Beef Buzz News
Dr. Harold Newcomb Says Strategic Deworming Helps Your Bottom Line
Thu, 02 Sep 2021 09:33:27 CDT
As ranchers and dairymen and women across Oklahoma prepare their operations for fall, another round of deworming cattle comes to mind. Ron Hays talked with Harold Newcomb, technical services manager and veterinarian with Merck Animal Health, about parasite control strategies ahead of the turn of the season.
Listen to Ron's conversation with Dr. Newcomb here
Newcomb said parasite control is important for three reasons: an infestation causes an animal to reduce their feed intake, lag in production - whether that is measured in weight gain, milk production or reproduction, and negatively affects their ability to viral vaccines and diseases.
“If you think about it, parasites are one thing that that animal is facing every day of its life when it’s out there grazing,” Newcomb said. “You get parasite control right and a lot of other things look good.”
If producers are worming cattle before the first frost, Newcomb said they likely have to worm those cattle again.
“When that temperature falls below 40 F most - but not all - of your transmission stops,” Newcomb said. “If you deworm at that time then there’s no more parasites to go out there to go be transmitted.”
Newcomb called this method strategic deworming.
“If you (deworm) too early, (cattle) just go back there and eat up more parasites and start pushing them out,” Newcomb said. “What you are trying to do is lower the parasite burden on the pasture.”
If producers hit parasites around the first frost, Newcomb said they will likely not have to worry about deworming until spring.
Another tip he offered producers was to test their cattle before they buy wormer. It’s a relatively simple process, he added.
“Determine what the level of parasitism is and what parasites are there, before I make the decision to deworm,” Newcomb said. “Once I make the decision to treat, I want to do a fecal egg-count-reduction test and I want to see a 90% drop in that egg count, pre to post.”
To do the fecal egg-count-reduction test, producers should gather 20 samples on day zero, test, grab samples two weeks later from the same 20 cattle and test again, Newcomb said. Success shows as a 90% drop in the parasite egg count, he added.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron’s conversation with Dr. Newcomb.
Producers should speak with their veterinarian if they have questions. Oklahoma State University’s Rosslyn Biggs explains why a producer’s relationship with their veterinarian is so important, check that story out here.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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