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TheBeefSite Newsletter - 20 March 2013

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Wednesday 20th March 2013.
Michael Priestley - Editor

Michael Priestley

Drought Hit Forage Poses Nitrate Poisoning Risks

Using drought stressed corn as a forage alternative seems like a good way of utilising a stunted crop but staff at the South Dakota University Extension (SDSU) have warned that fodder this winter may contain higher nitrate levels, complicating cattle digestion, sometimes with fatal results.

Nitrate is found in all plants but sudangrass, pearlmillet, oats, orchardgrass and tall fescue can accumulate nitrate to high levels.

Toxic levels of accumulation are possible in red root pigweed, common lambsquarters, ragweed, velvetleaf, witchgrass, canada thistle and black nightshade.

Animals make protein from nitrates as plants do. This process is normal and requires rumen bacteria to convert nitrate into nitrite, which is then processed into ammonia.

When nitrate levels in the animal rumen become too high is when nitrate to nitrite conversion is faster than nitrite to ammonia conversion. According to SDSU experts, this is when the animal’s system becomes overwhelmed.

Health risks stem from nitrite accumulating in the bloodstream, where it reacts with haemoglobin, the oxygen carrying molecule. This derives methemoglobin which cannot transport oxygen causing internal suffocation of the animal.

This causes breathing difficulties, a drop in body temperature, violent heartbeat fluctuations and loss of muscular coordination. Reproduction ability can be affected at low nitrate levels.

Following the onset of these symptoms the animal can be dead within three to four hours and the SDSU team has advised Nitrate Poisoning is worse in cattle than sheep and horses.

Furthermore, toxicity levels are affected by the rate the nitrate is consumed. SDSU experts have said that around twice as much nitrate is required to kill a ruminant when nitrate is eaten in forage as when it is consumed quickly as in a supplement or accidental consumption of nitrate fertiliser.

Due to nitrogen spillages being palatable to cattle this represents a realistic danger on farms.

However, the extension team added that the health and condition of an animal effects nitrate digestion ability and, therefore, the level at which the substance becomes toxic.

When cattle are ill or have faced an abrupt diet change because toxic nitrate ion intake varies from 30 to 45 grams per 100 pounds of bodyweight for a healthy animal and as little as eight to 22 grams.

Understanding forage contents is, therefore, vital. SDSU experts have advised that chemical analysis of forage can also assess energy high protein and low energy levels that are common problems in drought stressed forage.


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This Weeks Articles and Analysis

Nitrate Poisoning of Livestock Causes & Prevention
Whether nitrates are not being converted into proteins by the animal or by the plant it eats, nitrate levels can overwhelm the animal's digestive system, say South Dakota University specialists who offer advice for prevention.

Is it Time to Re-think Weaning?
With massive impacts on cow stress and calf impacts further down the line, it is important to get weaning right, says Joe Stookey, researcher and professor of animal behavior at the University of Saskatchewan.

Mull Monitor Farm Focuses on Increasing Output per Cow
Scottish Farmer, Iain Mackay, has developed a system of producing beef on the isle of Mull in the inner hebrides. Speaking as a monitor for farmer for Quality Meat Scotland, Iain sheds light on crossing Simmentals with Highland breeds.

Application of Ionophores in Cattle Diets
Fed to cattle in liquid, solid or medicinal form, Ionophores increase calf weight gain in correlation to the amount given.

Market Reports

USDA Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook - March 2013
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Global Beef Industry News

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Farmers Back PGP Collaboration Programme
Silver Fern in Blood Plasma Deal with Biotech Company
Water Reforms Arrive in Time to Distract from Drought Issues
Entire North Island of New Zealand Receives Drought Confirmation


China's Farm Produce Prices Retreat
Field Epidemiology Training Program for Veterinarians in Beijing
FMD Outbreak Reported in Qinghai
Chinese Consumers Aware of Food Safety


Worldwide Conference on Antimicrobial Agents in Animals
Solidarity Against Antimicrobial Resistance
Balancing More Food and Energy with Less Pollution
FAO: World Not Coping Well with Change in Diets
FMD NEWS: OIE Reports FMD Outbreaks in China and Russia

   United States

CME: Canada, Mexico Critical for US Beef, Pork Shipments
Cattleman’s Cow/Calf Clinic Confirmed For March 28 in Athens
Grazing School Works to Improve Pasture Management
Mastitis Grant to Reduce Antibiotic Dependence
CME: Proposed Changes to MCOOL Not What Mexico, Canada Expected
CME: Weak Grains Cause Early Futures Surge Before Closing Lower
Not Just Genetics That Dictates Easy Calving Heifers
CME: April and June Cattle Close Lower, Thursday
Legistlation to Restrict Antibiotic Use Introduced - Again
Survival Comes Before Expansion in the Cow Business
Shock Therapy: A Critical Look at Nutrients, Farm Management
US Takes Indonesia to WTO Disputes Panel over Trade Restrictions
Mid-year Soybean Stocks
Cattle Outlook: USDA Cancels July Inventory to Reduce Costs
NFU Reflects on Contributions of American Agriculture
Beef Board Research Shows Why Millennials Matter
CME: Retail Prices for Meat, Poultry Proteins Stay Strong
CME: Weather and Rising Dollar Leave Futures Lower, Tuesday

   United Kingdom

Greens Label CAP Reforms as 'Agri-business as Usual'
Beef Prices Prompt Native Breed Calves to be Moved to Rearing
Government Data Illustrates Spreading TB Problem
CAP: Labour MEPs Disappointed by Overall Lack of Radical Reform
Partnership Deal Hopes to Drive Agri-food Innovation
Can Myths over Antimicrobial Resistance be Broken?
Growing CAP Coalition Warns of Threat to English Farmers
New Campaign to Push Easter Beef and Lamb
LMC: Higher Prices Available as Numbers Tighten
Beef Market Opportunities for Dairy Farmers


Semen Clinics Given China Green Light


Regulations for Soybean and Forage Seeds Streamlined
Be Wary of Nutrition Levels and Downer Cows
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Have High Genomic Replikin Counts


France Sets New Course for Agriculture


Herd Number Increase Confirmed by Exporters


JBS Sees Rise in Sales and Income


Australian Beef Exports to China Reach New Highs
MLA: Weekly Cattle Summary
Flood Recoveries Given Boost
Bovine Theileriosis Innovator Rewarded
Indonesian Cattle Export Ban Hits AACo
Anthrax Kills Cattle Near Moree


Diphtheria Outbreak Kills Calves in Rawalpandi

   European Union

Mixed Feelings over CAP Vote
Schmallenberg Understanding to Benefit from Midge Breakthrough
EU Earmarks €15m for Food and Feed Safety Testing
EC Fires Starting Gun for EU-US Trade Talks
GM Crops: Is European Farming at Risk?


Denmark Strengthens Relations with China in Animal Science
New Domestic Market Manager for Danish Crown
New CEO of Friland, DC Subsidiary

   Russian Federation

Russia Tells US to Prove Absence of Ractopamine in Meat Products
FMD Affects Cattle, Sheep and Pigs

   South Africa

South Africa's Ag Minister to Open Congress


USMEF Market Expo Team Sees Opportunities in Panama


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