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The feds are still looking for the E. coli
By Michael Scherer
As the bacterial outbreaks in Pennsylvania and California show, the USDA’s food-safety division has trouble tracking down the slaughterhouses that produce tainted meat.
It all started with Little League baseball players in Napa County, Calif., in early April. Three of them, as young as age 9, ate hamburgers they purchased from snack vendors at the game. They each fell ill, complaining of cramps and diarrhea, classic symptoms of a potentially deadly bacterium known as E. coli O157:H7. Just a few days earlier, five people in four Pennsylvania counties became sick with similar symptoms in an apparently unrelated E. coli case. They had each recently ordered rare and medium-rare steaks at a local restaurant chain, Hoss’s Steak and Sea House.
Scientists Look to Vaccines in the War on E. Coli
By ANDREW POLLACK
New York Times
Shousun C. Szu, a scientist at the National Institutes of Health, says the best way to prevent people from being poisoned by deadly E. coli would be to vaccinate all infants against the bacteria.
Graeme McRae, a Canadian biotechnology executive, says it would be more practical to inoculate cows instead.
Vaccines for people and for cattle are just two approaches under development to prevent or treat food poisoning by the strain E. coli O157:H7.
Right now, scientists can do little medically to fight the pathogen, which was responsible for two severe outbreaks last fall, one from contaminated bagged spinach and a second from tainted lettuce served in chain taco restaurants.
Canada confirms mad cow case in British Columbia
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Another Canadian case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease, has been confirmed in a mature dairy cow in the province of British Columbia, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said on Wednesday.
The CFIA said the cow was 66 months old, within the age range of other Canadian cattle found to have the disease. The cow was born and died on a farm in the western part of the province’s Fraser River valley.
The agency has the animal’s carcass and no part of it entered the human or animal feed systems.
The case is the tenth found in Canadian cattle since 2003, and the second in less than three months. Many of the cases have been blamed on exposure to contaminated feed.
The Wisdom of our Elders, The Folly of the Young
By Troy Marshall
The old axiom about learning from one’s mistakes gets inscribed on the hearts of almost anyone who manages a cattle operation in very short order. That’s because it seems like, no matter how much time and effort you put into managing your operation more efficiently, you end up making a plethora of mistakes, which then leads up to a whole lot of knowledge.
If only someone would have told me how much I could have learned from others when I was 16, and/or fresh out college, I could have avoided so many wrong turns and screw-ups. Yet, thinking back, I’m sure someone did; I just didn’t listen.
Breeding Soundness Exam Used to Evaluate Fertility in Bulls
Dr. Glenn Selk, Extension Cattle Specialist, Oklahoma State University
Producers searching for a cost efficient method to promote a successful breeding program may find breeding soundness examinations (BSEs) for bulls beneficial. The importance of the bull in a cattle breeding program often is underestimated. A cow is responsible for half the genetic material in only one calf each year, while the bull is responsible for half the genetic material in 20 to 50 calves. The bull’s ability to locate cows in estrus and breed them is clearly vital to a successful breeding program.
For the breeding soundness evaluation to be successful, bulls should be evaluated 30 to 60 days before the start of breeding. It is important to allow sufficient time to replace questionable bulls. Bulls should also be evaluated at the end of breeding to determine if their fertility decreased. A BSE is administered by a veterinarian and includes a physical examination (feet, legs, eyes, teeth, flesh cover, scrotal size and shape), an internal and external examination of the reproductive tract and semen evaluation for sperm cell motility and normality.
Getting Heifers Bred
High pregnancy rate reduces development costs and leads to cow herd longevity. by Heather Smith Thomas
A high rate of pregnancy among replacement heifers makes total cost in developing them less because the cull rate is lower. And statistics show that heifers that settle early tend to be early calvers the rest of their lives. Here are some tips to help get those firsttime mommas bred.
Ruminant Nutrition Simplified
1. Market available feedstuffs through ruminants. Ruminants (cattle, sheep, goats, deer and elk) are a profitable way to market forages like grass and hay.
2. Rumen microbes digest cellulose. Ruminants by themselves cannot utilize all the nutrients in forages. Some of the nutrients are contained within the fibrous portion of the plant (cellulose). Ruminants can utilize cellulose because of the microbes in their rumen. The microbes help to supply the energy and protein needs of the animal by breaking down the cellulose and other complex compounds of the feedstuffs to more simplified compounds.
3. Both microbes and animals need all classes of nutrients, energy, nitrogen, vitamins and minerals.
Stocker Cattle Forum: Modern Grass Cattle Concepts
Cattle genetics have changed and backgrounders may need to react.
Frank Brazle, retired Kansas State University Extension beef specialist, has studied the stocker industry for more than 30 years.
“There used to be just acres and acres of light-weight cattle, and they had to be backgrounded,” he says. “The cows didn’t milk as well and the calves didn’t have the growth.”
Now most of those lighter calves are specific to the “fescue belt”—from southeast Kansas to the southern Appalachians—where endophyte fungus can retard milk production. Otherwise, calves are coming off the cow weighing more than ever before, says Brazle.
Polio and Cattle
STOCKTON, Mo. — When you hear about a cow or steer going down, what do you think of first?
Thanks to a lot of publicity, many people think of the worst-case scenario: Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), also known as mad cow disease.
That should be the last concern, said Dona Funk, University of Missouri Extension livestock specialist in Stockton.
First, think about polio, which is rare in cattle but could become more common as more livestock producers feed ethanol byproducts to cattle. The byproducts can have enough sulfur to cause polio in cattle.
Polio can be in an acute form that causes sudden death, or it can trigger staggering and blindness or cause animals to be down.
In addition to high sulfur, polio also can be caused by things such as lead toxicity, salt toxicity or thiamine deficiency.
The amount of sulfur and other chemicals in ethanol byproducts (dried distillers grain with solubles) varies among ethanol plants and among loads from the same plant. Funk said farmers feeding ethanol byproducts to livestock should seek to have each load they get tested each month.
Cattle Feeding: Balanced Rations
Nitrogen and phosphorus are the primary nutrients considered in nutrient waste management systems. Excess nutrient excretion can be controlled by properly balancing diets according to nutrient requirements for production.
The maintenance recommendations for phosphorus (NRC 1996) have been reduced by approximately 43% from 1984 NRC recommendations. The new recommendation is 0.22% P to meet nutrient needs for maintenance and gain of an 800 lb steer on a finishing diet. Erickson et al. (1998) conducted an experiment to evaluate animal performance across various levels (0.14 -0.34%) of P intake. Steer performance was measured as average daily gain (ADG), dry matter intake (DMI), and feed efficiency. These variables were not affected by P level in the diet. This suggests that when steer diets are balanced, producers can lower the P levels in the diet to the 1996 NRC recommendations without negatively affecting performance. Most corn-based diets average 0.28 – 0.32 % P, exceeding the requirement for an 800 lb steer. The challenge then becomes lowering the phosphorus concentration of a corn-based diet. Typically feedstuffs other than corn are needed to lower the phosphorus concentration of the diet. Comparing phosphorous book values of whole grains (barley, oats, sorghum, and wheat), corn has the lowest phosphorus level. Therefore, the best possible management alternative is to minimize additional supplementation of phosphorus.
Exhibit to honor black cattlemen, pioneer and modern
KISSIMMEE — Lawrence Silas’ fame is about to go statewide.
Silas, long recognized as one of Osceola County’s greatest cattlemen and legends, is being honored by the soon-to-open Lawrence Silas Boulevard near Kissimmee’s lakefront.
Silas’ name also is listed among the trustees for the 1916 cornerstone of the Bethel AME Church in Kissimmee. The church, organized in 1888, is one of the stops on the Florida Black Heritage Trail.
University of Florida Professor Kevin M. McCarthy’s book Black Florida credits Silas with helping establish Bethune-Volusia Beach during the segregation years.
Farmers stampede to corn
By Barbara Hagenbaugh,
AQUILLA, Texas — Farmers in some of the most unlikely places are planting corn this year as demand for the grain to make ethanol has led to skyrocketing prices, sparking a corn rush throughout the USA.
U.S. farmers are expected to plant the largest corn crop since World War II this year, switching acreage from soybeans, cotton, rice and other crops and planting on land that has been sitting idle for years. The move is in response to soaring demand for ethanol, commonly produced from corn in the USA.
Study suggests some Montana calves fed too long
By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service
BOZEMAN — A statistical analysis of carcass data for calves enrolled in the Montana Beef Network suggests that some cattle feeders in the Midwest are feeding Montana calves too long, says John Paterson, Montana State University Extension beef specialist.
The cattle feeders who bought those calves were evidently pushing the envelope, hoping to earn more money by marketing heavier than normal animals. In doing so, they ended up with carcasses that were potentially too fat, Paterson said. Today’s consumers prefer steaks that are not excessively fat, but still juicy, tender and flavorful.
E. coli and grass fed cows
Got an email from Michael Ruhlman this AM asking:
are you sure e coli doesn’t grow in the guts of grass fed cows? i honestly don’t know and would like to. I do know it grows in the guts of dogs, hogs, horses and deer (and the deer part is the scary part because they can spread it in spinach fields). Just curious.
That got me wondering, was I confused? Did I really recall everything I’ve read correctly? So I poked around in the Megnut archives for more information. Here are two articles that I’d linked to last fall that supported me.
Cattle Health: Testing For BVD Virus
Control of BVD infection requires effective use of laboratory diagnostic tools to detect BVD virus and then to eliminate persistently infected animals.
Unvaccinated calves over six months of age are good sentinel animals and should be seronegative unless exposed to virus shed by persistently infected herdmates. Calves under 6 months of age may still have maternal antibodies and therefore may not be used as sentinel animals. Serology in young vaccinated animals may be useful because antibody titers following natural infection are usually much higher than vaccination titers.
Laboratory detection of persistently infected cattle is reliant on detection of virus through virus isolation, demonstration of viral antigen utilizing immunohistochemistry, or detection of genetic material using PCR technology. Serology is unreliable and should not be used to detect persistently infected calves. Virus isolation from serum should not be used in calves less than 6 months of age. The owner or the veterinarian may determine sampling preference.
Grass Could Pose Risk For Cattle
Marshall County Journal
Lush, rapidly growing grasses present a considerable risk for grass tetany this spring, specialists at South Dakota State University said.
SDSU Extension Forage Crops Specialist Peter Jeranyama said some cattle producers in central South Dakota already have been experiencing cases of grass tetany in their livestock.
FDA Should Reject Cattle Drug
If the federal Food and Drug Administration moves ahead with a plan to approve a new, potent antibiotic for use in cattle, it will risk undermining the effectiveness of an entire class of powerful antibiotics to treat humans. That’s too big a gamble – especially for people who already rely on one of those drugs to fight life-threatening infections.
Cefquinome is specifically designed to treat bovine respiratory disease, a pneumonia-like illness common in cattle. It’s the fourth generation of a highly powerful family of antibiotics – cephalosporins – none of which have been approved for use in animals.
Only one other medicine from that family is authorized for use in the United States. Called cefepime, it’s the drug of last resort for humans suffering from infections that would otherwise be invincible.