The success of Johne's disease (JD) control programs based on risk assessment (RA) depends on producers' compliance with suggested management practices. One objective of this study was to describe the perception of participating Canadian dairy farmers of the impact of JD, the RA process, and suggested management strategies. The second objective was to describe the cost of changes in management practices following the RA. A telephone survey was conducted with 238 dairy farmers in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. The producers agreed to participate in this follow-up study after they had been enrolled in an RA-based voluntary JD control program and had tested their herd with the JD milk ELISA test in 2005 to 2007. The majority of farms had no JD test-positive cows and, although some producers thought they had experienced the economic impact of JD, many did not see JD as a current problem for their herd. The majority of producers enrolled in this program because they were concerned that Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis could be perceived by consumers as a cause for Crohn's disease in humans, which could lead to altered purchasing behavior of milk and milk products. Fifty-two farm-specific recommendations had been made after the initial RA. Although the producers generally liked the program and found the recommendations reasonable and feasible, on average only 2 of 6 suggestions made specifically to them were implemented. The recommendation with the highest compliance was culling of JD test-positive cows. The main reasons for noncompliance were that the dairy producer did not believe a change of management practices was necessary or the available barn setting or space did not allow the change. Producers were generally uncomfortable estimating time and monetary expenses for management changes, but found that several suggested management practices actually saved time and money. In addition, 39% of the producers that implemented at least 1 recommendation thought their calf and herd health had improved subsequently. This indicates that the communication of associated benefits needs to be improved to increase the compliance of producers with recommended management practices.
A study was conducted in 4 Canadian processing plants in 1995-96 to determine the prevalence of quality defects in Canadian cattle. One percent of the annual number of cattle processed in Canada were evaluated on the processing floor and 0.1% were graded in the cooler. Brands were observed on 37% and multiple brands on 6% of the cattle. Forty percent of the cattle had horns, 20% of which were scurs, 33% were stubs, 10% were tipped, and 37% were full length. Tag (mud and manure on the hide) was observed on 34% of the cattle. Bruises were found on 78% of the carcasses, 81% of which were minor in severity. Fifteen percent of the bruises were located on the round, 29% on the loin, 40% on the rib, 16% on the chuck, and 0.02% on the brisket. Grubs were observed in 0.02% of the steers, and injection sites were observed in 1.3% of whole hanging carcasses. Seventy percent of the livers were passed for human food and 14% for pet food; 16% were condemned. Approximately 71% of the liver condemnations were due to liver abscesses. Four percent of the heads, 6% of the tongues, and 0.2% of whole carcasses were condemned. The pregnancy rate in female cattle was approximately 6.7%. The average hot carcass weight was 357 kg (s = 40) in steers, 325 kg (s = 41) in heifers, 305 kg (s = 53) in cows, 388 kg (s = 62) in virgin bulls and 340 kg (s = 39) in mature bulls. The average ribeye area in all cattle was 84 cm2 (s = 12); range 29 cm2 to 128 cm2. Grade fat was highly variable and averaged 9 mm (s = 4) for steers and heifers, 6 mm (s = 6) for cows, 5 mm (s = 1) for virgin bulls, and 4 mm (s = 0.5) for mature bulls. The average lean meat yield was 59.7% in cattle (s = 3.4); range 39% to 67%. One percent of the carcasses were devoid of marbling, 1% were dark cutters, and 0.05% of the steer carcasses were staggy. Six percent of the carcasses had poor conformation, 3.7% were underfinished, and 0.7% were overfinished. Yellow fat was observed in 4% of the carcasses; 10% of carcasses were aged. Based on January 1996 prices, the economic analysis showed that the Canadian beef industry lost $70.52 per head or $189.6 million annually from quality nonconformities. Methods identified to reduce these nonconformities included improvements in management, animal identification, handling, genetic selection, marketing, grading, and information transfer.
A competitive environment forces the farmer constantly to adopt new and more-intensive production methods aiming at lowering costs and increasing yields. At debate is whether this intensification of production has an adverse impact on animal health and welfare. We investigated this issue by using cointegration analysis (a new tool used in time series analysis). We introduce cointegration analysis by applying the method in an epidemiological study of dairy-cow mortality. Two long-run epidemiological relations are identified:(i) a physiological relation (where increasing consumption of concentrates corresponded to increasing milk yield and mortality) and (ii) a physical relation (which illustrated that higher mortality was closely related to a higher growth rate of the average herd size, current investments in dairy farming, and higher milk yield). We concluded that a higher level of physiological stress due to higher yield and concentrate consumption has led to increased mortality. Furthermore, changes in the physical environment due to increased mechanisation and larger herd sizes have contributed to less attention per cow and increased mortality.
Insight into the relative importance of sheep and goat herding and of the economic significance of each species (i.e., milk vs. meat vs. wool) in Medieval Greenland is obtained through the application of Halstead et al.'s (2002) criteria for the identification of adult ovicaprine mandibles to faunal assemblages from three Norse farmsteads: Sandnes, V52a, and Ø71S. The economic strategies identified are broadly comparable between the two species and the Eastern and Western Settlement sites examined, and are suggestive of the subsistence production of meat and milk. Comparison with farmsteads elsewhere in Greenland indicates that socio-economic status and/or farmstead size interacted with geographical location in determining the economic strategies employed by the Norse farmers. A broader use of resources and a more varied diet are evident at larger farmsteads in Greenland and this paper suggests that such sites would have been better able than their smaller counterparts to withstand environmental deterioration during the early Middle Ages. These analyses have also confirmed that goats were relatively more common in Norse sites in Greenland than in Norse sites in Iceland, Orkney, or Shetland.
The vulnerability framework of the Research and Assessment Systems for Sustainability Program explicitly recognizes the coupled human-environment system and accounts for interactions in the coupling affecting the system's responses to hazards and its vulnerability. This paper illustrates the usefulness of the vulnerability framework through three case studies: the tropical southern Yucatán, the arid Yaqui Valley of northwest Mexico, and the pan-Arctic. Together, these examples illustrate the role of external forces in reshaping the systems in question and their vulnerability to environmental hazards, as well as the different capacities of stakeholders, based on their access to social and biophysical capital, to respond to the changes and hazards. The framework proves useful in directing attention to the interacting parts of the coupled system and helps identify gaps in information and understanding relevant to reducing vulnerability in the systems as a whole.
Farm-level biosecurity provides the foundation for biosecurity along the entire production chain. Many risk management practices are constantly in place, regardless of whether there is a disease outbreak or not. Nonetheless, the farm-level costs of preventive biosecurity have rarely been assessed. We examined the costs incurred by preventive biosecurity for Finnish poultry farms.
We used a semi-structured phone interview and obtained results from 17 broiler producers and from 5 hatching egg producers, corresponding to about 10% of all producers in Finland.
Our results indicate that the average cost of biosecurity is some 3.55 eurocent per bird for broiler producers (0.10 eurocent per bird per rearing day) and 75.7 eurocent per bird for hatching egg producers (0.27 eurocent per bird per rearing day). For a batch of 75,000 broilers, the total cost would be €2,700. The total costs per bird are dependent on the annual number of birds: the higher the number of birds, the lower the cost per bird. This impact is primarily due to decreasing labour costs rather than direct monetary costs. Larger farms seem to utilise less labour per bird for biosecurity actions. There are also differences relating to the processor with which the producer is associated, as well as to the gender of the producer, with female producers investing more in biosecurity. Bird density was found to be positively related to the labour costs of biosecurity. This suggests that when the bird density is higher, greater labour resources need to be invested in their health and welfare and hence disease prevention. The use of coccidiostats as a preventive measure to control coccidiosis was found to have the largest cost variance between the producers, contributing to the direct costs.
The redesign of cost-sharing in animal diseases is currently ongoing in the European Union. Before we can assert how the risk should be shared or resort to the 'polluter pays' principle, we need to understand how the costs are currently distributed. The ongoing study contributes towards understanding these issues. The next challenge is to link the costs of preventive biosecurity to the benefits thus acquired.
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The selection efficiency of complex quantitative economically important traits in dairy cattle depends on the identification of candidate genes responsible for these traits, as well as the determination of causative DNA polymorphism in these genes. Here, we review examples of DNA polymorphisms in coding and noncoding parts of genes that are associated with milk yield, milk fat and protein contents, milk fat and protein percentages, the biochemical composition of milk, and other milk production traits. Together with data with of foreign authors, which were obtained predominantly for Holstein animals, much attention in the review is paid to domestic studies on Russian cattle breeds. Particular attention is dedicated to DNA polymorphisms in the genes encoding transcription factors, which can potentially affect a large number of traits. The results of association analyses are summarized in a table, and they present the progress of research in this area in recent years. Our analysis indicates that the majority of SNPs, which are associated with significant effects on milk production traits, are in fact in a linkage disequilibrium with yet unknown mutations. The identification of functionally significant DNA polymorphisms and other genetic factors (epimutations, VNTR) is necessary for effective marker-assisted selection and genomic selection of diary cattle breeds.