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Calf Health: Scours Prevention

Calving season will be here in a few short months, so now is a good time to start planning your calving season protocols.  Kevin Hill, D.V.M., with Merck Animal Health, says a major area of focus during calving season is always scours prevention. “Scours is the leading cause of death in calves younger than 30 days old.”

Implementing antibiotic stewardship at the farm level

As veterinarians and producers, we are playing a role in the enhancement of antimicrobial resistance. It’s out of the barn, so to speak – the risk of resistance never goes to zero. In the previous article, “Understanding Antibiotic Resistance and Its Impact on Treating BRD,” we looked at initiatives taking place at the industry level, but there is another role to be played by us as individuals in appropriately and judiciously administering antibiotics to animals.

Understanding antibiotic resistance and its impact on treating BRD

Antibiotic resistance is a natural phenomenon. Resistance itself is a property, a characteristic of bacteria. Knowing that, some might say there’s nothing that producers or veterinarians can do to stop resistance. But that’s not the case, and there should be a discussion on what role producers and veterinarians can play in helping alleviate the pressure antibiotics put on increasing resistance.

Producer-tested program simplifies following the cattle market

In the digital age, producers can now watch live video auctions via computer or tablet, anywhere, anytime. But keeping up with the markets can still be a daunting and time-consuming task. That’s where Cattle Market Central™ (CMC) – an upgrade to Beef Market Central™ (BMC) – aims to help. CMC is an application and desktop platform that was developed with extensive input from cattle producers and designed to help address their critical real-time needs. Tested by 275 producers across the country, the app received excellent feedback for ease of use and value.

Preconditioning programs: A smart three-pronged approach

With an added value of up to $100 per head, the decision to precondition calves can add to producers’ bottom lines. The right program incorporates three areas for maximum long-term health and ultimately, profi tability: vaccination protocols, growth implants and parasite control.

Three steps to improve the quality of cattle at finishing

U.S. cattle feeders have drastically improved feeding practices during the past decade. However, there are a few steps that may help cattle feeders produce more beef economically, while also maintaining quality. Improving margin in the feedyard is always paramount, and part of this equation is achieving optimum carcass weights while improving quality grade.

Three steps to add value to calves

To increase the value of calves entering a feedyard, experts recommend preconditioning — the practice of prepping calves for optimal performance after weaning. Kevin Hill, D.V.M., technical services with Merck Animal Health, says choosing a comprehensive preconditioning program can add up to $100 per head, depending on investments.

“A preconditioning program should include complete recommendations to maximize the health and performance of cattle,” says Dr. Hill. “For example, Merck Animal Health has developed PrimeVAC™, which includes guidelines for vaccination protocols, parasite control and growth implants. This combination of guidelines will leave producers with healthier, higher-value calves.”

Beef production relationships: Three reasons for being accountable

While the cattle industry has made leaps and bounds in terms of cattle health and production in the past 20 years, shared communication along the production chain has stumbled. Cattle information is frequently lost along the line from the cow-calf operation to the feedyard and every point in between. This can lead to a less than ideal situation for optimal cattle performance.

If U.S. beef producers will share general information and the health history of cattle in their hands, three main benefits may be seen: improved cattle health, increased global opportunities and bolstered consumer confidence.

Cattle reproductive management: Three ways to improve breeding efficiency

In the midst of calving season, it’s easy for cattle producers to lose sight of the upcoming breeding season. A successful breeding season is crucial to reproductive efficiency. And if cows are not rebred quickly and efficiently, profits are negatively impacted.

By using proven beef cattle management skills and practical economic principles, producers should develop reproductive management programs to attain the most economically efficient operation possible. Special attention to a few key areas – nutrition, herd health and controlled breeding – can vastly improve a producer’s current reproductive management protocols.

Feedyard management: Four steps to improve your finishing program

U.S. cattle feeders have drastically improved feedyard management methods during the past decade. However, there still are a few steps that may help cattle feeders enhance their current management methods even further. With the goal of higher gains, the following steps will help cattle feeders produce more quality beef while using fewer resources.

Feedyard management: Five steps to a better receiving process

The receiving process — one of the most important aspects of feeding cattle — provides the feedyard with the opportunity to start cattle correctly, with the goal of achieving the highest possible margin. All the decisions in the feedyard should be made with the idea of maximizing the health of the rumen and immune system of these cattle. To achieve maximized production, everyone in the feedyard must work as a team to improve the processing procedures for animal handling, feeding and health.

Four steps to a successful backgrounding program

Backgrounding — a process that begins after weaning and ends at the placement of thriving cattle in a feedyard — adds pounds to calves by paying special attention to their health and nutrition in the hopes of higher returns. Some cow/calf producers may decide to incorporate a backgrounding program within their operation. For those who do, Eric Moore, D.V.M., Merck Animal Health, reminds these producers that backgrounding brings another set of issues to manage.

“By following a few steps — evaluate health, give attention to animal welfare and handling, implement new diet and growth technologies, and assess economics — producers can turn a backgrounding operation into a successful program for growing calves,” says Dr. Moore.

Preconditioning: Three ways to improve the profitability of calves

To increase the value of calves entering a feedyard, experts recommend preconditioning — the practice of prepping calves for optimal performance after weaning. Mark Spire, D.V.M., M.S., D.A.C.T., Merck Animal Health, says management of spring-born calves provides an opportunity for producers to increase profitability.

“Preconditioning calves by enhancing their immune system, improving marketability and increasing weaning weights, all play a role in increasing value and preparation for the feedyard,” says Dr. Spire.

Three steps to better herds this spring

Calving season — a demanding time for producers — is an eventful period that may cause stress and several health concerns for the herd. For optimal herd health this spring, it’s essential for producers to follow a few steps — proper nutrition and vaccination; proactive newborn calf health; and pasture turnout health protocols.

Pre-calving management plans: Four steps to enhance calving season success

As producers prepare for calving season, it’s important to review a list of key management principles. While even the best planned strategies can hit road bumps, thinking ahead and being prepared will help guarantee a successful calving season.

Kevin L. Hill, D.V.M., Merck Animal Health, explains that a few key factors can have a big influence on a better calving season. “Cow nutrition is always vital to getting healthy, vigorous calves on the ground, but it’s also important to plan out available calving areas, prepare for adverse weather, and make sure newborn calves get colostrum,” says Dr. Hill. “These simple steps can get a producer’s season off to a great start.”

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