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Research article2007Peer reviewed

A 3-year field evaluation of pasture rotation and supplementary feeding to control parasite infection in first-season grazing cattle - Dynamics of pasture infectivity

Larsson A, Dimander SO, Rydzik A, Uggla A, Waller PJ, Hoglund J


A 3-year grazing trial (2002-2004) was conducted on a commercial beef cattle farm in south-central Sweden to assess different methods of parasite control. This paper focuses on the dynamics of the free-living larval stages, whereas data on performance and within-host parasitological variables are presented in a complementary paper. Each year in May, 4 groups of 10 first-season grazing (FSG) steers were turned out on to separate 2 ha paddocks and subjected to the following strategies: (1) spring turn-out on to pasture which had been grazed the previous year by second-season grazing (SSG) steers (paddock RT), followed by a move to aftermath (paddock AM) after 10 weeks (mid-July), (2) supplementary feeding with concentrate and hay for 4 weeks following turn-out (paddock FD), set stocked, (3) untreated control (paddock UT), set stocked and (4) anthelmintic treated control (paddock DO), set stocked. All paddocks were assigned a new set of FSG cattle each year whereas the treatments remained the same. Pasture infectivity were monitored partly by two tracer calves that grazed each paddock along with the FSG calves for 3 weeks after turn-out and prior to housing, partly by analysis of herbage samples for infective lar vae (U) that were collected from each paddock at monthly intervals between April and October. The predominant genera found were Cooperia and Ostertagia. Tracers grazing paddock RT overall harboured less worms, and in particular less Ostertagia spp., and tracers grazing paddock AM in mid-July harboured insignificant numbers of nematodes compared to tracers on the FD and UT paddocks. Although total worm counts varied between groups, smaller numbers were generally observed early in the grazing-season (May), compared to close to housing (September) when inhibited early L4 larvae were almost exclusively found. Results observed from herbage samples showed high numbers of L3 in spring before the time of turn-out, compared to around housing. In conclusion, the rotation control strategy showed promising results and provided a turn-out pasture that was 'nematode safe' to FSG cattle the following spring, whereas the feeding strategy failed as applied in this experiment. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Published in

Veterinary Parasitology
2007, Volume: 145, number: 1-2, pages: 129-137