Calf pneumonia represents a threat to calf health, welfare and farm profitability and, as a consequence, has a substantial impact on a beef enterprise. Immediate impacts include high vet fees and medicine costs plus failure to reach growth targets.

Extra costs of production

Calf pneumonia impacts heavily on production costs. Average daily live weight gains (ADLWG) can be reduced by up to 0.2 kg/day, increasing the time required to reach finishing or service. In fact, pneumonia-induced lung damage can cost some cattle almost 74 kg a year in lost lifetime growth potential8.

Mortality in the grower and finisher stages represent the maximum financial loss per beef animal. Losses include the cost of production with no return and the cost of replacements9.

The risk of losses in 12–18 month old cattle increases if the animal has been infected as a young calf9.


  1. Williams, P. and Green, L. (2007). Associations between lung lesions and grade and estimated daily live weight gain in bull beef at slaughter. Cattle Practice 15, 244-249
  2. Andrews A.H. (2000) Calf pneumonia costs. Cattle Practice Vol 8 Part 2, 109-114

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The first 24 hours of life ✔ Have clear protocols in place for the dam and newborn calf ✔ Set up a new system to allow ease of handling of dam and new born calf ✔ Test colostrum and only store/feed the best ✔ Focus on cleanliness and consistency of management...

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