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Calf Health History Leads to Higher Selling Value

Calf Health History Leads to Higher Selling Value

By Jacques Fuselier, DVM, DACT, DABVP, Technical Services Manager, Merck Animal Health

Producers often will ask how they can get a higher price for their calves when they sell them. The Superior Livestock 2018 sales data demonstrates providing buyers with a signed certificate, especially one verified by your veterinarian, documenting the health history of your calves will result in a premium paid by buyers of $15 to $35 per head.

PrimeVAC™ by Merck Animal Health is an example of a value-added program that focuses on respiratory and clostridial vaccinations, as well as protection against internal parasites. It also includes optional implant protocols.

The health protocols not only help increase the value of your calves but they also give calves the best opportunity to develop their immune system, reducing the chances of them getting sick when shipped.

Preweaning vaccinations

It’s recommended to vaccinate calves 4 to 6 weeks prior to weaning. This allows the calf to respond to the vaccine appropriately while on their cow, plus provides time prior to their next vaccination, which likely will occur at a backgrounder or feedlot.

Proper deworming

Calves with subclinical worm infections can have decreased feed intake, feed efficiency and poor immune response to vaccines. Using creep feed and any other form of feed- through Safe-Guard® (fenbendazole) product when calves are on pasture require relatively little time and labor, and can be highly effective.


If retaining any ownership and/or trying to get gains on calves pre and post weaning prior to selling, then giving an implant preweaning will be very beneficial.

Not only will these strategies help prepare calves for the next phase, they will result in added value at marketing. It is worth the effort to provide buyers with a signed certificate documenting products and practices used, including vaccinations, parasite control and other treatments and application dates. To learn more, contact your veterinarian and visit MAHCattle.com.

Copyright ©2020 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc. All rights reserved.