Kristen O’Meara has a message to all those who would withhold vaccines from their children:don’t. O’Meara says she had become “pretty convinced” that vaccines might be harmful through her own research. Her opinion changed when all three of her young daughters were stricken with a case of rotavirus, which causes acute stomach distress.

"I put my kids at risk," she said. "I wish that I had taken more time to research from both sides before my children were born." Her three children — all under the age of 7 — are now fully vaccinated, after an aggressive regimen to bring them up to date on recommended shots.

Profit Tracker: From bad to better

Feedyard margins improved last week despite a $3 per cwt decline in cash cattle prices. That’s because the cost of feeder cattle calculated against last week’s closeouts was about $80 per head less than the prior week, according to Sterling Marketing, Vale, Ore. Cattle feeders lost an average of $41 on every animal shipped, about $48 per head less than the previous week.

Two new apps

The Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University is making it easier for producers and veterinarians to manage pregnancy diagnosis information with a new mobile app called Pregnancy Analytics. Designed to serve as an instant data collection and analysis tool, the app will facilitate the transformation of data into actionable information for individual herds.

Merck Animal Health launched the Meat Sustainability Calculator, an app which is designed to help producers, suppliers and others in the food chain better understand how the beef production systems and technologies they use impact the environment. The app was created in partnership with Jude Capper, Ph.D., an independent sustainability consultant.

Welfare concerns at packing plants

Cargill’s head of welfare and animal husbandry says packing plants have as much at stake as cattlemen. Mike Siemens says greater attention to welfare is an industry initiative, not a marketing tool.

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