Gary Fike with Red Angus Association of America

(Gary Fike) I’m Gary Fike with the Red Angus Association of America. I’m the Director of Commercial Marketing. We recently decided to conduct a survey with the aid of Kansas State University veterinarians, Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. AJ Tarpoff to determine what the most widely recommended practices were in the commercial cow/calf industry. With a great deal of help from them, we surveyed over 1,100 veterinarians across the United States. Big survey because it represented 35 states and three Canadian provinces. But maybe what was most impressive about it to me was two-thirds of those responding veterinarians came from one of the top 10 beef cow producing states in the US. That was a big part of it. Plus the fact that over 30% of those veterinarians had 30 years worth of experience. But we had a pretty good mix, because another 26% had zero to five years of experience. That was a nice cross section we felt of the industry. We did this because there are a lot of different health protocols out there. We just really wanted to get down to what it was that was being recommended by those veterinarians out in the commercial world. In addition to the fact that during this time of, perhaps, thinner profit margins, we need to make sure that a good health protocol is being followed because cow/calf producers might look at ways they can cut costs. In doing that, by not giving the correct vaccine protocol may hurt them in the long run. We just want to make sure that everybody understands, from this survey, what is most important and what really needs to be done. The overwhelming majority of veterinarians that were surveyed said that you need to use a modified live vaccine, whether it’s at branding, whether it’s at pre-weaning or post-weaning. If you look at branding time and we call branding time at two to three months of age, in a spring calving herd, that’s going to be May, June maybe. Those calves should be given a modified live vaccine for the vaccines recommended. Predominately, the clostridial diseases, bovine respiratory syncytial virus, BRSV and PI3. BVD types one and two not so much, it’s 78% and 77% at that time. But only 10% or 12% of the veterinarians recommended that you use a killed vaccine at that time. When we move to pre-weaning and post-weaning, it still doesn’t creep up a lot. But it still goes to 90% or 91% of those veterinarians recommending you use modifiable live vaccines versus killed. Then the use of the BVD and then the types one and two BVD jumps from 77% to 78% at branding time to 96% and 97% at post-weaning time. Those are very important vaccines that need to be given at that time because the calves are going to be shipped. Obviously, maybe right off the cow or they might be weaned for 30, 60 or 90 days afterwards before they’re shipped. The results of the study are actually going to be released at the Red Angus Brain Trust, which will be January 7th out at Denver during the stock show, during the National Western Stock Show. After that, the study will be available on our website. It’s also being submitted for publication in a refereed journal article. That should come out, probably sometime in the middle year. That is a scientific journal that probably is not going to be widespread in the AG media but will have studies or will have stories out ahead of that time that will be in the general AG press. What we really hope for this study and the results of this study being broadcast to the industry, if you will, is that producers see the Red Angus Association as being concerned and proactive about the betterment of health protocols in the entire industry and not just about Red Angus cattle, but getting the information out there so the people make the right decisions no matter what kind of cattle that you raise.

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