Factors influencing tick load on dairy cattle herds in hot-humid and coastal environment of Ghana

The use of chemicals for ecto-parasite control and accompanying development of resistance to known acaricides are of major concern. Though acaricide use may still be needed in areas of heavy tick infestation, strategic management regime that screens susceptible herds from getting into contact with the vector is crucial. The objective of this study was to determine effect of management, level of biosecurity, type of kraal/barn and season on total tick count in hot-humid environment and Accra plains of Ghana. Data were subjected to Least squares (LS) analysis using Generalized Linear Model (GLM) Type III Procedure of SPSS version 25. The analysis showed that effect of breed, farm and location on Log10 (X +1) + 0.5 total tick load was masked by management regimes and level of biosecurity practices observed. Similarly, effect of breed, farm and location on tick load was masked by management regimes and level of biosecurity practices observed. Jersey cattle had the least (P<0.01) tick load. Dairy herds kept under exclusive zero grazing had the least (P<0.01) tick load, followed by partial zero gazing and range grazing in descending order. Ashanti region recorded the highest (P<0.01) tick load, followed by Greater Accra whereas Eastern region had the least (P<0.01) tick challenge in the dairy herds. Tick load in the dairy herds decreased greatly (P<0.01) with decreasing intensity of rains with respect to season. Sex of cattle was a poor determinant of tick load in the dairy herds studied. Dairy herds that had regular feed supplementation recorded lower tick count whiles those given occasional and no feed supplementation had similar (P>0.05) and higher tick count. Dairy herds maintained in insect-proof barn/housing had the least tick load. Open Kraal and roofed barn recorded a similar (P>0.05) tick infestation. Practicing of moderate level of biosecurity led to the least (P<0.01) tick count, with low and very low practices of biosecurity followed in descending order. Interaction effects were observed among the factors determining tick load in the dairy herds. Choice of productive dairy breed combined with good housing—preferably insect-proof, zero grazing, adequate feeding through supplementation and good level of biosecurity practices could reduce tick infestation in the dairy herds in Ghana.
Date of publication: 
RUFORUM Working document series
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Open Access
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