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Feedlot-based mortalities increase consistently

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Data suggests feedlot-based mortalities spike between July and November.

Mortalities can be classified as respiratory, digestive or metabolic death loss. Regardless of the cause, feedlot-based mortalities have increased consistently for the past ten years. Gary Vogel, technical advisor for Elanco Animal Health, speaks to factors impacting such mortalities.

“We do see regional differences in feedlot mortality,” Vogel said. “Generally, we see less overall mortality in northern feed yards and more overall mortality in southern yards because of where the supply of calves come from. We tend to feed a lot more higher risk sale barn cattle in the south compared to the north.”

Mortalities also fluctuate based on timing. Elanco Animal Health reports higher mortality rates during the fall months, between July and November. Mortalities looks a little different from a feed yard perspective, as the data is collected after closeout.

“We see differences in when the mortality closes. When we look at data and information, we look at when cattle close or close out. That may be the first time a producer or cattle feeder looks at the information. When you look at closeout, mortalities tend to be higher in that August/September time frame. That’s mainly because those cattle have been on feed through the last part of winter and early spring/summer, and it succumbs all the way in a closeout at the end of the month,” Vogel said. 

Vogel adds, “Prevention is possible, mortality just happens.”