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The objective of this study was to determine the effect of Escherichia coli 0157:H7 on feedlot profits. Fecal samples from 711 feedlot pens in 73 feedlots in Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas were tested for E. coli 0157:H7. Average daily gain and feed-to-gain ratios were computed for each feedlot pen, and managers from each feedlot provided information on various feedlot management practices. Cattle performance and E. coli 0157:H7 prevalence are both affected by feedlot management practices. The indirect effect of E. coli 0157:H7 on potential feedlot profits was determined by measuring the effects of management practices on E. coli 0157:H7 levels and cattle performance.
Management practices that affect cattle performance were identified using ordinary least squares regressions. A negative binomial regression was used to identify management practices that affect E. coli 0157:H7 prevalence. Certain feedlot management practices were identified that have a joint impact on cattle performance and E. coli 0157:H7 prevalence. Using predatory insects to control flies, controlling for stray dogs, foxes, and coyotes in feed areas, removing manure from pens during finishing, and including tallow in the ration were management strategies associated with higher feedlot profits and lower E. coli 0157:H7 prevalence. Using mobile sprinklers for dust control and including alfalfa or sorghum hay or silage in the ration were associated with lower E. coli 0157:H7 prevalence and lower feedlot profits. Increasing days between cleaning water tanks and restricting movement of horses were associated with higher feedlot profits and higher E. coli 0157:H7 levels. Controlling for stray cats in feed areas and including liquid protein in the ration were associated with lower feedlot profits and higher E. coli 0157:H7 levels.