Reason for Open Cows

(Conrad) Good morning and welcome to Farm Factor on AGam in Kansas. I’m your host, Conrad Kabus. Production medicine is concerned with determining, distribution, and causes of status of animal health in animal populations, maintaining that health and optimizing production. This definition comes from 1985 and is still relevant today in farming societies. Dr. Dave Rethorst is part of the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University specializing in producer education. Production medicine is being able to look at a livestock operation from a 30,000 foot view. It’s more than the individual animal medicine. It’s using the individual animals for sentinel animals for our diagnostics, but using that to be able to maintain the health and well being of the entire population. (Conrad) Dr. Rethorst completed the Beef Cattle Production Management Series at the Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center as part of his continuing education where he tries to stay on the cutting edge of new information in the beef cattle industry. Dave’s passion for veterinary medicine and the beef cattle industry continues to center around production medicine and efficient production of cattle and feedyards. (Dave) One of the best examples is an example where in preg checking a set of cows, on the cows coming in with their third calf and older there was about 11 percent open, about 13 percent that I had called late. The young man in charge of the operation thought that was very acceptable. I did not. I had him break it out real quick from the records that he had kept and the majority of the open cows in that scenario were cows that were three years old, supposed to be pregnant with their third calf. It didn’t make sense that it was an infectious disease, as we broke it out and looked at it, it was management and the way those cows were fed after they calved. They were running with the mature cows. And the mature cows in a social dominance manner, just kept those young cows back from the feed bunk and those young cows didn’t get enough protein or energy to breed back. So we had an unacceptable pregnancy rate. All we did to change it was to take those three year olds the following year, run them with the two year olds, where they had better nutrition and everything was fine.

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