Immune test in the works to fight bovine respiratory disease

Research: News Roundup from the April 2019 issue of Canadian Cattlemen

Several cattle industry organizations are collaborating on a project that could help fight bovine respiratory disease, Farmtario reports.

The high-immune test for Angus cattle will identify genetics that are better able to fight the disease. Semex, Angus Genetics Inc., the Canadian Angus Association and the University of Guelph are working together on the project. Genome Canada’s Genomic Application Partnership Program kicked in $500,000 for the project in early February.

Dr. Bonnie Mallard of the University of Guelph says the project will provide three major benefits.

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“The first is to the animal, because healthier animals are better off all the way around,” says Mallard. “The second is to the producer. They save time and money because they don’t have to spend time treating sick animals with antibiotics or other therapeutics as much as they would under normal circumstances.”

The project will also reassure consumers that their steak came from “naturally healthy animals,” Mallard adds.

Mallard and Semex have already created a tool, Immunity +, that identifies disease-fighting genetics in Holsteins. By developing a similar tool for Angus cattle, they hope to reduce the approximately $1 billion bovine respiratory disease costs the industry each year.

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