Farm and Ranch
Meanwhile back at the ranch...
By Rayford Pullen
Feb 7, 2018
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This has been an expensive winter to own cattle from a supplemental feed perspective. As of February 1, we had already purchased our total used during the winter of 2016-2017, and if that ground hog is right, we have another six weeks of this, which will translate into more feed required. 

The drought this past fall and now well into winter has resulted in little, if any, winter grazing. So here's hoping spring will be arriving soon. 

It seems I have a few friends each year who lose calves to a clostridial disease we call black leg, due mostly to the fact they did not vaccinate. My observation has been that the calves you find with black leg are dead, had been doing really good, weigh in the 400-pound range and may be close to a water source. All my years I have only seen one calf that I knew had blackleg that was alive. 

This problem can usually be avoided with just a basic vaccination program, which includes a blackleg vaccination when calves are two to three months old. If we have late born calves that are at least walking, we'll vaccinate them regardless of their age, and recently published articles (I'm not sure where I read them) have indicated that unlike conventional thinking, calves under two months old will also get immunity. 

On the cow side, giving at least an annual vaccination for Lepto-Vibrio is important to us. While I don't have any data to support out thoughts, I believe Lepto is the number one cause of abortions in cattle in our area. We make sure our Lepto vaccine contains the "Hardjo Bovis" strain. I don't know if we need it, but we insist on having it. The Leptos and Vibrios can be given as a single dose, and we normally do this at the same time we black leg vaccinate our calves. 

Losing a calf worth $600 to $800 would have bought a lot of vaccine and labor, and in my estimation is a good investment in your herd and our industry as that calf navigates through the food chain.

It's a wonderful time to be in the cattle business.

Rayford Pullen
Pullen Angus
rcpullen@yahoo.com