New guide available on integrated parasite control

11 Jun 2020

The Control of Worms Sustainably in cattle (COWS) group has published the final chapter in its updated guide, bringing together key technical messages on roundworms, lungworm, liver and rumen fluke, and ectoparasites.

The guide sits at the core of the COWS initiative – outlining the latest science relating to parasite control in cattle and all five chapters are available on the COWS website (

“We were keen to show how the principles and treatments outlined in the parasite-specific chapters can be applied to some common farming scenarios,” says AHDB animal health and welfare scientist and COWS co-ordinator Rebecca Small.

“While the precise situation on every farm will be different, this final chapter offers an idea of how the different strategies for individual parasites can work together.

“In many cases, there is often a risk of more than one being a problem in a herd.”

Five scenarios

The five scenarios include: a beef suckler herd, with calves born in spring; a beef suckler herd, with calves born in autumn; an autumn or spring calving suckler herd, with animals bought-in; a dairy herd, grazing all summer with weaned calves and young stock turned out on the same farm; and a dairy herd, with weaned calves and young stock kept at a separate unit.

For each scenario a control plan for the grazing season is outlined, including possible tests that can be carried out, with a summary of the key points at the end.

Action plan

They have been developed and written by leading cattle parasite academics Diana Williams and John Graham Brown, both from the University of Liverpool, and Eric Morgan, of Queen’s University Belfast.

“Working out an action plan to protect and treat a herd of cattle can be complex,” says Ms Small.

“The COWS team believes that the guide should be the first place producers can go to with queries or questions about cattle parasites. But, in most instances, producers should still seek advice from their vet and/or animal health adviser about the specific parasites affecting their herd.”