Beef cow deworming strategies - fall management

Clean your beef cows as the snow begins to fall.

The term strategic deworming is often used to describe deworming timing for your climate and parasite challenge. Research from late 1990’s calculated the economic impact of fall and spring deworming from 16 to 49 pounds (average 31 pounds). The extra weight gain is great, but we also need to look at product and labor cost.

Conservatively, we can assume dewormer cost is $2.50 for the 1,300 pounds cow (fall and spring application) and $.50 for the calf (late June only). That puts total dewormer cost at $5.50. Chute charge at $1/head adds another $3. This brings the seasonal deworming program cost to $8.50/head. If calves average 31 pounds in additional weaning weight next fall and we use a conservative $1.25/pound for weaned calf value, my math says we add $38.75 in calf value (no price-slide calculated). Subtract the cost of deworming and the net return is $30.25/hd. Multiply this by the average cow herd (30 head) and you put $907.50 in your pocket for an estimated three to four hours of work. Deworming is one of the higher return-on-investment tasks each beef operation needs to accomplish.

Remember to fall deworm after cows are removed from pasture. Always consider broad spectrum products that control both internal and external parasites. Spring cow deworming should be done five to six weeks after pasture turn-out. Calves should also be dewormed about the same time, near the end of June in Michigan. Remember to take advantage of other management tasks while cattle are handled like tagging, implanting calves, fall vaccinations, etc. Always follow all label directions and consult with your veterinarian or extension staff for more information.

>For additional cattle management resources, visit the MSU Beef Team website.

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