USDA mines beef feedlots for data on health practices, antimicrobial uses
FORT COLLINS, COLO. — The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) collected data from selected beef feedlots throughout August in an effort to identify animal-health management practices and antimicrobial-use patterns.
This year's effort will allow veterinarians to compare data from a 1999 NAHMS Feedlot study to determine trends and common management practices. The 1999 report demonstrated that a veterinarian's recommendation and a producer's personal experience were the biggest influencers for the selection of injectable antimicrobial drugs. More than 70 percent of feedlots surveyed then had formal training programs on antimicrobial drug use, and more than 80 percent of feedlots used antimicrobials in feed for some animals. While more than 40 percent of feedlots in 1999 reported using mass antimicrobial treatment for some of their cattle, only 10 percent of all cattle were treated metaphylactically, the study says.
The report also included data on pre-arrival processing procedures and management practices for quality assurance.USDA says beef producers and allied industry groups have requested the new survey to better understand how these practices have changed over this 12-year period. As part of the effort this summer, USDA officials surveyed large feedlots (with 1,000 or more cattle) in 12 states through on-site visits. Small feedlots (with less than 1,000 head of cattle) in 13 states were surveyed by telephone. Participation was voluntary.
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will conduct Phase 2 of the project from October to December this year.