Spring is an exciting time of year for cattle farmers. The signs of nice fresh green grass growing in the fields will be wonderful. You will likely want to get animals outside to start grazing. In addition you may have spring calving herds ready to provide new animals in April and May. While it is a great time, you need to think about animal wellbeing. It can be a good time to treat cattle with wormer to address parasite loads.
The thing to keep in mind here is that the parasite burden will reach its peak in spring. It happens for a number of reasons. One of the most crucial is the animals will be grazing fresh spring grass. It may not have enough time to get to a good height before the cattle are consuming it. When that happens there is a higher risk of consuming parasites.
It is a good idea to start off the season by treating animals. It will protect them for spring and into summer when the parasite load will drop. You may then need to treat again in autumn when the burden increases again.
Animals to look out for
There are a number of specific animals you need to pay special attention to here. Cattle bearing calves will likely need worming. Calving is a very stressful time and can compromise the immune system. In turn that increases the risk of susceptibility to parasites. So, it is usually best to treat these cows with wormer early in spring before calving.
Yearlings need attention too. These are calves between 1 and 2 years old. You should deworm them in spring and again later in the year until they reach maturity.
Calves will need worming more frequently until they reach a year old. They will get some immunity during weaning but still have a high risk of parasite infestation. With that in mind you will likely need to deworm them every 3 or 4 months. This should start from around 3-4 months old.
Bulls are also naturally more susceptible to worms because of their lower gastrointestinal response. As a result, you typically need to treat them with wormer in spring and autumn.
Check the condition of animals
Above is just a rough guide for deworming. Some pastures and farms may have a higher parasite burden due to things like overstocking or poor rotational management. Here you may need to deworm more often. The best thing to do is check the condition of animals and then decide on a schedule.
Initially you will see subclinical effects of parasites. This includes a drop in gain, lower milk production, and difficulty conceiving. You should keep an eye out for these as they are not obviously visible signs of parasite infestation.
In time there will be more visible signs of parasites too. This includes rough coats and anaemia. Ensure you are monitoring for these too.
Make sure you use the right wormer
As you can see, spring is a time when worming cattle is a very good idea. However, you need to make sure you choose the right products. The choice here will likely come down to benzimidazoles and avermectins/milbemycins. The latter are very good for calves. What you need to do is consider the spectrum of parasites the wormers can treat, the efficacy, and application methods.
At JS Hubbuck Ltd we have a really great selection of products. More importantly we know how to use them and potential issues like animals building immunities. We are happy to offer advice to all clients.
So, if you need wormer and want some help, contact us. Good practice here is vital for animal health and productivity.