Cattle Health Adds Quality to Genetics

(Bob Cervera) When it comes to calf health at Chappell Feedlot in southwestern Nebraska, manager Tom Williams gets down to details with customers. Each load is unique, based on their history. (Tom Williams) If we have some health issues, depending on what they are, we’ll go back to the ranch for instance, a lot of ranches will have some mineral deficiencies, mineral issues, which may be a problem for adequate development of the immune system. So in several cases we’ve had people go back and soil test and change their minerals. (Bob) That one-on-one counseling shows in the finished cattle leaving the feedyard and their beef in the grading coolers, but the good health must start on the ranch. (Williams) We’ve even told people if there’s any way they can vaccinate them twice, say August when they’re still on the cow and then again a couple weeks before they bring them to the feedyard. In our own data, we’ve found the pull rates go way down. (Bob) When cattle must be doctored, Williams believes in returning them immediately to their pens after the necessary shots. (Williams) The advantages to taking him home right away is, cattle, just like people, get their routine and where they live and a couple reasons, if you put a bunch of sick cattle in one pen, they’re re-establishing the viral, the virus is moving around, it’s kind of like kindergarten, they’re sick all the time. So we like to doctor them and take them home, they stay on feed better. (Bob) Beyond and before health issues, the cattle feeder knows everything starts with genetics, which is why he drives out to a lot of ranches around the country. (Williams) We’ve probably been on their ranch and we work with them on their data. A large part of my job is talking with customers on genetic decisions and evaluating their data. We’ve tried to become a niche yard for the rancher and do everything we can to help a rancher genetically. (Bob) Working as a team to ensure the best in genetics and health makes quality beef production work for everyone from ranch to consumer. I’m Bob Cervera.

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