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K-State Research Leading to Software to Help Nation's Cattle Producers Identify Biosecurity Risks, Evaluate Impact of Cow-Calf Diseases Online
Date:9/27/2007

MANHATTAN, Kan., Sept. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cattle producers soon will find that the latest tools to keep their herds healthy and the food supply safe are as close at hand as their desktop or laptop computer.

Research at Kansas State University is leading to the creation of software that will help cattle producers on two fronts. Mike Sanderson, associate professor of production medicine at K-State's College of Veterinary Medicine, is involved in research that will help producers maintain secure feedlots, as well as research that will help producers understand the impact of specific diseases.

Sanderson is one of more than 150 K-Staters active in the food safety and animal health arenas. The university has dedicated more than $70 million on related research since 1999.

The feed yard security project is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Kansas Animal Health Department. Sanderson's research involved surveying feed yards across the state, from those with about 1,000 head of cattle to those with more than 125,000 head. The research is leading to the development of software to evaluate biosecurity and biocontainment at feed yards.

The computer program asks producers about their practices, from those that impact biosecurity -- like where they import their cattle -- to questions of biocontainment, such as sanitation and how much contact healthy and sick cattle have with one another. It also looks at physical features like lighting, fencing and what type of access is given to visitors. Sanderson said that when the research is complete, K-State will provide the assessment software to the Kansas Animal Health Department so that producers across the nation can assess their operations.

"It will identify areas of potential weakness," Sanderson said. "Because it's difficult to do something like this and provide complete information, we'll recommend producers consult with a veterinarian about the assessment."<
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