Proper manure management can go a long way in the fight against flies on a dairy farm. As the primary food source and breeding site for flies, improperly managed manure can cause fly populations to thrive. House flies, stable flies, face flies and horn flies develop in and emerge from the manure of livestock, where flies lay their eggs.
To control fly populations, manure management must be consistent and timely within an integrated pest management (IPM) program.
Dairy sanitation practices should be consistently thorough and include cleaning up spilled feed, preventing manure build-up around barns and fences or under feed bunks and eliminating decaying organic matter. Grasses and weeds should be cut low around barns, feeders, hutches and manure piles to remove places flies could rest.
Third-generation dairy farmer Kenlee Calvin understands the importance of proper manure management.
“We wash our building and just keep things clean,” Calvin said of how they use cultural practices to prevent flies. “We clean the manure off, too, and the calf hutches are on gravel.”
Calvin owns Thunder Ridge Dairy, a 200-head farm in Mount Vernon, Mo. After years of unsuccessfully battling flies with sprays and seeing the damaging results of the heifer mastitis and blind quarters flies can spread, he tried a new approach supplementing his cultural efforts with ClariFly® Larvicide.
“Now we’ve been using ClariFly for 3 years. As soon as we started using it correctly, it worked. Haven’t sprayed our milk cows since then,” said Calvin.
A manure management best practice is to remove manure promptly to prevent fly larvae from developing. Removing manure and manure piles will help keep fly levels from becoming unmanageable.
In order to control fly populations and maintain a clean work environment, Calvin’s dairy hauls manure every three weeks.
Integrated Pest Management
Proper manure management is just one crucial component of a comprehensive IPM program combining cultural practices with fly control products. As part of an IPM program, properly managing manure is one of many ways dairy operators can control pests.
For farmers like Calvin, ClariFly® Larvicide serves as the foundation of a full IPM program. ClariFly® Larvicide is a feed supplement that prevents house flies, stable flies, face flies and horn flies from developing in and emerging from the manure of treated dairy cows. When mixed into livestock feed, ClariFly® passes through the animal’s digestive system and into the manure where it prevents larvae from developing into adults.
Calvin has been treating his herd with ClariFly® Larvicide for three years and has noticed the difference.
“I think the biggest thing is going to another farm, you notice how many flies they have,” Calvin said. “When you go somewhere that doesn’t use the product, you just get eaten up by flies.”
To maximize control of flies on a dairy, read our IPM Program Planning Guide.