A Healthy Herd

Our goal is to have every cow calve consistently at the same time period every year, raise that calf to weaning then go on feed to finish at an optimum size for the consumer and do all of this efficiently and profitably. A healthy herd is critical to achieve this goal - sick cattle don't gain in a feedlot, cattle treated numerous times result in tough beef, a dead calf does not grow, etc. For cattle to reach their genetic potential they must be healthy, fed a balanced ration and managed properly.

Preventing diseases with a sound vaccination program can save time and money. Vaccination programs should be customized for individual farms based on region, type of cattle operation, movement of cattle and health record. Producers should consult with their veterinarian annually to review their health protocol.

With advances over the last few years, most vaccination programs are with modified live vaccines.

Many herds are doing some version of the following:

  1. Vaccinating the cows and replacement heifers pre-breeding for IBR/BVD/PI3/BRSV and lepto.
  2. Vaccinating the calves for IBR/BVD/PI3/BRSV at the same time as the cows. Those herds with summer pneumonia may also vaccinate for pasteurella.
  3. Booster the calves pre-weaning for IBR/BVD/PI3/BRSV.
  4. Perhaps at pre-weaning also vaccinate for pasturella and haemophilus somnus.
  5. Depending on the amount of time on feed, booster finishing cattle again. Read the label about how long the vaccines will provide protection.
  6. When there has been a history of scours, vaccinate the cows for scours prior to calving.

There are also vaccines available for E. coli and pinkeye. For best results, follow the manufacturer's recommendations for administration method, dosage and storage.

Vaccines are not always 100% effective but are a proven method to prevent disease outbreaks. Practice proper animal care and welfare which needs to include a protocol in the event that an animal does get sick and requires medical treatment.

For more information on vaccines permitted under the Canadian Organic Standard please visit the following links:

Permitted Substances List for Livestock Production

Animal Health Care Products and Production Aids


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca