Beef Cattle Herd Health
Proper management of beef cattle herd health is very important. It
not only protects the herd from potential diseases but also saves money on the treatment of these diseases.
Nutrition, vaccination and sanitation are three things very important for beef cattle herd health. Timely
vaccination of newly born calves is vital for their health. Mature cattle must also be vaccinated in time to save
their lives and reduce the risk of diseases. Do not wait for vaccination and medication until you have lost a
Vaccination costs much less than the treatment of diseases, which may
spread to other animals further adding to the cost. Some diseases can cause death of animals and others can lead to
infertility and abortions. Viral diseases like Infectious bovine rhinotracheitis (IBR, rednose) and bovine viral
diarrhea (BVD) cause beef cattle infertility and abortions. Foothill abortion (EBA), Campylobacteriosis,
Leptospirosis and Listeriosis can also cause abortions. Also healthy cattle mean better crop production and healthy
beef production. Regular consultation with a qualified veterinarian is also must. Also the vaccination program must
be customized for your herd and your location, as potential dangers differ in different regions.
In addition to vaccination proper fly control is also very important. Pests like flies
cause irritation to the animals and carry many disease causing bacteria and viruses. Face flies, horn flies and
stable flies are potential disease causing flies. Face flies carry the bacterium Moraxella bovis, which causes
infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis or pinkeye in beef cattle. Horn flies, stable flies, horse flies and other
flies feed on animals and suck their blood. Regular use of pesticides and insecticides, sprays, back rubbers,
oilers, ear tags, pour-ons, face rubbers, fly traps, sex attractants, sterile male flies, predator wasps and dust
bags may prevent these flies.
Nutrition is also vital for beef cattle herd health. Both over and under intake of
nutrients is harmful. Beef cattle have different nutritional requirements at different stages in life. Growing and
pregnant animals have different needs than older animals. Herd owners can use computer software to calculate
nutritional needs of different animals and customize feed programs suitable for individual animals. They not only
reduce costs of feed programs but also balance nutritional needs of animals. Ration balancing software to compare
prices of different food products are also good options. Regular checkup of feed and water resources for
contamination by any kind of germs is important. Protection of pastures from excessive use of pesticides and
insecticides is essential.