Carl Sackreiter

Carl Sackreiter


It’s hard to think about fly control with the wet spring that we have had. Everyone has been scrambling to get the crop in the ground. Horn flies cost the cattle industry more than $1 billion dollars in lost production annually. Cattle producers that have had used fly control for controlling horn flies have seen an increase in daily gain by 15.8% compared to those that are not treated with any fly control.

Fly populations and larvae hatch vary from year to year based on how wet or dry the summer is. With the products on the market such as Altosid (pasture) or Clarifly (milk replacer, calf feeds and feedlot), they can help control flies on each head of cattle.  With the use of fly control through the feed, average daily gains go up and intakes remain more consistent throughout the whole feeding period.

At Ag Partners, we strive to make the best decisions when it comes to fly control and in helping solve the problem on the farm. Central Life Sciences states that cattle on Altosid for 86 days will cost about $0.05 per head per day – a total cost of $4.30 per head for fly control through the season.  The economic return says cattle are $1 lb. average price on stocker cattle times 27.97 average weight increase on fly control, equaling $27.97 in additional weight gain value; the value in weight gain divided by the cost per head equals a 6.50:1 potential return on investment.

Altosid and Clarifly are feed through products that will not affect the cattle while suppressing the population of flies. These products are great for both conventional and all-natural programs for controlling flies.

Pasture Control

When grazing on pastures allows for plenty of regrowth, this regrowth allows flies to create a habitat for laying their eggs. Feeding a mineral, supplement or providing a lick tub with Altosid will help control flies in the pasture. Other means of reducing fly nuisance in the pasture can include tagging cows with fly tags to help eliminate issues with pink eye in cattle, which can be hard to treat.

Feedlot Control

Clarifly is best used in feedlot supplements for controlling flies in the feedlot. Other ways to control flies in the feedlot are limiting the amount of manure in the feedlot by scraping periodically and hauling out the excess manure, thus removing the larvae habitat. Limiting wet areas in the feedlot is another practice to eliminate flies.

Horn Flies are the peskiest flies that cause the most problems for cattle. They take about 20-30 blood meals per day off a cow’s back.  This can cause a lot of stress on the cow, resulting in an economic set back. The University of Nebraska States that “Studies conducted in the U.S. and Canada have shown that horn flies can cause weight gain loss in cattle, and calf weaning weights can be negatively impacted from 4 – 15 percent. Studies conducted in Nebraska have established calf weaning weights were 10-20 pounds higher when horn flies were controlled on mother cows. The economic injury level (EIL) for horn flies is 200 flies per animal. Yearling cattle can also be affected by the horn fly; other studies have shown yearling weights can be reduced by as much as 18 percent.” https://beef.unl.edu/cattleproduction/controllingflies

Now is when you want to be implementing a fly control program. To determine the best fly control means for your livestock, talk to your Ag Partners Nutritionist today.