Bryan Mussard is the owner/operator of Big West Management in Dillon, Mont., which includes the management of 11,000 head of cattle at his feedlot. In this guest post, Mussard shares his tips for the daily management and treatment of bovine respiratory disease (BRD).
BRD is the most significant game changer for our operation. The biggest factor when it comes to profitability, BRD directly affects the efficiencies of every performance aspect in our business. Feed efficiency, weight gain and reproduction are all compromised when BRD isn’t minimized.
From the elusive unknown, BRD has forced us to focus more closely on our overall animal health program, which has led us to put a solid preventative program in place. We recommend taking a look at three key factors that affect BRD: genetics, health and nutrition, all of which control the outcome of profitability for any segment of the beef industry.
When it comes to treating BRD, preventative maintenance is first and foremost for us. Then, we focus on early detection, which can be the factor in a quick recovery. We pull sick cattle and reduce feed bunk competition by isolating them in small recovery pens. Our goal is to place cattle back in their contemporary groups within three days, if possible.
Every day, we make sure to have an environmentally sound receiving area for all cattle. From small pens and long stem forage in the bunk to clean water and free choice mineral – these items help cattle rest for 24 hours prior to vaccinating. This helps to reduce the chances for a BRD outbreak.
There are many preventative steps that can be taken against BRD. Today, we have the tools to help us deal with the reality of this disease and now it’s up to each of us to use them appropriately to our advantage.