The Small Ruminant Blog Sun, 15 May 2005 13:02:08 -0500 USDA AMS's final rule amends several swine, lamb reporting provisions Wed, 17 Aug 2016 13:34:00 +0000 WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) today announced a final rule amending several swine and lamb reporting provisions related to the reauthorization of the Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting program.

As authorized by the Agriculture Reauthorizations Act of 2015, the final rule includes two amendments related to swine reporting requirements and one amendment to lamb reporting requirements.

The first swine reporting amendment requires packers to report swine purchased on a negotiated formula basis as a separate purchase category. The other swine reporting amendment requires packers to report all barrow and gilt purchases made after 1:30 p.m. Central time in their morning submission on the next reporting day.

The lamb reporting amendment revises the definition of "packer owned lambs." As a result of comments received, AMS did not incorporate reporting provisions regarding lambs committed for future delivery and pelts prices paid to producers as published in the proposed rule.

Thousands of business transactions every day rest on the outcome of Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting data. The program provides marketing information for cattle, swine, lamb, and livestock products that producers can readily understand and utilize. Livestock Mandatory Price Reporting encourages competition in the marketplace by improving price and supply data, bringing transparency, breadth and depth to market reporting.

The final rule will be published in the Federal Register on Aug. 11, 2016. The final rule becomes effective on Oct. 11, 2016. For additional information, please contact: Michael Lynch, Director; Livestock, Poultry, and Grain Market News Division; Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program; 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Room 2619-S Bldg., Ag STOP 0252; Washington, DC 20250-0252; Phone: (202) 720-4846.

article from Morning AgClips
Updated Nutrition Composition Tables Wed, 16 Sep 2015 16:24:00 +0000 article from BeefMagazine that will sum of the info quite nicely. Although it is from a beef magazine, it is still relevant for small ruminant producers.

Remember that the nutritional composition of feedstuffs varies widely, especially hay. The soils can have a large impact on micronutrient content and time of harvest will impact protein and lignin content. You do not want to short change livestock, especially during late gestation of pregnancy.

To balance your ration, go to the Langston University website.  It is free and on-line.  I highly suggest you balance your rations after having your feedstuffs analyzed; if not bagged feed.]]>
Meat label preferences explored Mon, 27 Jul 2015 15:59:00 +0000 WHILE Congress considers repealing a law requiring country-of-origin labeling (COOL) on packages of beef, pork and poultry, marketing researchers at the University of Arkansas have found that such labels influence consumer perceptions about food safety and quality.

Researchers found that consumers preferred meat from the U.S. when provided with information only about where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered — and not given information about country-specific meat processing standards.

"The country-of-origin requirement appears to provide consumers with additional information that has both direct and indirect effects on purchase intentions," said Scot Burton, Arkansas professor of marketing in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. "The requirement impacts inferred attributes, meaning that meat products from the U.S. are perceived to be safer, tastier and fresher than meat products from Mexico. Of course, these attributes, in turn, have positive effects on purchase decisions."

Burton conducted the study with University of Arkansas professor of marketing Elizabeth Howlett and marketing graduate students Christopher Berry and Amaradri Mukherjee. Their findings were published in the Journal of Retailing.

Congress passed legislation in the 2002 and 2008 farm bills requiring U.S. retailers to provide origin labels for most meat and poultry products. The labels must identify the country where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered.

The legislation, which was backed by U.S. ranchers competing with the Canadian cattle industry, was also intended to provide customers with information to help them make informed shopping decisions.

The COOL mandate has been controversial, however.

The study found that previous research suggested that consumers do not value U.S.-labeled meat products more than those labeled as simply from North America. Additionally, some groups have estimated that implementation of the COOL requirements would be very costly for retailers.

According to the National Chicken Council, the average American consumed approximately 202 lb. of meat in 2014.

U.S. Department of Agriculture data showed that much of this food was imported: In 2013, 2.25 billion lb. of beef and 124 million lb. of chicken were from farms and ranches outside the U.S., including Mexico, Canada and Australia.

"The implementation of the new COOL labeling requirements is a costly undertaking for retailers and wholesalers," the report notes.

According to the Federal Register, implementation of the COOL requirements would cost roughly $123.3 million, which includes the combined costs of labeling changes for retailers and elimination of the existing commingling flexibility among processors. The costs will be shared by an estimated 33,350 retail and processing establishments owned by 7,181 firms.

From a global trade standpoint, Canada and Mexico claim that the COOL law discriminates against their producers and have threatened to impose billions of dollars in tariffs on American goods. In reaction to this, the U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to repeal the COOL law.

Mixed results

While the main goal of the COOL requirement is to help retail customers make more informed purchases, the potential benefits to consumers are unclear as past studies have revealed mixed results.

"On one hand, some research suggests that consumers do not value U.S.-labeled meat products more than products labeled as products of North America," the report says. "In fact, evidence within the broader COOL literature suggests that the impact of country of origin on consumers' attitudes and behaviors is diminishing."

Additionally, a 2013 study from Kansas State University agricultural economist Glynn Tonsor suggested that the typical U.S. consumer is unaware of these labeling requirements and generally ignores origin labels on meat products.

Other studies, however, have found that origin labels on meat and poultry products can potentially influence consumer attitudes and willingness to pay.

The University of Arkansas researchers used three studies to gain better insight into the effect of COOL on consumer choices.

In a pilot study, 50 U.S. consumers participated in a web-based survey. They were given the product's country of origin only and were asked to share their opinions on food safety, taste and freshness of meat and poultry products from 10 countries: Mexico, India, Brazil, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Russia, Thailand, China, the U.S. and Canada.

Participants perceived meat from the U.S. and Canada to be safer than meat from the other countries.

The researchers said the relative strength of the direct and indirect effects demonstrated in the first experiment should be of substantial interest to retailers and meat processors.

"In the absence of information about the equivalence of meat processing procedures used in the U.S. and Mexico, the effect size for purchase intentions is large," the researchers noted. "These effects suggest an opportunity for some retailers yet raise concerns for other firms."

The results suggest that COOL may be used as an effective promotional tool if appropriately presented and positioned, the report says. For example, a retailer might position and promote itself as selling only meat and poultry from animals born, raised and slaughtered in the U.S.

"Such positioning then may motivate consumers who do not normally consider country of origin to use this information in their subsequent evaluation and choices of meat products," the researchers suggested.

Additionally, they said a retailer's U.S.-only position may lead to other positive inferences about the general quality of product offerings in other categories, support for U.S. businesses and overall concern for their customers. In turn, these factors could positively affect retailer attitudes and patronage decisions.

In the second study, one group of participants received beef and chicken labeled with the U.S. as the country of origin, and a second group received beef and chicken labeled as originating in Mexico. The participants of this study preferred meat from the U.S.

However, the third study revealed that when consumers were told that meat processing standards in Mexico were similar to those in the U.S., purchase intentions for U.S. meat were no longer higher.

These results revealed an opportunity for retailers to promote meat from these other countries, the researchers noted.

"These retailers may design promotion programs using retail signage or posters to inform consumers about the equivalence of meat processing systems between countries," they suggested.

"If the goal of the COOL legislation is to provide consumers with more specific country-of-origin information to benefit consumers when making purchasing decisions, then it is only partially meeting this stated objective," the researchers stated.

They said U.S. consumers most likely have very limited knowledge of the audits USDA conducts of the meat processing systems in countries that supply meat to the U.S.

"Thus, if the USDA is truly striving to help consumers make more informed decisions, they should consider educating consumers about the outcomes of their international processing system audits," the researchers said.

By Krissa Welshans published on line here


Cover crops info at the click of a mouse Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:47:00 +0000 Cover crops are receiving much attention from grain and livestock producers. Cover crops can help reduce soil erosion, increase organic matter, improve early weed control, and provide forage for animals. They can also benefit the public by improving water quality, air quality, and wildlife habitat. However, choosing the correct cover crop can be daunting. There are numerous varieties and knowing which will grow well in you area can be a challenge. Also keep in mind that the same cover crop may not produce the same amount from one year to the next - growing conditions can vary immensely.

There are a couple of websites that you can visit to obtain more information.

The Midwest Cover Crops Council has an excellent website. The website includes state reports and a cover crop selector tool. This is rather helpful as it recommends those crops that should do well in your area.

Secondly is the Cover Crop Chart developed by researchers at Agricultural Research Service's Northern Great Plains Research Lab in Mandan, North Dakota. The chart includes information on crop species that may be planted individually or in mixtures and gives specifics on growth cycle, relative water use, plant architecture, forage quality, pollination, and more. The chart allows growers to see the broad spectrum of potential options that may work best for them. It also includes relevant research at NGPRL, particularly on forage quality, water use, and sequencing of individual crops.

Antibiotic alternative aids immune response Fri, 12 Jun 2015 15:32:00 +0000 Feedstuffs and thought you may be interested. It is interesting how ingenious scientists can be. The implications of this study are immense, not only from a human perspective but across numerous animal species.

A University of Wisconsin-Madison animal scientist has developed an antibiotic-free method to protect animals raised for food against common infections.

"You really can't control the bugs forever; they will always evolve a way to defeat your drugs,"Mark Cook,a professor of animal sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and entrepreneur, said.

Cook's current work focuses on a fundamental immune "off-switch" called interleukin 10 (IL-10), manipulated by bacteria and many other pathogens to defeat the immune system during infection. He and animal sciences associate researcher Jordan Sand have learned to disable this switch inside the intestine, the site of major farm animal infections such as the diarrheal disease coccidiosis.

Cook vaccinates laying hens to create antibodies to IL-10. The hens put the antibody in eggs that are then sprayed on the feed of the animals he wants to protect. The antibody neutralizes the IL-10 off-switch in those animals, allowing their immune systems to better fight disease.

In experiments with 300,000 chickens, those that ate the antibody-bearing material were fully protected against coccidiosis.

Smaller tests with larger animals also show promise. Dan Schaefer, a professor of animal science, and graduate research assistant Mitch Schaefer, halved the rate of bovine respiratory disease in beef steers by feeding them the IL-10 antibody for 14 days.

"That's a very enticing early result," Dan Schaefer says. "Bovine respiratory disease is the number one health risk for feeder cattle coming into a confinement situation." He is planning a larger trial in collaboration with colleagues at other universities.

In a test in newborn dairy calves, Sheila McGuirk, a professor of medical sciences at the School of Veterinary Medicine, found less than half as much respiratory disease among calves that ate the antibody for 10 days compared to those that did not. The treated calves also showed less shedding of Cryptosporidium parvum, a protozoa that causes diarrhea, although the trend was not statistically significant.

"These diseases cause long-term reproduction, production and growth impairments in livestock," McGuirk said. "The affected animals are suboptimal in health, performance and profitability. To have something affordable, safe and non-antibiotic that controls these very important diseases is absolutely awesome. We are eager to study this further."

In the past few years, scientists have learned that a large group of pathogens — including bacteria, single and multi-celled parasites, protozoa, even certain viruses — make a chemical called macrophage migratory inhibition factor (MIF), which activates the IL-10 mechanism to shut down the host animal's immune system.

"This apparently arose deep in the evolutionary past, and it's wholesale piracy of the immune system," Sand said.

"People have manipulated the immune system for decades, but we are doing it in the gut. Nobody has done that before," Cook said.

Cook and Sand, who have been working on the IL-10 system since 2011, are forming Ab E Discovery LLC to commercialize their research. One of the four patents they have filed through the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WAARF) has just been granted, and WARF has awarded a $100,000 Accelerator Program grant to the inventors to pursue the antibiotic-replacement technology.

A non-antibiotic method to prevent pathogens from shutting down the immune system seems far less conducive to resistance than the current routine feeding of antibiotics, Cook said.

"We are not focused on the pathogens. We are focused on what they are trying to do to the immune system. We are getting encouraging data from dairy and beef. We have conducted experiments involving 300,000 chickens in commercial farms, half receiving the product. We know it works. The market is interested, and now it's a matter of making a product," he said.

2015 Feed Composition Tables Tue, 28 Apr 2015 11:07:00 +0000
While many people just feed corn or bagged feed to their flock others may look to develop a different ration.  If you are considering developing a ration, use this table of feedstuffs to assist you.  The use of many of these items depends on their availability and cost. Keep in mind that these are averages and feed stuff composition can vary immensely for a variety of reasons.

Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana and Illinois Mon, 12 Jan 2015 10:52:00 +0000 Weed Control Guide for Ohio, Indiana and Illinois had been published on-line and is available as a PDF download. There is some information on managing weeds in legumes - pages 144-154 and grass pastures - 155-165.]]>