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COVID-19 in your community is like a BVD-PI in your pen

It’s interesting to live in a world where a hidden assailant is lurking around waiting for its next victim. Even more interesting is that often enough, people don’t know they have the virus, unknowingly spreading the virus to everyone they come in contact with. This is obvious at the packing houses. Being we are based in southwest Kansas, we have been seeing this at National, Cargill and Tyson.

Maybe now we have a better insight to how BVDV works. That new load of 350 lb steers looks great until day 3. They start getting sick and you can’t seem to throw enough medicine at them. Which one is the problem causer? It’s hard to tell when they are asymptomatic.

One big difference between COVID and BVD-PI’s is with COVID, 50-75% of the time you are showing symptoms of being sick. With BVD-PI animals, you only show symptoms 10-30% of the time.

Imagine this scenario: you have to train for a marathon. You have 60 days to train for it. At the beginning of your training we will throw you in a room full of 100 random people, these 100 people came from a COVID-19 hot spot. Would you want them tested for COVID-19 before you go in there? Will 2-4 weeks of being sick keep you from obtaining your goal of finishing the marathon?

BVDV in stocker/backgrounder settings is exactly the same. Except this marathon is about gaining weight. Do cattle gain weight when they are sick? What are the expenses in medicine for these sick cattle? What if we could proactively test all the animals upon arrival to find the ones that will cause problems?

Great news! You can. You can locate BVD-PI animals upon arrival and remove them from the herd before they ruin the marathon.

Follow us as we explore what COVID and BVD have in common and how we can take what we have learned from COVID and apply it to our beef operations.

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