Weekly livestock news: February 20, 2023

Spreading to new countries, bird flu is now a year-round threat to poultry farms, experts say

Avian flu has reached new parts of the world and become endemic for the first time in some wild birds that transmit the virus to poultry, according to veterinarians and disease reports, who say it’s now a year-round problem. More than 20 experts and farmers on four continents told Reuters the prevalence of the virus in the wild is a sign record outbreaks on poultry farms won’t decline soon, increasing the threat to the world’s food supply. They warned farmers must view the disease as a serious risk all year instead of focusing on prevention efforts during spring migration seasons for wild birds.

Brazil remains free of bird flu as cases are confirmed in neighboring countries

Brazil’s agriculture minister, Carlos Favaro, said last week that after investigating three suspected cases of bird flu, negative test results confirmed the country—which is the world’s biggest chicken exporter—was free of the virus. This comes as cases were confirmed in neighboring Argentina and Uruguay. Favaro said Brazil’s government would increase measures to prevent outbreaks as the virus spreads in South America, Reuters reports.

The top headwinds facing the cattle industry in 2023

AgWeb shares four headwinds facing the cattle industry this year: 1) Culling rates, which were elevated last year, will likely stay higher than normal for two more years, according to a Rabobank analyst. 2) Beef cow inventory, down 4% as of January 1, has reached its lowest point since 1962 with few signs of expansion. 3) Spring forecasts don’t call for major improvements in precipitation in the Central and Southern Plains, although summer forecasts are more positive. 4) One positive side effect of the drought could be tighter calf supplies and higher prices.

Merck receives FDA approval for expanded indication of Banamine Transdermal (flunixin transdermal solution) in dairy cattle

Merck Animal Health has received FDA approval of an expanded indication for Banamine Transdermal (flunixin transdermal solution). The new indication is for the control of pyrexia (fever) due to acute mastitis with a short milk withhold of 48 hours. According to Merck, a field study showed that 95% of dairy cows with acute mastitis had a reduction in fever of 2 degrees Fahrenheit after treatment with Banamine Transdermal, compared to 35% of cows in the control group.

Opinion: Why Congress should reauthorize the Animal Drug User Fee Act

Ronald B. Phillips, senior vice president of the Animal Health Institute, discusses why he believes Congress should reauthorize the Animal Drug User Fee Act. The law, which must be reauthorized by September 30, 2023, is meant to expedite the drug review process. “To reach public health, sustainability and economic goals, we need more medicines to meet the many unmet medical needs in animal health,” Phillips writes in Agri-Pulse. “A key to realizing these benefits is an efficient regulatory process at FDA [Center for Veterinary Medicine] that encourages innovation and enables the development of needed therapies. The ADUFA program directly supports the pre-approval regulatory processes at FDA CVM for review and approval of animal drugs.”

Bill meant to protect Nebraska farmers from nuisance lawsuits receives mixed response from industry

A bill in the Nebraska legislature aims to protect the state’s farmers from nuisance lawsuits, but some farm industry officials say it’s not necessary. Among other things, the bill would only allow nearby landowners to seek remedy for claims against farmers while preventing groups with no presence in Nebraska from bringing these lawsuits. Nebraska Farmers Union President John Hansen said the bill was narrowly drawn to protect large companies that own operations in the state. The legislation, currently in committee, received a mixed response in testimony last week, Brownfield Ag News reports.