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Estimation of the effects of buffalo fly (Haematobia irritans exigua) on the milk production of dairy cattle based on a meta-analysis of literature data


Dr N. N. Jonsson, Department of Veterinary Clinical Studies, University of Glasgow Veterinary School, Bearsden Road, Glasgow G61 1QH, Scotland. Tel: +44 (0) 141 330 5721. Fax: +44 (0) 141 330 5729. E-mail:


Published reports on the effect of buffalo fly Haematobia irritans exigua De Meijere (Diptera: Muscidae) and the closely related horn fly (H. irritans) were examined and analysed using non-linear weighted regression techniques in an attempt to establish the relationship between daily production loss (D), average number of parasites (n) and the average damage per parasite per day (d), and to provide estimates of expected losses in milk yield (MYD) and live-weight gain (LWG) in dairy cattle. A Mitscherlich three-parameter model was used to explain the relationship between the total loss of production attributable to buffalo flies and the average number of flies associated with cattle. This model was significant (P < 0.01), with R2 = 20.2% and predicted a threshold number of flies (n = 30) below which no adverse effects would be noted. At a moderate level of infestation (n = 200) dMYD was 2.6 ml/fly/day and dLWG was 0.14 g/fly/day, resulting in estimated daily losses in milk yield (DMYD) and live-weight gain (DLWG) of 520 ml and 28 g, respectively.