SCA supports mandatory premises ID
Discussions during the Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association’s (SCA’s) annual general meeting January 22 in Regina gave the board direction on important initiatives for the upcoming year.
“Having just come through one of the most profitable years in the cattle industry that really did encompass all segments from the primary producer to the packer it will be nice to not have to manage by crisis,” says chair Bill Jameson. “Now is the time to put in place our goals for the future to make sure we are able to continue to produce beef for a world protein demand that will continue to grow.”
Members gave a unanimous show of support for mandatory premises identification (PID) in the province. Speaking to the resolution, Rick Toney, SCA’s traceability working group chair and member of the national cattle implementation plan working group, said it’s extremely important for producers to populate the new provincial database by getting their PID numbers in as quickly as possible. This will allow the industry to prove that an animal can be traced with a PID number on the manifest for intermediate sites (auction marts, buying stations, community pastures) when tags are read at the feedlot, packing plant, vet clinic, livestock shows or when there’s a special reason for doing it.
This type of group movement is what industry and government agreed to at the traceability summit in 2011, but traceability has moved forward only marginally since then. The cattle industry still supports this approach, but the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is once again pushing for the power to read individual animal tags at all sites. In short, if producers in Saskatchewan and other provinces without mandatory PID don’t step up to the plate now, the industry may end up with something producers don’t really want (Canadian Cattlemen, August 25, 2014).
SCA members also favour working with the RCMP and the province to establish cattle-theft reporting protocols when cattle are stolen. The appointment of at least one RCMP officer dedicated to working with local detachments on cattle thefts would be of great assistance.
The Canada Beef Strategy circulated in early January aligns industry priorities to stretch limited dollars as far as possible. Saskatchewan was the last province to sign on and the members agreed to join the discussion regarding the cost of funding the strategy.
As Canada’s cattle herd declines, so do marketings and revenues from the national and provincial checkoff that pay for research and promotion. Some provincial organizations, including the SCA, have increased their provincial levies in recent years and negotiations around increasing the $1 non-refundable national checkoff are expected this year.
The SCA was involved in developing a beef, feed and forage research strategy at the national level. Now, the SCA is looking to the provincial and federal agriculture ministries to finalize their commitments to construct a new Beef Cattle Research and Teaching Unit (BCRTU) for the University of Saskatchewan (U of S). The SCA has allocated $1 million over five years to help give the project some traction and will make its third payment this year.
An industry-government committee has recommended the new BCRTU serve as the nucleus of a proposed Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence (Canadian Cattlemen, February 2015). The SCA and Saskatchewan Stock Growers Association (SSCA) recently endorsed the committee’s proposal for the centre.
These recommendations have implications for the Western Beef Development Centre which would be moved from the Termuende Research Farm in Lanigan.
A resolution that carried commits the SCA to lobby for revenues from the sale of U of S lands bequeathed for agriculture be directed to agricultural research. The aim of this motion was to honour the wishes of those who donated this land and assure future donors that their contributions will be used for agriculture.
Other resolutions dealt with support for producers dealing with flooded lands, understanding the trespass act, and allowing the hunting of wolves by licensed big-game hunters on agricultural land.
One of the highlights for the SCA in 2014 was its strong show of support for producers facing significant challenges in fullfiling species-at-risk policies on behalf of the beef industry and society in general.
As part of the industry-wide effort to educate consumers about food and agriculture, SCA’s communications committee continues to support Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan (former Farm Animal Council of Saskatchewan). The SCA also increased funding to Agriculture in the Classroom to develop resources for teachers such as new high school science programs.
The SCA closed out the year ending July 31, 2014, with a surplus of slightly over $1 million and net assets of $6.3 million.
The annual report and resolutions are available at saskbeef.com.
Research, flooding and predators dominate Manitoba meeting
The announcement of $3.1 million over three years from Ottawa and the province for new beef and forage research and demonstration farms was a highlight of the Manitoba Beef Producers annual meeting in early February.
“This is a project we have been working on for years with the Manitoba Forage and Grassland Association and others,” said MBP president Heinz Reimer in a followup interview after the meeting. “We recognize the value of research done at the universities here and through the national Beef Cattle Research Council and see the value in applied research to extend the knowledge to producers.”
MBP has committed nearly $100,000 a year in money and in-kind support to this project and Ducks Unlimited has donated the use of a demonstration farm near Brandon. Projects will focus on beef and grassland management, feed efficiency and herd health as directed by an industry-led committee.
“The increase in the provincial checkoff effective July 1 last year has certainly made it easier to manage our budget as cattle numbers continue to drop,” says Reimer. In the past year the MBP has hired general manager Melinda German, communications specialist Chad Saxon and project co-ordinator Carrolyne Kehler and appears to be firing on all cylinders.
Lobbying for assistance to offset the damage to pastures and feed supplies from flooding dominated the association’s agenda in 2014 so it isn’t a stretch to say the MBP was pleased with the joint provincial/federal announcement in early November that offset some of the cost of shipping cattle to feed or feed to cattle plus a forage shortfall assistance for producers around Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipegosis.
Reimer says they are still seeking support for producers outside these designated areas and that effort was backed by a resolution at the meeting calling for a needs-based forage feed assistance program for all Manitoba producers affected by excess moisture in 2014. Another resolution calls on MBP to assist the various organizations involved in long-term water management strategies that support agriculture.
Flooding damage still generates plenty of calls from producers. Two major provincial roads in the Shoal Lakes area remain closed.
Several other resolutions dealt with predator control and compensation. Reimer says predators have long been a concern in some areas, but the losses today are pretty much province-wide. Reimer has personal experience with this issue having reported six confirmed kills plus another 11 calves missing during his own roundup last fall.
Resolutions carried at the annual meeting call for the removal of a 10 per cent deductible on predation claims, increased compensation for slashed calves to reflect the true cost of treatment, including labour, implementation of a $300-per-head payment to trappers and hunters to thin the wolf population in problem areas, extending the timeline for trappers to deal with problem wolves in defined areas, putting a stop to relocating problem animals from one place to another, and providing agricultural landowners whose primary income is from farming with annual hunting licences to harvest elk or moose on their own property.
Members also indicated MBP should continue to investigate a dealer assurance program for the province that compensates producers when dealers default. At fall meetings, Reimer says some districts fully supported the formation of a dealer assurance fund while others showed no interest in this protection. The board plans to survey cattle producers to gain a better understanding of what they want before it takes any further action on this file.
Other 2014 highlights for the MBP include the introduction of the Western Livestock Insurance Program and the smooth transfer of the PFRA community pastures to the Manitoba Association of Community Pastures.
Looking ahead, Reimer says MBP will raise awareness among its members about the new beef cattle code of practice, work with national organizations to advance market access and trade initiatives such as the Canada-EU trade agreement and country-of-origin labelling, and press Ottawa to fix the Temporary Foreign Worker program.
The MBP annual report is available at www.mbbeef.ca.
Zilmax cleared for component feeding
Health Canada’s Veterinary Drugs Directorate (VDD) has granted the makers of cattle feed additive Zilmax an expanded product label that allows for component feeding at the lower end of its dosage range — and draws the line for a maximum rate in complete feed.
The updated label allows for a lower targeted dose of 60 milligrams of the drug’s active ingredient, zilpaterol hydrochloride, per head per day through “one of multiple daily feedings,” such as in a morning or evening feeding, Merck said.
The new method, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved for Zilmax last fall, gives Canadian cattle feeders “an alternative option to deliver the appropriate dose of Zilmax to cattle every day,” the company said.
Merck said the VDD has also approved a revision to the “complete feed” information on the Zilmax label.
The complete feed label dose for zilpaterol is 8.3 grams per tonne (100 per cent dry matter basis) to provide 60 to 90 mg of active ingredient per head per day. But the label will now include an updated caution statement that emphasizes cattle shouldn’t be fed Zilmax beyond a 90-mg dose per head per day.
If pen consumption of complete feed exceeds 10.8 kilograms per head per day (100 per cent dry matter basis), Zilmax “should not be fed in complete feed,” the company said.
Zilpaterol, a beta-agonist drug, is prescribed to increase carcass leanness, increase dressing per cent, improve rate of body weight gain and improve feed efficiency in feedlot cattle during the animal’s last 20-40 days on feed.
The drug’s label specifies it should be used only in feedlots and only in cattle weighing at least 450 kg (992 pounds). The label requires it to be thoroughly mixed into manufactured feeds, and never used undiluted or as top dressing on feed.
Merck in 2013 suspended sales of the drug in some feedlots, in both Canada and the U.S. after packers Tyson Foods and Cargill stopped accepting Zilmax-treated cattle.
Tyson said at the time its decision followed observations that some animals arriving at its packing plants were having trouble walking or moving.
Merck said at the time it would retrain and certify beef producers in administering the drug to cattle, and run a “scientific audit,” following Zilmax-fed cattle from feed yards to packing plants, to determine potential causes of lameness and other mobility issues.
“The totality of the comprehensive review supported that (Zilmax) is safe when used according to the product label and in conjunction with sound animal husbandry practices,” the company said.
Merck said in November its research results and industry data showed “cattle weights, and thus feed consumption rates, have been steadily increasing over time.”
That fact, “created the possibility that certain cattle could consume feed quantities that result in ingestion of Zilmax in an amount that exceeds the approved dose.”
Under the certification rules, every feedlot worker, distributor, feed mill, nutritionist and veterinarian using Zilmax or consulting on its use must complete the Zilmax training program and yearly retraining on its use.
Intranasal vaccine released
Merck Animal Health has announced ONCE PMH IN, the first intranasal vaccine for bacterial pneumonia in cattle has been approved for use in Canada.
ONCE PMH IN is the only intranasal vaccine with two bacterial antigens that is indicated for use in healthy beef and dairy cattle, including calves as young as one week of age.
It aids in the control of respiratory disease caused by Mannheimia haemolytica and in the prevention of disease caused by Pasteurella multocida.
M. haemolytica and P. multocida, are the leading causes of early-onset bovine respiratory disease (BRD).
Presenting antigens to mucosal surfaces induces an immune response that is both mucosal and systemic, and independent of humoral and acquired immunity such as colostral antibodies. It also provides immune memory.
The intranasal administration of ONCE PMH IN delivers a dose of both P. multocida and M. haemolytica antigens directly to mucosal surfaces in the nose. Merck technical services veterinarian, Janice Berg, says young calves given an intranasal administration of this product had lower respiratory rates and significantly fewer lung lesions than control calves in studies.
ONCE PMH IN is a non-adjuvanted, non-virulent live vaccine with two dosing options: one-ml applied in each nostril of the animal or a two-ml dose delivered in one nostril.
Annual revaccination is recommended but it can be administered more frequently when farms are at risk for the disease or facing epidemic outbreaks.
From the March 2015 issue of Canadian Cattlemen