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2018-138 Managing calves before arrival at the feedlot to reduce infectious disease, antimicrobial use & resistance: What is it worth & An Interactive Tool to Inform Johne’s Disease Control in Beef Herds: What Test, When and How Often

Researcher: Cheryl Waldner

Funding: $4,888

Dynamic computer models can assess a number of different management practices, and have been used to determine best practices to achieve water quality, medical practices, and oil and gas refineries. The purchase of the dynamic modelling computer allows researchers to assess different management practices on cow-calf farms, and their impacts on treatment rates for disease, antibiotic use, resistance, and costs of production for the feedlots. It will also be used to further investigate best practices surrounding Johne’s disease.


Johne's disease is increasing as the beef industry consolidates. The disease reduces weaning After a farm tests positive for Johne's once, it is more likely to test positive again as it is difficult to eradicate.
In this project, Dr. Cheryl Waldner and her team created a calculator to compare potential benefits of different testing options for Johne's Disease in cow-calf herds, which can be found here:

The calculator was developed using a simulation model based on 3,171 blood and fecal samples from 159 Canadian cow-calf herds. These samples were subjected to different types of tests, which can result in conflicting results with some false negative results. This team found that a serum ELISA test can be effective for herd screening, while PCR tests were more appropriate for individual animal testing. As PCR testing is expensive, pooling the samples for could be more applicable for a cow-calf operation.

The calculator helps producers and veterinarians compare the relative costs and benefits of different disease management options, under a range of different herd management scenarios, so that they can navigate a very complex problem over a ten-year time horizon.

For more information, please visit the following sites: BCRC:

Alberta Beef Producers: chrome-extension://bdfcnmeidppjeaggnmidamkiddifkdib/viewer.html?file= content/IYOdQpTIqmNrC2yP2LsYQ6sQmMIE4GXnQw8ZMctg.pdf

Canadian Cattlemen's Magazine:

Real Agriculture:

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