Vet Call: Beef cattle abortion
by Bob Larson, professor of production medicine, Kansas State University
Abortions in beef cattle herds can occur occasionally or in bunches. Diagnosing the cause of an occasional abortion is very difficult and many times is assumed to be due to factors other than germs such as bacteria or viruses.
Ethanol Production Threatening Livestock Industry, Food Supply
Think tanks and livestock producers alike are alarmed at the rate of growth of the ethanol industry and its effect on feed supplies for the meat industry.
Ron Plain, an agricultural economist at the University of Missouri, says that increases in corn costs have already added 25 percent to the cost of raising hogs to slaughter weight, from a projected $40 per hundredweight in early 2006 to an actual cost of about $50 per hundredweight. If corn continues to the $4.05 per bushel price level considered the break-even in ethanol production, the increased feed costs will add 31 percent to the cost of hog production.
Bovigen Secures Rights to National Carcass Merit Project Genetic Markers
The Carcass Merit Project, a collaboration between Texas A&M through the Angleton Project and NCBA on behalf of the Beef Checkoff, have led the Beef industry’s efforts in development of new genomic tools for cattle producers. Bovigen has reached a formal, comprehensive agreement to continue their 15 year research efforts, and to make the existing genomic discoveries from these projects finally available to the marketplace.
Harahan, La.; January 10th, 2007 – The National Carcass Merit Project was a ground-breaking collaboration between a group of Universities, led by the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, a component of Texas A&M University System, and fourteen Breed Associations. Coordinated by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), the project was primarily funded by the Beef Checkoff Program.
Cow/calf college offers seminar on beef issues
LINCOLN—A University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension seminar Jan. 23 at the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center near Clay Center will give cow/calf, feedlot and other beef producers the opportunity to learn more about beef issues and management strategies.
Partners in Progress—Beef Seminar, presented by extension’s Farmers and Ranchers College, will begin with 8:15 a.m. registration and refreshments.
Morning sessions will begin at 9 a.m. with an overview of the Meat Animal Research Center, presented by Mohammad Koohmaraie, U.S. MARC director.
Bacteriophage approved for hide washing
By Ahmed ElAmin
A natural cleaning fluid made of live bacteria could help meat processors get rid of pathogens from animal hides, a key source of cross-contamination in the plant.
OmniLytics said this week that the product became available on the market after the US Department of Agriculture gave approval for its bacteriophage treatment for killing E coli O157:H7 on the hides of live animals just before they are slaughtered.
OmniLytics’ said its product can be applied as a mist, spray or wash. Bacteriophages are the viral hit squads of the microscopic world. Bacteriophages are viruses that target bacteria, rather than human, plant or animal cells
USDA proposes more low BSE risk meat imports
By Lorraine Heller
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) last week proposed to expand its list of allowable imports of meat and meat products from countries considered to present a low risk of introducing BSE into the United States.
The proposal expands upon a rule published by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in January 2005 that allowed for the import of certain live animals and animal products, including cattle under 30 months of age, from countries recognized as minimal-risk.
Expert: Cattle face problems beyond blizzards
By GAYLE PEREZ
THE PUEBLO CHIEFTAIN
The cattle that survived the two recent blizzards aren’t out of the woods just yet, according to a professor of animal science at Colorado State University-Fort Collins.
“Certainly, the critical phase where there was no access to the feed has passed,” said Jack Whittier, a Colorado State Cooperative Extension beef specialist and animal science professor. “But there may be some long-term effects as a result of the back-to-back blizzards and colder temperatures.”
Whittier said the stress that cattle suffered during the two storms could continue to have negative effects on the animals well after winter ends.
“Even when the blizzards go away and the weather straightens out, there will be long-term effects on the animals,” he said.
Shortage of hay prompting cattlemen to sell at low prices
A severe shortage of hay is forcing some farmers to sell their cattle early, causing depressed cattle prices and driving some cattlemen out of business.
Years of dry weather and drought are the main cause of the hay shortage, which extends through much of the Midwest and into Texas, industry spokesmen said.
“This is the worst situation I’ve seen since I’ve been in Missouri,” said Gene Schmitz, who has been with the University of Missouri Extension for 15 years.
ISU professor studies feeding of corn-milling (and ethanol) co-products for two decades
AMES, Iowa – Count Allen Trenkle among those who think increasing ethanol production in Iowa is a good thing.
“I’m enthusiastic about it. We have opportunities in Iowa that other parts of the country don’t have, and one of those is to use this increase in ethanol production to increase cattle production,” he said.
Trenkle is a Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor in Agriculture at Iowa State University. He’s retiring this month after 44 years on the animal science faculty. But as an emeritus professor, he said his “scientific curiosity” will lead him to continue his research on how co-products of corn milling operations can be used as feed sources for livestock and poultry.
Trenkle’s interest in this area started in the 1980s with the expansion of Iowa’s corn wet milling industry, producing corn syrup and sweeteners. The Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Corn Promotion Board funded Trenkle’s research on how the by-product of that milling process — corn gluten feed — could be incorporated into cattle rations.
Humane Society helping blizzard victims
UNITED STATES: The Humane Society will spend $10,000 to rescue and care for thousands of animals trapped by the recent blizzard.
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) announced this week it will give $10,000 to the Colorado Veterinary Medical Foundation’s Animal Emergency Relief Fund to help thousands of cattle, goats and pigs trapped by the recent blizzard in the western states.
The Washington, D.C.-based HSUS said in a news release, that it hopes the money can be used to help the feeding program that has been in place while the animals await rescue.
New cattle vaccine controls E. coli infections
Canadian researchers have developed a vaccine that they say will keep deadly E. coli bacteria out of our food and water supplies.
The vaccine works by dramatically reducing the amount of E. coli shed by cattle in their manure, says Dr. Loren Babiuk, who helped develop the vaccine with a team from the University of British Columbia, the University of Saskatchewan and the Alberta Research Council.
“For example, in a normal animal, they might excrete 1 million bacteria per gram of manure,” Babiuk explained to Canada AM. “After they’re vaccinated, they excrete maybe 1,000.
“So, that’s a reduction of a thousandfold, which clearly reduces the amount of contamination of the environment.”
Ranchers face 7-figure losses
Blizzards’ effects on industry could last for several years
Colorado Springs Business Journal
Colorado’s ranchers could face financial losses of $10 million or more because of last month’s winter storms.
Because snow drifts are still hindering efforts to locate all the animals, estimates are all that is available, said Terry Frankhaufer, executive vice president of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association. But, so far, losses are expected to remain well below the 30,000 head of cattle lost during the 1997 blizzard.
“It’s still early,” Frankhaufer said. “With that volume of snow, people are still trying to dig their way to the livestock — or at least the last place they knew they were located. We think about 75 percent of the livestock have been located.”
Thune supports bill to establish permanent ag disaster relief program
Vermillion Plain Talk
Sen. John Thune (R-SD), member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, announced the introduction of the Permanent Emergency Agricultural Assistance Act, legislation that would authorize a permanent agriculture disaster program for the 2007 crop year and future crop years. Sen. Thune is the lead Republican sponsor.
“As unfortunate as it is, drought has become a fifth season for tens of thousands of farmers and ranchers across the country. Each year, severe drought conditions threaten to take the life out of family farms and ranches, in turn delivering a major blow to rural state economies,” Thune said.
USDA ‘Natural’ Label Called Meaningless and Misleading to Consumers
Editor’s note: Stories of this ilk are included in the blog to inform those in our industry how agriculture is being presented to and perceived by the public.
Farm Sanctuary Comments Oppose the ‘Natural’ Label on Products from Factory Farmed Animals
Nationwide Zogby Poll Finds 73% Consider Use of USDA ‘Natural’ Label to Be ‘Inappropriate’
The nation’s leading farm animal shelter and advocacy organization today
criticized the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) “natural”
label as misleading and meaningless. The organization submitted comments to
the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) of the USDA opposing the
“natural” label on products from animals raised on industrialized factory
farms or “derived from animals whose lives have been otherwise altered and
manipulated in blatantly unnatural ways.” These comments, submitted in
reference to USDA Docket No. FSIS 2006-0040, also challenge the USDA for
allowing meat from animals given growth hormones and antibiotics to be
labeled as “natural.”
U.S. raises pressure to widen beef imports
The Asahi Shimbun
WASHINGTON–The U.S. administration is stepping up pressure on Japan to ease conditions on imports of American beef.
The latest call came from U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, who met visiting Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Toshikatsu Matsuoka on Wednesday.
Japan limits imports to meat from cattle aged up to 20 months because of the low risk of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
Schwab asked Matsuoka to raise the age limit to 30 months, which would qualify almost all cattle slaughtered in the United States for exports to Japan.