‘Now is a good time to review parasite control in young stock’

The most important parasites to look out for at this time of year are gut and lungworms, liver fluke and rumen fluke, according to Darryl Boyd, Beef Advisor with the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Two months after turnout is a good time to review parasite control in young stock and reviewing control at this time allows you to monitor if earlier controls are working, he said.

It also allows farmers to assess the risk for the remainder of the grazing season, where Boyd said the second half of the season has the greatest risk of illness and production losses.

Boyd advises that monitoring daily liveweight gain, having knowledge of your own farm and using faecal egg counts are the best ways of assessing the risk level.

Where high stocking rates exist (in excess of 2500kg live weight per hectare) he said that closer monitoring is required as any infection will be more easily picked up by stock.

Although the greatest burden is later in the season it the beef advisor recommends that it is important to act now if the signs are there.

Boyd recommends moving young stock onto silage after grass as it’s cleaner pasture; if the cattle have a worm burden it is best practice to use a suitable product 48 hours before moving to clean them out.

If this is the second grazing year for animals hopefully immunity will be built up from previous exposure and treatments, but the beef advisor said that this is not always the case.

Generally, he said that spring born suckler calves won’t be at high risk at this time of year as they don’t yet have a high dependence on grass.

However, dairy bred beef calves require more monitoring now as they have a higher dependence on grass.