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Agricultural News

West Texas A&M's John Richeson Talks About how to Stay Ahead of an BRD Outbreaks

Tue, 29 Oct 2019 21:57:29 CDT

West Texas A&M's John Richeson Talks About how to Stay Ahead of an BRD Outbreaks Staying ahead of disease outbreaks is a top priority for cattle feeders, who gained insight on new strategies for doing that at the 2019 Feeding Quality Forum.

A West Texas A&M animal scientist is working on better ways to predict and diagnose when feedlot cattle may be affected by that most complicated ailment—bovine respiratory disease, or B-R-D.

“It’s very complicated because it’s multifactorial," said John Richeson, West Texas A&M animal scientist. "From a pathogenic standpoint, there's many viruses involved in the disease and several different bacteria that are involved in the disease.”

Watch a short video-clip featuring John Richeson, West Texas A&M animal scientist, shares his thoughts on how todetect BRD earlier, by clicking or tapping the PLAYBOX in the window below.

One simple fact is, the earlier identified, the better we can treat BRD. That’s why feedyards give antimicrobial shots to EACH animal in a high-risk pen on arrival, though only 20% benefit from that strategy, called metaphylaxis . Richeson offered a better plan.

“Targeted metaphylaxis is conceptual at the moment," Richeson said. "Using some metric or group of metrics to try to predict whether an animal is going to be at greater risk for bovine respiratory disease so we can make decisions at chute side very rapidly.”

To see which animals are, or will be sick, those prediction metrics need data, from observation and diagnostic tools to assess physical, consumption and movement behaviors.

“All the options have the advantage of monitoring cattle continuously so 24 hours, a day 7 days a week," he said. "An accelerometer in an ear tag or ankle bracelet or feeding behavior system.”

These technologies can find clinically ill cattle a day or two before the average pen rider, allowing more effective treatment. Feedyard teams are currently test-driving several innovative programs.

“There are feedlots that are beta testing technologies for companies as we spea," he added. "I think if and when the technology becomes widespread in the industry, it will go back on return on investment. We have got to go back to research to understand how much value there is in utilizing this new way of diagnosing BRD before we are going to see widespread adoption.”

Data shows sick cattle are less efficient on feed and earn lower quality grades at the packinghouse, so prevention is paramount.

“A pen of cattle that are affected with bovine respiratory disease are behind their healthy pen-mates," Richeson said. "We can feed those cattle longer and try to recoup that lost performance but the inflammatory response that occurs during a respiratory infection likely also affects marbling and fat-deposition signals intramuscularly, that probably reduce the grade potential regardless of adding extra days of feed on those particular cattle.”

That’s why it’s best to monitor and act before the disease has a chance to set in.

Source: Certified Angus Beef



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