Participants wanted for internal parasite study of pastured yearling cattle

Researchers at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) and the University of Calgary Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM) are looking for cattle producers to assist it in an internal parasite study of pastured yearlings. We are entering into the second year of a two-year study dedicated to answering a simple but important question – does it pay to deworm pastured cattle?

In order to participate in the study, the following criteria must be met:

  • cattle can be either yearling heifers or steers;
  • there must be at least 100 head per group;
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  • the cattle cannot be dewormed within two months of turn-out;
  • must have facilities to weigh and sample the cattle at turn-out and again at round-up.

What is involved?

At the time of spring turn-out, we will randomly choose 25 animals that will be treated with both a short-acting (Safe-Guard) and long-acting de-wormer (Long-Range). The animals will be ear-tagged, weighed, and a fecal sample obtained to asses the level of internal parasites. We will also tag, weigh, and sample 25 head that will not be treated. The remaining cattle will be run through the chute but not processed.

When the cattle come off pasture, we will weigh them and take a second fecal sample. From the weights we can calculate average daily gain and relate this to parasite load. As stated, we have already completed on season (2019), and it would appear that on some farms the treated cattle did much better than the untreated cattle, but on other farms there was no difference. This could be related to many factors, including the particularly dry spring.

Why participate?

If you start and finish the trial, the we will pay you $1,000 for every group of cattle enrolled in the study; last year, we had multiple farms that ran two separate groups of yearlings. We will also provide you with a general report on all the farms and a customized report on your animal’s average daily gain and parasite burdens.

Lastly, we have a portable scale and squeeze with a head-gate. However, we require handling facilities that will accommodate the scale and squeeze, particularly when cattle are coming off pasture.

If you are interested in participating, please contact either:

Dr. Murray Jelinski – Email: [email protected]; Office: (306) 966-7166; Cell: (306) 270-9118
Dr. Grant Royan – Email: [email protected]; Cell: (306) 527-2441

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