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Rancher help needed to answer: “Does it pay to deworm?”

If you have some yearlings heading out to pasture this season and can help veterinary researchers with a parasite study, there may be more rewards in store beyond what your good deeds will find in heaven.

The Western College of Veterinary Medicine and the University of Calgary Veterinary Medicine school are looking for producers to participate in the study. They are looking to answer an important question about the value of deworming yearling cattle. If you have a group of cattle that can stay in the study from start to finish they’ll compensate you $1000 for your troubles and also provide a report on how your cattle performed over the season.

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Not only will your involvement help increase knowledge about beef production in Western Canada, but a bit of cash doesn’t hurt either. Following is a release on the details of the project with contact information at the end.

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 in an internal parasite study of pastured yearling. 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 yearling cattle?

In order to participate, we following criteria must be met:

  • Cattle can be either yearling heifers or steers.
  • There must be at least 100 head per group.
  • The cattle cannot be dewormed within 2 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 chose 25 animals that will be treated with both a short-acting (Safe-Guard) and long-acting dewormer (Long-Range). The animals will be ear-tagged, weighed, and a fecal sample obtained to assess 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 again 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 one 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, then we will pay $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 animals (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 for when the cattle are coming off pasture.

If you are interested, then please contact either:

Dr. Murray Jelinski, [email protected] ; Office (306) 966-7166, Cell (306) 270-9118.

Dr. Grant Royan, [email protected]; Cell (306) 527-2441.

About the author

Field Editor

Lee Hart

Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary.

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