AWA Friday Newsletter - November 5, 2021

AWA Friday Newsletter - November 5, 2021 To receive our weekly newsletter in your inbox, contact the AWA office and request to be added to our email list.


Don't Have a Veterinarian? Get One!

Herd health is not a DIY project.
By Burt Rutherford

Will Rogers once observed that good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgement. According to Dr. Frank Garry, that plays out on the ranch something like this: “Geez, Doc, I’m losing all these animals. Who would have thought it?”

“But what they’re describing is a circumstance that, in the main, was pretty preventable,” the veterinarian said. “So, who would have thought it? Well, I would have thought it but you never asked.”

Garry is a professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the CSU College of Veterinary Medicine and Biosciences and director of the Integrated Livestock Management program. He spoke to around 250 Wagyu breeders during the American Wagyu Association 2021 annual conference in Fort Collins, Colo.

That’s why, he emphasized, beef producers need to use their veterinarian for more than a medical band-aid in their herd health program.

“If you’re talking about animal health, I strongly believe that you would be well-advised to have a herd veterinarian. And I also believe that you should be asking something different of the veterinarian than what you usually do, because the fact is that the veterinarian should be a team player in managing to improve your profitability.”

That’s because using your veterinarian as part of your management team can help you improve reproductive and growth efficiency, control nutritional costs and develop a herd health program that prevents disease and injury rather than treating it.

“Now, if you call me because you have a sick animal, I will try to help you get the animal better,” he told Wagyu breeders. “And if you have dead animals, I will do my best to see if I can stem disease losses.”

But that’s closing the gate after the cows get out. “By the time you call me to do that, you’re not only actively losing money, you’re going to continue to actively lose money and you’re going to pay me to help you continue to actively lose money.”

Not a good long-term strategy.

A better long-term strategy is to invite your veterinarian to review your herd health protocols and work with you to make them more robust, he stressed to Wagyu producers. The first is to develop treatment protocols when you get an infectious disease, he said. The second is to vaccinate to minimize the first. “And the third, which is very underutilized in the cattle industries in general is biosecurity and hygiene management. In other words, preventive practices beyond sticking a needle in an animal.”

Since you want to avoid the first protocol, the second and third become very important. Clearly, you should work with your vet to develop a robust vaccination program. But remember, he told Wagyu breeders, vaccines have some limits. Different animals will respond differently to vaccination. Some will respond very well, some will respond OK, and some will have a very small immune response.

What vaccines do is increase resistance to specific agents. “Second, they modify disease occurrence, but they don’t drive it away. So, unless you have something to add to the vaccination program, you’re still going to face disease challenges.”

That “something” is biosecurity. He used BVD as an example.

“I can vaccinate my herd, but if I bring in a persistently infected animal, that animal sheds so much virus that (the bugs) will find animals that didn’t have a good vaccine response and I will still get losses associated with BVD.” However, by restricting PI animals from entering the herd, combined with a very well-vaccinated herd, a producer can reasonably expect to never have a BVD problem.

And, he told Wagyu breeders, the great thing about a biosecurity program is that is covers a broad swath of things. “If I do things that reduce fecal-oral spread of pathogens to baby calves, then it doesn’t matter what the pathogen is.” That’s what the Sandhills Calving System is based on.

“The gameplan for doing that is relatively straightforward, if you take the time to sit down and think about it. And these are the types of things a veterinarian can walk you through.”

The first step is self-education about what disease challenges you might encounter. Your veterinarian, who is familiar with local conditions, can talk you through that.

“Second, we do a risk assessment. What are the places where disease might occur and then develop a plan” to address that, he said.

That’s important because if a disease pathogen is not present in your herd, it’s easy to bring it onto your operation as it hitchhikes along with a load of cattle you bought. “If you just buy a random source of cattle and don’t know anything about their background, your risk of introducing a disease just jumped up pretty astronomically,” he told Wagyu producers.

Then develop management planning to prevent introduction and spread of disease. “And then we develop a testing strategy.”

Most often, this happens in reverse order, he said. “We wait until a disease occurs, test for it, then try to develop a management strategy.” Go back and reread the Will Rogers quote, he advised.

With a meeting of the minds between you and your veterinarian, however, those wrecks can be avoided. And that affects the bottom line. “If I compare prevention versus treatment, which is more effective, which is more costly, which is more desirable?”

For more information about Wagyu, visit


Still Accepting Entries for North American International Livestock Show

Attached is the sign-up form for the Wagyu Show in Kentucky, North American Intentional Livestock Expo (NAILE).  This year our show will be on November 17, 2021 at the Broadbent Arena at the Louisville, Kentucky Exposition Center.

Also attached are the Wagyu pages from the premium book with the classes listed.  Deadline for entries has been extended to November 12, 2021.

Please fill out the entry form attached and send it in via email to as soon as possible.  If you have any questions at all please contact Martha at the office.  (208) 262-8100.

Parking fees and Exhibitor passes will be addressed in a later email.  We look forward to seeing you there.

Click Here to View Registration Form
Click Here to View Class Listings

Did You Know?

Embryo Transplant Management

Did you know that you can manage your Embryo Transplant records?

If you have recorded use of embryos through your Embryo Inventory menu to a recorded recipient dam, if she does not yet have either a breeding result or a calf recorded as a result of the embryo transfer, she will be listed under the Embryo Transplant Management Menu.

Go to Herd Mgmt: Breeding: Embryo Transfer to bring up this menu to view your females with unresolved embryo transplant results.

The table will list the information for the specific embryo transferred to the recipient dam, including the registration numbers and names of the donor dam and AI sire. The breeder ID for whoever owned the dam at the time she was flushed will be listed, as well as the transfer date of the embryo to the recipient. The registration number of the entered recipient dam that this embryo was transferred to will also display in this table.

An expected Calving date range will be listed, calculated based on the date of the embryo transplant into the recipient dam.

If the embryo did not take, you can select this breeding result and click ‘Save Updates’ to save the record.

To edit or correct the embryo flush or transfer date, click the ‘Edit’ button to the right of the table, and the ‘Edit ET Implant’ menu will appear. Enter the new or correct date of the flush or transfer date and hit ‘Save’ to apply the change. If the embryo use was recorded in error, click ‘Delete’ to remove the incorrect transfer record.

If a calf did result from the ET transfer, to resolve the record, enter the registration number of the recipient dam under ‘Recip Dam’ in the Embryo section of the birth recording table.


Wagyu Swag
Whether you’re interested in something for yourself or a gift for your customers, we have several items to choose from. With each purchase you are helping support your association and proudly support this great Wagyu breed.