Ask the Vet

The Bander that Fits

A shift to banding calves has this producer asking about vaccinations.(DTN/Progressive Farmer photo by Dan Miller)

Question:

I always cut (castrate) my calves at birth, but as I get older, that gets harder to do. I am thinking about waiting and castrating them closer to weaning and banding them. If I do, what is the best bander? I am also confused about vaccinations, especially tetanus in this case. What do you recommend?

Answer:

In the spring, we had a reader interested in the best bander for early castration. Now you are interested in delaying castration. It just shows there is no one approach that fits every operation.

The best bander is one of those Ford or Chevy pickup questions... and many might want to add Ram, GMC and Toyota to the argument. The best bander is the one that works best for you. More important is your question regarding vaccinations.

I really like the initial series of IBR (infectious bovine rhinotracheitis), BVD (bovine viral diarrhea), PI3 (parainfluenza-3) and BRSV (bovine respiratory syncytial virus), and clostridials to be given between 3 and 4 months of age. Boosters should be given a few weeks later. If you are going to band bull calves, be sure to use the clostridial vaccine that contains tetanus (Clostridium tetani). Never assume a "seven-or-eight-way vaccine" contains tetanus. I don't think tetanus antitoxin is needed when the right clostridial vaccine is used prior to or at the time of banding.

I always advise that you consult with your herd veterinarian who can help custom-design the best program for your operation and make sure any bulls banded are well-protected from tetanus.

(SK)