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News Roundup – for Aug. 9, 2010

REGULATION MORE RED TAPE FOR EXPORTERS/IMPORTERS

On September 1, importers and exporters of cattle, bison and sheep will be required to provide their Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) or Agri-Traabilité Québec (ATQ) database account number on animal health export certificates and import permits.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency in a press release says the account number on import permits and export certificates will enhance Canada’s ability to track animals entering or leaving the country and reduce the time needed to track down animals in emergency situations.

The release says the government is determined to protect the health and safety of livestock and the food supply through proper animal identification. Tagging and traceability are key components of that system.

MARKETING PROVOST MARKET RECOGNIZED BY ANGUS ASSOCIATION

Provost Livestock Exchange has been chosen the Canadian Angus Association’s 2009 Auction Market of the Year in recognition of their work promoting Angus and Angus-cross cattle. The award was presented by Brian Good, the Angus association fieldman at the Livestock Markets Association of Canada annual convention in Winnipeg.

Provost Livestock Exchange has been operating in the same location in Provost, Alta., since 1952, sourcing cattle from western Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta. It conducts two special Angus-cross calf sales in late October and mid-November.

The CAA created the award to recognize markets that promote Angus cattle. The first award was presented to Mankota Stockmen’s Weigh Co. at Mankota, Sask., in 2006. Since then the CAA has recognized the B. C. Livestock Producers Co-op at Williams Lake, B. C., and Saskatoon Livestock Sales.

CHECKOFF P. E. I. SAYS YES TO NATIONAL CHECKOFF

It has been a long time coming but Prince Edward Island Cattle Producers (PEICP) officially signed on to the national checkoff for beef cattle in June.

PEICP received the OK from the province to sign the agreement after it had been transformed from a producer group to an elected commodity board. Only boards approved by a producer plebiscite can be authorized to collect mandatory checkoffs under the provincial marketing legislation.

That process added a few years to the long struggle to create a truly national checkoff.

P. E. I. was the last province to sign on with the Canadian Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Agency that manages the $1-per-head levy. Quebec signed on in May.

Once all provinces were on board, it was believed the industry would be in a position to draft an import levy order authorizing the national agency to collect $1-per-head equivalent on imported cattle and beef products. That would add an estimated $800,000 to the pot to fund research and the marketing and promotion of Canadian beef.

The P. E. I. announcement was to be the culmination of a campaign that began in 1985, the same year the U. S. imposed an import levy on Canadian cattle and beef entering the United States. Then the Alberta provincial checkoff became refundable throwing a spanner into the works. At least one legal opinion contends the import levy would have to be refundable if any part of the Canadian checkoff is refundable.

GRAZING NEW BRUSH AND WEED CONTROL PRODUCT RELEASED

Dow AgroSciences hosted a helicopter tour in June to launch Reclaim, its newest product for controlling shrub and broadleaf weed species on pasture and rangeland. Available through farm supply dealers since July 15, Reclaim joins Grazon and Restore in the company’s lineup of herbicides developed specifically to manage invasive weed, shrub and tree species that rob grass production from pastures.

Reclaim controls 71 species of annual and perennial broadleaf weeds and shrubs in the season of application, offering extended (12 to 24 month) control of many weed and shrub species.

Grazon knocks out perennial weeds and controls brush and large tree species including aspen, balsam poplar, and willow. Restore was developed to help manage invasive broadleaf weeds such as absinth wormwood, Canada thistle, sow thistle, common tansy, dandelion and scentless chamomile.

Most warm-and cool-season grasses have tolerance to all three products, however, none are intended for use on areas where desirable legumes or broad-leaf plants are growing.

Reclaim is registered for ground and aerial application. There are no grazing restrictions following application, with the exception of a seven-day period for lactating dairy cows.

Candice Manshrek, Dow AgroSciences’ range and pasture territory manager for southern Alberta, says Reclaim must be applied to actively growing plants when the stage of growth is optimal for the leaves to absorb the herbicide and translocate it throughout the plant. Growth of the susceptible species will stop within 24 to 48 hours after treatment.

You want to target shrubs after full leaf expansion but prior to the development of a waxy cuticle on the leaf. For maximum control of weeds, spray after emergence and prior to flowering. Timing an application to control a wide range of undesirable species can be tricky because emergence and growth stages occur at various times. If emergence or growing season conditions make it impossible to hit all species at the proper stage, she suggests timing the application to control the most problematic weed.

The helicopter touched down at the Spruce Grazing Co-op west of Nanton where the directors realized they were losing a lot of valuable grass and grazing days to invasive species such as cinquefoil, willow and poplar. Director Dan Smith says they are impressed with the control achieved with one application of Reclaim in 2009 as part of Dow AgroSciences’ trials.

The co-op has allocated funds to an annual brush control program to reclaim maximum production on about 3,000 acres of valuable grazing land in the lower meadow areas, yet maintain enough brush cover for shelter.

When planning your pasture rejuvenation program for next spring, consider the cost of all of your options and the time each will take to get a pasture back into production, says Dow Agro- Sciences’ communications manager, Brian de Kock.

TRADE OPENING INTERPROVINCIAL BEEF TRADE

A national initiative to expand interprovincial trade in meat was announced following the annual federal- provincial-territorial agriculture ministers’ annual meeting in Saskatoon on July 8.

As it stands, only meat-packing and processing plants that are registered by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and meet federal requirements are permitted to sell meat outside of the province in which they are located, whether that be into Canadian or international markets.

Other classes of meat plants covered by provincial legislation have long wanted access to markets outside their provincial borders. But the cost of meeting federal requirements has been a major deterrent to these mid-size and smaller processing operations and their livestock clientele.

A pilot project involving a number of different-size meat plants across Canada will be initiated to help determine what would be necessary to create a common national meat hygiene standard. One that would allow for interprovincial meat trade while maintaining Canada’s high food safety standards. The pilot will examine the barriers as well as food safety systems required to achieve the same food safety outcomes as the federally inspected plants, yet be less costly to implement.

“The standard for interprovincial trade may not be as prescriptive as the current federal requirements and could provide for some flexibility in how the plants meet the standard,” says Rick Burton, assistant deputy minister with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture.

DISEASE STAY ALERT FOR FMD

You may feel well insulated from the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreaks in Asia but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) isn’t so complacent. Last month the chief veterinary officer for Canada Brian Evans urged veterinarians to add FMD to their list of differential diagnoses when seeing sick cattle.

An infection first reported in China back in November of 2009 was quickly followed by outbreaks in South Korea, Taipei, Japan, Kazakhstan, and more recently Russia.

Awareness had also been increased at border stations in Canada after the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations issued a global warning about the elevated threat from the virus.

There are no human health or food safety risks associated with FMD virus however it is highly contagious to cattle, swine, sheep and goats.

Greg Douglas, Saskatchewan’s chief veterinarian says animals with the virus experience a high fever for two to three days, and rupturing blisters on the feet, udder and the inside of the mouth. Adult animals infected with FMD rarely die from the disease. However, they can become lame and often stop eating because of the pain, causing welfare concerns. Some infected animals will not show any symptoms.

The Asian outbreaks are a strong reminder of the need for sound biosecurity measures on livestock operations. “Early detection of contagious diseases such as FMD goes a long way in limiting the effects of an outbreak,” says Evans.

The recent FMD outbreak in South Korea began when a farmer returned home after visiting an infected farm in China. The disease was subsequently spread to five other farms by a local veterinarian.

Douglas suggests several measures to keep a virus from spreading.

Control access to the farm with entrance signs asking visitors to contact the owner before entering.

Thoroughly wash and disinfect boots, clothes and hands before and after handling animals.

Remove manure, wash and disinfect vehicles and trailers between loads, where possible.

Isolate new animals to prevent the introduction of disease into the herd.

Separate sick animals from healthy animals.

Cull chronically sick animals.

Observe and treat all animals, both healthy and sick.

Any person who has been in

a country where FMD has been detected should not be granted access to a farm for at least 14 days. If access is absolutely required, this period can be reduced to a minimum of five days, following extensive disinfection.

MARKETING MARKETING MARRIAGE HITS A SNAG

The marriage of the Beef Information Centre (BIC) and the Canada Beef Export Federation (CBEF) envisioned by the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) is headed for counselling.

Late last month the directors of both organizations created a 10-man working committee to find a suitable business structure to marry the two management teams under one roof. CCA past president Brad Wildeman of Lanigan, Sask., and Estevan, Sask., producer Brian Ross from the CBEF board are co-chairs.

Details have been hard to come by as directors and staff on both sides signed confidentiality agreements to keep the debate out of the public eye until the committee does its work.

An outside study commissioned for the CCA that was completed prior to the association’s March annual meeting in Ottawa is thought to have favoured a merger of the two groups to gain more value for checkoff dollars producers spend on marketing each year. CBEF and BIC take the lion’s share of the $1-per-head national levy.

A competing study done for the CBEF board favoured a strategic alliance of the two.

After the CCA issued a letter of intent this spring a special general meeting of CBEF directors and members was called for June 11 in Calgary where a motion was passed supporting the strategic alliance option. They also asked the board to petition the national checkoff agency to reinstate the $1 millon cut from the CBEF budget at the start of this fiscal year.

The CBEF constitution requires a vote of 75 per cent of eligible members voting to change the structure of the organization.

The working group has its work cut out for it. No date for a decision was available at press time.

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