It's no secret that horn flies are one of the biggest nuisances to cattle. Not only do they irritate cattle with their painful bites, they also take a bite out of your profits. Losses from horn flies cost the industry an estimated $1 billion each year due to the stress they inflict and diseases they spread to cattle.
Profit losses from a horn fly infestation begin when the population exceeds the economic threshold, which is just 200 flies per animal. When left untreated, horn fly infestations can reach up to 4,000 flies per animal, staying on the cattle both day and night. However, an infestation of even 700 flies per animal could inflict up to 28,000 bites per day, which equates to a loss of 16 pints (2 gallons) of blood over the entire season. For every 100 animals, that results in an average of 1,600 pints (200 gallons) of blood lost per herd, per season, which averages 6.67 pints (0.833 gallons) lost per day.
In addition to causing blood loss, a horn fly infestation also leads to increased cattle stress and annoyance. This can cause cattle to burn excess energy to combat the flies, interrupt grazing patterns, and cause cattle grouping. The result of horn fly infestations exceeding the economic threshold results in reduced weight gains, decreased milk production, and reduced calf weaning weights.
If horn flies have exceeded the economic threshold of 200 flies per animal, it's time to establish a horn fly control program built around Altosid® IGR. Establishing a horn fly control plan and incorporating a feed through product, like Altosid® IGR, will reduce costly blood losses, and promote healthy profits. Producers that make an Altosid® IGR investment of $4.50 to $5.50 per cow/calf pair for a summer feeding season will see returns up to 10:1.