Producers generally feel their local veterinarians are well prepared to address a broad range of cattle health issues and problems impacting their herd. Of producer respondents, 26.7% said their local veterinarians were extremely well-prepared, while 39.2% said very well-prepared. Another 28.1% said adequate, and 6% said they are not well-prepared.

Producers were asked how often they seek advice from their veterinarian in areas such as breeding/genetics, marketing, nutrition, beef quality, facilities design, etc. Only 7.9% said often, and 28.9% said sometimes. The biggest share (31.7%) said almost never, while 31.5% said seldom.

Utilize vets for general cattle herd advice

Asked the same question about their clients, 26.5% of responding veterinarians said their clients often sought such advice outside of direct herd health concerns, and 45.8% said sometimes. Another 21.7% said seldom, and 6% said almost never.

When producers were asked if veterinarians should be compensated for such advice, only 11.7% said yes, while 35.5% said no. Another 31.4% said it’s difficult to put a price on this type of service, and 21.4% believed such service was already built into the veterinarian’s pricing.

Compensation for additional vet advice

Among veterinarians responding to the same question, 44.6% said yes to expecting compensation for such advice, while another 44.6% said it’s difficult to price this type of service. The remaining 10.8% said the service was already built into their pricing.

One veterinarian remarked that “We need to encourage prevention as opposed to cures – particularly in herd health and reproductive management. We don’t make producers money by pulling calves and fixing prolapses. We make them money by making them better producers and finding non-productive animals.”

Producers also were asked if they had worked with their vet in developing a biosecurity plan for their operation. Only 9.9% said yes, while 90.1% said no.

Among producers, the most listed component in a biosecurity plan was prompt disposal of dead animals (89.1%), followed by:

  • Keep records of all disease occurrences and treatments – 82.6%
  • Vaccinate against endemic disease – 80.4%
  • Purchase feed from reputable sources – 75.4%
  • Have your vet necropsy animals that die from unknown causes – 71%
  • Quarantine newly acquired animals or reintroduced animals – 69.6%
  • Isolate sick animals in a designated hospital pen – 68.8%
  • Control and monitor access to your operation – 66.7%
  • Screen animals for suspected disease problems, such as PI BVD, trichomoniasis, etc. – 63.8%
  • Know incoming animals’ health history – 59.4%
  • Euthanize chronically sick animals – 58.7%
  • Don’t place cattle of different ages in the same pen – 39.9%
  • Clean boots and clothing when working animals with different health status – 38.4%
  • Emergency preparedness for foreign animal diseases – 34.1%
  • Practice “all-in, all-out” animal movement in pens and pastures – 33.3%
  • Try to place receiving and load-out facilities at the perimeter of the operation – 28.3%
  • Work younger or healthier animals first, then older, higher-risk animals – 28.3%

A Closer Look: Feedyard Emergency Preparedness: Are You Ready?

When producers were asked how prepared they felt veterinarians in their community were to respond to a serious foreign animal disease outbreak or an act of bioterrorism against livestock, a majority of producers (48.2%) said adequately prepared, while 39.5% said inadequately prepared, and 12.3% said not prepared at all.

Veterinarians responding to the same question were slightly less optimistic, with only 39.8% saying veterinarians were adequately prepared, while 53% said inadequately prepared, and 7.2% said not prepared at all.