Flippin’ the iceberg

A systems thinking approach to immunology and vaccination protocols in beef cow-calf systems

  • David Rethorst Beef Health Solutions, 13441 Anthony Dr., Wamego, KS 66547
Keywords: systems thinking, iceberg, husbandry


This paper offers a brief introduction into systems thinking and some of the basic thought processes used with this methodology. Systems thinking offers frameworks and tools that can be used to develop more effective strategies for effective change. These frameworks and tools help users recognize hidden and unintended consequences, as well as think deeper and wider about complex systems. Using bovine respiratory disease (BRD) as an example, this process will be used to study underlying factors that impact the immune system and thus contribute to BRD. This discussion should provide food for thought on areas where veterinarians can interact with producers to reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with BRD in cow-calf production systems and thus in the feedyard.

Beef Sessions