The Parasite Life Cycle is Meant to be Broken

Start planning now to defend your herd from parasites next year.

As a cattle producer in today’s volatile market, you’ve studied the factors that can cut into the efficiency and profitability of your herd. But even so, many producers still underestimate the effects that parasites can have on cattle health, productivity and their bottom line.

One proven way to improve all of these is to consider a strategic deworming program that can effectively eliminate parasites in cattle and decrease the load on the pasture.

Though it may seem premature to begin thinking about next spring, to achieve maximum performance, we strongly suggest delving into next year’s calendar. Deworming your herd in the spring is a crucial yet cost-effective way to boost reproductive efficiencies in your cows now and weaning weights in your calves later.

But to get the most out of your parasite control strategy, you should first talk to your veterinarian to learn the basics of the parasite life cycle.

Decreasing your parasite burden won’t just benefit your herd in the short term; it will also help prevent pasture reinfection later down the road.

Decreasing your parasite burden won’t just benefit your herd in the short term; it will also help prevent pasture reinfection later down the road.

It takes about 100 days to break the parasite life cycle, which is the key to reducing the parasite burden on the pasture.1,2 This can be done by timing multiple applications throughout the season or using a product with longer persistency. Doing so can help you raise better-performing cattle throughout the grazing season and beyond.

With a well-planned deworming program, your animals will be better positioned to achieve increased milk production, improved feed and reproductive efficiencies, and stronger immune systems to fight off other diseases.

You should also consider the residual effects of strategic deworming. Pastures with lower parasite loads are less likely to infect calves or reinfect cows in the summer and fall.

Of course, every producer’s situation is unique – no two herds are the same and neither are their parasite burdens. That’s why consulting your vet is so important. He or she can help evaluate your operation’s needs and recommend a deworming protocol and product(s) based on their findings. Your grazing season time frame, the age and category of your animals, your operation type and grazing history of the pasture are all considerations to discuss.

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1Morley FH, Donald AD. Farm management and systems of helminth control. Vet Parasitol. 1980;6:105-134.
2Brunsdon RV. Principles of helminth control. Vet Parasitol. 1980;6:185-215.