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News Update
Nov. 14, 2005

USDA Announces Grant Program for NAIS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) last week announced it will award $3 million in cooperative agreements to states and tribes for conducting research to develop or test potential solutions for animal identification (ID) and automated data collection in support of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS).

According to an APHIS release, applicants are encouraged to propose research or field trial projects to:

• Enhance the effectiveness of collecting animal ID data in typical production, market and harvesting environments;
• Establish identity validation when official ID devices are lost, removed or malfunction;
• Conduct economic assessments of animal ID systems and technologies in typical production, market and harvesting environments; and
• Evaluate emerging animal ID technologies with advanced data collection systems to ascertain the adaptability of the technology for use in NAIS.

Funding application packages are available on the APHIS Web site at www.aphis.usda.gov/mrpbs/fmd/agreements_announcements.html. The deadline for application is Dec. 30. Applications can be submitted electronically to neil.e.hammerschmidt@aphis.usda.gov or through http://grants.gov.

Paper applications should be mailed to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, c/o Neil Hammerschmidt, 4700 River Rd., Unit 200, Rm. 4B-07.5, Riverdale, MD 20737. Any awarded funds will be available for cooperator expenditures incurred within 12 months from the date of signature for the notice of award.

Projects applicable to any livestock or animal industry associated with NAIS are eligible for funding. Collaboration with private companies, producer organizations, colleges and universities, or other research organizations is strongly encouraged.

Visit www.aphis.usda.gov for more information.

Bush Visits Asian Nations

President Bush left today to begin his weeklong trip to four Asian nations, USA Today reported.

Bush is scheduled to meet with Japanese Minister Junichiro Koizumi in Kyoto, Japan, Tuesday and Wednesday. The resumption of beef trade is expected to be among the many topics of discussion. According to the article, Bush told a Japanese television station, “It’s an important part of our cattle industry to be able to sell to the Japanese consumer.”

Researcher Offers Tips for Winter

As the temperature drops outside, so could a cow’s health. While cattle producers may not be able to eliminate all of the stress that winter places on their herds, research shows that there is a significant correlation between feed efficiency and feeding-site selection, Joel DeRouchey, Kansas State University (K-State) livestock specialist, said.

The thermo neutral zone for healthy cattle is 23 to 77ºF, DeRouchey said. When the temperature outside falls below or rises above the animal’s comfort zone, the body needs to produce more energy to keep the animal cool or warm.

When this happens, cattle need to receive enough nutrition to help keep them healthy and in good condition. It is also important that feeding sites be placed in well-drained areas to reduce water, mud and manure buildup.

A buildup of water could not only waste portions of hay bales, but could also decrease the nutritional value of the hay, creating a need for alternative nutrient sources to maintain herd health and performance, DeRouchey said. Excessive mud and manure around feeding sites also means that cattle will have to exert more energy to reach their feed.

“Well-drained areas make the best feeding sites because mud accumulation is less likely to occur,” DeRouchey said. “But, producers need to make sure that waste runoff will have grass or some type of vegetation to filter through before reaching open surface water.”

To prevent waste buildup, producers should rotate ring feeders before adding new bales of hay. One feeding site can feed approximately 15 to 20 head of cattle depending on the availability of other feed sources.

“Ideally, it is better to roll hay out on the ground in a well-drained area if producers can do it in proportions that their herd can clean up in one day,” DeRouchey said. “Hay that lies on the ground for several days before cattle can clean it up will be wasted.”

Winter storage areas for hay are also something that producers need to be thinking about. Rows should line up north to south, about two to three feet apart, so that sunlight will reach a greater surface area, he said. This will help evaporate moisture from the bales and the ground around them more quickly. Tightly wrapped hay bales will also absorb less moisture than loosely wrapped bales, ultimately ruining a smaller amount of hay.

“Producers should also have their hay tested for nutrient content,” he said. “If the hay doesn’t have an adequate amount of nutrients, cattle will need to be fed additional alternative feedstuffs or higher quality hay to maintain performance. The materials needed to test hay are available for producers to use at their local Extension offices.”

— Release provided by K-State Research and Extension.

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