Tag Archives: Herd Health

* Minimizing ‘false positives’ key to vaccinating against bovine TB

Using mathematical modelling, researchers at the University of Cambridge and Animal & Plant Health Agency, Surrey, show that it is the specificity of the test — the proportion of uninfected animals that test negative — rather than the efficacy of a vaccine, that is the dominant factor in determining whether vaccination can provide a protective […]

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In beef production, cow-calf phase contributes most greenhouse gases

Scientists have long known that cattle produce carbon dioxide and methane throughout their lives, but a new study pinpoints the cow-calf stage as a major contributor of greenhouse gases during beef production. In a new paper for the Journal of Animal Science, scientists estimate greenhouse gas emissions from beef cattle during different stages of life. […]

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Beef industry, consumers to be affected by cattle production decreases in 2013

Beef production in the United States is expected to decrease 4.8 percent in 2013, the second largest year-over-year decrease in 35 years, trailing only the 6.4 percent drop in 2004. The reason is a combination of mostly steady carcass weights and a projected 5 percent or more decrease in cattle slaughter, said Derrell Peel, Oklahoma […]

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Novel prion protein in BSE-affected cattle

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) is a feed-borne prion disease that affects mainly cattle but also other ruminants, felids, and humans. Currently, 3 types of BSE have been distinguished by Western immunoblot on the basis of the signature of the proteinase K–resistant fragment of the pathologic prion protein (PrPres): the classic type of BSE (C-BSE) and […]

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More than 50 percent decline in elephants in eastern Congo due to human conflict

Humans play a far greater role in the fate of African elephants than habitat, and human conflict in particular has a devastating impact on these largest terrestrial animals, according to a new University of British Columbia study published online in PLoS ONE. In some of the best-documented cases to date, the study shows the elephant […]

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Arabian oryx a conservation success story

Once extinct in the wild, the Arabian oryx is making a modest comeback, thanks to breeding and reintroduction efforts at Jordan’s Shaumari Nature Reserve and elsewhere. A few decades ago, the odds of seeing an Arabian oryx in the wild were every bit as good as the odds of seeing a unicorn. In profile, the […]

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Want fatter cows? Bring in a zebra

Climb to the top of a hill along one of the few remaining undisturbed grasslands in East Africa, pull out the binoculars, and you may spy a black-and-white zebra herd. You may also see a few gazelles, buffaloes, and elephants. “Natural selection has favored that mix,” says Johan du Toit, an ecologist at Utah State […]

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Cows clock-in for monitored mealtimes will help to detect diseases

Electronic ear tags are being used to provide an early warning system that will help farmers identify sick animals within a herd. The new system, being trialled by scientists at Newcastle University, tracks the feeding behaviour of each individual animal, alerting farmers to any change that might indicate the cow is unwell. Using RFID (radio […]

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Livestock plagues are spreading

Livestock plagues are on the rise globally, owing to increasingly intensive farming practices and the world’s growing taste for meat and other animal products. The warning comes from scientists at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in Nairobi, Kenya, who argue that different approaches are needed to curb these diseases. A new infectious disease […]

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High-quality beef: Start cattle on corn, finish on co-products, researchers find

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The traditional practice of finishing cattle on corn may not be the only way to achieve high marbling, a desirable characteristic of quality beef. Researchers at the University of Illinois have discovered that high-quality beef and big per-head profits can be achieved by starting early-weaned cattle on corn and finishing them on a diet high […]

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Cows like leaves their tongues can wrap around easily

Lots of leaves growing in easy reach of a cow’s tongue means less time and less land needed to raise beef cattle, according to Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and DairyNZ (New Zealand) scientists. Ranchers may be able to tell how long to leave cattle in a pasture, and how large to make the pasture, by […]

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Benefits of badger culling not long lasting for reducing cattle TB

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Badger culling is unlikely to be a cost-effective way of helping control cattle TB in Britain, according to research published February 10 in PLoS ONE. The authors of the study, from Imperial College London and the Zoological Society of London, say their findings suggest that the benefits of repeated widespread badger culling, in terms of […]

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Vaccination or culling best to prevent foot-and-mouth disease, computer models suggest

Combining technology and animal health, a group of Kansas State University researchers is developing a more effective way to predict the spread of foot-and-mouth disease and the impact of preventative measures. The researchers are finding that if a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak is not in the epidemic stage, preemptive vaccination is a minimally expensive way to […]

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Researchers study microbes in cattle to unlock metabolic disease mysteries

Switching from warm-season grasses to cool-season forages can give livestock a belly ache, in some cases a deadly one, according to Texas AgriLife Research scientists. Dr. Bill Pinchak, Texas AgriLife Research animal nutritionist at Vernon, is leading a team of scientists who are using state-of-the-art technology — metagenomics — to determine how changes in diets […]

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Rinderpest will be only the second disease to be wiped out

Rinderpest, the world’s most devastating cattle disease, will be declared eradicated within 18 months, according to world health bodies. The effort will make it only the second disease to be wiped from the globe — the first was smallpox, eradicated in 1980. “Rinderpest tops the list of killer diseases in animals,” says Juan Lubroth, chief […]

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Identifying cows that gain more while eating less

With more than 2 million cows on 68,000 farms, Missouri is the third-largest beef producer in the nation. Due to rising feed prices, farmers are struggling to provide feed for the cows that contribute more than $1 billion to Missouri’s economy. University of Missouri researcher Monty Kerley, professor of animal nutrition in the College of […]

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African cattle to be protected from killer disease

Millions of African families could be saved from destitution thanks to a much-needed vaccine that is being mass-produced in a drive to protect cattle against a deadly parasite. East Coast fever is a tick-transmitted disease that kills one cow every 30 seconds – with one million a year dying of the disease. Calves are particularly […]

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Livestock can help rangelands recover from fires

A 14-year study by Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists in Oregon found that rangelands that have been grazed by cattle recover from fires more effectively than rangelands that have been protected from livestock. These surprising findings could impact management strategies for native plant communities where ecological dynamics are shifting because of climate change, invasive weeds […]

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Organic and natural beef cattle production systems offer no major difference in antibiotic susceptibility of E. Coli

A new study suggests that when compared to conventionally raised beef cattle, organic and natural production systems do not impact antibiotic susceptibility of Escherichia coli O157:H7. This discovery emphasizes that although popular for their suggested health benefit, little is actually known about the effects of organic and natural beef production on food-borne pathogens. The researchers […]

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Study of disease risk suggests ways to avoid slaughter of Yellowstone bison

Last winter, government agencies killed one third of Yellowstone National Park’s bison herd due to concerns about the possible spread of a livestock disease to cattle that graze in areas around the park. Such drastic measures may be unnecessary, however, according to researchers who have assessed the risk of disease transmission from Yellowstone bison to […]

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FDA planning to ban cattle brains, spinal cords from all animal feed

Federal authorities (USA) are accepting comments on a planned regulation that would prohibit use of some cattle tissues in all animal feeds by late April. The regulation published by the Food and Drug Administration is intended to reduce the risk of transmission of bovine spongiform encephalopathy by prohibiting use of brains and spinal cords from […]

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Minimal composting of beef cattle manure greatly reduces antibiotic levels

Composting beef cattle manure, even with minimal management, can significantly reduce the concentrations of antibiotics in the manure, according to an Agricultural Research Service (ARS) pilot study. The scientists found that composting manure from beef cattle could reduce concentrations of antibiotics by more than 99 percent. Osman Arikan, a visiting scientist from Istanbul Technical University, […]

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Hotline to the cowshed

A wireless measuring system, consisting of sensors and transmission units, helps to keep livestock healthier with a minimum use of resources. Gone are the good old days when farmers knew all their cows by name. There is little time left for the animals in today’s dairy industry. And it is easy to overlook the first […]

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Changes in urine could lead to BSE test for live animals

Researchers have demonstrated that protein levels in urine samples can indicate both the presence and progress of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) disease in cattle. Publishing their findings in BioMed Central’s open access journal Proteome Science, the scientists hope that their discovery might lead to the development of a urine-based test that could prevent the precautionary […]

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Organic free grazing cows are cream of the crop

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A new study by Newcastle University proves that organic farmers who let their cows graze as nature intended are producing better quality milk. The Nafferton Ecological Farming Group study found that grazing cows on organic farms in the UK produce milk which contains significantly higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than their conventional ‘high […]

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Tiny resonators might make for quick and early prion tests

Prions that cause disorders such as mad cow disease are notoriously difficult to detect in people or animals before symptoms arise. Now researchers are attempting to develop sensors that can detect prions by having them bind to a tiny ‘tuning fork’ that changes its tune when prions are present. Prions are abnormally structured proteins that […]

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New vaccine technology decreases E. Coli in beef cattle

Despite millions of dollars spent on food safety research over the last 10 years, ground beef recalls due to E. coli O157:H7 were higher in 2007 than in 2006, according to researchers from Kansas State University and West Texas A&M University. E. coli O157:H7 has been linked to foodborne illnesses in humans after consuming contaminated […]

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How bacteria in cows’ milk may cause Crohn’s disease

Scientists at the University of Liverpool have found how a bacterium, known to cause illness in cattle, may cause Crohn’s disease in humans. Crohn’s is a condition that affects one in 800 people in the UK and causes chronic intestinal inflammation, leading to pain, bleeding and diarrhoea. The team found that a bacterium called Mycobacterium […]

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Local livestock breeds at risk

Many of the world’s indigenous livestock breeds are in danger of dying out as commercial breeds take over, according to a worldwide inventory of animal diversity. Their extinction would mean the loss of genetic resources that help animals overcome disease and drought, particularly in the developing world, say livestock experts. “Valuable breeds are disappearing at […]

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Disease-impact models may rely on incorrect assumptions

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Even when we know how a disease affects individual animals, it is challenging to predict what impact it will have on the whole population, and yet predicting how disease affects a population is a primary concern for wildlife conservation and even public health. In a new study from the May issue of American Naturalist, Anna […]

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