The Effect of Biting Fly Control on Weight Gain in Beef Cattle1

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During the summer of 1957, experiments to determine the effect of biting f1y control on weight gain in beef cattle were conducted in Centre County, Pennsylvania. Insecticide-repellent formulations were applied daily to a herd of Aberdeen Angus by means of an electric-eye-controlled sprayer at the rate of approximately 75 ml. per animal. A water-base spray containing N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide and methoxychlor provided effective protection against biting flies, which included the horn fly, Siphona irritans (L.), the stable fly, Stomoxys calcitrans (L.), and a negligible number of a horse fly, Tabanus quinquevittata (Wied.). Equally satisfactory results were achieved with an oil base spray containing 2,3,4,5-bis (Δ2 butylene)-tetrahydrofurfural, pyrethrins, N-octyl bicycloheptene dicarboximide and piperonyl butoxide. Both formulations were much more effective against the horn fly than against the stable fly, when data for each species were treated separately. After 8 weeks of treatment, none of the cattle was adversely affected.

The favorable effect of biting fly control was demonstrated by the greater weight gain of the treated animals as compared with that of the untreated. As a result of treatments, the mean gain in weight of the treated group was found to surpass that of the untreated group by approximately one-half to two-thirds of a pound per animal per day. Statistical analyses indicated that the difference in weight gain between the two groups was significant. The cost of spray material was, in average, one cent a day for each animal.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 1958

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