Second conditional approval granted for PEDv vaccine

The USDA has granted Zoetis a conditional license for a vaccine to help fight porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) in pigs. The license allows the vaccine to be used in healthy pregnant sows and gilts and is designed to help them develop antibodies that are transmitted to newborn piglets. Zoetis anticipates the vaccine will be available later in September.

This is the second conditional license for such a vaccine.  Harrisvaccines, was granted conditional approval from the USDA for its vaccine in June.

In the meantime, efforts to slow the spread of PEDv continue to focus on biosecurity. Stepped-up efforts include sanitation, controlling access points and reviewing employee protocols. All of these steps have been demonstrated to help mitigate the risk of the virus entering a farm.


Illinois grower concerned about SDS

Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) is showing up in more soybean fields in the Midwest. Central Illinois grower Dan Farney says his corn is looking great, though, “My corn is looking super. I’m kind of hopeful for the best corn crop ever.”

But, Farney tells Brownfield the jury is still out on his soybean crop,“Soybeans, I’m a little bit unsure of yet. Seems to be a little more Sudden Death coming on right now. I know I was at a meeting the other day and they basically said it’s a race to the finish whether the diseases hurt the beans more or if the beans mature in time.”

There’s nothing that can be done about the SDS fungus once it occurs although steps can be taken to try and manage it in the following planting season.  SDS lives in the soil and can be present in corn and sorghum residues.

Agronomist: Check your stalks

Growing conditions for corn have generally been pretty good across the Eastern Corn Belt.  But some areas have seen excessive rainfall; and in those areas, Brian Early, product agronomist for Pioneer says disease pressure is heavy.  “More towards the Ohio state line we have pockets of diseases,” he says.  “Grey leaf spot and northern corn leaf blight are two diseases that we usually see every year but are a little higher this year than we’ve seen in the past.”

Since we’re past the window of application for fungicides, Early says the best thing a grower can do is monitor their stalks.  “The corn plant will take away from the stalks to fill the ears,” he says.  “On those fields that have some stress, whether it is drought stress or disease stress make sure you check your stalks and see how strong they are.  Then prioritize them for harvest.”

Like the weather conditions, Early is anticipating variability in yields, too.

AUDIO: Brian Early, Pioneer (2:00mp3)

Kelly says the votes aren’t there for override

Missouri State Representative Chris Kelly says there won’t be enough votes to override the governor’s veto on the omnibus ag bill during the upcoming veto session.  Kelly, who helped author the landmark dairy portion of the bill, says special interests are responsible for attaching the part of the bill that would move the regulation of captive deer to the state Department of Agriculture away from the Conservation Department.

Kelly says, “The extreme point of view with regard to captive deer got into the bill and the Republican leadership refused to take any amendments on the floor to remove it. So that’s why the governor had to veto the bill.”

Kelly, a Democrat from Columbia, says wildlife biologists, scientists and the entire Missouri Conservation Federation – made up of many thousands of hunters – oppose that part of the bill. Kelly says, “It’s just no way the veto is going to get overridden. We know that we have the votes to block it.”

Kelly helped write the dairy portion of the bill. He tells Brownfield Ag News, “And it’s going to cost ‘em some stuff that I really like. The dairy stuff, the beef stuff is good and important. But, you can’t allow that degree of special interest in legislation.”

Kelly says protecting Missouri deer from Chronic Wasting disease is huge, adding, “Wisconsin’s entire deer industry is in the tanks over Chronic Wasting Disease and that’s exactly where we’re going if we don’t deal with this.”  The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, however, indicates otherwise.  To date, it has analyzed more than 185,000 deer statewide, 2,500 have tested positive.  Of those, only 13 positives were found outside the CWD Management Zone in southern Wisconsin.

Kelly predicts the deer bill will not be separated from the omnibus Ag Bill in the September veto session and won’t come up again in the 2015 legislative session.  He tells Brownfield he believes, only then, will a stand-alone ag bill pass without difficulty. By then, Kelly will have retired.

Interview Representative Chris Kelly (4:30 mp3)

Guernsey optimistic about override

It takes a lot to grow potatoes

Unless you are in the potato industry, you probably do not realize that many potato plants start out in test tubes in a sanitary lab.  Alex Crockford is Program Director of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Certification Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he says because potatoes start as tubers they are more susceptible to disease than plants which come from seeds.

Crockford talks about the process 3:00 mp3

NRC studying genetically engineered crops

The National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council (NRC) is conducting a two-year study of genetically engineered crops.  The NRC will look at the development and introduction of GE crops in the U.S. and globally.  Through a broad study of available information, the committee will “review the scientific foundation of current environmental and food safety assessments for GE crops and foods.”

They will assess the purported negative effects of the crops including the impact on farmers in developing countries and the evolution of so-called “super weeds”.  The study will also look at the purported positive effects including reduced pesticide use and soil conservation through reduced tillage

As part of the process, the NRC will conduct a public meeting in Washington D.C. in September to gather input from supporters and opponents of genetically engineered crops.

The study started last March; a report will be formulated and delivered to policymakers by the spring of 2016 “in the context of the world’s current and projected food and agricultural system.”  Derivatives of the report will also be made public.

The study is sponsored by the New Venture Fund, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the National Academy of Sciences.


The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research.


The National Research Council, created under the NAS charter in 1916 by executive order of President Woodrow Wilson, extended the scope of the NAS in its advisory role.

PEDv/Feed study viewed with some caution

A study led by the director of research at Pipestone Veterinary Services in Minnesota shows a link between contaminated animal feed and the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus in pigs.  The study was carried out on three farms in Iowa and Minnesota where PED was diagnosed early this year.

Richard Sellers with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) tells Brownfield Ag News they are concerned that this study might imply that feed is a cause of PEDv’s spread. He says, “This clarifies that feed is actually a carrier now. The source of how the virus got into the feed is not presented in the report. The authors DO make a point that there was no animal protein product in the feed.”

Sellers tells Brownfield Ag News there has been some blame by some sources placed on an animal protein product used in feed.  He tells Brownfield, “A number of the companies have done a number of studies to demonstrate that their products are indeed safe. There is always the potential for cross-contamination at any point in the feed distribution chain.”

Sellers says on-farm contamination of feed cannot be ruled out.  He says there are still many unknowns about the cause of PEDv and the AFIA along with the Institute for Feed Education and Research have pledged $100-thousand to the National Pork Board to further research.

Interview with Richard Sellers (4:00 mp3)

Wisconsin horse has WNV

Wisconsin has its first recorded case of equine West Nile Virus for the season.  An unvaccinated quarterhorse mare in St Croix County is recovering after being treated by a veterinarian.

State Vet Dr. Paul McGraw reminds horse owners that WNV and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) are spread by mosquitoes and the warmer weather of the last couple of weeks has spurred the population.  EEE kills about 90 percent of horses that it strikes, and WNV kills in more than a third of all equine cases.

Symptoms are similar for both diseases: depression, appetite loss, drooping eyelids and lower lip, fever, weakness, twitching, paralysis or lack of coordination, aimless wandering, circling and blindness.

Neither of the viruses is contagious between horses. While humans can become infected by both WNV and EEE, it does not pass between people and horses. Mosquitos biting warm-blooded animals is the only method of transmission.

Besides vaccination, McGraw recommends taking other steps to limit horse exposure to mosquitoes:

  • Remove items from surrounding property that could collect stagnant water such as old tires, tin cans, plastic containers.
  • Keep rain gutters clean and draining properly.
  • Clean and chlorinate swimming pools, outdoor saunas and hot tubs, and drain water from pool covers.
  • Turn wading pools and wheelbarrows upside down when not in use.
  • Empty and replace water in birdbaths at least once a week.
  • Consider keeping horses in the barn from dusk to dawn, when mosquitoes are most active.


Vesicular stomatitis outbreak raises concern

An outbreak of vesicular stomatitis (VS) in horses in Texas and Colorado seems to be spreading and is raising concern among veterinarians and livestock owners.

More than 270 cases of the disease have been confirmed in the two states.  VS is highly contagious and can affect horses, cattle, swine and sheep.  Although the disease is rarely fatal, complete recovery may take three to four weeks.

Signs of VS include painful oral blisters that can affect the mouth, muzzle and tongue.  It may also cause lesions on the udder and/or around the top of the hoof where it meets the hairline.

Officials are urging animal owners to be cautious when traveling with their animals and to check with their state department of agriculture regarding travel restrictions.

USDA changes ground beef process

USDA is implementing a faster way to trace contaminated ground beef back to the source.  Typically the Food Safety and Inspection Service would sample beef as it is being ground at a plant.  If an initial test came up positive, FSIS would wait two days for a lab to confirm the contamination before taking action.  Since most initial positives turn out to be confirmed, FSIS is now going to take action immediately with an initial positive.

FSIS will also move immediately to scrutinize the supplier of the contaminated beef rather than wait 30 days to do a Food Safety Assessment.  FSIS personnel will work to determine how unsafe product was produced, and whether the supplier sent unsafe product to other grinding facilities.

The agency estimates it could have requested as many as 29 additional recalls during a recent two year period had these procedures been in place.