Livestock briefs - New study of antibiotic use

Wisconsin State Farmer
Livestock briefs


New study of antibiotic use, resistance

A team of interdisciplinary scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina and the Charleston VA Medical Center Research Service recently reviewed published literature for evidence of a relationship between antibiotic use in agricultural animals and drug-resistant foodborne Salmonella infections in humans, commonly known as salmonellosis.

According to the 2013 CDC Antibiotic Resistance Threats Report, two of the 18 pathogens that are of concern in the U.S. may have a direct link to agriculture — one of them being Salmonella.

Foodborne illness from both drug-sensitive and drug-resistant non-typhoidal Salmonella is estimated to sicken 1.2 million Americans annually (CDC, 2013). Animals included in the reviewed studies were chicken, turkeys, pigs, beef cattle, and dairy cows.


Lawmakers back limits on livestock lawsuits

Bills aimed at limiting lawsuit damages in cases filed against Iowa livestock producers were advanced in the Iowa Senate and House.

A Senate subcommittee voted 3-0 to advance Senate Study Bill 1144, which allows for an affirmative defense to be raised when an animal feeding operation is alleged to be a public or private nuisance or otherwise interfere with a person's enjoyment of life or property. The legislation suggests the public interest is served by preserving and encouraging responsible animal agricultural production.

The affirmative defense limits compensatory damages, as opposed to punitive damages, and specifies three categories of awards. In addition, a party that files suit and fails to prove that an animal feeding operation is a public or private nuisance is liable to pay the defendant for all costs and expenses, including attorney fees.

The bill's supporters include the Iowa Cattlemen's Association, the Iowa Pork Producers Association, Property Casualty Insurers Association of American and Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company. Opponents include the Iowa Environmental Council, Iowa Chapter of Sierra Club and Iowa Association for Justice.


Holstein Association USA identifies record number of Holsteins

Holstein Association USA, Inc. officially identified an all-time record number of Holstein cattle in 2016 through their registration and Basic ID programs. In total, 690,553 Holsteins were identified in 2016, which is 108,867 more or 18 percent higher than 2015. Registrations totaled 377,305 and  313,248 head were enrolled in the Basic ID program.

The Basic ID program is a stepping stone to full registry status. Participation in Holstein Association USA identification programs has never been higher.

According to Holstein Association CEO John M. Meyer, “As we all know, the dairy economy was tough in 2016.  Even so, dairymen across the country continued to increase their participation in our programs.”

Meyer continues, “One of the great things about being in the Holstein business is that we have a bountiful array of diversified genetics to choose from that allows dairies to be the best in class in any dairy market they want to be in.  The large volumes of high quality milk produced by Holsteins are coveted in all dairy markets.”


Parakeets cause health, environmental problems

An invasive parakeet is causing health and environmental problems on Kauai, according to Hawaii officials.

The rose-ringed parakeet was introduced to the islands about 50 years ago by a bed-and-breakfast that clipped their wings and had them hang out around the porch. The birds then escaped and began to establish themselves at some point after 1968. Officials say the birds are very destructive to the state's lychee and longan crops.

Kathryn Fiedler of the University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources said the birds not only eat up fruit crops but also contaminate fruits and vegetables.

Farmer Jerry Ornellas said parakeets caused him to lose about 30 percent of his crop in 2016, the equivalent of about $6,000. He said food safety is a big concern.

"These birds will land in the tops of the trees, they'll poop and if any of their droppings gets onto the other fruit. even if it hasn't been damaged by the birds, you have to discard that fruit," said Ornellas.

According to the state, farmers sometimes use netting to protect their crops, but it's expensive and difficult to use on plants like lychee trees.