Are parasites draining your profits?

Are parasites draining your profits?

1 March 2017

The wet spring of 2016 led to a drop in production on many farms. While it might be tempting to milk for longer to make up lost ground it’s important not to compromise next season’s production.

To maximise production, farmers need to take extra care of their cows, not only those in acceptable condition, but also those at risk and at the tail end of the herd. At-risk cows are those that were sick, lame or had mastitis during the season, as well as the young cows in the herd. These at-risk cows and those with low body condition score (BCS) should be dried off earlier. For the remaining cows, take time to ensure their production or BCS gain is not impacted by other factors. Assuming the basics are covered (e.g. good feed quality and quantity, enough trace elements) a practical next step is to reduce the impact of parasites. Parasites have been shown to affect older cows, impacting milk production and body condition1,2,3. NZ trial work has also demonstrated the detrimental effect parasites have on the reproduction outcomes of heifers4.

Parasite larvae are present in grass and can be ingested in very large quantities, particularly in the autumn. Pasture contamination is worse where younger animals graze on the milking platform or if cows are forced to graze low feed covers. The cow’s immune system mounts a response to the ingested parasite larvae, which costs the cow in terms of protein (in the form of cells and antibodies) and energy, which subsequently can’t be used to produce milk or gain weight. Drenching infected adult cows can help minimise these production losses. Cydectin® Pour-On works for longer in the cow, protecting her from the larvae that are ingested daily and preventing this wasted diversion of energy to the immune system. Trials have shown cows treated with Cydectin Pour-On can produce four percent more milk, 4.2 kilograms more milk solids (MS) and gain up to 14 kg more than cows left either untreated or treated with a short-acting oral drench5.

Knowing which cows are ‘wormy enough’ to justify treatment is difficult as faecal egg count testing can be unreliable in adult cows. Using ‘first principles’ can help you identify the majority of cows in need of worm control. If cows are in poor condition prior to dry off, don’t wait to treat these animals. To meet body condition score targets, with at least 90 percent of mixed-age cows having a BCS between 4.5 and 5.5 at calving, treat low body condition score cows earlier. Cydectin Pour-On has a nil milk withhold period so treatment can be applied at any time during the lactation cycle. And, if the cow doesn’t make the grade by dry off and has already been treated, Cydectin Pour-On also has a nil meat withhold period (including bobby calves).

These nil withholds, combined with persistent activity against key production-limiting worms, make Cydectin Pour-On an ideal treatment option to maximise the performance and value of your herd.

If your cows need worm treatment this year, talk to your local Fonterra Farm Source TSR or visit your local Farm Source or RD1 store.

1Charlier, J, et al. Gastrointestinal nematode infections in adult dairy cattle: Impact on production, diagnosis and control Vet. Parasitol., 2009

2Gross, S.J.,et al. Anthelmintic treatment of dairy cows and its effect on milk production. Vet. Rec. 1999

3Sanchez, J., A meta-analysis of the milk-production response after anthelmintic treatment in naturally infected adult dairy cows. Prev. Vet. Med. 2004

4McPherson WB, The Impact Of Eprinomectin Treatment On Dairy Cattle Reproductive Performance. Proc. Society of Dairy Cattle Veterinarians NZVA, 2000

5Murphy A, The effect of treatment with moxidectin, a long acting endectocide, on milk production in lactating dairy cows. Buiatrics, 1998

Zoetis New Zealand Limited. www.zoetis.co.nz. Cydectin is a registered trade mark of Zoetis Inc. or its subsidiaries. ACVM No. A6203.

Article supplied by Zoetis NZ Ltd