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Late Summer Cattle Fly Check Can Catch Control Breakdown

Horn fly and face fly numbers will continue to build for a few weeks, which will put pressure on control programs. It is a good time to evaluate the pasture fly situation in your herd; check during the early afternoon on a sunny day (Figure 1). Less than 100 horn flies per side and less than 10 face flies per head is a good target for animal protection. Consider an adjustment or supplemental measure if fly numbers exceed these guidelines.

Figure 1. Evaluate horn fly and face fly control (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK)


Late season fly control is important. Pasture flies are approaching peak numbers for the season, so their impacts are near maximum levels. Also, exposure of flies to less than recommended rates of insecticide due to less effective treatment selects for resistant individuals and increased chance for control failure.  To ensure flys are kept in check, evaluate management options by following suggestions:

Ear Tags

Insecticide-impregnated cattle ear tags can provide 12 to 15 weeks or protection. Effectiveness may be running out in herds that were tagged a little early in the season.

Feed-thru Insecticides

Feed-thru insecticides in mineral supplements require a minimum level of daily consumption by each animal. Be sure that the product is available and that the consumption rate appears to be on-target. This alternative is based on controlling horn fly and face fly maggots that develop only in cow manure. Face flies and horn flies can move a mile or two, so action may be needed to control flies that move in from nearby herds. Provide supplemental control, as necessary.

Figure 2.  Mineral feeder with fly wipe (Photo: Lee Townsend, UK)


Be sure that self-applicators are charged and working. The fly wipe in Figure 2 appears to be dry so the reservoir tank may need to be filled. In some cases, dust can build up enough to reduce the wicking action in wipes and oilers. Be sure dust bags have not been damaged and that the insecticide in them is dry and flowing.


Pour-on and spray applications generally provide about 4 weeks of fly control. Check the last treatment date and be sure doses are measured accurately.


By Lee Townsend, Extension Entomologist

Beef Production Basics

Call the Warren County Extension Office at 270-842-1681 to get signed up!

Beef Production Basics

Pasture to Plate Program

This is a great opportunity to learn more about finishing cattle in Kentucky and about the end product. Spots are limited – sign up today! First session will be on May 26th at the UK Research Farm in Princeton, KY. Registration forms can be found at or by contacting your local extension office.

As the amount of consumers wanting to know where their food comes from increases and the number of cattle in Kentucky sold to the local consumer grows, the University of Kentucky’s Pasture to Plate program proves vital to the success of producers, consumers and industry related professionals across the state.

There are approximately 40 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected facilities operating in Kentucky, which allow producers to market their cattle directly to the consumer. With an increasing number of producers retaining ownership of their cattle through the finishing phase, the University of Kentucky (UK) College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Kentucky Beef Network (KBN), Kentucky Beef Council, Kentucky Department of Agriculture and the UK Forage Animal Production Research Unit has set out to educate individuals with the Pasture to Plate program.

The program will consist of a combination of ten steers and heifers, purchased yearly at approximately 700-800 pounds. The cattle will include a variety of feeder calves, including dairy-type calves. The calves will be fed a concentrate ration until finished at 1200-1500 pounds. All cattle will be harvested at approximately the same time, carcasses will be graded and processed in a typical manner; two example carcasses (one heavy and one light conditioned) will be completely deboned and separated into muscle, fat and bone. A sample steak suitable for taste panel evaluations will be collected from each carcass. Participants in this program will have the opportunity to sample the eating quality of the steaks obtained from the calves in the program. The project will be replicated at three locations across the state including the Eden Shale Farm, UK Research and Education Center at Princeton, and Morgan County Extension Farm.

“The overall goal of this program is for cattlemen to learn and experience all phases of the cattle industry post-weaning. Most Kentucky calves are sold at weaning, this program will allow producers to experience what happens from weaning through consumption,” said Bullock.

The project facilitates a vast array of educational opportunities that will be available in person as they happen, as well as recordings that will be made available to individuals who cannot attend the live program. There will be five educational components of the program including receiving, finishing, carcass/consumer/retail, live evaluation, nutrient and health management. The Pasture to Plate program will benefit Kentucky’s farmers, youth and consumers as part of an educational journey encompassing the beef industry. The variety of educational programs and promotion will help take Kentucky’s beef industry to the next level.

For more information regarding the Pasture to Plate program including dates and locations of the live demonstrations please contact your local county extension office.

The Kentucky Beef Network, LLC is a non-profit company whose purpose is to help all 38,000 cattlemen in Kentucky have the opportunity to improve animal health, genetics, forages, and marketing opportunities by enhancing producer profitability through programs and services they offer.