Ultrasound Technology is Revolutionizing Genetic Selection in Beef Cattle
By Harlan Ritchie, Distinguished Professor of Animal Science, Michigan State University
A technology that was first adopted by the U.S. Navy in World War II as a means of detecting enemy submarines is now revolutionizing genetic selection for meat characteristics in beef cattle. The technology is ultrasound. It involves the emitting of sounds waves that bounce back when hitting different tissues in the live animal, resulting in an image of the tissues. This image can then be used to quantitatively measure the amount of each tissue in the animals’ body.
The measurements generally taken are: 1) thickness of the outside layer of fat measured in inches; 2) area of the ribeye (loin) muscle measured in square inches; and 3) percent of intramuscular fat (marbling) that is contained within the ribeye muscle. Fat thickness and ribeye area together provide an accurate estimate of the percent of lean meat versus the amount of fat in the animal’s carcass. Measuring the degree of marbling is important because it is closely related to the juiciness, flavor and tenderness of the meat. Lower marbling means a less desirable eating experience, whereas higher marbling means a more desirable eating experience.
by Steve Suther
The future of premium beef brands depends largely upon supplies of cattle that qualify. The supply development division of Certified Angus Beef LLC (CAB) uses information, marketing and coordinated production systems to grow its supply. In a world where disjointed management often derails what could have been high-quality beef, it helps to know prevailing practices, genetics and philosophies.
That’s why CAB partnered with Drovers, through Vance Research Services, to survey the U.S. cow-calf industry. Of 1,000 randomly selected, qualified producers with at least 100 cows, 45% responded in a three-week window last winter. The average operator was 58 years old, college-educated and managed 300 cows in the Midwest.
Analyzing Your Animal-Health Program
Beef Quality Strategies
How are modified-live virus and killed-virus vaccines different? Why do some require a two-dose regimen? And which vaccinations are important for calves?
With the arrival of the preconditioning and weaning period, it’s a good time to brush up on animal health and vaccination basics. North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension veterinarian Charlie Stoltenow and Pfizer Animal Health senior technical veterinarian Gerald Stokka offer these answers to some common calf-health questions.
Pleasant View couple endows a cow
By Ronnie Barron
For the Times
Charles and Flora Bidwell of Pleasant View are the first to donate to the University of Tennessee Cheatham County Extension Endowment since the initial donation by John E. Mayfield to establish the endowment.
The Bidwells designated the proceeds of a 500-pound steer from their cattle herd as a donation to the newly established endowment.
IBM to Provide Network to Monitor Cattle
IBM to Provide Network Services to Monitor Millions of Cattle for Utah Company
By PAUL FOY
The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY – IBM Corp. is teaming up with a Utah company that offers a remote system to transmit the body temperature of cattle to ranchers, dairy farmers, feedlot owners and government regulators.
IBM said Thursday it will provide network services to monitor millions of cattle at a time for TekVet of North Salt Lake, a company that developed a battery-powered transmitter with a flexible thermometer that can fit inside a cow’s ear.
A microprocessor can identify an animal and its life history, show its approximate location and log body temperature once an hour, giving livestock owners an early warning of health problems that could lead to an outbreak of disease.
“The cattle industry is basically the last frontier for technology to conquer. This is an industry that’s been untouched for the most part by technology,” Tali Haleua, chairman and president of TekVet, a company he started in 2003, said Thursday. “It could ultimately help protect our food supply.”
His device was designed for cattle, but Haleua said he was working on systems for pigs, goats, sheep “and anything with four legs and a tail.”
TekVet is working to extend the range of the transmitter, which can beam a cow’s vitals several hundred yards to field receivers.
The company will upload the data from the receivers via satellite to an IBM data center in Phoenix, where computer servers will collect the information for secure distribution on the Internet.
Florida restricts importing animals from Wyoming
South Florida Business Journal
The country’s first confirmed case this year of vesicular stomatitis has pushed the Florida Agriculture and Consumer Services commission to restrict animals being imported from Wyoming.
Vesicular stomatitis is a highly contagious viral disease that affects horses, cattle, swine and occasionally sheep, goats and deer, state officials said.
The virus can also cause flu-like symptoms in people working with infected animals.
State officials are requiring veterinary inspection of susceptible animals coming from states affected with the disease. Hoofed animals entering Florida from Wyoming will require prior permission for entry and must be accompanies by an official certificate of veterinary inspection that states the animals are free of clinical signs of vesicular stomatitis and not have been exposed or located within 10 miles of a positive premises within the previous 30 days.
6 Steps to Safe Food with Irradiated Beef
Illinois Farm Bureau
Beef is one of the U.S. food industry’s hottest sellers–to the tune of 8 billion pounds a year, but beef can harbor the bacterium E. coli O157:H7, a pathogen that can make people ill, and in rare instances, kill them.
Through a process called “irradiation,” that bacteria is killed by an electronic current. It’s a safe measure for ensuring safe food. Here’s how it works:
Experts warn of agro-terror
Federal efforts criticized as subcommittee meets in Athens
By MIKE TONER
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
ATHENS — The nation’s farms and food supply are highly vulnerable to terrorism and the Department of Homeland Security isn’t prepared to deal with the “catastrophic” consequences of an agro-terror attack, Georgia agricultural experts warned a U.S. House subcommittee Thursday.
“Compared to bio-terror, agro-terror is appallingly easy,” said Corrie Brown, professor at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, invoking the specter of terrorists introducing foot-and-mouth disease, avian influenza, swine flu of some other animal-borne disease that could disrupt the U.S. economy — and threaten human health as well.
Brown noted that 11 of the past 12 disease outbreaks of “global concern” in recent years have been zoonoses, diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans.
Contaminated feed blamed in Canada mad cow case
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Aug 24 (Reuters) – Canada’s seventh mad cow case since 2003 most likely contracted the brain-wasting disease from feed believed to have been contaminated at a manufacturing plant, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Thursday.
The 50-month-old cow was born five years after the 1997 ban on cattle feed containing rendered protein from cattle and other ruminants, such as sheep and goats. Mad cow disease, also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE, is believed to be spread by contaminated feed.
Privacy concerns continue to bedevil livestock ID program
By DAVID TWIDDY
News Tribune (MO)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns assured livestock owners Wednesday that information collected in a planned animal identification program will be kept confidential and used only in the event of a disease outbreak.
Speaking before a conference on animal identification technology and policy, Johanns sought to downplay concerns that farm information collected through the program could fall into the hands of competitors, animal rights activists or other members of the public.
He said private vendors would collect and maintain the data, making it off-limits to federal open-records laws, a concern that has led officials in some states, such as Vermont, to put their own data-collection efforts on hold.
“It is not data that is controlled and owned by the USDA, so we can protect confidentiality,” Johanns said in response to a question from the audience.