January 31, 2017

Strategically Deworming Can Improve Early Conception in Beef Cattle

Treating cows can result in breeding back quicker and easier

The popular expression, “the sooner the better,” is a classic for a reason – because it rings true for so many situations in our lives. For instance: When a young boy breaks a window and is scared to confess the accident to his parents, usually the sooner he does, the better the situation will turn out. Or when a 4-Her has a woodworking project to begin and the fair is just around the corner, once again – the sooner the better.

Perhaps it’s a stretch, but the same notion can apply to a cattle producer practicing strategic deworming to maximize his herd’s potential.

An Iowa State University study shows that parasite control is the most economically beneficial practice for beef producers.1 But more specifically, producers who treat their cows – as well as their calves – for parasites may set themselves up for greater bottom-line success, even when cattle prices are down.

Why? Because when it comes to breeding back beef cows, the sooner the better.

Cows that conceive late calve late, and that can decrease weaning weights by as much as 40 or more pounds.2 Managing for conception should not only target ways to get cows to breed back, but breed back as quickly as possible.

Cade Coppenbarger, DVM, and practicing veterinarian in Davis, Oklahoma, is an avid supporter of treating cows for internal and external parasites, and knows that timing is everything when it comes to conception management.

“From personal experience and from talking with several veterinarians across the country, treating cows for parasites is imperative if producers want their cows breeding back sooner,” Coppenbarger says.

A cow’s peak lactation period occurs approximately 85 days after calving, and during that time, the cow also experiences a feed shortfall and a loss of body energy stores. This is the ideal time at which to breed back a cow,3 which increases the need for a parasite control program.

But cattlemen shouldn’t settle for just any parasite control program, Coppenbarger says.

Deworming cows results in fewer larvae eggs being deposited on the pasture for a period of time, depending on the product’s persistence. However, conventional dewormers only last for a short time – about 14 to 42 days. So even if cows are dewormed at turnout, the dewormer has worn off by the time parasite larvae reach their heaviest concentration.

Producers who want to get the most out of their efforts should contact their veterinarian to discuss the strategic deworming protocol that will best fit their operation’s needs. And, of course, the sooner the better.

About Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health

On January 1st, 2017, Merial became part of the Boehringer Ingelheim group. As the second largest animal health business in the world, Boehringer Ingelheim is committed to making the industry even better at improving animal health. With more than 10,000 employees worldwide, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has products available in more than 150 markets and a global presence in 99 countries. For more information about Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, click here.

About Boehringer Ingelheim

Boehringer Ingelheim is one of the world’s 20 leading pharmaceutical companies. Headquartered in Ingelheim, Germany, Boehringer Ingelheim operates presently with a total of some 50,000 employees worldwide. The focus of the family-owned company, founded in 1885, is on researching, developing, manufacturing and marketing new medications of high therapeutic value for human and veterinary medicine. In 2015, Boehringer Ingelheim achieved net sales of about 14.8 billion euros. R&D expenditure corresponds to 20.3 per cent of net sales. For more information, please visit www.boehringer-ingelheim.com

Merial is now part of Boehringer Ingelheim.

©2017 Merial, Inc., Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. RUMIELR1651 (01/17)


1Lawrence JD, Ibarburu MA. Economic Analysis of Pharmaceutical Technologies in Modern Beef Production in a Bioeconomy Era. Iowa State University. 2009.

2Mathematical calculations based on 140-day and 60-day calving seasons.

3Coppock CE. The importance of an energy-dense diet for high-producing dairy cows. Vet Med/Food Anim Pract. 1990;85:429-434.