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Three Global Animal Health Risks

Veterinarian shares global animal health concerns in animal protein production.

Globally, animal diseases cause 20% morbidity, but many high-impact diseases have the potential to be controlled and eradicated. Subhash Morzaria, veterinarian with the International Livestock Research Institute, said these diseases pose a significant threat to animal protein production and food security. He spoke in a breakout session of the 30th International Livestock Congress (ILC–USA) in Houston, Texas, March 5.

Global food security is a major issue, with 805 million people suffering from chronic malnutrition. More than 90% of total population growth will be in Africa, Asia and Latin American in the next 30 years, and most of the livestock population resides in the developing world, he said.

The three main types of health risks are chronic endemic diseases, high-impact infectious transboundary animal diseases (TAD) and high-impact TADs that spill over to humans. Read more.

It’s Nutrients, Not Ingredients

Take advantage of outside-the-box feedstuffs.

Sometimes, even after an optimistic growing season, Mother Nature will still drain the pot. In August 2014, with barley and wheat crops on the verge of harvest, the Rocky Mountain region received an unseasonable amount of rainfall. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Montana received 276% of its average precipitation, and rainfall records were smashed for parts of Idaho. Unfortunately, much of the grain sprouted while still standing in the field. Farmers experienced steep discounts and rejections from area grain mills.

The rain was a double-edged sword for agriculture. Nearly an entire grain crop was sacrificed, but the brown rangelands were brought back to life, and there existed an untimely greenness from September through December. However, while the dry lands gained in green, the third-crop hay that lay on the ground was lost. Stacks of black hay dotted field corners throughout the region. Read more.

Silage Alternatives

Sorghum silage a suitable alternative to corn silage if properly managed.

Sorghum silage can provide an alternative to corn silage, but not all sorghum silages are equal, according to two Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service specialists.

Ellen Jordan, AgriLife Extension dairy specialist in Dallas, and Ted McCollum, beef cattle specialist in Amarillo, recently spoke at a sorghum educational meeting in Dimmitt, Texas.

McCollum said forages have nutritional and functional roles in beef and dairy diets. Functionally, roughages are necessary to stimulate rumination, which promotes feed breakdown and also reduces acidosis. Read more.

Rick Rasby

Ridin’ Herd

Summer costs continue to rise.

Although calf prices have decreased some recently, cow-calf producers are still experiencing some good times economically. Widespread moisture would be nice to get the grass going in some areas and to help with drought recovery in others. Forage availability continues to be a challenge in some areas. Because of the high grain prices in the past, there were a lot of acres of pasture and hay converted to row crops. Even though grain prices have come down since those highs were experienced, very little if any of the pasture- or hayland that was converted to row crops has been converted back. As the beef cow inventory starts to rebuild in some areas, there will be challenges to meet the increase in forage demand. The cost of pasture continues to increase. Read more.

Brisket Disease Research

Genetic heritability of pulmonary arterial pressure is similar to that of yearling weight.

Some cattle at high elevations suffer pulmonary arterial hypertension, often called brisket disease, which leads to congestive heart failure. Susceptibility is inherited. A test developed in humans for measuring pulmonary arterial pressure (PAP) can determine which animals are most at risk for brisket disease, but it only works if the animals are tested at high elevations.

The problem sometimes appears in feedlot cattle, even at low elevations, as these animals get closer to finish weight, because the heart must work harder. These cattle can have the same clinical appearance. Read more.

Energy-dense Forages

Specific forages have potential to develop early marbling cells in young calves.

Clayton Robins was part of a team from Canada that went to Argentina in 2008 to look at the forage-fed beef industry.

“We spent most of our time with Dr. Anibal Pordomingo, a renowned beef and forage scientist. He showed us a slide demonstrating plant water-soluble carbohydrate (sugar) levels in cereals as they advance physiologically,” says Robins.

“As the sugars changed, they looked at animal gain. There was a linear relationship. As the sugars went up, animal gains went up to impressive levels. We had been struggling with how we could make forage finishing work, as part of our research program,” he says. Read more.

Study Finds Common Equine Parasite
Misidentified in Textbooks

The only difference between two species of roundworm is the number of chromosomes.

A recent study led by Martin Nielsen, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky (UK) Gluck Equine Research Center, found that veterinary medicine textbooks have misidentified a common equine parasite.

The large equine roundworm Parascaris equorum, commonly referred to as the ascarid, which is known for infecting foals, is actually a different species — Parascaris univalens. The research suggests P. univalens is the main species now observed in equines. The broader designation Parascaris spp. should be used instead unless cytological characterization (a technique for characterizing chromosomes) has confirmed the species. Read more.

Cattle Diseases: Common Conditions/Terms

Click here for a list of common conditions and terms related to beef cattle diseases, such as anaplasmosis, brucellosis, BVD, E. coli, IBR and others.

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