After more than four decades in the cattle business, Carl Lufkin has seen first-hand the ravages of disease in under-protected herds, including abortion storms and BVD “wrecks.”
That’s why a comprehensive vaccination program is not optional for Lufkin and his team at Leadore Angus Ranch, Leadore, Idaho. “You simply have to do it. It’s one of the variables of cattle production that you can control,” says the manager of the 1,600-cow ranch, which includes 1,000 head of purebred Angus and 600 commercial cows.
The herd’s vaccination protection starts with the calves, who receive Pyramid® 5 + Presponse® SQ at branding time in the spring, and again two to three weeks before weaning in the fall. Through this protocol, the calves are protected against BVD Types 1 and 2, IBR, BRSV, and PI3, plus pneumonia caused by Mannheimia haemolytica.
Although that’s a stressful time for the calves, Lufkin says they handle it well. “I’ve seen some vaccines that will really knock calves back for a few days, but they don’t miss a beat on this program,” he notes.
Protection continues when heifers and bulls reach breeding age. The heifers receive a pre-breeding vaccination with EXPRESS®FP for ongoing protection against BVD Types 1 and 2, IBR, BRSV and PI3. The vaccine also protects against Campylobacter fetus and five serovars of Leptospira, including L. borgpeterseneii serovar hardjo (type hardjo-bovis).
All animals on the ranch also receive twice-a-year vaccination with Bar-Vac® 8 to protect against clostridial infections, including Red Water Disease, which is prevalent in the region.
Females receive an annual EXPRESS®FP booster, which can be administered to pregnant cows as long as they received the initial vaccination within the previous 12 months according to label directions.
Lufkin appreciates both the flexibility and the efficacy of EXPRESS®FP. “It’s great to be able to give it to pregnant cows, especially because I highly value the fact that it is a modified live vaccine,” he says. “Some people might perceive killed vaccines to be ‘safer,’ but to me they’re just not as effective. You’ve got to get those titers up and keep them up to maintain consistent protection.”
Boehringer Ingelheim Professional Services Veterinarian Joe Campbell, DVM, says Lufkin’s commitment to quality is evident in Leadore Ranch’s loyal following among their breeding-stock clientele. “They’ll sell more than 200 bulls a year and at least that many heifers, often to the same buyers year after year,” says Campbell. “They have an excellent reputation for supplying superior genetics transmitted by extremely healthy animals.”
Lufkin says the sale of those animals provides an important opportunity to monitor the success of their vaccine protocol. “Before our annual sale, we test every bull for persistently infected (PI) BVD animals,” he shares. “Those 200 bulls represent about 20 percent of our calf crop, and since we’ve been on this program, we never have had a single positive animal.”
Still, Lufkin is quick to acknowledge that the Leadore team does not attempt to manage animal health solely with a syringe. Nutrition is even a bigger priority to him. “We test all of our feed and pay careful attention to our mineral program and soil fertility,” he says. “You might say I like to manage from the inside out, instead of the other way around. Sound health and immunity starts with excellent nutrition. Without it, animals can’t fully respond to vaccines no matter how good they are, and you lose some of the value of your investment in vaccine products.”
To learn more about cow-calf vaccination and disease prevention, visit BI-Vetmedica.com/Cattle.
Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (St. Joseph, MO) is a subsidiary of Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation, based in Ridgefield, CT, and a member of the Boehringer Ingelheim group of companies.