Adoption of vaccinations in Canadian beef herds – BCRC study results
Did you know that vaccinated cows are more likely to get pregnant, especially in co-mingling situations? Vaccinated cows were less likely to abort? Calves born to vaccinated cows were less likely to be treated before weaning?
Research by Dr. Waldner’s research team concluded that herds that had not been vaccinated against BRD bacteria were more than eight times more likely to treat their calves for BRD between four months of age and weaning.
With renewed optimism and record prices producers want as many healthy calves weaned and as many cows rebred as possible. A solid vaccination program with annual booster is a great way to protect your investment. A 2019 report entitled “Adoption Rates of Recommended Practices by Cow-Calf Operators in Canada“ indicated that over 25% of Canadian cow-calf operations don’t vaccinate their cows for IBR and BVD before the breeding season. The most common reason for not vaccinating against these reproductive diseases was “I have a closed herd.”
That’s pretty unlikely. Closed herds are exceedingly rare. Commingling doesn’t just happen on community pastures and other grazing lease arrangements where different herds mix. Commingling also happens when new breeding stock (purchased or leased females, bulls or calves) enter the herd and when fences break or get jumped. Disease can also spread through nose-to-nose contact across fences.
Vaccination is far less costly than even a few more open cows or a few more abortions, and much less costly than a reproductive disaster, an abortion storm or a BRD wreck in next year’s calves. Talk to your veterinarian to make sure that your vaccination plans are still appropriate for this summer’s possible grazing scenarios. The BCRC also has calculators to help you assess the cost-benefit of vaccinating against several different diseases:
Check out these infographics summarizing the most common production limiting diseases along with their treatment and prevention:
CVMA Beef Calf Diarrhea Decision Tree
Leptospirosis and Vibriosis Disease
Preweaning Bovine Respiratory Disease