Submitted to: Sod-Based Cropping Systems Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: February 20, 2003
Publication Date: February 20, 2003
Citation: Stuedemann, J.A., Kaplan, R.M., Franzluebbers, A.J., Seman, D.H. 2003. Integrated crop/cattle production systems present unique opportunities for gastrointestinal parasite control and enhanced cattle performance. Sod-Based Cropping Systems Conference. p. 116-123. Technical Abstract: We have been broadly examining the ability of forage crops and pasture to restore soil quality of degraded cropland. This report describes if parasite-free land could be maintained by anthelmintic treatment of animals prior to placing them on pastures. The site for this experiment had previously been conventionally cultivated with cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench], soybean [Glycine max (L.) Merr.], and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) for several decades prior to sprigging of Coastal bermudagrass [Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers.] in 1991. It can be assumed that cropland with no exposure to cattle for several years would have relatively few infective nematode larvae. From mid-May until early October in 1994 through 1998, yearling Angus steers (Bos taurus) were managed in a put-and-take grazing system with three Atester@ steers assigned to each paddock and Agrazer@ steers added or removed at 28-day intervals to maintain forage mass targets. Anthelmintic treatment included pour-on ivermectin on day B21, albendazole on day B7, and injectable ivermectin 48 hours prior to stocking of pastures, with the cattle remaining in drylot during the 48-hour period prior to being placed on the experimental paddocks. All steers received only one series of treatments during any given year. During the 5-year period, the mean eggs per gram of feces (epg) gradually increased from 0 (following treatment) to a mean of 2.2 (range from 0.7 to 3.0) by the end of the grazing season (the last sampling date) in October. Although the epg were not zero, they were below threshold levels that would allow development of a parasite burden in cattle. Consequently, pastures were maintained in a parasite-free condition for at least five years by simply therapeutically treating animals prior to placing them on the parasite-free pastures. Producers who use crop/pasture rotation systems can use this concept to maintain their pastures parasite-free and prevent parasites from negatively influencing cattle performance and production.