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  • Writer's pictureLeslie Graham

Internal Fly Control- Garlic Supplementation

Fly season is upon us. Flies are a passive carrier of disease and are just all-around irritating. The cost associated with flies is often neglected because it is difficult to calculate. However, if they are spreading diseases and causing morbidity or mortality, the cost can be astronomical. There are some management practices to help to reduce the effect of these flies on your herd. Today I am going to focus on the use of garlic in mineral.


Certain types of flies feed off the blood of cattle. High percentages of flies will cause blood loss in these animals and will directly affect production parameters, such as milk production, weight gain, etc. The blood flies will also spread blood-borne diseases between cattle as well. These flies will congregate on the shoulders, back and belly. Other types of flies feed off of animal secretions rather than blood. These types of flies congregate around the eyes, mouth, and nose. These flies are more likely to spread the bacteria that cause pinkeye. The irritation of all fly types will also cause cattle to be uncomfortable and spend more time moving to try to get the flies off.


Adding garlic to mineral products is a more recently adopted management practice with limited research backing the practice until recently. Garlic is a natural and relatively cheap additive to use for internal fly control. The consumption of garlic will cause cattle to release the odour through their skin and breath. Feeding garlic needs to start about a month before fly season. There have been some studies that claim to see over 50% reduction in flies on cattle fed garlic (2). We use garlic in our mineral all year round to keep the scent in these cattle. The garlic additive in the mineral has also been shown to increase the palatability of some of the more "chalky" minerals.


I am going to highlight a few of our most popular products. We have products that are safe for beef cattle and horses. Our most popular product is a cobalt iodized salt block with garlic. Cobalt salt is a great additive product for cattle year-round. This product is effective in stimulating appetite and increasing the metabolism. These are a great product but should be fed free choice alongside other minerals, as there are no trace minerals present in these blocks. We have another block that is a trace mineral block (Ultra 120) that can be ordered with garlic. This product is similar to the cobalt blocks but with added trace minerals, such as zinc, manganese, copper, etc. This product is great to use in years when feed quality is lower.


Some loose mineral products that we have available for beef cattle with garlic include 2:1 Chelated Summer Range, 2:1 Beef Premix, 3:1 Beef Premix, and High Boot Salt. The majority of our loose minerals have the option to include garlic, inquire with us if there is a certain product you are looking for. Our most popular product is the chelated summer range mineral. There are many benefits to having a chelated mineral, which is outlined in a previous blog post called "Why Chelate Minerals." This product has a high palatability, is affordable, and provides the trace minerals required for all ages of cattle. The biggest difference between the summer range and the regular 2:1 is the salt content and the price. Both products are great but the choice depends on the source and quality of your feed. High boot is a loose trace mineral and salt supplement. It is a great product to mix with chalky minerals like 3:1 to increase the palatability and intake.


Choosing the correct mineral for your operation depends on water and feed quality, soil conditions, reproductive stage, production parameter goals, animal age, etc. Taking samples of feed and water and working with a nutritionist is the best way to pick the correct mineral for your operation. The previous blog posts on minerals and vitamins can help you understand what each ingredient is used for and which ones need to be provided at a higher rate in your location. Contact us with any questions and for product information and feed tags.



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