Farmer's Weekly

Managing calf health for maximum long-term productivity

Health management is a critical factor affecting the profitability of a cattle operation. Yet establishing, maintaining and improving an effective health programme for a beef or dairy cattle herd can be difficult due to the many variables and unanticipated risks involved. To minimise these, a herd manager should ideally implement such a programme when a calf is in utero.

According to Dr Schabort Froneman, technical manager for ruminants at animal health company Zoetis, cattle farmers should look at a herd as an epidemiological unit. This is a group of animals that share the same approximate likelihood of being exposed to a pathogenic agent. This may be because these animals share a common environment or are subject to the same management practices.

“Treating individual animals for health problems is reactive, whereas improving a herd’s health, and hence automatically improving an individual animal’s health,

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