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Weekly livestock news: May 10, 2021

Pork processor wants delay on court decision limiting slaughter speeds

U.S. pork processor Seaboard Foods wants a 10 1/2-month delay of a federal court decision that would force it to slow the speed of hog slaughtering at a massive Oklahoma pork plant, according to court documents. Seaboard, the second-largest U.S. pig producer, wants to intervene in the line speed case after a federal judge ruled against a Trump administration policy allowing pork plants to run slaughter line speeds as fast as they want, as long as they prevent fecal contamination and minimize bacteria. Seaboard is the first U.S. pork company to invest in machinery to run line speeds faster under the rule, so the company stands to lose from the decision, Reuters reports.

Despite reported drop, National Chicken Council says broiler production is set for a rebound


Despite a reported chicken shortage in recent months, broiler production appears to be set for a rebound, according to the National Chicken Council. KFC’s parent company recently said the chain has struggled to meet demand for its new chicken sandwich due to tightening domestic chicken supply. USDA said chicken production lagged at the beginning of the year. But while broiler production dropped 4% in the first quarter of 2021, production throughout April ranged from 4-9% higher than a year ago, NCC said. An NCC spokesperson said limited supply is due largely to weather extremes that affected many poultry producing states, Meat + Poultry reports.

Court says Impossible Foods can use heme to make burgers ‘bleed’

A federal appeals court has ruled that Impossible Foods can use soy leghemoglobin as a color additive in its burgers, Bloomberg reports. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled to uphold a 2019 decision by the FDA to approve the use of the ingredient, also called “heme.” Heme is a red, genetically modified ingredient that Impossible has long said is the key to its flavor, making it taste—and “bleed”—like real meat, the company says. The FDA’s decision removed a hurdle for Impossible in extending its burger sales from restaurants to grocery stores. Beyond Meat, Impossible’s main competitor, often uses its GMO-free ingredient list to market its own products. Heme has created barriers for Impossible Foods internationally, including in the European Union and China.

How better pasture management can help control cattle parasites

Parasite resistance to traditional control products is a growing threat in cattle production. To reduce the threat, producers will have to find alternatives to their usual control methods, one veterinarian says. “The drugs will remain an important component of parasite control, but they can’t be viewed as the only solution,” said Dr. Ray Kaplan, who works in the department of infectious diseases at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine. One key prevention method, Kaplan said, is better grazing management. Research has shown 75% of the worms in a pasture are in the bottom two inches of the grass, and 90% of the worms are in the bottom four inches. So more intensive grazing could lead to more worm ingestion by cattle. Bovine Veterinarian has more.

African swine fever resurgence slows China’s swine herd expansion, USDA says

A resurgence of African swine fever in China is delaying the expansion of the country’s swine herd, according to a new USDA report. The agency says China’s swine numbers aren’t likely to rebound at least until the middle of this year due to the outbreak, which began late last year. Additionally, USDA said, the price for live swine in China declined by almost 36% between January and April 2021, causing some producers to delay restocking. Feed Strategy reports.

App helps remote farmers in Cameroon access veterinary care

A Cameroon-based company has created an app designed to help farmers and ranchers who live far away from veterinarians get guidance and assistance detecting animal diseases. The app is meant to help farmers like Thierry Bayabon, a rabbit breeder, who recently lost three quarters of his stock to disease. He wasn’t familiar with animal diseases and couldn’t get a veterinarian in time to visit his remote farm, even though the deaths could have been prevented, he said. The new app, Veto, aims to help farmers like him by analyzing questions about symptoms and giving treatment advice. It also allows farmers to send photos and videos to actual veterinarians, Voice of America reports.