“Calving success is all predicated on weather,” Lyons-Blythe says. “From what I can tell, the bottom line is the health of the cow. She has to be in good physical condition. Going into winter, you’re not just feeding a cow but also building her colostrum base. The value of colostrum is very important for calf health.” Reppert says this is a true statement and is one of the main steps to maximizing calf health. Pre-calving scour vaccines is another essential step and should be given to cows three weeks before their due date. An injectable scour vaccine will prevent and can help fight infection from some of the organisms associated with calf scours. Using a scour vaccine on the momma cow means her calf receives the protection through the colostrum. At the time, Dr. Reppert says it makes no sense to vaccinate a cow or the health of a calf early on will impact future performance,” she says. “If it’s a replacement heifer or bull that will stay in the herd for long period of time then putting some time and energy into maximizing calfhood health can pay off.” This is certainly the mentality of Angus breeder Debbie Lyons-Blythe. As a rancher in northeastern Kansas, Lyons-Blythe manages both registered and commercial cattle as well as a heifer development program. She likes to purchase heifers at weaning age, raise them with her registered herd, then sell them as bred heifers or retain them. Her spring-calving females begin in late February and calve into April. Though the advantage of spring calving is warmer temperatures there is also mud for calves to deal with, which also means dealing with scours. here’s nothing like watching a baby calf scamper across the pasture. It’s a sure sign of health when they run and play, showing everybody they feel good and are growing well. But calfhood health is not all roses. Raising calves to the weaning stage of life takes work, even before they’re born, to ensure calves hit the ground with a chance of running later on. Kansas State University’s assistant professor in food animal medicine and surgery is Dr. Emily Reppert, DVM, MS, DAVCIM. She says whether it be dairy cattle or beef cattle management there are a lot of disease points that can lead to death in the first several weeks of a calf’s life. And from an economic standpoint the time frame between birth and weaning age is a critical time for the rancher or producer. “There is some data that suggests 44 | WORKING RANCH | MARCH 2016 This is one of the best sights a cow/calf producer is blessed to see. Getting them from this age to a few months old and healthy can be a challenge.
Working Ranch - March 2016
To see the actual publication please follow the link above