Department of Animal Science


Date of this Version

January 2001


Published in Nebraska Beef Cattle Report 2001, published by Agricultural Research Division, University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


This study evaluated two pen testing strategies to predict the percentage of cattle in a pen shedding detectable E. coli O157:H7. Culture of a composite fecal sample most accurately detected pens with 37% or more cattle shedding E. coli O157:H7 in feces. A new pen test device most accurately detected pens with 16% or more individuals shedding. The likelihood of detecting E. coli O157:H7 with either method increased as pen prevalence increased. If both pen-level test methods were used together, pens could be classified as high, medium or low prevalence with less labor and expense than testing individual cattle.