Beating BRD One Animal at a Time

One Texas feedyard sets itself apart by coming at BRD from every angle starting with an on-arrival process.

For Barrett & Crofoot Feedyard near Hereford, Texas, the key to success in helping combat bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is treating each animal as an individual.

The family-owned business has been going for 45 years, and James Barrett manages the East Yard on the operation. He lots arriving cattle into smaller groups right off the bat so he can cater to their individual needs.

“We watch to see which animals are acting different from the group,” Barrett said. “We look to see which ones might have a timid attitude, not eating or hanging at the back of the pen. I don’t want to wait until they are sick; I want to get some high-quality roughage in front of the calves to get them back on their feet.

Keeping cattle in small groups at the beginning helps Barrett identify the animals that need a little extra attention early on. The yard of 60,000 head backgrounds all of their auction cattle for 90 days before they go to the feedlot for 280 days. Even though they have thousands of cattle, according to Barrett, that doesn’t stop them from caring for them like individuals.

Coming at BRD from all angles

Another key strategy for Barrett is to address BRD from different angles.

“We base our initial decisions on what we know about the cattle’s history at the time of arrival,” Barrett said. “If I don’t know if the whole group has been vaccinated, I opt for a metaphylaxis antibiotic.”

The yard is made up of about half native cattle and half cattle from Mexico. They have a specific strategy for animals under 600 pounds: The animals are given DRAXXIN® (tulathromycin injection) Injectable Solution on arrival for metaphylaxis and then treated with EXCEDE® (ceftiofur crystalline free acid) Sterile Suspension if needed.

“These smaller cattle have weaker immune systems, so I find they need more monitoring up front,” Barrett said.

But his strategy is different for those that are over 600 pounds — EXCEDE on arrival and treated with DRAXXIN as needed.

 “If an animal isn’t eating, then they aren’t getting what they need,” Barrett said. “In fact, I see that the ones who aren’t getting it are the ones that need it the most, which is why I approach BRD from different angles to meet the needs of each animal. I appreciate the flexibility of using different products and don’t want to put myself or my cattle in a box.”

Setting themselves apart

Barrett also will go the extra mile to help his custom-feeding clients succeed. 

“We have a customer whose first pen had unreal losses, but we worked with him to set up vaccination protocols and he hasn’t lost one since,” Barrett said. “And really, I’d be willing to pay more at the sale barn for cattle I know have gotten their vaccinations.”

Additionally, Barrett isn’t afraid to try something new and looks forward to the progress that more technology and data will enable. 

“It used to be if you had a method, you stuck to it, but that mindset is changing,” Barrett said. “The younger generation coming back to the operations is going to push that. We won’t run away from change no matter what.”

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IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR DRAXXIN: DRAXXIN has a pre-slaughter withdrawal time of 18 days. Do not use in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older. Do not use in animals known to be hypersensitive to the product. Full Prescribing Information

IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION FOR EXCEDE: People with known hypersensitivity to penicillin or cephalosporins should avoid exposure to EXCEDE. EXCEDE is contraindicated in animals with known allergy to ceftiofur or to the ß-lactam group (penicillins and cephalosporins) of antimicrobials. Inadvertent intra-arterial injection is possible and fatal. Do not use in calves to be processed for veal. Pre-slaughter withdrawal time is 13 days following the last dose. Full Prescribing Information

Do not use AUREOMYCIN in calves to be processed for veal.

Caution: Federal law restricts medicated feed containing this veterinary feed directive (VFD) drug to use by or on the order of a licensed veterinarian.

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