2017 has dealt us an interesting August. We’ve seen rain and relatively cooler ‘dawg-day’ temperatures intermittently. The grass is jumping, and out-running the herds, and the livin’ is easy. This has also made for an interesting southern plains summer in other regards. The plant community has become atypical. So you might be asking at this point; can’t this guy ever ‘just be happy?’ and I would agree with that reaction while laughing with you, and/but! It is the charge of a habitat/ ranch/ farm manager for bison to look (and) see. Keep in mind that many times, and in conflict with human propensity, there is nothing to do except let nature reveal the outcomes. That being said; looking, seeing and reacting to ecological curve-balls can get tricky as seasons head into change. Personally, I always keep my thoughts around the corner, or one season ahead of the game, to the point of having to remind myself that there is nothing to do but wait.
Speaking of looking and seeing, there have been some interesting developments as a direct result of the TXBP program this year. Please keep in mind that we are just beginning to understand ‘how’ to think about bison Parisitology in the southern plains and we might be on the brink of having the right questions. Please also keep in mind, that what we think we know now – well, let’s just say that it is sure to evolve right before our eyes. Some may argue that they’ve known things all along, but the disease level parasitism in red nursing calves has not been a common discussion. The discussions about red-calf parasitism have focused Toxocara and Strogyloides which are both real, and ‘real bad’, but we have not considered the FEC levels of the usual suspects in red calves that would equate to disease in our adult bison. Our looking and seeing in the TXBP has revealed a sub Saharan African native that causes severe blood loss. The levels we identify in 125 pound calves are catastrophic and are at disease level for 10 weight adults. This revealed evidence, that is only worth the fact that it is evidence on the herds looked at, is both concerning and exiting. It’s concerning for obvious reasons of; we don’t want our red-dots harmed, to exciting for reasons of upgraded production in the south through knowledge, looking (and) seeing. The other discovery this year is that the adults are not safe! Either!
The new Southern Plains bison-Parisitology perspective – (is) – to have a Parisitology ‘program’ for your herd. The tools exist, and there is no substitute for knowledge and evidence. I have put Parisitology programs in place for many herds this year and I can honestly say that the biggest value is knowing less, and learning to look more, but look through the lens of herd-specific evidence. Each individual herd has individual factors, unique parasite genetics, and unique circumstances, scenarios and outcomes…