Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
May 25, 2000

Flies and Eyes

Cattle producers throughout the Midwest are already observing large numbers of flies on all species of livestock. This sudden increase in numbers has set the stage for numerous problems with eyes in beef cattle. Calves with bad eyes always bring fewer dollars when market time arrives.

Many individuals continue to think grass seed heads are a major contributor to eye infection. Seed heads may cause some irritation, but they are not the initial cause of white eyes.

Preventing eye problems is much easier than treating problem cases after the infection gets established in a herd. Watery eyes often lead to white eyes and ulcerations if not treated. An immunization program that includes IBR, BE, PI3, along with the 7-8 clostridia vaccine will be very beneficial in reducing the initial start of the eye problems.

The cow got shortchanged when it comes to fly control. This is the reason that fly control is so important when market time arrives. There are several ways to reduce the number of flies. Fly tags are still used throughout many herds. These tags are designed to provide control for a limited number of days. If you placed the tags in the ears prior to turning to grass, you can expect the potency of the insecticide to be reduced as the number of days increase after the initial placement in the ear.

Many producers have already placed creep feeders in pastures. This management practice is due largely to the continuation of the drought. If you are using creep feeders you have an excellent opportunity to place bullets, fly strips, or wicks of some type on the entrance of these feeders. Don’t forget to keep these treated with the insecticide of preference to control flies.

Many producers are feeding a mineral that contains a larvacide. This method works quite well if your herd is isolated from other cattle or your neighbor is feeding a larvacide also. Flies tend to cross fences and move between their feeding periods.

One very important management practice is utilized when using any control method for fly control. It is next to impossible to fill mineral feeders, add insecticide to creep gates, or just plain spray the livestock with a fly repellent without observing the cow/calf or grazing operation. This alone often adds to the profit potential of the herd by recognizing possible problems and eliminating them.

There are also flytraps that can be used to reduce the number of flies. These can be placed between the grazing areas and watering facilities. This method will capture a large number of flies. It doesn’t take long for livestock to become accustomed to any effective method of fly control. Regardless of the method you choose, the indication for the 2000 grazing season is that a large number of flies will be observed on livestock. Any assistance in fly control will result in additions to the income potential when marketing season arrives.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - May 25, 2000
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT052500.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004