Turnout is coming, whether earlier or later than planned, in addition to thoughts on feed availability and weather conditions there are a few parasite issues we should also consider.
From the point of view of parasites, we’d be looking to control:
- Liver fluke - Where there is a risk of liver fluke, most farms will treat cattle around housing time. Depending on the timing of treatment, and the active used, some liver fluke may have survived to adulthood and now be producing eggs to contaminate pastures for the next fluke season. Checking for fluke eggs before turnout, and treating positive groups with a product to target adult fluke (i.e. containing albendazole, oxyclosanide or clorsulon) will help reduce the liver fluke risk to all grazing stock for the autumn fluke season. For more info, check the updates from COWS and our webinar ‘Liver Fluke – Test Don’t Guess’ with Moredun and the NSA.
- Roundworms – Once the grass starts to grow, roundworms will also be active (lungworm and gastrointestinal worms). It takes up to two full grazing seasons for cattle to develop immunity to some species of gut worms, but some exposure is required for immunity to develop. This can be achieved by strategic treatments with an appropriate wormer such as DectomaxTM Pour on, which contains doramectin. Worming at turnout (week zero), and eight weeks later, effectively manages gut worm burdens in the animal whilst also minimising pasture worm burdens, giving optimum growth rates while allowing some immunity to develop.1 Doramectin gives effective control of Cooperia which can be the main challenge for first grazing season animals2.
- Coccidiosis –Coccidiosis is spread by faecal-oral transmission (i.e. contamination of food or water with faeces containing coccidial oocysts), so any delay to turnout may increase the risk of this infection spreading within a group of calves. While it can cause serious disease in individual animals, the majority of the financial impact within a group is caused by decreased weight gain in the apparently healthy animals. Consideration should be given to targeting groups of calves at or around turnout time to prevent disease and growth checks at this time.
- Ectoparasites –Flies can cause irritation, stress and seriously affect cattle productivity; the main months for fly problems are May to August. Control of flies can be achieved by applying FlyporTM when cattle are gathered for a mid season worm treatment (e.g. 8 weeks after turnout if using Dectomax InjectionTM at 0 & 8 weeks), if dosed at turnout. FlyporTM is a synthetic pyrethoid pour on that also treats lice and mange mites; which can be a problem in early spring, causing irritation and reduced productivity.
Further information on parasites affecting cattle can be accessed on the right of this page.