Management factors in 36 Pacific Northwest dairy herds were evaluated for their association with the prevalence of Shiga toxin-positive Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli O157) in dairy cattle. The within-herd prevalence of E. coli O157 was estimated by bacteriological culture of fecal pat samples, collected monthly for 6 months (approximately 60 per visit), from heifer cattle. During the first visit to each farm, a management questionnaire was administered that covered a broad range of animal husbandry practices. On each subsequent visit, a brief questionnaire was administered to detect changes in management practices. A significantly higher prevalence of E. coli O157 was noted in herds that fed com silage to heifers compared to herds that did not feed com silage. More tentative associations of E. coli O157 prevalence were observed for weaning method, protein level of calf starter, feeding of ionophores in heifer rations, feeding of grain screens to heifers, and feeding of animal by-products to cows.

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