Besides being a herd health and biosecurity nightmare, trichomoniasis is costing producers missed dollars across the country. In states like Arkansas, emergency bull testing requirements were passed this summer due to outbreaks. In Colorado, the Board of Animal Health is reminding producers of the importance of testing because of seven trich-positive areas in that state. The list of affected states could go on.
One trichomoniasis-infected animal can spread disease throughout the entire beef herd, with the possibility of reducing a calf crop by as much as 50%. In a 100-head herd, $20,000 or more could be lost. Reasons for economic losses are threefold:
1. There is a smaller calf crop due to early embryonic loss or abortion.
2. Weaning weight is lower because conception is later.
3. Infected cattle must be culled and replaced, thereby losing the herd’s genetic improvement.
If a calf is born 60 days later than the rest of the herd due to late breeding and it gains about 2 pounds per day, the calf will be nearly 120 pounds lighter than the rest of the calf crop. At today’s market price, nearly $150 could be lost for every late calf born in a single season and $800 to $1,200 over the lifetime of the cow.
It is also important to consider herds that operate with a limited breeding season. These herds simply do not have time for cows to recover from trichomoniasis and also get bred. It can take years for these late-calving cows to catch up, if they ever do.
In these two situations, reduced weaning weights and culled cows, the economic loss can be very significant.
There are a variety of ways to prevent or reduce trich, such as culling infected bulls and open cows, using AI, using virgin bulls, maintaining fences and vaccinating against the disease.
For more information on trich management and prevention strategies, click here.