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Montana: Paying the Price of Brucellosis

12 June 2008

US - Estimates on the price of which the Montana cattle industry will have to fork out for the current outbreak of brucellosis are at least $6 million, insiders have revealed.

According to the Billings Gazette, auction block prices aren’t likely to slip, but the cost of assuring the rest of the country that Montana’s cattle are disease-free is expected to mushroom. For years, the state has gotten by with testing only a small percentage of its cattle for brucellosis. The number of cattle tested in Montana will increase more than tenfold.

“In terms of numbers, it will be somewhere in the $5 million to $6 million range,” Myles Watts, livestock economist at Montana State University, told the Gazette. “The biggest impact is probably going to be for testing animals 18 months and older, about $15 a head for culled cows, and we sell about 220,000 to 240,000 culled cows a year.”

“It’s certainly a black cloud at this point in time,” he said.

Billings Gazette have said that the jump in testing will occur when Montana officially loses its brucellosis-free status after the case is published in the Federal Register, probably in the next four to eight weeks.

In February, for the first time in 74 years, the federal government declared all states and territories brucellosis-free.

  • View the Billings Gazette story by clicking here.

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    - Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.
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