Management

The management and diagnosis of roundworm parasite infections in cattle has changed over the past decade. In the past, detecting the presence or absence of parasite infection was enough to justify treatment. More recently there has been a shift to ensure that the impact of those infections on production, or the risk of disease, matches the approach to treatments. This is an important step since roundworm infections are very common in cattle, but not every infection is of economic importance. With the recent recognition of the widespread occurrence of resistance by worms to drenches, it has become more relevant for producers to identify the associated production losses, to determine what diagnostic and control measures are most effective and sustainable.

Management programs should include:

  • An annual plan to monitor parasites (and treating if necessary), based on the relative susceptibility of different classes of stock and seasonal risk periods for when parasites are likely to be picked-up.
  • A management plan to avoid the build-up of drench resistance by minimising drench usage.
  • Regular monitoring to detect changes in parasite populations, or the severity of infection on farm.

Most producers will need to treat their cattle for worms at some stage to improve productivity and protect stock from suffering worm burdens. Not all management options reviewed here are suitable for all properties and not all can be implemented together, so it is important to work out a plan to manage resistance for your individual property that suits your own circumstances.

Strategic treatments

Assess worm burdens

Tests for drench resistance

Calculating the economic benefit of treatment

Non-chemical worm control

Breed cattle for worm resistance

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