Weekly livestock news for December 2: poultry exports to China, cage-free laws, hay quality

FSIS announces 172 poultry plants cleared to export to China

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service listed 172 poultry processing plants that have been approved to export their products to China, following China’s decision in November to lift a ban on U.S. poultry, Meat + Poultry reports. Processors include Tyson, Sanderson Farms, Pilgrim’s Pride, Perdue and Foster Farms. Several other companies are expected to receive approval to ship poultry products to China, including Cargill, Butterball, Wayne Farms, Koch Foods and Peco Foods. A complete list of companies that can export is available online.

Michigan cage-free egg bill signed into law; judge upholds California cage-free standards

A new law in Michigan will require that all eggs produced or sold in the state be produced in cage-free laying systems by 2025, WattAgNet reports. The bill amended the Michigan Animal Industry Act, which set the state’s first-ever cage-free hen housing standard. According to Michigan Allied Poultry Industries, the new law aligns the needs of farmers with commitments made by egg retailers, who have promised to sell only cage-free eggs by 2025. Meanwhile, Feedstuffs reports that a California judge rejected a request by the North American Meat Institute to issue a preliminary injunction against Proposition 12, which requires cage-free standards for all egg-laying hens as well as additional space for sow gestation crates and calves raised for veal. Beginning in 2020, California businesses will be banned from selling eggs or uncooked pork or veal that came from animals housed in ways that don’t meet these standards. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, asked the court to halt implementation of the law because, NAMI said, it violates the Commerce Clause and the federal structure of the U.S. Constitution.

Poor hay quality could cause malnutrition this winter

Midwest land grant universities are urging producers in the region to test their hay and consider supplemental feed this winter due to extremely poor hay quality, Emma Penrod writes in Feed Strategy. Much of this year’s hay crop has extremely high fiber content and may be essentially devoid of nutrition for most animals, said Keith Johnson, a Purdue University forage specialist who described this year’s hay as “closer to being straw.” The fiber content of the hay tested at Purdue this year is so high that cattle and other animals are physically incapable of eating enough of it to satisfy their nutritional needs, Johnson said. This situation is exacerbated by the limited availability of forage in the field, which will increase the number of cattle fed hay in the Midwest this winter. Johnson and other specialists say producers should take action now, including bringing in a nutritionist if necessary, to avoid losing condition on their animals over the winter. Some producers may have to consider culling or selling animals, one expert said.

Germany raises African swine fever alert level

Poland’s agriculture ministry confirmed the African swine fever virus has been detected in a wild boar in Lubusz, a province on Poland’s western border with Germany. It’s unknown how the virus jumped to an animal in such a distant location, Jackie Linden reports in Feed Strategy. The boar was found at the beginning of November, and the presence of ASF was confirmed 10 days later, according to a report from officials in Poland. The location was about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from the Germany-Poland border, putting officials on edge in Germany, which has a large population of domestic pigs and wild boar. Pig producers are being urged to raise their farm biosecurity, according to the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture. An information campaign of posters and flyers has been initiated at service stations and rest stops, warning the public of transmitting the ASF virus in pig meat and carelessly discarded foods. Romania and several other European states have also reported more ASF cases.

Kindred Biosciences announces FDA approval of horse fever treatment

Biopharmaceutical manufacturer Kindred Biosciences announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has approved Zimeta (dipyrone injection) for the control of pyrexia in horses. Pyrexia, or fever, is associated with several underlying diseases and can result in dehydration, laminitis, muscle wasting, weight loss, and in some cases death. It can also lead to loss of training and competition days for performance horses. More than 1 million of the United States’ 8 million horses are seen by a veterinarian for fever each year, according to KindredBio’s announcement. The company says Zimeta, which is classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, is the first and only FDA-approved medication for the control of pyrexia in horses. The drug targets fever centrally in the brain, where it originates, KindredBio said.

Groups submit recommendations to help farmers address climate change

The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance and the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture submitted comments to a U.S. House committee on actions necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, maximize carbon storage and enhance the climate resilience of farmers and ranchers, Jacqui Fatka writes in Feedstuffs. The organizations recommended prioritizing voluntary, incentive-based efforts that help farmers and ranchers pursue greenhouse gas reduction and carbon storage goals. Advancing voluntary, incentive-based programs will likely require additional resources for research, technical assistance and development of financing models, the comments said. The groups also expressed support for incentive structures that encourage and scale up environmentally friendly practices, and they encouraged new research tools to help farmers and ranchers adapt to a changing climate. SFPA’s member companies include Danone North America, Mars Inc., Nestlé and Unilever.