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5 Management Tips for Controlling Worms in Cattle

5 Management Tips for Controlling Cattle Worms

Parasites, or worms, are an unfortunate reality when it comes to raising cattle on pasture. However, beef producers have effective management strategies at their disposal. By implementing these strategies, producers can reduce infestation and safeguard their cattle from diseases, decrease weight gain and mortality.

The key objective is to keep worms below the economic threshold of the cow. To achieve this, here are five valuable tips to ensure your cattle can stay focused on growth and performance.

1. Rotate Pastures

Prevent and manage worms by implementing a strategic pasture rotation plan. You can effectively combat worms by subdividing and rotating pastures every four to six days. Make sure animals have enough pasture to graze for the designated period. If rotating entire pastures is necessary, be aware that worms can survive up to 120 days in cool and wet conditions. To reduce infestation, avoid returning cattle to the same field for 60-120 days, depending on the weather.

2. Avoid Overgrazing

To minimize the risk of worm infections, leave at least 4-5 inches of pasture grass when rotating fields. Parasitic larvae can only travel up the first 2-3 inches of a grass blade. Opt for taller pasture grasses and avoid overstocking fields to prevent animals from grazing on infected remnants of grass.

3. Graze Mixed Species

Many worms are species-specific. Meaning that cattle worms cannot live in horses, and sheep worms cannot live in cattle. Mixed species grazing can help reduce the parasite load on pastures. Whether allowing different species to graze pastures on rotation or grazing together, the presence of multiple species lessens the number of larvae consumed by one species. Cattle should be paired with goats or sheep, while horses should be paired with goats.

4. Use Dewormers Responsibly

Combatting parasite resistance requires careful attention to dewormer dosing. Ensuring the correct dosage based on the animal’s weight is crucial, as under-dosing can contribute to parasite resistance. To measure the dosage accurately, consider using weigh scales in chutes. It’s always recommended to consult your veterinarian to discuss deworming protocols and consider only administering dewormers strategically to infected animals.

5. Incorporate Natural Worm Mitigants

As parasite resistance continues to grow, it’s important to explore natural solutions to help mitigate worms. Essential oils have shown promise in preventing worm attachment to the gut wall, while certain plants contain tannins and anti-nutritional factors can deter worms. Additionally, increasing dung beetle populations can help lower worm infections by consuming and burying cattle manure, including parasitic eggs.

Learn more about natural alternatives to protect your cattle from worms. Call 507-337-6916 or email to get started!


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