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Population-level analysis of antibiotic use and death rates in beef feedlots over ten years in three cattle-feeding regions of the United States

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  • 1 From Elanco Animal Health, Greenfield, IN 46140.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess antibiotic use and other factors associated with death rates in beef feedlots in 3 regions of the US over a 10-year period.

SAMPLE

Data for 186,297 lots (groups) of finished cattle marketed between 2010 and 2019 were obtained from a database representing feedlots in the central, high, and north plains of the US.

PROCEDURES

Descriptive statistics were generated. Generalized linear mixed models were used to estimate lot death rates for each region, sex (steer or heifer), and cattle origin (Mexico or the US) combination. Death rate was calculated as the (number of deaths/number of cattle placed in the lot) × 100. Lot antibiotic use (TotalActiveMG/KGOut) was calculated as the total milligrams of active antibiotics assigned to the lot per live weight (in kilograms) of cattle marketed from the lot. Rate ratios were calculated to evaluate the respective associations between lot death rate and characteristics of cattle and antibiotic use.

RESULTS

Mean death rate increased during the 10-year period, peaking in 2018. Mean number of days on feed also increased over time. Mean TotalActiveMG/KGOut was greatest in 2014 and 2015, lowest in 2017, and moderated in 2018 and 2019. Death rate was positively associated with the number of days on feed and had a nonlinear association with TotalActiveMG/KGOut. Feeding medicated feed articles mitigated death rate.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested a balance between disease prevention and control in feedlots for cattle with various risk profiles. Additional data sources are needed to assess TotalActiveMG/KGOut across the cattle lifetime.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To assess antibiotic use and other factors associated with death rates in beef feedlots in 3 regions of the US over a 10-year period.

SAMPLE

Data for 186,297 lots (groups) of finished cattle marketed between 2010 and 2019 were obtained from a database representing feedlots in the central, high, and north plains of the US.

PROCEDURES

Descriptive statistics were generated. Generalized linear mixed models were used to estimate lot death rates for each region, sex (steer or heifer), and cattle origin (Mexico or the US) combination. Death rate was calculated as the (number of deaths/number of cattle placed in the lot) × 100. Lot antibiotic use (TotalActiveMG/KGOut) was calculated as the total milligrams of active antibiotics assigned to the lot per live weight (in kilograms) of cattle marketed from the lot. Rate ratios were calculated to evaluate the respective associations between lot death rate and characteristics of cattle and antibiotic use.

RESULTS

Mean death rate increased during the 10-year period, peaking in 2018. Mean number of days on feed also increased over time. Mean TotalActiveMG/KGOut was greatest in 2014 and 2015, lowest in 2017, and moderated in 2018 and 2019. Death rate was positively associated with the number of days on feed and had a nonlinear association with TotalActiveMG/KGOut. Feeding medicated feed articles mitigated death rate.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Results suggested a balance between disease prevention and control in feedlots for cattle with various risk profiles. Additional data sources are needed to assess TotalActiveMG/KGOut across the cattle lifetime.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Rutten-Ramos (stephanie.rutten_ramos@elancoah.com).