Producer Perspective on Parasite Control

Developing 800-1,000 heifers each year and running a small cow-calf herd Glenn Rogers from Palo Pinto County, Texas implements several parasite control protocols.

In addition to ranching Rogers spends

a small portion of his time as a consulting veterinarian after spending his career moving from private practice, academia and Pfizer Animal Health, it has given him a broad background in fly and worm control.

"With the heifers we handle those cattle so much that we rely on a pour-on for flies," Rogers says.

Heifers are run through the chute often enough at the Holt River Ranch for synchronization and pregnancy checks that it works effectively to just do a pyrethrin pour-on. He doesn't like using fly tags because they cover the identification ear tags on the heifers.

A focus on movement to new pastures, and adequate rest for areas that have been grazed also helps Rogers parasite control program.

The cows are in a more remote and aridlocation north of the Holt River Ranch headquarters. In the spring the cows receive two fly tags and that is the main control method.

He plans to do a three year rotation with pyrethroid tags for two years and an organophosphate the third year.

If horn flies become a problem cows could receive a pyrethrin pour-on treatment later in the summer.

Rogers tries to keep his feeding areas clean of wasted feed to help reduce fly problems, too.

Heifers in the development program and calves are injected with a longer acting dewormer. Rogers says the absorption rate is more effective for the injectable versus an endectocide pour-on dewormer in young stock, but there isn't quite the benefit in older animals.

During the first processing of baby calves at Holt River Ranch calves receive an injectable, with calves averaging 2-3 months of age in the spring calving herd. Rogers believes there is an advantage to deworming those calves because they are already "picking" at grass to ingest worm larvae and it is a low cost treatment that has substantial benefit.

The mature cows get a pour-on dewormer in the spring helping with that early season fly control and knocking back worms.

Rogers likes to dose his cows based on the highest weights in the herd rather than an average because it will help get the best coverage and prevents under dosing of larger animals.

In the fall cows will be dewormed again with either a pour-on or a white oral drench dewormer.

New arrivals onto the Holt River Ranch are quarantined and dewormed as well.

"Early in the year is the time to be thinking about parasite control. So often we worry about fly control when we see a problem. We worry about many things in our operations when it is after the fact," Rogers says. Conditions that favor increased flies and worms can be a moving target, but you can only change a plan if you have one.

He recommends developing a herd health program early in the year to think about when you are going to administer health protocols. Holt River Ranch tries to make the scheduled parasite control around the same time reproduction work or vaccinations are being performed.

"Every operation needs to look at specific goals, the different options available and what fits their program," Rogers says of parasite control.