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Bovine Information - Dan Bergerud DVM - Cass Veterinary Services

"Establishing A Cow/Calf Herd Health and Preconditioning Program"

Reasons for having a herd health program:

  1. Control health problems and improve production on your farm.
  2. Insurance policies against diseases establishing themselves on your farm
  3. Control health problems after the calves leave your farm.
  4. To have your calves ready to gain weight when they enter the feedlot.
  5. Required as part of participation in alliances. (Green Tag Program, Pfizer Weanvac Program, retained ownership programs, etc.)
  6. Improve communication with the buyer about the health status and production potential for your calves.

Points to Ponder:

  1. Nutrition: Keep in mind the role nutrition has on the animals' ability to fight off disease and respond properly to vaccines.
  2. Communication with feedlot operator: If a health problem, nutritional deficiency or production problem occurs after your calves leave the farm you need to know if there was something you could have done to prevent it. Seek out advice as to how to solve the problem. Alliances will help improve this communication barrier.
  3. Beef Quality Assurance: Give all injections SQ in the neck region. Injection lesions contributed $7.05 of the loss per fed steer/heifer.
  4. Compared to nonvaccinated calves, calves vaccinated at the farm for the bovine respiratory disease complex had 20 percent to 30 percent less sickness, 40 percent less death loss and similar or improved feedyard performance.