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?”