Rotational grazing approaches reduces external and internal parasite loads in cattle
We tested whether holistic planned grazing (HPG) and four-camp grazing (FCG) rotational grazing approaches influence beef cattle parasites counts compared with continuous, season-long (SLG) grazing. We expected that parasite counts would increase linearly with increasing camp occupancy by cattle from 1 d (70-camp, HPG) to 21–28 d (four-camp, FCG) to 180 d (one-camp per season, SLG). Tick and faecal egg counts were observed across seasons on 30 steers raised on a private farm in Cedarville, South Africa. Tick species identified were Rhipicephalus evertsi evertsi, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) decoloratus, Hyalomma spp. and Amblyomma hebreaum with respective prevalences of 32%, 29%, 20% and 19%. Unidentified roundworms had the highest faecal worm egg counts (81.2%) followed by Coccidia (16.4%), Nematodirus (1.2%) and strongyles (1.2%). Overall, prevalence and mean counts for ticks and faecal worm eggs were highest in the hot wet season, with the SLG having greater (P ≤ 0.05) values than either of the rotational approaches. However, increasing camp number and animal densities above four camps did not reduce (P > 0.05) parasite loads compared with HPG. Current results suggest that rotational grazing is a potential strategy to reduce livestock losses caused by high tick and worm loads in cattle, especially in the hot wet season.
Keywords: animal health, cattle, faecal worm eggs, rotational grazing, tick count