Simplot - Spring 2019

Spring 2019

Stockmen’s Report

223 Rodeo Ave. Caldwell, ID 83605 | 208-459-0777 | www.simplot.com/livestock_products

THE KEY TO FLY CONTROL Great communication with our customers is key to our success as a business. It is our goal to keep you more informed than ever with this seasonal newsletter!

Ty Cochran Shares His Expertise

As part of my job at Central Life Sciences, I’ve become a bit of an expert on fly control. Traveling to ranches and dairies around the country and teaching folks how to use our line of Starbar products, I’m surprised at just how many livestock operations have all but surrendered to the flying menace. While there’s no silver bullet for keeping these pests out of your barn, you can eliminate up to 90 percent of the problem by undertaking a holistic fly-control program. It all starts with good housekeeping. Puddles, manure piles, the cute bit of dribble coming from a calf’s mouth — these are all staples of life on a farm, but they’re also part of an ideal fly habitat. Flies are living creatures, meaning they need food, water, and shelter to survive. Keeping a clean barn is the first step to making your farm inhospitable to pests. Spotting all these problem areas can be difficult, especially if they’ve existed for a long time. It’s a bit like when you leave a pair of socks on the floor in your bedroom for an extended period. Eventually, you don’t see a mess anymore. It’s just part of the landscape. That’s why it’s a good idea to train up a few farmhands as the go-to fly-control experts on your team. By learning to identify potential fly habitats, these hands can see the property with fresh eyes and eliminate problem areas as they spring up. These same experts can then oversee the maintenance of the rest of your fly-control program. Obviously, no barn will ever be spotless. Troughs spill, rain falls, and cows … well. If a fly can find a place to breed, it will, and each fly can lay up to 20 eggs per day. That’s why fly control needs to be a complete program, not just one product. With proper placement, baits, strips, traps, and sprays will neutralize many of the flies that do manage to take up residence in your barn. The key is putting the right product in the right place.

You can tell a lot about what a fly is up to depending on where you find it. If it’s clinging to the ceiling, it’s resting and enjoying the fresher air at the top of the barn. This is where fly ribbons and sticks are most effective. They present a bright-colored place for the insects to land as they’re looking to rest their wings. Flies bumbling around at eye level are most likely looking to mate, so you’ll want to place odor- and pheromone-based traps here. When a fly is at low level, it’s looking to eat, and that’s where you want to scatter baits and abatement strips to lure them away from livestock and ensure their next meal is their last. Even when you have the right trap in the right area, you may still have to experiment to find the perfect spot. Heck, I hung a ribbon from the ceiling of my own home in what I thought was the perfect place and didn’t catch a single fly. After adjusting the placement by 10 feet, the trap was overflowing with them. My wife still hasn’t let me hear the end of that one. I won’t sugarcoat it: Establishing an effective fly-control program takes work, and it has to be maintained. But doing it right is more than worth it. Not only will fly control impact your bottom line by reducing disease and leaving you with happier, more productive livestock, but it will also vastly improve the quality of life for everyone on your team. Farm work is hard, but things get vastly more difficult when you have flies on your face and neck every two seconds. How many jobs are left half done because flies have rendered every second of barn work unbearable? This doesn’t have to be the case. A proper fly-control system can minimize the airborne pests in your barn and make for happier animals and humans alike.

-Ty Cochra n

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