Much of the Central United states has received abundant rainfall this summer, resulting in lush forage growth. That growth, however, follows an extended period of severe drought in many areas. During the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver last week, Merial technical services veterinarian Joe Dedrickson said some cows, even in areas with abundant grass, have lost body condition or have not shed their rough hair coats this summer.

Watch cow condition, even with lush forageInternal parasites could be contributing in some cases, but Dedrickson says nutritional deficiencies might be lingering from previous years. Also he says forage that grew rapidly this year after very little growth last year could be lower than normal in nutritional value. He encourages ranchers to monitor cow condition and ensure their supplement program provides adequate protein and minerals.

A comprehensive health program including vaccinations and parasite control also are important in cows recovering from the stresses associated with drought. Dedrickson says Merial’s LongRange (eprinomectin) parasite-control product is in its first season of use in the field, following its introduction in January. The product is intended to provide 100 to 150 days of control – essentially a full grazing season in the Northern United States. The company has been testing fecal samples from treated cattle through this summer and finding good results.

Another key feature of the injectible product, Dedrickson says, is that it requires a prescription from a veterinarian. Bringing a veterinarian into the process of developing a parasite-management plan can help producers achieve optimum results based on their pastures, grazing patterns, cattle-management and other factors, while also helping prevent the development of drug-resistant parasites. 

Regardless of which parasite-control products ranchers use, Dedrickson encourages them to work with their veterinarians to design an effective program.