What is in this article?:
- Protect Your Cows (And Your Pocketbook) From Trichomoniasis
- The Economic Implications of Infected Cows
- Why You Should Vaccinate
You can’t afford the cost of a trich outbreak in your herd. It’s time to stop ignoring the problem and prevent the spread. Here’s how.
The Economic Implications of Infected Cows
One trichomoniasis-infected animal can spread disease throughout your entire herd, with the possibility of reducing your calf crop by as much as 50 percent. In a 100-head herd, you could lose $20,000 or more. Reasons for economic losses are threefold:
1.There is a smaller calf crop due to early embryonic loss or abortion.
2.Weaning weight is lower because conception is later.
3.Infected cattle must be culled and replaced, thereby losing the herd’s genetic improvement.
If a calf is born 60 days later than the rest of the herd due to late breeding and it gains about 2 pounds per day, the calf will be nearly 120 pounds lighter than the rest of the calf crop. At today’s market price, you could be losing nearly $150 for every late calf born in a single season and $800 to $1,200 over the lifetime of the cow.
It is also important to consider herds that operate with a limited breeding season. These herds simply do not have time for cows to recover from trichomoniasis and also get bred. It can take years for these late-calving cows to catch up, if they ever do.
In these two situations, reduced weaning weights and culled cows, the economic loss can be very significant.
While the bull is the primary disease carrier, preventive measures can help reduce trichomoniasis prevalence among both bulls and cows. Early prevention may also be the best option for those cattle that have the opportunity to mingle with neighboring herds that are out of your control.
- Cull infected bulls and cows - Infected bulls are infected for life and will do nothing more than spread the disease throughout your cowherd. Culling is the only option. Additionally, open or late-calving cows are likely to be trichomoniasis carriers and should be culled. While trichomoniasis is shorter-lasting in cows than bulls because the organisms are passed, it is possible for infected cows to breed with a clean bull before that happens, hence turning him into a carrier.
- Be selective with replacement animals - When possible, all replacement animals should be virgins, test negative for T. foetus, and come from a reputable source.
- Consider implementing or expanding an AI program - Use of artificial insemination (AI) will reduce the need for herd bulls and, subsequently, the chance of trichomoniasis spread.
- Maintain your fences - You can prevent disease in your own herd, but you must also protect your herd from neighboring cattle that may be harboring infection out of your control. Reducing interaction between herds will help stop trichomoniasis from affecting your cattle.
- Vaccinate your entire herd - Vaccination is especially important if you share fence with another herd, utilize open grazing lands, or have a known trichomoniasis problem in your area.