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Texas A&M Agrilife developing new spray for cattle fever ticks

Texas A&M Agrilife signed a research agreement with the engineering company 4Ry and the USDA to develop the spray.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M Agrilife is part of a new collaboration that may just change the way cattle is protected in the southern region of the United States.

Dead or alive, cattle is an important source of food and a crucial part to the farm ecosystem. Texas A&M Agrilife is working to keep this industry going at an economically efficient rate. It signed a research agreement with the engineering company 4Ry and the USDA to develop and spray technology for cattle fever ticks.

"It's important because today, we're protecting over 400,000 people who produce cattle in the southern region, and that region also produces one third of all the fed beef that then goes through process of beef cattle production and production of meat in the United States,' said Interim Head of the Entomology Department Pete Teel.

According to Professor Teel, the ticks act in the same way as malaria, and will impact the cattle's body conditions and rate of productivity.

Two existing techniques require cows to be treated every two weeks, but this new technology will be different.

"It's an electrostatic spraying technology that would allow us to use water based caracide and reduce the amount of material that is put onto the animal... making it safer for the animal and safer for the people that are actually doing the application and minimizing the exposure to the environment ...," said Professor Teel.

This new treatment will hopefully extend to every 20 to 20 days, or even longer.

Professor Teel says this spray will be a huge economic benefit.

"4Ry engineering will help us with the application of the material that will be able to adhere to the coat and adhere to the skin more efficiently and hopefully much more effectively in terms of killing ticks," said Professor Teel.

The three agencies will be working on the spray for the next 12 months. professor Teel says it will take a couple years to perfect the spray to make sure this application ages well with the cattle and continues to kill ticks as they graze.

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