The weather over the past number of days has provided the perfect environment for flies. At the best of times, flies can irritate suckler cows and their offspring. However, they can also have a negative effect on the performance of an animal.

Commonly, flies are associated with diseases in summer such as mastitis and pink eye, and pose a threat through the summer months right up to September; mastitis is mostly witnessed in dry cows and heifers.

The disease is not really an issue for spring-calving cows, but keeping a watchful eye is important.

Flies can be commonly seen at paddock entrances or roadways which have a large amount of dung. They can also be an issue in paddocks bordering woodland areas.

Like every disease, prevention is better than cure and implementing a fly control programme will help affected herds.

A number of pour-on products are available for control. It is recommended to apply these along the back of the animal, but is probably no harm to direct some around the udder area as well.

In addition, tar can be applied on the udders of susceptible animals. Although it will deter flies it is messy and may need to be applied every four-to-seven days, Teagasc says.