Sep 04 2018

NMLB Soliciting Producer Input on Bovine Trichomoniasis

NMLB Soliciting Producer Input on Bovine Trichomoniasis

Capitan 9-28-18 1pm Lincoln County Fairgrounds


The New Mexico Livestock Board (NMLB) is holding a series of listening sessions around the state this fall to get input from cattle producers on bovine trichomoniasis, or trich.

“Several months ago, I was approached by a group of producers who felt like we had little control over the disease in some areas and that the program needed to be strengthened,” said Dr. John Wenzel, Extension Veterinarian with New Mexico State University.  “I passed the request on to New Mexico’s State Veterinarian, Dr. Ralph Zimmerman, and he decided to hold a series of listening sessions around the state to solicit producer input.” 

            The first listening session was held in Belen in August, one is scheduled for Capitan on September 28 at 1 p.m. at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds, and several more are planned.  Producers with an interest in or opinion on this issue are encouraged to attend one or more meetings and make their voices heard.  “I want to make it clear this is not a NMLB initiative, it’s a producer driven movement,” Wenzel noted.  “I commend Dr. Zimmerman for making this effort, and for trying to be responsive to producer requests.”

At the first meeting, held in Belen in August, attendees discussed a number of issues regarding the disease and testing requirements, including the need for producer participation and education, the cost of testing, the difficulty of enforcing a mandatory testing requirement, current research and potential vaccines, and more. 

Ultimately, any action the NMLB takes on this issue will depend on what comes out of these producer meetings.  Information from the meetings will be turned over to the NMLB’s existing Trich Committee, and if it becomes evident that changes to the current regulations need to be made, the committee will develop a proposal for the Livestock Board’s consideration.  “If summary opinion is that the program needs to be strengthened, we will work on a proposal, and mandatory testing may be a component,” Wenzel explained.  “If the summary opinion is that things are fine as they are, not much will change.”    

While testing for trich in New Mexico is not mandatory, many states do have mandatory testing and in those states cases of the disease have been greatly reduced and almost eradicated in some cases.   

The cost to producers of the disease is estimated at approximately $400 per head in an infected herd, Wenzel said.  “People are concerned about the cost of testing, but the biggest cost that comes with trich is production loss. This disease has a tremendous economic impact on cattle producers.” 

Wenzel said that producers came to the NMLB with their request because they feel that the current program is helpful, but holes still exist, he continued.  “It’s frustrating and expensive for ranchers to invest in testing, get their herds cleaned up, then be re-infected from an unknown source.  We have had good success controlling the disease where it is found but we have large areas of New Mexico where little to no testing has occurred, so the disease status of those areas is unknown.”