Iowa State University researchers investigated the effects of bovine respiratory disease complex on economically important production traits. While the study focused on how the disease affected feedlot performance for 5,976 animals, it is revealing in how important managing health in stocker calves can be in subsequent performance.

The overall incidence of BRD, which was defined as cattle that either had lung lesions or were treated for BRD in the feedlot, or both, was 64.4 percent. Incidence of BRD in the feedlot decreased average daily gain during both the acclimation period and the overall test period. Incidence of BRD also had significant effects on hot carcass weight and marbling score. Potential decrease in performance and carcass merit observed in this study were associated with a decline of $23.23, $30.15 and $54.01 in carcass value when comparing cattle never treated with cattle treated once, twice or three or more times, respectively.