Poor colostrum produced by a nutritionally stressed cow can follow a calf for the rest of its life. Damage done by the drought across the Midwest could have a much longer tail than many of us know. Dr. Mark Campbell, with Merial Veterinary Services tells Brownfield that calves could be lighter at birth, have been weaned lighter than usual, and might not have received adequate colostrum at birth.
Grass has less protein in it when it is stressed, and protein is an imporant building block. Drought-stressed grass does not take up macro and micro nutrients as well as non-drought stressed grass, and if not on a proper mineral program, cattle could be deficient in those.
Campbell said cattle have to have proper nutrition for a proper immune response. There aren’t necessarily symptoms you can detect when a calf is deficient in copper, but it might not respond to vaccines or treatment as well.
Drought is hard on cattle in many ways. Cattle can’t sweat and have to breathe faster to disperse the heat. Dust is a major factor in Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) and pinkeye.
Bovine Respiratory Disease, BRD, costs beef producers as much as $900 million a year. Dr. Campbell said it is important for cattlemen to treat for BRD. Zactran from Merial works quickly. Within 30 minutes after a subcue dose, Dr. Campbell tells Brownfield, Zactran is working. A single injection provides 10-day BRD treatment and control.