Webinar on food animal antibiotic use: Last month, the Food & Drug Administration announced important steps to ensure the judicious use of antibiotics in food animals as one approach to addressing antimicrobial resistance in human medicine. In an effort to clarify what this ruling means to livestock producers and other industry professionals, members of the University of Illinois department of animal sciences will offer a free webinar from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 28. The discussion will cover what the new steps mean to the livestock industry, what they don't mean and how producers and others should respond. The webinar will be presented by professor emeritus James Pettigrew and professor Hans Stein. "The documents address only those (food animal) antibiotics considered important in human medicine, which are all of them except the widely used ionophores and a few others," Pettigrew said. "The new rules apply only to antibiotics used in feed or drinking water." To register for the webinar, go to http://go.illinois.edu/antibiotics.
Salmonella guide for market hogs : The Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) published a notice in the Jan. 6 Federal Register announcing the availability of a compliance guideline for hog slaughter establishments that provides information on best practices that may be applied at a hog slaughter facility to prevent, eliminate or reduce levels of salmonella on hogs at all stages of slaughter and dressing. FSIS said it is issuing this guideline because pork has recently been implicated in a number of salmonellosis outbreaks. The guidance is posted at www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail degrees =FSIS-2014-0002-0001. The agency is issuing this guidance pursuant to its "Salmonella Action Plan" that lists a number of actions FSIS intends to take to reduce salmonella-related illnesses from FSIS-regulated products, including pork products. FSIS is providing 60 days for public comment and noted that the guidance document may be updated in response to the comments the agency receives.
CSP enrollment extended: The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has extended the deadline for new enrollments in the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) for fiscal 2014. CSP is now in its fifth year. Under CSP, participants are paid for conservation performance: The higher the operational performance, the higher the payment. Eligible landowners and operators in all states and territories can enroll in CSP through Feb. 7 to be eligible during fiscal 2014. While local NRCS offices accept CSP applications year-round, NRCS evaluates applications during announced ranking periods. To be eligible for this year's enrollment, producers must have their applications submitted to NRCS by the closing date. A CSP self-screening checklist is available to help producers determine if the program is suitable for their operation. The checklist highlights basic information about CSP eligibility requirements, stewardship threshold requirements and payment types. More information is available at local NRCS offices or at www.nrcs.usda.gov.
OSHA extends e-reporting deadline: The Occupational Safety & Health Administration announced a 30-day extension of the comment period on its proposed rule to improve workplace safety and health through improved tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. The comment period will now close March 8. The proposed rule would amend recordkeeping regulations to add requirements for the electronic submission of injury and illness information that employers are already required to keep under OSHA's regulations for recording and reporting occupational injuries and illnesses. Comments may be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov, the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail or fax.
Stress-tolerant soy: Verdeca, a soybean technology joint venture between Bioceres and Arcadia Biosciences, and GDM Seeds, a leading South American soybean seed company, recently announced the completion of an agreement to develop and commercialize new soybean varieties based on Verdeca's HB4 stress tolerance technology. HB4 technology enables plants to adapt to multiple stresses and achieve higher yields. Verdeca's HB4 stress-tolerant soybeans have completed six seasons of multi-location field trials in Argentina and the U.S., including two years of extensive regulatory trials. The results of these trials demonstrated that the technology provides a consistent and significant yield advantage under multiple environmental stress conditions typically found in soybean production areas, the announcement said. Bioceres chief executive officer Federico Trucco said the combination of GDM Seeds' germplasm and Verdeca's HB4 stress tolerance technology creates an opportunity to fundamentally change the landscape of the soybean business in South America.
Corn yield record: The National Corn Growers Assn. announced Dec. 20 that David Hula of Charles City, Va., achieved an all-time-high corn yield record of 454 bu. per acre to become the winner of the 2013 National Corn Yield Contest. Additionally, a record five national entrants surpassed the 400-plus bu. per acre yield mark. Besides David Hula, they include: Johnny Hula of Charles City; Double "SA" Farms Inc. of Hart, Texas; Randy Dowdy of Valdosta, Ga., and Dowdy Farms/Curtis Davis/Renato Lamas of Valdosta.
Lower viscocity: Zoetis has introduced Excenel RTU EZ (ceftiofur hydrochloride) Sterile Suspension. The anti-infective for cattle and swine has a lower-viscosity formulation that improves syringeability by 40%, the company said. With the improved syringeability, product users will need to apply only 60% of the force required to administer the previous formulation. Producers and veterinarians may especially notice the change during colder weather, Zoetis said. The new formula offers the same approved uses as before. The only changes include a four-day meat withdrawal for cattle and a change in the administration for swine so no more than 5 mL can be injected per injection site.