A look at the high, and increasing, cost of treating feedlot respiratory disease
Here’s more compelling, concrete evidence from USDA’s latest update of its ongoing series of health and management surveys that the industry continues bleeding high costs to the most common killer of feedlot calves: bovine respiratory disease. The most current survey data, drawing on results from the 2011 survey of large and small feedlots—which you can browse here—puts the direct cost to treat shipping fever at $23.60 for every case. That cost is double 1999’s estimate, at $12.59. USDA’s survey data show that although the cost to treat BRD compares to some of the less common diseases acute interstitial pneumonia, at $21.70... View Blog Post »
Does deworming calves on top of vaccination risk weakening your disease protection?
New research scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the journal Veterinary Parasitology, which showed heavy infections of stomach worms in sheep caused those animals to become deficient in protective white blood cells, raises the perpetual question this time of year in cattle health: How are worm infections affecting my vaccine performance? A study last year in the Journal of Animal Science, led by parasitologists at Colorado State, noted similar studies in cattle have shown parasitic infestation can release a flood of signaling proteins that help jumpstart and communicate the immune system’s response to infection. That stimulation of the system... View Blog Post »
Hold still, fellas. This could end up hurting a little
Next up on the list coming from the people who get paid to worry about looming “consumer trends” and how they might affect your bottom line: pain. Three out of four consumers tell surveyors “animal welfare” (including the pain caused by common practices like castration and dehorning) is more important to them when buying meat, milk and eggs than the price of the product (although we may want to withhold judgment until you study what consumers actually pay vs. what they tell a surveyor they’ll pay, but that’s a topic for another day.) Self-appointed overseers of animal care, like the... View Blog Post »
Will we ever see vaccination against cattle worms?
A February edition of the journal Science reports on the slow, disappointing progress in creating a vaccine to control the human disease schistosomiasis, which the World Health Organization considers the second most devastating parasitic disease in the underdeveloped world, second only to malaria. If such a critical worm vaccine for humans is coming “only at a snail’s pace,” as the author complains, then what progress can we expect on the perennial question for cattle producers: Are we ever going to see a vaccine that will work against the common cattle worms? A pair of Belgian parasitologists, Manuela Rinaldi and Peter... View Blog Post »
Would it pay to try to grow ‘nitrate-safe’ hay? What one study suggested.
Last year’s perfect storm of temperature extremes, tight hay supplies, humidity and rainfall conditions that contributed to nitrate toxicity in many regions had a lot of producers testing forages. Since fertilizer is the most important man-made cause of nitrate buildup in forages, one Tennessee study asked, could you influence nitrate levels in hay by better watching nitrogen fertilizer levels? More importantly, would it pay more than it cost? Here’s what they found. The Tennessee researchers estimated the yield response of bermudagrass, the Southeast’s most common warm-season hay, to different nitrogen fertilizer levels for four different cutting months using data from a... View Blog Post »
Can we really rely on beef’s efficiency story to earn us a seat at the ‘sustainability’ table? Another sobering shot across our bow
The push is on by beef organizations and others to convince consumers, regulators and activists that by carefully applying technology to improve the health, productivity and efficiency of cattle production, tomorrow’s beef industry is really “sustainable,” that is, capable of feeding the well-worn benchmark of 9 billion people in the world by 2050 without undue environmental destruction. After all, we assure ourselves, technology now allows America’s beef producers to basically provide the same amount of beef today using the cow numbers (and environmental impact) of a half century ago. How’s that not sustainable? Greenpeace International, the crazy uncle in the... View Blog Post »
What We (Still) Have Here is a Failure to Communicate
USDA’s out with a latest update from its ongoing series of health and management surveys, this time drawing on results from the 2011 survey of large and small feedlots. One interesting section shows that the long hoped-for “vertically coordinated” beef chain might stand a little more of the coordination part when it comes to health of incoming calves, based on what cattle feeders say they need and what they get (and give back) to the guys who grow the calves. Some highlights: Even though eight out of 10 feedlot operators tell USDA the processing calves get before they arrive on feed... View Blog Post »
Fly tagging stockers: Worth it?
Work reported by a team of Kansas State researchers earlier this month followed a set of 267 steers known to be in good health and grazed at a stocking density of 253 pounds of animal per acre for 77 days starting in April. Steers were assigned to one of three treatment groups: no ear tag, one tag or two tags. All calves, including the controls, were treated with a pour-on permithrin before turnout. When the calves were pulled from the pasture the second week of July, due to drought, the tagged calves were found to have substantial improvements in gain over... View Blog Post »
What Would it Take to Eradicate Trich?
Those state regulations aimed at trying to control dollar losses caused by reduced calf crop, loss of good herd bulls and vet bills have done little to get rid of Trichomoniasis, which has been endemic in the United States for more than eight decades, University of Wyoming parasitologist and professor Chaoqun Yao writes here. And they likely won’t, he asserts in his article for the scholarly Journal of Medical Microbiology. The bull test-and-cull plan most state regulations now follow allow too many holes in the process: - Sample collection is not always effective due to the... View Blog Post »
Have We Gotten a Little Too Smart on BRD Testing?
Drs. Fulton and Confer, both veterinary professors at Oklahoma State, write here that the battery of Bovine Respiratory Disease diagnostic tests at a veterinarian’s disposal was “unthinkable” 25 years ago. The modern molecular tests available can quickly and accurately detect the presence of the numerous viruses and bacteria that can contribute to respiratory disease. Unfortunately, the high sensitivity of those molecular tests means they often find too much information, which can be as confounding to teasing out the real cause as too little. The rate at which academia and industry has developed molecular diagnostic tests has outrun our ability to... View Blog Post »
- What Would it Take to Eradicate Trich?
- Fly tagging stockers: Worth it?
- Does deworming calves on top of vaccination risk weakening your disease protection?
- A look at the high, and increasing, cost of treating feedlot respiratory disease
- Getting to know our true stakeholders
- What We (Still) Have Here is a Failure to Communicate
- The science of beef quality
- U.S. oil glut makes $50 oil a possibility
- Questions continue on EHD
- More Evidence: PI BVD calves wreck their immune systems – and their pen-mates
- Fifteen Minutes to Healthier Calves this Spring
- Fenceline Weaning: Worth the Trouble?
- Can we really rely on beef’s efficiency story to earn us a seat at the ‘sustainability’ table? Another sobering shot across our bow
- Would it pay to try to grow ‘nitrate-safe’ hay? What one study suggested.
- Will we ever see vaccination against cattle worms?
- Have We Gotten a Little Too Smart on BRD Testing?
- Hold still, fellas. This could end up hurting a little
- Quest for my specialty