Daily Archives: March 7, 2006

New MSU facility designed to handle livestock more peacefully

New MSU facility designed to handle livestock more peacefully

March 06, 2006 — By Evelyn Boswell, MSU News Service

BOZEMAN — A new livestock handling facility that will have curved chutes, round pens and other stress-reducing innovations will be built this year at Montana State University’s Northern Agricultural Research Center near Havre, said Superintendent Gregg Carlson.

Based on the recommendations of an international expert whose autism gives her insights into handling livestock more peacefully, the facility will give producers in Montana and surrounding states an opportunity to see and evaluate modern working facilities and new technologies to benefit their operations, Carlson said.

Darrin Boss, animal science research associate at the research center, said, “It is an exciting time in the beef industry. The technology being used world wide in other industries is becoming commercially and economically available to agricultural producers. The new facility will become a showcase for producers to view and interact with advancing technology.”

The new facility at Havre is designed to be twice as large as the current one. If built as planned, it will measure about 250 feet by 100 feet. It will have continuous fences made of steel pipe instead of wood. Construction could begin about June 1 and be completed by Oct. 1. Cattle will be weighed and their ear tags read automatically as they walk through the chutes. Radio frequency technology and computers will open and close gates and send chutes in one of five directions so cattle will be funneled into the proper corral. Hydraulic gates and chutes will cut down on noise.

“It would be probably one of the most state-of-the art facilities in northern Montana,” Carlson said.

John Paterson, MSU Extension Beef Specialist, said, “It will be less stress on the animals, plus allow us to try some new technology. It will be just a great demonstration facility for producers to come out and look at new technology and see how they re-design chutes.”

The facility is in the final design stages and will go through various reviews, but funding was approved by the 2005 Montana State Legislature, Carlson said. The facility was part of the 2005 legislative action to improve deferred maintenance throughout the agricultural experiment station.


In accord, from farm to table

In accord, from farm to table
Farmers and chefs encourage use of sustainable and locally grown products

The Oregonian
Tuesday, March 07, 2006

T yler Jones is a farmer who put off finishing his history degree because he’d rather raise bees, pasture cattle and fence pigs in the woods.

Matt Allen is an executive chef on a four-year odyssey from frozen french fries and mass-slaughterhouse cattle to heirloom potatoes and beef raised on grass, with no hormones or antibiotics.

The two met Monday morning, in the midst of dozens of other new conversations between those who grow and raise food in Oregon and Southwest Washington, and those who put it on restaurant tables, in buffet lines and on store shelves. They talked at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby at the Farmer-Chef Connection, which has grown from nearly 70 attendees when it began in 2001 to about 275 Monday.


Japan says unclear if U.S. beef actions would work

Japan says unclear if U.S. beef actions would work


TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s vice farm minister said on Monday it is unclear if actions proposed by Washington would help prevent shipments of banned U.S. beef to Japan.

Japan suspended U.S. beef imports on January 20, just a month after it eased a two-year-old ban on U.S. beef imposed over mad cow disease fears, when Japanese inspectors discovered banned spinal material in a veal shipment from New York.

The U.S. Agriculture Department submitted to Japan on February 17 a report that examined how the violation occurred and USDA steps to prevent a repetition.

“With regard to the cause of the violation and steps to prevent a recurrence, there are several unclear points,” Vice Agriculture Minister Mamoru Ishihara told a news conference on Monday.

The Japanese government was sending questions about the U.S. report to Washington later on monday, he added.

Japan will also seek a U.S. explanation about whether USDA properly certifies U.S. meatpacking plants as eligible beef suppliers to Japan, and whether it is properly inspecting such plants, Ishihara said.

The USDA report said a U.S. firm made an ineligible shipment because the exporter and the USDA inspector were not sufficiently familiar with the requirements of Japan’s beef export programme.

The veal was shipped by Atlantic Veal and Lamb and supplied by Golden Veal, both of which were certified on January 6. USDA personnel confirmed at the time that both understood the requirements of the programme.

In December, Japan lifted a ban on imports from the U.S. of beef and beef offal from cattle aged up to 20 months, on condition that specified risk materials that could spread the disease, such as spinal cords, were removed before shipment.

Before the initial ban, Japan was the top importer of U.S. beef. In 2003, it imported 240,000 tonnes of U.S. beef valued at $1.4 billion, about one-quarter of total Japanese beef demand.


Argentine beef exports contracting

Argentine beef exports contracting


Argentina exported last January 41.056 tons of beef valued in 114.9 million US dollars which represents a 5% volume drop and 27% contraction in value.

The Argentine Agro-Food Sanitary and Quality Service, Senasa indicated that beef shipments to the European Union totalled 2.867 tons equivalent to 23.3 million US dollars, with Germany the main recipient with 1.878 tons.

Chile in January was the main importer of Argentine fresh beef with 7.599 tons, valued in 22.7 million US dollars. Processed beef was shipped mainly to United States, 2.377 tons, valued in 7.3 million US dollars.

However these numbers do not reflect the impact of the February ban on Argentine beef imposed by several markets following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the northeastern province of Corrientes, ten miles from the Paraguayan border.

So far 19 countries have restricted totally or partially Argentine beef imports.


Science puts meat safety under the scope

Science puts meat safety under the scope
Lacombe Research Station scientists examine methods to improve safety and shelf life of meat and reduce spoilage…

By Bryan Alary
Lacombe Globe Editor
Tuesday March 07, 2006

Lacombe Research Station scientist Dr. Gordon Greer counts the number of bacteria present on a petri dish sample inside a microbiology lab. The methodology is part of a process to improve meat safety.
Lacombe Globe — As the barbecue lid lifts, a waft of smoky goodness fills the air. Your grill, white-hot, screams a high-pitched wail as you send your steak on its searful journey.

The scene dazzles the senses, awakening hunger and its iron grip. The true test comes with the first bite. Delicious. Juicy. Wonderful.

Now imagine that weeks before your ribeye hit the grill it was bathing in a slurry of viruses to keep it from spoiling. Sounds crazy, right? Maybe not.

Using viruses to improve meat preservation is among the processes being studied by microbiologists at the Lacombe Research Station.

“I don’t have to tell you how devastating food-born illnesses are,” explains Dr. Gordon Greer, who has worked to control harmful bacteria in meat for 25 years at the research station. “We’re reducing meat spoilage and making the meat safer.

“Fresh meat, when it’s processed, is contaminated with a very large population of bacteria.”

Two groups of bacteria–E. Coli and salmonella–are responsible for making people sick. Other bacteria are responsible for meat spoilage, but don’t make people ill.

“We have to find a way to slow down the life of these bacteria,” Greer says. “Once they’re on the meat they’re quite happy.”

The introduction of specific bacterial viruses, or phages, shows promise in controlling harmful bacteria. The process has helped double or triple the shelf life of meat at minimal cost.

“It’s a little ecosystem,” describes Greer of the war of worlds that exists between viruses and bacteria. Phages are ‘bacteria eaters,’ that actually make fresh meat safer. They’re commonly found in the soil, sewage, water, effluent, feces and retail foods.


Cattle escape

Cattle escape

San Mateo Daily Journal

MOUNT CARMEL, Tenn. — Officials in this small town say the solution to their fugitive problem may be a new “pen.” Only they’re trying to round up cows, not felons.

Alderman Henry Bailey says the number of escaped cattle wandering the streets of the town is on the rise.

Because the town of 4,800 people has no facility to store large animals, Mount Carmel officials are left scrambling to find a place for the cattle.

Bailey suggested constructing a holding pen on the town’s sewer treatment plant property, near where stray cats and dogs are held.

Another solution might be better enforcement of the state’s regulations on livestock fencing, he said.

Rutland fire kills Heifer Project livestock

Rutland fire kills Heifer Project livestock

By Michael Naughton,
Globe Correspondent | March 7, 2006

A four-alarm fire in Rutland, Mass., destroyed a Heifer Project International barn yesterday morning and left more than 70 animals dead, including goats and chickens, fire officials said.

Nine kids and one doe, along with 59 chicks, a hen, and a duck, died in the fire, but volunteers living at the Central Massachusetts facility raced through roaring flames to save between 80 and 90 other animals, said Wendy Peskin, Northeast regional director for the nonprofit group.

Rutland Fire Chief Thomas P. Ruchala said the fire started at the Overlook Farm on Wachusett Street when heat lamps used to keep newborn kids warm were knocked over, igniting the bedding or wood shavings around the pen inside the structure. The old wooden barn also housed horses, sheep, cattle, and chickens.

With the fire quickly spreading, volunteers ran into the barn to pull the creatures out before emergency personnel arrived, Peskin said.

”The volunteers that live on the farm got up as soon as they heard about the fire Peskin said. ”One was even out there barefoot helping to remove animals from the barn.”

”They had to get horses out of burning stalls while walls around them were igniting . . . it sounded pretty scary for them.”

The fire broke out just before 7 a.m. at the farm, which serves as one of the principal learning centers for Heifer Project International, an organization that strives to end hunger and poverty around the world by teaching people the farm skills to become self-sufficient and providing them with livestock. More than 20,000 people visit the farm each year, Peskin said. Heifer has owned the farm for 20 years.

The barn was almost a total loss, said Peskin, adding that the organization would have to build a new structure.

For now, the surviving animals will be housed in an older barn on the farm that was used to store hay.