Fly populations are on the increase, meaning suckler farmers should be looking to prevent summer mastitis in autumn-calving cows and replacement heifers.

Keep a close eye on at-risk animals when herding stock every day for earl signs of the mastitis, such as cows isolating themselves, spending more time lying and stiffness when walking.

By the time you notice a swollen quarter, the chances of a full recovery are unlikely.

Where possible, avoid grazing dry cows and heifers near stagnant water or heavily wooded areas, as fly activity is usually higher.

Grazing swards that have headed out will also attract more flies, so top swards as necessary.

Prevention options

There are various methods to cut down the risk of summer mastitis, starting with a fly repellent pour-on. Depending on the product, multiple applications may be required.

Garlic lick buckets are also an option, along with fly-repellent ear tags. More often than not, the best course of prevention is a combination of these options.

Stockholm tar is also an option. But it needs reapplying every few days, making it less practical when cows graze outfarms with no handling pens.

When cows are gathered for any routine treatments, clipping heavily soiled tails is recommended.

Finally, leaving calves on the cow through the high risk period can help, provided calving date is more than a couple of months away.

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