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Objective—To determine whether beef herds could increase profitability by reducing production cost per 100 lb (hundredweight [CWT]; ie, 45.4 kg) of calf through implementation of advice from teams of veterinarians and county extension agents supported by university specialists.

Design—Longitudinal study.

Sample Population—6 commercial cow-calf herds comprising 1,927 cows.

Procedure—Teams of veterinarians and county extension agents provided advice on 25 profitable ranch management practices to herd owners for 3 years. Use of each practice in herds was measured on a scale of 1 to 5 for baseline year 1999. Similar measurements were made at the end of each year for comparison with baseline values. Outcomes were measured by standardized performance analysis.

Results—Mean weaning weight of calves per exposed cow of the 6 herds increased significantly from 1999 (2000, 26.8 kg [59 lb; 17%]; 2001, 49.1 kg [108 lb; 31%]; and 2002, 43.2 kg [95 lb; 27%]). Mean cost per CWT of calf decreased significantly from the 1999 value (2000, −$20.04 [−18%]; 2001, −$33.40 [−29%]; and 2002, −$22.52 [−20%]). Additional profits for the 6 herds were $54,407 in 2000, $135,695 in 2001, and $116,089 in 2002 (3-year total of $306,191). Mean increase in management score of herds was positively correlated with increase in net income and accounted for > 60% of increased profits.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Profitability of beef cow-calf operations can be substantially increased through a team approach by identifying opportunities for improvements in management and helping ranch managers implement profitable practices. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;225:210–220)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To compare economic outcome for herds not exposed to Neospora caninum with that for herds with various seroprevalences of N caninum infection and evaluate 3 control strategies.

Design—Economic simulation model.

Sample Population—Beef herds with various seroprevalences of N caninum infection.

Procedure—A 5-year simulation model was used. Control strategies that were evaluated included culling females that fail to calve, selling seropositive females and purchasing seronegative replacements, and excluding the daughters of seropositive dams as potential replacements.

Results—For a 5-year period with low prices for feeder calves, endemic N caninum infection decreased mean return to fixed assets by 22.2% when true seroprevalence was 10% and by 29.9% when true seroprevalence was 70%. Percentage decrease in return to fixed assets was less dramatic when a 5-year period with high prices for feeder calves was evaluated. Analysis indicated that 2 control strategies (culling females that fail to give birth to a calf and selling seropositive female cattle and purchasing seronegative replacement female cattle) were not likely to be economically beneficial. The third control strategy (testing the entire herd for N caninum infection and excluding the female offspring of seropositive dams as replacements) appeared to be a reasonable control strategy.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—For the assumptions in the model, endemic N caninum infection decreases return to fixed assets for cow-calf herds. Of the potential control strategies evaluated, testing the entire herd for N caninum infection and excluding the daughters of seropositive dams as potential replacements provided the best economic return. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2004;224:1597–1604)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To evaluate the epidemiologic efficacy and economic efficiency of current and potential future control programs for paratuberculosis (Johne's disease) on midsize dairy herds in the United States.

Design—Stochastic dynamic computer simulation model.

Sample Population—Data on prices and other input variables collected from various sources were used to represent a population of midsize US dairy herds infected with paratuberculosis.

Procedure—The simulation model was modified to reflect management and production characteristics of midsize dairy herds in the United States. The model was validated by use of field data and expert opinion. Various control strategies then were simulated and compared on an epidemiologic basis and on the basis of economic efficiency.

Results—Test-and-cull strategies and vaccination against paratuberculosis were not able to decrease the mean prevalence of disease in the United States. Typically, only vaccination was economically attractive. Improved management strategies decreased the prevalence of paratuberculosis considerably and had high economic benefits.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Analysis of results of this study suggests that test-and-cull strategies alone do not reduce the prevalence of paratuberculosis in cattle and are costly for producers to pursue. Vaccination did not reduce the prevalence but was economically attractive. Finally, improved calf-hygiene strategies were found to be critically important in every paratuberculosis control program and most were economically attractive programs for midsize US dairy farms with the disease. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2003;223:1757–1763)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association


Objective—To estimate potential revenue impacts of an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the United States similar to the outbreak in the United Kingdom during 2001.

Design—Economic analysis successively incorporating quarantine and slaughter of animals, an export ban, and consumer fears about the disease were used to determine the combined impact.

Sample Population—Secondary data for cattle, swine, lambs, poultry, and products of these animals.

Procedure—Data for 1999 were used to calibrate a model for the US agricultural sector. Removal of animals, similar to that observed in the United Kingdom, was introduced, along with a ban on exportation of livestock, red meat, and dairy products and a reduction and shift in consumption of red meat in the United States.

Results—The largest impacts on farm income of an FMD outbreak were from the loss of export markets and reductions in domestic demand arising from consumer fears, not from removal of infected animals. These elements could cause an estimated decrease of $14 billion (9.5%) in US farm income. Losses in gross revenue for each sector were estimated to be the following: live swine, –34%; pork, –24%; live cattle –17%; beef, –20%; milk, –16%; live lambs and sheep, –14%; lamb and sheep meat, –10%; forage, –15%; and soybean meal, –7%.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Procedures to contain an outbreak of FMD to specific regions and allow maintenance of FMD-free exports and efforts to educate consumers about health risks are critical to mitigating adverse economic impacts of an FMD outbreak. (J Am Vet Med Assoc 2002;220:988–992)

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association