Seedstock Symposium speaker to discuss breeding healthier cattle

Farm Forum

BROOKINGS – Among the topics at the SDSU Extension Seedstock Symposium will be a discussion on Disease Susceptibility, its effect on the cattle industry, and how highly or lowly inheritable they may be. The SDSU Extension Seedstock Symposium will be held June 27-28, 2013 at the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Sioux Falls.

Leading the discussion on disease susceptibility will be James Reecy, an Iowa State University professor.

“Environmental and genetic factors impact disease susceptibility/resistance in all species,” Reecy said.

He adds that the combined impact of environment and genetics need to be optimized to improve the resistance to any given virus, bacteria or stress that causes diseases.

Throughout the presentation, Reecy will use Bovine respiratory disease, BRD or BRDC as an example disease, because it cost the beef industry $6.92 million in 2005. For perspective, the number two factor resulting in cattle losses was roughly half at $3.67 million.

Reecy points out that genetic resistance to diseases is a popular topic and has been shown to work; examples include nematode infection, mastitis, cattle ticks and enhanced immune responsiveness.

“Selection for disease resistance can be implemented in a number of ways, including the observation of the disease. Challenge all animals, challenge relatives to breeding stock, observe pathogen products and finally examine biological & immune response,” Reecy said.

Breed differences in resistance and sensitivity to BRD have shown big differences in morbidity and mortality across the breeds. Reecy will discuss the differences and the genetic correlation between the disease resistance and other traits usually used in beef cattle evaluation and selection – growth, carcass weights, palatability daily gain and energy intake.

The Seedstock Symposium has been developed through a partnership with the S.D. Beef Breeds Council. The Seedstock Symposium begins June 27 with registration at noon on and wraps up at 3 p.m. June 28. More information on topics and speakers can be found at and registration can be done through the iGrow store. Call the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Sioux Falls with questions, 605.782.3290.