Remove the guesswork from choosing the best fly control for cattle

Remove the guesswork from choosing the best fly control for cattle

Use these tips to sift through fly control options for cattle on pasture.

Article and photos courtesy of Purina Animal Nutrition LLC

Arden Hills, Minn. [March 27, 2024] – Pesky horn flies can become prolific during the grazing season. However, there are control tactics that can help keep horn fly populations under wraps.
When uncontrolled, horn flies can punish cattle with as many as 120,000 bites per day. During peak timeframes, as many as 4,000 horn flies can call a cow’s hide home. At 30 blood meals daily, that adds up to 120,000 bites per cow. These bites are not only irritating your cows, but they’re also biting away at your potential profits. Horn flies account for up to an estimated $1 billion in losses annually for the U.S. cattle industry.[1]
“Early season fly control for cattle goes a long way in keeping populations under control all season long,” says Elizabeth Belew, Ph.D., cattle nutritionist with Purina Animal Nutrition.
Consider these four methods of fly control as you turn cattle out onto spring pasture:
1. Feed-through
An effective and convenient way to deliver horn fly control for cattle throughout fly season is by feeding a mineral containing an insect growth regulator (IGR).
A feed-through mineral is an excellent option for all classes of cattle out on pasture because they regularly consume a quality mineral to meet their nutrient needs.
“As cattle consume mineral with IGR, it passes through the animal and into fresh manure, where female adult horn flies lay their eggs,” says Belew. “The IGR prevents pupae from developing into biting adult flies.”
For best results, feed 30 days before the last frost of spring through 30 days after the first frost in the fall.
“Ensure cattle are consuming mineral at target levels,” says Belew. “Appropriate mineral intake ensures cattle get the targeted level of IGR, which helps them receive full horn fly control.”
2. Insecticide-impregnated ear tags
Ear tags containing insecticide release small amounts of chemicals over time to control flies.
“This is ideal for implementation if cattle already need to be processed for tasks like vaccinations, deworming or pregnancy checks,” says Belew.
Tags must be replaced when insecticide is depleted, usually 2–4 months after application. Using fly tags with stocker cattle can be viable because the grazing season falls within the efficacy period of the insecticide. Tags should be removed at the end of fly season.
Follow manufacturer recommendations and rotate tag insecticides as needed to mitigate fly resistance.
3. Pour-ons and on-animal sprays
“A great option for immediate fly relief is to use a pour-on or spray,” says Belew.
These liquid substances are usually applied directly on an animal’s backline. The chemical is absorbed and circulates through the animal’s system.
Pour-ons and on-animal sprays control flies for up to 30 days before requiring another application. It will require several applications to provide control all season long. You can apply pour-ons and on-animal sprays while cattle are grazing, but it works better if they are confined to a smaller area during application, like a catch pen or alley.
“This method works best as a supplemental fly control method during spikes in fly numbers,” says Belew.
4. Dust bags, backrubs and oilers
The most effective method for forced-use situations where cattle must frequently enter an area like a water or feeding site are dust bags, backrubs or oilers. A powder or liquid substance is applied with hand shakers or self-treatment dust bags.
“Using this method of fly control does require frequent device checks to keep insecticide stocked,” says Belew.
Free-choice implementation can take 2–3 weeks for cattle to adopt and might not provide equal protection throughout the herd, leaving some cattle more vulnerable. Dust bags, backrubs and oilers can better suit situations where cattle have less space to roam, such as an open lot or small grass traps.
“Other methods like baits, area and residual sprays are difficult to use in range settings and are best used in barns or a confinement setting,” says Belew.
The best way to beat the buzz?
Develop a multi-pronged fly control approach to fit your operation. Use a feed-through option like Purina® Wind and Rain® Fly Control mineral in tandem with other fly control methods for season-long protection. Taking this type of approach can ensure fewer flies are biting into your profit while leading to better milk production and heavier weaning weights.
Not sure if fly control for cattle is really worth it? Calculate how much horn flies drain from your herd at
Purina Animal Nutrition LLC ( is a national organization serving producers, animal owners and their families through more than 4,700 local cooperatives, independent dealers and other large retailers throughout the United States. Driven to unlock the greatest potential in every animal, the company is an industry-leading innovator offering a valued portfolio of complete feeds, supplements, premixes, ingredients and specialty technologies for the livestock and lifestyle animal markets. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC is headquartered in Arden Hills, Minn. and a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.

MJE Livestock Equipment Unveils New Sizes of the Conquistador Wheel Corral, Integrates Allflex Ear Tag Reader

MJE Livestock Equipment Unveils New Sizes of the Conquistador Wheel Corral, Integrates Allflex Ear Tag Reader

Article courtesy of MJE Livestock Equipment

MJE Livestock Equipment, a pioneer in livestock management solutions, has expanded its Conquistador Wheel Corral lineup with new models tailored to fit ranches of every size. Demonstrating a deep commitment to innovation and herd health, the new corrals are engineered to improve ranching operations, enhance animal well-being, and increase profitability.

The latest additions to the Conquistador range, including the compact Select model and heavy-duty 11-gauge steel options for all models, offers ranchers options from compact to spacious. Each model is meticulously designed to promote stress-free handling, which is essential in maintaining cattle health and achieving significant weight gains. The Select Model is perfect for smaller herds, while the Choice and Prime models cater to larger operations with their generous space and flexible configurations.

The new Select Plus model offers an expansion capacity, seamlessly growing with the rancher’s herd, and the HD option underscores MJE’s dedication to durability with its heavy-duty steel construction.

These options ensure that ranchers can select a corral that meets their current needs and adapts to future growth.

In a move that further solidifies MJE Livestock Equipment’s position at the forefront of agricultural innovation, the company has integrated the Allflex Ear Tag Reader technology into the Conquistador corrals. This integration provides ranchers with a cutting-edge tool for efficient livestock management, allowing for accurate tracking and data collection that supports informed decision-making and optimized herd management practices.

Quick setup times and solar-powered hydraulics across all Conquistador models exemplify MJE’s dedication to efficiency and sustainability. The user-friendly design empowers ranchers to focus on what matters most—raising healthy, profitable cattle.

MJE Livestock Equipment’s latest innovations reflect a continued commitment to empowering ranchers with tools that enhance their operations’ efficiency, safety, and profitability. By offering corrals that align with the size and needs of every herd, MJE ensures that cattle health and rancher success go hand in hand.

Ranchers interested in the new Conquistador Wheel Corral models and the advanced Allflex Ear Tag Reader technology are encouraged to visit their local MJE dealer to discover how these innovations can transform their livestock management and contribute to a more profitable ranching future.

About MJE Livestock Equipment

MJE Livestock Equipment makes the lives of farmers and ranchers easier through strategic herd management advice, facility design, and American-made livestock equipment built with innovation that makes ranching easier and cattle safe, healthy, and happy.

To learn more about MJE Livestock Equipment and become part of their fast-growing network of dealers, visit our website:

For additional information, the news media should contact: 

Megan Elsey

Director of Public Relations and Marketing

MJE Livestock Equipment

(620) 846-2634

Anatomy of Sale Hosting

Anatomy of Sale Hosting

By Jaclyn Krymowski

Hosting a sale can wreak havoc on your nerves, even if you have been doing it for years.

But the rewards of putting yourself out there can be tremendous for your name, business brand, and reputation. Hosting a sale can help you establish your herd among your peers, network and attract buyers who will pay for the full value of your breeding stock.

While there will always be last minute hurdles, you can reduce sale day jitters by planning ahead.

Every Sale Starts with the Animals
Your consignments are the backbone of your sale. In the months leading up, you have plenty of time to consider which animals will be sold and make them look their best in the sale ring.

Whether you are exclusively selling your own stock or taking consignments from other breeders, you need to make sure that they all fit within the framework of your sale. Consider your ideal buyer.

Are genomics a big selling point? Are buyers in your areas hyper-focused on health or maternal traits? Are you hoping to capture seedstock producers, showmen or regional ranches?

Lay out the goals of your sale and set benchmarks for animals that will entice your ideal buyers.

In the 2018 VitaFirm blog post How to Host a Successful Bull Sale, Doug Slattery, COO of 44 Farms, shared his insights:
“You have to have the product for your customers, and you have to have them presented correctly using good genetics, nutrition and health. Customer service and customer relationships are key. You can’t expect customers to come and buy. You have to give them reasons to come and buy. The genetics, nutrition, service and relationships all have to come together. If one is missing, it won’t work.”

Understanding what you have to offer helps you develop highlights and ads for publications or online platforms. This information will help you define a target audience so you can draw them in for the sale. Weave this information across the sale catalog and other promotions accomplished in advance.

Doing the Work
There’s plenty of legwork to be done ahead of sale day, and you don’t want to short yourself on time or resources. One of the best ways to learn how to manage a sale is to attend other local auctions, cattle and non-cattle alike, to get an idea of how other managers create a flow and schedule.

Arrange the big ticket items first, and then handle finer details. This includes lining up an auctioneer, a sale manager, if needed, an online real-time sale presence, or any outside hires, such as additional labor to move cattle and handle bookkeeping.
After creating your objectives for your marketing, it’s dually important to create a to-do list and a timeline of steps to make sure you don’t overlook anything.

Art of the Sales Catalog
Another major component you’ll need to put in place is the sales catalog. While there will be a lot of changes made, it is best to get started on this several months in advance. This not only allows time to ensure a polished, final product for print and digital distribution, but it also gives you time to make decisions on your consignments and the sale order.

Remember, your catalog is not just a marketing tool. It gives buyers insight into your operation and your values and shows them what you are most proud of. And of course, it is also practical as it gives potential buyers information about your animals. Here is your opportunity to highlight pedigrees, EPDs, genomic details and like.

Start your catalog by compiling the information you need. For cows, it’s important to highlight their success in the herd. For heifers, be sure to note any breeding information, if applicable, and information about their dams’ performance. If you are offering bulls or semen, provide a few detailed notes of their impact in your breeding program to prove their value. Finally, be sure your terms of sale are printed clearly near the front of the catalog.

Have a plan in place to distribute catalogs in advance, be it online, in hand or a mixture of the two. It could be a worthy investment to mail hard copies of your catalog to a select list of likely buyers or past buyers.

The last two weeks before the sale, the focus is on day-of logistics and customer service. This includes pen layout, ring layout, and creating the final sale order. (If you are using a full service auctioneer or sales crew, your involvement in this might be minimal. However, be sure it’s on your list to review and approve so you avoid last-minute surprises.) It’s also a time to start further working with customers to answer questions and meet any specific needs.

The Big Day
The week leading up to the sale is a critical time. Make sure facilities are set up to efficiently move cattle through the ring and back into pens. And make sure it is easy for the crew to load out cattle. As well, ensure final pregnancy and health checks will be accomplished and last minute veterinary or transportation documentation made available.

Remember that your service does not stop when the gavel falls for the last time.. Reputation is built by offering cattle that buyers are happy with.

If you have hired a sale manager to help with the sale, they should have a system in place for bidder numbers and procedures for cashing out. If you plan to do that yourself as the host, it’s important you’ve created a system to cover all the bases.

If you have made the decision to host a sale, congratulations. This article is offered as a means of supporting that endeavor. It can be overwhelming and difficult to see the forest for the trees. So, stick to the basics, especially for your first sale. Start small but reasonable and don’t break the bank. If you plan for a recurring event, make it a goal to to improve each time, build your reputation, and find a niche for your brand and your herd.

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