Rain and warm humid weather are ideal conditions for the development of infectious diseases during these summer months. Worm infections in particular are widespread. As summer progresses calves eat more grass and the risk of infection rises. Stomach worm can cause up to 50% loss in performance. It’s vital that the health of a farmer’s stock is constantly treated for worms.
Stomach worms are present as larvae which have survived from the previous season and others arise because they are passed through the gut of a cow. Calves which have not been exposed to this infection before have no immunity, so the larvae multiply in their stomachs. This leads to the spread of infection very quickly. Animals will be up to two years old before full immunity develops. Although cattle develop resistance over time, dosing for all animals is still usually required around July.
HOW BEST TO TREAT THE ANIMALS?
There are an enormous range of products on the market to treat worms in animals – ranging from the oral dose, to the injection, to a pour on or bolus. It cannot be said that any one product is better than another, but the longevity of activity against worms can vary in the type of product used.
The white wormer that is orally dosed is probably the cheapest form of treating cattle with worms, but it also has the shortest activity length against worms. The many Ivermectin injections have various activity lengths and price wise, per animal, are slightly dearer than a white wormer, but are effective. Pour ons are again very effective and are extremely easy to use especially from a labour point of view. Weather may be a problem when using a pour on as a few hours of drying are required after application to allow it to soak in. Finally, a bolus can be given to stock orally, which is lodged in the animal’s stomach where it remains slowly releasing and killing worms during the grazing period. It’s a once off dose which, from a labour point of view, makes it very attractive, but is more expensive than any of the other forms of treating animals.
WILL OLDER STOCK BENEFIT
Some older stock on the farm will benefit from a worm treatment at this time of year, namely yearling stores and in particular suckled yearlings, who would not have been as prone to worm infestation in their first year of growth.. Cows in general this year are showing more signs of worm infestation with persistent coughing been remarked by many farmers. If such is to be heard in your stock it is advisable to treat the herd.
BEING AWARE OF THE PRESENCE OF FLUKE
It may seem strange to mention Fluke at this time of year as we associate treating animals for fluke infestation during the late autumn and winter months. However if you happen to kill any animals in the factory over the coming weeks it is worth noting on the factory sheet return has the factory indicated whether fluke was active in any of the animals that were killed. We sometimes naively believe that because we dosed an animal maybe once over the winter period that all the fluke have been killed off in that animal. Unfortunately that may not be the case and if any few have been left behind they can multiply very rapidly again. It is estimated that €90 million is lost in the irish agricultural industry each year due to the presence of fluke. When routinely treating for worms throughout the summer it may be well worth while treating at least once during that period for fluke as well.
WHAT IS THE CORRECT DOSAGE TO GIVE?
All animal dosing products provide details on how much product to give an animal with regard to the weight of that animal. The hardest part from a farmers point of view is estimating the actual weight of the animal they are about to treat. The FRS cattle weighing service can be very helpful as it gives accurate animal weights and is an indicator of how animals are performing.
KEEPING SAFETY IN MIND
Keep safety in mind at all times when dosing. Safe handling of the animal, the product one is using and the safety of the operator are important. Ensure facilities are stock friendly and secure. Wear protective clothing when handling dosing products and dispose of used product needles etc. in a safe and environmental friendly manner. From the operator point of view – don’t take chances – what might appear to be a very quiet bucket fed calf could have a very strong kick.
FRS CAN ASSIST
FRS Cahir have a wide extensive range of animal wormers at very competitive prices. We can also chat to you about what product may best suit the stock you wish to treat and what’s of best value. FRS have a very experienced team of operators to assist you when dosing and handling livestock.