Southern Plains Bison Pointers Nov 2017

What ‘the heck’ happening Out There!

This is a normal question in the southern plains this time of year. Everything has been so green and the bison living has been easy all summer long. All at once the rain stopped, and just in time to stop the growth of planted winter feed and/or native cool season plants. The other factor in many southern plains operations is the exotic grasses (warm season) like Coastal Bermuda, which once brown goes completely ineffective as nutrition. So – what (is) going on out there? As I wrote in my last blog,  this is the time of year, during the seasonal transition, that we need to pay attention.

Another uniquely southern plains reality it seems, is parasite build up in the fall. The two primary health antagonists that can be counted among the usual suspects are: Haemonchus (enemy #1) and Ostertagia (also enemy #1). It is very normal for Ostertagia to become present in the fall, and it has. Haemonchus, on the other hand, should fade away in the fall, but it hasn’t. Our EPG and Coproculture work this year have supported an atypical behavior of Haemonchus, in the bison, compared to cattle. Please keep in mind that every single herd is different, and unless you are doing your own parasitology, you simply cannot know how (your herd) is affected, or what species is not being adequately controlled. You can (only) achieve this by speciating the EPG’s  by hatching them via Coproculture. Eventually, Haemonchus (should) subside, but it can remain as a mature feeding, egg laying and blood draw on your bison for two to six months. That’s our southern plains winter!

Keep your eye on the herd’s condition, find ways to test – and know!

What ‘The Heck’ is happening out there!