Tag Archives: livestock

DES MOINES,– America’s pig farmers continue to practice many of the principles of Earth Day, which is April 22, every day on their farms, and in many cases, have done so for generations. This fact is underscored by the results of a recent study from the University of Arkansas, which confirmed that today’s pork is more earth-friendly than ever thanks to great progress in multiple key sustainability metrics over more than five decades.

According to the new study, A Retrospective Assessment of U.S. Pork Production: 1960 to 2015the inputs needed to produce a pound of pork in the United States have become more environmentally friendly over time. Specifically, 75.9% less land is needed, 25.1% less water and 7% less energy. This also has resulted in a 7.7% smaller carbon footprint (see infographic.)

To save as much water as today’s pig farms do over their predecessors of 50-plus years ago, the average American would have to take 90 fewer showers per year. Likewise, to understand the energy savings accomplished by pig farmers during the study period, a typical household would need to eliminate the use of a refrigerator altogether.

“The study confirms that U.S. pig farmers like me have been making progress in our ongoing commitment to do what’s best for people, pigs and the planet, which is at the heart of the industry’s We CareSM initiative,” said Steve Rommereim, National Pork Board president and a pig farmer from Alcester, South Dakota. “It’s encouraging to see this level of progress in environmental stewardship over the years. It also is helpful to have a benchmark to measure additional improvements.”

Unlike some earlier studies, the new Pork Checkoff-funded study used a comprehensive life-cycle assessment approach and the best available methodology along with a field-to-farm gate approach. This meant including material and energy flows associated with the full supply chain, beginning with extraction of raw materials through production of live, market-weight pigs, including marketed sows.

“As it has for decades, the U.S. pork industry will continue to make strides in overall efficiency, which is the major driver behind improving sustainability across all metrics,” Rommereim said.

This may come in terms of nutrition, genetics, health management, crop management and overall technology adoption. The ongoing trend is clearly seen in the Arkansas study. Feed conversion (pounds of feed needed for pound of pork gained) started at 4.5 in 1960 and ended at 2.8 in 2015 – a 38% improvement even while market hog weights went from 200 pounds to 281 pounds.

“Celebrating Earth Month in April provides an opportunity to not only recognize the environmental sustainability advancements of pig farming in the last five decades, but also to explore new ways to build on this progress going forward,” Rommereim said. “We look forward to the challenge of improving our current metrics of sustainability because it’s right for consumers, farmers, animals and the planet.”

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A federal judge has awarded more than $181,000 in legal fees to seven lawyers who successfully fought a 2012 Iowa law that made it illegal to get a job at a livestock farm to conduct an animal cruelty undercover investigation.

Animal rights and civil rights organizations, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Iowa Citizens For Community Improvement, sued Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and others over the so-called ag gag law.

In January, U.S. District Court Judge James Gritzner concluded the law violated the constitutional right to free speech. The state has appealed to the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Last week, Gritzner approved animal rights groups’ attorney fees, which the state must pay. Additional costs are mounting for the appeal.

The American Veterinary Association is happy about the re-introduction in Congress of the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act.

It’s an important bill to the industry because if it’s passed, it will play a critical role in addressing shortages of food animal and public health veterinarians in rural and agricultural communities. “Veterinary shortages are one of the many significant challenges facing farmers and ranchers today,” says AVMA President Dr. John De Jong. “If we don’t take steps to address these shortages, we’ll likely see an increase in animal disease incidents that impact our economy and even public health.” De Jong says they’re very grateful to all lawmakers who’ve been supportive of the legislation.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture designated 190 regions in 44 states as suffering from shortages of food animal or public health veterinarians, the most in the program’s history. Student debt is a key cause of the shortage. Students typically graduate with $180,000 in debt. Careers as a food animal vet typically pay less than a career as a companion animal vet.

USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Amanda De Jong today announced that effective immediately, emergency grazing use of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres is approved in Iowa through May 14, 2019. The authorization was granted to address the impacts of the recent extreme weather, including flooding. Participation is limited to livestock producers who lost pasture or fences due to the flooding.

“By allowing emergency grazing, we expand the available resources to help Iowa producers respond to recent weather events,” De Jong said.

Producers who are interested in the use of emergency grazing of CRP acres must request FSA county office approval before moving livestock onto the acres. Producers whose livestock grazing land was adversely impacted by the flood, must file a CCC-576 Notice of Loss or provide written certification of that loss. The request must include a modified conservation plan, with grazing provisions, from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

CRP participants can allow others to use their CRP acres under this emergency grazing authorization; however, the livestock owners will also need to complete FSA paperwork indicating their grazing land was adversely impacted by severe weather. There will be no reduction in CRP rental payments to CRP contract holders who use the emergency grazing authorization. CRP contract holders are not permitted to charge livestock producers for the emergency grazing option.

For more information on eligible practices or to request approval for emergency grazing use of CRP acres, contact your local FSA office or visit www.farmers.gov/service-locator.

TOPEKA, Kan. — The deadline to apply for Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) scholarships is April 20. Students pursuing a degree in agriculture or a related field, including veterinary medicine, should check out the availability and requirements here. Students in Chase, Franklin, Lyon, McPherson, Osage, Pawnee, Saline and Wabaunsee counties will receive preference for several geographic-specific scholarships.

KLF scholarships are made possible through the generosity of several allied industry companies; buyers and sellers at the KLF Club Calf Sale; those establishing named scholarships in honor of a family member; and donors and bidders in the Kansas CattleWomen Silent Auction.

QUESTION:

We had a very bad cold, wet snap with lots of snow, ice and rain right in the middle of calving season. Several calves started scouring, and we treated them with scour boluses and penicillin. We lost four of them. We have not had any more cases since, but we’d like to know what we can do to prevent this in the future.

ANSWER:

There are so many potential causes when it comes to scours, you really need to get your veterinarian involved. A good history of what happened leading up to this is going to be very important. Some key information would include age of the calves, age of the dams, body conditions, available feed, available minerals and whether cows had been vaccinated and dewormed.

You note this started when bad weather moved in. The cold, wet conditions you describe can sometimes keep calves from getting up and nursing quickly. That can mean they don’t get enough colostrum those first few critical hours of life. Also, muddy, nasty conditions increase the chances disease will spread. They also make maintaining a normal body temperature difficult at best.

If cows are thin, or lacking in balanced nutrition including minerals, colostrum quality may suffer. All of these things can work together to increase the potential for sick calves.

An accurate diagnosis is the first step in knowing how to treat calves and prevent future outbreaks. Calf scours can be caused by several different viruses, bacteria and parasites. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses or parasites; they only help if the bacteria involved is susceptible. Just as importantly, antibiotics may kill good bacteria and make the situation worse. The decision on whether, when and what antibiotics to use must be made in consultation with your herd veterinarian. As you discuss this, ask for a review of your overall herd-health program. If the situation recurs, act fast to get a diagnosis and a treatment plan under way.

(LINCOLN, NEB.)  — Investigators with the Nebraska Brand Committee, the Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office, and the Nebraska State Patrol are investigating a reported case of livestock neglect in Fillmore County.

Investigators have served a search warrant at a property at 1817 Road C near Exeter. At the property, investigators discovered more than 200 deceased cattle and 1 deceased horse.

More than 200 additional cattle were found to be in questionable to poor condition. Those animals were removed from the property and placed at a nearby ranch to be monitored and receive care.

The Nebraska Brand Committee is investigating additional reports of theft of livestock and violations of the Nebraska Livestock Brand Act. The investigation is ongoing.

 

ST. PAUL, Minn., /PRNewswire/ — CHS Inc. (NASDAQ: CHSCP, CHSCO, CHSCN, CHSCM, CHSCL), the nation’s leading farmer-owned cooperative and a global energy, agronomy, grains and foods company,  reported net income of $248.8 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2019 and $596.3 million for the first six months of fiscal 2019.

“Our strong performance in the second quarter reflects our hard work at serving our owners and other customers better. We’ve refocused on serving our customers and improving our operations, and that has shown positive results in our financials for the first half of fiscal 2019,” said Jay Debertin, CHS president and chief executive officer. “Our performance also reflects the benefit of a diverse platform across business units that serves our cooperative and farmer-owners.”

Key financial highlights for the quarter ending Feb. 28, 2019, include:

  • Consolidated revenues of $6.5 billion compared to $7.0 billion in the restated second quarter of fiscal year 2018.
  • Net income of $248.8 million compared to $166.0 million from the restated second quarter of fiscal year 2018.
  • Pretax income of $261.9 million compared to a loss of $21.7 million from the restated second quarter of fiscal 2018.
  • Favorable pricing for crude oil supplied to the CHS refinery business.
  • Higher earnings from the investments in CF Nitrogen and Ventura Foods.

“The first six months of our fiscal year have returned overall good financial results,” Debertin said. “But we face challenges, particularly in our Ag segment. These challenges of low commodity prices, trade difficulties and harsh winter weather impact all of agriculture, especially farmers. As we look to the rest of our fiscal year, we know there are factors such as the recent flooding we cannot control that will continue to affect agribusiness and those growing the food to feed the world.”

Second Quarter Fiscal 2019 Segment Results

The following segment results were reported for the second quarter of fiscal 2019 as compared to second quarter fiscal 2018.

ENERGY

The $282.1 million increase in Energy pretax earnings reflects:

  • Improved market conditions in the CHS refined fuels business, primarily driven by favorable pricing on heavy Canadian crude oil.

AG

The $8.9 million decrease in Ag pretax earnings was driven by:

  • Significant pressure on grain volume and margin due to slower movement of grain caused by price, weather, logistics and unresolved trade issues.

NITROGEN PRODUCTION

The $6.2 million increase in Nitrogen Production pretax earnings reflects:

  • Improved margins at CF Nitrogen, driven by increased sale prices of urea and UAN, which are produced and sold by CF Nitrogen.

CORPORATE AND OTHER

The $4.2 million increase in Corporate and Other pretax earnings reflects:

  • Higher earnings from the company’s investment in Ventura Foods and increased revenue from other corporate activities.

CHS Inc. ( www.chsinc.com ) is a leading global agribusiness owned by farmers, ranchers and cooperatives across the United States. Diversified in energy, agronomy, grains and foods, CHS is committed to helping its customers, farmer-owners and other stakeholders grow their businesses through its domestic and global operations. CHS supplies energy, crop nutrients, grain marketing services, animal feed, food and food ingredients along with financial and risk management services. The company operates petroleum refineries/pipelines and manufactures, markets and distributes Cenex® brand refined fuels, lubricants, propane and renewable energy products.

This document and other CHS Inc. publicly available documents contain, and CHS officers and representatives may from time to time make, “forward–looking statements” within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Report Act of 1995. Forward–looking statements can be identified by words such as “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “goal,” “seek,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “expect,” “strategy,” “future,” “likely,” “may,” “should,” “will” and similar references to future periods. Forward–looking statements are neither historical facts nor assurances of future performance. Instead, they are based only on CHS current beliefs, expectations and assumptions regarding the future of its businesses, future plans and strategies, projections, anticipated events and trends, the economy and other future conditions. Because forward–looking statements relate to the future, they are subject to inherent uncertainties, risks and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict and many of which are outside of CHS control. CHS actual results and financial condition may differ materially from those indicated in the forward–looking statements. Therefore, you should not rely on any of these forward–looking statements. Important factors that could cause CHS actual results and financial condition to differ materially from those indicated in the forward–looking statements are discussed or identified in CHS public filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the “Risk Factors” discussion in Item 1A of CHS Annual Report on Form 10–K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2018. Any forward–looking statements made by CHS in this document are based only on information currently available to CHS and speak only as of the date on which the statement is made. CHS undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward–looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time, whether as a result of new information, future developments or otherwise.

(LINCOLN, Nebraska) April 2, 2019 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Executive Director Nancy Johner today announced that producers who suffered livestock losses due to a combination of extended cold and above-normal precipitation during the months of January, February and March may be eligible for assistance under the Livestock Indemnity Program(LIP). The deadline to submit a LIP Notice of Loss due to these weather circumstances is April 29, 2019.

“The Livestock Indemnity Program provides producers with a vital safety net to help them overcome the financial impact of extreme or abnormal weather,” said Johner. “Extended cold combined with above-normal precipitation during the months of January, February and early March created an adverse weather event that has had a significant impact on some livestock producers. We encourage them to reach out to our office by the April 29 notice of loss deadline.”

LIP compensates livestock owners and contract growers for livestock death losses in excess of normal mortality due to an adverse weather event. The payment rate is based on 75 percent of the average fair market value of the livestock.

A livestock producer must file a notice of loss within 30 calendar days of when the loss of livestock is first apparent. Due to the abnormal conditions in January, February and March 2019, producers with livestock losses attributable to the combination of extended cold and above-normal precipitation have until April 29, 2019, to submit a notice of loss to FSA county offices. Livestock producers must provide evidence that the death of livestock was due to an eligible adverse weather event or loss condition.

Once a Notice of Loss is completed and approved by FSA, an application for payment can be completed by submitting supporting documents regarding beginning inventory and losses. This may include documentation showing the number and kind of livestock that died, photographs or video records to document the loss, purchase records, veterinarian records, production records and other similar documents.

Producers may apply for LIP benefits at their county FSA office. For more information on LIP, or to locate a county FSA office, visitwww.farmers.gov.

Livestock producers face a recurring challenge: watching animal behavior for signs of illness or injury.

 

An interdisciplinary team from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has developed precision technology to help producers continuously monitor animals and use the resulting data to improve animal well-being.

 

The team includes Nebraska electrical and computer engineers Lance C. Pérez, Eric Psota and Mateusz Mittek, and animal scientists Ty Schmidt and Benny Mote, who developed the technology system using video footage of pigs.

 

The system processes video footage from livestock facilities — day and night — and applies machine learning, which uses statistical algorithms to help computer systems improve without being explicitly programmed. It identifies individual pigs and provides data about their daily activities, such as eating, drinking and movement.

 

Based on this data, the system can also estimate how much each pig weighs and how fast it is growing.

 

“Our system provides a pattern of typical behavior,” said Psota, research assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. “When an animal deviates from that pattern, then it may be an indicator that something’s wrong. It makes it easier to spot problems before they get too big to fix.”

 

The team created their system using deep learning networks, a form of machine learning with millions of coefficients and parameters. To identify pigs from all angles, the networks processed images large and small, rotated, skewed and otherwise transformed. The team uses ear tags to help with identification but aims to rely on unique physical characteristics such as ear shape, saving producers the added work of tagging.

 

Although the system has been developed to identify pigs, its algorithms can be used for other livestock, such as cattle, horses, goats and sheep.

 

“We want to make a tool that is available to the livestock producers,” said Schmidt, associate professor of animal science. “In a competitive agricultural market with rising costs, producers are looking for solutions that streamline operations while enhancing the health and well-being of their animals.”

 

The team is pursuing further development with the help of NUtech Ventures, the university’s technology commercialization affiliate. NUtech has patented the technology and is exploring industry investment.

 

“NUtech provides a valuable service and opens us up to conversations with people outside the university,” Schmidt said. “We’re now looking for industry collaboration to help us advance this system.”

 

DETECTING ILLNESS, DECIPHERING TRAITS

 

The team recently received $675,000 from the National Association of Pork Producers to fund two studies. In collaboration with Kansas State University, the first study will explore the technology’s ability to predict illness. The team plans to collect data from both healthy and immune-compromised pigs, training the system to distinguish early symptoms.

 

The second study will explore the lifespan of sows — female pigs of reproductive age — and traits that may be associated with longevity. The Nebraska team’s technology will track sows over time and identify changes in movement, gait patterns and physical activity — data that may yield links between genetic background and longevity. It’s a connection that hasn’t been measured because there hasn’t previously been technology to do it, Schmidt said.

 

“Could we make more informed management decisions — identifying optimal genetic lines that are healthier, more efficient or less aggressive?” Schmidt said. “Can we identify a sick pig, days ahead of when symptoms are visible to the producer? In both of these studies, we’re looking to push the boundaries of what we’ve already created.”