Livestock Leader Weighs In On Trich Rules


The Montana Department of Livestock has proposed significant changes to the way it manages Trichomoniasis (trich), a venereal disease of cattle that can cause serious reproductive problems in cows. The proposed changes are open for public review and comment through October 12, 2011.

Specifically, the department has proposed to shift its focus from state-wide testing for trichomoniasis to risk-based surveillance in two disease management areas encompassing 10 counties determined to have the highest risk for trich. The two areas – officially called epizootic areas – consist of Cascade, Glacier, Ponder and Teton counties, and Big Horn, Carbon, Powder River, Rosebud, Treasure and Yellowstone counties.

Trich testing would be required on bulls sold, loaned or leased within, or from, the management areas, and the use of Montana trich tags would be required for all trich-tested bulls state-wide.

“Five years of testing data have shown us where the highest risks are,” said Dr. Tahnee Szymanski, MDOL staff veterinarian. “By focusing on those areas, the proposed rules would reduce the amount of testing required elsewhere in the state.”

Additionally, MDOL has proposed an open cow rule for animals originating from positive herds, from within the epizootic areas and those imported into the state. This proposed rule would prevent potentially exposed cows from re-entering Montana’s breeding herd. Also, no open cows could be sold out of the epizootic areas except to slaughter, and no open cows could be imported into the state.

On Wednesday, a public meeting was held in Billings, MT at the Billings Livestock Commission. The Northern Ag Network’s Russell Nemetz and John Walton joined ranchers and other cattle industry leaders to hear about these proposed changes.

After the meeting, they interviewed Joe Goggins for this thoughts.

The proposed rule would also provide an exemption for cattle grazing in common that have approved management plans.

Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease of cattle caused by a parasitic protozoan. The disease is generally inapparent in bulls, but can cause serious reproductive problems in cows. Trich can be economically devastating to producers due to repeat breeding, extended calving, early and occasional late-term abortion, and a high percentage of open cows at pregnancy check (20-50 percent or more). Economic losses to the U.S. beef industry from reduced conception rates, lower weaning weights and increased culling exceed $100 million annually.

Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted through 5 p.m. on October 12, 2011. Comments can be mailed to Christian Mackay, Montana Department of Livestock, P.O. Box 202001, Helena, MT 59620-2001, or emailed to


Source: MT Department of Livestock

Posted by Russell Nemetz 

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