20160302 BHC Newsletter Spring 2016 FINAL

Parasite Control at Turn out for Beef Animals

Maressa Sheeran, Regional Veterinary Laboratory, Kilkenny

T he aim of any parasite control programme is to ensure that the health and performance of your cattle is not affected by parasites. Farmers may control parasites by a number of methods (If any farm relies on dosing/anthelmintics alone they will increase their chances of building up resistance on their farms and even getting to a situation where drugs are not effective any more. Once resistance develops on a farm it does not revert, i.e. even if you stop using a particular dose for a while it will not start to work again. If you suspect resistance on your farm this can be tested for using faecal samples, talk to your vet about how to do this). You should control parasites on your farm by A) Grazing Management Use pastures with lower levels of parasites for younger animals i.e. Low Risk Pastures • New or reseeded pastures • Pastures that have not been grazed by cattle from the previous housing period to mid-season (June/July) • Pastures that have been grazed by sheep alone for 1-2months • Pastures that have been co-grazed with sheep and cattle

Gutworms Adult suckler cows - low risk

It is rare for adult beef cows to show any clinical signs of gut worm infestation. They should not require dosing for gutworms. Second season grazers - medium risk These animals are not fully immune to gut worms and can experience production losses and occasionally disease. Lack of exposure to infection during their first year (as seen in late-born calves, beef suckler calves or groups that receive intensive anthelmintic treatment) may result in high parasite levels. First season grazers-risk depends on calf type These calves initially have no immunity to parasites and are at risk of clinical, as well as subclinical gut worm infestations. Suckler calves and calves from dairy herds bought in for beef systems must be considered separately in terms of risk factors. Beef Suckler calves are at a low risk, as they are grazing with their mothers and have low herbage intake. Also milk may reduce the effects of parasites. Body condition and growth rate shouldbemonitored during the season and faecal samples from 10-15 calves (which can be pooled) should be checked for parasites. If nutrition appears adequate, significant numbers of worm eggs are present and growth rates are below target, then the use of anthelmintics is justified. (Recent research indicates that group performance can be maintained by treating only those animals with growth rates that fall below target).

• Pastures subject to rotational grazing B) Appropriate Use of anthelmintics

Only use wormers when you need to. Only use them on stock that have parasites at a level that is affecting their health or thrive.




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