The smallest of creatures tend to be the biggest pests around livestock. The warmer days and hot weather brings out the worst of the flies and other insects each year, and livestock producers continually look for alternative forms of insect control. Cattle producers should know that in addition to the traditional chemical methods to keep flies and other insects at bay, VitaFerm® offers a natural insect control method as well.
VitaFerm HEAT® includes garlic, to deter insects. The garlic will change the smell and taste of the animals, so although flies and other insects might hover around the livestock, they won’t attach to and bite the animals because they don’t like the smell or taste of the animal.
In addition to acting as an insect control product, research has also shown that garlic extract is toxic to cowpea weevil and cowpea seed bee. Two other studies suggest that garlic extract can be considered as a tick repellent and that garlic has a toxic effect on the hatching eggs of yellow fever mosquitoes.
Although the name HEAT implies a supplement designed to be fed in warmer temperatures and climates with its primary purpose is to help relieve heat stress in livestock, when using it as a natural insect repellent it can be fed at any time, and producers don’t have to wonder if it will lose its effectiveness due to the timing of the last frost or should a Mother’s Day snow storm take place.
For producers who run their cattle where there is excessive standing water, HEAT works great to keep the mosquitos away. Britney Creamer, BioZyme ASM for Western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, says that many of her customers run cattle where there is standing water since flood irrigation is the primary source of water for livestock to drink from and for grass to grow.
“West Nile has been an extremely large problem in my territory for the several years. HEAT has been very effective in controlling the mosquito issues for cattle,” Creamer said.
She also tells about a producer in Wyoming, who has used the HEAT mineral. He noticed that flies were still in the area but weren’t landing on his cows. His conception rates were up, and he attributes much of that to the fact his cattle were more comfortable and not bothered by insects.
Matt Reeves in Northeast Missouri also noticed the difference in his fly problems when he started using HEAT. This will be his fourth summer on the product.
“I put my cows out with the HEAT mineral again this summer. The first year, I put two groups of cows out with it, and left a third ‘control’ group without it. While driving through the cows on my Polaris Ranger, I noticed a lot more flies on the control group, so after about three weeks, all the cows were on the HEAT mineral,” Reeves said.
VitaFerm HEAT is a great option for producers who market their end-product as natural. Since the HEAT contains all-natural ingredients for insect control, producers can use HEAT to keep their cattle content and gaining and keep their customers happy because their meat is still natural.
VitaFerm HEAT is available two options. Producers can select from a 50-pound loose mineral or in a 200-pound tub, depending on which best fits their management practices.