A UC Davis research team has been awarded $2.6 million by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to carry out research aimed at reducing the incidence of bovine respiratory disease, or pneumonia, which is the leading cause of death in beef and dairy cattle.

The funding comes as part of a five-year, $9.2 million USDA Coordinated Agricultural Project, which involves collaborators at UC Davis, Texas A&M University, Washington State University, University of Missouri, Colorado State University and New Mexico State University. The project is led by James Womack, the W.P. Luse endowed and distinguished professor at Texas A&M.

The extension component of the project will be headed by Alison Van Eenennaam, Cooperative Extension specialist in animal genomics and biotechnology in the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. Other UC Davis researchers involved in the project include Cassandra Tucker, an assistant professor of animal behavior in the Department of Animal Science; Terry Lehenbauer, associate director of food systems at the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, Calif.; and Laurel Gershwin, a professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Pathology, Microbiology and Immunology.

Bovine respiratory disease annually results in the death of more than 1 million animals and the loss of $692 million. The ultimate goal of the newly funded research project is to integrate research, education and extension activities to improve diagnostics and develop cost-effective genomic and management approaches to reduce the incidence of the disease in beef and dairy cattle.