A new parasiticide is promising respite from mid-season worm troubles, but farmers are still weighing pros and cons.
Scott Atkins, Manitoba territory manager with Boehringer Ingelheim, took to Manitoba Beef and Forage Initiatives near Brandon April 18 to pitch his company’s extended-release parasiticide, LongRange, marketed for cattle in the pasture.
“The big difference in this product over stuff that’s on the market is the duration that the product is actually effective, running up to 120 to 150 days, over current products being used, where the residual is 21 to 28 days,” Atkins said. “The other big differentiating factor is that it is a slow release that has a second bump, a very big cleanout, at 75 to 80 days.”
The product owes the longer release to what the company has termed Theraphase formulation, technology that causes the parasiticide to gel when exposed to the water in the subcutaneous tissue under the skin. The gel then lingers under the skin, providing a slow release of the product’s active ingredient, eprinomectin, which targets invertebrate nerve and muscle cells. The gel dissolves completely mid-season, giving the second boost in control.
Timing is everything
The company argues that the second bump coincides with the high-risk period when pasture parasite load is at its peak.
Eggs, and therefore, infection risk, are rampant in the field in July and August, clinging to the same vegetation that cattle eat, attendees heard April 18.
In comparison, cattle at turnout may be relatively clean of parasites, having had the parasites cycle through during winter, but with less chance of ingesting the eggs and starting a new cycle in the feedlot, the room heard.
“I think for sure the best opportunity is going to be for yearling cattle going out to grass and for calves out on grass,” Atkins said. “That’s the main economic benefit places where I see it fitting.”
Both calf and yearling value increases significantly with additional weight gain, he said, something far easier to accomplish if cattle are feeding only themselves rather than a colony of parasites on the side. The product can be used in cows, attendees were told, although farmers may see limited returns since those animals are not being primed for sale and will be largely cleaned out again come winter anyway. An exception should be made for new or replacement animals coming onto the farm, which should likely be treated, he said.
LongRange is registered for internal parasites, grubs and mites, but it will do nothing to solve Manitoba’s liver fluke problems, Atkins admitted; nor is it registered for lice or external parasites.
Likewise, Boehringer Ingelheim warns that the product’s environmental impact has not been tested in intense rotational grazing, and anyone managing their herd that way should pass over the product. Feedlots should also look elsewhere since no environmental impact has been done in that setting either.
“That’s always a concern, about things that persist in the environment,” Minnedosa veterinarian Dr. Troy Gowan said. “Obviously we want to make sure that we don’t have any issues with run-off, drug residues in run-off, and things like that, but since it’s used primarily as a pasture product, the risks of that are relatively low. That’s where using it in a feedlot situation may not be advisable, because there is a greater chance that you’re going to have environmental residues and you have a very confined area that you’re having everything shed into.”
Atkins maintained that trials using the product have not noted any medium- or long-term impact on manure-dependent insect or invertebrate populations.
The product should not be applied any more than once every six months to avoid residue limits, although Atkins noted that is mostly a moot point, since Manitoba’s grazing season generally falls in that range and the product is only used for cows in pasture.
Likewise, cattle cannot be slaughtered for food within 120 days of treatment and the product should not be used on any calves bound for veal or any dairy animal older than 20 months.
Other places in Canada may find more use for the product than Manitoba, Gowan said.
The local veterinarian noted potential problems with using LongRange with smaller herds, as well as the province’s relative lack of feeder operations.
The slow-release mechanism, while extending the product’s efficacy, also prevents storing used product. The formula is reactive to water to the point that the company provides new needles to avoid issues with water gathered in scratches in used barrels. Likewise, the company advises that a bottle should be used completely once the seal is broken.
Atkins estimates that a 250-millilitre bottle will cover 80 spring-born calves. The product’s label sets dosage at one cubic centimetre (cc) for every 50 kilograms.
“If you have 50 head of cattle, then it might not fit in with that sort of situation,” Gowan said. “Now, if you have 300, then that’s a bit different. We don’t have a lot of feeder operations. Our area is more cow-calf, that sort of thing, so it creates a different situation than, maybe, what the product’s strictly intended for.”
Gowan pegged the product for possible use in calves, assuming they meet the three-month minimum age at turnout. His few feeder operations will fit with the product, he said, but he agreed that there might be little economic benefit in dosing older animals, since larger size would make treatment cost prohibitive.
“There’s certain circumstances where it would make a lot of sense to use it, but it’s a fairly new product and finding where it would work the best is difficult,” Gowan said. “Also, with the volumes that you have to purchase and everything else, it won’t work in certain situations because you have to use it, ideally, all at once.”
Gowan does not use the product as of yet, but is considering it for his clients.