Introduction to Beef herd Health and Welfare

Key Points

• Know the common cattle diseases in your locality and whether they are likely to affect production.

• Map any historic areas or sites of old yards and stock routes for potential disease.

• Implement a disease management plan using veterinary advice.

• Vaccinate against specific diseases that can infect cattle and people.

• Seek veterinary advice for any unexplained health problem.

• Quarantine all introduced stock to prevent the transfer of infectious diseases.

Why is the health and welfare of your herd important?

A well-planned approach to managing cattle health and welfare controls the risk of disease in a cost-effective way and maximises the production potential of your herd. This module outlines the four key procedures required to manage a healthy beef cattle herd.

A sound animal health management plan uses preventative approaches to avoid disease from striking, and early treatment in the event that it does. If treatment is necessary, it should involve the use of as few chemicals as possible. Access to both domestic and export markets is dependent on product being free from chemical and pesticide residues. Consumers of beef want safe, wholesome meat produced with a minimum use of chemicals. Also, the overuse of some chemicals to treat disease has led to them becoming ineffective and there are few new options available to producers.

How does this article assist you?

This article describes how to prevent health problems in preference to reacting after disease has already affected the herd. It is based on:

• Knowing the conditions that can influence cattle health;

• Applying the right management strategy or treatment when your cattle are at risk; and

• Preventing the introduction of infectious diseases onto the property.

Principles of herd health and welfare

• Know the most important cattle diseases and disorders in your locality or region.

• Disease prevention is more effective and less costly than treatment.