Buffalo Fly/Parasites

For many years sulphur has been considered to reduce internal and external parasites such as worms, cattle ticks, lice and buffalo fly.

Research from South America has now proven that sulphur can increase stock resistance to cattle tick. In these trials, there was a substantial increase in the level of natural resistance to ticks, similar level to that of the natural resistance achieved by Bos Indicus infused cattle.

While sulphur is important for rumen health, parasite control, wool growth and for stock grazing forage sorghum, there are other practices that graziers have implemented to assist with the control of fly and ticks.

High density cell grazing and rotational grazing both have benefits when it comes to pasture utilisation and parasite control. The trampling effect that high density grazing has on mulch and manure gives a twofold advantage, providing a boost to soil biology and pasture growth, as well as assisting to hasten the breakdown of manure to interrupt the breeding cycle of Buffalo fly.

Using pasture harrows to spread manure, the presence of dung beetles and high density grazing can all assist to speed up the return of manure to the soil. Using dung beetle friendly dips or pour-on is also something to consider. Farmers who have used NatraMin on their pasture have also reported increased dung beetle activity and quicker breakdown of manure.

While MegaMin Extra Sulphur and MegaMin SulPhos may help deter Buffalo Fly irritation, a healthy rumen results in microbial enriched manure that is quickly digested back into the soil. In the heat of the drought, graziers in Central Queensland feeding MegaMin to their stock found that the manure no longer ‘stacked up’ but disintegrated within days of hitting the ground.

Research has now proven that sulphur can increase stock resistance to ticks. Another thing to consider is that ticks are always more prevalent on stock in poor condition compared to stock in good condition, so using mineral supplements to improve overall condition may also assist. Rotating stock in different paddocks also helps to break the tick cycle.

“We had cattle on MegaMin Extra Sulphur running alongside cattle with no access to extra Sulphur. There were clearly more buffalo fly on the stock with no Sulphur meaning they were more agitated, and not able to graze so well and could not put on the kilos.

Cattle with the extra Sulphur still had a few fly, but with only a 4-strand barbed wire fence between them, we were amazed at how visible the difference was.

Now I’m a firm believer in using Sulphur to aid buffalo fly control and I also see potential benefits to help control internal and external parasites in sheep.” – David Blackwood, QLD.