Improving production efficiency | TSLN.com

Improving production efficiency

Dave Barz, DVM

Spring calving is over and most pairs have been moved to pasture. Sadly we are faced with a depressed national economy resulting in lower meat and calf prices while feed inputs have greatly increased. The cow-calf producer must examine his operation carefully to improve production efficiency.

Parasite control is important in providing extra value. Iowa State University researchers conclude that optimum parasite control programs provide value of $201 per head. This sounds like a lot of dollars, but the values were recalculated from previous data over the last 25 years using the higher costs of production from today.

When compared to the second most important practice to the cow-calf herd – the use of growth promoting implants – parasite control is six times more important to the break-even cost. We have always believed that parasite control would cause a 4-5 percent increase in weaning weight or 25-30 pounds. The real increase in efficiency is a 23 percent advantage in weaning rate based on the use of a whole herd parasite control program.

We treat a lot of young calves for scours at our clinic. We routinely run fecal exams for coccidia on scouring calves over 28 days of age. We are finding parasite eggs in more of these calves with bloody diarrhea. We treat them for parasites and recommend all calves be done before turnout. Many of our samples sent to the SDSU Diagnostic Lab are also shown to be shedding parasite eggs. The problem seems to be increasing.

In our area we do not have many herds with actual calving pastures. We calve in a modified feedlot situation. This greatly increases the concentration of parasites in a small area and makes it exponentially easier for the calf to become infected early in life. Sometimes these infections are heavy enough to cause illness and clinical signs in the very young calves.

Many of us have relied on pour-ons to remove internal parasites. Over time the parasites have developed resistance to over-the-back products. We have been reverting back to the use of more orals and injectables for the internal parasites. In the last several years there have not been a lot of new products added to the parasite control arsenal. We have been forced to formulate new protocols and time frames to better use existing products.

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Now we have the opportunity to use drenches, pour-ons, injections and feed grade control products. It is important that you visit with your veterinarian to better understand the life cycles of the parasites to choose the proper product and route of administration to most effectively handle your parasite problems. We feel that anytime you administer a control product you will gain financial benefit. The more organized your program and the more timely your intervention in the life cycle, the more you will gain from you program.

Adding a spring parasite control program will increase your weaning weights while also increasing your herd’s reproductive efficiency. If you are currently using this protocol, cutting back to save money will probably cost you money due to increased cost of production.

Parasite control is the most important technology the cow-calf producer can use to increase efficiency. Visit with your veterinarian or nutritionalist to devise the best strategy to control the parasites affecting your herd. The high cost of feeds will multiply your returns while allowing you to increase your efficiency and thereby improve your profitability.

Spring calving is over and most pairs have been moved to pasture. Sadly we are faced with a depressed national economy resulting in lower meat and calf prices while feed inputs have greatly increased. The cow-calf producer must examine his operation carefully to improve production efficiency.

Parasite control is important in providing extra value. Iowa State University researchers conclude that optimum parasite control programs provide value of $201 per head. This sounds like a lot of dollars, but the values were recalculated from previous data over the last 25 years using the higher costs of production from today.

When compared to the second most important practice to the cow-calf herd – the use of growth promoting implants – parasite control is six times more important to the break-even cost. We have always believed that parasite control would cause a 4-5 percent increase in weaning weight or 25-30 pounds. The real increase in efficiency is a 23 percent advantage in weaning rate based on the use of a whole herd parasite control program.

We treat a lot of young calves for scours at our clinic. We routinely run fecal exams for coccidia on scouring calves over 28 days of age. We are finding parasite eggs in more of these calves with bloody diarrhea. We treat them for parasites and recommend all calves be done before turnout. Many of our samples sent to the SDSU Diagnostic Lab are also shown to be shedding parasite eggs. The problem seems to be increasing.

In our area we do not have many herds with actual calving pastures. We calve in a modified feedlot situation. This greatly increases the concentration of parasites in a small area and makes it exponentially easier for the calf to become infected early in life. Sometimes these infections are heavy enough to cause illness and clinical signs in the very young calves.

Many of us have relied on pour-ons to remove internal parasites. Over time the parasites have developed resistance to over-the-back products. We have been reverting back to the use of more orals and injectables for the internal parasites. In the last several years there have not been a lot of new products added to the parasite control arsenal. We have been forced to formulate new protocols and time frames to better use existing products.

Now we have the opportunity to use drenches, pour-ons, injections and feed grade control products. It is important that you visit with your veterinarian to better understand the life cycles of the parasites to choose the proper product and route of administration to most effectively handle your parasite problems. We feel that anytime you administer a control product you will gain financial benefit. The more organized your program and the more timely your intervention in the life cycle, the more you will gain from you program.

Adding a spring parasite control program will increase your weaning weights while also increasing your herd’s reproductive efficiency. If you are currently using this protocol, cutting back to save money will probably cost you money due to increased cost of production.

Parasite control is the most important technology the cow-calf producer can use to increase efficiency. Visit with your veterinarian or nutritionalist to devise the best strategy to control the parasites affecting your herd. The high cost of feeds will multiply your returns while allowing you to increase your efficiency and thereby improve your profitability.