Application of vaccination protocols to manage beef cattle productivity and mitigate production risk
Horne, Willy J.
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The U.S. beef industry is very large with many inter-connected facets. Nutrition and health are key components of a system striving to compete economically while striving to produce a high quality product. The decisions made in one part of the system may often determine outcomes in the other parts of the system. Therefore, it is necessary to look at the beef industry in a systems type of framework. Each management decision is likely tied to a result that may alter several other management questions. At the cow/calf level, producers must decide whether or not to vaccinate their calves. Vaccination leads to reduced disease incidence and severity in the feedyard, thus being beneficial to the feeder. However, if the feedlot does not respond economically in any way, producers may feel that it is not warranted to vaccinated calves. Pre-conditioning programs work in the same manner as they may have beneficial effects for the feeder but not for the harvester. Therefore, pre-conditioning may not be a program that is valued back to the farm level. Answers to these kinds of questions are hard to ascertain. Each segment has its own demands and drivers, which determine how much it can reward to other segments for their efforts. Because the market is continuously changing, the target rewards are changing as well. Therefore targets cannot be theorized, rather exact relationships should be shown. In this dissertation, it is intended to characterize the relationships vaccination protocols and other management strategies can have on various aspects of cattle performance in various industry segments.