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Kansas State University


Beef Research News
Brought to you by Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine - Farm Animal Section
October 2006






KSU at American Association of Bovine Practitioners Convention
Kansas State University students from the College of Veterinary Medicine presented papers and garnered awards at the 39th Annual Conference of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners convention in Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 19 through Sept. 23.

Robert Rust, fourth year veterinary student, was awarded one of the top three research presentations at the national convention. Rust's presentation was part of the competition of case studies among veterinary students nationwide. The paper was part of the graduate thesis category of research studies. In order for the presentation to be considered for the award, the abstract must first be accepted and then the graduate students from across the country present their research.
The topic of Rust's paper was "Effects of Castration Method and Lidocaine on Health and Performance of Feedlot Cattle."

Elliot Stevens, doctorate student in clinical science and third year veterinary student, was selected as one of the top ten finalists in the case study competition among veterinary students across the country for his presentation "Short Term Effects of Exposure to BVD Virus on Health and Performance of Feedlot Cattle." Stevens also presented his poster at the convention.

Becky Funk, fourth year veterinary student from Wamego, was awarded one of the three graduate assistance-ships given out by the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. Only three applicants from applications from twenty veterinary schools nationwide are selected.

Funk's research proposal was "Sensitivity of Pooled Antigen Capture ELISA Testing for Bovine Viral Diarrhea and Economic Impact of Herd-wide Testing."

Other K-State students also presented papers. Brian Lubbers, graduate student in pathology, Anita, Iowa, presented his paper titled "Papillomatous Digital Dermatitis in a Feedyard." Aric Brandt, graduate student in clinical science, Plymouth, Neb., presented his paper "Feedyard Managers and Veterinary Response Delphi Feedyard."

Keith Dedonder, third year veterinary student from Reading, and Matt Bartlett, third year veterinary student from Salina, were named Amstutz Scholars and received $2,500 scholarships. The scholarship competition is open to all second year veterinary students in the nation. Applicants are evaluated for involvement in bovine medicine and bovine related extra-curricular activities. Dedonder and Bartlett were two of only 20 applicants selected from an average of 3,000 potential winners.

It was a big day for K-State. There was a lot of purple pride in Minneapolis," said Dr. Dan Thomson "We are proud of the kids. They're hard work is definitely paying off."


USDA Releases 2005 U.S. Animal Health Report

FORT COLLINS, Colo, Oct. 10, 2006--The U.S. Department of Agriculture today released the 2005 U.S. Animal Health Report, a national overview of domestic animal health in the United States.

The report addresses the many components of the U.S. animal health infrastructure, animal population demographics, approaches to foreign animal disease surveillance, and new initiatives. As an annual publication, the U.S. Animal Health Report is updated and refined each year. It provides a valuable method to communicate with stakeholders and the public about the status of animal health in the United States.

Animal health initiatives highlighted in the 2005 U.S. Animal Health Report include:

  • The national aquatic animal health plan (NAAHP), developed in cooperation with industry, state and local governments. NAAHP’s purpose is to foster and support effective and efficient aquaculture, protect the health of wild and cultured aquatic resources in the United States, and meet national and international trade obligations.

  • The revisions to the national veterinary accreditation program. This program emphasizes the lifetime education of accredited veterinarians through training modules that provide the latest information on the transmission, recognition and reporting of exotic diseases and emerging diseases and updates on program policy and procedures.

The 2005 U.S. Animal Health Report is available on the APHIS Web site at .


Is a preconditioning program justifiable?

Research published in The Professional Animal Scientist analyzed the associated premiums for producers and added value to feedlots of a 45 day post-weaning preconditioning program. The researchers found that there is in fact a premium paid for preconditioned calves. Based on the data used in the study preconditioned calves sold in the fall have premiums of $0.099 to $0.110/kg than that of comparable non-preconditioned calves. Not surprisingly calves sold in the fall had higher premiums than those sold in the winter due to the fact that fall calves are freshly weaned and those sold in the winter had likely been backgrounded. With this, it was found that a preconditioning program returns a cow-calf producer about $14 more per head compared with selling there calves at weaning based on a premium of $0.099/kg and taking into consideration seasonal and body weight price adjustments and total costs of approximately $60/head. There is also value created for the feedlot when purchasing preconditioned calves. Dhuyvetter et al. estimate that the economic value of purchasing preconditioned calves ranges from $40 to $60 per head. The researchers feel based on this study and the evaluation of previous research that as the risk of purchasing preconditioned calves continues to decrease, the premiums paid by feeders will inch closer to their full economic value.

Dhuyvetter, K.C., A.M. Bryant, and D.A. Blasi. Case Study: Preconditioning Beef Calves: Are Expected Premiums Sufficient to Justify the Practice? The Professional Animal Scientist 2005 21: 502-514


Factors affecting carcass characteristics of feedlot steers
Researchers performed a meta-analysis on data from 43 publications from 1982 to 2004 to evaluate effects of biological type (early or late maturity) and implant status on carcass characteristics. Harvest traits examined were hot carcass weight (HCW), LM area, 12th rib fat thickness, KPH, and intramuscular fat (%) at harvest. Two projects were described: 1) using fat thickness as a covariate and 2) using body weight as a covariate. Differences in maturity (early-moderate and late maturity) confirmed that frame size accounts for a substantial portion of carcass composition. The research also confirms that implant status had significant effects on carcass quality.

McPhee, M.J., J.W. Oltjen, T.R. Famula and R.D. Sainz Meta-analysis of factors affecting carcass characteristics of feedlot steers. J Anim Sci 2006 84: 3143-3154.


Beef Heifer Estrus Synchronization and Artificial Insemination
Recent research compared pregnancy rates based from fixed-time AI (TAI), heat detection, or estrus detection and clean up bulls. The work also evaluated the addition of GnRH at controlled internal drug release (CIDR) insertion in synchronization protocols. Estrus was synchronized in 2,075 replacement beef heifers in 12 locations using a base synchronization protocol for all animals of a CIDR for 7 days plus prostaglandin F2α at CIDR removal. Animals were allocated to four treatments: 1) ETAI: estrus detection and timed AI, 2) G+ETAI: estrus detection + timed AI including a GnRH at CIDR insertion, 3) FTAI: fixed time AI, and 4) G+FTAI: fixed time AI including a GnRH at CIDR insertion. At the initiation of treatment 89% of the heifers were cycling. Pregnancy rates were similar among all treatment groups, yet tended (p=0.065) to be greater in the G+ETAI (57.5%) than the FTAI (49.3%) group. The GnRH protocols yielded similar pregnancy rates to treatments which included estrus detection. Strategies employed offer the ability to optimize pregnancy rates in relatively short duration (<10d) and limit the handling frequency when combined with timed artificial insemination.

Lamb, G.C., J.E. Larson, et al. Synchronization of estrus and artificial insemination in replacement beef heifers using gonadotropin-releasing hormone, prostaglandin F2α, and progesterone. J Anim Sci 2006 84: 3000-3009.


KSU Veterinary Career Opportunities Workshop in November
Looking for a new associate? Kansas State University is hosting a Veterinary Career Opportunities Workshop in Manhattan, KS on November 3-4, 2006. The purpose of the event is to help practitioners who are looking to find an associate identify the right person for their practice. The meeting is much more than a job fair; structured events will help practitioners make the most of their time. Friday will include formal continuing education and work on creating a job description and hiring plan. Friday evening and Saturday, practitioners will interact with multiple students who are looking for jobs and externships. This is a great chance to meet and interview a relatively large pool of potential employees in an efficient manner.

Practitioners will leave the conference with:

  • A professional job description created specifically for your practice with help from experts in the field.

  • A hiring plan to find the person who will be most beneficial to the practice.

  • A contact list of future associates and the opportunity to meet and interact with many of these students.

  • 10 hours of continuing education credit.

There are still slots available and we are looking for practitioners seeking to add an associate in the next few years. Even if you are not looking to hire next spring, research suggests that starting early is one of the best ways to ensuring finding the right person for the practice. The event is open to all practitioners, but the focus will be on opportunities in mixed animal practices. A complete schedule and list of events can be found on the web at:

To register, please complete the online form and email or fax to Division of Continuing Education by October 17, 2006. Please contact Erin Thomas (785-532-4281, ) with any questions.

Beef Research News is produced by the Farm Animal section at Kansas State University. To modify your subscription to this service please email Erin Thomas (

For more information please contact:
Brad White
Beef Production Medicine
Q211 Mosier Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506