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Reproductive optimization and vaccine useReproductive optimization and vaccine use

Establishing herd immunity through the use of vaccines helps to prevent reproductive and respiratory diseases that can negatively impact performance and profitability. When considering reproductive efficiency, many factors — including vaccine choice — can may impact the success of your clients’ breeding programs.

Industry Voice by Elanco

October 19, 2017

4 Min Read
Reproductive optimization and vaccine use

A vaccine regimen that can boost production 

Utilizing vaccines to help your clients establish immunity in their herds is critical to the success of their operations. Establishing this immunity helps prevent reproductive and respiratory diseases that can negatively impact performance and profitability. When considering the production elements that influence overall profitability of any cow/calf herd, reproductive efficiency may top the list for producers. Several factors — including vaccine choice — can impact the success of your clients’ breeding programs.

Research at South Dakota State University demonstrates how the vaccine you recommend 30 days prior to breeding can affect reproductive performance.1 The trial compared Vira Shield®, an inactivated vaccine, with a modified live vaccine (MLV) on previously vaccinated heifers and cows up to 13 years of age.“What surprised us when we looked at the modified live [vaccine] versus the inactivated vaccine was the difference in AI conceptions between the two vaccines,” said George Perry, Ph.D., Professor and Beef Reproductive Management Specialist, South Dakota State University. “Compared to the modified live vaccine, the inactivated vaccine demonstrated a higher conception rate throughout the season.”

The data show:1

  • The MLV tended to reduce the percentage of cows that calved in the first 21 days of the calving season compared to Vira Shield

  • This decrease in calving percentage remained over the entire calving season

  • Vira Shield resulted in 6.5% higher first-service conception rate

“The results translated to calving results,” said Perry. “Cows that were bred earlier, calved earlier, which affects weaning weights. After you get a late start, everything else is negatively affected from a performance standpoint.”

Reproductive efficiency and your client’s bottom line

Optimizing reproductive efficiency is critical to achieving success in the beef business. Helping your clients effectively manage estrus synchronization (ES) and timed artificial insemination (TAI) can put dollars in their pocket. In fact, there is nearly a $50/head advantage to managing ES and TAI on an operation.2  Implementation of these and other management protocols, coupled with an effective inactivated vaccine regimen utilizing Vira Shield, can have a positive effect that leaves your clients with:

  • Increased conception and calving rate

  • Improved calf uniformity

  • More calves born earlier in the season

  • Shortened calving season

  • Heavier calves at weaning

“If we take a herd with solid management practices and do not increase inputs, but instead simply move from an MLV vaccine protocol to an inactivated vaccine protocol 30 days pre-breeding, and we end up with more calves born, I’d call that a win,” says Hilton. “Applying the math from the SDSU study, you could assume 2.8 more calves born per 100/hd, each born about 1.4 days earlier.1 Estimating the value of additional calves, and the extra weight gain on all calves in the herd, you could be looking at an additional approximately $2,800.”*

Vira Shield — the right choice

Establishing lifetime immunity is critical in setting your clients up to win by preventing reproductive and respiratory diseases that can negatively impact performance. Vira Shield helps establish immunity by providing a complete line of flexible, safe and powerful inactivated vaccines that protect against up to 13 respiratory, reproductive and leptospirosis diseases.

“This data demonstrates that using Vira Shield 30 days before breeding provided improved reproductive performance compared to the MLV,” said Hilton. “It’s critical to evaluate your clients’ vaccine programs to ensure you’re helping them get the most out of their breeding program.”

“As you’re working with your clients to optimize reproductive efficiency, consider the impact of a change in vaccine,” says Hilton. “A simple change, without increasing input costs, could lead to better results — and be better on your clients’ bottom lines. The broad-spectrum protection and long-lasting immune response that Vira Shield delivers, along with the boosted AI conception rate, can provide a big economic benefit.”

To learn more about how Vira Shield can help improve reproductive parameters for your clients, reach out to your Elanco sales representative or visit Elanco.us.

To learn more, talk to your Elanco technical consultant or sales representative.

The label contains complete use information, including cautions and warnings. Always read, understand and follow the label and use directions.


1Perry, G., Larimore, E., et al. 2016. "Influence of vaccination with an inactivated or modified-live viral reproductive  vaccine on reproductive parameters in beef cows."

Vira Shield, Elanco and the diagonal bar logo are trademarks of Elanco or its affiliates.
©2018 Elanco or its affiliates.
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