Strategic deworming: Time it right

Apr 27, 2012
by WLJ

—Planning ahead can have a positive impact on cow/calf health and productivity.

Strategic deworming success is the result of precise timing. Once perfected, cow/ calf producers can expect to see many benefits to their operations—not only in their wallets but in the health and productivity of their cattle as well, according to Jon Seeger, DVM, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health One key to successfully managing herd health is the ability to plan ahead and control parasites yearround. Timing, in relation to seasonal challenges, geographic areas, pasture types and overall management goals for the operation all play a large role in the success of specific protocols.

Changing a product class or adjusting the time of application also can have a direct effect on parasite control in the herd.

Incorporating spring ad ministration into a strategic deworming protocol can pay off for producers who normally only deworm in the fall months. In the spring, producers should develop a plan for the entire year— according to grazing activity and prevalence of specific parasites in the area—that can help keep cattle in the best health possible and reduce pasture contamination.

Time it right and break the cycle of pasture contamination. Deworm cows during the spring calving period and before summer pasture turnout. This parasite control before summer turnout can prevent inhibition-prone larvae from infecting grazing calves. Fall calves and yearlings also should be dewormed at this time.

Aligning deworming application with pasture management and parasite activity can help producers improve their bottom line.

Fewer worms in the herd mean improved appetite and weight gain, resulting in healthy immune systems and optimal responses to vaccines. This leads to more profitable cattle and higherquality carcasses.

The success of a strategic deworming program will vary depending on location and environment, but by implementing a program, cow/calf producers can expect to see many benefits, including: • $201 per head return on deworming • Lower cost of production over the lifetime of the animal • Improved feed efficiency and gain • Healthy calves that are ready to earn producers more on sale day Ultimately, the best way to protect the overall health of a cow/calf herd is to work with a veterinarian to develop a year-round strategic parasite control and deworming program that matches specific production and management goals. All cows, calves and yearlings can benefit from the application of strategic parasite control—leading to economic gain and a sound cow/calf herd. — WLJ