Weekly livestock news: February 13, 2023

Scientists develop African swine fever surrogate virus to study prevention

University of Minnesota researchers say they’ve developed and validated a surrogate virus for African swine fever that will help create effective mitigation strategies to control ASF and keep it from entering North America. The surrogate virus, called Emiliania huxleyi virus (EhV), is “strikingly similar to ASFV in terms of its structure and stability,” according to the announcement. “It can be safely used in field studies to help scientists understand more about how the virus is transmitted in real-world conditions, and what strategies are effective to prevent its spread.”

Veterinarians debate controversial livestock depopulation method

Veterinarians are split on whether a controversial method of depopulation should be allowed on livestock, the VIN News Service reports. The AVMA recently barred entry to its Humane Endings Symposium for some veterinarians who have publicly criticized the organization’s acceptance of ventilation shutdown plus, or VSD+. The process involves sealing a building with animals, usually poultry or swine, by blocking off fans and ventilation systems and pumping in heat or humidity until temperatures rise enough to kill the animals. The AVMA holds it should be a last resort, and the USDA has a similar stance, permitting it during disease threats such as the current bird flu outbreak.

VCPR will be critical as new FDA guidance on antimicrobials takes effect, Zoetis official says

A Zoetis official encourages livestock producers and veterinarians to work together as the FDA prepares to implement new guidelines calling for animal drug manufacturers to change medically important antimicrobial drugs from over-the-counter to prescription status by June 11. “Now more than ever, it is important to ensure that a [veterinarian-client-patient] relationship is in place, and revisiting treatment protocols and where products are available will be keys to success,” said Dr. Mike Lormore, head of U.S. cattle and pork technical services at Zoetis. Midwest Messenger reports.

Profits and drought relief expected for cattle producers in 2023: CattleFax

Prices and profitability will favor cattle producers this year as the industry begins 2023 with the lowest cattle supply since 2015, according to CattleFax. This follows drought that caused the industry to dig deeper into the supply of feeder cattle and calves. While the exact path to drought relief is unclear, improvements are expected to translate to moderating feed costs, especially in the second half of 2023. Combined with higher cattle prices, cattle producers, particularly cow-calf operators, will continue to see improvements in margins for the next several years, according to CattleFax.

U.S. dairy exports reached record $9.6 billion last year, USDA data shows

U.S. dairy exports set new volume and value records last year despite rampant inflation and other challenges, according to newly released data. This was the third straight record year for volume and the second for value, Feedstuffs reports. The data from USDA shows U.S. dairy exports totaled $9.6 billion last year, up 25% from 2021 and an 85% increase in the last 10 years. It’s also the first time value has reached $9 billion. Volume of dairy exports in 2022 was 2.82 million metric tons, up 52% over the past 10 years. Export volume in 2022 was equivalent to 18% of U.S. milk produced last year, also an all-time high.

How can producers reduce cattle stress for a healthy feedlot?

Calves arriving at the feedlot experience a variety of stressors, and it’s important to provide immediate attention to these animals, a nutritionist from Zoetis said at the recent Lancaster Cattle Feeders Day in Pennsylvania. Stressed cattle need a minimum of 25% more quality nutrients than cattle in general, said Zoetis nutritionist Blaine Corners. Giving calves immediate access to clean water should be the first step, Corners said. More advice is featured in the article in Lancaster Farming.