Zoetis Quck Tips: The Upside of Preconditioning Programs

Progressive cow/calf producers think about calf health even before the calves are born. Raising healthy, heavy calves is the goal and preconditioning is a critical management step.
calendar icon 15 September 2017
clock icon 3 minute read


“From cow/calf to feedlot sectors, preconditioning is the most conscientious choice producers can make for the betterment of their animals’ health,” said Che Trejo, DVM, with Zoetis Beef Technical Services. “Preconditioning programs promote calf growth, enhance immune function and minimize stress as calves move from their ranch of origin to the stocker or backgrounder operation and then to the feedlot.”

SelectVAC® is a calf preconditioning program that combines cattle vaccination and management services to prepare calves for weaning and shipping. Every enrollment is validated by a third party prior to approval. Once accepted, producers receive a physical or electronic barn card so they can let buyers know those calves are enrolled in SelectVAC.

A study demonstrated that calves enrolled in SelectVAC were four times less likely to get sick or die in a feedlot setting than calves with an unverified health history.1

“With these lower chances of sickness and death, feedyard operators purchasing calves that meet the requirements and are enrolled in SelectVAC may be able to adjust on-arrival protocols because the calves are better able to respond to health challenges,” Trejo said.

According to Brad Peek, general manager for Western Video Market, SelectVAC adds additional value to their customers’ cattle.

“Over the course of the past seven or eight years that we have been tracking SelectVAC®, there has been anywhere from a $3 to $9 per hundredweight additional premium,” Peek said. “Our buyers are asking for a branded program—and specifically SelectVAC.”

Selling cattle with a history in a verified preconditioning program, like SelectVAC, provides transparency to buyers because it provides which products were administered, when they were administered and verification through a third party.

For Laurie Johnson, a cow/calf producer in northeastern South Dakota, SelectVAC is a risk management tool used on her family’s operation.

“I think it allows us to get our calves on the map before they’re in the sale barn, so buyers are aware. It’s on the SelectVAC website when these calves are selling, how many there are, who it is that’s selling them and what program they’re enrolled under,” Johnson said. “Because we’re small, getting my calves on the market and people knowing about them is important to me as a producer. It’s a good risk management tool for us.”

For more information about SelectVAC, the benefits of enrolling and steps to enroll calves, visit www.SelectVAC.com.

1 Seeger JT, Grotelueschen DM, Stokka GL, Sides GE. Comparison of feedlot health, nutritional performance, carcass characteristics, and economic value of unweaned beef calves with an unknown health history and of weaned beef calves receiving various herd-of-origin health protocols. Bov Pract. 2008;42(1):27-39.

About Zoetis

Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products, genetic tests, biodevices and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2016, the company generated annual revenue of $4.9 billion with approximately 9,000 employees. For more information, visit www.zoetisUS.com.

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