by Paulick Report Staff | 11.30.2019
Grazing horses and cattle together has long been suggested as a tool for helping control strongyle worms, but little research has been done to prove its efficacy. The majority of gastrointestinal parasites are host specific, meaning that the infective stages of equine worms ingested by cattle won’t develop into adults; the same is true for cattle worms ingested by horses.
In addition, horses and cattle graze differently; horses graze close to the ground and avoid areas where there is manure. Cattle can’t graze as close to the ground as horses and will graze areas that horses avoid.
A new study out of France used 44 breeding farms in two different regions of the country to test the benefits of grazing both species together. The farms raised both sport horses and pleasure horses; some were equine-only farms and others grazed cattle with their horses.
Researchers used surveys and interviews to determine stocking rate, the amount of pasture used for grazing and how much deworming products were used, as well as general pasture management. They found the following:
- Few farmers understood that grazing horses and cattle together could be part of their deworming protocol
- Many farms still rely on fenbendazole though resistance to the drug is well known
- Young horses treated with moxidectin and grazed with cattle had 50 percent fewer stronglye eggs in their feces then their counterparts that were grazed in horse-only pastures
The study concluded that grazing horses with cattle is a promising alternative to controlling worms that is largely unused by horse farm owners.
Read more at Equine Science Update