Livestock production practices have changed rapidly over the last 15-20 years. Increased emphasis on management, preventative care and better animal welfare and environmental practices has put increased pressure on producers to meet even more challenges. It’s not enough to always react to these challenges, we must be proactive and have the knowledge and tools on how to best deal with issues before they arise.
New and innovative devices are starting to emerge to meet these demands. Blood based biomarkers are an exciting new development that has the capability to look at what is happening to the animals in real time. This offers us the ability to look for trends and patterns that help us predict when disease or adverse conditions could cause losses in the animals. Armed with this insight, we can make adjustments and corrections before these losses are incurred. The process causes minimal stress to the animal and provides valuable information. After blood or other material is collected, it is then run through i-STAT, Vet Scan and carotenoid tests for a complete analysis. Those results can be used against a database of other samples to provide understanding of what is truly going on in the animals. Producers can now have clues on veterinary or nutritional deficiencies and make corrections quickly.
Other interesting developments include better understanding of the microbiome and its influence on animal health and performance. What is a “good” microflora? What are the principal microbes that can affect performance? Can we improve uniformity, weight gain and feed conversion by improving the microflora of the animal? These are questions we can now work to answer. By utilizing these innovations, we can now move toward to a more complete understanding of livestock welfare and performance.
16 May 2022
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