Cow/Calf College at NCTA |

Cow/Calf College at NCTA

Carolinie Sabin
North Platte, Neb.
Photos By Caroliine Sabin of North Platte, Neb.Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture-University of NE (NCTA) Veterinary Technology Lab was the site where participants attending the NCTA Cow/Calf College viewed microscope slides of internal parasites.

Buy Photo

The Cow/Calf College drew the interest of 10 participants that came from as far east as Minden, Neb., and as far west as Greeley, Colo., to the Nebraska College to Technical Agriculture-University of NE (NCTA) for the learning sessions held May 12-14, 2011, at the NCTA campus in Curtis, Neb. The three days of instruction were sponsored by NCTA, West Central Research and Extension Center (WCREC), the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Intervet/Shering-Plough Animal Health.

The workshops covered a wide range of topics with information on Thursday, May 12th, mainly focused on the beginning rancher. Workshops on Friday were centered around Beef Quality Assurance standards, animal selection, and the proper health management of cattle.

Dr. Bill Burdett served as presenter for the session on internal and external pest control guidelines, vaccination recommendations, and implant advice. Dr. Burdett does presentations as a representative of Intervet/Shering-Plough Animal Health. This company has also sponsored scholarships for the NCTA 100 Cow Ownership Advantage Outreach Program.

Dr. Burdett explained the negative impact that internal parasites can have on an animal’s response to vaccination or stressful situations such as weaning. He advised that it is really important to plan control measures, especially if a parasite problem exists. Collecting manure samples in order to have them checked for a fecal egg count is helpful in determining the degree of infestation. His recommendation was to use a dewormer the same day that samples are collected. In two weeks, manure samples should be collected and checked for egg counts again. A 90% reduction of eggs indicates that the dewormer was effective. If the reduction is less than 90%, then it is possible that a resistance to the dewormer is the problem. A different dewormer would need to be used next.

“Moving forward, we really need to consider using multiple types of dewormers. Injectables work better on internal parasites, and pour-ons are better for external parasites,” said Burdett. “Strategic deworming means you try to deworm at the appropriate time because each parasite has a particular life cycle. If you are only going to treat once per year, then do it in the spring.”

Burdett explained that the majority of the time, 1% of the parasites are in the cattle, but 99% are in the pasture. Use of a follow-up deworming product after six weeks on pastures would interrupt the life cycle of the parasite, thereby reducing the infestation.

Horn flies and face flies also have a negative impact on average daily gain, feed efficiency and milk production. It is estimated that an overabundance of flies on livestock reduces weaning weights by 20-30 pounds. Control can add up to nearly $5 per head with the use of eartags, but a combination of effective measures can prevent costly weight losses or the possibility of a pink-eye outbreak.

Burdett’s advice to cattlemen for their vaccination was to keep their local veterinarian involved in designing a vaccination program since they are most aware of prevalent animal health concerns in the area.

“Use common sense and allow calves to get through the day as stress-free as possible. Use modified live vaccines that have less adjuvant. In my mind, they are less impacting on calves from a negative perspective,” said Burdett. “Very young calves can respond well to modified live vaccines, and it is important to initiate an active immune response early in their life.”

Burdett next spoke on the use of implants. Feedback from participants indicated their reduced use of implants because of consumer demand for a hormone free product. Burdett encouraged producers to really consider the research that indicates that there is no difference in the price paid for implanted versus non-implanted animals. He also noted that feed trials show that there is an average of 25 pounds weight gain advantage with implanted livestock, and that there is no negative effect of that implant on a successive implant. Dr. Dee Griffin, presenter for the Immunology session, pointed out to the group that some growth stimulants are actually derived from corn mold.

With the close of the instructional part of the session, the group moved to the lab at the NCTA Veterinary Technology building. Dr. Jo Bek had samples of internal parasites on slides for viewing by microscope. Participants used a reference sheet to compare pictures of the parasites to the actual view through the microscope.

The last day of instruction involved a demonstration and practice of stress free cattle handling.

NCTA and WCREC host educational opportunities for farmers and ranchers through-out the year. To get more information about upcoming events, check the website:, or contact a county extension office to receive mailings.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User