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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Meat Safety & Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #202813

Title: Effects of a single foot rot incident on weight performance of feedlot steers

item DEVIN, T
item Keen, James

Submitted to: Professional Animal Scientist
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/25/2006
Publication Date: 12/1/2006
Citation: Tibbetts, G.K., Devin, T.M., Griffin, D.D., Keen, J.E., Rupp, G.P. 2006. Effects of a single foot rot incident on weight performance of feedlot steers. Professional Animal Scientist. 22:450-453.

Interpretive Summary: Foot rot (necrotic pododermatitis) is a frequent cause of lameness in U.S. cattle that has been generally well studied in dairy cattle. While foot rot is also a common cause of illness in feedlot beef cattle, its effects on feedlot production performance have not been well investigated. In this study, the effects of a single incident of foot rot on feedlot steer body weight gain performance (i.e., average daily gain (ADG) and days on feed (DOF)) was measured among steers which were on feed for at least 200 days and which also had no other diagnosed causes of illness or injury. Foot rot occurrence in 7,100 fall weaned feedlot steers at the US MARC feedlot in Nebraska in the 8-year period from 1993 through 2000 was evaluated. All cattle diagnosed with foot rot were treated with a standard protocol consisting of antibiotic therapy and topical treatment with iodine. Four hundred fifty nine cases of foot rot occurred in these cattle during this time period (6.5% incidence rate), with annual incidence ranging from 0.8 to 13.3%. The ADG for cattle with and without foot rot was 1.30 kg/d and 1.27 kg/d, respectively, a statistically significant difference (P = 0.03). The average DOF for cattle with and without foot rot was 262 days and 267 days, respectively. This 5-day-longer time to reach slaughter weight was also statistically significant (= < 0.0001). In conclusion, this study demonstrated that feedlot steers diagnosed with (and treated for) uncomplicated foot rot gained weight more slowly and required more days to reach harvest body weight and body condition than unaffected steers.

Technical Abstract: Feedlot performance records from the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center feedlot for 1993 through 2000 were analyzed to evaluate the impact of foot rot on adjusted daily gain (ADG) and total days on feed. Records from the original pool of 36,755 bull, steer, and heifer calves were sorted so that only steers that had a single foot rot incidence and no other morbidities were included in the data set (7,100 steers). To roughly pattern these data to industry production practices, time of foot rot insult during feeding was divided into 3 production periods: starting (0 to 60 d), growing (61 to 120 d), and finishing (121 d to harvest). Records were evaluated to determine which limb was more likely to be affected with foot rot. A total of 459 (6.5%) steers were treated for a single food rot incident. The ADG for cattle not affected by foot rot was 1.30 kg. For cattle experiencing a single foot rot incident, the ADG was 1.27 kg (P = 0.03). The production period of foot rot onset impacted both ADG and total days on feed. Steers diagnosed with foot rot during the starting period gained 0.032 kg/d more (P = 0.083) than non-affected steers. Steers diagnosed in the growing and finishing periods gained 0.009 and 0.049 kg/d less than non-affected cattle (P = 0.438 and P < 0.01, respectively). Mean days on feed for the non-affected cattle was 262 d and mean days on feed for foot rot-affected cattle was 267 d (P < 0.01). The impact of foot rot on days on feed for periods 1 through 3 was -9.9 d, +2.2 d, and +14.3 d (P < 0.01, P = 0.26, and P < 0.01, respectively). Foot rot diagnosed in either front limb reduced (P = 0.014) BW gain by 0.031 kg.