Weekly livestock news: July 27, 2020

Infectious bursal disease virus research could improve poultry vaccine development

Variations in a viral protein called VP4 could explain the difference in severity between strains of infectious bursal disease virus, according to a study from the U.K.-based Pirbright Institute. This discovery could lead to a vaccine for the virus, which can cause high mortality in chicken flocks. Infectious bursal disease virus is the cause of the disease, which lowers immunosuppression in young chickens. Chickens with infectious bursal disease are highly susceptible to other secondary infections. The disease is highly contagious. The researchers compared a very virulent strain to a classic strain of the virus and found that the virulence seemed to be linked to variations in the VP4 protein. WattAgNet reports.

International agencies call for global cooperation to control ASF

The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization are calling on countries to adopt a new “Initiative for the Global Control of ASF.” The primary aim is to help countries control African swine fever by adopting OIE standards and best practices, Feed Strategy reports. The initiative could form a framework for more effective coordination and cooperation to deal with the disease, and it could also support business continuity. By building on existing regional efforts to control the infection, the initiative could strengthen national veterinary agencies’ abilities to manage the disease.

Iowa program routes pork to food banks

The Iowa Pork Producers Association announced its Pass the Pork program is beginning a new phase, Feedstuffs reports. The program has helped pig farmers bring nearly 200,000 servings of pork to food-insecure Iowa residents. After almost three months of securing 451 donated pigs and funds to pay for processing at local meat lockers that extended their work hours to assist, the program will switch processing to the Iowa State University Meat Laboratory. The money will come from the federal CARES Act, which provided pandemic-related aid. The program is meant to address two problems: First, pig producers are dealing with a backlog amid processing slowdowns. And second, food banks have seen increasing demand as community members deal with unemployment.

USDA finds no wrongdoing so far in cattle market report on Tyson fire and COVID-19

USDA found no wrongdoing at this stage in its new report on the impact of the 2019 fire at Tyson Foods’ Holcomb, Kansas, beef plant and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on beef price margins. While the report found no wrongdoing by market participants, it did offer suggestions on how to improve transparency in the market and create additional opportunities for small and local processors, according to Feedstuffs. “Findings thus far do not preclude the possibility that individual entities or groups of entities violated the Packers & Stockyards Act during the aftermath of the Tyson Holcomb fire and the COVID-19 pandemic. The investigation into potential violations under the Packers & Stockyards Act is continuing,” the report said.

Neogen plans to acquire U.S. rights to Elanco’s StandGuard insecticide

Neogen announced plans to acquire the U.S. rights to Elanco’s StandGuard Pour-on insecticide for horn fly and lice control in beef cattle, as well as related assets. Closing was subject to a final Federal Trade Commission consent decree for closing of Elanco’s acquisition of Bayer’s global animal health business. According to the announcement, StandGuard Pour-on is one of the leading products in the domestic beef cattle insecticide market, “and represents an exceptional fit in Neogen’s existing agricultural insecticide portfolio and organizational capabilities.” Neogen entered the agricultural insecticide market with its 2014 acquisition of Chem-Tech.

Bayer loses appeal of Roundup verdict, but damages are reduced

Bayer failed to persuade a California appeals court to overturn a verdict favoring a school groundskeeper who claimed the company’s Roundup weedkiller caused his cancer. However, the court reduced the amount of damages by 74%, to $20.5 million, Reuters reports. The decision by the California Court of Appeal came after a San Francisco jury in August 2018 had awarded $289.2 million to the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, for his non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a sum later cut by the trial judge to $78.5 million. Johnson’s case is separate from Bayer’s recent agreement to pay up to $10.9 billion to settle nearly 100,000 lawsuits in the United States linking glyphosate-based Roundup to cancer.