Producers are somewhat able to predict which cattle are likely to get sick. But bovine respiratory disease complex has so many variables that this isn't easy.
"It's not a simple, contagious infection like the chicken pox," Renter said.
Instead, bovine respiratory disease complex is caused by multiple pathogens, both viruses and bacteria, that are commonly found in the feedlot. Some of them can even be cultured from healthy cattle. Also, factors like immunity, feed intake and even the weather can influence which cattle get sick, as can stressors like being weaned or moved from farm to feedlot.
"Part of the cost associated to producers is that we can't predict as well as we want to," Renter said. "There's so much variability in how many cattle will get sick."
Renter said the research done at K-State will supplement the work being done by producers and consulting veterinarians. What makes the research at K-State so valuable is that the team is looking at data from multiple sources, and the researchers will share their tools with people in the industry. With the groundwork laid by researchers at K-State, further work could yield software or other decision-making tools, Renter said.
|Contact: David Renter|
Kansas State University