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Friday, May 12, 2017

Hay Sampling and Testing

Chris Shelley, CSU Extension Area Livestock Agent

Cattle belong to a group of animals with very complex digestive system called ruminants. They utilize many forages (hay) very efficiently, making it easy to overlook the importance of forage evaluation. Cattle performance is highly influenced by the quality of the diet. Obtaining forage quality results through representative sampling and testing is critical for hay marketing, animal nutrition and livestock production goals.

Whether you seek analysis on crude protein, TDN or nitrates, incorrect sampling of baled forages will lead to lab results that do not represent the actual quality. The National Forage Testing Association (NFTA - has established 10 best practices summarized below. Following these steps will help to collect a representative sample of your hay.

1. Identify a single ‘lot’ of hay.
· Less than 200 tons
· Must be from the same field, cutting and forage type

2. When to Sample?
· Hay quality can change, especially during the first 22 days after harvest and storage
· Sample as close to feeding as possible

3. Choose a sharp, well-designed coring device.
· Do not collect grab samples
· Select a probe diameter of 3/8 - 3/4 inches and a depth of 12 - 24 inches
· Maintain sharp tips that are not angled (90 degrees to shaft)

4. Sample at random.
· Make every attempt to randomize which bales are chosen for sampling
· Choosing or avoiding bales based on appearance or quality introduces bias and may not accurately represent the lot

5. Take enough cores.
· Minimum of 20 cores per hay lot
· Sampling more bales generally represents the lot more accurately

6. Use proper technique.
· Sample butt ends of square bales or curved surface of round bales
· Avoid edges and insert probe at a 90 degree angle
· For round bales, sample towards the center and do not sample flat sides

7. Sample amount: “not too big, not too small”.
· The 20+ cores should result in a 1/2 pound sample

8. Handle samples correctly.
· Seal samples in plastic bag - double bagging is beneficial
· Protect from heat and sun light
· Send sample to the lab as soon as possible

9. Never split samples without grinding.
· It is okay to double check the performance of a lab with another lab
· Do not split samples unless they have been ground
· It is okay to ask for unused sample back from labs to send to another lab (easy to include in the notes or special instruction section on your sample submittal form)

10. Choose an NFTA-Certified Lab.
· The NFTA is a volunteer group set up by growers
· NFTA certified labs have demonstrated commitment to good results

For additional information, visit the NFTA website at or contact your local extension office.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Livestock Care after a Wildfire

As of March 7, 2017 the National Drought Mitigation Center indicated on the U.S. Drought Monitor that most of northeastern Colorado is experiencing moderate drought. This, accompanied with seasonally windy conditions, sets the stage for dangerous wildfire potential. Some areas in northeastern Colorado have already been impacted by wildfire.

Some of the wind-fueled fires of northeastern Colorado come quickly and with little warning, sometimes catching livestock in its path. Livestock in the path of wildfires can suffer death, burns and smoke inhalation. It is important to remember that the effects of wildfires are not sometimes seen until several weeks after the fire. Producers with livestock injured by wildfire or subjected to smoke and dust inhalation should consult with their local veterinarian.

The immediate need for livestock after a fire is to have fresh water and feed. It is best to move them from the burned areas if possible. Hay can be contaminated with dust, ash and soot following a fire, which may decrease the palatability of the feed and even lead to some health complications. Likewise, soot, ash and erosion can contaminate water sources. Make sure feed and water are not contaminated and are free of debris.

The wildfires of northeastern Colorado have burned many grazing acres and haystacks. As producers look to the future, they may be faced with some challenging situations. Montana State University Extension published the following self-assessment questions for producers who have lost forage resources to wildfire.

· Are my animals losing weight or not performing adequately?
· What is the body condition score of my cows?
· Will I have to start to provide supplements?
· If the lack of forage continues, should I cull the least productive or “at risk” animals?
· What feeds are available to the ranch?
· Assuming that I will have to purchase supplemental feeds, are they available, and at what cost?
· Is one option to sell hay and buy back grain for limit feeding?
· Do I have the feed resources to allow for full feeding vs. supplementary feeding only vs. limit feeding of grain?

Producers should continue to monitor body condition as this can indicate adequate nutrition and underlying health conditions. Many generous donations of feed resources may come following a fire. The old adage of not looking a gift horse in the mouth is important, but does not override good nutrition principles. A quick lab analysis can check for high nitrates, TDN and protein levels important for any feeding plan.

To view the CSU Extension publications on caring for livestock before, during and after a disaster, visit the following website

For further information on livestock health care, nutrition and management, contact your county extension office.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Golden Plains Area Ag Newsletter

Did you miss the December issue of the Golden Plains Area Ag Newsletter?
Click on the link below to read the newsletter.

Article topics include:

Navigating the Online Energy Information Landscape
Colorado Agricultural Energy Efficiency Program
Economic and Environmental Potential of High Plains Cover Crops
Project Learning Tree and Environmental Education Council Meeting
Late Blight
Squash Bees
More Freeze Damage
What Can the Past Tell Us About Range Management?
Holstein and Beef Production
Ag Market Prices

If you would like to receive this newsletter by email, just call or email at 970-332-4151 or

Monday, October 3, 2016

September 2016 GPA Ag Newsletter

Check out the newest issue of the 2016 Golden Plains Area Ag Newsletter at the following link

If you would like to receive this newsletter by email, just call or email at 970-332-4151 or

Mineral Antagonism - Important Minerals May Not Be Reaching Your Livestock

By Chris Shelley, CSU Extension Area Livestock Agent
This is a remarkable time to be in the livestock industry. The overwhelming amount of research and technology has elevated livestock production to a level of proficiency unimaginable by our predecessors. From artificial insemination technology to invaluable pharmaceuticals, sometimes it seems like we may have everything figured out. However, the complexities of an industry that involves range land ecosystems, weather patterns and animal biology are far from being completely understood.

Despite one’s best efforts to apply sound research and modern technology, some problems can still arise. Although most cattlemen today provide a mineral supplement containing many macro and trace minerals, it is possible to have inadequate mineral absorption by livestock. Common reason denotes that if the recommended amount of mineral is supplied in the diet, the cattle will have what they need. This is not always the case and mineral antagonism can be the culprit.

One example of mineral antagonism occurs with copper. Copper plays an important role in bone density, immune function, growth and fertility. Copper varies considerably depending on the forage source and geographically, and is often deficient in grazing cattle diets. A rancher that is supplying the recommended amount of copper (10 mg/kg of diet, NRC 2000) for his cattle may still have cattle with a copper deficiency. Molybdenum, Iron and Sulfur all can interact with copper, making it unavailable to the animal. We call this an antagonism, which can cause a deficiency just the same as the absence of copper from the diet.

Figure owned by Chris Shelley

Many cattle producers are skilled at diagnosing the visual cues and production decreases caused by disease or malnutrition. If something does not seem right, err on the side of caution and investigate further. Although one can directly sample the cattle’s copper status from the liver and blood, the easiest and recommended method is to sample the diet. A quick sample of the forage being consumed, along with a water sample, will indicate what level of minerals the cattle are consuming and how to best balance them to avoid an antagonism.

Sample collection in and of itself is a straightforward process and many labs have instructions and tips on the correct procedure. The more daunting task is interpreting the results received and how to proceed forward. This process involves calculating mineral levels in the feeds, verifying animal requirements and a basic understanding of scientific units and conversions.

There are several resources to help with this task. Your local CSU Extension offices are happy to help as well as mineral dealers who are trained in that field. The most important thing to remember is a balanced nutritional plan can save on feed costs and improve animal performance.

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Right Tools for the Job

By Chris Shelley, CSU Extension Area Livestock Agent

Everyone knows life can be tough and that finding the right resources when you need them can be even tougher. What you may not know is that Colorado State University Extension is here to help!

The Smith and Lever Act of 1914 marked the birth of the Cooperative Extension Service. Since then, Extension programs have been serving Americans in many ways. However, even with over 100 years of service, we still meet people that are unfamiliar with what we do.

In short, Extension is here to help you. The Smith and Lever act stated that the land grant universities (like CSU) are to provide instruction and demonstrations in agriculture and home economics. Today, CSU Extension still provides trusted, practical education to help you solve problems, develop skills and build a better future, only the scope and focus has broadened with the needs of Coloradans.

CSU Extension is now helping in the areas of Agriculture, Animal Health, Energy, Home, Family, Finances, Food Safety, Health, Insects, Natural Resources, Nutrition, Water, Yard and Garden, and 4-H Youth Development. We have many agents and specialists all over the state of Colorado who are ready to help.

Lou Swanson, the current Director of Extension, implemented a new approach to Extension work in Colorado. It brilliantly pairs local concerns and interests with University research and information. We conduct needs assessments in the community and talk to as many people as we can to get a direction for the programs we offer. Unfortunately, we cannot reach everyone, but we hope that you will contact us if you see a need in the community or if we can help you.

As a livestock agent, I have the privilege of working with producers in northeastern Colorado. Recently, a man called the office and wanted to learn more about grazing and the nutritional needs of his cattle. We spent some time doing range inventory, assessing the nutritional needs of his cattle and balancing rations. Today, he feels more confident with stocking rates on his operation based on the amount of rainfall and forage produced. He also knows his cow’s nutritional needs to achieve the level of performance he wants. The best part is that many of our programs and help is free.

So the next time you wonder when to prune your trees, if your pressure canner is still safe, or how much crude protein your heifer calves need, give us a call. We’re here for you.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mineral Supplementation for Your Herd

by Chris Shelley
CSU Extension

Mineral supplementation has been a part of livestock nutrition and management for well over one-hundred years and still remains just as important today. The first documented case of mineral supplementation was by George Fordyce in the late 1700’s. Researchers have since documented 17 important minerals required by beef cattle. Many of these minerals are found in commonly used feedstuffs; however, some cattle diets can be deficient or devoid of certain minerals.

Cattle requirements for minerals, or any nutrient for that matter, may change depending on a variety of factors including the age, stage of production, body size, temperature and even the diet they are eating. This makes it very important to be able to identify in which stage of production your animal is and their corresponding nutrient requirements. When considering mineral nutrition in Northeastern Colorado, there are several key events: lactation, spring grass grazing, fall grass dormancy, corn stalk grazing and any major diet change.

For most of the required minerals, cattle can tolerate a wide range in the level of supplementation. If we use cobalt as an example, the minimum amount that cattle need is 0.1 mg/kg in the diet on a dry matter basis. Signs of toxicity are not seen until 100 times that amount, or at 10 mg/kg in the diet on a dry matter basis. These ranges provide flexibility for cattle producers to select from a variety of supplement options. However, over feeding can lead to excess mineral excretion and in some scenarios environmental concerns. Feeding excess minerals is also an economic inefficiency and is unnecessary. Providing a year round all-purpose mineral can be convenient, but may over or under supply expensive nutrients. It is more effective and economical to determine cattle requirements and mineral concentrations in feeds at various stages throughout the year so a precise supplement can be designed. Understanding animal requirements and nutrients supplied can create the potential to save money.

The following graph depicts the mineral requirements (blue bars) with toxic levels (red bars) for a 1000 pound cow in early gestation consuming 25 pounds of forage on a dry matter basis.

Building a custom mineral program for your herd does not need to be a laborious process. Cattle producers in Colorado have many resources available to them including Colorado State University Extension, the USDA, and many mineral manufacturers. If cattle are predominantly grazing on rangeland, the process should begin from the ground up. Frequent analysis of soils and forages will provide invaluable information on the minerals and other nutrients available to your herd. Any mineral deficiencies found can then be addressed with supplementation.

Today’s producer can select from a variety of options to make sure cattle have their needs met. The choice can be difficult with the vast options and products. Many additives including ionophores, probiotics or other health products may also influence your decision. When considering only the minerals, there are several methods of feeding or delivery available. First, and not in order of importance, is supplementing your rangeland or farmland soils to bolster up the level of minerals in the forages and feeds. Second is the option to mix minerals into a complete ration. This method is effective for complete mineral delivery, as animals consuming the diet will also consume the mineral. In grazing operations, and with no complete mixed ration being fed, a third option is to provide a free choice supplement where cattle have access to consume as much or as little of the supplement they want or need. It can be challenging to manage the desired mineral consumption. Lastly, an injectable dose of minerals can be an effective way to deliver minerals. This is also a very effective method to deliver the exact desired level of supplementation.

Regardless of which product and method you choose to implement, there are a few key points to remember.

1. Know your animal requirements
2. Know what is being supplied in the diet
3. Find a supplement that supplies what you are lacking
4. Compare the price of various supplements

For additional information or for help to customize your mineral program, contact your local county extension office.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

North Eastern Colorado Cattlemen’s Day

"Last year was not as good for cattle producers as 2014 had been. Cattle prices in 2015 were lower in some cases by $500 per calf. Mother Nature, as usual, was unpredictable but generally wetter than previous years. Input prices also continued to creep upward- forage was no exception.

As a cattle producer, you may have questions about what to do next in 2016. A series of meetings in ten locations across western Nebraska and eastern Colorado will be focusing on the changing beef industry." -Excerpt from Kacy Atkinson, CSU Extension Agent

Addressing these conditions will not be easy but CSU Extension is here to help.  NE Colorado will be offering two opportunities to attend the cattlemen’s day. It will be hosted in Yuma, on February 10, from 10 am to 2 pm at the Yuma County Fairgrounds. The cattlemen’s days will also be held in Brush on February 11, from 10 am to 2 pm in the 4-H building at the Morgan County Fairgrounds.

Numerous topics will be covered including:

“Mineral Supplementation for Your Herd,” Chris Shelley, CSU Livestock Agent

“Bulls by the Numbers,” Travis Taylor, CSU Extension Agent

“Importance of BQA in a Modern Beef Operation,” Kacy Atkinson, CSU Livestock Agent

“Fly Control for your Pastured Cattle,” Dave Boxler, UNL Extension (Yuma only)

“Increasing Reproductive Efficiency in the Cow Herd,” Randy Saner, UNL Extension

“Matching Your Calves to a Backgrounding System,” Erin Laborie, UNL Extension (Brush only)

“Grazing System Management and Using Annual Forages,” Troy Walz, UNL Extension (Brush only)

“Managing Replacements to Maximize Heifer Values, Can You Afford to Rebuild Your Herd?” Robert Tigner, UNL Extension (Yuma only)

Registration one week prior is needed for a meal count. Please send registrations, found on the Golden Plains Area Extension website, to:

Yuma County Extension 
310 Ash St. Ste B
Wray, CO 80758. 

Cost to attend is $10 per person if pre-registered or $15 per person at the door. For more information or to register by phone, please contact either Chris Shelley at 970-332-4151 or email

Thursday, October 8, 2015


Colorado State University will be hosting the 24th Range Beef Cow Symposium.  The meeting was first held forty six years ago and has since become an extraordinary educational event.  Those in attendance will receive knowledge and training from the top university researchers and industry professionals including the following topics:
  • Beef Quality Assurance Workshops
  • Livestock Marketing Information
  • Learning about Consumers
  • Reproduction
  • Genetics
  • Health and Management
  • Weather
  • Range/Grazing
  • Managment
The program will begin on Monday the 16th of November and continue through Thursday the 19th.  For more information and to register click on the following link.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

First Cases of Vesicular Stomatitis for 2015

The State Veterinarian's Office for Colorado's Department of Agriculture reported today that Colorado has had its first Vesicular Stomatitis (VS) cases in 2015.  The State Vets Office indicated that horses on two sites tested positive for VS making Colorado the fourth state to have positive cases.

Horses are primarily affected by VS, however many livestock species are susceptible.  Yearly insect migrations are considered to be the major source in spreading the disease with livestock transportation also playing a role.  Based on the mechanism of disease spread, prevention is the best management practice, especially for horse owners.  Daily fly control, especially on the ears, is recommended for disease prevention.  Due to the severe outbreak of 2014 with 370 quarantines, the State Vets office is urging livestock owners to practice disease prevention.  

For more information on VS, visit the Colorado Department of Ag website at 

or the USDA website at 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

eXtension has an "Update on HPAI Mixed Origin Virus"

Avian influenza is a concern for poultry producers and can affect prices seen at the grocery store.  A webinar on Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) will be broadcast on:

Friday, June 26 at 12:00 pm MDT

or here

Dr. David Schmitt, Iowa State Veterinarian and Dr. Beth Thompson, Minnesota State Board of Animal Health will provide an update on the HPAI mixed origin virus that has had a significant impact on the poultry industry in many states this year.

Dr. Nathaniel Tablante, University of Maryland Extension Poultry Veterinarian, will moderate the session.

For other information on poultry visit,

Monday, June 22, 2015

Water Quality & Supply

by Chris Shelley
CSU Extension livestock agent

One of our most important resources, water, is making headlines across the US, in government agencies and even here in Colorado. We do not always think about its importance, but water quality and supply will affect the productivity of livestock. A quick and relatively inexpensive assessment provides valuable information on the quality of the water you are supplying to your livestock.

photo by brianfuller6385 @ flickr

Water makes up as much as 98% of the molecules in humans and livestock. Livestock use water for temperature regulation, digestion, growth, and many other bodily functions, making it very important for producers to know how much their livestock will drink. This is not always just as simple as looking up a value in a table. The ambient temperature, water temperature, diet, growth, lactation and the animal’s activity all play a part in how much the animal will drink. Your local extension office or animal nutritionist can help estimate the animals water needs.

Automatic fountains are a great way to supply livestock with all the water they may need, but bear in mind, each type of water unit for livestock has a limited number of livestock it can service. Alternatively, many choose to oversupply water to assure that their animals have enough. Trial and error, with frequent initial monitoring, can also be used to gauge livestock water consumption. Whichever system you choose, it is always a good idea to have an estimate of what your livestock will consume and what you have available. Remember that water requirements of livestock will change throughout the year.

Livestock owners should also ask themselves, “what else is in my water?”. Water is an excellent solvent, dissolving many polarized chemicals, elements and molecules. This comes in handy when mixing sugar in a drink or washing your car, but water can also dissolve things that may negatively affect your livestock. The water in your livestock tanks can contain anything from algal mycotoxins to dissolved salts and minerals.

Testing the quality of your water may feel like just another expense; however, poor water quality can decrease animal performance outweighing the cost of the test. Most analytical labs can run a water quality analysis for around thirty dollars and will test for pH, nitrates, total dissolved solids, and more.

Many wonder what to do with the complicated results received from the lab. What level of minerals, nitrates, and etc. your livestock can tolerate in water depends on how much is being supplied in the diet. Your local extension office is happy to help decipher results, balance rations, and determine which laboratory is best for you.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sweet Itch

by Michael Fisher, Pueblo County Extension Director

While it is nice to see the rain following a lengthy drought, there are also issues that excess moisture can create or enhance.  One of those issues is an increase in bothersome insects.  Standing and stagnant water can be a breeding habitat for many of the biting insects.  With that in mind, here is an excerpt from an article that I wrote several years ago.  It addresses the affliction of sweet itch in horses and how this is caused by biting midges.

Sweet itch is a skin condition that can affect some horses.  It is caused when a susceptible horse is bitten by biting midges called Culicoides, the same parasites that are responsible for transmitting bluetongue among cattle and sheep.  These very small gnats (1 to 3 mm) swarm together for feeding.  Typically, the midges are nectar feeders; however, the female of the species requires a blood meal in order to mature her eggs.  The saliva that is left behind following the insect’s bite contains a specific protein molecule that the horse’s immune system considers to be a threat.  In sweet itch cases, the immune system over reacts and releases an overload of the antibody IgE.  This is followed by a cascade production of both cytokins and histamine to kill the invader.  However, the overproduction of histamine inflames the skin and causes intense, uncontrolled itching. 

Hypersensitive horses may pace endlessly and seek an unusual amount of mutual grooming from other horses penned with them.  They are also prone to excessive yawning and may be easily distracted when being ridden.  Additionally, they will rub, roll, paw, and bite at the affected area in an effort to relief the itch.  In turn, this activity tears away at their skin causing hair loss, abrasions, weeping soars, open wounds, and leading to secondary infections.  Often times the inflamed area will be around the tail, over the withers and through the mane, or about the ears and face.  Additionally, some cases may be along the spine or belly.  This variability is a result of a difference in feeding preference among the various varieties of midges.

As is the case with many allergens, a horse may develop a greater intolerance to sweet itch the more that it is exposed to the allergen.  Therefore, it is possible that the symptomatic horse’s condition may worsen with each passing summer. 

There currently is no real good treatment for the condition.  Steroids and antihistamines have been used to relieve the itching; however, these are only masking the condition and may lead to side effects that can be more harmful, such as laminitis.  Prevention is the best chance of avoiding a problem.  This may include the use of insect repellants in the horse’s stall or topical repellants regularly applied to the pastured horse.  Insecticides that appear to work the best in these situations are those that use either a permethrin or benzyl benzoate as an active ingredient.  Additionally, some equine enthusiasts will place a blanket or hood over the horse to prevent the midges from being able to bite into the horse.  Another successful tactic is to understand the midge in question and manage around it.  Most of the Culicoides will do their feeding from 4am to 10am and 4pm to 10pm.  Therefore, it is possible to keep your horse stalled during those times, in the airflow of a strong fan.  Midges are poor fliers and require calm air to be able to fly.  It is also advisable to drain still or stagnant water and remove decaying vegetation near the horse, as these are considered prime breeding habitat to the midges.

Monday, June 8, 2015

June 2015 GPA Ag Newsletter

Check out the newest issue of the 2015 Golden Plains Area Ag Newsletter at the following link  If you would like to receive this newsletter by email, just call or email at 970-332-4151 or

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

2015 Livestock Disease Update

Last year, several diseases were particularly damaging to Colorado livestock production. These threats are real possibilities again for 2015; however, education and management practices can limit the extent of their impact and severity. The following is a discussion about three viral threats to Colorado livestock and resources to help producers minimize their risk.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) is a corona virus that affects pigs of all ages. It is however, most devastating to sow farms with 100% mortality on piglets ages 3-5 weeks. It was recently diagnosed for the first time in the United States on a sow farm in Iowa in May of 2013. It is highly contagious between pigs and within a year, it had spread to 30 states with just short of 7,000 positive samples sent in. The viral strain is greater than 99 percent similar to the strain in China, but the method of entry into the United States is unknown. The disease is likely spread across states through livestock trailers. At processing plants, it is estimated that for every contaminated truck arriving, two will leave contaminated. The best way to protect against PEDV is prevention through biosecurity.

This disease is not zoonotic and not considered a threat to public health or the food supply. For more information on PEDV, visit

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

Unlike PEDV, the Influenza virus is no stranger to the United States. Two strains of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), H5N2 and H5N8, have been confirmed in the United States. HPAI spreads easily in birds and poultry and has a high mortality rate. The main source of disease transmission is due to the wild bird population and their migratory routes. HPAI at this time is not considered a threat to public health or the food supply. Practice the following biosecurity measures to stop disease spread and keep your flock safe.

Colorado Department of Agriculture recommendations for Commercial Flocks
· Restrict on-farm access to essential employees only
· Practice on-farm disinfecting procedures (ex: foot baths and equipment cleaning)
· Use indoor facilities
· Do not have contact with other flocks and limit movement of birds, poultry workers, equipment, and transport vehicles
· Anyone entering the farm should use protective gear on egg farms
· Avoid contact with sick or dead poultry/wildlife
· If contact occurs, wash hands with soap and water and change clothing before having any contact with domestic poultry

USDA APHIS recommendations for Backyard Flocks
· Wash hands thoroughly before and after working with your birds
· Scrub your shoes with disinfectant
· Clean cages and change food and water daily
· Clean and disinfect equipment that is exposed to your birds
· If you do borrow tools or cages, clean and disinfect them before they reach your property
· If visitors have birds of their own, do not let them near your birds
· If you have been near other birds, bird owners, pet/feed store disinfect shoes, clothing, and equipment before returning to your birds.

For a sick bird, call the Colorado Avian Health Call Line at Colorado State University (CSU): (970) 297-4008.

For a dead bird, submit to the CSU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in Fort Collins for free HPAI testing: (970) 297-4008 or (970) 297-1281 or visit

For Multiple sick/dead birds, call either the Colorado State Veterinarian’s Office at (303) 869-9130 or USDA Colorado Office at (303) 231-5385.

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus

Vesicular Stomatitis Virus (VSV) affects most livestock, but particularly horses and cattle. This disease can be spread by insects, animal-to-animal contact, and by livestock transportation. The insects undergo yearly migrations that begins in Mexico and continue north as spring and summer commence.

 The first case of VSV this year was documented in New Mexico and has since been confirmed in Arizona and Utah. The location and severity of the disease varies from year to year. The outbreak of 2014 was particularly severe for Colorado with 370 premises with positive diagnosis. Livestock owners can reduce the spread of the disease by practicing biosecurity principles and by implementing insect control. Although in rare circumstances, the disease can be spread to humans, this disease is not considered a threat to public health or the food supply. For more information on VSV, visit

For any unusual livestock/poultry disease or death, contact your local veterinarian. Your local Extension Office can also help direct calls and answer questions. The State Veterinarian’s Office can be reached at 303-869-9130.