Decreasing bovine respiratory disease complex (BRDC) in feedlot cattle can decrease mortality and morbidity as well as reduce treatment and subclinical costs of the disease. Cattle free from respiratory disease have improved performance including better average daily and gain and feed conversion.

Chris Chase, DVM, PhD, South Dakota State University, says management factors that go along with preventing BRDC include eliminating stress factors where possible. Recognize the “critical period” for disease detection – the three weeks that follow weaning, placing on feed and shipping of cattle.

Weaning before shipping decreases stress, and gradual feed changes with proper supplements are beneficial during these times as well.

“Avoid commingling cattle from different source during the critical three-week period,” Chase says. “Keep new cattle close to feed and water and don’t overcrowd them, especially early in the feeding period.” Controlling dust and mud is also important.

And don’t forget vaccination to help cattle get off to a better start when they arrive at the feedlot.

Read more about stress and BRDC from Chris Chase in here.