Parasitic Management

De-wormers, Anthelmintics, like Sirona’s Alpheus Anti-Parasitic Capsules are an excellent tool for managing parasites in New Zealand cattle.

Strategic parasite management

De-wormers shouldn’t be used to treat infected cattle showing signs of parasitism, instead apply de-wormers at the right time to reduce infection before symptoms of disease occur. Treatment should be timed to interrupt the life cycle of the parasite to minimize pasture contamination.

Pasture management and anthelmintics (de-wormers) are two methods used to control internal parasites. Pasture management practices can help to reduce the parasite burden in cattle, but this alone isn’t guaranteed to eradicate parasites.

Part of the nematode life cycle is on pasture. Here are some tips to reduce third-stage larva populations:

  • Move young cattle to safe pastures that haven’t been grazed by young cattle during the last 12 months. Always de-worm cattle before placing them on safe pasture, or it can immediately become contaminated.
  • Place less susceptible, mature cattle on the more contaminated pastures. Mature cows under a good nutrition programme develop some immunity to parasites and are less affected by them than young cattle and calves.
  • Don’t overgraze pastures. Animals on overgrazed pastures graze closer to the ground and pick up more larvae. Rotational grazing systems are unlikely to provide enough rest to paddocks to reduce possible contamination.

Rotational grazing

Some studies have shown that rotational grazing can increase infection compared to continuous stocking, because rotational grazing allows higher stocking rates. However, rotational grazing combined with a strategic de-worming programme can still provide more production per acre than conventional grazing. If flukes are a problem, identify ways to increase pasture drainage and fence off problem areas such as ponds.

It’s also important to understand your property. Treatment programmes should be tailored to the individual needs of the property. Best results come from knowledge of the property’s resistance profile and monitoring the herd’s faecal egg counts.