Industry News

Published on Tue, 09/19/2017 - 1:56pm

 It’s Never Too Late to Start a Feed-through Fly Control Program

 New study shows producers can quickly fight pest issues, even midseason

 Article provided by Rabon® Oral Larvicide

When it comes to fly control, it’s never too late to start using Rabon® Oral Larvicide in your mineral or feed.
While it’s certainly ideal and beneficial for producers to start a fly control program before the season starts, a new university study shows that producers actually can start a feed-through program any time of year.[i]
The study shows that after only two days of feeding Rabon, manure dropped from cattle killed horn fly larvae hatching from eggs laid in the manure, reducing horn fly emergence by an average of 95.5%.
These findings are especially helpful for producers who may find themselves running behind or with a flurry of increased fly pressure. It also allows producers who want or need to feed a particular mineral or supplement tub prior to
breeding season (to help enhance pregnancy rates) or a high-magnesium supplement in lush pastures to still use a feed-through fly control option later in the season.  
“For years, producers were told that to start a feed-through fly control program they had to do so 30 days prior to the start
of fly season. But that’s no longer the case,” says Dr. Larry Hawkins, senior technical services veterinarian, Bayer Animal Health. “Producers can start a feed-through program any time of year and don’t have to choose between fly control and the risk of lower pregnancy rates or the increased risk of grass-tetany.”
For producers who need to quickly address their existing fly problem, Bayer recommends a two-step approach. First, cattle are fed Rabon, which is available in blocks, tubs or loose mineral form. After only two days of feeding Rabon, the manure from the cattle will contain enough active ingredient to kill larvae hatching from fly eggs laid in it. This is important as manure is a breeding ground and feeding location for several fly species. By using a feed-through insecticide such as Rabon, fly larvae can be killed before they mature and continue the cycle. Rabon kills larvae of the four major fly species – horn, face, stable and house flies – in manure for up to six weeks.

Second, on the sameday Rabon is introduced in feed, cattle need to be treated with an on-animal spray such as Permectrin® CDS or Co-Ral® Fly & Tick Spray, or pour-on product such as CyLence® Pour-On, to kill existing adult flies. With this step, the residual product will continue to kill flies that emerge from manure already dropped for the next two weeks.
“This two-step approach works quickly, allowing producers to start their fly control program any time of year, not just the beginning of the season,” says Hawkins. “This way producers can control both the flies’ immature stages and the adult flies that are already present.”
While often seen as just a nuisance, flies actually cause more than several billion dollars in economic losses annually.[ii] Preventive action is key, as flies cause disruptions in feeding, which can result in lower weight gain or reduced milk production[
iii], and can spread disease, including pinkeye.
Pinkeye in particular has been a major issue in many parts of the U.S. the past few years,” says Hawkins. “In addition to being uncomfortable or possibly leading to blindness for the animal, cattle with pinkeye typically sell for less, which can be a big deal in a tight cattle market.”
Observing cattle behavior is the first step in determining whether flies are an issue. Cattle will often lick and twitch their skin, switch their tails, and kick at their bellies. The number of horn flies per animal also can be estimated, with experimental results indicating 50 flies per side on a dairy cow or 100 flies per side on a beef animal as the economic threshold.[iv]
For more effective fly control, producers should consider implementing a comprehensive program that provides control on the animal, in the facility, in the environment surrounding the facility, and via a feed-through product.
“Rabon is a solid foundation for a good fly control program, limiting flies’ opportunity to reproduce,” says Hawkins. “However, for better results, especially midseason, adding an on-animal spray or pour-on can help producers control adult flies that migrate from or breed in other locations. This one-two punch can give producers the effective fly control they need.”
For more about Rabon and specific product recommendations by category, visit Follow us on Facebook at

[i] Data on file. Bayer Animal Health.
[ii]Taylor DB, Moon RD, Mark DR. (2012).
Economic impact of stable flies (Diptera: Muscidae) on dairy and beef cattle production. J Med Entomol. 49(1):198-209.
[iii] Neel JB, Burgess G, Hopkins F. Controlling parasites of beef cattle improves performance and value. The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture website. Available at: Publications-Beef.html. Accessed December 17, 2012.
[iv] Kaufman, PE, Weeks ENI. (2012). Horn Fly Management. The University of Florida IFAS Extension website. Available at: Accessed April 20, 2017. 

Throw your calves a weaning-time potluck
Tips to get calves eating quickly and over the stressors of weaning.

Article provided by Purina Animal Nutrition LLC

You know the feeling of being at a big party or potluck? Everywhere you turn there’s food, food and guess what? More food. You think, “This must be heaven!” The same should be true for your weaned calves. They should encounter feed and water at every turn during weaning so they find feed sources and start eating and drinking quickly.
“When cattle are stressed they often quit eating,” says Lee Dickerson, Ph.D. and senior cattle consultant with Purina Animal Nutrition. “The sooner you can get your calves to eat, the less likely they are to get sick. A few adjustments to your weaning-time nutrition program can make a huge difference.”
 Here are four nutrition tips to help get your calves eating quickly:
1. Encourage consumption
 For the first five to seven days of weaning, target calves to consume a total diet equaling 2.5-3% of
their bodyweight. The total diet can consist of a purchased complete feed, or it can be a supplement paired with your existing forage. Let calves continue building intake through the 21 to 28 day weaning program to help optimize performance. There are hand-fed and self-fed complete feeds. No matter which you choose, achieving target consumption is key to keep calves healthy.
“You can also achieve these goals by feeding free-choice forages of over 8% crude protein along with a palatable supplement feed and tubs,” says Dickerson. “When calves come to the feed bunk for the first time they need to find a palatable feed which makes them want to come back for more. Any of these weaning programs can help achieve consumption.”
 Starter feeds with intake control properties can also help stimulate more consistent consumption of feed throughout the day. Think of it as if you were grazing continuously with a small plate at a potluck instead of eating one large plate of food. Feeds with intake control properties encourage calves to eat several small meals throughout the day rather than one or two big meals a day.
2. Evaluate bunk space, management
 Each calf needs about a foot of bunk space so all calves can be at the feed bunk at the same time. If you’re using a starter feed with intake control properties in a self-feeder, each calf only needs six to eight inches of bunk space because they won’t all eat at once. Instead, they’ll eat small meals and come back at different times.
 “Don’t underestimate the importance of managing your feed bunk and paying close attention to calf behavior at feed delivery,” says Dickerson. “The way calves behave at the bunk can tell you a great deal.”
 If calves rush the bunk when feed is delivered, they are likely being underfed. If they don’t seem
interested at feed delivery, they may be overfed or sick. If some calves are standing away from the feed bunk or are fighting to gain access to feed, you might not have enough bunk space.
 Additional bunk best practices include making sure fresh feed is available consistently, cleaning out uneaten or spoiled feed and gradually making any shifts in the amount of feed delivered


3. Make feed placement a priority
 You bump into food at every turn at a potluck. With a little bit of strategy, you can ensure your calves do the same – find feed easily and start consuming.
 “Placing bunks and tubs in the center of a pen can make it more challenging for calves to find them,” says Dickerson. “Bunks or self-feeders should be placed perpendicular to the fence line so when calves are rounding the pen trying to determine how to get out, they will bump into their feed.”
 “Similarly, we recommend placing mineral tubs along the pen perimeter so calves encounter them as they are circulating and begin licking the tub. Licking causes salivation, which encourages further consumption of the diet.”
4. Consider water sources, cleanliness
 “If your calves are suddenly moved into a pen with an automatic waterer and they’ve never used one before, you can’t expect them to walk right up and drink out of one,” says Dickerson.
 It will take some time for calves to adapt to their surroundings and navigate the facilities with ease. Until then, one way to keep calves hydrated is to place some additional water tanks or tubs in the pen. Similar to feed bunk placement, water tanks or tubs should be placed along the fence line so calves will quickly find them and start drinking.
 Cleanliness is also paramount to water consumption. All water sources should be checked at least daily for cleanliness and to make sure the source has adequate flow.
 Weaning can be very stressful for calves, but implementing a few new nutritional strategies can help the transition be more seamless. If your calves find themselves in the middle of a potluck feast, they’ll be quicker to eat and overcome the stressors of weaning.
 To find solutions that support healthy calves and more pounds, visit
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 Shoreview, Minn., and a wholly owned subsidiary of Land O’Lakes, Inc.