Best Management Practices
Grazing management is an essential part of ranching. Having a grazing management plan can help land managers manipulate vegetation to improve livestock performance without negatively impacting the rangeland ecosystem. Grazing management plans can vary substantially depending on soil type, rainfall, proximity to riparian areas, and the time and labor resources available to the rancher. For more on grazing management practices and developing a grazing management plan view the resources below.
One of the first steps to develop a heard health program is to develop a working relationship with a veterinarian. To Find a veterinarian in your area visit the Find a Veterinary Directory on the California Veterinary Medical Association web page.
Niche Market Antibiotics Use and Herd Health
When it comes to heard health management there are some differences between conventional and niche market beef programs. For example, in a conventional beef programs, under veterinary guidance, cattle can be treated with antibiotics for illnesses (i.e. pinkeye, BRD, ext) and be allowed to enter the food chain after the drug specific withdrawl period has ended. However, in many niche programs, such as USDA Organic or American Grassfed, compliancy dictates that cattle can never be treated with antibiotics. This brings about both a financial and ethical quandary, when my cattle are sick, should I treat them with antibiotics?
The answer is…it depends, it depends on what your veterinarian recommends. There will be times, even in the best managed niche practices, when cattle will need to be treated with antibiotics. Once treated, animals need to be removed from the program. Many producers have a “kick out” herd for animals that do not meet the labels specific specifications. Animals in this heard can then be marketed under a different label or be marketed as conventional cattle. To help ensure animal health and label guidance it is recommended to keep detailed animal health records. For animal health record examples click here.
Regardless of what niche market you choose to participate in, proper vaccinations is a key element in ensuring heard health. For more information on heard health management and vaccinations view the PDF's below.