No More Risky Business

Calf preconditioning can help reduce risk, increase profits.

October 15, 2010 — For cattle producers, raising and marketing cattle can be an expensive — even risky — endeavor. Still, according to Dale Grotelueschen, DVM, Veterinary Operations, Pfizer Animal Health, there are ways for producers to help reduce their risk and even increase their profits. 
“The cattle business presents significant risk,” Dr. Grotelueschen says. “Producers have to think about the best way to market their animals and what those market prices might be. They also have to think about weather problems, like drought, feed prices and, one of the inherent risks of raising animals — animal health.”
However, Dr. Grotelueschen adds that planning can help producers turn a potential risk — like animal health — into an advantage. 
Calf preconditioning is an excellent way to offer lower-risk cattle to buyers. In fact, calves that were preconditioned with a documented program and were weaned for at least 45 days prior to sale received an additional $7.21 per hundred weight on sale day compared with similar calves without any documented preconditioning claims.1
“Preconditioning adds value to cattle for the entire beef industry,” Dr. Grotelueschen says. “The seller can see monetary returns for selling calves that have been preconditioned and the buyer stands to gain because preconditioned calves represent a reduced health risk.”
Preconditioning is simple with a little bit of extra planning because many producers are already doing a good part of what is required and simply need to talk to their veterinarians or animal health professionals to enroll, Dr. Grotelueschen adds.
“When preconditioned with a program like SelectVAC®, from Pfizer Animal Health, calves will be more likely to continue to be healthy as they make their way through the production chain,” Dr. Grotelueschen says. 
In fact, in a study completed at Decatur County Feedyard in Oberlin, Kan., calves that were preconditioned with the WeanVAC® program through SelectVAC were four times less likely to be pulled for treatment than calves with an unknown health history.2 
“Preconditioning just makes good sense,” Dr. Grotelueschen says. “It’s an example of better levels of animal care and animal husbandry.”
For more information, contact: 
Michelle Tollefson  
Pfizer Animal Health  

Rachel Torbert
Bader Rutter
1King ME. 2009. The effects of health and management programs on the sale price of beef calves marketed through seven Superior Livestock video auctions in 2009. Final Report, Pfizer Inc.
2Seeger JT, Grotelueschen DM, Stokka GL, et al. Comparison of the feedlot health, nutritional performance, carcass characteristics, and economic value of unweaned beef calves with an unknown health history and of weaned beef calves receiving various herd-of-origin health protocols. Bov Pract 2008;42(1):1-13.



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