Impact of management decisions during the cow-calf, backgrounding, and feedlot phases of beef production on BRD morbidity and mortality risks
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Bovine respiratory disease (BRD) results in economic losses, negatively impacts animal welfare, and significantly decreases the sustainability of beef production. Antimicrobials remain the most consistently effective means of managing BRD. However, because of concerns regarding maintaining the efficacy of important antimicrobials for human use, finding ways to decrease antimicrobial use in food animals is becoming more important. While we know some factors that affect the risk that an animal will get BRD, there are still questions regarding how we could use specific management practices to decrease BRD risk. For example, the timing and frequency of different vaccinations early in life may have an effect on whether or not a calf is likely to get BRD later in life. Similarly, whether a calf is sold directly to the next phase of production or goes through intermediate marketing steps such as an auction market or order buyer could have an affect on BRD risk. While we suspect that vaccination early in life and direct marketing generally decrease BRD risk, data are lacking regarding the magnitude of the impact of these factors when separated from other risk factors; this study is designed to assess this by holding other risk factors constant.Once cattle are placed in the feedlot, there are many other factors such as animal density, cattle flow, and exposure to other animals that may impact BRD risk.This project will look at how different vaccination strategies early in a calf's life and how different marketing decisions made as calves transition to backgrounding or the feedlot affect their risk of getting BRD, of dying from BRD, and their performance...........