Geni Wren Whether marketing calves or caring for bred cows this fall, every cattle producer has to make the most of each pound of feed. So why feed parasites too? “There is no reason to feed the cow, calf and the parasites,” says Gary Sides, Ph.D., Pfizer Animal Health Veterinary Operations. “If you deworm, you’re making sure you’re feeding the growing animal and not the parasites. And, if cattle have been grazing on grass, they almost certainly have parasites.”
Producers could be losing as much as $3 billion annually in lost weight gains, poor feed conversion and increased disease due to parasites, says Sides. When cattle are infected with parasites, it can suppress their appetites, limiting the intake and absorption of nutrients. Plus, infections can mean cattle can’t fight off other diseases as easily.
For cows, it’s important to maximize the gains made while on pasture and keep them in good body condition through winter. For calves, every deworming offers the opportunity for significant improvement in productivity.
Sides recommends producers deworm cattle in the fall to help protect against Ostertagia ostertagi — or the brown stomach worm, and the most damaging internal parasite — and other parasites that can potentially rob cattle of performance and producers of profits.
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