Regional Calf Report: Northwest Wisconsin – Mike Richter, Vita Plus

Posted on December 20, 2013 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Mike Richter, Vita Plus dairy specialist
Northern Wisconsin has a fair share of snow already.  This is a good time to catch up on fall deworming of youngstock if you were caught in the busyness of this year’s unusual harvest.

Many producers in our area turn their older calves and heifers out onto the “Back 40” during the summer months and check on them long enough to see that everyone is doing fine.  Others have some or all of their heifers custom-raised and, in many of those cases, the animals may have been on pasture or dirt lots.  Either of these environments is a perfect scenario for acquiring intestinal parasites.

I get asked from time to time which dewormer I would recommend using:  pour-on, injectable or medicated feed?

Personally, I prefer medicated feed.  Why?  In my opinion, it puts the medication right at the parasite’s location.  You’re not asking the medication to work its way through the skin and now thick, winter haircoat or deal with being washed off in the rain or snow.

This option has one other very important feature:  you don’t have to handle the livestock.  With pour-on and injectable dewormers, you must put the animal and the employee through the hassle and stress (and safety) of administering the medication.  With a feed-through dewormer, it’s simple:  offer the recommended dosage in a one-time feeding to each animal (topdress or TMR) and you’re done.

Realistically, most all heifers raised in the manner described above will be exposed to internal parasites.  Not convinced?  A simple, low-cost fecal exam can tell you if your cattle are positive or not.

A good parasite control program provides more in return than the cost of the investment:  better growth rates, better feed efficiency, better acceptance of vaccinations, quicker placement into the milking herd, and overall improved profitability for your farm.  With feed/supplement costs as a major concern for producers – not to mention feed inventory limitations for many – every little advantage can pay major dividends.

Category: Starting Strong - Calf Care