health & disease

Cow + Feed=Lots Of Gas


Cows are considered the largest producer of methane globally, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has reports stating "The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in [carbon dioxide] equivalent."

Reduction of methane produced by cows has long been thought to be a key green house gas reduction activity. Recently, Wageningen University researcher Van Zijderveld discovered that nitrate and sulphate additives in feed help reduce methane production in cow stomachs.

If their feed contains a small percentage of these substances the amount of this powerful greenhouse gas produced by sheep is halved, research by Sander van Zijderveld has shown.

While the research is in its early stages, there is potential to reduce methane production 16 to 30 percent.

DairyCast Update for December 3, 2010, What Does The Year End Economic Review Show?

Truffle Media Networks focuses on bringing usable media to agri-business professionals in dairy.

How can you connect with those professionals? Truffle Media Networks offers a channel that reaches producers, farm operation management, large animal veterinarians, production staff, and researchers. Learn more about how to make those connections.

How Can Bacteriophages Perform As Antibiotic Alternatives?

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Bacteriophages are being considered as viable alternatives to infectious diseases that are no longer responding to antibiotics. Currently waiting U.S. approval, bacteriophages could be used to treat animals and humans.

Bacteriophages -- so named when they were first discovered because they appear to eat bacteria -- are naturally occurring viruses that can infect and kill bacteria.

Currently there are many bacterial diseases that have become resistant to antibiotics. Stronger antibiotics have been used in treatment but at the risk of continue the evolution of the bacteria to become "super-bugs".

Fast forward to the present, where an increasing number of bacteria strains -- often referred to as "super bugs" -- are becoming resistant to antibiotics typically used against them. The fear of seeing human medical science being hurled back into a pre-antibiotic era is ever present.

In the battle against antibiotic resistance in animal agriculture, researchers from Washington and New York states are hoping to help pave the way for U.S. approval of a promising biological therapy that has the potential to not only treat sick cows, but also save human lives threatened by infectious diseases that no longer respond to antibiotics.

DairyCast 0392 - Johne's Vaccine Testing Points To Future

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What's That Smell? Biofilter To Reduce Odor

What is that smell?

Ted Funk, a University of Illinois Extension agricultural engineer with the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE), and Matt Robert, an ABE research engineer, constructed two biofilters on the ABE research farm to reduce odor emissions by up to 90%.

"The new design uses 30-inch concrete silo staves that fit together like puzzle pieces," said Robert.

The biofilters media is expected to last between three and five years and cost about dollar per cubic foot per minute (cfm) of air handled.

"Reducing odor and being a good neighbor sound good until it comes to the pocketbook," said Funk. "Biofiltration has been around a long time in other industries, but it's never been brought down to a cost that the livestock industry can handle."

DairyCast 0390 - Watching Wisconsin Livestock Traceability Efforts

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What is the West Central Research and Outreach Center?


University of Minnesota's West Central Research and Outreach Center is a center whose goal is to disseminate knowledge and information, focusing on west central Minnesota. Orginally an agricultural experiment station, research has expanded to include studies of environmental quality and renewable energy. From an article in AgriNews, Brad Heins is new dairy scientist at WCROC

The center has 110 cows in a conventional grazing system and another 90 in organics. Besides Holsteins, the center has been crossbreeding cattle with Jerseys, Swedish Reds, Norwegian Reds, Mont Beliards and Normandes. One reason the Normandes are part of the breeding program is the high percentage of BB Capa Casein found in their milk. The BB is beneficial for cheese production, he said. Heins envisions the center one day having an a small cheese plant.

Of note are is a late calf weaning project, where a group of calves are weaned at 90 days in an organic system.

Since there aren't any organic milk replacers, they are monitoring the effectiveness of late weaning vs. early weaning.

DairyCast update for October 8, 2010, Why Are Regulators Taking Aim At Animal Health Products?

Are you planning to attend the National FFA Convention, October 20-23, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana?

DairyCast 0386 - Regulators Take Aim At Industry Health Products

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mp3DairyCast 0386 Show Notes:
  • As the 'Antibiotic Resistance' snowball continues to grow, Dr. Liz Wagstrom, associate professor in infectious disease and public health at the Univ of MN presented her view of action in Washington on both legislative and regulatory fronts dealing with animal agriculture's use of antibiotics at a recent animal health conference. 
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