Thursday, October 11, 2012

Texas Animal Health Commission Announces Details of New Cattle Traceability Rule

A requirement for adult cattle in Texas to have an approved form of permanent identification in place at change of ownership will go into effect January 1, 2013 according to the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC). The Commission amended its rules in June of this year to enhance the effective traceability of beef cattle movements in Texas, which is the cornerstone of disease control activities. Implementation of the changes was delayed by the Commission to ensure cattle producers understand the requirements and can prepare for the changes.

The amended rule permanently cancels the brucellosis test requirement for adult cattle at change of ownership, which was unofficially suspended in the summer of 2011. Although testing of adult cattle is no longer required with the rule change, all sexually intact cattle, parturient or post parturient, or 18 months of age and older changing ownership must still be officially identified with Commission approved permanent identification. This change primarily affects beef cattle, as dairy cattle in Texas have had an even more stringent identification requirement in place since 2008.

Before August of 2011, official identification devices such as eartags were applied automatically at the time a brucellosis test was performed. The inadvertent loss of the identification devices applied to cattle when brucellosis testing stopped has threatened TAHC's ability to effectively trace cattle as part of any ongoing disease investigation.
The TAHC routinely performs cattle health investigations where the identification and location of exposed/infected animals is critical to success. For example, 30 Brucellosis reactors, over 300 Bovine Trichomoniasis affected bulls and 22 bovine tuberculosis cases have been investigated by the TAHC to date in 2012. The new traceability rule will help preserve the TAHC's ability to identify and trace animal movements quickly and effectively, no matter which disease is involved.

A complete list of acceptable identification devices/methods may be found at, but the most commonly used devices include USDA metal tags, brucellosis calfhood vaccination tags, US origin 840 series Radio Frequency Identification tags (RFID), and breed registration tattoos or firebrands. Producers are encouraged to contact their veterinarian or TAHC to determine which method of tagging will be best for their operation.
Free USDA metal tags, and a limited number of free applicator pliers (dependent on available funding) will be provided by the TAHC to producers wishing to use them. The tags and/or pliers may be obtained by contacting local TAHC field staff and USDA APHIS Veterinary Services representatives. The TAHC is developing tag distribution partnerships with interested veterinary practitioners and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offices. Partner contact information will be published as it becomes available. Producers may locate the closest tag distributor online at

New Tool For Mesquite Control

Recently, Dow AgroSciences has released a new herbicide called SenderoTM. This product has two active ingredients, aminopyralid + clopyralid, which means that it is not a restricted use herbicide and does not require a pesticide applicator’s license to purchase or apply. Recent testing of this herbicide has shown that it provides nearly 40 percent more consistent control than the traditional mix of Remedy Ultra and Reclaim.

Foliar applications should be made when:
1) The soil temperature at 12-inches below the surface is 75° F or higher
2) The mesquite leaves are a dark green color all over, rather than some light green new growth at the ends. Applications should be avoided immediately following a significant rainfall,
as the production of too much new growth will reduce the movement of herbicide the root system.
3) The mesquite tree is not flowering or elongating the beans.
4) The leaves are healthy. No more than 25% of the leaves can have damage by insects, hail, disease, or rodents. Soil moisture is another important factor to consider before treating.

Even though mesquite is a deep rooted plant, treatments should be delayed if plants are under drought stress. If you miss the foliar treatment timing window, you do have other options to help manage mesquite, including mechanical treatments or basal stem treatments.