It’s that time of year again. Time to reassess your bovine respiratory disease (BRD) treatment protocols in order to give you the best economic return as we head into and throughout the fall run. Brad Williams, D.V.M. MBA and Elanco technical consultant, suggests veterinarians and their clients begin the process by  considering disease-risk factors. “Typically, in the fall we see more dramatic temperature fluctuations, more precipitation and commingling, and lower placement weights. With all of these factors together, it’s no wonder we see a sharp increase in death loss and medicine costs starting in the third quarter.”

Elanco’s Benchmark data1 reinforces his point (chart 1) — over an eight-year period, in almost 7.7 million head of cattle weighing less than 600 pounds, we see an average low of 3.1% death loss in Q1, with an average high of almost 3.9% in Q3. “In today’s market for six-weight cattle, from first quarter to third quarter that’s a $12.002 increase in your losses across every head placed.”

Protecting your profit potential as BRD costs rise sharply in Q3A fresh look at the economics of metaphylaxis in today’s market

“I can’t ever recall when animals have been worth as much as they are today. So, when it comes to the treatment and control of BRD in at-risk calves, the practice of metaphylaxis (on-arrival group treatment) with a proven and reasonably priced antibiotic is your best bet for reducing the economic impact of BRD and protecting your investment,” says Williams.

Looking at various death loss and morbidity rate scenarios can help producers and their veterinarians better understand the true cost of BRD across the pen and make more economically informed decisions when determining treatment protocols for this fall.

“We’ve outlined three different lot scenarios for six-weight cattle (chart 2)3. With today’s prices, even in the 2% death loss/20% morbidity scenario, treating with Micotil® (tilmicosin injection) metaphylaxis and getting a one-half reduction in disease impact saves you $5.78/head across all placements compared to not using a metaphylaxis treatment. The same response in a 4% death loss/40% morbidity group, which may be more typical in the fall, shows that metaphylaxis yields a $23.78 advantage. The cost of your Micotil metaphylaxis is well worth the investment up front, especially when your cattle are worth what they are today.

Important Safety Information

See label for complete use information, including boxed human warnings and non-target species safety information. Micotil is to be used by, or on the order of, a licensed veterinarian. For cattle or sheep, inject subcutaneously. Intravenous use in cattle or sheep will be fatal. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Use in lactating dairy cattle or sheep may cause milk residues. The following adverse reactions have been reported: in cattle: injection site swelling and inflammation, lameness, collapse, anaphylaxis/anaphylactoid reactions, decreased food and water consumption, and death; in sheep: dyspnea and death. Always use proper drug handling procedures to avoid accidental self-injection. Do not use in automatically powered syringes. Consult your veterinarian on the safe handling and use of all injectable products prior to administration. Micotil has a pre-slaughter withdrawal time of 42 days.

“Keep in mind that these costs are only associated with death loss and medicine costs. If you factor in the performance losses associated with BRD, the differences may drastically increase. Since today’s prices are high for both feeder and fat cattle, we are looking at traditional margins, but have a lot more capital at risk. So, we need to do everything we can to protect your profit potential.”

Key points

  • Benchmark data shows that mortality and vet med costs increase dramatically in the fall.
  • Your animals are worth more today, so you need to do everything you can to reduce the economic impact of BRD across placements.
  • Micotil (tilmicosin injection) metaphylaxis is a proven solution for the treatment and control of BRD and to reduce your economic losses.

1Elanco Benchmark database: 7,679,627 animals (53,441 lots) weighing less than 600 lbs placed 2008 to 2013.
2.039 -.031 = .008 x $1,500 = $12.00
3Assumptions: Micotil metaphylaxis cost based on MSRP at 1.5 cc/cwt; treatment cost estimated at $30.00/hd; and
feeder calf priced at 250/cwt X 600 pounds = $1,500

(USDA-OK Department of Ag Market Feeder Steers on 7-29-2014). Elanco, Micotil®, Benchmark®, Full Value Beef and the diagonal bar are trademarks owned or licensed by Eli Lilly and Company, its subsidiaries or affiliates. © 2014 Elanco Animal Health.