Note: This story appeared in the May issue of Drovers and is the second part of a five part series.
In many cattle circles, the Southeast region gets a bad reputation in regards to health and preconditioning. Commercial cow-calf producer Brian Bolt from Anderson, S.C., prides himself in changing that stigma placed on Southeast calves through a set vaccination and health program.
Besides running a cow-calf herd, Bolt also develops embryo transfer recipients and serves as manager of business development for AgriClear. When he started the recipient business, Bolt began bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) persistently infected (PI)-testing-testing.
“Not finding any (PI-cattle) I feel like we’re offering our customers some advanced assurance we’re doing our job,” Bolt says.
At times Bolt felt disappointed not to find a PI-animal in his herd because it would give him a “smoking gun” to pinpoint any production downfalls. He advises cow-calf producers not to get frustrated about testing and not take it personally if a PI-calf were to show up in their herd.
The market should incentivize doing the right thing, Bolt says. Maybe it is a two-sided coin and the industry needs to penalize doing the wrong thing.
In the Southeast, Bolt says, it becomes difficult for producers because they aren’t selling truck loads. Southeast cattlemen are dealing in smaller lots so it is hard to witness the financial benefit from vaccinating and PI-testing.
“You have to appreciate our complete lack of infrastructure in some areas,” Blot says. Cattle feeding and packing facilities are almost non-existent in the Southeast. That puts a lot of road miles between those calves and their next destination.
“I think BVD may be a people problem,” Bolt says. Maybe the culture around how producers handle and address BVD in their herds needs to be changed.