Article Text

An evaluation of the potential effects of ivermectin on the decomposition of cattle dung pats
  1. SD Wratten,
  2. M Mead-Briggs,
  3. G Gettinby,
  4. G Ericsson and
  5. DG Baggott
  1. Department of Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Southampton.

Abstract

The parasiticide ivermectin has been administered to domestic livestock since 1981 to control internal and external parasites, including insects; some of the ivermectin is excreted unchanged in faeces. Concerns over the effects of ivermectin on dung-utilising insect populations and the potential for consequent persistence of dung on pastures have been raised. This paper presents the results of a study over two grazing seasons of the rate of decomposition of cattle dung pats exposed to normal environmental influences. The cattle had been treated at therapeutic levels with either an injectable or a sustained release bolus formulation of ivermectin. It was concluded that the rate of decomposition of the dung pats, the extent of their avoidance by the cows, the organic matter content of the soil and the populations of earthworms in the pastures were not affected by the use of ivermectin.

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