In two experiments, groups of calves which had been exposed to different levels and patterns of infection with Ostertagia and Cooperia spp. in a simulated first grazing season (FGS), were followed throughout a natural second grazing season (SGS). Milk yields in the subsequent first lactation period were also recorded. The results suggest that although there had been differences in immune status among groups, which had been infected in the FGS, prior to the SGS, weight gain among these groups was not significantly different during the SGS. Apparently, resistance to the pathogenic effects of reinfection had developed more strongly and at lower levels of exposure to infection than resistance against establishment of larvae as shown after an experimental challenge. The groups of calves not infected during the FGS did gain less than all other groups during the SGS. Further, infection-induced differences in weight gain among the infected groups in the FGS appeared to be permanent, at least up to the end of the SGS. Finally, first lactation yield was positively correlated with body weight at calving. On average, approximately 10 kg less milk was produced for each kg of lower body weight at calving. With respect to the implications for preventive control strategies in the FGS, it is suggested that parasite control should not be applied beyond a level at which weight gain reduction is prevented.
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