profits out of your pasture.1414 - Lawrence JD, Ibarbura MA. Economic analysis of pharmaceutical technologies in modern beef production in a bioeconomy era. Iowa State University. 2009. Available at http://www.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/lawrence/Pharma%202007%20update.pdf Accessed June 20, 2012.
Since internal parasites are out of sight, they can also be out of mind.
It’s important to remember that, when left untreated, parasite infections in cattle can:
system1515 - Wiggins CJ, Gibbs HC. Studies of the immunomodulatory effects of low-level infection with Ostertagia ostertagi in calves. Am J Vet Res. 1989;50(10):1764-1770.
weights1616 - Wohlgemuth K, Melancon JJ. Relationships between weaning weights of North Dakota beef calves and treatment of their dams with ivermectin. Agri-Practice. 1988;9:23-26.
rates1717 - McPherson WB, Sacek B, Familton A, Gogolewski RP, Ryan WG, Gross SJ. The impact of eprinomectin treatment on dairy cattle reproductive performance in: Proceedings, 44th Annual Meeting American Association of Veterinarian Parasitologists. 1999; abstract 28, page 41.
composition1818 - Mills B. Beware of internal thieves. Angus Journal. 2001;140-142.
production1919 - Sanchez J, Dohoo I, Carrier J, DesCoteaux L. A meta-analysis of the milk-production response after anthelmintic treatment in naturally infected adult dairy cows. Prev Vet Med. 2004;63:237-256.
efficiency2020 - Stromberg BE, Gasbarre LC. Gastrointestinal nematode control programs with an emphasis on cattle. Vet Clin Food Anim. 2006;22:543-565.
Of all the animal health practices used to increase production, treating beef cattle for parasites gives producers the greatest economic return.1414 - Lawrence JD, Ibarbura MA. Economic analysis of pharmaceutical technologies in modern beef production in a bioeconomy era. Iowa State University. 2009. Available at http://www.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/lawrence/Pharma%202007%20update.pdf Accessed June 20, 2012. In fact, one study concluded that it can result in up to a $201 gain per head.1414 - Lawrence JD, Ibarbura MA. Economic analysis of pharmaceutical technologies in modern beef production in a bioeconomy era. Iowa State University. 2009. Available at http://www.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/lawrence/Pharma%202007%20update.pdf Accessed June 20, 2012. Some producers have a hard time believing that number.
Keep in mind that most of that figure is wrapped up in improved reproduction rates and improved weaning weights. The math is easy. Taking a strategic approach to parasite control pays.
Cows are the source
If you’re focusing your deworming protocol on calves, parasites may be sucking away at your profitability. Watch to see how treating cows can help you get more profit out of your pasture.
Factors to consider.21,2221 - Miller JE. Strategic Deworming. 1991 Beef Cattle Short Course Proceedings. Available at http://www.animal.ufl.edu/extension/beef/shortcourse/1991/MILLER.PDF.22 - Anderson B. Pay attention to parasites. Angus Journal. 2011;66-67.
The level of parasite burden varies from location to location and animal to animal. However, here are some factors to consider as you evaluate your deworming approach.
- Climate2323 - Gadberry S, Pennington J, Powell J. Internal parasites in beef and dairy cattle. University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service website; http://www.uaex.edu/Other_Areas/publications/PDF/FSA-3045.pdf. Accessed June 20, 2012.
Younger animals are more likely to display clinical signs of parasitism. While adult animals are less likely to display clinical signs, a subclinical infection (one you may not notice) still impacts the performance of that animal.
Warm and wet are ideal conditions for parasites. Hot and dry conditions reduce the risk of parasitic infections. Parasites can easily survive the cold.
Heavily stocked pastures and/or limited acreage can result in higher parasite burden, particularly in mild, moist conditions. Even cattle loafing around water holes and along creeks can increase parasite burdens on the pasture and, ultimately, in the animals in those areas. Increased precipitation can prolong parasite season on pasture.
Use products strategically with an aim to break the life cycle. It takes about 100 days of continuous parasite control to break the parasite life cycle and reduce the parasite burden on pasture.
Know Your Enemy
The parasites that impact profitability the most.
Brown Stomach Worm
The infamous Ostertagia is the most economically important parasite in cattle. This worm also has a unique ability to penetrate the lining of the true stomach and become dormant, or inhibited, so that it can survive during weather that’s too cold or too hot. When conditions improve, the larvae can emerge all at once and do serious damage to the lining of the stomach.
Infective larvae burrow into the intestinal wall, causing the formation of pea-sized nodules called granulomas. These nodules reduce intestinal function. Adult worms are a larger issue for young animals vs. older animals where the effect of the nodules is of greater concern.
Barber’s Pole Worm
Also known as red stomach worm. This bloodsucker is easily recognized by its trademark “barber pole” coloration in adult females. It has a significant impact on cattle.
Small Intestinal Worm
While they are found in great numbers, Cooperia are generally thought to contribute secondary effects to the more devastating parasites such as Ostertagia. However, some experts are beginning to attribute larger production issues to this parasite.
This worm irritates and erodes the villi of the abomasum, damaging capillaries and lymph vessels within these structures and causing blood loss.
Severe D. vivaparus infections can lead to complications that can cause a mortality rate of 20 percent or more among affected animals.2424 - Yakstis JJ, Johnstone C, Minter PC. Parasites of Cattle. Merck & Co., Inc;1981;25. Larval lungworms irritate the bronchioles before eggs can be seen in nasal secretions or larvae appear in feces. Later, the adult worms irritate the trachea and bronchi. In both stages, increased respiratory secretion causes lung congestion. The disease caused by lungworm is parasitic bronchitis, which is characterized by rapid shallow breathing and coughing.