Protect Stocker Cattle Investment with Sound Parasite Control

Use trusted IVOMEC® (ivermectin) Brand Products to help stocker cattle get off to a good start.

DULUTH, GA — June 27, 2008 — All segments of the beef industry are grappling with this year’s rising input costs, and stocker operators are no different. The increased price of corn may mean more cattle going to grass, and staying there longer, as cattle producers seek lower-cost gains.

The problem is, now there are increased pasture costs to deal with too, says Dr. Dale Blasi, an Extension Beef Specialist at Kansas State University.

“Stocker operators are working to shave input costs and try to make those calves work,” Dr. Blasi says.

Even though times are tough, research shows one of the input costs producers should not skimp on is parasite control — it has been identified as the most economically important practice in beef production.1

An Iowa State University study demonstrated that deworming practices affect average daily gain by 17.79%, more than any other practice.1 Consequently, parasite control had a considerable impact on cost of production. Eliminating dewormers altogether affected the breakeven price by 2.7%, a cost of $20.77 per head.1

That’s why at K-State, treating all incoming stocker cattle for parasites is a given. “We always do it,” Dr. Blasi says. “It’s important to get them cleaned up.”

Dr. James Hawkins, Parasitologist and Consultant for Merial Veterinary Services says the approach is one all stocker operators should consider.

“Treating all incoming stocker cattle is just a sound business investment,” Dr. Hawkins says. “The research from Iowa State demonstrated that parasite control has a significant return on investment and it helps the cattle hit the ground running when they are turned out or put on feed.”

Dr. Blasi says this year it may be more important than ever to treat for parasites. With pasture costs so high, stocker operators may be tempted to try to stack as many cattle as possible on their grass, he says. This could mean cattle would graze closer to the ground, where the majority of parasites wait to be picked up.

Dr. Hawkins says not only will the cattle be competing for grass, but if they are parasitized, they also might not be consuming as much as they should.

“Parasites reduce rumen motility, making the host animal eat less while feeling full,” Dr. Hawkins says. “In fact, some studies estimate that as much as 77% of a parasitized animal’s appetite can vanish.”2

In a study at Cal Poly State University, stocker cattle dewormed with IVOMEC EPRINEX® (eprinomectin) Pour-On gained an average of 31.8 pounds more than control cattle over one season’s grazing period.3 The same study also concluded that maximizing gain throughout the stocker phase, while cattle were still growing, would increase marbling potential and quality grades.3

Dr. Hawkins says parasites can compromise the immune system in several ways.

“By causing an immune reaction, parasites can induce profound changes in the host immune system.4 They are able to turn off some immunological function around them, creating a three-pronged attack,”2 Dr. Hawkins says. “That means a parasitized animal can’t mount an appropriate response to a health challenge, and vaccinating that animal may be less effective.”4

Finally, Dr. Hawkins says it is important that producers use a parasite control product that will treat all economically important parasites, including liver flukes.

“It is essential that cattle are treated for liver flukes, especially if they are from an unknown origin,” he says. “It only takes a few liver flukes to affect performance,5 and liver damage cannot be reversed.”

A field trial showed that in 8- to 9-month-old calves, subclinical infections of liver flukes caused an 8% reduction in weight gain over six months. Higher levels of infection reduced weight gain by 29%.5

But not all deworming products kill liver flukes.

“IVOMEC Plus is the only product that helps control liver flukes and is backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee from the manufacturer,” Dr. Hawkins says.

He adds that IVOMEC is the original branded ivermectin product and it takes less than a pound of gain per day to pay the difference between IVOMEC and a generic ivermectin. In a recent trial, it took treatment with two dewormers — an ivermectin pour-on and SAFE-GUARD® (fenbendazole) 10% Suspension — for cattle to perform as well as they did when treated with IVOMEC (ivermectin) 1% Injection alone, with respect to weight gain and feed efficiency.6

“By itself, IVOMEC Brand Products can help stocker cattle gain weight more efficiently and be more productive during their time on pasture, which is going to be crucial this year,” Dr. Hawkins says.

As the cost of feed and pasture rises, cattle producers strive to get the most from every dollar they spend.

“Keeping cattle healthy and productive can’t be done without parasite control, and that’s why throughout the industry, cattle producers turn to IVOMEC — a trusted product — to help protect their investments,” Dr. Hawkins says.

Merial is a world-leading, innovation-driven animal health company, providing a comprehensive range of products to enhance the health, well-being and performance of a wide range of animals. Merial employs more than 5,000 people and operates in more than 150 countries worldwide. Its 2007 sales were nearly $2.5 billion. Merial Limited is a joint venture between Merck & Co., Inc. and sanofi-aventis. For more information, please see


IVOMEC Plus (ivermectin/clorsulon): Do not treat cattle within 49 days of slaughter. Do not use in dairy cattle of breeding age or in veal calves. IVOMEC (ivermectin) Pour-On: Do not treat cattle within 48 days of slaughter. Do not use in dairy cattle of breeding age or in veal calves. IVOMEC 1% Injection for Cattle and Swine: Do not treat cattle within 35 days of slaughter. Do not use in dairy cattle of breeding age or in veal calves. Do not treat swine within 18 days of slaughter. IVOMEC EPRINEX® (eprinomectin) Pour-On for Beef and Dairy: No meat or milk withdrawal is required when used according to label. All IVOMEC Brand Products: Do not use in other animal species not on the label as severe adverse reactions, including fatalities in dogs, may result.

1Lawrence, JD and Ibarburu MA. Economic analysis of pharmaceutical technologies in modern beef production. Iowa State University.

2Bopp SB. Eaten alive. The Cattleman May 2000:41.

3Beckett JL, et al. Research project final report, Animal Science Department, College of Agriculture, Cal Poly State University.

4Gasbarre L. Effects of gastrointestinal nematodes on the bovine immune system. Veterinary Parasitology. 1997:72(3-4):327-337.

5Kaplan RM. Fasciola hepatica: A review of the economic impact in cattle and considerations for control. Veterinary Therapeutics 2001(2).

6Data on file at Merial.

®IVOMEC and EPRINEX are registered trademarks of Merial.

®SAFE-GUARD is a registered trademark of Intervet.

©2008 Merial Limited. Duluth, GA. All rights reserved. LAGEEGN832 (06/08)


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