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Spring calving & disease prevention

spring-calving-april2019
April 23, 2019

Preparing your herd for spring calving

As producers prepare for spring calving, your veterinarian is a valuable source of information for vaccination schedules, herd health management planning, nutritional recommendations and staff training.

General herd management practices

Start with a breeding soundness exam on each bull mid-March to evaluate reproductive organs and semen quality. Test new breeding bulls for trichomoniasis prior to purchase. Checking the body condition scores of breeding cows can be time-intensive, but your veterinarian can be a great resource, both as extra pairs of hands and eyes, and to train your staff how to visually score the herd.

While ongoing evaluation is important, Dr. Rick Rasby of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln writes, “The greatest single factor influencing rebreeding performance of beef cows is body condition at calving, especially for spring-calving females. However, if producers wait until calving to manage body condition of their cows, they will find it very difficult and expensive to increase the body condition of a lactating cow.”

Make sure to remain vigilant for proper sanitation, environmental management and adequate nutrition to avoid scours. If scours are observed within the herd, work with your veterinary staff to implement Sandhills Calving System protocols to develop strategies for control and prevention.

 

Feeding and vaccination considerations

Don’t wait until disease breaks out to vaccinate your herd. A sound prevention program will cost less over the long-term and will protect your investment. Work with your veterinarian to determine the best vaccination schedule, dosage requirements, proper storage and administration method for your herd.

Calves are recommended to receive these vaccines prior to weaning:

  • Blackleg 7-Way
  • IBR-BVD-P13
  • Leptospirosis
  • Brucellosis

Heifers should be vaccinated for Brucellosis at 4-12 months. It is recommended that pregnant cows receive the Scours vaccine. Prior to breeding, they also should receive:

  • IBR
  • BVD-P13
  • BRSV
  • Vibriosis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Blackleg 7-Way

Cows and bulls should receive these vaccines annually, with Vibriosis and an optional Trichomoniasis given 30-60 days prior to breeding.

  • IBR
  • BVD
  • P13
  • BRSV
  • Leptospirosis (5-Way)
  • Vibriosis

As part of your pasture management program, add magnesium oxide to the diet if your area is prone to grass tetany. Late spring to early summer, treat for horn flies.

Justifying the cost of vaccinations, herd health management plans and veterinary care may seem to be difficult. But your vet is the best resource to ensure your herd remains healthy, and profitable, for years to come.

Henry Schein Animal Health is now Covetrus. For vaccinations and nutritionals for your herd, contact your sales representative at 855-724-3461 or online.

Sources:

http://counties.agrilife.org/washington/files/2016/04/A-Year-on-the-Ranch-A-Monthly-Calendar-for-a-Calving-Herd.pdf

https://beef.unl.edu/learning/condition1a.shtml

https://beef.unl.edu/beef-production-calendar

https://beef.unl.edu/beefreports/symp-2007-17-xx.shtml

https://www.drovers.com/article/beef-cattle-herd-health-vaccination-schedule

https://extension.tennessee.edu/publications/Documents/W419.pdf

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