Reducing your Herd’s Environmental “Hoofprint”

Published on Fri, 05/27/2022 - 12:14pm

Reducing your Herd’s Environmental “Hoofprint”.

 Article courtesy of Central Life Sciences.

 Today’s environmentally conscious producer has a lot to worry about, including manure management, wastewater runoff, and proper rotational grazing, not to mention the burden of horn flies. Reducing your herd’s environmental “hoofprint” in the pasture can often lead to increased producer efficiency and profits.

Kenley Rogers, Sales Development Manager at Central Life Sciences, says producers must recognize that sustainability is more top of mind across the industry than ever before.

“I do think that producers today are giving a little more attention when it does come to the environment and how they’re treating their livestock, whether that’s humane handling and practices, vaccinations, treatments, but also when it comes to the environment,” said Rogers. “We’re raising these livestock on the land and we need to be mindful of that, and make sure that land is going to be here for years to come.”

One solution to increase efficiencies is by using rotational grazing or other techniques to improve weaning weights. Doing this will enhance the pasture’s forage production and the use of resources to increase weight gain on marketable calves. However, the grazing period is where the calf will have the biggest environmental “hoofprint.” You’ll want to reduce the time your calves are on grass to save forage resources, boost the producer’s economic sustainability, and increase environmental sustainability.  

Altosid® IGR is a feed-through insect growth regulator (IGR) that delivers targeted control of horn flies with no known resistance. Unlike other products on the market, Altosid® IGR controls these flies by interrupting their life cycle in the pupal stage, preventing the emergence of biting adults rather than killing horn flies through direct toxicity.

The active ingredient in Altosid® IGR mimics naturally occurring insect biochemicals responsible for insect development, breaking the horn fly life cycle and preventing adult flies from emerging. Altosid® IGR is able to exert its effect at very small concentrations, making it an ideal fly control choice for today’s environmentally responsible producer.

“Altosid IGR works through the fly’s life cycle, so we use that life cycle to our advantage in terms of breaking it during the larval stages,” Rogers said. “And it does not affect the adult flies that are already existing, but instead, works through its own biological mechanisms to control their ability to reproduce.”

Compared to other conventional pesticide products in the market, Altosid® IGR has a low environmental impact. There are no concerns when it comes to birds, wastewater, soil, plants, food, or beneficial insects. Altosid® IGR is rapidly broken down in the soil with a half-life of 10 days and is readily degraded by sunlight and microbial action so that it will not persist, leach or contaminate groundwater. Because it is metabolized quickly, the feed-through product is degraded to regular plant nutrients and is not absorbed into the plant. In a model ecosystem study, it was proven that the active ingredient used in Altosid® IGR does not accumulate in the food chain.

The level of this ingredient found in the manure of treated cattle does not affect beneficial insects, such as dung beetles and bees, and there are no harmful residues in meat or milk when used as directed. Because Altosid® IGR is a targeted product meant for horn fly control, you don’t need to worry about it having any negative impact on beneficial insects or stopping their life cycles. With Altosid® IGR, you can reduce the number of flies emerging out of any treated manure, allowing dung beetles to work in favor of producers by breaking down manure in pastures.

“Altosid IGR does not have any direct toxicity or impact on the dung beetle,” Rogers said. “The dung beetle in the beef cattle world remove upwards of about 13 pounds of manure per day. That’s a big deal when you’re talking to beef producers. The dung beetle is another environmental pest that can work to our advantage to better the environment for the animals.”

Altosid® IGR also can be easily implemented into an insect pest management program. While there’s no silver bullet solution to fly control, Rogers urges producers to incorporate a variety of strategies to help curb flies.

“It’s really important to make sure that we’re incorporating different aspects of an Integrated Pest Management program, and Altosid IGR is a great core for that program,” Rogers said. “It’s always great to supplement with some pour-ons, some back rubbers, some oilers, ear tags, if that’s something that a producer is willing to do. The way the Altosid IGR works, it should control horn flies enough to allow producers to reduce the use of some of those other products as well.”

Rogers says the distinguishing factor between Altosid® IGR and other alternatives is the product’s effectiveness against insects.

“Altosid IGR doesn’t have any meat or milk withdrawal with any of the products, and they really just don’t have that impact on the environment that a lot of those conventional pesticides do on the market today,” Rogers said. “The products are easily broken down in the environment, via sunlight, soul enzymes, things like that, so there’s no concern about it going into any of the streams or water ways.”

Altosid® IGR is able to exert its effect at very small concentrations, making it an ideal fly control choice for today’s environmentally responsible cattle producer. Consider Altosid® IGR to start reducing your herd’s environmental “hoofprint” and increasing your profits and efficiency.

“Whenever I have a producer ask about the most environmentally conscious product, and economical product on the market, I 100% say that Altosid IGR would be the best choice,” Rogers said.

Central Life Sciences also has technicians out in the field delivering complete support to help producers get the most out of Altosid® IGR. They can visit the farm to conduct fly audits, put together an IPM program and follow up to ensure the program is successful.   
Altosid is a registered trademark of Wellmark International.