Review/Oorsig Volume 22, Issue 02 - Page 12

Oorsig/Review the yearly booster vaccinations is the best long- term investment in the development of disease resistance in the whole herd. The vaccinations required on a specific farm should be discussed with the local veterinarian. Weigh heifers at weaning, 12, 18, 24 months of age and again at the start of their breeding season. Ensure that growth is maintained and nutrition adjusted so that the heifers can reach 70% -75% of their expected mature weight (critical mating weight) at the beginning of the first limited breeding season. One and a half times the number of heifers that will be required for replacement heifers are selected. The goal of the selection is to select a uniform group of heifers that are functionally efficient. These heifers are retained as a separate management group to the end of their second breeding season. This is done according to a 3-year management plan that is worked out for the individual group and stretches from weaning until they are diagnosed as pregnant for the second time by the veterinarian. ( Table 1 is an example of such a 3-year management plan). Replacement heifers should receive their first series of vaccinations, before weaning but if this was not done, they should be vaccinated against all kinds of Clostridia (black quarter, botulism, anthrax) and where appropriate, against red water and tick-borne gallsickness. Vaccination against seasonal viral diseases must also be done in heifers. This annual vaccination followed by 12 When heifers are weighed at 24 months the vet can also do an evaluation of their reproductive systems by rectal examinations. Cull heifers that did not reach the minimum breeding weight and the heifers with an underdeveloped reproductive system. This income will pay for the examination and supplements that will be needed for the rest of the group. Deworm heifers at the end of the pasture growing season (see Management Plan) and in the two- month building phase before the start of the limited breeding season. Provide supplementary feeding in the form of a lick to the heifers. Supplementation should be continued until 30 days after the limited breeding season. Vaccinate heifers before the beginning of the breeding season against diseases (such as BVD, IBR and Vibrio) which can cause poor conception and abortions.