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Bovine respiratory disease (BRD), also known as "shipping fever," is the most common - and costly - disease of feedlot cattle. Leading university animal scientists to nominate their most recent, cutting-edge BRD research below.
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Vitamin E Advantageous
Supplementing receiving diets with high levels of vitamin E can reduce anti-microbial treatment costs, according to researchers at Oklahoma State University. But, the vitamin E supplements do little to improve ADG and feed conversion, researchers add. (See "Feeder Research" page 6-BF, May 2000 BEEF.)
Researchers fed 694 shipping-stressed calves a common receiving diet of soybean hulls, corn, wheat middlings, cottonseed hulls and a protein supplement containing lasalocid. Feed intake was not restricted and the diet was supplemented with 2000 I.U. of vitamin E for 0, 7, 14 or 28 days.
When animals met specific criteria for morbidity, a regimen of antibiotic drugs was used. Most symptoms occurred within the first seven to 14 days. The percent of calves identified as sick and thus requiring treatment with anti-microbial drugs was 67.8%, 68.3%, 61.8% and 60.3% for 0, 7, 14 and 28 days, respectively.
Medical costs decreased 9.4% and 17.2% for seven and 14 days, respectively. For cattle fed 2000 I.U. of vitamin E for 28 days, anti-microbial treatment costs were reduced by 22.4%. The medical costs (minus the cost of providing 2000 I.U. of vitamin E for 28 days) provided a 38 cents/head savings.
Regardless of dietary treatment, ADG and feed conversion were not improved.
Improved carcass value, which further improves profits, also may be a benefit of vitamin E supplementation, researchers say.
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