Natural Fly Control on Rotational Grazing Silvopastures

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2021: $5,866.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2023
Grant Recipient: Harmony Hills Farm
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Brian Keeter
Harmony Hills Farm


  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: animal protection and health, grazing - rotational
  • Education and Training: on-farm/ranch research
  • Pest Management: biological control, integrated pest management

    Proposal summary:

    Fly pressure is responsible for millions of dollars of loss in the cattle industry through stress, blood loss, decreased grazing efficacy, reduced weight gains, and diminished milk production in mother cows.   We would like to demonstrate an easy, low labor, and low cost method of controlling those flies.  Reduced fly pressure will allow us to have healthier animals and by using lumber from the property we will increase the acres of grazable land allowing us to increase our herd size in future seasons.   

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Identify the appropriate number of tree swallow houses to that will be needed to maintain a healthy population of tree swallows and minimum number of flies on the farm.
    2. Harvest red cedar lumber on the farm to expand our available pasture land. The harvested lumber will provide raw material to construct tree swallow houses to be used on the farm and sold at local farmers’ market and through our website to generate an extra income source.
    3. Evaluate health of cattle utilizing tree swallows as fly control method 
    4. Share findings through organizing an on farm field day, website/social media, instructional videos
    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.