A note on Scours

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Dec 28, 2003
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Effect of scours on calf weaning weight
Montana State University (MSU) researchers evaluated health and performance records of 3,637 calves from inbred and outbred populations during a 14-year period. The inbred cattle were linebred Herefords. The outbred cattle consisted of four genotypes: 1) Hereford, 2) Angus x Hereford, 3) Simmental x Hereford and 4) Tarentaise x Hereford.
During the 14-year period, the average incidence of scours was 35%; the range was 13% to 64%. The incidence of scours was significantly higher for inbred than outbred calves (41% vs. 28%). The incidence of scours was significantly higher in calves born to 2-year-old dams, and it decreased with increasing age of dam.
Scours significantly affected calf weaning weight. Throughout all years, scouring calves weighed 458 lb. at weaning while calves not affected by scours weighed 478 lb. Outbred calves were significantly heavier than inbred calves (483 lb. vs. 452 lb.).
The authors concluded that the economic benefit of managing to reduce the incidence of scours should exceed the expense to reduce the economic loss that can occur when calves are afflicted with scours.
(Anderson et al. 2003. Prof. Anim. Sci. 19:399)

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