The density of a population determines how quickly a pathogen will spread between hosts. We noticed this with COVID-19, New York City had a lot higher infection rate than Friona, TX.
The same goes for cattle operations. Viruses, like BVD, will spread more quickly in a stocker/backgrounder operation than they would a ranch. This isn’t to say that a rancher shouldn’t blow off bio-security measures, they are the most critical point in the industry when it comes to BVD.
We see the greatest impact of BVD in the stocker/backgrounder setting. This is due to naive calves, co-mingling, stress and population density. While this is where the impact is the greatest, it all starts at the cow/calf level. BVD-PI animals are produced during pregnancy. At the cow/calf level you will see increased open cows, increased abortions, decreased weaning weights – most of the time so subtle you don’t think it could be a virus, just a bad year.
Follow us as we explore what COVID-19 and BVDV have in common and how we can take what we have learned from COVID-19 and apply it to our cattle operations.