Feed Lot

NOV 2018

Feedlots and cow/calf operations in the beef industry who feed 500 or more has annually on grains and concentrates; maintain 500 or more beef cows; backgrounder, stocker/grower, preconditioner; veterinarian, nutritionist, consultant

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by a prescribed free exercise regimen and saw no impact on performance or carcass traits but stated there was a positive impact on cattle health. • In 2010, Jarred Shepherd, manag- er of Cattlemen's Choice Feed- yard Inc., said at a cattlemen's conference that "making a point to exercise newly arrived cattle has improved feed and water intake, increased gain and de- creased pulls. The program of handling and exercising is not prescribed but adapted to fit each newly arrived set of cattle." The actual protocol options for handling were not defined. Gill said while researchers have tried to look at handling in the context of exercise, they are two entirely different things. "Exercise can be provided with no improvement in handling of the cattle," he said. "In fact, han- dling can increase stress levels in cattle during this process if not done correctly." Additionally, he explained, to manage variation in research set- tings, cattle are often allocated to treatment groups following several efforts to handle the cattle to capture certain pretreatment parameters prior to assignment to treatment groups. However, the most critical time in this scenario to improve Accounting for approximately 75% of feedlot morbidity and 50 to 70% of all feedlot deaths, Bovine Respiratory Disease, or BRD, is far and away the most common disease among feeder cattle in the U.S. It's the costliest, too, with research estimating the disease causes feeders to lose $800 to $900 million annually in losses from treatment costs, reduced efficiency and death. But what if there was a way to save cattle and money, without additional input costs? Dr. Ron Gill, professor and Extension livestock specialist for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and associate department head for Extension at Texas A&M University, says there may be. At the third annual Texas Veter- inary Medical Diagnostic Labora- tory Bovine Respiratory Disease Conference this summer, Gill said current production models rely heavily on treatment of Bovine Re- spiratory Disease over prevention. "Even as antibiotics have been developed that are very effica- cious for the primary pathogens associated with BRD, reduction in incidence and severity of infections has not occurred," Gill said. While solid vaccinations proto- cols exist, Gill says adoption has been limited. This is not just limited to smaller cow-calf producers who do not have enough calves to sell as a truckload lot. There are larger operations that do not take the time or go to the expense of vaccinating calves prior to weaning. That's why other preventative options — those that can be performed in the feed- yard or preconditioning facility— are so important to consider. Gill says the thought isn't new, though. These discussions began in the early 1990s, and Bud Williams contended through his handling methods morbidity and mortality could be reduced in high-risk cattle. "These assertions were met with significant skepticism and rejected by many in the industry. However, it did receive some acceptance by individuals who felt there could be a better way of handling high-risk cattle," Gill said. H e s h a r e d t h e f o l l o w i n g examples: • As early as 2000, Heartland Cattle Co, McCook, Neb., started accli- mating cattle upon arrival and "exercising" cattle throughout the feeding period. A research- er at Kansas State University attempted to study the impact of exercise on incoming cattle FEEDLOT FOCUS LOWER MORBIDITY? BY KATRINA HUFFSTUTLER How animal handling may decrease losses from Bovine Respiratory Disease LOWER , i 6 FEED•LOT November 2018

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