JBS Australia has announced its three New South Wales feedlots will only accept cattle that have been vaccinated with Bovilis MH+IBR to help control the effects of Bovine Respiratory Disease (BRD) commencing September 1.
With the health and welfare of the cattle in its care at the forefront, JBS Australia is striving to do everything they can to reduce sickness and mortalities at their feedlots while driving animal welfare improvements.
JBS Australia northern livestock manager Scott Carswell, Ipswich, said the critical point of BRD prevention in cattle happens on farm, prior to feedlot induction, making BRD pre-vaccination the last piece of the puzzle in terms of striving for the highest animal welfare standards.
"The risk of BRD is at its peak in the first couple of weeks at the feedlot and the critical point of prevention happens on-farm prior to feedlot induction," he said.
Vaccinating prior to feedlot entry with Bovilis MH+IBR has two main benefits; firstly, when cattle are pre-vaccinated in an unstressed environment they are expected to develop a better response to the vaccine and secondly, and most importantly, pre-vaccinated cattle have a higher level of protection at the time of maximum risk, which is immediately following feedlot induction.
"That's why we are making it mandatory from September 1, 2021 that all cattle who enter our feedlots in Caroona, Prime City and Riverina have at least one shot of Bovilis MH+IBR from 180 days to 14 days prior to delivery," he said.
"It gives the cattle the best opportunity to do the best they can for us, and it is a bit of insurance too.
"Cattle are at an all-time new level price wise and for us and producers, they are worth a lot of money so we want everyone to do everything they can to prevent BRD.
"We believe effective BRD prevention is extremely important, in addition to mandating the use of Bovilis MH+IBR, we will continue to pay a premium for Bovilis MH+IBR pre-vaccinated cattle of $15 per head.
"They get paid to pre-vaccinate with a product that could improve the performance of their cattle on farm, and we get healthy and high-performing cattle delivered to our feedlots - it is a win-win."
In the lead up to the cut-off date, JBS will continue to receive cattle during August that have not been vaccinated, but will apply a $0.05kg discount to these animals.
Australia's leading quick service restaurant business, McDonald's has declared its support of JBS Australia's policy to improve animal health and welfare practices.
"McDonald's is committed to working with suppliers that share our commitment to improving animal health and welfare practices. JBS Australia's pre-vaccination program across their NSW feedlots will help accelerate the beef industry towards a greater level of best practice, and positively reduce the use of antibiotics in the beef supply chain," McDonald's Australia said.
Mr Carswell further explained JBS Australia wants all cattle to be pre-vaccinated with the Bovilis MH+IBR vaccine from Coopers Animal Health, as it's the only vaccination available in Australia that protects against both the two main pathogens that cause BRD.