Cattle

Optimize Calf Health with Purina® Plus

Management : Cow & Calf

Management : Weaned Calf

Nutrition : Supplements

Brady Klatt,

Beef Technical Solutions

Purina Plus: Taking an Industry Stand to Optimize Calf Health

The entire beef production chain stands to benefit from healthier calves. For the cow/calf producer, buyers are willing to pay a premium for low-risk calves primed to stay healthy in the feedlot. And, buyers have confidence they’re getting a calf that is set up for a healthy, efficient future.
 
It’s time calf health improved. Feedlots have seen the percentage of sick calves trend up over the past two decades.1,2 Reversing the trend must start at the cow/calf level with weaning and backgrounding.
 
The new Purina® Plus feeder calf program delivers calves given quality nutrition, vaccinations and dewormers. The result? An opportunity for you to wean more valuable calves, and sell a product that buyers will seek out.3,4,5

Building a nutritional foundation for health

The act of weaning completely disrupts a calf’s life and resets its hierarchy of needs – starting with nutrition and intake. A calf’s diet sets the foundation for weaning success, impacting everything from its immune function to its ability to reach its full genetic potential.

What can you do to make sure calf nutrition is sound? Get calves eating quickly for minimal nutrient intake disruption.

Calves that start eating right away get the nutrition they need to not only perform basic maintenance functions, but to grow and gain weight. Only then can calves put additional resources towards immune functions, like mounting an immune response when vaccinated and dewormed. Health protocols will likely be less effective on calves slower to start eating, since their basic needs aren’t being met.

The Purina® Plus program was built to set a solid nutritional foundation. Purina® starters have proven consistent consumption and palatability to get calves eating from the start and are designed to meet the nutritional requirements, including protein, energy, vitamins and minerals.

Purina® starters contain RX3® Immune Support Technology which optimizes immune function, so calves can handle stress and address health challenges.6 Purina® starter feeds are fortified and contain Availa® 4 minerals. Balanced nutrition, including appropriate vitamins and minerals, supports calf health beyond the weaning period, through the backgrounding phase and to the feedlot.7

Supported by strong health protocols, backed by a strong team

When calves get the nutritional start they need, health protocols can work effectively. The Purina® Plus program combines a complete nutritional foundation, comprehensive vaccines and boosters, and quality dewormers to prime calves for strong performance from weaning to rail.

Team Purina and industry allies support you every step of the way – from enrollment to meeting program requirements – all so calves maximize their potential. Program participants have access to expertise and resources from Team Purina’s nutritionists and dealers:
  • Zinpro
  • Elanco
  • Merck
  • Zoetis
  • Boehringer Ingelheim
Navigating marketing opportunities in an ever-evolving industry is no easy feat, especially if you’re only marketing calves once a year.

That’s why these industry leaders are teaming up to create new marketing opportunities and attract more potential buyers through networking, specialized sale events, advertising and more. Local Purina dealers are already collaborating with regional livestock auction markets to establish a reputation for Purina® Plus and facilitate premium calf sales.

In addition to support from Team Purina and industry allies, enrolled producers and their calves are backed by the Purina brand and the quality reputation that comes with it.

Program specifications

Enrolled producers can select from proven vaccination and deworming protocols, and high-quality nutrition options to complement feed resources.
 
Calves must be:
  1. Fed Purina® starters with RX3® Immune Support Technology at weaning initiation
  2. Transitioned to a balanced nutrition program after starter feed
    • Transition feed programs are tailored to a producer’s local area and resources, with oversight from local Purina nutritionists
  3. Weaned and on feed for a minimum of 45 days prior to sale
  4. Vaccinated and boosted for:
    • Strains of Clostridium chauvoei, Clostridium septicum, Clostridium novyi, Clostridium sordellii, Clostridium perfringens (Types C & D)
    • Strains of IBR, PI3, BRSV and BVD (Type 1 and 2) through a Modified Live Vaccine
    • Mannheimia haemolytica/Pasteurella multocida
  5. Dewormed of internal and external parasites with program-approved dewormers

Ready to turn the calf health trend around?

If you’re interested in enrolling calves in Purina® Plus, start by reaching out to your local Purina dealer well ahead of your anticipated weaning date. Purina dealers are ready to help create a plan that works for you. Your local team will help you navigate using Purina® Plus in tandem with other value-added programs based on your unique operation and goals.
 
Learn more about Purina® Plus.

 
1 USDA APHIS. 1999. Health Management and Biosecurity in U.S. Feedlots. Accessed on March 6, 2019.
2 USDA APHIS. 2011. Health and Health Management on U.S. Feedlots with a Capacity of 1,000 or More Head. Accessed on March 6, 2019.
3 Derksen, B and Hoppe, K. August 14, 2020. Progressive Cattle magazine. Linking vaccination and creep feeding practices.
4 McNeill, J. December 1999. Extension Animal Science, Texas A&M University. Value Added Calves.
5 Bremer, M. September 2015. University of Nebraska-Lincoln Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. UNL Beef. Preconditioning Calves: Can it Add Value?
6 Summary of Purina studies CG131, CG153, CG165 CG171 and PMI studies at University of Minnesota and North Dakota State University.
Availa® 4 is a registered trademark of Zinpro Performance Minerals.