Cooler temperatures combined with rainy weather often bring on scours  during the fall calving season. This problem was addressed at the recent meeting of the Dallas County Cattlemen’s Association.  

Held Oct. 9 at the O’Bannon Community Center, 82 local producers heard from Dr. Laci Peterson, DVM, about prevention and treatment of scours in young calves.

Peterson hails from Pilot Grove and is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. After doing an externship at Moore Veterinary Clinic in Buffalo, she decided to move to southwest Missouri and join Dr. Clint Eastburn at the practice. She cited the friendly atmosphere at the clinic and the staff as helping her make the decision to work there.  

Peterson noted that the first 12 hours after birth are most essential for the absorption of colostrum by the newborn calf. She believes that vaccinating the cow with a scour vaccine is more important than vaccinating the calf. A cow will start depositing antibodies as early as four months into gestation, she said. Cows can be vaccinated as early as two months prior to calving, as at seven months this is the optimum time when they are putting the most antibodies in the colostrum.  

Peterson discussed the different types of scours and when they will generally start to appear. She is a proponent of the Nebraska Sand Hills calving method and encouraged producers to use it if possible. Studies have shown that when cows that haven’t yet calved are moved to a clean pasture about every two weeks away from newborns and their mothers, there is a significant decrease in the occurrence of scours.

Because dehydration is the No. 1 killer of a calf with scours, Peterson stressed that management is the key to saving calves. Calves should be taken to the vet for intravenous feedings of electrolytes or given supplemental electrolytes by the producer.  

Also speaking to the group at the meeting were two representatives of Ollis, Akers and Arney Insurance and Business Advisors. Paul Long and Matt Rains of Bolivar talked about the benefits of providing quality insurance protection at competitive prices for property, farm, personal liability and auto insurance. They also sponsored the excellent beef brisket meal catered by the Halfway High School FFA.

Buffalo FFA member Devyn Rackley gave a report about the chapter’s recent activities, and FFA alumnus Scott Turner encouraged all in attendance to support the local chapter by paying alumni dues.  

Also attending the meeting were DCCA members state Sen. Sandy Crawford and state Rep. Jeff Knight.

For more information about DCCA, an affiliate of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, contact Pam Naylor at (417) 345-8330 or Lynette Miller at (417) 733-2078.

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