Emery County has one of the highest rates of trich in the state.
Last year there were 20 positive bulls with Trichomonas virginals, costing producers $150,000 to $250,000 or more.
Trichomoniasis is a venereal disease in cattle that causes early abortions. Producers lose money having to replace bulls, having fewer calves to sell, and having lighter weight cattle at the time of sale. Producers met with Dr. Kerry Rood, Extension Veterinarian; Dr. Warren Hess, Assistant State Veterinarian; and Dr. Glen Jensen, Local Private Veterinarian, in an effort to help producers to better understand the importance of the disease and to get input. State officials are very concerned because trichomoniasis has been a big problem in this area for years.
It has also been diagnosed in many other counties throughout Utah during the past decade. However, other areas have been able to get rid of the disease from their herds or have shown great improvements. Unfortunately this area has seen little improvement and has had one of the largest numbers of positive bulls every year.
Producers are concerned about some bulls in the area not being tested annually as is supposed to be done. The law does state that all bulls not in confinement are tested annually, confinement means exposed cows and bulls must be in a tight corral, if cows or the bulls are on pasture they must be tested.
This is to protect all producers and help prevent the spread of trichomoniasis. The law was put in place as a request of cattle producers within the state. Enforcement is difficult due to costs, and lack of manpower. The best way to enforce the law is through producers who need to work with neighbors and report problems when seen and unable to get compliance otherwise.
The other area of concern is running open cows. These are cattle that failed to get pregnant during the previous breeding season. These cattle can be reservoirs for this disease. This means that if a cow is exposed to the disease she can harbor the organism until bred again when she will transmit it to the bull, the bull will in turn spread it to the rest of the herd. This can be done from a spring to fall breeding season or from a spring to spring breeding season. There is no law that addresses cows, however, producers are encouraged to keep good records and ensure they are not allowing open cows to continue the spread of the disease.
Emery County has many cattle producers that are very used to having cattle that only calve once every 18 to 24 months. When grazing on public desert permits the feed is often scarce and poor quality. Cattle that calve have to put a lot of energy into milk production and therefore will not have the energy to support the calf, and themselves and to become pregnant again. The body considers reproduction as a luxury and therefore the cow will not cycle when in a negative energy balance or poor body condition. There are three things that will create late calves or no calf, these are; poor nutrition, infertile or subfertile bulls, and disease.