Farmers are urged to have control measures in place to combat the impact of flies on cattle performance, following increasing fly numbers on the back of a nation-wide heatwave.

David Newton, technical manager at Timac Agro, said control measures need to be in place as if not managed, flies could be a costly pest to dairy and beef businesses.

“Flies don’t just irritate cattle, they can massively drain your business – bottom line,” said Newton.

As well as spreading infection, flies can cause summer mastitis or white eye, reducing productivity with lower milk yields and cattle not achieving target weights. Therefore, steps need to be in place to combat the issue head-on.”

Newton recommended the use of specific summer grazing mineral blocks containing garlic.

“To be effective, we need to tackle the flies from the inside, and feeding garlic is one efficient approach.

“When garlic is ingested, its compounds are absorbed by the animal.

“An odour is then emitted through the animal’s skin and breath, which repels the fly.”

Benefits of garlic

He reiterated that feeding garlic is more productive than a spray application.

Not only is it easier to do with cattle, by providing a supplementary mineral block you’re guaranteeing the garlic will be ingested, rather than it being washed or brushed off in the field.”

The form of garlic being fed also plays an important role.

“As it’s absorbed by the animal, we need to be careful about how we supply the garlic, so it doesn’t affect milk or meat withdrawal periods.”