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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10 FEED•LOT November 2018 adjacent to facility until arrival processing is completed. While individually sound, these decisions combined can break down biocontainment. We are placing our most vulnerable animals — the newly arrived calves — near cattle shedding problem pathogens. The result is loading newly arrived cattle with additional PL. The "natural laws" of BRD are unforgiving. They do not respect our intentions or our investments in facilities and animal health products — they only abide by the "what, when and how much" of exposure. Biocontain- ment should be a continuous improvement approach and mindset, and every aspect of the operation needs to be considered from a PL perspective. Hospital pen management Simple questions like "should I hospitalize first pulls or use a return to pen system?" might not be the best questions. A hospital/recovery system that reduces Last month, Robin Falkner, DVM, Zoetis, intro- duced the concept of pathogen loading (PL) and the major impact it has on bovine respiratory disease (BRD) incidence and treatment success. FEED•LOT magazine asked him to expand on some of the patho- gen loading issues present in many operations. The natural laws of BRD pathogens: 1. Animals do not get sick from BRD pathogens they are never exposed to. 2. Increasing exposure to pathogens increases the risk and severity of BRD. 3. Pathogens present in a pen within a few weeks of arrival into a new management system, when other co-factors of the BRD complex are present, are much more likely to cause clinical disease and losses than those introduced later when BRD co-factors are absent. 4. In an operation receiving cattle from multiple sources, many, if not most, BRD pathogens will come in the front gate. This makes BRD biosecurity not achievable. Our BRD success, or lack thereof, is de- pendent on how effective the total management system is at biocontainment, which is the reduction of PL in the period encompassing procurement through a few weeks post arrival. 5. Treatment puts selection pressure on BRD patho- gens. Sustainable treatment efficacy is dependent on biocontainment between previously treated animals and those at risk for BRD. Then, consider the following common management practices: 1. A facility is constructed to include a combined, centralized shipping/receiving, processing and treat- ment area, including the sole working chute — a sensible decision from a construction economics and operational efficiency perspective. 2. The sickest cattle, or those that have received multiple treatments (treatment failures), are kept in pens adjacent to the facility for ease of care. 3. Newly arrived cattle are unloaded and held Practical principles to help reduce pathogen loads: 1. Procurement: needs to be clean and quick. Strive to have cattle processed and placed as quickly as possible after marketing, optimally, within 24 hours of marketing. 2. Arrival/processing: minimize exposure to pathogens already present on operation, whether exposure to other cattle, equipment or environment. 3. Pens: start small-sized groups of calves beside older, solid cattle and avoid adjacent starting pens and/or using the same pens over and over for starting only because of pathogen buildup. Avoid the practice of "add-on" pens for starting — buy a group, start a group, then build bigger groups, if needed. 4. Hidden exposures: continually observe to detect and eliminate any avoidable pathogen exposures, such as those caused by the movement of cattle and per- sonnel during daily routines. A good example of this is the commingling of calves from different starting pens during the treatment process in a home pen recovery system. BY JILL J. DUNKEL FEEDLOT FOCUS Respect the "Natural Laws" of BRD

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