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TOP of the VALLE

Field Day & Private Treaty High Altitude Bull Sale

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Valles Caldera National Preserve

The inaugural field day at New Mexico State University's TOP of the VALLE Research Facility at the Valles Caldera National Preserve will give cattle producers an opportunity to learn more about bovine high altitude disease and the research being done to reduce the risk of cattle dying from hypertension while grazing in the mountains of the western United States. The field day will be held on Saturday, September 24th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the historic 89,000-acre Baca Ranch, now owned by the United States Government. Demonstrations and presentations on the research will be given, and participants will be able to view the bulls and cows that have participated in the research.

It is estimated that the beef industry loses $60 million annually because of the impact of high altitude disease. The three areas being studied are defining genetic markers across multiple breeds for bovine high altitude disease, commonly called brisket disease; the impact of nutritional management prior to cattle being shipped to seasonal high altitude grazing; and the impact of pulmonary hypertension on reproduction efficiency. NMSU's College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences is coordinating the study that involves researchers from three universities-- NMSU, Colorado State University and the University of Illinois, as well as cattle breeders from several states.

National expert on bovine high mountain disease Tim Holt, Veterinarian and Assistant Professor at Colorado State University's School of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, is participating in the TOP of the VALLE project by performing the pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) test on the bulls to evaluate their individual adaptation to the high altitude after 60 days grazing at the Valles Caldera. The PAP test detects early signs of hypertension through the animal;s blood pressure. Holt, while conducting PAP tests in the field since the early 1980s, has observed numerous trends associated with higher rates of HAD.

Dr. Manny Encinias, Extension Beef Cattle Specialist, and the staff at NMSU's Clayton Livestock Research Center have initiated a study to quantify one of Holt's field observations. This year, they are studying the impact of commonly used feed additives in mineral supplements for growing beef cattle prior to shipment to high altitude grazing.

During the field day, Encinias will present an Overview of the Goals and Objectives of the TOP of the VALLE program and Holt will conduct a demonstration of the PAP test and address the need for the research.

Other presentations on the 2011 TOV Field Day agenda include:

  • Developing Genetic Tools to Manage High Altitude Diseases, Jonathan Beever, University of Illinois
  • Trichomoniasis in New Mexico Beef Cattle Herds, John Wenzel, NMSU Extension Veterinarian
  • New Mexico Youth Ranch Management Camp, Dina Chacon-Reitzel, New Mexico Beef Council
  • Fire Ecology in the Southwest, Doug Cram, NMSU Range Improvement Task Force
  • Las Conchas Fire: Burn Dynamics on the Valles Caldera, Tim Haarmann, Valles Caldera National Preserve Ranch Manager
  • Post Fire: Recovery of Natural Resources, Nick Ashcroft, NMSU Range Improvement Task Force
  • Effects of Fire on Grazing and Browsing Patterns of Cattle and Wildlife, Sam Smallidge, NMSU Range Improvement Task Force

Members of the New Mexico Beef Cattle Performance Association will have a group of high altitude tested bulls and females on display, and a select set for sale. The field day will give producers an opportunity to learn more about the work that the New Mexico Beef Cattle Performance Association and NMSU are doing to improve the region's beef industry.

Manny Encinias
Director of Operations
Phone: (575) 374-2566
Cell: (505) 927-7935
Email: bulltest@nmsu.edu