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Adjust feeder to improve feed efficiency

Adjust feeder to improve feed efficiency

*John H. Goihl is president of Agri-Nutrition Services Inc., Shakopee, Minn. To expedite answers to questions concerning this article, please direct inquiries to Feedstuffs, Bottom Line of Nutrition, 5810 W. 78th St., Suite 200, Bloomington, Minn. 55439, or email [email protected]

THERE are many factors that affect the ultimate performance of a growing/finishing pig, including genetics, health status, environment, nutrition and feed availability.

Feed must be easily available to the pig in order to capitalize on improvements being made in these other areas that affect performance.

Researchers previously have reported that feed wastage varies widely and can be as high as 30%. Other researchers have shown that too little feeder space, or too narrow of a feeder adjustment, can limit feed intake and performance.

If feed access is limited, pigs tend to spend more time at the feeder, resulting in fewer pigs having access to the feeder. On the other hand, having too much feed and/or feeder space results in increased feed wastage.

More recent research reports indicate that approximately 50% feeder pan coverage is optimum for both average daily gain and gain:feed. Numerous studies have shown that variation in performance could be attributed to differences in the diet form, feeder design and bodyweight range of the pigs being evaluated. The challenge of defining and standardizing the optimal feeder space and adjustment has been difficult for researchers to accomplish.

Swine researchers A.J. Myers, R.D. Goodband, M.D. Tokach, S.S. Dritz, J.M. DeRouchey and J.L. Nelssen at Kansas State University designed two studies to determine the effects of feeder adjustment and feeder space on the growth performance of finishing pigs.

Both studies were conducted in a totally enclosed, totally slatted, environmentally controlled, mechanically ventilated barn with two identical rooms of 20 pens (2.4 x 3.1 m) each. Each pen was equipped with a dry, single-sided feeder with two 35.6 cm long x 11.43 cm wide feeder spaces and a one-cup waterer to allow ad libitum access to feed and water.

 

Experiment 1

In experiment 1, 234 growing pigs with an initial bodyweight of 41.5 kg were used in an 89-day study. Pigs were allotted to three experimental treatments of 10 replicate pens per treatment, with eight pigs per pen for nine replicates and six pigs per pen for one replicate. Equal floor space was provided at 0.74 sq. m by adjusting the movable gates.

The three treatments were: (1) a "narrow" feeder adjustment of 1.27 cm, with the agitation plate set at up to 1.91 cm, (2) a "medium" feeder adjustment of 1.91 cm, with the agitation place set at up to 2.54 cm and (3) a "wide" feeder adjustment of 2.54 cm, with the agitation plate set at up to 3.18 cm.

The pigs were fed a four-phase feeding program of a fortified corn/soybean meal diet with 20% dried distillers grains with solubles in meal form. The diet was formulated to meet or exceed National Research Council requirement estimates for 20-120 kg pigs.

Average daily gain, average daily feed intake and gain:feed were determined by weighing pigs and measuring feed disappearance every two weeks of the experiment and at the end of the experiment. A digital photo of each feeder was taken once during each phase. On day 89, the pigs were harvested, and various carcass measurements were obtained.

Table 1 summarizes the performance results of the 89-day study.

The researchers provided the following interpretations of the results from experiment 1:

* Increasing the feeder gap increased average daily gain and average daily feed intake, which were optimized in treatment 2.

* As the feeder gap increased, feeder pan coverage was increased, which did not affect average daily gain but did increase average daily feed intake. Gain:feed tended to decrease as the feeder gap increased.

* The carcass criteria evaluated did not differ among pigs fed any of the different feeder gap settings used in this experiment.

 

Experiment 2

In experiment 2, 288 growing pigs with an initial bodyweight of 37.2 kg were used in the 91-day study. The pigs were allotted to four treatments (Table 2) of eight or 16 pigs per pen and six pens per treatment.

To provide equal floor space among the eight or 16 pigs per pen, the movable gating was adjusted at the start of the experiment to 0.74 sq. m per pig. The diets fed, weighing procedures and photos of each feeder were the same as described in experiment 1.

Table 3 summarizes the results from experiment 2.

The researchers provided following interpretations of the results:

* Pigs fed treatments 2 and 4 had increased feed disappearance and poorer gain:feed compared to pigs on treatments 1 and 3.

* Average daily gain tended to increase as feeder pan space increased.

* Pigs on treatments 2 and 4 had increased feeder pan coverage compared to pigs on treatments 1 and 3.

Proper feeder adjustments have been shown to be an effective method of decreasing feed wastage and improving feed efficiency. In these two experiments, there was approximately a 4-5% improvement in gain:feed with the "narrow" opening compared to the "wide" opening. This represents approximately 12-15 kg of feed per pig with a typical 100 kg of bodyweight gain and a 0.333 gain:feed ratio.

A finding from these two studies was that as pigs gain bodyweight, the feeder gap should be decreased to reduce feed wastage. Also, previous research results have shown that young pigs eat slowly and, thus, spend more time at the feeder compared to older pigs. As feed becomes more difficult to access from the feeder, pigs compensate by spending more time at the feeder, which results in fewer pigs being able to obtain feed.

These two studies used one specific type of feeder. Therefore, feeder pan coverage recommendations could vary with different types of feeders (i.e., dry versus wet/dry), diet form (i.e., meal or pellets), diet formulations and degree of diet flowability (i.e., effects of humidity and dry matter content). Even in these two studies, the feeder pan coverage varied approximately 8% for the same feeder gap setting.

 

The Bottom Line

The results of these two experiments indicate that pigs from approximately 37 kg to 70 kg in bodyweight need a larger feeder gap (approximately 60% feeder pan covered) to maximize average daily gain.

For pigs from approximately 70 kg to 130 kg, the feeder gap needs to be decreased (approximately 30% feeder pan covered) to reduce feed wastage and optimize growth.

Feeder pan coverage appears to be the best indicator of proper feeder adjustment across the many variables involved in providing feed to the pig.

 

Reference

J. Anim. Sci. Vol. 90, No. 12.

 

1. Performance results from experiment 1

 

-Treatment-

Criteria

1

2

3

Avg. daily gain, kg

0.83

0.85

0.85

Avg. daily feed intake, kg

2.51

2.67

2.70

Gain:feed

0.327

0.313

0.314

Avg. feeder pan coverage, %

27.7

58.2

75.0

Carcass measurements

Bodyweight, kg

126.8

128.4

129.4

Hot carcass weight, kg

93.7

95.7

95.5

Carcass yield, %

73.9

74.5

73.8

Fat free lean index, %

48.5

48.7

48.9

Back fat depth, mm

27.1

26.7

26.0

Loin depth, cm

6.21

6.11

6.26

 

2. Experiment 2 treatments

 

Feeder pan

Feeder

Agitation

Treatment

space, cm*

gap, cm

plate, cm

1

4.45

1.27/narrow

Up to 1.91

2

4.45

2.54/wide

Up to 3.18

3

8.90

1.27/narrow

Up to 1.91

4

8.90

2.54/wide

Up to 3.18

*The number of pigs per pen was varied by having either eight or 16 pigs per pen. For the 8.9 cm of feeder pan space per pig, pens were stocked with eight pigs per pen. For the 4.45 cm of feeder pan space per pig, two pens were combined with only one feeder for 16 pigs.

 

3. Results from experiment 2

 

-Treatment-

Criteria

1

2

3

4

Avg. daily gain, kg

0.99

1.01

1.02

1.03

Avg. daily feed intake, kg

2.99

3.16

3.03

3.23

Gain:feed

0.337

0.319

0.334

0.321

Avg. feeder pan coverage, %

42.9

83.3

54.1

86.5

 

 

Volume:85 Issue:08

Algorithm detects harmful bacteria

Algorithm detects harmful bacteria

PORK producers can now rely on a new kit to examine meat that is suspected of being contaminated with pathogenic bacteria.

The technique was developed in a European Union-funded project called Biotracer. It relies on mathematic algorithms to pinpoint the most likely origin of harmful bacteria on meat, such as salmonella.

"You can use the math modeling to say that it's 90% certain that the contamination came from the raw materials, or you could say that it's almost certain that it was a particular slicer in the boning hall," according to Kieran Jordan of Teagasc, the Irish agricultural research institute, in Dublin, Ireland.

A Dutch pork facility was used as a test bed for the detective-style investigation of salmonella contamination. The technique works by tracing the strain and its whereabouts and could help prevent having to shut down the entire processing facility for a deep clean. This approach involves fingerprinting contaminant bacteria thanks to DNA profiling and identifying its origin.

"It is not good enough to just say (bacteria) are present; you must be able to say how many. You also need to do typing of strains (for identification)," Jordan said.

Previous methods were not so precisely targeted.

Contamination of meat "can occur when equipment is colonized by biofilms of salmonella living and growing on equipment that can be difficult to clean, such as de-hairing machines," Rob Davies, a salmonella expert with the U.K. Animal Health & Veterinary Laboratory Agency in Weybridge, U.K., said. "The critical thing is very regular cleaning and disinfection to avoid this. Once a complex mixture of different bacteria and accumulated organic material form a biofilm, it is more difficult and more resistant to disinfectants."

This improved, faster detection method is not restricted to pork or to salmonella, the announcement said. It is also applicable to other harmful microbes in food such as helicobacter in chicken and listeria in cheese, Jordan explained.

"It is the math behind the method that makes a difference," he added. "It could even be used by forensic detectives."

"It was a very ambitious project," noted food scientist Mansel Griffiths of the Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety in Guelph, Ont. However, "it did succeed in identifying novel approaches to identify and trace sources of contamination of food that is imperative to ensure the safety of consumers."

According to Griffiths, who was chair of the project's international expert advisory committee, the best way to develop more effective control strategies for any foodborne pathogen is to gain a better understanding of how such a pathogen functions, i.e., its physiology, how it relates to its environment (its ecology) and how it affects foodborne disease progression (its epidemiology).

"There has been a lot of good work done in the project, but the value will come in how it is employed," Davies said. "If it just stays in research reports, that will not be much help. (However,) if it is taken up by Europe to identify sources of contamination in a way that can reduce human illness, then it could begin to pay for itself."

 

Volume:85 Issue:04

Bacterium improves health of young swine

Bacterium improves health of young swine

FOR academic swine nutrition researchers, the place to present research is typically the American Society of Animal Science's midwestern section meeting held each March in Des Moines, Iowa, but this year, several abstracts presented at the southern section meeting broke ground in young pig nutrition.

In an abstract that received a National Pork Board Swine Industry Award for Innovation, J.R. Donaldson and J. Grissett of Mississippi State University, J.A. Carroll, N.C. Burdick Sanchez and T.R. Callaway of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and T.B. Schmidt of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln examined the novel use of lipid-producing bacteria to increase circulating triglycerides (TAGs) in swine (abstract 59).

Donaldson et al. said weanling pigs are at a high risk of succumbing to illness primarily due to an insufficient supply of available energy and, therefore, a weakened immune system. Solutions have been investigated to supplement feed with alternate energy sources, yet pigs still face limitations with the utilization of these sources due to their relatively immature gastrointestinal systems.

Donaldson et al. said their objective was to evaluate whether providing swine with bacteria that produce TAGs, such as the bacterium Rhodococcus opacus (RO), could increase the concentrations of circulating TAGs and, thus, available energy.

They housed 36 weaned pigs at 30 days of age in individual pens. After a two-week acclimation period, the pigs were randomly assigned to one of three treatment groups of 12 pigs each, stratified by bodyweight.

Treatments consisted of daily oral supplementation for five days with: (1) RO at 1x1010 colony-forming units (CFU), (2) an alternate form of RO (JD103) at 1x1010 CFU that secretes TAGs into the surrounding environment or (3) an equivalent volume of phosphate-buffered saline (PBS).

Serum samples were collected every six hours for 96 hours and analyzed for non-esterified fatty acids, TAGs, free glycerol and glucose concentrations.

Fecal samples were collected daily to assess shedding of RO or JD103 by viable plate counts. At the conclusion of the trial, gastrointestinal tract contents were collected and analyzed for colonization patterns of RO or JD103.

According to Donaldson et al., circulating TAGs increased by 84 hours in pigs supplemented with either RO (P = 0.04) or JD103 (P = 0.01) in comparison to PBS controls. Both RO and JD103 were present in the gastrointestinal tract, with minimal shedding observed, suggesting that both forms of RO are capable of colonizing within the tract.

Donaldson et al. concluded that these data indicate that lipid-producing bacteria can be used to provide an available source of utilizable lipids to weanling pigs and could potentially decrease detrimental effects associated with illness and reduced feed intake during this transitional period. They noted that further research is needed to determine whether this correlates with improved immune function in the presence of pathogens.

The researchers added that these are the first data to demonstrate the potential use of a non-pathogenic bacterium to improve the health, well-being and overall productivity of swine.

 

Citrus pulp

In abstract 55, Donaldson, T.C. McLaurin of Mississippi State, Carroll and Burdick Sanchez looked at the effects of citrus pulp on the viability of a probiotic and subsequent effects in the presence of pathogens.

They said the probiotic Saccharomyces cerevisiae subtype boulardii is commonly provided to weaned piglets and nursing sows to promote intestinal health through stabilization of the gut flora.

However, they explained that other recent research they have conducted found that supplementing this probiotic to feed containing the citrus pulp reduced (P = 0.01) average daily gain (ADG) of newly weaned pigs that were challenged with salmonella.

The researchers said the objective of the current study was to determine if this reduction in ADG could potentially be attributed to an abnormal interaction of the live yeast with salmonella and citrus pulp and whether similar interactions would occur in the presence of other pathogens, such as Escherichia coli O157:H7.

Using an in vitro approach, viability was assessed for the live yeast and salmonella or E. coli in a swine fecal growth medium supplemented with either 0% or 5% citrus pulp through viable plate counts for 48 hours, the researchers said.

According to the research group, citrus pulp reduced (P < 0.01) populations of live yeast by 1.5 log10 within 48 hours after exposure, which they said suggests that citrus pulp may exhibit fungicidal activity.

In co-cultures of salmonella and live yeast, the populations of live yeast decreased (P < 0.001) by 1.5 log10, the researchers reported, but when citrus pulp was included in the co-culture, greater reductions in the populations of salmonella and live yeast were observed than in either single treatment.

Together with the previously observed decreased ADG, these data suggest that the increase in salmonella lysis from exposure to both live yeast and citrus pulp may increase the release of cytotoxins, which could potentially compound the immune response, the researchers explained.

Populations of E. coli did not decrease in the presence of live yeast, indicating that this enteric pathogen responds differently to this treatment than salmonella, the researchers noted.

Although further research is needed to determine if this effect occurs in vivo, the researchers concluded that caution should be exercised in providing citrus pulp to swine being fed diets supplemented with live yeast probiotics.

 

Fish oil

M.J. Estienne and A.F. Harper of Virginia Polytechnic & State University's Tidewater Agricultural Research & Extension Center examined the effects of dietary menhaden fish oil (MFO) on the growth performance of gilts farrowed by sows fed gestation and lactation diets with or without MFO (abstract 54).

Estienne and Harper said the positive effects of dietary omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) on swine reproduction, such as an increase in boar sperm numbers, have already been reported, but the effect of a rich PUFA source on growth and reproduction in replacement gilts has received little attention.

In the experiment, pregnant sows received one of two isocaloric diet regimens that were equal with respect to amino acids, minerals and vitamins: four sows were fed corn/soybean meal gestation and lactation diets (control), and three sows were fed corn/soybean meal gestation and lactation diets that included 4% MFO.

At weaning (21 days of age), 24 gilt pigs farrowed by sows fed the control or MFO diets were placed in pens of three gilts each and were given ad libitum access to nursery and grow/finish control or MFO diets as per a 2 x 2 factorial arrangement of treatments (three pens per group), Estienne and Harper said.

According to the researchers, there were no effects (P > 0.1) on ADG of pig diet or the interaction of sow diet and pig diet, but pigs born to sows fed MFO diets tended (P = 0.09) to have greater overall ADG than pigs from sows fed control diets (0.78 kg versus 0.67 kg).

For gilt bodyweight, the sow diet by time interaction was significant (P < 0.01) in that pig bodyweights at weaning were similar (P > 0.1) among groups, but at the end of the 18-week trial, gilts born to sows fed MFO diets had greater (P < 0.01) bodyweights than pigs from sows fed control diets (105.2 kg versus 94.1 kg), Estienne and Harper said.

There were tendencies (P = 0.07) for pig diet to affect average daily feed intake and gain:feed, with gilts on MFO diets consuming less feed (1.67 kg versus 2.0 kg) but displaying a greater gain:feed (0.43 versus 0.36) than gilts fed the control diet, the researchers noted.

Estienne and Harper suggested that feeding sows diets containing omega-3 PUFAs during gestation and/or lactation may affect the resulting gilt offspring such that growth is enhanced during the growing/finishing period. They added that gilts fed diets with MFO had decreased feed intake but enhanced gain:feed.

Volume:85 Issue:08

OIE to upgrade U.S. BSE risk status

OIE to upgrade U.S. BSE risk status

ACCORDING to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Scientific Commission of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) has recommended that the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) risk classification for the U.S. be upgraded to "negligible."

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said, "I am very pleased with this decision and recommendation by the OIE's Scientific Commission. This is a significant achievement for the U.S., American beef producers and businesses and federal and state partners who work in coordination to maintain a system of three interlocking safeguards against BSE that protect our public and animal health."

Last year, the U.S. submitted an application and supporting information to the OIE Scientific Commission to upgrade the U.S.'s risk classification from controlled to negligible. The OIE commission, in turn, conducted a thorough review before recommending that the risk classification for the U.S. be upgraded to negligible, USDA said.

"Being classified as negligible risk for BSE by OIE will also greatly support our efforts to increase exports of U.S. beef and beef products. In recommending that the U.S. receive negligible risk classification, the commission stated that the risk assessments submitted for their evaluation were robust and comprehensive and that both our surveillance for and safeguards against BSE are strong," Vilsack said.

Before OIE's annual General Assembly meeting in Paris, France, in May, delegate countries will have the opportunity to review the commission's recommendation. The U.S. expects that formal adoption of the negligible risk status will occur at the May meeting when it is considered.

Negligible risk is the lowest risk level under the OIE Code. Countries defined as negligible risk have conducted extensive surveillance and testing in domestic cattle to demonstrate a minimal risk for BSE.

According to OIE, countries currently listed as negligible risk include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, India, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Singapore, Sweden and Uruguay.

Countries at controlled risk include: Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, U.K. and U.S.

OIE's official recognition of the disease status of member countries is of great significance for international trade and constitutes one of the most important links between OIE and the World Trade Organization.

USDA explained that OIE determines a country's risk status based on actions the country has taken to manage the risk of the disease. These actions include instituting a strong ruminant-to-ruminant feed ban, strictly controlling imports of animals and animal products from countries at risk for BSE and conducting appropriate surveillance.

The U.S. has a long-standing system of three interlocking safeguards against BSE to protect public and animal health, the most important of which is the removal of specified risk materials from all animals presented for slaughter. The second safeguard is a strong feed ban that protects cattle from the disease. The third safeguard is an ongoing BSE surveillance program that allows USDA to detect the disease if it exists at very low levels in the U.S. cattle population.

Vilsack added that the U.S. "continues to press for normalization of beef trade with several nations."

Several cattle and meat industry groups, including the National Cattlemen's Beef Assn., United States Cattlemen's Assn., American Meat Institute and North American Meat Assn., applauded the OIE recommendation and commended USDA for its efforts in achieving the upgraded BSE status.

Volume:85 Issue:08

InVivo NSA opens pet food plant in Mexico

InVivo NSA opens pet food plant in Mexico

INVIVO Animal Nutrition & Health (InVivo NSA) opened a new pet food plant Feb. 20 in Mexico's state of Morelos, just south of Mexico City, that will increase the group's production capacity from 75,000 to 90,000 metric tons.

Present in Mexico since 2008 through its subsidiary maltaCleyton, InVivo NSA is a world leader in animal health and nutrition and a major player in animal nutrition and pet food in Mexico.

InVivo NSA director general Hubert de Roquefeuil said Mexico is a key country for the group both in terms of animal nutrition and health and pet food, an important market that is experiencing strong growth in Mexico.

Indeed, with more than 26 million dogs and cats, Mexico's pet food market is one of the main growth drivers of InVivo NSA, Roquefeuil said, to the extent that the group is the third-largest player in the Mexican market, with ultra-modern facilities and strong brands such as Ganador Original, Ganador Premium Ganador Duo, Best Choice, Best Choice and Poder Canino.

The new pet food plant covers five hectares and represents an investment of $16 million.

France-based InVivo NSA employs 5,600 people in 18 countries and has 74 production sites. During 2011-12, InVivo NSA achieved a turnover of 1.4 billion euros.

Volume:85 Issue:08

Supreme Court asked to hear E15 case

Supreme Court asked to hear E15 case

THE Grocery Manufacturers Assn. (GMA), as part of a coalition of food, farm and oil industry groups, filed a petition with the U.S. Supreme Court asking that it reverse the circuit court's August 2012 decision in a case regarding E15, gasoline containing 15% ethanol.

The circuit court had dismissed the coalition's challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency's decision allowing E15 to be sold for 2007 model year or newer cars.

The original suit objected to EPA's decision on the grounds that granting a "partial waiver" of the Clean Air Act that allowed E15 to be used only in cars built after model year 2006 was not within the agency's legal authority.

The petitioners argued that under the Clean Air Act, the EPA administrator may grant a waiver for a new fuel additive only if it "will not cause or contribute to a failure of any emission control device or system."

Last August, the circuit court dismissed the case on the grounds that none of the 17 petitioners had standing to challenge the E15 waivers.

GMA executive vice president for government affairs Louis Finkel said, "The original suit filed argued that EPA had exceeded its authority and violated the law when approving the use of E15, but more importantly, it put consumers at risk of food insecurity. These facts have not changed. We continue to support this position and are now looking to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the lower court to ensure that GMA and the coalition's arguments are heard."

Volume:85 Issue:08

Benefits of modern ag practices

Benefits of modern ag practices

ETHANOL production, large-scale farming and biotechnology are agricultural products and practices that are sometimes confusing and criticized by the non-farming community, with a common critique being that such practices may be harmful to the environment.

Reports from three studies released over the past month suggest that those criticisms might be misplaced or even completely unfounded.

Brazil-based consultancy Celeres recently released results from a pair of studies highlighting the benefits of biotechnology adoption in that country since 1996.

The first report highlights the clear economic advantages that result from farmers increasing their use of genetically enhanced seeds, showing economic benefits of more than $18 billion in recent years (Feedstuffs, Feb. 18).

A companion study examined the socio-environmental benefits of biotechnology during the same period, analyzing changes in water utilization and petroleum use, carbon gas emissions and the use of "active ingredients" such as herbicides and pesticides.

The Celeres study found that, in Brazil, biotechnology has:

* Effectively reduced water use by 27.8 billion liters, equivalent to the water needs of 634,400 people over the 16-year period;

* Reduced diesel consumption by 231.6 million liters, enough to fuel a fleet of 96,000 light vehicles from 1996 to 2012, and

* Cut carbon dioxide emissions by 614,100 tons, equal to preserving 4.5 million trees.

Additionally, the report suggests that biotechnology allowed farmers to apply 22,100 fewer tons of active ingredients during the 16-year study period than would have been necessary with conventional hybrids and varieties, likely considerably reducing the energy needed to produce the chemicals in the first place and keeping those additional ingredients and nutrients out of the soil and water systems.

Among the biggest drivers in these reductions is increased production efficiency. Brazilian farmers are producing significantly more bushels of corn, cotton and soybeans on a given acreage than they were in 1996, prior to wide-scale use of biotech seeds. By producing more on the same amount of land, the utilization of resources such as water and petroleum is spread out over many more units of production.

 

No-till

Another benefit of modern farming practices was revealed in a recent study by U.S. Department of Agriculture soil scientists reported in the journal BioEnergy Research.

Looking at previous life-cycle analyses of crops grown for ethanol production, the researchers examined how much soil carbon was sequestered by corn produced via no-till practices over a 10-year period and found that corn sequesters far more carbon than was previously known.

The study, conducted at the University of Nebraska's Agricultural Research & Development Center in Ithaca, Neb., found that continuous no-till production of corn sequesters carbon in the soil as deep as 59 in. Previous studies missed more than 50% of the increased soil carbon, studying soil depths of less than 11 in.

In fact, the USDA researchers found an average annual increase in soil carbon of roughly 1.2 tons of carbon per acre, paving the way for future studies and models to show more accurately the environmental benefits of corn production, as well as a more accurate life-cycle analysis of corn-based ethanol compared with petroleum.

Meanwhile, in January, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory published an article in the journal Biofuels that concluded that the renewable fuel standard (RFS) is producing positive economic benefits in the U.S. by reducing crude oil prices, decreasing crude oil imports and increasing the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) while having only minimal impacts on global food markets and land use.

The study found a net GDP increase of 0.8% in 2022, equivalent to $121 billion. That effect is due largely to lower oil prices and reduced imports.

In modeling the full implementation of the RFS over the next decade, the researchers found that as biofuels increasingly replace petroleum, crude oil prices will fall.

Opponents of ethanol production often point to rising food prices and land use changes as major drawbacks of a federal renewable fuel policy. However, the DOE researchers suggested that increases in food commodity prices due to the RFS were less than 1% from 2002 to 2030.

Similarly, they projected that the RFS would actually result in slightly fewer acres used for agriculture globally, with a marginal increase in farmed land in the U.S. offset by similar decreases in other regions of the world.

Volume:85 Issue:07

Zacek to head new Lohmann consulting group

Zacek to head new Lohmann consulting group

LOHMANN Animal Health International announced that former chief executive officer Dave Zacek has been named to the new position of group vice president, solutions.

In his new role, Zacek will lead the company's new consulting group, Lohmann Animal Health Solutions. The new initiative will provide fee-based consulting and applied research for animal protein producers in areas of zoonosis prevention, animal welfare compliance and water quality, according to the announcement.

"Through this new venture, Lohmann Animal Health will provide consulting and technical support to assist meat producers throughout every phase of production," Zacek said. "We will offer workable solutions to the issues producers face on a daily basis. Our multidisciplinary team and an excellent network of experts are developing a palette of innovative concepts for prevention, analysis and assessment, complemented by technical solutions."

Zacek has more than 35 years of experience in marketing and product development for the poultry vaccine industry. He has been with Lohmann Animal Health's U.S. division since it was formed in 2000, serving as president and, later, CEO.

Lohmann Animal Health is a leading manufacturer of feed additives and poultry vaccines.

 

Volume:85 Issue:07

Vaccine to help control wild horse population

Vaccine to help control wild horse population

THE U.S. Department of Agriculture-Wildlife Services' National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) announced that the Environmental Protection Agency has granted regulatory approval for the use of GonaCon-Equine immunocontraceptive vaccine in adult female wild or feral horses and burros.

GonaCon was developed by NWRC scientists and is the first single-shot, multiyear wildlife contraceptive for use in mammals, NWRC said.

"Since 2009, GonaCon has been available for use in female white-tailed deer. We are pleased to be able to expand the vaccine's application to include wild horses and burros," NWRC director Larry Clark said. "This non-lethal tool will provide another option to wildlife managers working to reduce overabundant wild horse and burro populations in the U.S."

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that about 31,500 wild horses and 5,800 burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 western states, according to the announcement.

Current management options are limited, with the majority of actions involving the removal of horses and burros from the range and either offering them for adoption or holding them in captivity indefinitely.

The GonaCon-Equine vaccine stimulates the production of antibodies that bind to the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in an animal's body. GnRH signals the production of sex hormones; by binding to GnRH, the antibodies reduce GnRH's ability to stimulate the release of these sex hormones. All sexual activity is decreased, and animals remain in a non-reproductive state as long as a sufficient level of antibody activity is present.

USDA said the product can be delivered by hand injection, jab stick or darting.

GonaCon-Equine is registered as a restricted-use pesticide, and all users must be certified pesticide applicators or under their direct supervision. Only certain federal and state agencies responsible for wild or feral horse and burro management, public and private wild horse sanctuaries or people working under their authority can use it.

NWRC is currently manufacturing the vaccine, but Wildlife Services said it is interested in licensing the vaccine to a private manufacturer.

Future NWRC research with GonaCon will likely involve studies to support expanded registration to other species (e.g., prairie dogs and feral dogs) and to aid in preventing the transmission of wildlife diseases.

Volume:85 Issue:08

Peanut company executives indicted

Peanut company executives indicted

IT has been more than three years since a salmonella outbreak at the now-defunct Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) caused an enormous recall of 2,100 products from 200 different companies and possibly nine deaths and hundreds of illnesses.

Last week, a 76-count indictment was brought against four former officials of PCA and a related company due to the salmonella-tainted peanuts and peanut products.

Stewart Parnell, 58, of Lynchburg, Va.; Michael Parnell, 54, of Midlothian, Va., and Samuel Lightsey, 48, of Blakely, Ga., have been charged with mail and wire fraud, the introduction of adulterated and misbranded food into interstate commerce with the intent to defraud or mislead and conspiracy. Stewart Parnell, Lightsey and Mary Wilkerson, 39, of Edison, Ga., were also charged with obstruction of justice.

Michael Moore, U.S. attorney for the middle district of Georgia, explained that the violations could result in up to 43 years in prison as well as monetary fines.

John Roth, director of the Food & Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations, noted that criminal charges are the "far range of remedies" to ensure that the food supply is safe but added that it is not unprecedented. One of the few examples came in 2000, when the company then known as Sara Lee Foods pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge over selling adulterated meat and paid more than $4.4 million.

"When food or drug manufacturers lie and cut corners, they put all of us at risk," Stuart F. Delery, who heads the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Division, said. "The Department of Justice will not hesitate to pursue any person whose criminal conduct risks the safety of Americans who have done nothing more than eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Like the FDA, we pay close attention to food safety matters, and we are committed to using every tool at our disposal to protect Americans from unsafe foods."

PCA's Blakely plant roasted raw peanuts and produced granulated peanuts, peanut butter and peanut paste; PCA sold these peanut products to its customers around the country.

The charging documents say Stewart Parnell, Michael Parnell, Lightsey and Kilgore participated in a scheme to manufacture and ship salmonella-contaminated peanuts and peanut products and, in doing so, misled PCA customers.

The indictment alleges that three of the defendants -- Stewart Parnell, Michael Parnell and Lightsey -- engaged in a multiyear conspiracy to hide the fact that many of PCA's products were tainted with salmonella. The scheme included fabricating certificates of analysis stating that shipments of peanut products were free of pathogens when, in fact, no tests had been conducted on the products at all or when the laboratory results showed that a sample tested positive for salmonella.

The indictment said when FDA inspectors visited PCA's plant several times in January 2009, some of the defendants gave untrue or misleading answers to the inspectors' questions.

"FDA has a right to get honest answers," Delery said in a press briefing. He said the criminal charges taken help ensure that, in the future, other food executives "understand the consequences of lying to the FDA."

"We all place a great deal of trust in the companies and individuals who prepare and package our food, oftentimes taking it for granted that the public's health and safety interests will outweigh individual and corporate greed," Moore said. "Unfortunately, and as alleged in the indictment, these defendants cared less about the quality of the food they were providing to the American people and more about the quantity of money they were gathering while disregarding food safety."

Volume:85 Issue:08