How's your on-feed deathloss compare to the nation's?
USDA once again updates its Feedlot 2011 study, giving us a further look into health-management information on the U.S. cattle feedlot industry that's far-reaching enough to assume confidently it fits well to the average feedlot. This latest set of data, just released in July, further compares the results of USDA's three studies over time--1994, 1999 and 2011--and summarizes some trends in health and management practices. One fairly steady statistic over the last 20 years that might surprise the average critic of today's "inhumane" feedlot environment: Over 95 percent of cattle placed on feed in all feedlots ended up being harvested for... View Blog Post »
High-risk stockers: Vaccinate and implant right off the truck, or wait?
Arkansas research just published in the journal Professional Animal Scientist tries again to get at the question facing anyone offloading high-risk stockers: Vaccinate and implant them now, or rest them a few days (or weeks) before running them through the chute? The thinking is that holding off respiratory vaccination on those typically unvaccinated, unweaned, commingled calves may reduce taxation of an already stressed immune system, which should eventually improve both vaccine effectiveness and response to the implants. To add more information to the decision mix, the Arkansas researchers bought a total of 393 high-risk crossbred 5-weight beef calves from a northern Arkansas... View Blog Post »
A tale of two BVD-eradication attempts
Two articles in the veterinary journals this month demonstrate both the possibility and the improbability of moving BVD into the “eradicated” column with other former U.S. cattle diseases like bangs and bovine TB. The first, from the British journal Veterinary Record, details Norway’s successful eradication program that involved a collaboration between industry, animal-health authorities, the nation’s veterinary school and cattle producers—beef and dairy. It has successfully removed the virus from that country through a four-step process that identified suspect herds by testing dairy bulk tanks, pooled milk from first-calf heifers, and pooled blood samples from young calves. It then conducted targeted... View Blog Post »
This may be the set-up that finally makes intensive grazing a practical anternative to intensive feedlots
Much as we recognize the modern system of confined cattle feeding has vastly improved the industry’s ability to monitor animal performance, improve efficiency of diets and track and treat health issues, any honest appraisal of the system has to grant there’s, at best, a love/hate relationship with feedlots. For all the production benefits, they also bring their share of concentrated manure, potential runoff and the health problems that come naturally with high stocking density, dust and mud. Reporting at late July's annual meeting of the American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers in Kansas... View Blog Post »
Could this be one alternative to feedyard antibiotics that actually delivers?
As political pressure intensifies and focuses some uncomfortable attention on how cattle feeders use antibiotics, researchers have been engaged in a constant quest to find some useful alternatives to them, alternatives that can not only keep the politicians happy but also still work as well as antibiotics do. In that spirit, British Columbia researchers will report in an upcoming issue of the journal Research in Veterinary Science on the practical—and apparently successful—use of nitric oxide at receiving to help protect calves against Bovine Respiratory Disease Complex, or BRDC. Naturally produced by the body (and not to be confused with the nitrous... View Blog Post »
Management factors that put pre-weaned calves at risk of respiratory disease
The factors that leave feedlot calves at high risk for bovine respiratory disease complex, or BRDC, have been studied and are fairly well understood. However, no large-scale studies have been reported that investigate the management factors that could be associated with higher rates of BRDC in preweaned calves in cow/calf operations. So, Kansas researchers drew from the extensive real-world data collected during USDA’s regular National Animal Health Monitoring System surveys of beef producers. USDA’s Beef 2007–2008 study generated data both on management factors and on the rate of disease occurrences for cow/calf herds. The Kansas State study used those... View Blog Post »
More Lingering Effects of the Drought: High Sulfur-related Brain Disease
"Water Hole" (c) 2009 arbyreed via Flickr Creative Commons A report from the Colorado State University branch Vet Diagnostic Lab in the west-central region of that state reminds producers that the longterm effects of the Western drought continue to linger in health impact—in this case in the form of the brain-wasting disease polioencephalomalacia. Incidence of the disease related to high dietary sulfur levels, concentrated and compounded by the drought, have become more common in labs throughout the west, writes CSU’s Don Kitchen, head of the University’s Western Slope Lab. The alkaline soils common in Western Colorado and... View Blog Post »
Will breeding for calm temperament really make a difference in feedlot pneumonia losses?
Reporting from last week’s Beef Improvement Federation annual research meeting in Oklahoma City, Kansas State Graduate Research Assistant Kerri Bates detailed her two-year study trying to get a handle on whether selecting for calmer calves is having any effect on rates of Bovine Respiratory Disease once those animals reach confinement. Anecdotally, Bates points out, there does seem to be a relationship between temperament and health, and producers believe calmer cattle tend to find their way into the hospital chute less often than the flighty ones. Other research over the past decade has theorized that since high-strung temperament leads to stress response,... View Blog Post »
What health impact would animal ID make in an outbreak?
The federal government's newly relaunched second attempt at a national livestock identification program has come under criticism from producers and others who argue it's an onerous regulatory burden that unfairly singles out the small farm for regulation. However, those who advocate for the program say some system is needed to help identify and stop a disease epidemic should it ever break out in U.S. herds. Why? Veterinary researchers at University of California at Davis published a complex mathematical model in this month's issue of the scholarly journal Preventive Veterinary Medicine that simulated how difficult it would be to find and contain a... View Blog Post »
Better dewormer targeting using Estimated Breeding Values, blood tests and behavior monitoring. Would it work?
Spooked by the increasing anecdotal reports of resistance to dewormers, which was relatively unheard of just a decade ago, veterinary researchers are urging the cattle industry to take a hard look at the habit of rote, unmonitored use of dewormers, hoping to help protect their effectiveness for the future. So-called “targeted selective treatment” is one umbrella tool they’ve proposed for slowing the development of resistance. It aims to cut the number of deworming treatments by selectively treating only those cattle that will benefit most from treatment without at the same time causing either clinical disease or excessive productivity losses. How? Some... View Blog Post »
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