This year has heightened the risks of cattle contracting Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD). Dr. Eric Moore, technical services vet for Merck Animal Health, tells Brownfield in many cases there’s been a double-drought effect. Moore says, “It’s really even worse this year than last year because last year the calves were just nutritionally stressed. But, this year the cows have been nutritionally stressed for two years, plus, the hot weather and dust. So, we’ve had the fetuses – the calves in the cows – have been stressed since they’ve been conceived.”
The quality of that first milk, he says, was also reduced because of drought stress. “When they get that point – the colostrum isn’t the quality we need – that mother’s first milk that passes that protection in. So, we’ve seen the effects of that actually carrying on out through the stocker, the grower-stocker and feedlot phase.”
The drought has had long reaching effects, and because of that, Moore says cattle producers need to go back to the basics. Moore says, “Knowing that you’re going to have to prep that calf’s immune system, you’re going to have to keep ‘em parasite free. You’re going to have to try and get the best nutrition into it. So, from the basic start, we need to look at it as an investment rather than a cost.”
Moore says all those normal practices are even more critical this year – adding that — those little things can make a difference in preventing BRD.