This blog allows regular updating of key activities at SFREC to the broader agricultural and natural resource community. Most importantly remember we are here for you! We value any comments or suggestions you have on our posts and encourage you to contact us with specific questions, blog post suggestions, interest in research, to schedule a tour, or to discuss future events./span>
SFREC was in need of a pair of interested, capable, and flexible hands for the summer to help with a renewed effort to communicate the broad array of activities currently underway and outline the many opportunities for research, education and outreach at the Center. We were fortunate to hire Maddison Easley for the job. With strong roots in the local agricultural community and an accomplished Agricultural Communications student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, she is a perfect fit for the position.
1) Communicate what SFREC has to offer researchers, educators and the broader agricultural community
2) Connect those interested in rangeland management, watersheds, beef management, and other focused agricultural and natural resource based topics with SFREC
3) Confirm relationships to encourage long-lasting, mutually beneficial partnerships
When asked about a guiding philosophy for her career development Maddison quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.” Many of us can relate to this mindset as a stimulus of agricultural innovation and the larger entrepreneurial mindset driving our agricultural and natural resource communities. She is off to great things, wish her well when you have a chance.
Summer is a prime time for pinkeye on California rangeland. SFREC is not excluded from this problem so we screen for pinkeye frequently, particularly during animal handling efforts.
Pinkeye is often observed as an oozing, discolored, bulging eyeball. Pinkeye, known in the science community as infectious bovine keratoconjunctivitis (IBK), is a bacterial disease which has varying degrees of severity. This troublesome inflammation can ultimately lead to blindness in severe cases.
Last week, 103 heifers were examined for pinkeye at SFREC. Most of the cattle had no visible symptoms of eye troubles, but a portion had some degree of pinkeye present – healing, active, or scarring.
From a manager's viewpoint, this is a very costly disease. Pinkeye is known to inhibit calves from thriving due to ocular pain and poor vision. The cost of treating pinkeye with antibiotics adds up quickly, not to mention the extra time and effort that is spent administering treatment. Additionally, the marketability of affected animals can be hindered. Here is a link to general information on the disease:
Pinkeye is a complicated disease and SFREC has provided key research support in this arena for the last several decades. Pinkeye is caused by Moraxella bovis, a bacterium that is typically transmitted from infected animals by flies. Multiple factors may contribute to the development of the disease, but eye irritation to some degree is necessary for infection. Cattle plagued with IBK develop painful corneal ulcers that oftentimes leave scarring in the eye. When the cornea ruptures, blindness will occur. This link offers additional information published in 1990 from research conducted at SFREC:
The challenge of controlling pinkeye continues to be a prominent focus of scientists and industry professionals. Recent studies at SFREC, led by Associate Professor John Angelos at the University of California Davis School for Veterinary Medicine, have increased knowledge of the molecular composition of M. bovis cytotoxin, and even indicate promise for a recombinant subunit vaccine. Agrilabs, a company that works to connect research, manufacturers, and consumers, published an article featuring Angelos and worthwhile information about IBK:
A successful management strategy for pinkeye in cattle involves an integrated approach that should include mineral supplements and quality nutrition to help maintain a strong immune system, reduction of environmental irritants (i.e. those annoying little creatures called flies and tall grasses), and a well-planned medication strategy. Isolation of infected animals is always a wise measure to take. Be sure to contact your practicing veterinarian for specific questions and recommendations.
- Author: Maddison Easley
Last week the Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center was fortunate to host a group of high school-aged 4-H students and adults for a short tour of our facilities. About half of the group was visiting from Wisconsin through an exchange program and noticed the significant difference in landscape and ecosystem types. The other portion of the group members were locals involved with Yuba-Sutter 4-H. We discussed the role of the REC system, focusing on our own Center and why it is important to have research facilities available. Previous projects, such as the Forbes Hill Oak Clearing, were talked about and visually showcased. The tour concluded at the charming Yuba River Education Center, following a short hike on one of our nature trails.
It was a relaxing, educational, and enjoyable interaction with young aspiring minds and devoted adults. The staff at SFREC are looking forward to the next engagement involving 4-Hers or other local youth. Conservation, cooperation, communication, and commitment. These are four concepts that were highlighted that I hope our visitors will remember, practice, and share.
- Author: Maddison Easley
The assessments are confidential and will be used to generate training materials that producers can then utilize to improve the health and welfare of their herds. The leaders and key individuals involved with this project include Cassandra Tucker of the UCD Department of Animal Science, Bruce Hoar – the Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, and UCD graduate student Gabrielle Simon.
Here are a few useful links to additional information and resources about beef health and welfare: