Research by Charles Sturt University has scotched fears that pre-feedlot vaccination of steers is costing beef producers money because of weight loss in the weeks following the jab. The research was by veterinary science student Ms Fauve Buckley.
Ms Buckley’s Honours research involved more than 630 steers on four southern NSW beef farms.
"Australian cattle producers are currently offered premiums for cattle pre-vaccinated with Bovilis MH + IBR," said Ms Buckley.
The vaccination targets the common pathogens known to contribute to Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD), a disease which is estimated to cost the feedlot industry more than $60 million a year.
"My research was prompted by feedback from producers that cattle have reduced weight gains in the weeks following vaccination."
During the study on each farm, cattle were weighed and then allocated into one of two treatment groups: vaccinated and unvaccinated.
The two groups of cattle were run in the same paddock and re-weighed at 14 and 28 days.
"The results from this study show that vaccination with Bovilis MH + IBR does not significantly affect cattle weights," said Ms Buckley.
"Cattle producers utilising this vaccine should be assured that any weight loss associated with vaccination is minor and should be covered by the $15 and higher premium currently offered by Australian feedlots for vaccinated stock."
The research was supervised by Graham Centre livestock research pathway leader, Professor Bruce Allworth from the Fred Morley Centre at Charles Sturt.
"In addition to the results of this study, there is currently no other evidence to suggest that vaccination with Bovilis MH + IBR causes weight loss in cattle.
"Vaccination remains the most important step in BRD prevention," said Professor Allworth.
The research was approved by the Charles Sturt Animal Ethics Committee. It was carried out independently by Charles Sturt but did make use of vaccine provided by Coopers Animal Health.
This article was first published in Leading Agriculture.