Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Calf management practices and associations with herd-level morbidity and mortality on beef cow-calf operations

  • C. F. Murray (a1), L. J. Fick (a1), E. A. Pajor (a1), H. W. Barkema (a1), M. D. Jelinski (a2) and M. C. Windeyer (a1)...

Abstract

The objective of this study was to investigate calf management practices on beef cow-calf operations and determine associations with herd-level morbidity and mortality of pre-weaned calves. A 40-question survey about management practices, morbidity and mortality was administered to cow-calf producers by distributing paper surveys and by circulating an online link through various media. A total of 267 producers completed the survey. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and multivariable linear regression models. Average herd-level treatment risk for pre-weaning calf diarrhea (PCD) and bovine respiratory disease (BRD) were 4.9% and 3.0%, respectively. Average herd-level mortality within the first 24 h of life (stillbirth), from 1 to 7 days and 7 days to weaning were 2.3%, 1.1%, and 1.4%, respectively. Operations that never intervened at parturition had 4.7% higher PCD than those that occasionally did. On operations using small elastrator bands for castration, PCD was 1.9% higher than those using other methods. For every increase of 100 cows in herd size, BRD decreased by 1.1%. The association between BRD and PCD varied by when calving season began. Operations that used off-farm, frozen colostrum had a 1.1% increase in stillbirths. Operations that verified a calf had suckled had 0.7% lower mortality from 1 to 7 days of age. Those that intervened when colostrum was abnormal or that used small elastrator bands for castration had 1.9% and 1.4% higher mortality during the 1st week of life, respectively, compared with other operations. Mortality from 7 days to weaning was lower by 0.7% when calving season started in April compared with January or February and was higher by 1.0% for each additional week of calving season. Operations that intervened with colostrum consumption for assisted calvings had lower mortality from 7 days to weaning by 0.8% compared with those that did not. For every 1.0% increase in BRD, mortality from 7 days to weaning increased by 1.0%. Stillbirths and mortality from 7 days to weaning decreased non-linearly with herd size. Factors related to calving season, herd size, interventions at calving, colostrum management and castration impacted herd-level morbidity and mortality. However, effect size was generally small and causation cannot be determined with a cross-sectional study design. This study identifies several common health management practices associated with calfhood morbidity and mortality that should be further investigated to establish evidence-based management strategies to improve the health and survival of beef calves.

Copyright

Corresponding author

References

Hide All
Acres, SD, Saunders, JR and Rodostits, OM 1977. Acute undifferentiated neonatal diarrhea of beef calves: the prevalence of E. coli, reo-like (rota) virus and other enteropathogens in cow-calf herds. The Canadian Veterinary Journal 18, 113121.
Boyer, DG and Kuczynska, E 2010. Prevalence and concentration of Cryptosporidium oocysts in beef cattle paddock soils and forage. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 7, 893900.
Carlberg, J and Hogan, R 2013. Factors affecting cattle prices at Alberta auction marts. Research Report for Integrated Traceability Solutions Ltd. Global. Okotoks, AB, Canada.
Coetzee, JF, Nutsch, AL, Barbur, LA and Bradburn, RM 2010. A survey of castration methods and associated livestock management practices performed by bovine veterinarians in the United States. BMC Veterinary Research 6, 12.
Dhuyvetter, KC, Bryant, AM and Blasi, DA 2005. Case study: preconditioning beef calves: are expected premiums sufficient to justify the practice? The Professional Animal Scientist 21, 502514.
Dutil, L, Fecteau, G, Bouchard, E, DuTremblay, D and Pare, J 1999. A questionnaire on the health, management, and performance of cow-calf herds in Québec. The Canadian Veterinary Journal 40, 649656.
Filteau, V, Bouchard, É, Fecteau, G, Dutil, L and DuTremblay, D 2003. Health status and risk factors associated with failure of passive transfer of immunity in newborn beef calves in Quebec. The Canadian Veterinary Journal 44, 907913.
Gasbarre, LC, Stout, WL and Leighton, EA 2001. Gastrointestinal nematodes of cattle in the northeastern US: results of a producer survey. Veterinary Parasitology 101, 2944.
Godden, S 2008. Colostrum management for dairy calves. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 24, 1939.
Gundelach, Y, Essmeyer, K, Teltscher, MK and Hoedemaker, M 2009. Risk factors for perinatal mortality in dairy cattle: cow and foetal factors, calving process. Theriogenology 71, 901909.
Guy, MA, McFadden, TB, Cockrell, DC and Besser, TE 1994. Regulation of colostrum formation in beef and dairy cows. Journal of Dairy Science 77, 30023007.
Hanzlicek, GA, Renter, DR, White, BJ, Wagner, BA, Dargatz, DA, Sanderson, MW, Scott, HM and Larson, RE 2013. Management practices associated with the rate of respiratory tract disease among preweaned beef calves in cow-calf operations in the United States. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 242, 12711278.
Hawkins, JA 1993. Economic benefits of parasite control in cattle. Veterinary Parasitology 46, 159173.
Huxley, J and Whay, H 2006. Current attitudes of cattle practitioners to pain and the use of analgesics in cattle. Veterinary Record 159, 662668.
Larson, RL and Tyler, JW 2005. Reducing calf losses in beef herds. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 21, 569584.
Laven, R, Huxley, J, Whay, H and Stafford, K 2009. Results of a survey of attitudes of dairy veterinarians in New Zealand regarding painful procedures and conditions in cattle. New Zealand Veterinary Journal 57, 215220.
Lombard, JE, Garry, FB, Tomlinson, SM and Garber, LP 2007. Impacts of dystocia on health and survival of dairy calves. Journal of Dairy Science 90, 17511760.
Mee, JF 2004. Managing the dairy cow at calving time. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 20, 521546.
Molony, V, Kent, JE and Robertson, IS 1995. Assessment of acute and chronic pain after different methods of castration of calves. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 46, 3348.
Moya, D, González, LA, Janzen, E, Caulkett, NA, Fierheller, E and Schwartzkopf-Genswein, KS 2014. Effects of castration method and frequency of intramuscular injections of ketoprofen on behavioral and physiological indicators of pain in beef cattle. Journal of Animal Science 92, 16861697.
Murray, CF and Leslie, KE 2013. Newborn calf vitality: risk factors, characteristics, assessment, resulting outcomes and strategies for improvement. The Veterinary Journal 198, 322328.
Nagy, DW 2009. Resuscitation and critical care of neonatal calves. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Food Animal Practice 25, 111.
Olson, D, Papasian, C and Ritter, R 1980. The effects of cold stress on neonatal calves. II. Absorption of colostral immunoglobulins. Canadian Journal of Comparative Medicine 44, 1923.
Patterson, DJ, Bellows, RA, Burfening, PJ and Carr, JB 1987. Occurrence of neonatal and postnatal mortality in range beef cattle. I. Calf loss incidence from birth to weaning, backward and breech presentations and effects of calf loss on subsequent pregnancy rate of dams. Theriogenology 28, 557571.
Quigley, JD, Fike, DL, Egerton, MN, Drewry, JJ and Arthington, JD 1998. Effects of a colostrum replacement product derived from serum on immunoglobulin G absorption by calves. Journal of Dairy Science 81, 19361939.
Radostits, OM and Acres, SD 1980. The prevention and control of epidemics of acute undifferentiated diarrhea of beef calves in western Canada. The Canadian Veterinary Journal 21, 243249.
Rhoades, JR, Duffy, G and Koutsoumanis, K 2009. Prevalence and concentration of verocytotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica and Listeria monocytogenes in the beef production chain: a review. Food Microbiology 26, 357376.
Robertson, IS, Kent, JE and Molony, V 1994. Effect of different methods of castration on behaviour and plasma cortisol in calves of three ages. Research in Veterinary Science 56, 817.
Robison, J, Stott, G and DeNise, S 1988. Effects of passive immunity on growth and survival in the dairy heifer. Journal of Dairy Science 71, 12831287.
Sanderson, MW and Dargatz, DA 2000. Risk factors for high herd level calf morbidity risk from birth to weaning in beef herds in the USA. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 44, 97106.
Schumann, FJ, Townsend, HG and Naylor, JM 1990. Risk factors for mortality from diarrhea in beef calves in Alberta. Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 54, 366372.
Smith, RA 1998. Impact of disease on feedlot performance: a review. Journal of Animal Science 76, 272274.
Snowder, GD, Dale Van Vleck, L, Cundiff, LV and Bennett, GL 2005. Influence of breed, heterozygosity, and disease incidence on estimates of variance components of respiratory disease in preweaned beef calves. Journal of Animal Science 83, 12471261.
Statistics Canada 2012. Census of agriculture, Statistics Canada. Retrieved August 17, 2015, from http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/cansim/
Swan, H, Godden, S, Bey, R, Wells, S, Fetrow, J and Chester-Jones, H 2007. Passive transfer of immunoglobulin G and preweaning health in Holstein calves fed a commercial colostrum replacer. Journal of Dairy Science 90, 38573866.
Van Donkersgoed, J, Ribble, C, Boyer, L and Townsend, H 1993. Epidemiological study of enzootic pneumonia in dairy calves in Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Veterinary Research 57, 247254.
Waldner, C 2001. Monitoring beef cattle productivity as a measure of environmental health. Environmental Research 86, 94106.
Waldner, C, Jelinski, MD and McIntyre-Zimmer, K 2013. Survey of western Canadian beef producers regarding calf-hood diseases, management practices, and veterinary service usage. The Canadian Veterinary Journal 54, 559564.
Waltner-Toews, D, Martin, S and Meek, A 1986. Dairy calf management, morbidity and mortality in Ontario Holstein herds. III. Association of management with morbidity. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 4, 137158.
Windeyer, MC, Leslie, KE, Godden, SM, Hodgins, DC, Lissemore, KD and Leblanc, SJ 2014. Factors associated with morbidity, mortality, and growth of dairy heifer calves up to 3 months of age. Preventative Veterinary Medicine 113, 231240.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

animal
  • ISSN: 1751-7311
  • EISSN: 1751-732X
  • URL: /core/journals/animal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Murray supplementary material
Tables S1-S3

 Word (21 KB)
21 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Murray supplementary material
Figure S1

 Unknown (1.8 MB)
1.8 MB

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed