Plan worming for economic growth

With turnout soon upon us, many producers are considering their worming strategy for 2006 and the emphasis should be on maintaining economic growth.

With removal of headage payments, it now makes financial sense to keep young grazing cattle growing as fast as possible towards an earlier finish.

Any first season growth setbacks due to a worm burden would be costly.

It is vital worming regimes keep challenge to a minimum throughout the full grazing season to avoid growth checks, says Schering Plough vet adviser Paul Williams.

“For optimum efficacy producers should make sure their wormer offers a maximum period of grazing cover.

Whatever regime is used it must follow product guidelines, deliver a financial return and allow natural immunity to develop so wormers are not required for older cattle.”

Pfizer vet adviser Ben Lacey says all cattle less than two years of age should be wormed with a preventative strategy.

“A significant worm burden could lead to up to 0.6kg a day in lost performance, a reduction in growth and feed conversion ratio and reduced appetite.”

A worming regime should also be incorporated in a herd health plan, with an emphasis on production efficiencies through maximum daily liveweight gain and possibly fewer days to slaughter, he adds.

Farmers have various options for season-long worm control. Boluses and endectocide programmes, such as doramectin pour-on at turnout and eight weeks later are just two, but he warns against just using a single mid-season dose.

“Often farmers will treat mid-season and be pleased to see a boost in condition and bloom of stock, but this means there is a burden to start off with, which could potentially have limited performance.”

Mr Williams adds that farmers must understand the labour implications of the chosen worming system.

“If producers can’t guarantee to administer all required treatments when they are due, the regime won’t maximise growth rates.”

Whichever system is used, Mr Lacey advises producers to discuss treatment with their vet and to incorporate the regime into their herd health plan for the season.