At a sale barn, everyone is looking for a good deal. There's opportunity for profit, but commingling cattle from different backgrounds isn't always a bargain. The bacteria cattle can be exposed to put them at risk for developing bovine respiratory disease.
Charlie Durbin, DVM, St. Peter, Ill., notes that the stress of the typical sale barn situation, combined with potential exposure to other sick cattle, can easily lead to BRD — leaving producers with increased time spent caring for sick cattle, reduced average daily gains or even increased death loss.
To help protect producer's profits, Durbin suggests good management and a solid treatment plan that starts as soon as cattle step off the truck.
One of his key recommendations is using an antimicrobial that can be administered to incoming cattle and will continue working for at least a week without retreating. This helps reduce management time pulling and re-treating sick cattle, and helps reduce handling stress on the animal.
"You need several days of antimicrobial working for you so you don't have to go back and run them through the chute again and stress them out that much more," Durbin notes.
With nearly three decades experience battling BRD, Durbin says a long-lasting antimicrobial helps keep cattle healthy, and it leaves time for producers to invest in other aspects of the operation.
Not properly managing the effects of BRD can reduce an animal's performance throughout its entire life.
When producers know what situations — like commingling cattle — can result in BRD, they have a head start in managing the disease and protecting against lost performance and profits.