We feed about 8,000 to 12,000 per year. We've been screening for PI's for about 1 1/2 years -- 1 year
with Gold Standard Labs. The turnaround time is great. We take the samples when we process; we
hear back from them in at most, 24 hours. When they call, I pull.
New loads stay isolated in a hay lot the first 3 or 4 days, so it is easy to get them out and it keeps
them away from the general population. We have cut down on medication needed, on deaths, and
on chronics. Definitely.
Removing those PI's just gives the other calves another boost. You don't feel like you are
over-pulling either. Our death rate has gone from 7% to 2% overall.
On our chronics, we have been able to cut back on medications, they respond better, and we find
we don't have to doctor and doctor and doctor them. We use less medication overall.
It's funny -- a lot of times that PI animal is a big ol' healthy calf. I let the owner decide what to do with
them once I have them isolated.
I am a firm believer in screening for PI calves. Having them in the population can be a big wreck and
affect the whole yard. You can use hot wire or other methods for controlling groups, but if there are
hidden PI's it doesn't do you any good.
We've had absolutely no problems with Gold Standard. They always call right away on positives
and we get to work.
We've had as many as 3 PI's in a bunch of 36, or 3 in 200. Then I can get a group of 400 head and
not one will be positive. So, it just pays to test all of the cattle.
We've gone through a "wreck" before, and if this screening will save us at least from this one
possibility for disaster, it is worth it.
Some might balk at the price of testing, but after you've had a problem, you can see how it saves
you money in the long run for sure. You know you've got healthy cattle that you can send to the
wheat pastures, or to the sale barn, or whatever, and know they probably will stay healthy. It
doesn't take you any longer to process. Just the set up might take a little longer, preparing the vials
and so on.
Once we point out how it has worked for us in the past, most people catch on pretty quickly and
become supporters of the testing process. I would definitely recommend Gold Standard Labs to
anyone in the cattle business.