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Parasite watch (May 24)

Adapt your grazing plans

Grazing management is a key component of parasite control, but waterlogged and flooded fields this spring may put parasite plans into chaos, particularly with turnout delayed due to persistently wet weather.


Where possible, do not use the same fields that youngstock grazed last season. If clean grazing – not grazed by cattle in 2023 – is unavailable at turnout, prioritise the least-infected fields for calves and first-season grazing youngstock.

Sioned Timothy, Technical Services Manager

Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health

Where there is no option but to expose at-risk youngstock to overwintered gutworm larvae and eggs on pasture, it is even more critical to implement monitoring strategies to manage worm burdens and prevent production loss.


Faecal egg count tests (FECs) can be useful in this situation. Pooled samples from a group of young animals, taken periodically from turnout until mid-summer, allow you to monitor worm egg output and treat cattle when levels have risen, thereby controlling the number of eggs shed onto the pasture.


Data on the level of egg shed onto pasture can also inform decisions on grazing management. Using silage fields after the final cut of the season is also a great option to reduce gutworm challenge later in the summer.


If grazing is severely restricted due to waterlogging or damage at turnout, allow younger animals to graze paddocks first. Adults should have developed immunity to gutworms and can withstand more highly infected pasture before production losses occur.


Weight monitoring of youngstock can also help indicate when gutworm burdens are impacting production. Weigh calves before turnout and track against average daily liveweight gain targets through the grazing season. Any individuals not reaching targets with sufficient nutrition are likely to have a high gutworm burden that will benefit from treatment.


Ask your vet or Suitably Qualified Person (SQP), at your local agricultural merchant, for more advice and support on managing parasites this grazing season.


EPRINEX® Pour-On is a tried-and-tested zero-milk withhold wormer that treats and provides protection against reinfection with the most pathogenic gutworm species Ostertagia ostertagi and the cattle lungworm for up to 28 days.

EPRINEX® Pour-On for beef and dairy cattle contains eprinomectin. POM-VPS. Advice should be sought from the prescriber. Further information available in the SPC or from Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd, RG12 8YS, UK. Tel: 01344 746957. Email: EPRINEX® and the Steerhead® logo are registered trademarks of Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health France SCS, used under licence. ©2024 Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health UK Ltd. All rights reserved. Date of preparation: Apr 2024. UI-BOV-0058-2024. Use Medicines Responsibly.

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