News Update
Jan. 11, 2006

Animal ID Organization Forms

A new nonprofit organization has been formed to manage the animal identification (ID) database as prescribed by the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

The United States Animal Identification Organization (USAIO) is an independent organization working with all segments of the animal industry and with animal health authorities to manage the industry-led animal ID movement database, Charles Miller, USAIO chairman, stated in a release issued today.

“The first board meeting was held January 10, 2006, where members of the board were elected,” he said. “The board of directors will be expanded as various industry groups formally adopt the USAIO as their database repository for animal movement data needed for the NAIS.”

Initial directors include Miller, a cow-calf producer from Nicholasville, Ky.; Rick Stott, a Boise, Idaho, beef producer; and Lance Kuck, a bison producer from Bassett, Neb.

“This organization looks forward to working closely with industry and animal health authorities to move the NAIS forward in a positive, proactive way,” he stated.

According to Miller’s statement, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been submitted by the USAIO to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to form a strategic partnership and fulfill Secretary Johanns’ directive for the industry to develop the database repository.

“USAIO looks forward to engaging all the interested parties to provide an effective, efficient, and inexpensive database for the NAIS,” Miller added.

Ethanol Byproducts May Enhance Calf Growth

With the increase of ethanol production in Missouri, University of Missouri (MU) researchers are looking at the effectiveness of the industry’s byproduct, distillers’ dried grains with solubles (DDGS), to enhance calf growth.

“Corn distillers’ dried grains provide an excellent energy and protein source to enhance growth performance in calves,” said Jim Williams, MU professor of animal science. “With the increase in ethanol production, these grains should be available for producers.”

Researchers are looking at the optimal inclusion rate of DDGS in pellet form for preconditioned calves fed a no-roughage diet. Finely ground distillers’ grains are being used as a feed supplement, but many producers don’t know what levels to use, he said.

 “I have quite a few producers calling, wanting me to formulate diets because they do not know how much protein and energy the DDGS is contributing,” he said.

In earlier research, preconditioned calves were fed a control diet of 40% soyhulls and 20% wheat midds in pellet form. Whole-shell corn was fed separately. DDGS was then substituted for the corn, soyhulls and wheat midds. At this level, performance of growing calves was optimized at 4.6 pounds (lb.) DDGS per head per day, he said.

In current research, Williams will feed Angus calves, with an average weight of 500 lb., one of eight diets. The DDGS will be added to the control diet at rates of 1.7, 2.7, 3.5, 4.2, 5.2, and 6.2 lb. per day. These treatment diets will be fed to calves for 40 days in order to calculate the optimal inclusion rate of distillers’ grains to meet the calves’ amino acid requirements.

“Such a supplement has potential because we are taking the roughage out of the diet. The calves are getting all the roughage from the byproduct, which is a new approach for producers feeding byproducts to cattle. We think over a 40-day study that you still can improve performance of the calves, reduce manure output, and save money on the labor from not feeding hay,” he said.

 Development of a DDGS pellet would reduce handling and storage problems, Williams said.


— Release written by Robert Thomas of MU Extension, which provided the article.

U.S. Report Criticizes Canadian Food Safety

A report submitted by the USDA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has uncovered concerns surrounding Canada’s food safety system. 

The OIG’s report, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, references a 2-year-old Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) document detailing inadequacies in Canadian meat and poultry inspections.

According to AP, U.S. food safety officials warned then-Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman in November 2003 that public health could be compromised if USDA didn’t respond immediately to safety concerns with Canadian inspections. However, “when FSIS officials returned to Canada in May 2005, they continued to find the same types of deficiencies they found in 2003,” the report stated.

AP noted OIG’s three main concerns with Canadian inspections, which included a lack of daily inspections at Canadian food-processing plants, a lack of adequate sanitation controls, and failure to sample ready-to-eat products for listeria.

USDA officials said the agency has since addressed problems at individual plants, and Canada has altered its system to comply with U.S. rules, the article stated.

— compiled by Crystal Albers, Angus Productions Inc.

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