The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released the fourth descriptive report from its Feedlot 2011 study: Part IV: Health and Health Management on U.S. Feedlots with a Capacity of 1,000 or More Head. The report was produced by APHIS’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS).

The NAHMS Feedlot 2011 study took an in-depth look at large U.S. feedlots (1,000 or more head capacity) in 12 states and small feedlots (fewer than 1,000 head capacity) in 13 states. Large feedlots accounted for 82.1 percent of the January 1, 2011, inventory in all U.S. feedlots but only 2.8 percent of all feedlots.  The 12 participating states accounted for over 95 percent of the inventory in large feedlots.   Small feedlots accounted for 16.0 percent of the January 1, 2011, inventory in all U.S. feedlots but 92.9 percent of all feedlots. The 13 States accounted for 85.4 percent of U.S. farms with fewer than 500 cattle on feed and 90.5 percent of the inventory on farms with fewer than 500 cattle on feed (NASS, 2007 Census of Agriculture).

Here are a few highlights from the Feedlot 2011 Part IV report:

  • More than 90 percent of feedlots with a capacity of 1,000 or more head vaccinated at least some cattle against some of the key respiratory pathogens such as bovine viral diarrhea virus and infectious bovine rhinotracheitis virus. More than 90 percent of all cattle placed in these feedlots were vaccinated for these pathogens.
  • For nearly all cattle given clostridial vaccines (97.5 percent), vaccinations were given subcutaneously in the neck region, consistent with Beef Quality Assurance guidelines.
  • The most common illness of cattle placed in feedlots was respiratory disease;16.2 percent of cattle were affected with respiratory disease. Most cattle withrespiratory disease are treated with antibiotics, resulting in 13.4 percent of cattle placed being treated for respiratory disease with an injectable antibiotic.
  • For cattle less than 700 pounds when placed that were subsequently treated for respiratory disease, 81.7 percent responded to a first course of treatment.
  • For 87.0 percent of feedlots, veterinarians “strongly” influenced the selection of injectable antibiotics for the treatment of disease in cattle feedlots, and in another
    12.1 percent of feedlots veterinarians “somewhat” influenced the selection.

For additional information on this topic, contact Lyndsay Cole at (970) 494-7410 or e-mail: