Fly nuisance this summer could be costly

flies nuisance this suymmer

Fly nuisance this summer

As recent warm weather has caused fly populations to emerge and rapidly multiply, farmers need to make minimising grazing disturbance from flies a priority.

Mark Brady, product manager here at Carr’s Billington, says that the fly breeding season was delayed by around a month this year due to the cold weather in early spring. But now summer is here, and temperatures are likely to stay high, it’s crucial farmers act to reduce the financial impact flies could have over the grazing season.

“There is research to suggest fly irritation could reduce milk yields by up to 0.5 litres/cow/day, growth rates of beef cattle by 0.3kg/head/day [1], and could cause up to 5.5kg weight loss in sheep over a four to six day period [2], so I’d recommend using a combination of methods to help prevent these potentially significant losses.”

“Keep livestock away from wetlands, waterlogged areas and trees if possible, as this is where flies tend to congregate. Applying insecticides to grazing livestock as a preventative measure is also advisable and it’s important to use them regularly and appropriately. Insecticide-impregnated ear tags for example, could form part of your fly management plan,” he says.

Supplementary Licks

Mr Brady adds that supplementary licks containing garlic could also be made accessible to dry cows, youngstock and animals not heading for slaughter as they are said to help with the effect of flies in high challenge areas. For the best advice on fly control, he suggests farmers speak to their local vet or Animal Medicines Adviser (RAMA).

“All of Carr’s Billington’s RAMAs are educated in fly prevention and treatments as they receive regular training. This also ensures they’re aware of the most up to date information based on the fly forecast for that particular year.”

“Vets and RAMAs also speak to many other farmers in the local area on a daily basis so they are kept up to date on when different fly species have emerged, or incidents of fly transmitted disease.”

flies on cow

Mr Brady also says that the online national Blowfly Alert tracker, provided by the National Animal Disease Information Service (NADIS) and Elanco, is a handy tool farmers can use to keep well-informed of where blowflies are present across the country and how much of a risk they pose.

“Generally, when good fly management practices are implemented and maintained all year round, it’s easier to reduce nuisance and welfare issues come the peak season. However, there are still plenty of options that can be implemented now that will help keep on top of the issue and reduce the financial losses flies could cause this summer,” he concludes.

[1]Jonsson et al (1999). Med. Vet. Entomology 13, p372-376.

[2]Australian Sheep Animal Welfare Senate Meeting (1985)

Boost Future Grassland Output

boost future grasslands output

Consider grass varieties now to boost future grassland output

As farmers plan for summer reseeding and overseeding, our experts stress careful consideration of grass varieties will significantly increase future grass yields.

“Overseeding straight after silaging provides a great opportunity to ‘stich-in’ grass seeds and repair swards,”

explains Alex Law, grassland and forage crop product manager here at Carr’s Billington.

“On the other hand, it’s likely that soil is now ready to plough for a summer re-seed, providing soil pH is checked and fertiliser use is carefully monitoring beforehand.”

Although successful reseeding and overseeding relies on multiple factors, for example ensuring adequate moisture levels and control of sward growth once the planting has taken place. Alex reminds farmers that the long-term success of the operation largely comes down to the grass varieties chosen.

We Recommend

“We recommend grass varieties depending on their suitability with the soil type, and this will differ depending on whether you’re intending a complete reseed or an overseed operation. In the case of overseeding, the aim is to choose varieties which will compete with the current grasses during establishment, for example tetraploid perennial ryegrass, hybrid ryegrass, or Italian ryegrass. These varieties grow quickly and achieve a good height meaning they are not smothered by the old grass still in the field.”

Newly established grass varieties offer several benefits in terms of improved palatability to optimise intakes and maximise animal performance from grass. It’s important to remember that optimising this grass performance will depend on soil type and nutrient status.

“For a complete reseed, we are considering the whole sward structure with variety selection and sward density significantly determining long term grass production. In this instance, we include diploid ryegrass varieties with the tetraploid varieties. The diploid varieties are robust and competitive with weeds and provide a good carrying capacity for livestock.”

“For those who are unsure on which varieties to select, our comprehensive grass & forage product management guide provides an overview of our high performing grass seed mixtures and recommended varieties to suit your individual farm requirements.”

To receive a copy of the brochure, call the forage line on 08000 234416 or view it online here: Grass and Forage 2021