Buffalo fly breakout
Story Added : 11th May 2011
Annette Stratton, from the Coonamble district, said big swarms of the irritating flies just appeared out of nowhere attacking her cattle.
“We’d never seen them before and didn’t know what they were and it was just by chance that a friend rang and said that they were everywhere,” she said.
Queensland Government senior beef extension officer, Kay Taylor, said buffalo fly cause production losses and pose a significant animal welfare issue.
“The warmer and wetter areas closer to the northern NSW and Queensland coast lines provide an ideal environment for buffalo flies to breed and potentially survive during winter,” Ms Kays said.
“Non-chemical control options such as fly traps can be extremely cost-effective where large numbers of animals can be channeled through the one trap such as in a dairy or cell grazing situation.”
“In such situations traps can reduce the fly population by up to 70 per cent.”
Dung beetles can also reduce buffalo fly populations by removing, or spreading dung around, so the flies cannot breed.
“They are most active in hot, humid weather, which fortunately coincides with the period of high fly activity,” Ms Kays said.
There are four main chemical groups available for buffalo fly control, including synthetic pyrethroids (SPs) such as sprays, ear tags and pour-ons; organophosphates (OPs), including spray and backrubber registered chemicals, ear tags; SP/OP mixes in a spray or dip (also registered for ticks) and macrocyclic lactones (MLs), which are internal and external parasiticide pour-ons that are registered for buffalo fly, ticks, worms, lice.
Ms Kays urged farmers to find out which chemicals are still effective because buffalo fly can build up resistance and she recommended rotating chemical groups.
“Avoid using OPs more than two seasons in a row or SPs more than one season continuously,” she said.
“Consider rotating chemical groups within a season and be aware of the potential effect on dung beetles — particularly with respect to timing.
“And try to avoid SPs and MLs particularly early during the fly breeding season, which is also the breeding season for dung beetles. If flies are still present during autumn and early winter, MLs will have reduced effect on dung beetles and can be used more cost effectively if other parasites are present such as worms or lice in young cattle.”