All Archived Publications

Preventing Calf Losses

Clell V. Bagley DVM, Utah State University
Norris J. Stenquist Ph.D, Utah State University
Dennis R. Worwood MS, Utah State Univerisity


Many beef producers and practicing veterinarians noted there were higher than normal calf death losses during the 1993 calving season. We were especially aware of the increased losses here in the western states, but there were also heavy losses in the midwest and east, so the problem was very widespread. Losses were probably not due to ONE simple cause. There has been no evidence of some new viral or bacterial agent that became a rampant problem nation-wide. But rather, the problem was probably due to a combination of common disease agents and environmental conditions. Weather conditions were more severe than normal. But producers raise two important questions in relation to weather as a cause: 1) The weather had been severe, but then became more mild and was near normal (for some areas) during actual calving; how could the effect of weather have been delayed and still had its effect at calving? 2) We can’t change the weather, so what can we do in the future to help prevent a recurrence? There are reasonably good answers for both questions.