Dale Watson
Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist
University of Missouri Extension




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Please send your comments and sund suggestions to Dale Watson, Commercial Agriculture Beef and Livestock Specialist, University of Missouri Extension, 111 N. Mason, Carrollton, MO 64633, call 660-542-1792, or send messages by e-mail to: watsond@missouri.edu.
For the Week of
September 24, 1998

Stressing the Importance of Herd Health

Maintaining herd health is one of the most important management decisions prior to the weaning season. Individuals that I have been in contact with this fall are already expressing concern about the health of the cattle they are receiving.

We must keep in mind the environmental conditions that many newborn calves experienced last spring. The damp, wet, muddy ground had a great influence on the life of both the cow herd and calves at that stage of the annual beef cow cycle.

Many producers related last experiences last spring requiring treatments for respiratory problems. When lung damage is experienced, frequently the total capacity of the respiratory system is reduced. Generally the effects of this problem carries over and rears its ugly head under extreme hot or cold conditions. These environmental conditions add additional stress to each animal that has experienced respiratory difficulties of some sort.

Generally it is recommended to provide immunizations to calves prior to weaning if you plan to provide any treatment at all. Calves given immunizations while they are on the truck headed to a market destination usually break with some sort of sickness.

The reason for the occurrence of this is due to the fact that there has not been any time for the development of a titer. Normally we think of 2 to 3 weeks for each individual to experience an increase in titer after the immunization has been given.

Producers who have marketing arrangements made with purchasers frequently provide the labor, and the feeder or backgrounder knows what and when they want the animals being purchased to have the immunizations. Arrangements between the cow/calf producer and the feeder are becoming more normal in the marketing practices. In addition to the immunizations some feeders want the calves bunk broke and started on feed. This provides assistance to the feeder in many instances. However, some feeders would prefer to have the calves sent directly to them off the cow and they have their own health program that they want to administer upon arrival.

Regardless of the system you choose details are very important. Dates and serial numbers of all immunizations need to be provided on the health papers when the cattle are delivered to the feeder.

University of Missouri ExtensionDale's Country Trails - September 24, 1998
http://outreach.missouri.edu/agconnection/DCT/CT092498.html -- Revised: April 20, 2004