Feedlot Veterinary Pioneer to be Honored at Feed Quality Forum MeetingsWed, 07 Aug 2013 14:43:58 CDT
The early days of commercial cattle feeding came with a few health challenges. Dr. David Bechtol, feedlot veterinary pioneer and a leader in developing effective strategies, recalls the great need to transition from treatment to prevention.
"One of the first wrecks that scared me and got me to thinking about what my role as a veterinarian going to be at a feedyard was the digestive wreck with some cattle. We had five to six head of cattle dying every day."
But, with a little research and data collection, it got better and the growing industry was headed in a healthier direction.
"I knew at that time that I was going to have to get more involved with a total program, not just the individual animal and come up with some ideas," Bechtol said.
At the Feeding Quality Forums in Nebraska and Kansas later this month, Bechtol will receive the 2013 industry achievement award for the systematic approach he brought to cattle health across the industry.
"So, as we progressed along, I just decided to go ahead and set up a cattle accounting system for a computer, so I was one of the first to ever start a cattle accounting system to keep up with animal health so we could become more precise in what we were trying to do and what our goals were and also evaluate our process and treatment programs and come up with some better answers for the feedyard."
Bechtol says that, overall, health takes a system-wide approach.
"As a veterinarian, we can do certain things with products we cannot manage by syringe, but we can set up programs that will be beneficial. And that's why I talk about going back to the cow-calf side and producing better programs on the cow-calf side so that when they do come into the feedyard they are healthy."
Bechtol was a charter member of the now 750-member-strong Academy of Veterinary Consultants and founded AgriResearch Center at Canyon, Texas, to perform trials in a scientifically-controlled feedlot environment.
He will address Feeding Quality Forum attendees on August 20th in Omaha, Neb., and August 22nd in Garden City, Kan.
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