Now is the time to start considering the protection of this season's calves against Rotavirus scours. As we know, Rotavirus is the most common cause of infectious diarrhoea in young neonatal calves - and is easily spread from calf to calf by contaminated faeces in the calf pen. Successful calf rearing can be a real challenge, especially in the large herd situation. Overcrowding in sheds, especially in wet/cold weather, damp sheds, poor colostral transfer and overstretched staff can allow an environment for the proliferation of bugs that cause infectious diarrhoea i.e. Rotavirus, Salmonella, Coccidia.
Prevention of Rotavirus is a sound investment to protect your calves and their welfare. The vaccine Rotavec Corona is administered to the pregnant cow as a single shot between 3 and 12 weeks prior to calving. Therefore a herd should be vaccinated 3 weeks before the PSC to cover a 9 week calving spread.
A second option for cows which have already been vaccinated in previous years with Rotavec, is to boost these cows with Kolibin Neo, a new vaccine from AgriHealth. Kolibin Neo provides protection against the prevalent and NZ relevant rotavirus serotypes. Kolibin Neo has sound trial work, can be administered 2-12 weeks prior to calving, and offers a cost saving when used as a booster vaccine. If Kolibin Neo is used in previously unvaccinated cows, the cow will need two vaccinations in her first year. Therefore the net cost in year one, is slightly more than a single vaccination of Rotavec.