Much of late summer and autumn seems to have centered around various external parasites. As I write this, the midges seem to be a constant irritation in the morning and evening as we try to eek out as much daylight as possible before the nights draw in too much – fingers crossed the threat of Bluetongue from Europe has reduced by the time this goes to print. The wet warm autumn weather is also great for ticks – redwater (Babesiosis) is constantly on our minds while we graze the marginal fields on the farm. Young calves are immune to this tick-bourne parasite, but unless this immunity is topped up each year by exposure then they are at risk of disease, so we are constantly reviewing where the young stock are grazing to ensure that they maintain their immunity as they get older.
And let’s not forget the internal critters too – who else had cattle coughing with lungworm in October? It’s been great weather for worms and potentially for liver fluke in some areas, but I think (even more so than usual) the presence of these parasites will be very dependent on individual farming practices following the erratic weather this grazing season. I would strongly encourage testing for worms and fluke prior to using any parasiticide products at housing.
And finally, a word of caution for those of you that feed baled silage – we lost a yearling that wasn’t doing well a few months ago and found a large lump of black silage wrap blocking its intestines.