Tackling horn flies with Altosid

Close up of hundreds of horn flies covering the back of a bull

When the temperature starts to warm up, horn flies quickly become a pesky issue. The horn fly’s fast repopulation rate quickly turns a few adult flies into a few thousand flies per animal. One way to help control fly populations is to offer your cattle a feed-through fly control, which can be found in select cattle minerals. Cattle need both fly control and mineral, so using a two-in-one package doesn’t require extra cattle handling or labor beyond normal mineral feeder maintenance.

Purina offers a fly control mineral with Altosid, an insect growth regulator.  Altosid is designed to prevent the breeding of horn flies in the manure of treated cattle. The insect growth regulator passes through the digestive tract of the cow and into the manure where horn flies lay their eggs. The pupae are prevented from developing into biting adult flies, breaking up the horn fly life cycle. For best results, a general rule of thumb is to start feeding Altosid mineral 30 days before the last frost in the spring and continue supplying it until 30 days after the first frost in the fall. Feeding Altosid mineral for 30 days after the first frost in the fall prevents horn flies from hibernating in the pupal stage and hatching in the spring.

Consistent fly control can be achieved by ensuring that cattle are consuming the mineral at a targeted intake level. Cattle should be consuming 4 ounces of mineral per day, and one feeder should be provided for every 15 to 20 head. There are no known resistance issues with Altosid, so Purina’s fly control mineral can be used as a long-term solution without having to switch products each year. It is important to have a plan in place before flies emerge. Waiting to control flies until they are present can cause less than desired results and impact cattle performance and productivity.

For more information on Altosid mineral and see what we can do to help with fly control, stop by your local Central Valley Ag location or visit www.purinamills.com!