Daily Archives: March 1, 2006

Many scientists doubt there’s value in eating organic foods

March 1, 2006

BY KRISTEN GERENCHER

MARKETWATCH

DETROIT FREE PRESS

When it comes to food quality in the United States, all apples are created equal. Or are they?

A growing number of people are willing to pay a premium for food certified as organic — produce generally barred from being grown with pesticides, synthetic materials or genetic modification and livestock raised without antibiotics or growth hormones.

But many scientists say it’s unlikely organic food gives consumers any extra health benefit, and they’re better off eating more fruits, vegetables and whole grains of any kind.

That message of pursuing proven dietary benefits over speculative ones seems to be getting lost as fears about the traditional food-supply chain rattle consumers.

Consumer Reports’ February cover story on organic food, for example, does a noble job of addressing what the myriad of agricultural and social-issue labels slapped on food products actually mean — in the case of organic seafood and cosmetics the term means very little, for example, since standards don’t yet exist.

The labels “natural” and “all natural” also are flimsy and don’t necessarily mean organic, Consumer Reports said.

But the magazine also aims to help consumers prioritize their organic-food dollars by setting up a hierarchy of foods deemed to be more or less affected by things such as pesticide residues and antibiotics, based on studies from advocacy groups such as the Environmental Working Group.

The assumption is that organic food is superior to conventionally grown food for long-term health, and there are those who contend there is no solid evidence of that.

“The science to date does not indicate a clear and substantial benefit from selecting organic as opposed to conventionally grown products,” said Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer Research at the University of California at Davis, who said she gets no funding from the food industry.

It’s true that organic foods have low levels of pesticide residues — but so do conventionally grown foods, she said. “There is no indication that people in the United States are becoming ill from pesticide residues in conventional food.”

Even so, sales of organic foods and beverages have been on a tear since the late 1990s. Consumers snapped up an estimated $15.4 billion worth of them in 2004, up 19% from $12.8 billion in 2003, according to Packaged Facts, the publishing division of MarketResearch.com.

Much of the sales gain appears to be driven by the worried well, an educated, mostly healthy group with ample disposable income.

Before shelling out for pricier goods, though, consumers need to keep in mind that the National Organic Program, run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is a marketing directive that doesn’t address food safety or nutrition. In 2002, the USDA put out a vast set of rules for what qualifies as organic, ranging from soil conditions to handling systems.

Shoppers see three levels of organic standards in stores, only two of which can display the official USDA “organic” seal: Products labeled “100% organic,” which must contain only organically produced ingredients, and those labeled “organic,” which have to consist of at least 95% organically produced ingredients.

Foods that contain at least 70% organic ingredients can use the phrase “made with organic ingredients” but can’t use the USDA “organic” seal.

Organic products can cost 50% more than the regular kinds, and research suggests as many as two-thirds of consumers have made an organic-food purchase, according to Consumer Reports. And organic foods certainly have their defenders.

“Organics started out decades ago as an environmentally sound production system,” said Urvashi Rangan, senior scientist and policy analyst at Consumers Union, which publishes Consumer Reports. “What’s emerging lately are scientific studies that show there may be some health benefits to organic products.”

But those studies are generally small, preliminary and inconclusive, other experts say. Even Rangan conceded the data is far from overwhelming.

“It’s very difficult to grow an organic orange and a conventional orange side by side.”

For people concerned about potentially lowering their exposure to pesticide residues, Consumer Reports said it’s worth routinely paying more for organic items such as apples, peaches, spinach, baby food, beef and milk. Unless you have deep pockets, the magazine recommends passing on organic items such as asparagus, broccoli, onions and sweet peas because, it says, they’re lower in pesticide residues.

The limited presence of pesticide residues in Americans’ food isn’t a big risk to human health and shouldn’t guide buying decisions, said Fergus Clydesdale, head of the food science department at University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a functional-foods expert with the Institute of Food Technologists, an independent scientific organization.

Pesticide residues on any food marketed in the United States have to fall within federal guidelines, he said. Consumers need to make sure they wash their produce well, whether organic or not, Clydesdale said, noting the focus should be on eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains of any kind.

AMI defends use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging

AMI defends use of carbon monoxide in meat packaging

by Pete Hisey on 3/1/2006
for Meatingplace.com

The American Meat Institute, along with guest meat scientist Mel Hunt of Kansas State University, has launched a campaign to defend the use of carbon monoxide in modified atmosphere packaging of meat products. In a press conference held Tuesday, James H. Hodges, president of the American Meat Institute Foundation, said that not only is the trace amount of carbon monoxide harmless, its use allows use of large quantities of carbon dioxide, which fights pathogen formation.Hunt noted that CO MAP packaging promotes food safety, since such cuts are all prepared at the packer and have far less exposure to oxygen and potential adulteration than meat packed by traditional methods. CO doesn’t add color to meat any more than oxygen or curing and brining do; all three result in a red color. Mark Dopp, general counsel and senior vice president of regulatory affairs, AMI, noted that contrary to charges from consumer groups, “CO doesn’t impart color; it stabilizes natural color.” He added that the majority of meat packaged with CO is sold under brand names, and “this industry has no incentive to destroy our own brands.”AMI will host a 90-minute session concerning the issue during its Annual Meat

The BSE Saga Continues

The BSE Saga Continues

Beef, March 01, 2006

A market-recovery process that was beginning to widen its stride in late 2005 and early 2006 slowed to a shuffle Jan. 20.

That’s the day Japanese inspectors at Tokyo’s Narita Airport found vertebral column in a small shipment of U.S. veal from Brooklyn, NY-based Atlantic Veal and Lamb, and promptly re-imposed the two-year-old ban on U.S. beef that had ended Dec. 12. About 1,500 tons of U.S. beef product had been shipped to Japan in that 40-day window.

Beef trade with Japan had reopened under a Dec. 12 agreement allowing product from U.S. and Canadian cattle 20 months of age and younger. In addition, all traditional “specified-risk material” was to be removed. A total of about 40 U.S. firms had been certified by USDA for export to Japan.
Vertebral column, however, isn’t considered at-risk material in cattle younger than 30 months, wherein lies the misunderstanding by the inspector who certified the veal for export. Food safety isn’t in question, but the inclusion of backbone violated the agreement.

By mid-day Jan. 20, USDA Secretary Mike Johanns delivered his agency’s plan for winning back Japanese confidence:

USDA will submit a report to Japan on its investigation, actions and consequences for U.S. incompliance with agreement.

The Brooklyn, NY, processor was de-listed for export to Japan, and no additional plants will be listed until the proper procedures are in place.

A second USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) signature will be required on Beef Export Verification (BEV) certificates. In addition, unannounced USDA inspections will be a part of the BEV program.

FSIS held a conference call with district managers to reaffirm requirements on all countries with which the U.S. has a BEV program.

Require inspectors in BEV plants to review procedures and ensure compliance.
A U.S. team was sent to Japan to work with Japan’s government to review all shipments currently in-country.

Require further training of FSIS inspectors on BEV requirements; require signed validation they’ve successfully completed the training.

Conduct a meeting of all BEV plant participants to ensure all requirements are met.
The U.S. dodgne bullet that week, however, when South Korea announced that the Japan situation wouldn’t affect its decision earlier in the week to reopen its market to U.S. beef in late March. That agreement allows the importation of boneless beef 30 months of age and younger.

In addition, Taiwan and Singapore reopened their markets to U.S. exports of boneless beef from animals 30 months of age and younger.

Other BSE-related news of that hectic week included:
On Jan. 23, Japan announced its 22nd case of domestic BSE after tests confirmed a cow that died the previous week was infected with the fatal brain-wasting disease. The 64-month-old cow was born before Japan implemented its feed ban.

That same day, Canada confirmed its fourth domestic case of BSE, this one in a six-year-old crossbred cow in Alberta. The announcement led to calls by some in the U.S. for closure of the U.S. border to Canadian beef imports, but Johanns said he didn’t expect any change in U.S.-Canada trade.

For more information on this publication, or to subscribe to the print edition, visit http://www.beef-mag.com.

China’s Pricing Is Tough to Swallow

China’s Pricing Is Tough to Swallow

The Dallas Morning News,
February 27, 2006

Mycattle.com
by Jim Landers

DALLAS – Manufacturers have learned to wince when someone mentions “the China price,” because it’s often lower than the U.S. cost of production. Now there’s a “China price” that’s so high, it has consumers wincing.

Bradley Reynolds, vice president of Animal Science Products Inc. in Nacogdoches, Texas, said prices for vitamins and minerals doubled after Chinese producers captured a dominant share of the global market.

“What we can’t do is have the Chinese using dumping prices, putting everybody else out of business, and then, when they get the market, start raising prices themselves,” he said.
Reynolds said his Chinese raw material costs for catfish, pet and livestock feed supplements started the decade at eyebrow-raising low prices.

“You get to thinking, they have some power behind their motor. They don’t have all the environmental laws, they have cheap labor, maybe they really can produce that cheaply,” he said.
“Then it went from $4 a kilo to $8 a kilo,” he said. “And catfish producers use a lot of our product.”
Animal Science Products is suing, alleging price-fixing in violation of U.S. antitrust laws. The Chinese haven’t formally responded.

But the case may demonstrate the hazards of trying to manage a transition from communism to capitalism.

The U.S. government has filed more than 70 anti-dumping complaints against Chinese firms. To avoid still more complaints, the Chinese government has apparently brought some companies together to raise their world-beater prices, according to the Chinese business magazine Caijing.
That still looks like fixing prices. But if a government compels it, it could escape the reach of U.S. courts – and the U.S. Justice Department.

Six years ago, a team of federal sleuths led by the antitrust division’s Dallas office won guilty pleas and $1 billion in fines from European and Japanese vitamin makers who had formed a cartel to fix prices. Some of the executives involved went to jail.

Prosecuting Chinese manufacturers – and trying to define their relationship with the Chinese government – could involve “some fairly substantial foreign policy implications,” said C. Paul Rogers, a law professor at Southern Methodist University.

The Bush administration is already treading on eggshells with China over the low value of China’s currency, intellectual property piracy and a trade deficit that last year came to nearly $202 billion. Senior administration officials raised the rhetoric on these topics mid-February, but they have stopped short of launching major enforcement actions sought by many in Congress.

Antitrust is an area where Chinese law is still evolving. The communist government has worried many international firms by suggesting they would have to clear mergers with Chinese regulators, just as they now do with the U.S. Justice Department and the European Union. China has also proposed anti-monopoly rules for Chinese companies, but the government still seems to pop up in pricing decisions in some circumstances, in part to avoid anti-dumping complaints.

William Isaacson, Reynolds’ attorney in Washington, said that’s not what’s happened with vitamins and magnesite (a processed form of magnesium that’s used as a cattle nutrient and in processing steel).
“The trade association documents say these people got together to raise prices. No anti-dumping actions were being considered,” he said. “Once they realized they were running the market and had driven the Japanese and Europeans out, they bragged about it.”

Isaacson’s research shows Chinese companies have a 60 percent share of the world market for vitamin C. Their unique production process gives them manufacturing costs of $2.30 a kilogram (2.2 pounds), which is half the cost faced by other manufacturers.

After the Chinese vitamin C manufacturers formed a trade association in 2001, their prices went from $2.50 a kilogram to $7 by December 2002. When the SARS virus spread from China in 2003, vitamin C prices jumped to $15 a kilogram and then fell back again.

James Serota, a New York-based attorney representing the Northeast Pharmaceutical Group Co. of Shenyang, China, would not comment about the case. In court motions, he has said defendant Northeast is owned by the Chinese government, suggesting a possible line of defense.
Led by the Animal Science Products suit, half a dozen cases have been filed in U.S. courts over the last year alleging price-fixing by the Chinese vitamin companies.

Reynolds said it might take years to get a resolution. “I’d rather have it not going on,

Cattle Update: Pre-Breeding Excellent Time To Vaccinate Cows

Cattle Update: Pre-Breeding Excellent Time To Vaccinate Cows

Cow vaccination programs are often overlooked by producers. However, these vaccinations are important to reproductive success. Diseases that are part of the bovine respiratory disease (BRD) complex can also cause abortions in cattle. Two viruses from the BRD complex implicated in abortions are Infectious Bovine Rhinotracheitis (IBR) and Bovine Viral Diarrhea (BVD). In addition, leptospirosis (Lepto) is common in Virginia and causes abortion in cattle. Vaccinating lactating or open cows before breeding with a high quality vaccine will reduce chances that these diseases will cause a decrease in reproductive efficiency.

Another recent benefit of vaccinating cows prebreeding is that certain vaccines now allow for the use of modified-live virus vaccines against BRD to be used in calves nursing pregnant cows IF cows were vaccinated with the same vaccine prebreeding. The use of modified-live virus vaccines in calves allows for nursing calves to be vaccinated in accordance to VQA Certified Feeder Calf requirements with only one shot for the BRD complex. Currently, Bovi-Shield and PregGaurd (Pfizer), and Pyramid (Ft. Dodge) vaccines are labeled for use in calves nursing previously vaccinated cows. Before using any of these modified-live virus products in calves nursing pregnant cows, please consult your veterinarian to ensure your herd health program and product choice is compatible with use in nursing calves and pregnant cows.

Recommended Vaccinations for Cows
Recommended prebreeding vaccinations for cows include IBR, PI3, BVD, BRSV, 5-way Leptospirosis. A new Lepto organism called Lepto hardjo-bovis is also gaining current attention and vaccines are now available for this agent. While it seems clear that the organism is present in our Virginia cattle, there is still a lack of data on whether vaccination for the disease will improve reproductive performance in our herds. Vaccinations against Vibrio, a venereal disease, should be included if recommended by your veterinarian. Either killed or modified-live virus products may be used as prebreeding vaccinations. However, producers must be careful to follow label directions. Remember all killed virus vaccines must be boostered with same product in 14 to 28 days as indicated on the label. Most modified-live virus vaccines only require one dose, but several require a booster for BRSV. In addition, not all modified-live virus vaccines are approved for use in calves nursing pregnant cows even if the cows were previously vaccinated.

For more information on a recommended herd health program for the cow-calf herd see “Beef Cow/Calf Herd Health Program and Calendar” authored by Drs. Whittier and Currin. This publication is available at http://www.ext.vt.edu/pubs/beef/400-007/400-007.pdf or through your local Extension office.

In addition to prebreeding vaccinations, all cows should receive a revaccination against Lepto at weaning or pregnancy exam. Because of the nature of the Lepto vaccine, immunity to Lepto developed by cows is relatively short lived. So revaccination every 6 months is essential to adequate protection against leptospirosis.

Barriers to Prebreeding Vaccinations
One of the biggest barriers to a quality prebreeding vaccination program is a long calving season. Calving seasons extending beyond 75 to 90 days often have cows still calving when bulls are turned in. Producers should strive for a calving season that is only 75 to 80 days long. Initially, producers with herds with extended calving seasons can vaccinate cows in groups as they calve. Some vaccines are approved for annual revaccination at pregnancy exam once initial vaccinations have been completed.

Producers should also work with their veterinarian on a vaccination program for their replacement heifers. Having these animals properly immunized with a modified-live virus product before their initial breeding season can help in establishing a routine of prebreeding vaccinations for the cow herd.

Another barrier is time management. Calving season and prebreeding season often overlap. Producers need to be careful and plan ahead for timing of vaccinations. A good herd health program can go awry if one forgets prebreeding vaccinations only one year.

Lack of time between calving and the beginning of the breeding season is often cited by producers as a barrier to prebreeding vaccinations. Traditional recommendations were to complete all vaccinations by 30 days before the breeding season especially for modified-live virus vaccines. Research indicated that exposure of previously unvaccinated cows to a modified-live vaccine within 2 weeks of the breeding season reduced pregnancy rates due to the immune response to the vaccine. Recent research by Dr. Dee Whittier at Virginia Tech indicates that vaccinations with a modified-live virus product can occur as little as 10 days before the breeding season IF the cows have been vaccinated with the same product in previous years.

Plan now to incorporate prebreeding vaccinations in your herd health program and it will make your entire herd health program easier. In addition, calf health may be improved by vaccination of the calf pre-weaning.

Disclaimer
Commercial products are named in this article for informational purposes only. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University do not endorse these products and do not intend discrimination against other products that also may be suitable.

Sweden Reports Suspected Case Of Mad Cow Disease

Sweden Reports Suspected Case Of Mad Cow Disease

Cattlenetwork.com

STOCKHOLM (AP)–Sweden reported a suspected case of mad cow disease after tests showed symptoms of the illness in a domestic cow, authorities said Tuesday.

The tests from a 12-year-old cow in central Sweden had been sent to a laboratory in the U.K. for confirmation, the Vastmanland county government said in a statement.

Sweden is one of few European countries who have never had a confirmed case of mad cow disease, or bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Between 2001 and 2003, preliminary tests showed signs of the illness in 10 Swedish cows, but all the final tests were negative.

Lab results from the U.K. were expected within 14 days, the county government said.

Mexico Finishes Rule On US Bone-In Beef Trade

Mexico Finishes Rule On US Bone-In Beef Trade

Cattlenetwork,com

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Mexico has finished and published new rules that will allow for the importation of U.S. bone-in beef products and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is now working on the specifications U.S. industry must conform with to begin exporting the products, U.S. government and industry officials said Tuesday.

The new rules are more restrictive than USDA officials and industry representatives said they were hoping for, but they do allow for more U.S. beef exports.

“It’s not a huge deal,” one U.S. industry official said about Mexico’s new bone-in rule that requires exporters to remove more than expected bovine parts that are considered to be safety concerns. But, the official said, it does create more bureaucratic hoops and make some additional processing necessary.

Mexico is refusing to buy U.S. bone-in cuts unless spinal cords, brains and skulls are first removed even though the country only imports U.S. beef from young cattle, under 30 months old at slaughter. The USDA does not consider those parts to be “specified risk material” – material that can transmit `mad cow’ disease – because the cattle are under 30 months old when slaughtered.

USDA spokesman Ed Loyd said the new Mexican rule will require the U.S. to create two separate programs for exporters to follow for shipping boneless and bone-in beef products.

U.S. exporters do not have to change their process for shipping boneless beef to Mexico – that trade can continue without interruption – but they will have to adhere to a new export verification, or EV, program USDA is creating to help industry comply with the new Mexican rules for bone-in beef.

Mexico, along with many countries, banned all U.S. beef in December 2003 in reaction to a case of `mad cow’ disease, scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

Mexico partially lifted its ban on U.S. beef in March 2004 to allow in some boneless product. Earlier this month Mexico announced it was ready to import bone-in products and U.S. and Mexican negotiators began meeting to work out the details on how that would be done.

Mexico, before BSE had been discovered in the U.S., was the second-largest market for U.S. beef behind Japan. Mexico imported $819 million worth of beef from the U.S. in 2003, according to data compiled by the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Central Garden Completes Acquisition of Farnam

Central Garden Completes Acquisition of Farnam

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)
Feb. 28, 2006

Central Garden & Pet Company (NASDAQ:CENT) today announced that it has completed the previously announced acquisition of Farnam Companies, Inc for approximately $287 million, plus $4 million for the purchase of related real property.

Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Farnam is a leading manufacturer and marketer of innovative health care products primarily for horses, household pets and livestock sold through over-the-counter and veterinary channels. In addition to the internationally recognized Farnam umbrella brand, Farnam’s portfolio of industry leading brands includes Equicare(R), ComboCare(TM), IverCare(TM), and Repel-X(R) for horses; D-Worm(TM), BioSpot(R) and Scratchex(R) for household pets; and Adams(TM) and Bite Free(TM) insect controls for home and yard care.

Central Garden & Pet Company is a leading innovator, marketer and producer of quality branded products for the pet and lawn and garden supplies markets. Our pet products include pet bird and small animal food, aquarium products, flea, tick, mosquito and other pest control products, edible bones, cages, carriers, pet books, and other dog, cat, reptile and small animal products. These products are sold under a number of brand names, including Kaytee, Super Pet, All-Glass Aquarium, Oceanic, Kent Marine, Energy Savers Unlimited, Zodiac, Pre-Strike, Altosid, Nylabone, TFH, Four Paws, Interpet and Breeder’s Choice. Our lawn and garden products include grass seed, wild bird food, weed and insect control products, and decorative outdoor patio products. These products are sold under a number of brand names, including Pennington, Norcal Pottery, New England Pottery, GKI/Bethlehem Lighting, Lilly Miller, Matthews Four Seasons, Cedar Works, AMDRO, Grant’s, Sevin and Over’n Out. For additional information on Central Garden & Pet, including access to the Company’s SEC filings, please visit the Company’s website at http://www.central.com/.

S. Korea To Inspect U.S. Beef Plants In Early March

S. Korea To Inspect U.S. Beef Plants In Early March

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–South Korea is preparing to send government officials to inspect U.S. beef production facilities in early March as part of a negotiated process to ease South Korea’s import ban, government and industry officials said.

A South Korean government official said details on the trip are being worked out now in Seoul and a U.S. industry representative said the delegation is expected to arrive in the U.S. on March 6. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity.

U.S. industry officials said the delegation is expected to inspect more than 20 U.S. beef facilities.

Senior U.S. Department of Agriculture officials were in Vietnam over the weekend for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group meeting and were scheduled to meet with South Korean officials in side meetings to make sure the beef ban-lifting process is running smoothly.

U.S. and South Korean negotiators reached a preliminary deal in January that would allow some exports of U.S. beef products to resume.

USDA Secretary Mike Johanns has said recently he expects that to happen by the end of March.

South Korea, along with most of the foreign markets for U.S. beef, stopped importing in December 2003 after a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad-cow disease, was discovered in Washington state.

The January agreement reached by U.S. and South Korean negotiators in Seoul would allow the U.S. export only boneless beef from cattle under 30 month old and would continue to ban bovine offal products.

The agreement — which would allow the U.S. to begin shipping to one of its former top foreign markets — was lauded and criticized at the same time by U.S. government officials.

Johanns said it was a “welcome” outcome, but U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman complained it did not go far enough.

“We will continue to urge Korea in the strongest terms to open its market without delay to U.S. bone-in beef, variety meats, and offal,” Portman said in January. “Together these products historically accounted for approximately 50 percent of U.S. beef exports to Korea.”

The U.S. exported $815 million worth of beef to South Korea in 2003 and $449 million of those shipments were boneless products, according to USDA.

Source: Bill Tomson; Dow Jones Newswires; 202-646-0088; bill.tomson@dowjones.com

Thornberry seeks extension of farm bill

Thornberry seeks extension of farm bill

Feb 24, 2006 9:45 AM
Farm Press Daily

Congress will be attempting to write a new farm bill without a clear understanding of the trade conditions that the new WTO agreement will create.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Mac Thornberry of Texas says it would be unfair to our nation’s agriculture producers to write a new farm bill in the midst of ongoing international trade negotiations. Today, Thornberry filed legislation to extend the current farm bill until the Doha round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations is complete.

“Our nation’s farmers and their lenders should not be asked to operate under rules that keep changing. We should get fairer global trading rules in place first before we write the next farm bill,” said Thornberry.

The current farm bill was approved in 2002, and many of its provisions are scheduled to expire in 2007. Congress has begun preliminary work on the next farm bill. But, unless the Doha process can be completed before the current farm bill expires, Congress will be attempting to write a new farm bill without a clear understanding of the trade conditions that the new WTO agreement will create. Thornberry wants to prevent the possibility that a new farm bill could wind up putting American farmers at a competitive disadvantage when new international trade rules are later established.

Under H.R. 4775, the 2002 farm bill will remain in effect while the Doha negotiations continue. The bill will also keep the current farm bill in place for at least one crop year after Congress has approved legislation to implement any eventual Doha agreement.

“I believe extending the current farm bill will help our trade negotiators by making the point that we are insisting on a more level playing field with regard to market access, domestic support, and export assistance. Producers I talk to have said they like the 2002 farm bill’s structure. We should be careful about making changes until we know what will result from the Doha negotiations,” Thornberry said.

BVD Screening

BVD Screening

A new pilot project this spring will help Montana ranchers screen their cattle for persistent bovine viral diarrhea. John Paterson is an Extension Service beef specialist at Montana State University. He says the project is a new component of the Montana Beef Quality Assurance program. It is designed to gauge the prevalence of the infection in Montana cattle, demonstrate new cost-effective pooled screening diagnostic techniques, and investigate the economics of eliminating B-V-D on a herd-by-herd basis. Cost-share assistance is available on a first-come, first-served basis. The project is funded by the Montana Stockgrowers Association and M-S-U Extension, and is modeled after a similar program in Colorado

Story published / updated: 3:34 PM, Tue Feb 28

POST-PARTUM BEHAVIOR STUDIED

POST-PARTUM BEHAVIOR STUDIED

Source: The Register, December 2005. Submitted by David Kirkpatrick

Researchers in Arkansas found that calf survivability is directly related to the aggressiveness of their mothers. In a study of more than 5,000 births from 142 sires over 25 years, cows were classified for their aggressiveness. “Very aggressive” cows had calf survivability at 93%, while “very attentive” cows were 86%; “indifferent” cows were 77%; and “apathetic” cows were just 60%.
Five breeds were studied, with Angus cows ranked as the most aggressive, followed in order by Charolais, Polled Hereford, Hereford and Red Poll.