ICASA awards two grants to improve antibiotic use in cattle

Maintaining the effectiveness of antibiotics is a complex issue that affects both human and animal health. The International Consortium for the Management of Antimicrobials in Agriculture (ICASA) awards a grant of $ 191,800 to Kansas State University and a grant of $ 200,000 to Texas University of Technology develop management strategies that improve the judicious use of antibiotics in beef cattle.

Infectious epidemics in cattle are difficult to detect and prevent with existing tools. Without effective detection tools to identify infected animals, diseases spread quickly and result in significant losses for producers. A widespread and economically significant disease affecting cattle is bovine respiratory disease (BRD), which affects about 20 percent of cattle and costs producers $ 800 to 900 million per year. A common approach to controlling BRD is metaphylaxis, in which a group of animals are given antibiotics simultaneously to manage the disease in a population.

This approach presents two challenges. First, producers do not always have enough information about the BRD risk of animals when they arrive at the feedlot. Producers often take into account the geographic origin, breed, weight, previous vaccination status, season and weaning status of animals when deciding to apply metaphylaxis. Other considerations, including weather conditions and commercial markets, may better inform metaphylactic treatment decisions, but producers often do not have this information. Thus, metaphylaxis is administered on the basis of the animal’s best estimate of the risk of BRD. Second, producers do not have clear guidelines on how best to identify and exclude animals that might not need treatment.

Dr Brad White from Kansas State University is using the ICASA grant to develop a predictive model that informs decision making about metaphylaxis. White is developing predictive machine learning models to determine the risk of BRD in livestock by combining many sources of information available at the time of feedlot placement. Innovative breeding services, Hy-Plains Feedlot, HRV and the Beef Alliance are contributing additional funding for a total investment of $ 391,715. As a cloud technology partner, Microsoft provides leading subject matter experts to help researchers design a secure research data platform with artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cognitive capabilities that can advance the research goal.

Dr Kristin Hales from Texas Tech University received an ICASA grant of $ 200,000 to develop a science-based management strategy that delivers metaphalyaxis only to animals in need of treatment. Hales uses a portable, non-invasive infrared device to measure the temperature of each cattle as it arrives at the feedlot. Cattle with elevated temperatures that are determined to be at risk for CRB will receive metaphylactic treatment. By isolating and giving treatment only to cattle that need it, this research can reduce the use of antimicrobials and the spread of antimicrobial resistant bacteria in cattle production systems throughout the food chain. Texas Tech University is providing additional funding for a total investment of $ 400,000.

The Food and Agriculture Research Foundation (FFAR) established ICASA in 2019 with an initial investment of $ 7.5 million to fund research that promotes the targeted use of antibiotics, advances animal health and welfare, and increases transparency of practices food production. The private sector is joining the FFAR investment for a total investment of $ 15 million in antibiotic management research.

Source: International Consortium for the Management of Antimicrobials in Agriculture, who is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all of its subsidiaries are not responsible for the content of this information asset.

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