Put the "Moo Poop" to Work

Have you ever been trying to enjoy a picnic and had a fly trying to steal a bite of your juicy hamburger? Or, have you been trying to take a peaceful nap with the fresh air wafting in the window but have a pesky fly buzzing in your ear? I know I’m not the only one who faces these little struggles. Have you ever stopped and wondered if your animals face the same problem? Newsflash! They do!

On summer pasture, horn flies are constantly biting and feasting on blood meals supplied by cattle. Purina Animal Research Center has completed numerous studies proving horn flies cause cows, calves, and bulls stress. Instead of grazing, cattle spend their time trying to fend off the horn flies: stressed livestock will stomp, swish their tails, throw their heads, hang out in large groups, and stand in ponds. Whereas an animal that isn’t trying to fight off a horn fly will be spread out, grazing and resting peacefully. 

This added stress to livestock is costing you money. Cattle can lose from 15 pounds to 50 pounds during the summer from warding off horn flies. With record cattle prices, these pests are taking a sizable chunk from out of your profit. Horn fly stress is influencing your calf’s weaning weight and decreasing the body condition score of your cows and bulls. An unborn calf’s development is dependent on the mother harboring it; in other words a stressed cow has negative impact on the fetus.  

The traditional horn fly cycle is only a few weeks from egg to adult to death. On average, an adult horn fly lifespan is 2-4 weeks, with 20-30 blood meals each day! That it up to 840 meals! Horn flies lay their eggs in fresh cow manure, where little fly larva transition into adult horn flies and the cycle continues. Did I mention how fertile horn flies are? Each female can produce up to 400 eggs! With a fast reproduction rate and hundreds of offspring, it doesn’t take long for horn flies to take over your cattle herd. 

Providing your livestock relief from these nuisances is as easy as filling your mineral feeder. Purina offers a vast array of IGR (Insect Growth Regulator) minerals to combat horn flies. Methoprene is the active ingredient in IGR Fly Control mineral. Cattle ingest the mineral and excrete it normally. Horn flies lay eggs in fresh cattle feces… cow pies… or as my cousin would say “moo poop”.  Since the “pie” contains methoprene, the life cycle of the fly larva is cut short and the larva doesn’t molt into an adult. Begin protecting your herd thirty days before the last spring frost and continue through the first fall frost. 

For an extra 3 cents per head/day you can protect your livestock and save money. With IGR mineral available in bags, tubs, hi mag, and medicated there is one that will fit into your herd’s program. So sit back, relax, and put the “moo poop” to work for you this summer!


By: Erin Montgomery