Feedlot trial shows 87% reduction in antibiotic use on arrival
In a recent feedlot trial conducted by Advanced Animal Diagnostics (AAD), the use of a new chute-side blood test (QScout® BLD) demonstrated that a feedyard in Nebraska could reduce antibiotic use 87% by selectively treating animals compared to metaphylaxis, or mass treatment with antibiotics. The QScout BLD test, which diagnoses animals with abnormal immune statuses before visual symptoms occur, could help cattle feeders save $148,000 – $218,000 in arrival antibiotic costs per 10,000 head at $17 – $25 per treatment. In addition to substantial savings on treatment costs, this test also enables cattle feeders to demonstrate more precise use of antibiotics, which is of growing importance given consumer pressure to reduce use due to increasing fears of antibiotic resistant organisms.
The trial, which was conducted on moderate risk sale barn cattle, found no difference in hot carcass weight or yield grade between the trial group that received metaphylaxis versus the group that was selectively treated based on QScout BLD test results. This demonstrates that cattle flagged as normal by QScout® BLD showed the same weight and quality performance at harvest regardless of whether or not they were treated with antibiotics. In addition, steers diagnosed as abnormal by QScout BLD and treated saw an increase in carcass weight of 24 pounds per head – which translated to an additional value of $45 at the market price – compared to abnormal steers that were left untreated. Abnormal steers that were treated were also more likely to be graded Choice+ compared to abnormal steers that were not treated. Trial results demonstrate that this test has the potential to eliminate the need for blanket treatment of entire groups of cattle without sacrificing production or quality.
“As a beef producer myself, I see the need to increase profitability and protect access to tools like antibiotics by demonstrating we use them precisely only on animals that truly need them. We designed QScout BLD to do both,” said Joy Parr Drach, AAD president and CEO.
For cattle feeders that participate in natural or organic programs, QScout BLD can be used as a sorting tool to determine which animals should be enrolled in those programs. While premiums are high on natural and organic beef, the cost of an animal falling out of the program can be substantial. QScout® BLD could help cattle feeders reduce program fall outs by diagnosing and segregating animals that are subclinically infected or likely to become sick so they don’t transmit disease.
A rapid, chute-side test, QScout BLD uses a single drop of blood collected from the calf during processing using AAD’s QDraw™ collection and transfer device. The blood sample is then transferred to a single-use QScout BLD test and inserted into AAD’s QScout® Cattle Lab, a portable lab-in-a-box diagnostic platform, which is located near the cattle chute. In seconds, the QScout Cattle Lab decodes the calf’s immune response by identifying and differentiating white blood cells that are the first responders to infection, telling the user if the animal is healthy or needs intervention. Test results are automatically transferred to AAD’s QStats™ online database, which documents an electronic record of each animal’s diagnosis along with key performance metrics.
– Advanced Animal Diagnostics
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A pasture or lot with plenty of grass or bedding and windbreak is important when calving in the cold.