Grotelueschen retiring from UNL | TheFencePost.com

Grotelueschen retiring from UNL

Dr. Dale Grotelueschen isn’t certain what retirement from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Great Plains Veterinary Educational Center will look like, but said jokingly, he is certain he doesn’t like the word.

Grotelueschen, who earned his doctor of veterinary medicine from the University of Missouri in 1974, followed by his master of science in clinical science from Colorado State University in 1992, has most recently been the director of the GPVEC in Clay Center, Neb. He initially spent 11 years in private practice in southwest Nebraska, working mostly with food animals. He then worked at the UNL Panhandle Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory for 18 years. He also spent 12 years with Pfizer Animal Health before joining GPVEC.

A Skyler, Neb., native, Grotelueschen said it’s been a privilege to work with veterinarians and producers to address issues related to health and production.

“BVD (bovine viral diarrhea) virus became one of those issues in which I did spend a good amount of time,” he said.

Much of that time was spent researching and devising control strategies for beef operations, most of which he said was focused at the cow calf level. He has published vital research papers on the subjects related to BVD, including the topics of full-length coding sequences for persistently infected cattle in a feedyard in Kansas; the effect of constant exposure to cattle persistently infected with bovine viral diarrhea virus on morbidity and mortality rates and performance of feedlot cattle; the effect of value-added management on calf prices at superior livestock auction video markets; the effect of management, marketing, and certified health programs on the sale price of beef calves sold through a livestock video auction service and integrated BVD control plans for beef operations.

In his current position, the focus is on the education of veterinary students, changing his emphasis to more administrative in recent years, though the program often creates collaboration between students, producers and the community. With a new chapter on the horizon, Grotelueschen said part of his time will be dedicated to a BVD research program that has been ongoing.

TEACHING STYLE

Ivan Rush, a retired beef specialist with UNL told Chabella Guzman with the Rural Radio Network, Grotelueschen is an innovator in beef quality assurance, due in part to his hands-on teaching style, emphasizing not only the how, but also the why behind treatment and preventive care. In the same interview, Gary Darnall, owner of Darnall Feedlot in Harrisburg, said he was impressed with Grotelueschen’s thoroughness in conducting a post-mortem examination on an animal Darnall brought to the diagnostic lab. Grotelueschen determined it had died from BVD and also found some hardware disease, something someone less experienced and thorough may have missed. Darnall said Grotelueschen spoke and taught as he conducted the exam, ultimately telling Darnall, “if you never ever give another shot, always give BVD.”

“He recognized early on that the beef industry has a responsibility and obligation of producing a high-quality product while treating the animals in a very acceptable manner,” Rush said. “The best way for him to demonstrate and teach the feedlot employees was to let them go through the experience that was wrong, and then let them see the experience that was done right. It’s a lot more meaningful to use that method than just looking at slides or sending out a report.”

Rush said Grotelueschen was on the cutting edge of the Sandhills Calving Method, moving the bred cows rather than the pairs, something many producers utilize as a common practice. Rush said it could just as easily, despite the difficult spelling, be called the Grotelueschen Calving System.

“I’m planning to stay involved with the beef industry in various things and I haven’t frankly determined how extensive that will be yet,” he said.

Grotelueschen is involved on a number of national industry committees with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He chairs the Health and Wellbeing Committee, is involved with the Academy of Veterinary Consultants, and the United States Animal Health Association.

“I hope I can contribute to the beef industry in a good manner for some time yet,” he said. ❖

— Gabel is an assistant editor and reporter for The Fence Post. She can be reached at rgabel@thefencepost.com or (970) 392-4410.