Don’t overlook deworming this spring — timely application of parasite control before turnout can help maximize producers’ deworming dollars by reducing pasture contamination and helping keep cattle productive.
“Spring is one of the most critical stages for cattle and parasite control,” says Gary Sides, cattle nutritionist with Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Operations. “Cattle acquire parasites from pastures, and deworming during spring will help reduce future contamination while grazing. Plus, controlling parasites will pay off for producers in gain and overall health.”
Sides recommends producers think about parasite control when the grass starts to turn green in their area. That’s when parasites become active again. Winter does not kill parasites. In fact, many simply overwinter in the cattle or on pastures.
“Deworming during springtime helps break the cycle of pasture contamination and cattle infection,” Sides says. “Spring is also a critical stage for growth and development in cattle. Parasites can slow cattle down during this important time.”
Parasites can be responsible for depressed immune systems, making cattle more susceptible to disease challenges. In addition, parasites can suppress appetites, limiting intake and absorption of nutrients — ultimately reducing feed efficiency, gain and even reproduction.1
In addition to timing, producers should ensure their dewormer gets the most important parasites in their area — for instance Ostertagia ostertagi or brown stomach worm. A broad-spectrum dewormer like DECTOMAX® Injectable (doramectin) treats and controls brown stomach worms for up to 21 days. Plus, DECTOMAX is safe for pregnant cows, newborn calves and bulls.2
Don’t overlook calves when deworming, Sides says. Calves without immunity to parasites are most vulnerable, and deworming both cows and calves can help ensure strong weaning weights.
“If you’re planning to precondition calves, protocols often include parasite control and for good reason,” Sides says. “Parasite control can help you not only manage the parasite contamination on your pasture, but also – in combination with a good preconditioning program – produce healthier, stronger calves that are ready to earn producers more at sale day.”