For livestock producers, veterinary care is a necessary cost of business, but those costs can quickly add up—especially if farmers wait too long to seek help for sick animals, fail to keep the right kinds of records or don’t know what kinds of details veterinarians need to help troubleshoot problems.
A unique, hands-on field day will give livestock farmers a chance to learn practical, time- and cost-saving animal care and diagnostic techniques from two professional livestock veterinarians.
Julie and Ryan Wheelock, of Wheelock Farm, will host a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day on Sept. 14 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., on their farm near Sac City (3381 230th St., about 6.5 miles northeast of town). The event—“Hands-On Livestock Care With a Veterinarian”—is free to attend and will feature a potluck after the field day. The Wheelocks will provide meat; guests are asked to bring a side dish to share. RSVPs are appreciated for the meal to Debra Boekholder, 515-232-5661 or [email protected], by Sept. 10.
Veterinarians Kurt Van Hulzen and Trevor Schwartz, both of Suidae Health and Production and Lake City Veterinary Clinic in Sac City, will teach how to give a physical exam, where to properly give injections and how to castrate livestock. The group will discuss what to have ready when calling the vet—such as the animal’s temperature and dehydration status—and how to take useful photos of sick or dead animals to share with the veterinarian.
Part of the discussion will focus on how telemedicine is most effective, including when to call your vet and how to make the most efficient use of everyone’s time. Kurt and Trevor will also demonstrate a necropsy, or open-body examination, on a dead pig—a skill that can save farmers money by streamlining the diagnostic process.
Guests will have the opportunity for hands-on practice with goats, calves and pigs. There will also be ample time for questions, and a chance to discuss the Veterinary Feed Directive. The field day is geared toward beginning livestock farmers, as well as those who want to brush up on their animal care skills.
“Beginning farmers, especially, may not know what’s normal and what’s not—such as what a normal stool looks like,” Kurt says. “There are also different benchmarks for different problems. Part of the discussion will focus on knowing when to call a veterinarian.”
“Decreasing veterinary costs is one way to decrease farm costs,” says Meghan Filbert, PFI’s livestock program manager. “We’re trying to equip farmers to know how to do some routine livestock care on their own, as well as how to tell when they need to call a vet and how to make that talk more efficient.”
Lake City Veterinary Clinic is a mixed practice, caring for large and small animals in northwest Iowa. Julie Wheelock is a veterinary assistant at the clinic and raises a few livestock at her family farm. Kurt Van Hulzen and Trevor Schwartz are swine specialists at the clinic. Julie and Kurt both serve on Practical Farmers’ board of directors.
Directions from U.S. 20: Turn north onto Wadsley Avenue, travel 0.25 mile and turn west on 230th Street.
Practical Farmers’ 2018 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Natural & Organic Meats; Blue River Organic Seed; Cascadian Farms; Center for Rural Affairs; Farm Credit Services of America; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Green Cover Seed; Green Thumb Commodities; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie;PepsiCo; Pipeline Foods; Premier 1 Supplies; Sunrise Foods International; The DeLong Company; The Fertrell Company; The Scoular Company; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.