Livestock News for April 16

World Pork Expo cancelled

The National Pork Producers Council’s board of directors announced its decision to cancel World Pork Expo 2019 “out of an abundance of caution” as African swine fever (ASF) continues to spread in China and other parts of Asia, according to a release. World Pork Expo, held each June at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, hosts approximately 20,000 visitors over three days, including individuals and exhibitors from ASF-positive regions. African swine fever affects only pigs and presents no human health or food safety risks. There is currently no vaccine to treat the swine disease. “While an evaluation by veterinarians and other third-party experts concluded negligible risk associated with holding the event, we have decided to exercise extreme caution,” said David Herring, NPPC president and a producer from Lillington, North Carolina. “The health of the U.S. swine herd is paramount; the livelihoods of our producers depend on it. Prevention is our only defense against ASF and NPPC will continue to do all it can to prevent its spread to the United States.”

AAEP publishes rotavirus guidelines

The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) has published on its website comprehensive guidelines for the identification, management and prevention of rotavirus, a leading cause of diarrhea in foals up to six months of age at horse breeding centers worldwide. Published as a PDF file, the Rotavirus Guidelines document conveniently summarizes the disease’s clinical signs, risk factors, diagnostic methods, control measures, biosecurity issues and other management protocols. View the Rotavirus Guidelines or save them to your phone or tablet for future reference.

European Commission OK’s equine stem cell therapy

According to Today’s Veterinary Business, Boehringer Ingelheim has received authorization from the European Commission for a stem cell therapy designed for the treatment of equine lameness. The company reported that Arti-Cell Forte is the first approved stem cell-based product in animal health. The therapy, which uses “specifically primed, chondrogenic induced stem cells,” according to BI, was developed in partnership with Belgium-based Global Stem Cell Technology.

Researcher: Broiler mortality trending upward

According to an AgWeek report, broiler mortality has been trending upward for the first time in about 90 years, G. Donald Ritter, a veterinarian with Mountaire Farms, said during a New York Academy of Sciences conference on antibiotics in animal agriculture. The increase coincides with an uptick of meat companies adopting “no antibiotics ever” standards for poultry. Ritter said a survey of veterinarians who work with companies who have gone toward raising animals without antibiotics showed that the majority of the veterinarians felt that such programs do not enhance the health of animals and that striving for a label designation becomes more important than the actual health of the animals under their care. “This is a troubling part of the no-antibiotics-ever landscape,” he said. Read more.

Ag Census: U.S. farmers getting older

AgriPulse reported that U.S. farmers are getting older, continuing a long-term trend, and the total number of farms is declining, according to the 2017 Census of Agriculture released by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The average age of all U.S. farm producers in 2017 was 57.5 years, up from 56.3 years in the 2012 Ag Census. “Producers also tend to be experienced,” NASS said in a fact sheet. “They had been on their current farm an average of 21.3 years.” The amount of acreage farmed nationwide in 2017 was 900 million acres, down 1.6 percent from 2012, while the average farm size increased by the same percentage, to 441 acres. The number of farms fell from 2.11 million to 2.04 million, a 3.2 percent drop. “All categories of mid-sized farms declined,” NASS said. “The largest farms (sales of $5 million or more) accounted for fewer than 1 percent of all farms but 35 percent of all sales. Small farms (sales of $50,000 or less) accounted for 76 percent of the farms and 3 percent of the sales.”