Note: This story appeared in the May issue of Drovers and is the fifth part of a five part series.
When a bovine viral diarrhea (BVD) persistently infected (PI)-calf has been identified, the owner has to decide what to do with it. One option is sending it through traditional marketing channels like an auction barn. However, livestock markets need to be aware of PI-animals before entering a sale ring, says Lindsay Graber, director of marketing and communications at the Livestock Marketing Association (LMA), Kansas City, MO.
“Market owner-operators are committed to the transparency of the health status in relation to PI-positive calves for sale at their markets when that information is given to them on those animals upon arrival,” Graber says.
Once those PI-positive cattle arrive at a facility, they will be quarantined to eliminate nose-to-nose contact with other cattle at the sale barn.
When a PI-animal enters the sale ring, an announcement is typically made to the crowd. Other auction facilities might mark the animal with chalk or ear tags.
“One of the bigger issues from BVD (PI) animals moving through a market is permanent identification,” Graber says.
There is the potential for a PI-animal identified with chalk and ear tags to re-enter a sale ring with no one knowing it carried BVD. It could be sold direct to another producer and no one would be the wiser.
Graber says there have been “proactive approaches” in some states for permanent identification of PI-cattle. In Oklahoma the local LMA organization has been working to establish a “PI” brand in the state.