The role of parasite epidemiology in the management of grazing cattle

Bert E Stromberg Jr, G. A. Averbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Epidemiology of ruminant helminths is the foundation on which strategic parasite control programmes are designed. Without this information one is not able to use anthelmintics to provide the optimal benefits for controlling both the adult worm and the pasture larval populations. The absence of strategic programmes generally results in using anthelmintics at the convenience of the producer, which may have little if any impact on parasite populations. The design of a strategic parasite control programme requires a knowledge of the dynamics of egg shedding from the host and the resulting pasture larval populations. It is important to know if larvae are available when animals are turned out onto pasture, when larval populations reach their maximal numbers and when they are induced to become hypobiotic. The goal is to keep pasture larval populations as low as possible. The use of pasture rotation adds another dimension to control programmes. The longer a pasture is allowed to remain fallow, the lower the pasture larval burden will be when it is grazed next. However, when we use intensive rotational grazing, animals may return to the pasture about 28 days later, when the larvae resulting from the eggs shed in the previous grazing are infective. This practice forces cattle to eat all of the forage available, including the grass closest to the faecal pat, where most of the infective larvae are available. If we treated cattle before turning them onto a clean rotationally grazed pasture, we should be able to control parasitism. Using a long-acting anthelmintic should enhance helminth control in rotationally grazed pastures and actually help to clean the pastures. Another grazing management practice is to alternately graze different species. This programme with the strategic use of anthelmintics should reduce parasitism in both host species. Copyright (C) 1998 Australian Society for Parasitology. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-39
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


  • Benzimidazole
  • Cattle
  • Duration of activity
  • Endectocide
  • Epidemiology
  • Rotational grazing
  • Safe pasture
  • Strategic parasite control


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