This week’s poll on beefmagazine.com asks, “How do you utilize the professional services your veterinarian offers?” Many cattle producers perform most of the routine herd health and individual animal health practices themselves, such as vaccination and administering therapeutic drugs. However, this week’s poll wants to know whether or not you consult with your veterinarian on a regular basis.
On this topic, I thought it might be beneficial to explore three ways a veterinarian can benefit a cow-calf operation. From marketing opportunities, to nutritional consultations, to implementing new genetic technologies, here are three ways a relationship with your veterinarian could be beneficial:
1. Assist in marketing by utilizing the vet’s network
With today’s record-high prices, ranchers are eager to capture every available dollar. A good relationship with a veterinarian can open up new opportunities. Vets can help clients find customers for their cattle, conduct more diagnostic tests to protect their investment, and make connections with other ranchers to help develop the operation’s network of clients.
Check out this success story from a recent BEEF Vet article written by Wes Ishmael: “Kevin Dickey, DVM, preg-checked a top-drawer set of heifers for one client and found out they were for sale. He knew another client was looking to grow numbers. A phone call later and two clients were pleased with the added service he could provide. Dickey also goes on sales calls with a seedstock client. Besides being able to offer insight into the health of that herd for his client’s prospective customers, it also allows him to learn more about the herds of current and prospective clients. Dickey says this kind of added-value interaction earns him loyalty along the way. ‘I succeed when my clients succeed,’ he says.”
2. Offer nutritional advice to improve your bottom line
Whether it’s conducting a forage test, formulating a ration in conjunction with a nutritionist, developing a custom mineral program, or simply body scoring the herd, there are many ways a nutritional consultation with your veterinarian can benefit your bottom line.
A recent BEEF Vet article written by Jennifer Ryan explores this point further. According to Ryan, a collaborative effort with both a veterinarian and nutritionist can help keep your herd in optimal health. Here is an excerpt from Jeff Hill, Ph.D., nutritionist and beef business manager with ADM Alliance Nutrition: “Good nutrition in a cow-calf herd may help resolve rebreeding problems, address digestive tract upset and even help cattle’s immune system respond to vaccines. If you have to play catch-up with keeping an animal in condition and managing grass, you’ll end up spending more money to make up for something you could have prevented.”
3. Implement new technologies to expedite genetic progress
As the nation looks to expand its cattle numbers, veterinarians can play a key role in assisting producers in growing their beef herds. According to a recent BEEF Vet article written by Wes Ishmael, veterinarians can help producers apply new technologies to expedite genetic progress.
Here is an excerpt from the article: “There now exist an array of technologies currently online or emerging that offer the potential to expedite genetic progress, enhance efficiencies of production, and add value to beef cattle produced in the U.S.,” says David Patterson, University of Missouri Extension beef specialist and professor of animal science. “Improvements in reproductive technologies have enabled beef producers to utilize artificial insemination without the need to detect estrus; existing and emerging genetic and genomic technologies enable beef producers to make more rapid strides toward improving the quality of beef they produce; and producers’ ability to access and target individual marketing grids enable them to be rewarded for specific quality endpoints.”
Aside from emergencies where one would typically call a veterinarian, do you consult with a veterinarian in regard to overall herd health, nutrition and marketing opportunities? If so, how has a veterinarian relationship benefited your operation?
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.
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