An Ounce of Prevention Equals Pounds of MilkBy
This year, Pennsylvania dairy farmer Larry Lohr will de-worm his cows twice
instead of five times, as was his practice until 1997. The cows will get one
treatment in spring after grazing all 19 of his paddocks and the second in late
fall--for insurance. That should keep brown stomach worms from nibbling into
his profits, thanks to an Agricultural
Research Service study at Lohr's farm.
With the new approach in 1997, Lohr's cows averaged 3 more pounds of milk a
day. Plus, their body weights stayed up and they excreted less nitrogen, a
Lohr had suspected that worms were making the cows' milk production rates
dip. So he collaborated on a 3-year study with ARS parasitologist Louis
Gasbarre in Beltsville, Md., and soil scientist Bill Stout in University Park,
Pa. The study was funded by a grant from USDA's Sustainable Agriculture
Research and Education Program (SARE).
Lohr is one of a growing number of dairy producers trying to increase their
bottom line by letting cows graze when possible, rather than cut, dry and store
the feed and serve it up later. The practice lowered Lohr's feed costs, but his
19-day grazing rotation fit perfectly into the stomach worm's life cycle.
Gasbarre solved the problem by advising Lohr to have the cows "vacuum
up" infectious larvae while grazing in each paddock at the start of the
season. The worm treatment killed these ingested larvae before they could
mature and deposit eggs in the feces-- which would re-infest the pasture.
An article about the research appears in the January issue of Agricultural
Research magazine. The story is also on the World Wide Web at:
Scientific contacts: Louis C. Gasbarre, ARS
Disease Resistance Laboratory, Beltsville, MD 20705, phone (301) 504-8509,
fax (301) 504-5306, email@example.com;
William L. Stout, ARS Pasture
Systems and Watershed Management Research Laboratory, University Park, PA
16802, phone (814) 863-0947, fax (814) 863-0935, firstname.lastname@example.org.