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Angus Productions Inc.
Copyright © 2011
Angus Productions Inc.

Finding Sick Cattle

The following article is one from GrowSafe Systems' Jan. 28 newsletter.

(Jan. 28, 2011) — Finding sick cattle is one of the toughest jobs a cowboy has. In October 2010, we began a GrowSafe Beef™ validation trial in two commercial feedyards. GrowSafe technology installed in these feedyards acquires several biometric and environmental measurements continuously. Supported by a team of epidemiologists, immunologists and veterinary specialists, we have additionally collected samples to characterize the detailed health status of animals, using blood parameters as a gold standard for disease.


Our objective is to determine if real time GrowSafe Beef™ information assists the feedyard health crew in pulling and treating cattle; and what the animal welfare and economic benefit of this is. Some early summary findings follow.


During the first 60 days of this study there were 717 animal health interventions based on feedyard health crew assessment. Based on GrowSafe data alone we would have:

• agreed with the feedyard crew's ‘pull’ assessment 25% of the time;

• not pulled 65% of the cattle pulled by the feedyard as these animals were feeding, drinking and gaining;
• pulled 29 additional animals, which the feedyard crew did not identify.

What all of this means is still up for speculation, but what is obvious is that identifying sick cattle based on visual signs is an incredibly tough task.


For more information, drop by the GrowSafe Booth (#1036) during the Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show in Denver, Colo., Feb. 2-4. The company will have yearling Angus bulls on display provided by McDonnell Angus, Montana. These bulls have been performance- and RFI (residual feed intake)-tested on GrowSafe systems at Midland Bull Test. The bulls that will be on display have a range of 3.6 pounds (lb.) of feed intake per day on test with an average gain difference of only 0.18 lb. Final body weight on test was nearly identical at 975 lb.


Editor’s Note: The above article was provided by GrowSafe Systems as part of its Jan. 28 newsletter. For more information visit the company website at www.growsafe.com.