Producers in the southeastern United States face unique challenges in parasite control because cattle can graze nearly year-round, says Dr. Doug Ensley, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.

“A good deworming program in late fall helps cows maintain body condition heading into winter,” says Dr. Ensley. “This is important whether you have a spring calving herd or whether you have a fall-calving herd and you are setting them up for the next breeding season.”

Dr. Ensley says if hot weather persists into the late fall, producers need to be aware of challenges from Haemonchus and Cooperia in young cattle. As the weather cools and there is more moisture, then adult cows and bulls will have more challenges with Ostertagia coming out of the inhibited stage. In the Gulf Coast region, producers also need to have a plan to control liver flukes.

“Depending on the parasite species challenging your herd, you may select a different parasite control product for different age classes,” explains Dr. Ensley. “If inhibited Ostertagia is the challenge, then a pour-on product like Cydectin® (moxidectin) Pour-On makes sense. But in younger stock that is being challenged by Cooperia, Synanthic® (oxfendazole) Suspension is the better choice.”

Dr. Ensley reminds producers carefully read and follow all label directions.

One area that producers many times overlook is parasite control in their breeding bulls. If preparing for a fall breeding season, it is critical to control parasites so bulls can maintain body condition during a busy breeding season. Fall parasite control is also important for bulls wintering over for a spring breeding season.

“Body condition has an impact on semen quality,” says Dr. Ensley. “If a bull has a parasite load, it is difficult for him to maintain body condition even during the rest period. Semen is produced during the rest period, so we need to make sure bulls aren’t forgotten when it comes to fall parasite control.”

Dr. Ensley encourages producers to work with their herd veterinarian to develop a parasite control program based on the parasite species in the area.