Iowa's green and gold tag protocols are among the best calf preconditioning programs in the country. Certified preconditioning can help you receive top dollar for your calves at feeder calf sales. The treatments must be done by a veterinarian, so we would like to remind our clients that fall is a busy time and you should be sure to schedule ahead of time when you want your calves to be worked.
Preconditioning helps to decrease the stress that the calves go through when they are weaned, sold, and enter a feedlot. Having the vaccines on board before they go through all that helps the vaccines to work better, therefore improving the chances that the calf will stay healthy in the feedlot. Many buyers are willing to pay a premium for calves that are officially preconditioned and green tagged, and some will pay even more for gold tagged calves, knowing that they have had booster vaccines and have been weaned longer.
To be officially preconditioned in the green tag program, there are several mandatory treatments. Calves must be vaccinated for Histophilus somni, seven-way Clostridia, IBR, PI-3, BVD, BRSV, and Mannheimia haemolytica. They must be castrated, dehorned, treated for internal parasites, treated for grubs and lice if preconditioning is done between August 1 and November 15, and treated for lice if it is done after November 15. Implants and other vaccinations are optional.
Calves must be at least four months old at the time of preconditioning. Vaccinations and parasite treatments must be done by the veterinarian. Castration and dehorning may be done by the owner prior to or at the time of preconditioning but must be confirmed by the veterinarian. 30 days after weaning and at least 21 days after the preconditioning treatments, the veterinarian can give the producer the preconditioning certificate to provide to the buyer or the sale barn. To be gold tagged, calves receive booster vaccines at least 14 days after the first round of vaccines.
Please make sure to schedule a couple of weeks ahead of time to get your calves worked so you can be sure to get them into the sale that works best for you.