Baby calf quarantine rule repealed in S.D. |

Baby calf quarantine rule repealed in S.D.

The South Dakota Animal Industry board repealed a 40 year old law requiring quarantine of baby calves entering that state without their mothers. Staff photo

The South Dakota Animal Industry Board, at their July 15 meeting, voted to repeal an almost 40-year-old rule affecting the transport of baby calves.

The rule had required that baby calves (less than 60 days or less than 200 pounds) entering the state without a dam be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection, and that the calves must be delivered direct to the point of destination where they would be quarantined for a period of 60 days said state veterinarian Dr. Dustin Oedekoven. The calves could not be resold during this 60 day quarantine period, and would be released from quarantine after an AIB inspector determined the calf was free of signs of disease.

According to Dr. Oekekoven, the rule was an impediment to certain activities that have evolved as standard industry practices. "For example, this past spring baby calves were in high demand at some South Dakota auction markets as evidenced by some remarkable prices. These types of calves are typically going to a ranch where they will remain longer than 60 days, but per the rule they would not be eligible to come through a market," he said.

Another example is the dairy industry in eastern South Dakota and adjoining states where days-old calves are moved to calf ranches and may then be resold to heifer development or feeding operations in short succession. "In some cases the 60 day quarantine was limiting the ability for healthy calves to be moved in an industry-timely fashion," he said. A third example is rodeo calves that are brought in at an early age and then are disbursed to multiple locations within the state for various events. Most of these calves exceed 60 days or 200 pounds by the time they are used in the event, but staging those calves at various locations has in some cases been a challenge with this rule, he explained.

One letter of opposition was received during the rules hearing, Dr. Oedekoven said.

He expects the effect on South Dakota ranchers and farmers to be minimal. "For most South Dakota beef producers, this rule has not had an effect on their operation and I don't anticipate that the repeal will have a noticeable effect either. Auction markets will now be able to legally sell baby calves from out of state, and dairy producers that have calf ranches in South Dakota will have earlier options to move calves among various production locations, as has become standard."

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Most importantly, animal health and welfare remains a priority, and producers are encouraged to talk with their local veterinarian for best management practices regarding rearing of baby calves as well as the risks that introduction of baby calves may have on their herd health, whether those calves come from South Dakota or elsewhere, Dr. Oedoekoven said. Calves from out of state must continue to be accompanied by a certificate of veterinary inspection – this is covered in state law as well as federal rule. Imported dairy calves must be officially identified, but beef calves are exempt from this requirement in most cases. Calves entering a state-licensed livestock auction market are inspected by the inspecting veterinarian at the sale, he explained.

According to the AP, The board also repealed an April 2013 rule requiring brucellosis testing on cows from Idaho older than 18 months

No additional rule changes are being sought, said Dr. Oedekoven. "However, the legislature has granted the Board authority to promulgate or repeal rules regarding animal health. The decision to adopt or repeal a rule is done so with the input of the livestock industries and with their best interests in mind," he said.