The control of parasites in livestock is an important topic that has received a lot of attention for years. There are numerous chemical dewormers available for the control of internal parasites and a large number of pyrethroids and organophosphates for the control of flies.

The problem with all these products is that they are chemicals that affect not only the target organism, but also other beneficial organisms. Parasite control products can negatively affect dung beetles, earthworms, other beetles and many other beneficial insects.

Is it possible to limit the treatment against parasites and develop a herd that needs little to no internal and external parasite control? The answer is yes.

The question is how can we achieve this? In this blog we describe 5 tips to eliminate internal parasites.

Tip 1: Genetic resistance

All animal species possess some degree of natural resistance to internal and external parasites. Within each species, breed and herd there are individual animals that show a greater tolerance to parasites and animals that are more susceptible. By identifying these individuals, we can begin the process of culling susceptible animals and selecting for resistant animals.

Tip 2: Management Intensive Grazing

One of the best ways to reduce pressure from internal and external parasites is to move livestock before the worm pressure becomes contagious. By using Management Intensive Grazing and moving the cattle on a daily basis, it becomes easier to keep the cattle at a distance from these new infestations. In warm weather, fly eggs can hatch in 1-2 days, the larvae feed for 3-5 days and pupate 4-6 days before emerging as a fly.

For internal parasites, infected cattle drop the eggs on the ground through the manure.

Rest periods between grazing moments play an important role in preventing new infestation.

Moving livestock on a daily basis using Management Intensive Grazing makes this selection process much easier. As a result, you will see the cattle more often when they pass you to enter the new pasture.

Tip 3: Grazing in a long crop

For internal parasites, using long crops, such as Saladebuffetten of herbs and clover varieties that can grow tall are one of the best ways to prevent infection. Since stomach worm larvae are very sensitive to drying out from sunlight and heat, they tend to stay within the first 8-10cm of growth relative to the ground. By letting the cattle graze in a long crop we prevent the ingestion of larvae in the infection stage.

This is easily solved by organizing the grazing in such a way that a lot of residue remains and the cattle graze no lower than 15-18 cm in crop height.

Tip 4: Make use of biodiversity

This is one of the most overlooked strategies for controlling internal and external parasites. Different plant species produce different types of phytochemicals that not only have a high nutritional value, but also possess potent antiparasitic and medicinal properties.

Many pastures have low plant diversity, so our livestock's ability to routinely consume a diverse range of plant species is very limited.

Tip 5: Graze several animal species together

Until the 1980s, grazing sheep and young stock together was a widely used option to keep the infection pressure by gastrointestinal and lungworms low. The beauty of this system is that the animals do become infected and build up resistance, but are not hindered by it because the infection pressure is too low.

The worms of sheep do not reproduce in cattle and vice versa. In this way the growth cycle of the worm is broken as soon as it is taken up by another host, in which the worm cannot reproduce.

You now have 5 tips to effectively combat parasites in livestock without the costs and complications of chemical control. This is a great way to cut costs and significantly improve the performance and health of your herd. By combining all 5 in your management strategy you will be very effective in reducing parasite problems.

The grazing course and Pure Graze NxT STEP are packed with these kinds of tips and tricks to save money and increase green fodder yield.

Interested? – Follow the webinar on Tuesday; 7 success factors for effective grazing and receive a nice discount on the Grazing Course!


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