A Helping Hand from DNA
National Animal Germplasm Program supports animal health research.
by Laura McGinnis
Inbreeding. Stress. Disease. It’s hard out there for a herd. Modern livestock face many challenges, and DNA has become an increasingly popular tool for addressing them. While not exactly a panacea, an animal’s genetic heritage can provide a lot of information — and knowing more about their genes can help researchers and producers find better management techniques to keep animals healthy and happy.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) currently maintains the world’s largest, most diverse collection of livestock genetic resources — the National Animal Germplasm Program (NAGP). Housed at the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation at Fort Collins, Colo., and led by geneticist Harvey Blackburn, the NAGP preserves genetic material such as semen, embryos, ova and DNA for agricultural animals.
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Are Parasites Affecting Your Herd?
If your cattle are grazing pasture, you can bet they are infected with parasites. But how much negative effect do those worms have on your cattle? Estimates of annual losses range 25 to $200 per head, but this depends greatly on forage availability, stocking density and age of the animals. When you take a figure towards the lower end of that range, say $30, and multiply that by the total number of cows and calves residing in the U.S., you get close to $3 billion of annual losses to the U.S. beef industry just due to internal parasite detriment.
Pre-conditioning, the Smart Choice. Health Track, the Best Choice.
MFA Health Track Blog
As we are heading into the fall, it appears that we are going to have yet another year of very strong cattle prices. The temptation of many producers when cattle prices are high is to wean cattle on the truck without participating in Health Track. This thought process is completely opposite of what truly exists. When cattle prices are high, each pound of gain you add during the pre-conditioning period has more value.
Report Looks at Chemistry of Beef Flavor
When a consumer sits down for a beef meal, there’s a lot more going on inside that steak or burger than meets the eye. Beef’s terrific taste and signature aroma are compliments of a variety of chemical compounds at work in the meat that interact with the human senses and stimulate a response that is perceived by the brain.
A new, checkoff-funded technical report reviews the process in The Chemistry of Beef Flavor, prepared by M. Susan Brewer, Ph.D., a professor in the food science and human nutrition department at the University of Illinois.
Bioniche Ships First Order of E. coli O157:H7 Cattle Vaccine
Bioniche Life Sciences Inc. (TSX: BNC), a research-based, technology-driven Canadian biopharmaceutical company, today announced that the first permit has been issued for its E. coli O157:H7 cattle vaccine (“the vaccine”), and that the first order of vaccine has been shipped to that customer. The vaccine will be used for the reduction of shedding of E. coli O157:H7 bacteria in cattle. Shed bacteria can contaminate food, water and the environment. Human exposures to this pathogen result in an estimated 100,000 cases of illness per year in North America. Bioniche believes that use of the vaccine will reduce the amounts of bacteria in cattle and the related incidence of human disease.
Proper sanitation helps control stable flies
The South Mississippi Sun Herald
They look a lot like house flies, but these buggers bite. The stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) has a reputation as a severe and persistent biter. It’s about 7 mm long and can be distinguished from the common house fly by a checkerboard pattern on the top of its abdomen and a stiletto-like proboscis that protrudes forward from its head.
Stable flies (also called dog flies and biting house flies) are bloodsucking insects that cause considerable discomfort, irritation and injury to livestock, pets and people. Stable flies often attack dogs, especially around the ears and nose, resulting in raw, bleeding wounds. Anybody who was raised on a farm knows the misery they can inflict on cattle and horses. In large enough numbers, they can induce extreme distress and weight loss. In rare cases, they can cause death.
Livestock rarely protected by cruelty laws
Animal-cruelty cases in rural U.S. are rising, but most statutes provide punch only for pets
By JOHN M. GLIONNA
Los Angeles Times/Houston Chronicle
PETALUMA, CALIF. — The buzzards led Nick Bursio to his prized calf. He found the body with a bullet hole in its left shoulder, near the heart.
Bursio had heard of animals killed by rustlers for their meat. But not until that May morning had he imagined anything so senseless as shooting cattle just to watch them die.
“I had a hollow feeling in my gut, to see that dead calf laying there, with the mother cow bellowing nearby,” said the Sonoma County rancher. “I thought, what the hell’s going on in this place?”
Washington Pushing U.S. Beef On Beijing
Amid the hoopla surrounding tainted Chinese imports, U.S. trade negotiators and cattlemen are trying to convince Beijing to resume imports of U.S. beef.
Terry Stokes, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, reiterated Washington’s message: China should adopt guidelines established by the World Organization for Animal Health, which essentially deemed U.S. beef safe.
“We are very disappointed in the progress that has been made over the last year since they announced that they would resume trade with the United States,” Stokes told reporters.
South Korea to resume inspections of United States beef imports
Imports of U.S. beef can resume to South Korea after it restarted quarantine inspections suspended since earlier this month, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry said Friday.
South Korea had again effectively stopped all U.S. beef imports in early August after discovering a shipment containing vertebrae.
Oh Soon-min, an official at the ministry’s Livestock Products Sanitation Division, said South Korea’s decision to resume the inspections was effective from Friday.
W.D. Farr remembered as a Greeley legend
Friends and admirers, some close and others who only knew of W.D. Farr, said goodbye to the Greeley legend Thursday afternoon.
Farr, 97, died Aug. 13 and an estimated 600 to 700 people attended a celebration of his life memorial at the Union Colony Civic Center in Greeley. It was a fitting location, considering that Farr helped get the UCCC built — just one of his legacies.
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Julie Thelen, Aspiring Beef Breeder
State Fair Beef Exhibitor
Detroit Free Press
Where’s the beef? At the Michigan State Fair, of course. Today is Beef Day. Young people will be showing animals they’ve been grooming for a year as they compete in the Coliseum arena. Nearby, you can sign up at the beef booth to win free steaks. Cooking demonstrations are at 1:30 and 4:30 p.m. in the Community Arts Exhibit Hall. Julie Thelen, a 20-year-old Michigan State University student from Saline, will be among the exhibitors. Look for her under the Hillside Acres sign; that’s the name of her family’s farm. We caught up with her as she finished a summer internship at a farm in Iowa. She’ll be a junior at MSU this fall, studying agriscience education and animal science. Any money she makes from the cattle goes into buying more cattle or savings for college. Her parents haven’t had to pay for her college, she says proudly. After graduation, she plans to teach agriscience at a Michigan high school and keep on raising cattle. Her favorite cut of beef? Filet mignon.
Iowa plays host to ProBeef ’07 International Conference
High Plains Journal
Ames is the site for the ProBeef ’07 International Conference: A Global View of the Ethanol Industry and Beef Cattle Production. Vigortone Ag Products is teaming up with Iowa State University Extension and the Iowa Beef Center to host the Sept. 5-7 conference for beef producers, nutritionists, and biorenewable and cattle industry professionals.
The traveling conference, held in Brazil last year, features experts from Brazil and the United Kingdom speaking about the future of beef and biofuels internationally.
Cattlemen Considering Higher Checkoff Fee
U.S. cattlemen are mulling a proposal to double the $1 checkoff fee they pay for each head of cattle they sell.
It’s a topic Terry Stokes, CEO of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, is taking up with producers this week as he makes his rounds in the Midwest, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
“I want to hear from our people,” he said. “I want to understand what is on their minds.”
Congress would have to amend the Beef Act of 1985, and cattlemen would have to approve a rate change via referendum, in order to change the fee.
Experiment Station Scientist Named Fellow of Prestigious Science Society
Southwest Farm Press
Dr. Ron Randel, an East Texas based researcher with the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station, has been named a fellow of the American Society of Animal Science.
“Fellow” is an academic term of respect and in this case, reserved for a senior researcher whose work has had wide-ranging, positive impacts on the industry, said Dr. Charles Long, resident director of research at the Texas A&M University System Agricultural Research and Extension Center at Overton.
“This is a prestigious award presented by the society, which is the foremost animal science research society in the world,” Long said. “Moreover, the ASAS award is just one of many professional awards that Ron has received.”
Randel’s lifetime achievements include developing strategies to reduce livestock production risks and resolving practical problems in beef cattle reproduction, Long said. His work in the 1980s on limiting suckling time of calves resulted in a practical way for beef cattle producers to reduce the time between a cow’s calving and being ready for re-breeding.
The August 22, issue # 550, of the Ohio BEEF Cattle letter is now posted to the web at: http://fairfield.osu.edu/ag/beef/beefAgst22.html
With significant rainfall crossing much of the state in recent days, it’s time to assess where we are, and finalize plans for a feeding program that carries us until significant new growth arrives in Spring, 2008. This week, we focus on just that . . . moving forward . . .
* Taking Stock and Moving Forward
* Forage Focus: We Still Have Options for Fall and Winter Feed
* Feeding Corn Stover to Ruminants
* Weekly Roberts Agricultural Commodity Market Report
Program Assistant, Agriculture
OSU Extension, Fairfield County
831 College Ave., Suite D
Lancaster, OH 43130