Theresia Lavergne, Page, Timothy G., Harborth, Karl, Navarre, Christine B., Walker, Neely, Pruitt, J. Ross | 6/23/2014 3:02:39 PM
In this article:
|Horses and Hurricanes|
|Recapping the 2012 U.S. Census of Agriculture|
|Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV)|
|Effect of Gestation Stalls and Mixing Gestating Sows on Reproduction|
Dr. Neely Walker
The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season began on Sunday, June 1, and is expected to be a near-normal to below-average season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is forecasting 8-13 named storms; 3-6 of which are predicted to become hurricanes, with 1-2 having potential to become a Category 3 or higher. Despite predictions of a below-average hurricane season, it is never too early to start preparing your horses for potential storms.
Planning is the key to keeping your horses safe. Ensure that your horse is up to date on all vaccines. Create a “plan” with neighbors and surrounding farm owners and identify available resources in the surrounding areas. This includes an evacuation route, stabling locations, feed availability, emergency kits and ensuring your horses are trained to load in a trailer if needed. If you are planning on evacuating, leave early enough to prevent traffic delays. Keep in mind that during evacuation, management practices may change; monitor your horses closely for dehydration and signs colic or intestinal distress.
If you plan to weather the storm at home, here are some suggestions that may help keep you and your horse safe.
The destruction each hurricane can cause is unpredictable. While there is no way to know for certain if you will be affected by a hurricane, creating a plan will prepare you to handle any situation that occurs.
Dr. Ross Pruitt
In May of this year, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the 2012 Census of Agriculture, which provides insight into the structure of U.S. agriculture. The census may not be market sensitive, but it does provide an overview on how agriculture has changed over the past five years. Many of the major trends in U.S. agriculture are reflected in the statistics published for Louisiana.
The total number of U.S. farms fell by 4.3% over the past five years, offsetting the gain that occurred between 2002 and 2007. Total acreage devoted to agriculture also fell by 0.8% between 2007 and 2012. The average age of farmers rose to 58.3 years, just over a one-year increase in the average age since 2007. As has been the case in the last two censuses, over 82% of principal farm operators are at least 45 years old, with the 2012 census showing a slight increase in this category relative to the 2007 census. Approximately three-quarters of U.S. principal farm operators have been on their present farm at least ten years for the last three censuses compared to 3% having been on their current farm for less than two years. Just over half of the principal operators of U.S. farms were primarily employed off-farm, down slightly from 2007, but still well above the 2002 Census of Agriculture when 42.5% of principal operators being primarily employed off the farm.
Louisiana followed many of the national trends with regards to the number of farms and total acreage. The total number of Louisiana farms was down 6.7%, with total acreage 2.6% lower. Although total acreage in Louisiana was lower, acreage devoted to woodlands and permanent pasture increased by 5.6% and 12.6%, respectively, for the state. Total pastureland acreage in Louisiana was 8.7% lower due to a 67% decline in cropland pasture acres. Similar patterns were seen at the national level with regards to lower total pastureland and cropland pasture. Not surprisingly, the number of Louisiana cattle operations declined 2.8%, with the number of beef cattle operations falling 1.9%. The average Louisiana beef cow herd size fell from approximately 41 cows to 36 cows between 2007 and 2012.
The total number of U.S. farms with broiler chickens increased by over 21%, likely driven by increases in small flocks. Farms that sold fewer than 2,000 birds and 200,000 to 300,000 birds saw increases between 2007 and 2012, with other farms of other sizes exhibiting decreases. Total poultry farms in Louisiana increased, with layer farms seeing the largest increase.
Although the long-term trend of fewer U.S. farms and increasing average farm size continues, U.S. agricultural productivity increases have offset the decline in total farms and farm acreage. While the average age of U.S. farmers has increased, the percentage of farmers less than 35 years of age has stayed relatively constant at approximately 6% over the last three censuses. What happens between now and the next Census of Agriculture is uncertain, but productivity and efficiency will continue to shape the face of U.S. agriculture.
Dr. Tim Page
PEDV and Show Pig Producers
There is now a federal order requiring pork producers, veterinarians and diagnostic labs to report presumptive (positive diagnostic test with nonspecific or no clinical signs) or confirmed positive occurrences of PEDV. If a sample is submitted to a National Animal Health Laboratory Network laboratory for testing and is found to be positive, duplicate reporting by the herd owner, producers, veterinarians and others with knowledge (e.g. agents) is not required. Reporting by producers or veterinarians must be directed to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Animal Health Division or the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) located in the state in which the herd resides.
USDA requires the following specific reporting information to be submitted:
Also, the producer must develop and implement, along with their veterinarian, a herd management plan that addresses the following issues:
PEDV and 4-H and FFA Pig Projects
Dr. Tim Page
The use of gestation stalls has come into question in recent years. Some states have even passed legislation preventing the use of gestation stalls. There is conflicting research regarding the effects of gestation stalls or the effects of mixing sows into groups on reproductive performance and animal welfare. Many in the public sector feel housing sows in stalls lowers the welfare status of the sows. From a producer’s perspective, mixing is problematic because it can cause pregnancy losses, reduced litter size and loss of animals from fighting. A recent study by Robert Knox at the University of Illinois was conducted to evaluate the effects of day of mixing sows into groups during gestation on reproductive and sow welfare measures.
Treatments were applied during the summer months to obtain greater sensitivity to stress. Sows were assigned to housing treatment in: 1) stalls from weaning through gestation; 2) stalls from weaning until mixed at day 3-7; 3) stalls from weaning until mixed at day 13-17; and 4) stalls from weaning until mixed after day 35. All mixed sows were placed into pens in groups of 58 animals. Each pen provided adequate floor space and one electronic sow feeding station. Reproductive measures included pregnancy rate at day 30, farrowing rate, litter size and longevity. Well-being measures were obtained and included early effects (Period 1) and later effects (Period 2). Period 1 recorded fighting events, lesions and lameness, as well as cortisol change and body condition in the first 12 days after mixing. Period 2 recorded lesions, lameness and body condition from day 13 until farrowing.
Mixing during the first week after weaning resulted in reduced farrowing and well-being measures compared with mixing after the fifth week. Using the stalls throughout the gestation improved sow reproduction and well-being. These results suggest that optimal reproduction and well-being can be achieved with use of stalls and that day of mixing can reduce all measures.
In the poultry environmental BMP manual, the following BMPs are included:
• Whole-farm nutrient planning – using nutrients to enhance profits and protect water resources.
• Importance of BMPs to reduce losses – sediment and manure runoff reduction.
• Litter management – house litter management, re-using litter, storage, sampling methods.
• Mortality management – composting, incinerating, rendering, digesting.
• Litter application and runoff control – analyses and value of litter, application of litter.
• Pasture management and establishment – soil testing, seed beds, forages, grazing management.
• Soil testing – methods and proper sampling.
• Odor prevention on poultry farms – sources of odor and emissions.
• Buffers and borders – vegetative buffers, field borders, filter strips.
• Controlling flies in and around poultry houses – control, sanitation, surveillance.
• Controlling rodents – control, sanitation, baiting.
• Responding to complaints - communication.
• Farmstead management – fuel tanks, heavy-use areas, waste storage, conservation tillage.
• Pesticide management and pesticides – management procedures, application, selection, safety and storage.
These BMPs are effective and practical methods of reducing point and nonpoint-source water pollutants. When implemented, they conserve and protect the soil, water and air resources.
The poultry and other BMP manuals are available here.