At a time when producers are watching every dollar tightly, one thing that can’t be taken for granted is reproductive efficiency of the cow herd. With record-low cattle numbers and back-to-back drought years in much of the country, every calf is valuable, and even a single delay in breeding could cost big money.
According to Dr. Joe Campbell, Professional Services Veterinarian with Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., producers can see a big difference in the value of calves from the first breeding cycle versus the second or third. As an example, assuming an average daily gain of 1.75 pounds and a value of $1.70 per pound, producers could see a loss of around $63 per calf for every cycle that the cow isn’t bred.
“In a 100-cow herd, if you see a 30 percent open rate for the first cycle, that’s nearly $1,900 in loss,” Dr. Campbell says. “We need to focus on breeding efficiency, and we need to do it now. Especially with prices being what they are, there’s a substantial economic return that we can gain.”
Vaccination is first line of defense
One of the first steps producers should take to help reduce breeding delays is administering pre-breeding vaccinations to protect against common reproductive diseases. Bovine viral diarrhea (BVD), trichomoniasis and leptospirosis can cause delayed breeding, potential abortion, smaller calves and/or persistently infected (PI) calves. The production and financial losses associated with each of these devastating diseases, however, can be reduced through a good vaccination program.
“The economics are there, indicating that we should use good nutrition and pre-breeding vaccinations to make sure the cow is at her peak reproductive performance when we first turn the bull in,” says Dr. Campbell.
When you’re selecting a reproductive vaccine, Dr. Campbell recommends a modified-live virus (MLV) vaccine like Express® FP 5-VL5, which protects cows for a full year against BVD Type 1 and Type 2, as well as persistently infected (PI) calves. For operations in which a killed vaccine is preferred, he recommends using Triangle® 5 or TRIANGLE 10.
When establishing a trichomoniasis control program, producers should work with their veterinarian to put together a protocol that includes vaccination with TrichGuard® or TrichGuard V5L, in addition to management and biosecurity, including fence-line management, annual bull testing, culling of positive bulls, and establishing guidelines for purchasing new bulls.
“The nice thing about reproductive vaccines is that there are options and flexibility in putting together the program that works well for you,” Dr. Campbell concludes. “Whether you’re in a modified-live situation, using EXPRESS FP 5-VL5 with TRICHGUARD, or TRIANGLE 5 and TRICHGUARD V5L in a killed-vaccine protocol, you’re going to be reducing the chance of delayed breeding and maximizing your potential for returns.”
For more information on Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc.’s reproductive-vaccine options, contact your veterinarian or local Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. representative, or call (800) 325-9167. For more information on the complete Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. product portfolio, please visit: www.bi-vetmedica.com/cattle.