Well grown heifers coming into the herd are one of your biggest assets to increasing overall productivity on farm. When it comes to getting the best growth out of your youngstock, it all starts in the calf shed. Ensuring good robust management processes are in place around the likes of colostrum, feeding, and biosecurity are important. However even when these things are in order, Rotavirus can still have a devastating effect on your farm.
We are fortunate today to have several different Rotavirus vaccinations available, enabling us to tailor a vaccination protocol to your farm that is not only cost effective, but also more practical to implement. We have found that this prevention measure, when combined with good colostrum and feeding management, has been a life saver on farms that have experienced Rotavirus outbreaks. The vaccinations work by stimulating antibody production to the virus in the dam, leading to the vaccinated cow having high levels of Rotavirus antibody in her colostrum. Combining vaccination with good colostrum management and feeding means your calves get a good protective dose of these antibodies right when they need it most. To get the maximum effect of this vaccination, it needs to be given three weeks before the planned start of calving (PSC) – so if you think the benefits of this vaccination would benefit your calf rearing operation, you need to act now.
If you are interested in taking a proactive approach to managing disease risk in your calves this season, talk to your vet about Rotavirus vaccination and consider working with them, to put together some calf rearing protocols specific to your farm. Preventing the stress associated with large amounts of time and costs dealing with scouring calves certainly is a benefit worth investing in.
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