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Animal Science: Today and Tomorrow

July 29, 2013

Dr. Tom Troxel                                                                     Dr. Michael L. Looper

Arkansas Steer Feedout Program


The feedout program is an opportunity for cow-calf producers to see how their calves fit the needs of the beef industry. The information generated by the program also helps producers determine if they need to change their herd’s genetics or their management practices to be more competitive in the cattle market. Beef cattle producers who want to enroll calves in the Arkansas Steer Feedout Program for 2013-2014 must return their nomination forms by Oct. 18. Enrollment forms are available from your county extension office. The cost is $30 per head.


The feedout program is not a contest to compare breeds or breeder, and it’s not a retained-ownership promotion program. The feedout program provides producers with information about their calves, and it gives them an understanding of the factors that influence value beyond the weaned-calf phase of beef production. The producer will received feedlot average daily gain data and carcass data such as ribeye area, carcass weight, dressing percentage, yield grade, quality grade. The producers will retain ownership of their calves until they are sold on a grade and yield grid. All feeding expenses will be financed through the feedyard.


Producers must send at least five head but can send more if they like. Calves should weigh between 500 and 850 pounds when they arrive at the feedyard. The extension service will coordinate the shipping of the calves, which will be sent to Wheeler Brothers Feedyard near Watonga, Okla., on Nov. 7. Once calves are nominated, a background information form will be provided and must be completed for each calf. Ear tags will be furnished. On arrival at the feedyard, the calves will be identified, weighed and processed.


This is not a retained ownership program. This is an educational program so you can learn more about your cattle and how they perform in the feedlot and how they hang on the rail. For more information, contact your county Cooperative Extension Service.                                                                   


Is the US prepared for a Foot-and-Mouth Disease Outbreak?


Back in April, the National Institute of Animal Agriculture (NIAA) hosted a Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) Symposium titled “Fostering a New Preparedness Paradigm: Facilitating a Conversation among Public and Private Sector Stakeholders.” The symposium brought together FMD experts from government, industry and academia to discuss the latest science, historical lessons and options available to prepare for or respond to an outbreak in the United States.

Here are a few points from their symposium.

  • FMD can be transmitted by direct contact between infected and susceptible animals; indirect transmission via contact between susceptible animals and contaminated products or inanimate objects including hands, clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles; via swill feeding of pigs and milk feeding of calves; via windborne spread; and via artificial breeding.
  • Extremely small doses of virus can initiate infection.
  • Cattle are good indicator hosts as they are extremely sensitive to infection by the respiratory route and typically develop severe, classical clinical signs of infection. Sheep are maintenance hosts as infection with some virus strains can spread through flocks with little overt sign of disease
  • Excretion of the FMD virus can begin up to four days before clinical disease becomes apparent.
  • While the FMD virus can be killed with heat, low humidity or some disinfectants, the FMD virus can retain infectivity in the environment for 14 days in dry fecal material, six months in slurry in winter, 39 days in urine, 28 days on the surface of soil in autumn and three days on the surface of soil in summer. Time, extreme temperatures and pH outside the range of 6 to 9 will kill the virus.
  • The last case of FMD in the United States occurred in 1929 while the last case of FMD in Canada was in 1952 and the last case of FMD in Mexico was in 1954. However, FMD is widespread around the world, and is considered endemic in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and some South American countries.
  • Numerous outbreaks of FMD have occurred in countries that were previously FMD free. Some of the most notable include Taiwan, 1997; Japan, 2010; Korea, 2000 and 2002; South Korea, 2010-11; Uruguay, 2001; Paraguay, 2011; Argentina, 2000, 2001 and 2006; and United Kingdom, 2001 and 2007.
  • If the FMD virus was introduced into large feedyards in the 14-county region of southwest Kansas, 1.2 million cattle would have to be destroyed or 987.2 million pounds of beef would be lost to consumers. The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute model estimates total losses of revenue over 10 years to be $57 billion, pork; $71 billion, beef; $1 billion, poultry; $44 billion, corn; $25 billion, soybeans; and $1.8 billion, wheat. Estimated revenue losses to pork and beef industries alone were pinpointed at $12.9 billion per year, which equates to a loss of 58,000 full-time jobs
  • A California study modeled the epidemic and economic impacts of delayed detection of FMD in a dairy herd with more than 2,000 cows, with disease spread limited to California. Employing several scenarios—number of quarantined herds from 680 to 6,200 and animals depopulated from 8,700 to 260,400, the median economic impact of an FMD outbreak in California was estimated to result in national indirect economic losses to agriculture of $2.3 billion to $69.0 billion as detection delay increased from 7 to 22 days. Assuming a detection delay of 21 days, it was estimated that, for every additional hour of delay, the impact would be an additional approximately 2,000 animals slaughtered and an additional economic loss of $565 million.
  • An FMD response to any size of outbreak in the United States has three goals: 1) to detect, control and contain FMD in animals as quickly as possible; 2) to eradicate FMD using strategies that seek to stabilize animal agriculture, the food supply and the economy and protect public health; and 3) to provide science- and risk-based approaches and systems to facilitate continuity of business for non-infected animals and non-contaminated animal products.
  • FMD vaccine is controlled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, with no pre-emptive vaccination allowed at this time.
  • To be effective, FMD vaccines must closely match the serotype and strain of the infecting strain, and there are seven serotypes of FMD virus. Vaccination with one serotype does not protect the animal against other serotypes, and may not protect the animal completely or at all from other strains of the same serotype. Currently, there is no universal FMD vaccine.
One Comment leave one →
  1. July 30, 2013 7:05 am

    Very happy to see your article, I very much to like and agree with your point of view. Thank you for sharing.

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