Feedstuffs - May 2022
We hope you are enjoying the new Feedstuffs. With every edition, we aim to bring the latest in news, insight, nutrition and health research and...
We hope you are enjoying the new Feedstuffs. With every edition, we aim to bring the latest in news, insight, nutrition and health research and livestock production content to life — dynamically. You will find engaging video, podcasts, slideshows, animation and more. You also will have the opportunity to engage, share and download content. Feel free to share your thoughts below or to reach out directly to us. We'd love to hear what you think and ideas that you might like to share.
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Feedstuffs wins award for expanded coverage
Feedstuffs is the recipient of the 2021 North American Agricultural Journalists Audrey Mackiewicz Award.
The award, which honors Audrey Mackiewicz, a former Ohio newswoman who was the association’s first female president and long-time executive secretary-treasurer, is given to independent print publications or news wire services that have expanded their agriculture coverage.
"Feedstuffs found a way to survive and thrive in a changing media world through the use of video and online content in the form of Feedstuffs 365," said NAAJ president Gene Lucht.
SPECIAL REPORT: Feed production surges in 2021
Feedstuffs annual feed tonnage statistics
By Tim Lundeen
For decades, the editors of Feedstuffs have developed annual primary feed production estimates for the U.S., based on annual animal inventory data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
Using a proprietary set of equations, Feedstuffs estimates the 2021 total feed production required to support the U.S. animal inventory at 132.7 million tons, a 3.2% increase from 2020 (Figure and Tables 1 and 2).
Primary feed production is defined as manufactured animal feed, including mixes of feed grains, mill byproducts, animal proteins and microingredients, intended as the primary ration for livestock and poultry, excluding forage components, such as hay, silages and other forages or grazing access, provided to ruminants. For the Feedstuffs estimates, no distinction is made between commercial feed production and feed manufactured on-farm or by integrators.
On a regional basis, significant growth occurred in the Delta states (Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi; up 37.0%) and the Lake states (Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin; up 18.2%) while the Northeast contracted the most at -2.6%.
By type of feed, dairy feeds were projected to increase 30.5% over 2020 while turkey feeds saw a 14.2% contraction.
Tables 3-12 show 2021 animal inventories broken out by USDA reporting region (specific reporting dates are shown in a footnote in Table 12)Nationally, the Jan. 1, 2022, all cattle and calves inventory totaled 91.9 million head, 2% fewer than the 93.9 million head on Jan. 1, 2021, USDA reported. Beef cows, at 30.1 million head, were down 2% from the prior year, while milk cows, at 9.38 million head, were down 1%. Cattle on feed for slaughter in the U.S. for all feedlots totaled 14.7 million head, up slightly from 2021.
The U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on Dec. 1, 2021, was 74.2 million head, down 4% from Dec. 1, 2020, USDA reported in its December 2021 Quarterly Hogs & Pigs report. The breeding herd, at 6.18 million head, was up slightly from the previous year, but the market hog inventory, at 68.0 million head, was down 4%.
The all sheep and lamb inventory on Jan. 1, 2022, totaled 5.1 million head, down 2% from 2021, USDA reported. The breeding flock was 3.71 million head, while the market flock was 1.36 million head. Shorn wool production during 2021 was 22.5 million lb., down 3% from 2020, representing a total value of $38.2 million.
In the poultry sector, the U.S. annual average number of layers was down 1% in 2021, at 389 million hens. Hens produced an average of 285 eggs per layer in 2021.
USDA set the value of broilers produced during 2021 at $31.5 billion, up 48% from 2020. The chicken industry produced 9.13 billion broilers in 2021, down 1% from 2020, for a total live weight of 59.2 billion lb.
USDA reported a 2021 production value of $5.89 billion for turkeys, up 14%. Turkey producers raised 217 million turkeys in 2021, down 3% from 2020, for a total of 7.18 billion lb. of turkey.
Catfish growers had sales of $421 million in 2021, up 12% from the previous year, USDA said. Four states (Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas) accounted for 97% of the total sales. Water surface acres used for catfish production as of Jan. 1, 2022, totaled 58.310 acres, down 3% from a year earlier.
Tables 13 and 14 give a national spotlight on the economics of livestock and poultry production in the U.S., and Tables 15 and 16 show trends in processed feed use and hay production.
Tim Lundeen is chief editor at TarnWordsmithing.com, where he writes about innovations in animal agriculture research. He previously spent 20-plus years as staff editor at Feedstuffs. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the editors of Feedstuffs
Report criticizes meat industry’s handling of COVID
The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis released a new staff report claiming meatpacking companies engaged Trump administration political appointees in an aggressive campaign to force workers to remain in processing plants with high risk of coronavirus transmission. However, the North American Meat Institute states the committee cherry picked data to “support a narrative that is completely unrepresentative of the early days of an unprecedented national emergency.”
The staff report revealed that last year, the Select Subcommittee found that during the first year of the pandemic, infections and deaths among workers for five of the largest meatpacking companies – Tyson Foods, Inc., JBS USA Holdings, Inc., Smithfield Foods, Cargill, Inc., and National Beef Packing Company LLC – were significantly higher than previously estimated, with over 59,000 workers for these companies being infected with the coronavirus and at least 269 dying.
The report adds that internal meatpacking industry documents reviewed by the subcommittee “now illustrate that despite awareness of the high risks of coronavirus spread in their plants, meatpacking companies engaged in a concerted effort with Trump administration political officials to insulate themselves from coronavirus-related oversight, to force workers to continue working in dangerous conditions, and to shield themselves from legal liability for any resulting worker illness or death.”
Chobani commits $1m to nation’s largest research dairy
Chobani announced May 11 a $1 million gift to the University of Idaho-led Center for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Idaho CAFE) to help fund construction of the nation’s largest research dairy and advance scientific research to ensure a sustainable future for the U.S. dairy industry.
With deep roots and a major manufacturing, research and development presence in the Magic Valley, Chobani has long been committed to taking a holistic and inclusive approach to sustainability, especially within the dairy industry.
Located in Idaho’s Magic Valley, Idaho CAFE spans three counties with a 2,000-cow research dairy and 640-acre demonstration farm in Rupert, a public outreach and education center in Jerome and collaborative food science efforts developed in partnership with the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.
A ribbon cutting took place May 9 at the new Stanley L. Balloun Turkey Teaching and Research Facility along 520th Avenue south of Ames. Jim and Julie Balloun, son and daughter-in-law of Stanley L. Balloun, had the honor of cutting the ribbon.
ISU dedicates new Turkey Teaching and Research Facility
Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences recently dedicated the new Stanley L. Balloun Turkey Teaching and Research Facility, the only facility of its kind focused on turkey production at a major university.
The university’s first-ever dedicated turkey teaching and research facility provides students a living classroom to experience hands-on learning in modern production practices and state-of-the-art equipment for research that addresses current challenges and helps advance Iowa’s turkey industry, one of the largest in the United States.
Located south of the Iowa State campus on 520th Avenue in Ames, the facility also offers continuing education, outreach, peer-to-peer opportunities for professionals in the industry and observation areas where visitors, including schoolchildren, can see first-hand examples of turkey production systems and learn about turkey production.
The facility is named in honor of Stanley L. Balloun, an international expert, pioneering researcher and leader in the science of turkey feed.
Check out this Feedstuffs 365 interview with Gretta Irwin, Executive Director of the Iowa Turkey Federation / Iowa Turkey Marketing Council, and Dawn Koltes, assistant professor in animal science, from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. We talk about the new facility and what it means for the industry as well as students and future industry leaders.
View our interview
Canada still falling short on USMCA dairy commitments
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said he told his Canadian counterpart that the U.S. is greatly disappointed with the proposed changes suggested by the Government of Canada to change how dairy tariff rate quotas are allocated under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Vilsack was not prepared to throw his support behind the need for tariffs as the dairy industry is now requesting, but he hopes that Canada will take a different approach to avoid such action.
In January, a USMCA dispute resolution panel initiated by the U.S. found that Canada’s dairy tariff-rate quotas system violates the terms of USMCA. Canada issued a new TRQ proposal in March which included only inconsequential changes.
The latest announcement shows no indication that Canada intends to comply with its USMCA commitments on dairy TRQs.
While in Germany for a G7 meeting, Vilsack says he conveyed a strong message of disappointment with Canada’s decision to move forward in a fashion that falls short of the agreement’s intent was “delivered emphatically” and he was fairly confident a similar conversation took place between U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai and her Canadian counterpart.
GOOD Meat, ADM partner to accelerate cultivated meat production
Eat Just Inc., a company that applies cutting-edge science and technology on a mission to create healthier, more sustainable foods, has announced that its GOOD Meat division has entered into a joint development agreement with ADM. This is ADM's first strategic partnership of its kind in the cultivated meat sector, which analysts predict could become a $25 billion global industry by 2030.
GOOD Meat created the world’s first real, high-quality meat made directly from animal cells that has been approved for commercial sale, and the company is accelerating research and development and increasing production capacity to meet customer demand in Singapore and future markets. ADM’s unparalleled capabilities across every part of the global food chain, including human and animal nutrition, establishes an important pathway to large-scale commercialization of GOOD Meat’s products.
Texas Tech researchers looking for solutions to water shortages
Texas Tech University researchers are working to help farmers in semi-arid regions deal with a dwindling water supply. Three professors in the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources recently received a $294,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to study the integration a resilient cropping system and precision conservation for sustainable agriculture in a semi-arid region.
“The overall challenge in this region is the lack of water, and now the water from the Ogallala Aquifer is actually running out,” said principal investigator Wenxuan Guo, an assistant professor of crop ecophysiology and precision agriculture in the Department of Plant and Soil Science. “We’re trying to address the future if the water condition continues to worsen.” Guo and his team will use predictive modeling techniques to gain a better understanding of which crops will work best in rotation depending on the amount of water available in the future.
If you have been fertilizing your pastures to support your livestock operation, then cutting back on fertilizer this year because of its high cost requires improved management. What about other management and nutritional strategies? What do you need to be thinking about? Dr. Dale Blasi, professor/extension specialist beef cattle nutrition and management at Kansas State University, along with Dr. Vanessa Corriher-Olson, extension forage specialist in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at Texas A&M University, join us to share their thoughts. View our interview.
INSIDE WASHINGTON: Former USDA leader nominated for trade undersecretary
Alexis Taylor, Iowa native and current Oregon Department of Agriculture Director, named to USDA trade post.
By Jacqui Fatka
Alexis Taylor, director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, was nominated late Friday afternoon by President Joe Biden to the position of undersecretary for trade and U.S. agricultural affairs at USDA. Agricultural groups praised the nomination and called Taylor a “highly qualified candidate.”
Taylor is an Iowa native, who moved to Oregon after working 12 years in Washington D.C. where her work focused on U.S. agricultural and trade policy. Notably,Taylor served as the deputy secretary at USDA’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services department where she worked to open new markets and improve the competitive position of U.S. agricultural products in the marketplace around the world.
AlexisTaylorUSDA.jpgPrior to her post at USDA, she served as an agriculture and trade policy adviser to senior members of Congress. Oregon Governor Kate Brown appointed Alexis as director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture in December 2016.
"Alexis is a collaborative leader with a track record of working towards large-scale solutions in partnership with the communities she serves," says Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "This spirit and approach position her uniquely for this role and will ensure cohesiveness between USDA and the Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs team. I am confident Alexis is the right person to lead as we continue to address global food security, promote American exports across the globe and strengthen trade relationships with our global partners.”
Taylor served on the 2020-2021 NASDA Board of Directors sharpening states’ impact on federal agricultural policy. Taylor also served on the NASDA Foundation Board from 2018-2022, developing and discovering new resources for state agriculture departments to better serve constituents. In an interview shortly after Taylor was appointed to director for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, NASDA asked her, “In seven words or less, what is some advice you would offer your fellow agriculturalists?”
Taylor responded, “Challenge yourself and others to think differently.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, applauded her nomination and also called for the Biden administration to fill the position of chief agricultural negotiator at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative. “U.S. agricultural producers need to have a leading voice on the world stage who can advocate for free and fair trade, especially in the Indo-Pacific region. Thankfully, Alexis Taylor has the right background and experience to hit the ground running, and I look forward to supporting her throughout the Senate confirmation process ahead,” Grassley says.
Ted McKinney, who served as the first USDA undersecretary for trade during the Trump administration, says he knows Taylor from her previous time served at USDA and more recently as she served as a National Association of State Departments of Agriculture member from Oregon. "From these experiences, I offer my enthusiastic endorsement for her candidacy. We know Director Taylor’s passion for seeking market opportunities for American farmers, ranchers and food producers of all types. Her previous experience at USDA, her character and her deep understanding of how regulations across the globe matter for individuals in our communities will benefit all Americans,” says McKinney, who now serves as NASDA CEO.
U.S. Grains Council president and CEO Ryan LeGrand congratulated Taylor on her appointment, saying, “She has a strong background in agriculture from growing up on a farm in Iowa, and also has a deep knowledge of trade issues. We look forward to working with her to promote American agriculture.”
National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule says he has worked with Alexis for over 15 years. He adds the industry appreciates her experience and understanding of the agriculture community and trade issues. “We are eager to see this key leadership role be filled quickly and encourage timely Senate consideration so she may begin important work at the USDA to advocate for U.S. wheat farmers and be an advocate for American agriculture around the world,” Goule says.
“Ms. Taylor has worked to open new markets for American agriculture in her previous position at FAS and as director of Oregon’s Department of Agriculture,” says U.S. Wheat Associates President Vince Peterson. “Looking ahead to the next farm bill negotiations, we know she will be an experienced advocate who can help explain to policymakers how important export market development programs are to our country’s farmers and ranchers.”
Iowa Renewable Fuels Association Executive Director Monte Shaw notes that while this post has been left open longer than the organization would have liked, IRFA is very excited to see Taylor put forward for this important position.
“First off, she’ll be able to hit the ground running. We enjoyed working with Taylor during her time as a staffer for former Congressman Leonard Boswell and in her role at USDA during President Obama’s administration. Taylor understands ag and the importance of trade,” Shaw says. “She brings a ton of experience to the position, and there’s no doubt she’ll be a great advocate for expanding ag and biofuels exports.”
Taylor is a graduate of Iowa State University and grew up on her family farm in Iowa, which has been in her family for 160 years. While still in high school, she enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. During her sophomore year in college her army unit was deployed to Iraq, where she served one tour with the 389th Combat Engineer Battalion. The post does require Senate confirmation.
Names in the News
New hires, promotions, retirements
West Liberty Foods names chief executive officer
West Liberty Foods has announced the promotion of Brandon Achen to president & chief executive officer, effective May 31, 2022. Achen is a 16-year industry veteran who started with West Liberty Foods as an intern and has since seen a long tenure in operations, supply chain management and key customer relationship management for the organization. He was promoted to president in 2020.
Biomega appoints new Norwegian
biorefinery factory manager
Biomega, an international biotechnology company that develops salmon peptides and proteins for petfood and human nutrition applications, has appointed Chris Fredrik Simmenes as its new factory manager for the company’s flagship biorefinery in Skaganeset, Norway.
AFIA welcomes staff changes
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) is pleased to announce the addition of Rebecca Kane, CMP, as its director of events and the promotion of Victoria Broehm to senior director of communications.
Most recently, Kane served as a meetings manager for the U.S. Grains Council, managing event budgets totaling more than $3.5 million.
Victoria Broehm, who has been with the association since 2017, has been promoted from director of communications to senior director of communications.
2022 World Food Prize awarded
to NASA climate scientist
Leading climatologist, agronomist and former farmer Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig has been named the 2022 World Food Prize Laureate for her pioneering work in modeling the impact of climate change on food production worldwide. She was recognized for leading the global scientific collaboration that produced the methodology and data used by decision-makers around the world.
Awarded by the World Food Prize Foundation, the $250,000 prize honors Dr. Rosenzweig’s achievements as the founder of the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), a globally integrated transdisciplinary network of climate and food system modelers.
Visit Feedstuffs.com for additional Names in the News announcements throughout the month.
PODCASTS: Feedstuffs in Focus
Russia's war on Ukraine taking toll on European feed, livestock Industry
On the backside of a global pandemic that wreaked havoc on the global supply chain, the Russian invasion of Ukraine added further strain and chaos to the global marketplace. In the short run, the unprovoked war drove commodity prices higher, but what will the long-term consequences be for the global meat and animal feed markets?
In this episode we’ll dig into the broader implications of Russia’s war on Ukraine for the global meat trade. U.S. Meat Export Federation vice president of economic analysis Erin Borror explains that the war is impacting red meat availability and production, but is having an especially large impact on the cost and availability of key feed ingredients.
Borror also discusses how the war is accelerating consolidation in the European swine industry.
This episode is sponsored by United Animal Health, a leader in animal health and nutrition. You can learn more about United Animal Health and how they are working to advance animal science worldwide by visiting their website UnitedANH.com.
What’s going on out there?
Use of camera traps to evaluate traffic on poultry premises.
By Erin Cortus, Marie Culhane, Eva Cornwell
There are many pathways for poultry diseases like Salmonella and Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) to transfer from one host to another, from one farm to another, or from wildlife to domestic flocks. In the environment around poultry farms, indirect transfers of disease depend on many factors including the frequency of visits and possible interactions between birds (wild and domestic), animals (wild and domestic), humans, vehicles, and equipment. Disease risk reduction usually involves farm biosecurity measures such as rodent control, restricting human and equipment traffic between poultry houses and the environment, and maintaining logs of activities. Visual observations of wild birds and other wildlife on the premises by workers and managers are limited to their time spent on farm. One of the goals of this work is to help poultry farmers refine biosecurity measures to reduce the risk of pathogen introduction from interactions with wild species or increased traffic on the farm.
Camera traps, or trail cameras, are commonplace in hunting and trapping. More recently, the research community has made use of cameras in various countries and settings, often to document visits of wildlife to a potential disease transmission zone. Using camera traps in both wildlife and agriculture studies reduces the disturbance and time requirements of in-person observations. Modern trail cameras have variable settings that can enable image collection even in poor light or night conditions, motion detection, and still or video file formats.
Although camera image review is time-consuming and generally a fixed position view, the data captured can be used to identify the frequency of wildlife, humans, and possible vectors of disease in and around a poultry farm. The cameras represent one tool to add to the biosecurity toolkit that includes farm records, restricted/controlled access and entry points, and training. It is important to recognize that neither farm records (i.e. logs) nor camera images denote the presence of disease, but they do provide evidence of the frequency and type of visitors that make up certain pathways.
A Minnesota study
There were camera traps at six poultry farms in Minnesota during three migration seasons (Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019). The cameras were Bushnell B-12 12 MP Trail Cameras, set in motion sensor mode. The camera position and view angle were fixed within a season for each barn but did change between seasons on some farms. The number of images was limited by the view angle for each farm and was not wholly indicative of all movement on the farms. A team of reviewers sorted the images based on traffic type (Mammals, Birds, Humans, Vehicles and No Traffic) and documented the number, type (as best possible), and location (i.e. on ground, perched on barn ridge, flying overhead, etc.) of traffic in each image. Birds included wild and domestic (i.e. escapees). The farm veterinarians provided visitor logs and rodent trap records for the camera-monitored periods for Farms 1, 2 and 3, for comparison to the images.
Across the six barns and three seasons, the cameras captured over 9,000 images. Following review, approximately 5,500 images contained at least one form of “Traffic”. Snow, blowing vegetation, or other non-traffic movement triggered photos that were ultimately removed from the dataset, but still consumed time and energy during the review process.
The number of images differed between sites and seasons. There were 73 total images of mammals on all farms in the view angles, and 79% of the instances occurred outside of typical working hours. On Farm 2, the mammals tended to be housecats, raccoons, coyotes, or other small animals during Fall 2018 and Spring 2019; there were frequent instances of white-tailed deer in Fall 2019. The greatest frequencies of birds were in the Spring 2019 season on all but Farm 4. Most bird images occurred during working hours.
The number of images with vehicles is similar in pattern, but generally greater in frequency than images with humans. The vehicles were generally farm trucks. Farms 3 and 5 view angles included a service road, resulting in higher frequencies of human and vehicle traffic images. The human and vehicle traffic pictures generally exceeded those of birds or mammals at most farms. With camera traps, one must consider maintaining the security on the farm, but also the right to privacy. This needs to be a discussion point for future camera use on farms.
While visitor and rodent/pest logs are recommended biosecurity measures for any farm, their usefulness is limited by the completeness, accuracy, and consistency of the log entries. All rodent/pest logs reviewed for this case study suggested regular maintenance/inspection of rodent traps and/or bird nests, and visits by crews for vaccinations or bird movements. Periodically, there were notations of the number of mice trapped or bird nests. There was no noticeable agreement between the images and the logs for many reasons, particularly view angles. This suggests the two record types may serve more in complementary roles rather than as validation measures.
• Camera traps were easy to install and use.
• The time for image review was considerable. Each image took approximately 60 s to review and code in this project. Recording image types is not necessary but recommended for pattern detection and comparison to management records.
• View angle is critical. More cameras can capture more angles but adds to review time. Camera trap technology is evolving, and video may prove more useful for some situations than still images.
• The goal of camera trap use should ultimately guide camera placement. For example, camera settings could limit images to off-work hours to capture wildlife or other unexpected human traffic but could miss bird movement.
• Cameras are complementary to other biosecurity measures.
Regardless of camera angle and placement, if the images are to be used to determine pathways of pathogen introduction into a turkey barn, regular and timely review of the images is highly recommended, not only to decrease the backlog of images to review but also provide more immediate feedback to the farm managers who can then make corrections to biosecurity protocols as needed.
Erin Cortus, PE, PhD, is Associate Professor and Extension Engineer, Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering, at the University of Minnesota. Marie R Culhane, DVM, PhD, is Professor, Department of Veterinary Population Medicine, at the University of Minnesota. Eva Cornwell, BA, is a Research Assistant and Veterinary Student at the University of Minnesota.
Cage-free housing through the hen's eyes
$1 million grant has Purdue University researchers looking at cage-free housing from the perspective of the laying hen
Just over one third of the US egg laying industry currently produces in cage-free environments, while companies pledge to use more ethically sourced ingredients in their production processes.
Keeping up with the increasing demand requires changing hen housing facilities. But to maintain production volumes, the hens must be comfortable and content, Darrin Karcher, associate professor in animal sciences and Extension poultry specialist, said.
With a $1 million USDA grant, Karcher and his team will reconstruct the environment for cage-free hens through the bird’s eyes.
The grant team includes: Patrick Zollner, professor of wildlife science, Marisa Erasmus, associate professor of animal sciences; Greg Fraley, the Terry and Sandra Tucker Endowed Chair of poultry science; Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, professor of biological sciences; and Deana Jones, a research food technologist for the USDA.
Much of what is known about cage-free egg production is based off preference study. Researchers at Purdue University, however, have plans to take that initial work to the next level. They are setting out to reconstruct the environment for cage-free hens through the bird’s eyes.
Darrin Karcher, associate professor in animal sciences and Extension poultry specialist, along with Esteban Fernandez-Juricic, professor of biological sciences, and Patrick Zollner, professor of wildlife science, join us on Feedstuffs 365 to talk about their $1 million USDA grant and plans to take a bit of a different look at cage-free production. View our interview.
Since they can’t sit down with an egg laying hen to ask her what her ideal environment would be, Karcher explains that creating a model of a hen’s retina to show how the bird sees its surroundings is a step in the right direction.
“What we do know about hens’ environments up to this point has been based off preference study,” Karcher said. “Looking at whether they used the box with AstroTurf or straw, we aren’t accounting for how the hen sees the actual boxes. What about the shadows? What about the color? Behavior and welfare advocates have tried to account for as much as possible, but we need to look at the entire environment for the hen. Little work has been done to analyze how poultry see their environment.”
Karcher said one of the things the research team must consider is how changing a hen’s environment will affect producers daily. They will look at the two extremes of the cage-free housing systems used in the egg laying industry: a single tier or the more complex, multi-tier system with various accesses to navigate.
“We’ll be pulling data from those environments in terms of production, welfare, behaviors and space utilization, which will all go into computer modeling,” Karcher said. “Once we develop a visual model, we can look at how its designed as well as further detail such as color. We could run an entire simulation where all the perches are red to see how the hens respond.”
After running numerous computer models, Karcher said the team will identify the most valuable outputs they’re searching for, narrowing them down to the two or three best simulations. The next step is to turn those simulations into reality, physically building the environments to “run” the hens and compare the outcomes.
“Each company’s goals are different, but, in general, most are going to maintain a high level of hen well-being and look at maximizing production,” Karcher said.
Karcher said the number of farms converted to cage-free in the next few years will continue to increase, and he wants to continue helping push the industry in a better direction.
“I'm not a status quo guy; I do not accept that the way we do things today is how things will be forever. I want us to continually challenge what egg production will look like in 25 years,” Karcher said. “This work we’re doing is the first stone among many others that needs to be laid on the path to the future.”
Probiotics a resistance risk?
K-State research suggests probiotics may pose risks to animal, human health
New research at Kansas State University reveals how probiotics may not be as beneficial for animal and human health as thought.
Probiotics, in most uses, are organisms considered to be beneficial for gut health in animals and humans. Raghavendra Amachawadi, assistant professor of food animal therapeutics in the K-State College of Veterinary Medicine, and his team have discovered that a species of bacteria, Enterococcus faecium, which is contained in several commercial products for swine and cattle, can be a source of antibiotic resistance.
Their study, "Whole genome sequence analyses-based assessment of virulence potential and antimicrobial susceptibilities and resistance of Enterococcus faecium strains isolated from commercial swine and cattle probiotic products," was published recently in the Journal of Animal Science.
"Although probiotics are beneficial bacteria, some bacterial species can have unintended negative consequences," Amachawadi said. "Our research has shown that Enterococcus faecium carries genes that confer resistance to antibiotics widely used in human medicine. Feeding such products to animals raises the possibility that the genes can be transferred to pathogenic bacteria and make them resistant to antibiotics, which can be passed on to humans."
At this stage, Amachawadi said, this is only a theoretical possibility and there is no evidence of such transfer actually taking place in the gut and subsequent human exposure. The objective of the study was to utilize whole genome sequence-based analysis to assess virulence potential, detect antimicrobial resistance genes, and analyze phylogenetic relationships of E. faecium strains from commercial swine and cattle probiotics.
"Because use of antibiotics creates resistance in bacteria, which is a huge public health concern, producers are seeking replacements for antibiotics," Amachawadi said. "Most commercial probiotic products contain live bacteria that benefit the animal by improving the gut bacterial balance."
The findings from this study suggest that, in the future, probiotic products may need to undergo a test for antimicrobial resistance genes before they are marketed for use in food animals.
The study, funded in part by a grant from the National Pork Board, included researchers from the animal sciences and industry and diagnostic medicine and pathobiology departments at K-State, as well as the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition division of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration at Laurel, Maryland.
We talk with Raghavendra Amachawadi of Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, to learn more. View our interview.
$21.2 million project aims to reduce antibiotic use in pigs
Researchers will investigate how members of intestinal microbiome interact, whether changes in dietary composition or environment can affect the microbiome.
Researchers from University of California, Davis and universities in Denmark and the Netherlands are joining forces in a new research project to reduce the need for antibiotics in pig production by improving intestinal resilience in developing piglets. The $21.2 million, 5-year PIG-PARADIGM project is funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.
Overuse of antibiotics contributes to bacteria becoming resistant to antimicrobials. More than 700,000 people die each year from infections that are resistant to most, or all, antibiotics. The World Health Organization predicts that in just 30 years antimicrobial resistance will become the third leading cause of death globally.
UC Davis will receive $3.8 million as part of the grant.
Maria Marco, professor in the food science and technology department will lead the research to understand how pig diets can be improved. The team also includes Professor Andreas Bäumler with UC Davis Health, Professor Titus Brown with the School of Veterinary Medicine, Peng Ji, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition, Associate Professor Yanhong Liu, Department of Animal Science and Professor Carolyn Slupsky with the departments of food science and technology, and of nutrition. The scientists want to understand how to increase pigs' natural defenses and immunity in the gut.
"Through interdisciplinary research supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation we are positioned to decode the complexities of the digestive tract which have thus far eluded researchers," says Marco. "With this knowledge, we will be able to innovate to provide new approaches needed to prevent antibiotic resistance spread."
Like humans, pigs develop a complex intestinal microbiome shortly after birth. However, many piglets get diarrhea at weaning when they are separated from the sow and adapt to the challenge of a new environment and a new diet.
Piglets become vulnerable to enteric infections which require the use of antibiotics to prevent disease transmission, and the suffering and death of piglets. Antibiotics are designed to kill or reduce the growth of the bacteria that make pigs sick, but they can also eliminate the natural intestinal microbiome, which is important for development of immunity in early life.
The researchers will investigate how members of the intestinal microbiome, including bacteria, fungi, archaea and viruses, interact and whether changes in dietary composition or the environment can affect the intestinal microbiome so that less antibiotics are required.
"We know that diet and nutrition strongly affect the composition and function of the gut microbiome among both humans and pigs. Obtaining knowledge about what characterizes a healthy and an unhealthy gut will enable us to design the optimal feed-induced gut microbiome, which can strengthen the immune response and the health of the pigs. This will avoid the need for antibiotics," says Professor Charlotte Lauridsen, head of the Department of Animal Science at Aarhus University in Denmark.
Collaborating institutions on the PIG-PARADIGM include Aarhus University, the University of Copenhagen, and Aalborg University, Denmark; and Wageningen University and Research in The Netherlands.
Bovine vaccine study reveals role of genetics in immune response
Cattle producers could potentially use this information to selectively breed cows that are less susceptible to BRD based off their genetic predisposition.
Vaccines are a critical tool in the protection of humans and animals against pathogens, but a major challenge for vaccine development is understanding why vaccines work better for some individuals than others.
To answer this question, a research team led by Yana Safonova, assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering, studied black angus cows and their varying responses to the Bovine Respiratory Disease vaccine. The team's findings were recently published in the journal Genome Research.
Conducting research for the USDA, Safonova and researchers from the University of California, San Diego sought to understand how the unique genetic structure of cows and other bovine animals such as bison, buffalo and antelopes were creating antibodies from the BRD vaccine.
"We wanted to answer one particular question: Why are some individuals within the population of black angus cows responding very differently to the same vaccine?" Safonova says.
The researchers examined a distinguishing feature of bovine immunity: the long complementarity-determining region H3 loops in the antibodies they create. Bovine antibodies with such ultralong CDR H3 loops have been found to neutralize certain strains of HIV, and Safonova and her team have discovered that they are also one key to developing antibody responses against BRD.
Using a new computational tool that they designed, Safonova and her team analyzed sequencing data from antibodies produced by the black angus cow population and pinpointed genetic variations in antibodies associated with immune responses.
The researchers found that while the creation of these unique antibody structures was triggered by each vaccine dose, vaccine efficacy (how well the vaccine actually works) is determined long before the individual mounts an immune response.
Segments of DNA called variable, diversity and joining immunoglobulin genes, also referred to as IG genes, are what produce antibodies and control individual responses to a vaccine. This means vaccine efficacy for an individual is pre-determined before the vaccine is even administered.
Because the team's method can reveal these genetic markers, cattle producers could potentially use this information to selectively breed cows that are less susceptible to BRD based off their genetic predisposition, says Safonova.
The researchers say that their study is the largest personalized immunogenetics study across any species to date, and that their results open doors to applying immunosequencing to human vaccine studies. In-depth immunogenetics research would allow scientists to discover patterns in the human genome that determine the body's programmed response to vaccines. In fact, Safonova says a large-scale study of human immunogenetics could aid in understanding vaccine response variations ahead of the next pandemic.
Safonova says, "With new strains of COVID-19, new variants and the need for vaccinations, we can show that this type of study will work for many different subjects. We want to highlight how we can study [the vaccination process] across different genomes."
NUTRITION & HEALTH: B vitamins in dairy nutrition
B-vitamins play essential roles in the cow but are often overlooked.
By Louisa Koch, Ph.D.
The fat-soluble vitamins A, D, and E often get a lot of attention when it comes to dairy nutrition, but B-vitamins play essential roles in the cow as well and are often overlooked. The B-vitamins are a group of water-soluble vitamins that have key functions as enzymatic cofactors or intermediate components in major metabolic reactions (Table 1). In the past, B-vitamins were not commonly supplemented to dairy cows because it was believed that rumen bacterial synthesis of these vitamins was sufficient enough to meet her needs. However, with today’s high producing dairy cows and therefore greater nutrient requirements, the necessity of additional B-vitamins at the feed bunk is being reevaluated. Even the most logical ration changes can result in marked fluctuations in the rumen environment. The microbial population can degrade dietary components differently depending on the nature of the ration and slight deficiencies may give rise to imperceptible biochemical and cellular dysfunctions without display of obvious clinical signs. Given this, it is often asked if nutritionists should provide additional B-vitamins in the diets of dairy cows to overcome the fluctuation in rumen supply.
You will notice from Table 1 that many of these B-vitamins play a role in energy metabolism. More specifically, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and niacin are all necessary for the conversion of propionate to glucose in the liver. Research in lactating and transition cows has found that a number of B-vitamins are insufficient in supply. The rumen microflora has the ability to degrade but also synthesize B-vitamins that can later be metabolized in the small intestine. Some of these B-vitamins have a rapid degradation in the rumen. Riboflavin and choline in particular have a 99% ruminal disappearance rate, whereas biotin is only about 60%. Because B-vitamins are destroyed easily in the rumen, suggested ways to deliver them to the animal are injection or in the diet via a rumen protected form (most common).
One B vitamin that is often supplemented in the diet is biotin. Biotin is commonly used to improve hoof health and integrity. Hoof health can be improved with biotin by reducing heel warts, white line separations, and sole ulcers, for example. Several studies have reported an increase in milk production when biotin was supplemented at a rate of 15 to 20 mg per day. More recently, a 2019 meta-analysis involving nine trials with 1,923 dairy cows evaluated unprotected biotin vs a protected B-vitamin blend (containing folic acid, B12, pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, and biotin) and showed that the protected blend significantly increased milk yield and milk fat and protein yields. When supplementing biotin as a means to improve hoof health and integrity, it is important to remember that the hoof grows at a rate of approximately two inches a year, so it may take some time to see noticeable improvement until the hoof has gone through an entire growth cycle.
Another B-vitamin receiving a lot of attention lately is niacin. Although a requirement for niacin has not been established, its integral role in energy metabolism suggests that it is important for milk production. Schwab and Shaver (2005) did a meta-analysis of 27 studies that fed unprotected niacin at the 12 gram level and reported modest improvements in milk, fat, protein, and feed efficiency. More recent work has focused on rumen-protected niacin and its effects on lipolysis and vasodilation. Several investigations found that just 3.5 grams of rumen-protected niacin resulted in increased DMI and a reduction in ketosis, yet did not impact milk components or milk yield. Niacin also has the potential to lower body temperature and increase sweating rate during times of elevated temperatures due to its role as a vasodilator, but results have been highly variable in controlled studies.
Choline is one of the more important B-vitamins in practical dairy nutrition today. It is often regarded as a quasi-B vitamin because it does not fit the typical description of a vitamin. Choline can also be made from methionine, so if your diet is below recommended methionine levels additional choline may not be required. Because the rumen degrades choline, it must be provided in a protected form in order to reap these benefits. Rumen-protected choline has been utilized to help prevent the development of conditions such as fatty liver. It does this by helping transport fatty acids out of the liver, and has practical implications for prepartum cows struggling with excess condition. Typically choline is fed to transition cows, although some research has shown a carryover effect through lactation of higher milk overall. Arshad et al. (2020) evaluated 20 research studies in a meta-analysis and reported the supplementation of approximately 13 g of rumen protected choline increased milk yields (3.3 lbs/d), DMI (1.1 lbs/d), and improved milk fat and protein.
The interest in B-vitamin supplementation to dairy cows is increasing and there will likely be a new breadth of data on B-vitamins in the coming years. A discussion with your nutritionist can help determine if utilizing these B-vitamins is necessary to maximize the performance of your dairy herd.
Complete references available upon request.
Louisa Koch, Ph.D., is a dairy nutritionist with Agri-King, Inc., Fulton, Illinois.
Record keeping essential part of doing business
Record keeping important for regulatory compliance and improvement of daily operations
By Wilmer Pacheco, Adam Fahrenholz and Charles Stark
Records are essential for any successful feed manufacturing operation and to comply with local, state, and federal rules.
From the regulatory point of view, records are important to comply with Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements.
Compliance with FDA regulations may require records related to medicated feeds, traceability, prohibited mammalian proteins (BSE rule), and of course the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Employees’ emergency training (e.g., recognizing hazards, use of fire extinguishers, using PPE, first aid, etc.) should be conducted and training records preserved in order to comply with OSHA standards. Some examples of other records related to OSHA compliance may include: preventive measures related to dust control and specific safety protocols (e.g., lockout/tagout, hot work, forklift safety, ladder safety, confined space entry, etc.).
Under EPA regulations, facilities must implement spill prevention control, and countermeasure (SPCC) plans in order to prevent the discharge of oil into navigable waters and shorelines. According AFIA SPCC Plan (2010) one of the greatest areas of improvements is employee training and record keeping. Records may also be required related to hazardous air pollutants (e.g., NESHAP rule) and/or disposition of water from various sources, such as from the manufacturing process, cleaning, boiler blowdown discharge, and runoff.
Regardless of their source or purpose, records must be kept in their original forms, be accurate, indelible (not able to be erased or removed), legible, and must be created concurrently with the documented activity. Records should also include, as applicable, the name and location of the facility, identification of the equipment being serviced or inspected, the date and time the activity was documented, the signature or initials of the person performing the activity, and the type of product being manufactured. Some records can be generated automatically by the automation system or associated maintenance and/or production software, and this can be a significant asset because it removes the human error component of forgetting to generate or complete the record of interest.
Records are also important in the evaluation of the overall feed manufacturing operation and for making informed financial decisions in the future. For example, feed mill managers should regularly review records of daily production, ingredient receipts and usage to evaluate variation, and reconciliation records if medications are used. Records of received and used ingredients as well as finished products produced, delivered, and sold can be used for inventory management and process control.
Records related to quality control of the incoming ingredients such as protein, moisture, and mycotoxin levels can be used to evaluate ingredient suppliers and subsequently make decisions on which suppliers deliver ingredients with the best quality. And records of weekly or monthly feed mill inspections can be used to prioritize preventive and corrective maintenance.
Records of motor loads, such as operating and idle amperes (amps), can be used to evaluate the performance of employees and equipment. For instance, if hammermills, pellet mills, or bucket elevators run empty for a couple of hours, idle amps can be documented. This information can be used to train employees about the importance of energy conservation and how feed cost can be decreased by managing the equipment efficiently.
Records can also be used to decide when hammers or screens need to be changed in the hammermill. As the screens wear, material trying to pass through the screen is deflected, leading to reduced capacity and efficiency. Records of amps and production rate can help feed mill managers and maintenance personnel to determine when the increased energy cost per ton of material exceeds the replacement cost of the screens and hammers. The same principle applies to pellet dies and rolls in pelleting operations.
Shrink records are also important in a feed mill operation. Shrink can be caused either by material or moisture loss. Therefore, it is important to maintain records of moisture, particularly from the major ingredients (corn and SBM), to detect processes (grinding, mixing, conditioning, pelleting, cooling, etc.) in which moisture is gained or lost, and then find alternatives to manage moisture.
Moisture records after mixing and conditioning are particularly important. If the moisture content after the mixer is 12.5% and after the conditioner is 16.5%, the conditioning system is adding 4% moisture. Records of moisture and temperature of the mash and the conditioned feed provide an idea of the quality of the steam and put in evidence issues with water carryover to the steam lines. As a rule of thumb, for every 25°F increase of the temperature of the mash, moisture will increase by 1% if the steam quality is adequate.
It is worth noting, that for these records to be useful, sampling for moisture analysis after conditioning must be done correctly. It is important to consider that conditioned mash samples are moist and hot; therefore, samples must be sealed in a cup and be allowed to cool down before being homogenized and analyzed for moisture. If hot and moist samples are analyzed without being sealed and cooled, moisture will escape to the environment and the moisture of the samples will be underestimated. This in turn would lead to a collection of inaccurate records. Remember, no records are better than inaccurate records.
The next place where samples must be collected for moisture analysis is after cooling or crumbling. The moisture content of the finished feed should be the same moisture content of the mixed feed +/- 0.25%. A pellet mill running at 50 ton/hr will add 2 tons of water, and this water should be removed by the coolers in order to have neutral moisture loss/gain. Higher moisture in the finished feeds can lead to dilution of the nutritional content, and make the feeds more susceptible to bacterial contamination and mold growth. Furthermore, the temperature of the pellets should be monitored and recorded. Pellets should leave the cooler 5 to 10°F warmer than ambient temperature. If the records of temperature are higher than expected, then the cooler might be the bottle neck and unable to remove the heat and moisture added during the conditioning process, or the retention time in the cooler insufficient for proper heat removal.
Other feed mill records used to monitor daily and/or weekly operations include records of particle size analysis, equipment maintenance, and production records, which are important in case of a recall. Additionally, scale calibration and mixing uniformity records become handy to evaluate batching and mixing systems. During pelleting, records of pellet durability can be generated to make decisions on how to improve or maintain pellet quality.
Finally, keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently is a priority in any feed mill, and relies heavily on generating and maintaining manufacturing costs records such as dollars per ton of feed produced, personnel salaries, electricity costs, boiler fuel costs, and depreciation of the equipment.
Overall, whether records are generated automatically or manually, they are only useful when they are required for compliance or are regularly reviewed and used for process control and/or improvement.
With this in mind, it makes sense for all facilities to audit the records be generated and determine how often they should be reviewed in order to evaluate the operations, identify trends, and use the gathered information to improve feed mill operations.