuisance and irritation to the animal, they can also transmit disease so what can seem to be a minor problem on the surface, can actually result in financial losses.

The underlying problem of nuisance flies and insects affecting cattle and sheep can sometimes go unnoticed to the naked eye, and it is only when animal performance declines that we start to take action.

Research has demonstrated that flies can reduce cattle growth rates by up to 0.3kg per day, milk yield by 0.5 litre per day, and cause up to 5.5kg weight loss in sheep over a 4 to 6 day period* leading to major economic losses which accumulate over the grazing season.

There is also evidence that the risk period is getting longer and starting earlier due to changing climatic conditions and weather patterns, making taking steps to minimise grazing disturbance a priority as soon as average daytime temperatures reach 10 degrees Celsius and above from around May onwards.

If we can help minimise grazing disturbance in the first place, this gives cattle and sheep the best chance of sustaining performance on spring and summer pastures. Product we recommend for this include Downland BUZZ OFF licks which provide a simple and effective solution to this increasing problem in cattle and sheep, containing a potent source of garlic to help discourage nuisance insects. BUZZ OFF is also formulated with a high specification of minerals and vitamins to complement deficiencies often found in grazing to help support optimal animal health and performance.

Blowfly Strike 

Controlling blowfly strike in sheep is essential for the welfare of the animals and the productivity of farmers. Early treatment is crucial, and thankfully, products like Downland Vectocert, Clik Extra, Clikzin and Downland Zermasect are available to assist in this task. These trusted products are specifically designed to prevent and control blowfly infestations, and their efficacy has been thoroughly tested and proven. When used in accordance with dosage instructions, they effectively manage fly populations and reduce the potential for economic losses associated with wool damage and loss of weight gain in the animals. By deploying these products early and consistently you can ensure your flocks remain healthy and profitable.

If you need any further advice about pest and blowfly strike control, please give us a call or come in and speak to one of our expert team members. We’re always here to help! 

*Johnson et al., (1999) Med. Vet. Entomology (13) pp. 372-376. Australian Sheep Animal Welfare Senate Meeting (1985)

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