As a producer, do you think you usually make efficient use of a veterinarian’s time on your operation? Of 1,404 producers responding to an email survey in August, 46.6% said always, 50.6% said usually, and 1.7% said seldom. Interestingly, when veterinarians were asked whether their clients made the most efficient use of a veterinarian’s time during an on-farm call, only 2.4% of 83 responding DVMs said always, while 89.2% said usually, and 8.4% said seldom.

That was one of the interesting tidbits gleaned from dual surveys of producers and beef veterinarians, all of whom are BEEF readers. The two audiences were surveyed on essentially the same topics and questions in order to learn their perspectives on various vet/client relationship issues. A total of 33,474 producers and 920 veterinarians were sampled, with 1,404 and 83 useable surveys returned, for effective response rates of 4.2% and 9%, respectively.

Efficient use of vet time

Producers were asked how they thought their veterinarian would rate their cattle operation for ease, comfort and safety of the veterinary work performed there. Of respondents, 14.4% said their veterinarian would rate the facilities as outstanding, while 50.6% said better than average, 32.6% said adequate, and 2.3% said poor.

When veterinarians were asked to rate their clients’ operations for ease, comfort and safety of the veterinary work performed there, only 3.6% of responding DVMs said outstanding. Meanwhile, 26.5% said better than average, 65.1% said adequate, and 4.8% said poor.

Ease for Vet at cattle operation

One veterinarian said producers generally need more information on cattle handling and facilities. “They need to know that to effectively work cattle, good facilities are a must, no matter what size of herd they have.”

Producers named local veterinarians as their number-one source for general livestock health information (82.9%), followed by livestock media (59%). The Internet ranked third at 48.7%, and Extension/university sources fourth at 47.5%. Animal health representatives ranked fifth at 35.5%.

One reader remarked that while veterinarians are very important, “a lot of our production recommendations come from experienced Extension agents who receive a high level of training from university veterinarians. It worries me that we’re not only seeing a shortage in our area of large-animal veterinarians, but also Extension people.”

Among producer respondents, 62.9% said they purchase the majority of their animal health products from a veterinarian, while 53.2% said they buy products over the counter. Another 32.3% purchase by catalog, and 19.3% via Internet. Direct from the manufacturer accounted for another 8.3%.