Controlling flies in a dairy presents some specific challenges. As a result of an abundance of different organic matters and moisture, fly breeding grounds are available aplenty in these environments. Flies are known to have a significant negative impact on the production efficiency of a dairy. In the presence of flies, livestock spend extra energy to fend them off instead of milking, feeding, and resting. Some other common concerns include increased potential for disease spreading, increased veterinary and medication cost, and possible increased public complaints. By spreading disease to workers, flies can also hinder their productivity.
Mentioned below are the steps involved in management of fly populations in dairies.
Developing an effective fly management plan requires identification of the type of fly the dairy is dealing with and understanding their lifecycle. The most commonly found flies in dairies include house flies, blow flies, and stable flies. They prefer breeding on decaying organic matter, manure, bedding, and spoiled/spilled feed, and are commonly categorised as filth flies. They prefer laying eggs in moist conditions and decaying organic matter. In pastures, however, other fly species such as face flies, horn flies, deer flies, and horse flies are also found.
Fly Management and Control:
Flies in a dairy firm can be managed best by following stringent sanitation practices and making use of advanced fly control measures such as fly lights, fly zappers, glue boards, etc. The vision spectrum of most the flies lie within the spectrum of 300 – 420 nm. Therefore, the fly lights chosen must match this spectrum as closely as possible. Also, the products/systems used for fly control should be eco-friendly, approved for use in food facilities, and compliant with all statutory regulations for the industry.
Areas to Target:
Understandably, certain areas in a dairy firm require additional focus while cleaning and sanitising. These areas include calf housing and loafing barns, cattle pens, manure storage areas, drainage areas, free-stalls, feed mixing areas, feeding aprons, in and around waterers, and any other area where decaying organic matter is present. In order to break the reproductive cycle of the flies, these areas should be thoroughly cleaned once or twice every week.
Keeping the milking parlour fly-free is a challenging task. Ensure that sanitation is done at regular intervals and the screens are in proper shape. Also, adequate ventilation will allow the area to dry between the milking cycles and help minimise potential fly populations. Any cleaning product used should be labelled for use in these sensitive areas.
Calf hutches are often overlooked while implementing fly control measures in a dairy. However, this area can be the perfect breeding ground for house and stable flies. These flies carry viruses and bacteria responsible for causing diarrhea in calves. They also pose the danger of maggots around the umbilical cord during disbudding. To eliminate breeding grounds of these pests, clean the hutches every week and move them to areas that are clean and sun-dried.
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