It is well known that building robust immune systems is key to reducing morbidity in your herd. But did you know that a calf’s immunity starts before she is even born? I often partner with producers to identify the profitability bottlenecks that exist within their herds, and many times that involves diving deep into their nutritional programs. By working closely with my customers and their veterinarians, we have uncovered opportunities to improve beef cow diets that also improved the health of their calves, lowering morbidity rates.
Illness is a Threat to Profitability
Stress and immune challenges increase the risk of illness in your herd, posing a threat to your operation’s profitability. Whether calves are entering a backgrounding program, a feedlot or being retained as replacement heifers, there is a requirement for established immunity to be prepared for the challenges they will face. This includes weaning, shipping stress, comingling, new nutrition and adjusting to environmental changes like climate and elevation variation.
The economic impact of treating sick calves can be costly including lost production, treatment costs, time and labor – putting a strain on profitability. Implementing strategies to improve herd health and be more equipped to handle the stressors of transition not only optimizes profit retention but provides buyers a more attractive product when marketing your cattle to the next phase of the production cycle.
Manage Stress for Healthier Calves
Investing in proven mineral nutrition year-round gives you peace of mind that your calves are set up for the healthiest lives possible and will transition well to the next owner – keeping your customers satisfied with a quality product. Feeding your beef cows proven nutrition with unrivaled mineral absorption enables a better pull-through response from the cow to the calf, establishing calf immunity before and after weaning.
Organic trace minerals are essential for cows producing colostrum that helps improve daily immune functions within the calf. Zinpro® Availa® 4, a combination of zinc, manganese, copper and cobalt, is an organic trace mineral source that provides unrivaled mineral absorption. Feeding Zinpro Availa 4 improves health and wellbeing of calves and is proven to:
- Improve cow colostrum quality by 28%, providing the calf with a stronger immune system
- Reduce morbidity by up to 20%
Zinpro® Profusion® Drench acts as a secondary approach to further lower morbidity rates in calves. During stressful stages when dry matter intake drops and nutrients are lost, it replenishes the calf’s trace mineral stores which are needed for immunity and to maintain productivity during weaning, shipping and vaccinating. Furthermore, when used as an ancillary therapy for respiratory disease in feedlot calves, Zinpro ProFusion Drench reduces case-fatality rate by up to 23%.
As your trusted nutrition partner, I want to remind you that it is also critical to reduce calf stress whenever possible. If feasible, allow your calves a 30-45 day weaning period before they are shipped. You can also introduce calves to eating out of a bunk and to different types of waterers to prevent a harsh adjustment at the feedyard. Proven nutrition solutions paired with management practices can reduce the impact of stress and illness resulting in a healthier, more productive herd.
Prepare Calves for Maximum Performance
Raising calves through weaning is stressful enough without worrying about disease threats. It is possible to reduce morbidity and set calves up for healthy lives to reach their maximum potential. Proven animal nutrition from Zinpro ensures your calves remain healthy before, during and after each life stage. Refer to the previous blogs in the series to learn more about Zinpro Lifetime Performance and unlock performance in your cowherd.