A recent study looking at corn processing may prove useful to beef producers as they work to reduce E. coli O157:H7. By feeding a diet with a less-processed corn source (i.e., dry-rolled corn, whole corn, etc.), the study suggests that the cattle digestive tract may be altered in a way that will make it more difficult for the pathogen to survive in individual animals, thereby reducing overall E. coli prevalence in the herd.

However, it should also be noted that a recent University of Minnesota study found no correlation between E. coli and the type of corn processing. These contrasting research results suggest that there are situations where environmental factors may have a greater impact on E. coli prevalence than the type of processed corn used.

“With the ever-increasing concern that beef may become contaminated with E. coli during cattle harvest, it behooves producers to contribute to reducing the prevalence of it in cattle. This has led to a great deal of investigation into what causes an increase or decrease in E. coli prevalence. Diet, environment and production practices have all been considered and examined for their effect on the prevalence in the herd. And the result of all the research was the discovery that the type of method used to process corn may have an effect on E. coli prevalence in the herd. It has been found in a host of studies that there is a distinct link between corn processing method and E. coli prevalence in a beef cattle herd.”

To read more about the study, link here.