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Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the costliest cause of morbidity and mortality in the beef finishing industry (Duff and Galyean, 2007). Respiratory disease in the feedlot is responsible for 75% of all morbidity and 50 to 70% of all finishing mortality (Galyean et al., 1999; Loneragan et al., 2001). Reducing BRD morbidity is a critical initial step in reducing animal suffering, death loss, carcass defects, and antibiotic use (Smith, 2010). Estimates by the USDA APHIS NAHMS Feedlot survey (USDA, 2013) indicate that 16% of cattle in feedlots with greater than 1,000 head capacity are affected by BRD, costing $23.60 per case.

Estimates from the early 2000’s show that BRD costs the beef industry $800 to 900 million dollars from death loss, reduced feed efficiency, and treatment costs (Chirase and Greene, 2001), but recent research shows that losses in productivity and reduced carcass quality could drives these estimates much higher. Recent research (Brooks et al., 2011; Wilson et al., 2017) found that as the number of BRD increased days on feed and cost of gain increased, while average daily gain, hot carcass weight, marbling score, and carcass quality grade decreased. Wilson et al. (2017) found that when cattle were treated for BRD once, twice, or three or more times, net returns were decreased by $38, $167, and $230/ calf, respectively. Brooks et al. (2011) reported increases in net returns when heifers were treated once for BRD, indicating value in finding and treating BRD in a timely fashion. Despite advances in vaccine and antibiotic technology, BRD remains a major concern (Ives and Richeson, 2015).

Blakebrough-Hall et al. (2020) used expanded criteria for diagnosing BRD to ascertain the impacts of clinical and subclinical BRD on performance, carcass quality, and net returns. In this analysis of 898 steers in an Australian feedlot, the number of BRD treatments and animal received, the clinical BRD status, severity of lung lesions, and pleural lesion severity were used to diagnose BRD and determine impacts on performance, carcass quality, and economic net returns. Clinical BRD reduced net returns by $214/steer, while steers treated 3 or more times for BRD had $385/steer reduced returns. Steers with severe lung lesions or severe pleural lesions reduced net returns by $91 and $137/steer, respectively. Steers with subclinical BRD had reduced net return of $67/steer. These results indicate the cost of BRD and the cost of undiagnosed BRD, showing the need for improved detection methods and BRD treatment protocols.

Preview: Economic Effects of Bovine Respiratory Disease

Credit: Journal of Animal Science, Volume 98, Issue 2, February 2020, skaa042, doi.org/10.1093/jas/skaa042

Digital Credit:

Publisher: American Society of Animal Science

Rights: Name must appear as a credit whenever the image is used - Journal of Animal Science, Volume 98, Issue 2, February 2020, skaa042, https://doi.org/10.1093/jas/skaa042

Description: Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) is the costliest cause of morbidity and mortality in the beef finishing industry (Duff and Galyean, 2007). Respiratory disease in the feedlot is responsible for 75% of all morbidity and 50 to 70% of all finishing mortality (Galyean et al., 1999; Loneragan et al., 2001). Reducing BRD morbidity is a critical initial step in reducing animal suffering, death loss, carcass defects, and antibiotic use (Smith, 2010). Estimates by the USDA APHIS NAHMS Feedlot survey (USDA, 2013) indicate that 16% of cattle in feedlots with greater than 1,000 head capacity are affected by BRD, costing $23.60 per case. Estimates from the early 2000’s show that BRD costs the beef industry $800 to 900 million dollars from death loss, reduced feed efficiency, and treatment costs (Chirase and Greene, 2001), but recent research shows that losses in productivity and reduced carcass quality could drives these estimates much higher. Recent research (Brooks et al., 2011; Wilson et al., 2017) found that as the number of BRD increased days on feed and cost of gain increased, while average daily gain, hot carcass weight, marbling score, and carcass quality grade decreased. Wilson et al. (2017) found that when cattle were treated for BRD once, twice, or three or more times, net returns were decreased by $38, $167, and $230/ calf, respectively. Brooks et al. (2011) reported increases in net returns when heifers were treated once for BRD, indicating value in finding and treating BRD in a timely fashion. Despite advances in vaccine and antibiotic technology, BRD remains a major concern (Ives and Richeson, 2015). Blakebrough-Hall et al. (2020) used expanded criteria for diagnosing BRD to ascertain the impacts of clinical and subclinical BRD on performance, carcass quality, and net returns. In this analysis of 898 steers in an Australian feedlot, the number of BRD treatments and animal received, the clinical BRD status, severity of lung lesions, and pleural lesion severity were used to diagnose BRD and determine impacts on performance, carcass quality, and economic net returns. Clinical BRD reduced net returns by $214/steer, while steers treated 3 or more times for BRD had $385/steer reduced returns. Steers with severe lung lesions or severe pleural lesions reduced net returns by $91 and $137/steer, respectively. Steers with subclinical BRD had reduced net return of $67/steer. These results indicate the cost of BRD and the cost of undiagnosed BRD, showing the need for improved detection methods and BRD treatment protocols.

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