By Justin Crocheck, Key Cooperative Senior Cattle Consultant
There is a problem that the USDA estimates costs North American cattle producers over one billion dollars each year. Approximately 60 million dollars are spent on control efforts with the balance of the costs being attributed to decreases in weight gains, feed efficiency and milk yield. What disease am I talking about that costs the industry so many dollars?
It’s not a disease at all, but a small black fly about four millimeters long. Not to be confused with the face fly that feed on mucous producing areas of the face, horn flies live on the backs and the sides of the cattle. The adult horn fly is a biting insect that feed on the blood of cattle 20 to 30 times a day. They are a nuisance that have the ability to disrupt grazing patterns, cause cattle to go off feed and to burn up energy trying to rub horn flies off their backs. They have been found to cause 15 to 50 lb. weight loss per head during a summer pasture season.
For the investment of around $4.50 per cow/calf pair for a full summer feeding season, Altosid IGR will provide returns from 6:1 to 10:1. What is Altosid IGR? IGR stands for insect growth regulator, which means that it stops the life cycle of immature horn flies in the manure patty and never allows them to develop into blood sucking adults. It does not kill the adult horn fly; it prevents future generations of horn flies from developing into adults.
The benefits of Altosid IGR are zero resistance and it does not harm beneficial insects, which sets it apart from residual insecticides. Altosid IGR is available in our Purina Wind & Rain® loose mineral program and our QLF® Ignite Altosid tubs.