A mystery has been plaguing the dairy industry. A perplexing disease was discovered in some cattle in the Midwest, but the answer has been revealed: a highly pathogenic avian influenza. Though dairy farmers will have difficult decisions to make and will have to work harder to up preventative measures, experts believe the public is not at any additional risk. For more up-to-date cattle industry news, visit our Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch blog

First Signs

After cows in New Mexico, Kansas, and Texas were reported sick, investigation results have come back. The sick cattle in Kansas and Texas were confirmed to have a highly pathogenic avian influenza. This raises questions for ranchers as they navigate caring for sick cattle, the overall health of the herd, and the effects this will cause to products and lost profits.

Are Herds at Risk?

Thankfully, the virus doesn’t appear to be transmitting among a herd. However, ranchers are reporting dead wild birds on their property, which is likely where the virus came from. Further testing is underway to stay ahead of a larger-scale infection, and preventative methods are being put in place. Research is also being conducted to learn more about this particular strain, and what doctors and ranchers can do to help fight it. Ranchers should keep an eye out for a loss of appetite or an acute drop in milk production, and report it to their veterinarian. 

Future for Consumers

Experts assure consumers they are not at risk, and that they should not anticipate supply shortages. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller reported that no contaminated milk had entered the food chain, and in the rare event that some did in the future, the virus would be eliminated during the pasteurization process. 

We’ll keep you updated on further advancements in this story. In this meantime, we invite you to shop local, grass-fed beef here on our Dark Hammock Legacy Ranch website. We thank you for supporting your local community and our business.