As the seasons change from winter to spring, a grazer’s thoughts turn to fencing repairs and pasture renovations. It’s also time when astute managers who graze cattle plan their deworming strategies. Gastrointestinal parasitic worms (including Ostertagia, Cooperia and Haemonchus) also sense the season’s change. They gear up their reproductive efforts during the event commonly known as ‘the spring rise’. Doing so fulfills their evolutionary need to deposit as many eggs as possible to rapidly growing, cool season grasses.
By understanding the relationship between gastrointestinal parasitic worms and cattle, managers can couple their pasture management with the strategic use of deworming products. To aid in understanding this complex relationship, UW-Extension Taylor County Agriculture Agent Sandy Stuttgen and Oconto County Agriculture Agent Sarah Mills-Lloyd have published Gastrointestinal Parasites and Cattle in Wisconsin: Understanding and Managing the Relationship.
During the 2015 fall cow-calf workshops hosted by UW-Extension, beef producers were surveyed concerning their use of deworming products. This data has been summarized in the white paper, Wisconsin Beef Producers’ Use of Anthelmintics. Results indicate that 89 percent of those surveyed deworm their cattle. Calves at weaning and adult cattle in the fall was the deworming strategy most frequently cited; however, there is a wide arrangement of options practiced on farms. The authors conclude there are also misconceptions about the dewormer treatments, and how to avoid developing resistance to the products available on the market today.