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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

AGRIBUSINESS: Coccidiosis in piglets.

AGRIBUSINESS: Coccidiosis in piglets. Coccidiosis is a major cause of diarrhea in piglets that have long-term effects on health and performance,though its relatively under-diagnosed its a global concern. The problems of piglet diarrhea, includes high mortality, poor performance and susceptibility to other diseases because of secondary bacteria infection. The diarrhoea is usually yellow or gray and pasty.. AGRIBUSINESS: Coccidiosis in piglets. The primary cause of coccidiosis in piglets is the parasite Isospora suis, which is a pig-specific coccidia. There are other coccidial species that can infect pigs, but they don’t commonly cause disease. Coccidial oocysts that are shed from infected animals can survive on the farm for months or even years. Ingesting oocysts still present in the environment, usually from previous litters by piglets is the common route of infection. When ingested, the oocyst in the small intestine undergoes some of developmental stages, which takes five to seven days before new oocysts are formed. Each stage invades and multiplies within cells then bursts out. This destroys the infected cells, which in turn damages the gut, leading to diarrhea. Once the new oocysts are shed in the feces, they go through a short maturation process in the environment before being ready to infect a new host. AGRIBUSINESS: Coccidiosis in piglets. Prevention strategies like hygiene and biosecurity will help to reduce the incidence of many types of diarrhea. However, it is important to know the cause in order to treat effectively and implement a specific control plan. Clinical signs of coccidiosis can be seen in pigs as early as six days of age to about three weeks old. This is consistent with them becoming infected soon after birth, which is when they are most susceptible. As coccidiosis is the most frequent cause of diarrhea in piglets between six and 15 days of age,they will have poor body condition, be dehydrated and with a rough coat . The diarrhea is pale yellow or grey and very pasty. Antibiotic treatment with sulphonamides ,treating animals with clinical signs is strongly advised. If the diagnosis is uncertain fecal samples can be taken for oocyst identification and count at the This is to prevent losses as well as reducing ongoing damage to the gut. In order to prevent clinical signs of coccidiosis, many pig producers treat all piglets on a farm at three to five days of age.

The role of coccidiosis control in salmonella prevention.

Researchers say that coccidiosis vaccination can reduce the cecal Salmonella load in broilers, compared to birds treated with ionophores. Broilers vaccinated for coccidiosis have lower lesion scores than do birds treated with either chemical coccidiostats or ionophores. There are nine species of coccidia that impact broilers, with E. acervulina, E. tenella and E. maxima being the most prevalent. E. tenella is primarily found in the ceca and it is the species of coccidia that seems to affect Salmonella levels in broilers the most,thus better control of E. tenella may lower Salmonella incidence in a flock at time of market. Research has shown that coccidiosis breaks in broilers associated with E. necatrix and E. tenella are associated with increases in Salmonella colonization in the bird. The E. necatrix control in breeders plays a role in helping to keep Salmonella loads on chicks low, but E. tenella control is of more importance for controlling Salmonella colonization in the broiler house. Coccidiosis vaccination is very important for a number of factors; the resistance of coccidia populations in broiler houses to both chemical coccidiostats and ionophores continues to be a growing problem with no new drugs introduced in the last few decades and vaccinating for coccidiosis reestablishes populations of susceptible strains of coccidia on broiler farms. The recent clamor for antibiotic-free production among some consumers have also increased use of coccidiosis vaccines.

Togo has first HPAI cases in 7 years.

Two poultry farms in the Maritime region of Togo have been affected by highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza, resulting in the deaths of 14,372 birds. This marks the first time that highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been detected in the African nation since January 2009. According to information provided by Togo’s ministry of agriculture to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the two farms were considered to be “semi-modern,” but lacked biosecurity measures. At one of the farms, 10,350 birds died, while another 3,000 were destroyed. At the other farm, 950 birds died and another 30 were destroyed. The carcasses, by-products and waste are being disposed of. The source of the avian influenza infection is not known. The farms have been quarantined and are being disinfected. A protection zone has been established, and surveillance inside and outside the zone is taking place. While the virus is new to Togo in 2016, other African nations – including Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon -- have been dealing with cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza in recent months. OIE stated that it intends to file weekly reports on the H5N1 avian influenza situation in Togo until it considers it to be resolved. contributed by

Study reveals thousands of Americans use veterinary pills when theirs run out.

A surprising number of Americans use their pets' medication, scientists have revealed. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine set out to investigate prescription drug use as we rapidly build up a resistance to antibiotics.But in their study they found an unexpected result. Four per cent of people admitted to using veterinary antibiotics after running out of their supply.The scientists had not put this as an option in the study, having not anticipated it would be so widespread. We thought that was some other country’s problems, not ours. That was an additional surprise,' lead author Dr Larisa Grigoryan said. Dr Grigoryan warns the bizarre trend could be driving us into a post-antibiotic era. Borrowing from pets is not the most common way of bypassing the doctor's office. The study, published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, involved 400 people. Forty per cent of antibiotics used without a prescription were purchased in stores and pharmacies in the US. Another 24 per cent were obtained outside of the US. Friends or relatives supplied 20 per cent of antibiotics.Leftover medicines from previous prescriptions accounted for 12% The vast majority (74 per cent) of antibiotics that patients stored were saved from previous prescriptions. Finally, four per cent of respondents voluntarily admitted to using the pets' pills. The significant proportion of people in this category shows the extreme lengths people will go to to use antibiotics - without thinking of the consequences. If the ratio of the study is applicable, it could mean thousands of Americans do the same. ' When people self-diagnose and self-prescribe antibiotics it is likely that the therapy is unnecessary because most often these are upper respiratory infections that are mostly caused by viruses,' Dr Grigoryan warned.antibiotics do not kill viruses, they kill bacteria. But Dr Grigoryan insists that even in cases that would require antibiotics, people without a medical background should not self-diagnose.more

Crickets becoming new protein source in pet treats.

Novel proteins, including exotic proteins such as kangaroo and boar, have been a hot topic at Petfood Forum this week in Kansas City. Another unusual protein that has been discussed recently is cricket. According to Serge Boutet, owner of SBNutrinnov Consultants, crickets are sustainable, environmentally sound and use less water to produce a kilo of protein as compared to beef, pork or fish. According to Boutet, insect proteins are poised to be the future of the pet food industry and for human consumption. watch

Novel proteins can fight pet obesity.

Novel proteins often have lower calorie and fat contents than conventional protein sources.Novel proteins can fight the pet obesity epidemic, suggests Mark J. Mendal, founder of Pet Proteins, Novel proteins, such as venison, often have lower calorie and fat contents than conventional protein sources, such as beef. Within the past few decades,pet food manufacturers’ options for providing protein, omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients in their products have grown dramatically. Just as people have come to embrace a wider variety of foods on their plates, so too have pet owners started serving non-traditional meats and plants to their dogs and cats. Once unheard of ingredients, including kangaroo, hemp and insects have all found their way into pets’ dishes. Novel proteins in particular have become popular. watch

Monday, August 29, 2016

Insect farms could become the future of Danish agriculture.

Insects as a food source is usually something Danish tourists encounter when travelling in Southeast Asia or some other exotic destination. But that could change in the future. Insect farms are prevalent in many developing nations, such as Thailand, but it’s a relatively new phenomenon in Europe – although are insects already being farmed for food in certain countries, including the Netherlands. One of the benefits of insect farming is the very limited environmental footprint it leaves compared to cattle and pig farming – in terms of C02, ammonia and methane emissions. Heimdal Entofarm was established earlier this year with the purpose of producing insects as an animal fodder and human food source.

Understanding personality traits of domestic and wild cats.

A study carried out between the University of Edinburgh and Bronx Zoo compared our beloved domestic cat with its wilder relatives.Compared with the snow leopard, the Scottish wildcat and the African lion, researchers found these larger predators shared similar characteristics of aggression and neurotic behavior to domestic cats. Dominance, impulsiveness and neurotic behavior are the most common trait shared between the domestic cat and the wild cat. The researchers used a testing method known as the 'Big Five' personality test: Openness to Experience, Extraversion/Introversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism. A total of 100 cats, from two different shelters in Scotland were used in the experiment, whilst the other animals were examined from zoos and animal sanctuaries in the UK and USA. 'They're cute and furry and cuddly, but we need to remember when we have cats as pets, we are inviting little predators into our house,' psychologist Dr. Max Wachtel. Dr Max Wachtel explains that for a lot of people, it is worth it. Cats can be fantastic, sweet companions. Until they turn on the predator in them. The advantage humans have is their small size that prevents the cat from being able to unleash its full predatory nature. Its important to understand the personality characteristics of our pets. Different cats have different personalities. But as a species, there are a lot of commonalities,' Dr Wachtel said. more

Cats and whiskers.

The whiskers on the face and legs of cats are their GPS. These whiskers allows the cat to access an environment,gauge the distance when climbing and flight is required and also navigate their way around in the dark. Whiskers allows a blind cat to navigate her way around an environment and determine stressors and comfort zones. The mood of a cat can be determined by the direction in which the whiskers faces,so when approaching a cat ,look at those whisker before you make any sudden movements. These whiskers are thick and filled with tiny, super-sensitive nerves that help the cat judge distance and space. The whiskers acting as a radar apparatus helps the cat to make decisions such as; Is this box too small to get inside? How far do I need to jump to reach that counter? do i need to run or snuggle? The whiskers are in sacs called follicles that hold the hairs ,these are deep with lots of nerve endings that send messages to the cat’s brain. Each whisker has a sensory organ at the tip which picks up vibrations in the environment that help the cat sense where she is and what other creatures are around her. The whiskers are not evenly distributed as whiskers in various locations perform various functions and their sizes vary as well. The majority of whiskers are rooted in the thick pads on the upper lip, but smaller sets are in the eyebrow area, along the chin, and near the feet. There are others on the sides of the nose which are the same width as the cat’s body and the function is to determine if a space is wide enough to squeeze through or not. The whiskers on the back of the legs help your cat climb trees. The movement of the whiskers back and forth are aided by strong muscles on the face,these movements will help to access the mood of the cat at anytime. When the whiskers are still and sticking straight out from the side of her head,then the cat is relaxed and thus approachable. When the whiskers are pressed slightly forward,then cat is in hunting/ curious mode and when the the whiskers are pulled back toward the face,then the cat is in anger/upset mode(keep off.) Whiskers like other hairs on the body grow throughout the lifespan,but nature keeps this down by shedding. You will not need to trim the cats whiskers because of the shedding principle,but if you attempt to trim the whiskers you will affect the navigation system of the cat which will destabilize the cats.

Entrepreneurs See A New Field Of Dreams In Agriculture..

When it comes to technology investing, the smart money seeks big markets with strong growth prospects. That old adage helps explain why, out of $13.5 billion invested in start-up firms by venture capitalists in the fourth quarter of 2014, more than half went to firms developing software used on mobile devices, according to tracking firm CB Insights. After all, global sales of smartphones reached 1.2 billion last year, up 20% from 2013. Yet there’s another market so big it leaves mobile phones in the dust. The world’s farmers will need to feed 9.6 billion people by 2050, the United Nations says, and that will require a 70% increase in agricultural production. Agriculture is a $3 trillion industry increasingly driven by technology developments, but until recently it was practically ignored by venture capitalists. That’s now changing as start-ups targeting plant and animal health begin attracting backing from venture capital funds. Some are graduating to become publicly traded companies. In February, for example, the crop genetic traits developer Arcadia registered with the Securities & Exchange Commission to raise $86 million in an initial public offering of stock.continue

Transforming agriculture.

A new day is dawning for agriculture. When asked to describe the magnitude of the coming change, experts harken back to seminal advances such as the rise of mechanization, the invention of synthetic fertilizers and crop protection chemicals, and the advent of transgenic crops. Within the next five years—less time than it takes to discover and commercialize a new agricultural chemical—gene editing will transform seed and trait development across a wide variety of crops. A new generation of plants will be equipped to thrive in the face of yield-eating climate stress. And all-seeing eyes in the sky will pinpoint problems in the field before the first leaf droops. These tools will not be as obvious as when tractors replaced mules, but they are poised to make a difference where it counts: helping farmers profitably increase yields.At the same time, the business of bringing new tools to market is changing, thanks to consolidation among major agriculture firms that traditionally are the big investors in innovation. For better or worse, Dow Chemical’s planned merger with DuPont, ChemChina’s pending acquisition of Syngenta, and Bayer’s attempt to acquire Monsanto are reshaping the agricultural landscape. Increasing the productivity of agriculture is critical to feeding a growing population. But in the past decade, the per-acre rate of output growth in the U.S. averaged a mere 1.0% per year for corn and 1.6% for soybeans, according to figures from the consulting firm Bain & Co.continue

Can mentoring boost youth participation in Kenyan agriculture?

Can mentoring boost youth participation in Kenyan agriculture?: Agriculture is the backbone of Kenya's economy. Worth billions of dollars, it is responsible for the livelihoods of over 80 per cent of the rural population and accounts for 65 percent of the country's total export revenue, according to the country's Institute of Economic Affairs. However, it is a sector that has been largely been ignored by the youth, who, despite being stuck for the large part in informal jobs, yearn for the security and prestige of white-collar jobs. Although there is no (...)

Sunday, August 28, 2016

How to turn cassava peels to animal feed.


RESEARCH: Cassava root meal as substitute for maize in layers ration. .

RESEARCH: Cassava root meal as substitute for maize in layers ration. The effect of replacing maize with graded levels of cassava root meal (CRM) as energy source in the diet of laying hens was evaluated during the eight weeks of feeding experiment on performance and cost benefits on layers. The fresh cassava roots were peeled, washed and grated. The grated cassava mash was poured into a sack and pressed using a hydraulic pressing machine to remove excess water. The dewatered cassava mash was broken into fine granules and was sun dried on black polyethylene sheets, after which it was milled in a hammer mill and packed in bags as cassava root meal (CRM). RESEARCH: Cassava root meal as substitute for maize in layers ration. Forty-five Nera black laying hens of 24 weeks of age were allocated to five dietary treatments, with nine birds per treatment in a completely randomized design. CRM was used to formulate the diets at 0, 25, 50, 75, and 100%. The result showed that the feed intake of birds in the control group was significantly (p<0.05) different from those fed the CRM diets. The average weight gain of layers receiving up to 50% CRM was similar to the control birds, but significantly different from layers fed 75 and 100% CRM. No mortality was recorded. Egg production per hen per day and average egg weight were significantly different (p<0.05) for birds consuming more than 50% CRM in T4 and T5. Layer feed ration was made cheaper by the replacement of maize with cassava root meal in the diets. Forty-five Nera black layers were divided according to a completely randomized design into five groups of nine birds each. The birds were habituated for 2 weeks before the beginning of the feeding experiment, when birds were 24 weeks old. The experiment lasted for 8 weeks. The processed CRM was used to formulate four diets such that maize was replaced by CRM at 25, 50, 75 and 100%, which are represented here as T2, T3, T4 and T5, whereas T1 served as the control diet without CRM. The composition of the five formulated diets is presented in Table below, layers were fed twice a day and water was provided ad libitum. Feed intake was measured daily. Individual birds were weighed before the beginning of the experiment to obtain initial body weight, and weekly thereafter. Eggs were collected twice a day and recorded. Also, 12 eggs from each treatment were weekly weighed to obtain mean egg weight. Birds were also observed for mortality. The replacement of maize by CRM up to 50:50 ratios did not significantly affect the hen-day egg production. However, CRM inclusion above 50% reduced (p<0.05) egg production and egg weight. Replacing corn by cassava up to 50% did not affect the performance of layers or egg quality and that the reduction in yolk pigmentation could be overcome by adding xanthophylls to the feed. More

Mobile apps to improve agriculture.

FARMERS can now take full advantage of the onset of technology as mobile apps designed to improve agriculture have been developed by young Filipino information technology experts. The two Android mobile solutions were “FarmHelp” and “Krops,” both will be acquired by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as Secretary Manny Piñol believed that these two major innovations “could revolutionize Philippine agriculture.” The apps, when installed will give Filipino farmers access to any information about plant and animal diseases and the weather forecast, and also guide him on where to sell his products or buy his farm supplies. FarmHelp' was developed by the group who designed the PureForce, an app used for emergency and rescue operations, "FarmHelp" was designed to fit the new program of the agriculture department to update its technology transfer and information dissemination. "Using FarmHelp apps, a farmer can have access to a 24/7 answering program which would respond to his request for him in identifying the disease affecting his farm by simply taking a picture of the plant and sending it to the DA FarmHelp desk," Piñol said. The experts will analyze the disease based on the photo and will respond to the farmers within 24 hours. Piñol said the automatic geo-tagging which will immediately pinpoint the exact location of the farmer sending the message will determine the success of the program. Thus, if the complaint is about a damaged irrigation canal, DA responders could immediately dispatch a regional team to the area. "Krops" is a team led by young agribusiness entrepreneur Joseph Calata developed the "Krops," involved in the establishment of a chain of agricultural supply stores across the country. The Krops will assist the farmer or the buyer of the farmers' products access to information on who is buying, who is selling, how much, and the location of the buyer or the seller. Pinol said by pressing a commodity icon which showed eggs, the "Krops" app immediately asked "Buying?" or "Selling?" When he pressed "Selling," the location of the buyers near the location of the "farmer" was immediate shown on the screen including the complete address, the volume required and the buying price. "This is the perfect answer to the problem bedeviling the Filipino agricultural producer who has always been at the mercy of the middlemen and the traders," Piñol added. Culled from

How to make pig feed.

According to a team of experts from UP at Los Baños, Vitamin C to the diet of pigs@ 800 gms for every kilo of feeds, will make them grow faster compared to those treated with normal diets. It was further noted that Vitamin-C treated pigs when slaughtered had a higher dressing percentage, leaner backfat and more lean cut yields.

AGRIBUSINESS: How to Feed chicken with watermelon and banana peels.

AGRIBUSINESS: How to Feed chicken with watermelon and banana peels. The current increase in prices of maize which is a major component of poultry feed has increased the cost of poultry feed,leading to more farmers looking for alternatives without dropping egg production. A 100kg bag of maize, which used to cost about N6, 000 in is now being sold for about N12, 000 and the cost of fish meal which is another important ingredient in poultry feeds, has increased by 60 per cent. A kilogramme of fish meal that used to sell for N500 now costs about N900. AGRIBUSINESS: How to Feed chicken with watermelon and banana peels. The high cost of feed has led to reduced production in some farms as some farmers are giving reduced rations to their birds which invariably reduces egg production . Farmers seeking alternative sources of feed with intention to boost production and profit can adopt any of these proven methods. Watermelon is a popular fruit in the country and many people have switched to this fruit because of the profit potential in the cultivation and also because of its health benefits. Poultry birds can also be given cuts of watermelon fruit as a replacement feed. The ration of the birds can be supplemented by up to 30%, this will reduce the cost of feed and number of the feed the farmer procures. AGRIBUSINESS: How to Feed chicken with watermelon and banana peels. Researchers at UP Los Baños have gone a step further with the watermelon by using the rind. The team fed watermelon rind to chickens for 6 months and compared the weight and production to chicken given ordinary commercial feed. The result showed that the commercial feeds can be replaced with watermelon rind up to 20%. The method of use was as follows 1) wash the rind. 2) boil the rind. 3) dry the rind in the sun . 4) grind and mix with the commercial feed . Researchers in Southern Mindanao Agricultural Research in Kabacan, North Cotabato have used banana peels in broilers. The Broilers fed with 5% chopped banana leaves gained weight of 1-1/2 kilos more than those fed with commercial starter mash ration or with 10% added banana leaves. The method of use is as follows 1.) Wash and Chop fine raw banana peels.2.) Boil for one hour, drain and allow to cool. 3) Dry the banana peel. The peels were incorporated to feed as follows ; for every kilo of the dried peel add 1) 150 gms dried chicken manure. 2) 100 gms rice bran. 3) Mix thoroughly and allow to dry in the sun. 4) blend the mixture to about 1 mm size. This can be mixed up to 15% commercial broiler starter mash and finisher mash as follows 1)850 gm commercial mash then add 2) 150 gm banana peel mixture. For broiler feed, ration diet is starter mash from day 1 to day 42, and finisher mash from 42-49 days. Chickens fed 25% with this in 56 days made no difference in weight with those fed with 100% corn.

Vaccination in cats with non adjuvanted vaccines protect against vaccination site sarcoma.(VSS)

Injections may be more dangerous for cats than for dogs. This may be because some pet vaccines and drugs contain substances called adjuvants to make them more effective. Adjuvants may be chemicals, parts of microbes or mammalian proteins that may overly irritate a cat's body. Adjuvants are safe for dogs, people and other pet species,but injections containing adjuvants may be the cause of a type of malignant tumor called "vaccine site sarcoma" (VSS).Vaccines containing small amounts of live viruses are among the most powerful in causing the immune system to create virus-battling antibodies. The immune system also modifies cells to aid in the fight against a virus when exposed to a live form. Some forms of live viruses in vaccines can infect pets so to avoid this problem and protect immune systems, veterinarians often use vaccines that are based on weaker killed or modified viruses. Another modified live-virus vaccine. Manufacturers boost the efficacy of vaccines containing modified viruses by adding adjuvants. Adjuvants are materials added to vaccines ,with the function of keeping the vaccine within the skin for a period of time after the vaccine is administered thus allowing the immune system to be properly stimulated. Adjuvants can also directly stimulate the immune system,although certain cats are genetically predisposed to forming VSS. Its documented that out of every 10,000 cats injected with a vaccine containing an adjuvant, only one to two develop cancerous tumors at the injection site. Cats will commonly develop a lump at the site of a vaccination, typically caused by inflammation and local immune stimulation. These lumps are benign and will resolve spontaneously a few weeks after they are evolve. A pet owner whose cat receives an adjuvanted injection should monitor the injection site for about three months, but cat -parent should visit a veterinarian if swelling grows progressively larger by a month following injection. It is recommended to visit the vet for a biopsy if 1) the lump is still present 3 months from the time of vaccination, 2) the lump is greater than 2 cm in diameter regardless of the duration of time of the vaccination. 3) the lump progressively increases in size over the course of one month since the time it was discovered. The strict compliance to the specific protocols regarding where vaccines should be administered is also important to prevent adverse reactions. The following depicts correct sites for the necessary vaccinations in cat; 1) rabies vaccines should be given as far down on the right hind limb . 2) feline leukemia vaccines should be given as far down on the left hind limb . 3) other vaccines should be given as far down on the right front leg . Vaccinations should never be given between the shoulder blades.

Nestle Purina, TerraVia partners in pet nutrition

Nestle Purina PetCare and San Francisco-based TerraVia, a leading provider of algae-based food nutrition and specialty ingredients, entered a joint development agreement to bring algae-based nutrition products to the companion animal health and wellness market. The agreement “spans multiple years,” the companies said in a news release. TerraVia has developed a range of algae-based ingredients over more than a decade. Products include a line of healthy oils and lipids, whole algae proteins and omega-3 based ingredients among other products. The agreement will leverage certain commercially available algae-based advanced nutrition ingredients developed by TerraVia in addition to product innovations in TerraVia’s development pipeline. Jonathan Wolfson, chairman and CEO of TerraVia, said in a news release that they are excited to partner with Nestlé Purina, a global leader and innovator in pet care and nutrition, to help develop the next generation of nutritious, sustainable pet foods that are better for the planet and our pets .

How to purify water using banana peels.

Banana peels are full of acids and other purifying molecules that have no toxic effect on humans and animals. Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, copper, iron, and other naturally occurring metals are deposited into our water sources by both natural and man-made means such as agriculture. The build up of these metals especially lead and mercury are very dangerous to man and animals leading to nervous conditions ,with resultant damage to the brain. The benefit of using banana peels as purifier stems from the fact they contain sulfur,nitrogen and carboxylic acids,these bind to the heavy metals in the water source and makes the water safe for drinking. The peels can be utilized in the raw state or it can be minced or blended/chopped into cubes and used for the process. The beauty of the process is that its fast, cheap and material( banana peels) are easily available. The same banana peels can be used up to 11 times for the purification without losing its efficacy,thus making it super cost-effective.

AGRIBUSINESS: how to use banana peels as a water purifier.

AGRIBUSINESS: how to use banana peels as a water purifier. Banana peels --can be used for polishing silverware, leather shoes, and the leaves of house plants . Scientists have shown that purification of drinking water contaminated with potentially toxic metals can be done with a 100% success with minced banana peels. AGRIBUSINESS: how to use banana peels as a water purifier. Contamination of water sources is a great concern in many countries especially runoff from farms, and industrial wastes can all put heavy metals, such as lead and copper, into waterways. Heavy metals can have adverse health and environmental effects. and several steps and processes have been initiated to purify the water sources. The use of coconut fibers have been employed,also chemical processes have been used but with the disadvantage of cost and the toxic nature of certain chemicals used. Research from various quarters has been on-going to find a cheaper alternative without any toxic effect. Gustavo Castro and colleagues have utilized minced banana peel to quickly remove lead and copper from river water . A purification apparatus made of banana peels can be used up to 11 times without losing its metal-binding properties. The team adds that banana peels are very attractive as water purifiers because of their low cost and because they don't have to be chemically modified in order to be functional.

AGRIBUSINESS: How to reuse wastewater for agriculture.

Researchers have developed an economic model that demonstrates how flexible wastewater treatment processes which blend varying levels of treated effluent can create a water supply that benefits crops and is affordable. Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed an economic model that demonstrates how flexible wastewater treatment processes which blend varying levels of treated effluent can be optimized to produce a water supply that is affordable, and meets and surpasses a variety of water quality requirements. The reuse of treated wastewater is not a new concept, concerns over the rising demand for water from population growth, coupled with both economic and environmental challenges, have made this option more attractive," wrote Quynh K. Tran, a UCR Ph.D. student in chemical and environmental engineering; Kurt Schwabe, professor of environmental economics and policy; and David Jassby, assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering. The reuse model the research team developed assumes that wastewater has been treated to meet state standards for removing pathogens and focuses on producing irrigation water with chemical properties tailored for use on specific crops and grasses. Blending wastewater from various treatment processes could produce water with nutrients that are beneficial to specific crops, which would reduce fertilizer costs and increase the affordability of recycled wastewater. Raw wastewater typically contains high levels of nutrients, specifically nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which can be utilized by plants. Using citrus and turfgrass to test the economic model, the UC Riverside team estimated and compared the costs and water-quality characteristics of treated wastewater under a variety of treatment combinations. By utilizing this blending technique as an alternative irrigation source for agriculture, freshwater resources would be reserved to cope with drought-induced extreme water scarcity.

Saving irrigation water with superabsorbent polymers.

Soil conditioners called superabsorbent polymers have the potential to reduce irrigation needs for agricultural crops by storing water and nutrients and then releasing them in drought conditions. A recent paper published in the Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science (JTAS),explains that Soil conditioners called superabsorbent polymers have the potential to reduce irrigation needs for agricultural crops by storing water and nutrients and then releasing them in drought conditions. Drought is the largest abiotic stress that can reduce crop yields, and its frequency and severity are expected to increase in the face of climate change. Meanwhile, a lack of water supply is an issue for many countries. Adding this to increasing population growth, water demands are predicted to rise even further. Therefore, finding new ways to improve water efficiency in the agricultural sector is necessary. One way of doing this is to use superabsorbent polymers (SAPs). These are soil conditioners that have the capacity to absorb and retain 1,000 times more water than their size and weight. SAPs are currently used in various sectors including agriculture, horticulture, pharmaceuticals, food packaging, oil drilling and so on. Superabsorbent hydrogels (SAHs) are superior to SAPs due to their unique properties but the extension of their application is limited because of high production costs and their impact on the environment. Davoud Khodadadi Dehkordi of Islamic Azad University in Iran looked at the effects of SAPs and SAHs on soils and plants, suitable usage rates and the amount of irrigation water that can be saved by using superabsorbent polymers. He found that these materials could store water and nutrients and release them in light soils, enabling plants to produce grain and increase their biomass under limited irrigation water and nutrient conditions. What's more, their water storage capacity lasts for up to five years. They also improve seed germination rates and root growth while decreasing drought or transplanting stresses in plants. Furthermore, superabsorbent materials could reduce soil contamination by preventing pollutants from passing through the soil and thereby improving the quality of drainage water. However, excessive use of SAPs and SAHs could reduce soil ventilation or expose plants to diseases but using superabsorbent materials could improve the characteristics of light soils and allow cultivation with less water.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

IoT and bumper harvest.

Alvarez Technology Group is planning to double down on Internet of Things (IoT) deployment in the agriculture industry. Luis Alvarez, the CEO, spoke to The Channel Company at XChange 2016 about the developments and challenges. In the world of agriculture, Alvarez claims the most important customer considerations are cost savings and operational efficiencies. In the next five years, the firm wants to reduce the head-count on farms, which has already declined enormously in the past 50 years, by half. Alvarez customers want to see an 100 percent increase in yields from the same plants. IoT sensors for agriculture are able to plot more efficiently and reduce the amount of water and soil needed. Data analytics is another area where Alvarez customers are intrigued, according to the CEO, “we brought in 20 or 25 agriculture leaders in our community and talked to them about data analytics, and in their survey form, almost every single one of them said I want to talk more about this.” IoT sensors provide a wealth of data, but without analytics a person must surf through and find relevant info. Pushing that to a cloud analytics platform could “actionable intelligence” at a much faster rate, allowing farmers to recognize issues and fix them immediately. A challenge for Alvarez in IoT is data security. Speaking to farmers, Alvarez noted that hardly any new the risks of IoT deployment and most were shocked at the possibility of a hacker holding their farm for ransom. more

Underwater agriculture and the future of food production.

Metres under the ocean in picturesque Noli Bay, Italy, hydroponics and solar technology are being used to grow dozens of plants. Gamberini's father Sergio, who runs a diving company that operates in Italy and California, founded Nemo's Garden five years ago. He came up with the idea of growing plants underwater as a way of making diving more interactive. There, metres under the surface, divers attend to basil, garlic and other plants grown in large domes, known as biospheres. 'We had this crazy idea and our first experiments were these flexible balloons ... which we anchored on the seabed,' Luca says.'We found a way to put a vase inside and we tried first with a plant that was already born and successfully continued to grow it—it didn't die, it actually thrived. 'Then we tried with the seeds and they sprouted in less than 36 hours, it was incredible.' Since then they've successfully grown 26 different kinds of plants, including beans and radishes.They have seven biospheres, each about the size of a large room, which can hold up to three divers. Each biosphere houses at least 60 plants, which are grown using hydroponics and gravity-fed watering systems. 'The sea is an ... auto-sustainable and free charger and warmer,' Gamberini says.'We have a constant temp here in the Mediterranean but in many places around the world the water gives out warmth a lot slower than air. 'Light actually gets to more than 10 metres underwater so it's perfect for us, plus the seawater acts like a filter so all the useless and not beneficial frequencies of light that would get to the plants are actually cut off, so you get all the good stuff. 'It's a place where no parasite can get ... so we don't need to use pesticide or any other system and we have also a natural evaporation of the seawater ... which becomes fresh water and just naturally irrigates the plants.' Gamberini hopes that through Nemo's Garden they can develop an alternative to traditional agriculture that could be used in the future if land starts to run out.We tested the plants—we ate the basil we grew underwater—it has more taste to it, the essential oils are higher which means [it has a] more intense perfume,' Gamberini says. Contributed by

16-year-old teen devises way to treat deadly breast cancer .

A 16-year-old boy from Epsom, Surrey, believes he may have the answer to treat deadly breast cancer. Krtin Nithiyandam thinks he has devised a way to turn the most deadly form of triple negative breast cancer into a kind which responds to drugs. 7,500 women each year are diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer, a type of disease which does not respond to today's most effective drugs. Many breast cancers are driven by oestrogen, progesterone or growth chemicals so drugs that can block those fuels, such as tamoxifen, make effective treatments. However triple negative breast cancer does not have receptors and it can only be treated with a gruelling combination of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy which lowers the chance of survival. Scientists have known for some time that some women with triple negative cancer respond very well to treatment while others quickly decline. The problem lies in whether the cancer cells are ‘differentiated’ or not. Differentiated means they look more like healthy cells and they tend to grow and multiply quite slowly, and are less aggressive. However when cancer cells are ‘undifferentiated’ they get stuck in a dangerous primitive form, never turning into recognizable breast tissue, and spreading quickly, leading to high grade tumors. Krtin believes he has found a way to coax these more deadly cells into their differentiated form by blocking a protein called ID4. Most cancers have receptors on their surface which bind to drugs like Tamoxifen but triple negative don’t have receptors so the drugs don’t work.“The prognosis for women with undifferentiated cancer isn’t very good so the goal is to turn the cancer back to a state where it can be treated.“The ID4 protein actually stops undifferentiated stem cell cancers from differentiating so you have to block ID4 to allow the cancer to differentiate. He has also discovered that upping the activity of a tumour suppressor gene called PTEN allows chemotherapy to work more effectively, so the dual treatment could prove far more effective than traditional drugs. The therapy idea, which saw him shortlisted for the final of The Big Bang Fair competition, would most likely be delivered in a nanoparticle containing RNA – the messenger molecule which carries instructions from the DNA. The RNA nanoparticle would be encoded to silence or boost gene activity. continue

Home treatment of diarrhoea in dogs.


VETERINARY MEDICINE:Bloat in dogs. BLOAT, including how to recognize it, and what you can do at home. is it better to bandage a wound or leave it open?the answer will surprise you.

VETERINARY MEDICINE: How to use laser therapy in dogs.

VETERINARY MEDICINE: How to use laser therapy in dogs Benefits are 1) painless 2)non-invasive 3) drug-free management of pain an inflammation. The cold laser therapy also referred to as low-level lasers can be used for topical conditions as well as deeper conditions such as in bones,ligaments and tendons.The laser promote faster healing when used as they energize the cells in the affected areas by giving it more oxygen to accelerate healing. VETERINARY MEDICINE: How to use laser therapy in dogs Veterinarians often resort to use of therapy to ease pain of pets and also because of rapid healing conditions and most especially because its noninvasive. continue

VETERINARY MEDICINE : Laser therapy in veterinary practice.

VETERINARY MEDICINE : Laser therapy in veterinary practice. . The term "laser" describes the process, where light amplification of stimulated emission of radiation is used to treat . The laser therapy lessens pain, relaxes muscles, and improves circulation. It accomplishes this by altering the physiology of cells and tissue by means of light (photons) . VETERINARY MEDICINE : Laser therapy in veterinary practice. The effectiveness of treatment and the nature of responses depend heavily on if and how light enters living tissue.For tissue to absorb light and alter its physiology, a photochemical or photobiologic event must occur. Ideally, this event would take place within the tissue, whether it is skin, muscle, fascia, nerves, vessels, bones, and/or joints. continue

Turning the promise of stem cell therapy into a reality.

Stem cell therapy. Sounds complicated. Is it possible in everyday veterinary practice? Yes! Sherman Canapp, DVM, MS, DACVS, DACVSMR, CCRT, lays it out simply on how it can help alleviate pain in patients with osteoarthritis and even heal patients with tendon or ligament injury. It’s not complicated. You can do this! courtesy dvm360.

Rainwater Harvesting Could Revolutionize Poultry Industry.

A new system for harvesting and storing rainwater from poultry barns provides birds with high quality water while reducing the grower’s dependency on local wells and municipal water systems. A typical broiler farm with four poultry houses uses an estimated 1.8 to 2 million gallons of water per year with costs up to $22,000 annually from a municipal water system. According to Gene Simpson, Alabama Cooperative Extension System and associate director of Auburn University’s National Poultry Technology Center, rainwater harvesting has the potential to reduce those water bills by as much as $16,000 and pay for itself in 7-8 years. The harvesting system utilizes a gutter system to funnel rainwater from poultry-house roofs into a 100-foot by 36-foot flexible bladder. A 2-inch rainfall on the 82,000 square feet of roof space on four poultry barns would fill the bladder to its 100,000-gallon capacity. The water is then filtered multiple times, including an ultraviolet light filter that kills any bacteria, producing water with excellent quality free from contaminants. A control room pumps the collected water to the houses as needed and automatically switches over to municipal water in the event of an emergency. Simpson believes harvesting rainwater could help producers reduce their municipal water bills by as much as 90%, making it a strong option for growers who have high water rates, low availability of well water or water with significant quality issues.continue

Food importation is posing danger to Africa

Despite agriculture employing more than 80 per cent of the African population, the continent generates only 10 per cent of global agricultural output. Another shocking reality is that Africa still spends $35 billion a year on importing food, despite having a quarter of the world’s arable land, according to latest findings from the UN’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Kanayo F. Nwanze, president of IFAD, said the money Africa spends on food imports would have been used to create more and improved jobs in agriculture. Nwanze, who is expected to be part of the ongoing sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), in Nairobi, Kenya, is expected to tell African leaders that the potential for prosperity on the continent is enormous, but investments need to be redirected to developing the agricultural sector. Nwanze noted that African leaders are failing their people by their weak investments in agricultural inputs and infrastructure, and their lack of policy support for the sector,and if a portion of the money used for food imports was spent on creating jobs in rural areas, not only would the world’s largest youth population see a viable future on the continent, but Africa would be able to feed itself. The purpose of TICAD is to promote high-level policy dialogue between African leaders and partners, with a focus on African-led development. Although Africa is the world’s second fastest growing economic region, more than 300 million Africans live below the poverty line. Most live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Unemployment rates are close to 40 per cent. “Economic growth alone is not enough. If we want a continent with food security and social stability, we have to ensure that development focuses on people. They do not want handouts. They want economic opportunities,” said Nwanze.more

Researchers evaluate significance of IBV shedding.

Shedding of infectious bronchitis virus into the environment by infected birds isn’t a significant problem if birds are well vaccinated, but it can be a problem for naïve birds, according to researchers at the University of Georgia. The poultry industry routinely vaccinates broilers with multiple serotypes to try and generate cross-protection against different IBV serotypes. Previous work at the university has shown this approach can protect chickens from clinical signs and lesions associated with IBV infection, but that chickens still shed virus into the environment. For this study, researchers wanted to determine whether shedding after challenge with a heterologous (dissimilar) IBV is a problem for birds without proper immunity. They took 40 day-old broilers at industry stocking density in a colony room and vaccinated half of them by eyedrop with IBV Ma5, a Massachusetts IBV serotype, and a Delaware 072 IBV. The rest were left unvaccinated and served as contacts in the room for vaccine transmission. Another group of 20 day-old broilers was housed in isolators and served as unvaccinated controls. At 35 days of age, investigators challenged the directly vaccinated broilers with pathogenic Arkansas serotype IBV. The unvaccinated controls that had been separately housed were then added to the floor. Every 5 days after challenge, researchers evaluated all broilers for viral load and respiratory signs; they also checked five birds from each group for lesions. The directly vaccinated birds were protected from challenge at all time points. Unvaccinated and unchallenged contact birds were also protected from signs and lesions at all time points except at 10 days after challenge. The unvaccinated, unchallenged controls were protected at 5 and 20 days after challenge but not at 10 and 15 days after challenge. Viral loads were detected in all birds at different time points after challenge. Based on this data, the researchers concluded that virus shed into the environment by infected birds isn’t significant if the population is well vaccinated, but it can cause signs and lesions in naïve birds. Contributed by poultry health today

Eheld Urges Students to Choose Science and Agriculture.

A USAID sponsored project referred to as "EHELD" has urged Liberian students wishing to enroll at universities to choose Science and Agriculture as their life-building careers. EHELD gave the encouragement recently at the end of a career selection seminar for 40 Liberian students on the Fendell campus of the University of Liberia.A representative of EHELD at the closing ceremony, Oscar Goodyee, said in an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer that the program is meant to tutor and persuade high school students wishing to enter university to choose Agriculture and Engineering in their university studies. The program, Mr. Goodyee said, is implemented in collaboration with the University of Liberia and Cuttington University from where faculty staff also came to complement the facilitators' efforts.

Long-term planning key to effective coccidiosis management.

The best way to ensure effective sustainable control of coccidiosis is long term planning,irrespective of the method of production.Today’s broiler farms in antibiotic-free (ABF) production rely heavily on vaccines and synthetic anticoccidials for coccidiosis prevention. Mathis PhD, of Southern Poultry Research, Athens, Georgia, told Poultry Health Today the limited supply of approved in-feed coccidiostats has led to higher vaccine use and has increased likelihood for product shortages in some situations. The vaccines also require careful administration for maximum uptake and efficacy. The keys to controlling coccidiosis in ABF production are planning and management.The shift to ABF has growers switching to vaccines, extending brooder times and incorporating alternative products,. Although some alternative or natural products have shown great potential for managing coccidiosis, he advises producers not to add these new alternative products blindly without understanding the consequences. The reason is that many of these drugs haven’t been thoroughly tested outside laboratory or research settings. Mathis said, pre- and probiotics, saponins and essential oils have shown potential for stimulating the bird’s immune system, controlling Salmonella, improving gut health and nutrient absorption. one of the biggest changes in the alternative products available today is the improved purity and consistent supply

Who really feeds the world?

Vandana Shiva—Indian physicist, researcher, author, anti-globalist and world-renowned advocate for economic, food and gender justice—has written more than 20 books. Her latest, Who Really Feeds the World? The Failures of Agribusiness and the Promise of Agroecology, offers a scathing critique not only of industrial farming, but of the half-truths and outright lies employed to promote it around the world. It also presents us with an alternative. Shiva makes the case that not only is the dominant industrial paradigm not needed to feed the world, it’s doing a tremendous job of destroying it. The planet’s soil, water, biodiversity and human health are being compromised and exploited for profit by a relatively small pack of corporations operating on a worldwide scale: Over the last 20 years, the globalization of food and agricultural systems has been presented as a natural and inevitable phenomenon. However, there is nothing natural about globalization, and in particular, the globalization of food.

Farmer who fought off bear in bloody 3-hour battle shows horrific scars across face.

When a bear approached Jube Valanti Adveppache, he had no idea it would be a lengthy fight for survival against one of nature's killers.A brave farmer fought off a giant bear in a horrific three-hour battle that left him covered in blood with huge scars across his face. Jube Valanti Adveppache had been picking mushrooms in one of his fields in southern India when the bear attacked without warning. The 58-year-old later told wildlife officials and police how the animal, which was believed to be a sloth bear or Melursus ursinus, pounced on him without warning and would not let him go. The bear kept breaking off the attack and then starting again, and the recovering man says it was three hours before it seemed convinced it had killed him. After the attack, he moved off into the forests around Haliyal in Karnataka State. Mr Adveppache told officials he staggered nearly three miles, bleeding heavily, to get back to his village. Hospital officials say he has been transferred from an intensive care unit to another hospital to recover. A medic told local media: "He is out of immediate danger."Horrific photos of Mr Adveppache's injuries reveal horrific scars on the man’s head where the bear mauled him.One eye is closed and swollen, a thick scar from the bear's fearsome claws runs down the side of his nose.His face and his head are covered in other cuts and bruises. Despite their shambolic, sometimes comic appearance, sloth bears are seen as highly dangerous in India.contributed by

Bovine tuberculosis diagnosed in Indiana white-tailed deer.

Bovine tuberculosis (TB) has been diagnosed in a white-tailed deer in Franklin County, Ind. This marks the first time the disease (more formally known as Mycobacterium bovis) has been found in a wild animal in Indiana. This finding means significant changes in disease monitoring requirements for cattle owners and deer hunters in the area. Bovine tuberculosis is a chronic bacterial disease that affects primarily cattle, but can be transmitted to any warm-blooded animal. TB is difficult to diagnose through clinical signs alone. In the early stages of the disease, clinical signs are not visible. Later, signs may include: emaciation, lethargy, weakness, anorexia, low-grade fever and pneumonia with a chronic, moist cough. Lymph node enlargement may also be present. Cattle owners who notice these signs in their livestock should contact their private veterinarian. Indiana has officially held a bovine tuberculosis-free status since 1984 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Under federal guidelines, that status remains. BOAH has found four individual cases of TB in three cattle herds and a cervid farm in this region between 2008 and 2016. The Indiana State Board of Animal Health (BOAH) has been working with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to test wildlife on a Franklin County cattle farm where TB was diagnosed in April. The 2-year-old doe that tested positive for TB was culled as part of the surveillance effort on the cattle farm. Under federal requirements, finding TB in a free-ranging wild animal means testing of all cattle must expand from 3 miles to 10 miles and surveillance in hunter-harvested deer will intensify. Hunters should take precautions to protect themselves, including wearing gloves when field dressing animals and fully cooking all meat. Deer can be infected without noticeable signs of disease, like the positive 2-year-old doe. contributed by

MasterCard saving lives with data.

MasterCard is one of the companies saving lives and making a change in the world by shortening the path between troubled populations and the aid they require.MasterCard is making it easier for charities to get help quickly to the people who really need it, and ensure that donations are actually being used for the stipulated purpose. The MasterCard Aid Network, launched last September, distributes a version of the company’s plastic cards similar to a gift or prepaid card that come loaded with points that can be redeemed at certain merchants for groceries, medicine, shelter and even building materials or business supplies. The chip-enabled system can be deployed in a day or two compared to the weeks required to create and import paper vouchers. The system doesn’t require an Internet connection—a boon in off-the-grid areas where many refugees and disaster victims are concentrated. Still, the transactions enable organizations to collect data on what card recipients redeem, allowing charities to protect against fraudulent use and gather insight into beneficiaries’ needs. Organizations including Save the Children, World Vision and Mercy Corps have distributed cards to more than 75,000 people, from earthquake victims in Nepal to those in war-torn Yemen. MasterCard, which charges the charities fees for the service, says the program is profitable. The United Nations also recently named MasterCard the leader of an initiative to improve the distribution of humanitarian aid in emergencies, with a focus on the data management and privacy aspect. contributed by

Friday, August 26, 2016

Malaria-like parasite from ticks spreading to UK through dogs.

Babesiosis is a malaria-like parasitic disease transmitted by ticks ,it causes the immune system to destroy its own blood cells. This is very rare in humans but is quite common in mammals in some foreign countries. The symptoms include fever, weight loss, fast breathing ,lethargy ,jaundice and red colored urine.. Bites from ticks carrying babesia parasites infect red blood cells, damaging the cells directly, and also cause the dog’s immune system to attack its red blood cells. This leads to an anaemia which can be life-threatening. A tick typically needs to be attached to a dog for 24-48 hours to successfully transmit the disease. The prevention in pet travel restrictions is a major route of entry of the disease to the UK. It used to be compulsory for imported dogs to be treated for ticks before entering the UK and Ireland. This requirement was dropped in 2012 to comply with EU regulations. There are no vaccines for babesia available in the UK. Anti-tick medication can stop the spread of the ticks, also manual removal of ticks from dogs as soon as they are seen .This will prevent transmission of the parasite.

Pet-care stocks rises because of devotion of pet-owners.

Americans' attachment to their pets has fostered a $60 billion industry that is producing best-in-breed stock performance. Shares of a clutch of companies that sell pet food, develop diagnostic tests for animals and offer veterinary care have far outrun the wider market this year, delivering an average total return of nearly 35 percent versus around 8.3 percent for the Standard & Poor's 500 (SPX). Shares of animal health testing company Idexx Laboratories Inc (O:IDXX), for example, have skyrocketed more than 50 percent this year, while vet clinic operator VCA Inc (O:WOOF) is up 31 percent and pet food maker Blue Buffalo Pet Products Inc (O:BUFF) is up 40 percent. "What you see driving that growth is the humanization of pets and consumers' willingness to spend on their pets very heavily," said Joe Edelstein, an analyst at Stephens Inc. "Part of that is because pets are part of the family." Last year, U.S. pet-related spending totaled a record $60.3 billion, a 3.9 percent increase over the previous year, according to the American Pet Products Association. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. consumers' spending on their pets rose 5 percent in inflation-adjusted terms last year while overall consumer spending rose 3.2 percent. It was the fourth straight year that growth in spending on pet services and products exceeded growth of consumer spending overall. Blue Buffalo and Freshpet are representative of the success of pet food, the industry's leading source of revenue, and are making the most of the trend toward natural, locally sourced ingredients. "We see continued growth of 'better-for-them' pet food products in both cat and dog," said Phil Terpolilli, a Wedbush Securities analyst. "Adoptions in U.S. dogs continue to grow meaningfully."

Global Database Hosts Genetic Data Of Flu Viruses.

When a deadly influenza virus appears and threatens to become a pandemic, time is of the essence. The 1918 flu epidemic infected a large portion of the global population and killed millions of people. The next pandemic is inevitable, and surveillance of flu viruses is essential through the timely sharing of flu virus genetic data with the scientific and research communities. A collaborative database has become prominent in recent years. Some countries have been reluctant to share flu viruses in the past, over concerns about transparency and lack of return in terms of access to resulting vaccines and benefit-sharing. However, an initiative created in 2008 appeared to have won international trust, in part because it addresses basic protection of intellectual property rights. It now hosts nearly 600,000 flu virus sequences, from all over the world, freely accessible on the conditions to adhere to its sharing mechanism, according to the initiative database. The Global Initiative on the Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID) was launched during the 61st World Health Assembly in May 2008. GISAID is an open collaboration comprised of experts worldwide. GISAID’s EpiFlu database, hosted by the government of Germany, is, according to the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza (VIDRL) the most comprehensive database of flu viruses genetic sequence data.

Doping in pets and the veterinary response.

The number of incidents of dogs ingesting pot, intentionally or unintentionally, is on the rise. Many veterinary hospitals have seen canine patients with marijuana or THC toxicity in the past year or two and some practices see cases much more frequently in New York. THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the chemical in marijuana that is responsible for psychological or “high” effects. Veterinarians and animal hospital staff are in the business of keeping pets healthy and addressing their medical needs. So, when a dog or cat comes to the hospital after consuming or inhaling pot, the interest is not in who owned the marijuana . Veterinary staff are not police and are not in the business of sleuthing out any details other than any information about the possibility of the pet being exposed to pot and if it was in a baked good that contained chocolate. Veterinary staff don’t need to know any other details from owners about the pot and are grateful when pet owners indicate that this may be a cause of the pets’ behavior. How a pet happens to eat or inhale pot is as varied as the number of dogs that have eaten marijuana or inhaled quantities of smoke. A baggie may be an appealing chew toy, a joint or cigarette can be a curiosity and food containing pot is an immediate attraction to many dogs. Cats do not seem to be as attracted and cases of cats consuming pot in any form are much less frequent, although many of their symptoms are similar to those in dogs. Once a dog has consumed pot, symptoms may start showing within 15 minutes or can take an hour or two. Many dogs will initially begin to have some difficulty with balance when walking, tilt their heads, bark or whine and become anxious or hyperactive. They may have some twitching that can look like small seizures. For a veterinarian who is unaware of the possibility that the pet has eaten pot, these symptoms can mean many things. During a triage physical, a veterinarian will also see dilated pupils, decreased respiration, low heart rate, lethargy, nausea, hypersensitivity to stimuli and vomiting. Dogs rely so heavily on their senses of smell, sight and hearing, the effects they have from ingesting pot are much different from humans. Dogs on marijuana are seldom relaxed and euphoric-looking, as their dependable senses are altered and they have no concept of why or what is happening to them. Where pot has an anti-nausea effect on humans, the opposite is often true for dogs. The following two scenarios may help give pet owners a view of two possible care plans for a dog with marijuana poisoning: A family is settling down to an evening of television when their young, previously healthy dog suddenly becomes very wobbly on his feet, is stumbling and can’t seem to settle down. When the owners try to hold the dog, his head keeps twitching to one side. The dog does not seem to be responding to their voices. On the way to the vet practice, the dog starts to retch and falls over, unable to keep his balance in the car At the animal hospital, after an emergency assessment, the veterinarian considers a possible seizure, neuro-toxins, brain injury and epilepsy along with many other possibilities. Blood is drawn and in-house blood panels are run while an intravenous catheter is placed. The blood panel comes back normal, so fluid therapy is started after an ultrasound is performed. An ECG and blood pressure monitors are attached to follow heart activity due to depressed heart rate. Flow-by oxygen is supplied due to decreased respiration. The dog is restless and acting erratically with its head dipping, and it begins cowering and frantically trying to hide. The veterinarian speaks with the owners again about the possibility that their dog might have consumed something he should not have, and they answer “no.” Inducing vomiting is next until the dog empties his stomach contents, which reveal that there is a substance that might look like marijuana and have a distinctive odor. This is followed with anti-vomiting medication and then getting the dog to ingest a large amount of liquid charcoal that is not pleasant to eat. An enema might be ordered next. The veterinarian returns to the owners, explaining that there is a strong possibility that the dog has consumed marijuana but, if they are certain this is not the case, additional testing can be done, including hospitalization. The owners then state that their dog may have gotten into a visiting friend’s backpack that may have contained pot. In fact they become more and more convinced that this happened for certain. Their veterinary hospital trip took three to four hours and their bill was anywhere from hundreds of dollars to more than $1,000. Now look at the exact same scenario up until arriving at the veterinary hospital. As initial assessment is underway, the owners explain that a friend was visiting their home and they believe that their dog may have eaten some marijuana that was inside the friend’s backpack. The veterinarian induces vomiting in the dog and observes remnants of pot. An anti-vomiting medication is given and the owners are asked to sit with their dog in a quiet room with the lights dimmed for about an hour to help the dog, whose altered state makes it hyper-sensitive to noises and visual stimuli. Before discharging the dog to go home, respiration and heart rate are rechecked and the owners are given some home-care information. The veterinary hospital visit takes about 75 minutes and costs about $100. Recovery prognosis is usually very good, although a dog hurting itself from a fall or biting its tongue are possible complications. And, in the case of pot brownies, chocolate toxicity can be very serious. There are instances of dogs that have pre-existing heart or respiratory conditions suffering more long-term or fatal effects after consuming marijuana.continue

Japan and Africa team up to boost agriculture.

Boosting agricultural productivity and food security in Africa will require colossal collective efforts by African countries and their partners. Japan already plays a significant role in contributing to sustainable agricultural development on the continent. Sub-Saharan Africa represents the greatest food security challenge in the world today with the highest prevalence of undernourishment near 25 percent, or almost one in every four people. By 2050, the population in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to exceed two billion, and even if food production grows as projected by about 170 percent, this would still leave some 120 million people undernourished. Clearly, efforts to improve food security and malnutrition need to be stepped up. Yet, climate change effects, such as higher temperatures and extreme weather events will hamper food production in various regions. Countries acting alone cannot resolve these enormous challenges. Strong collaboration with other nations, international organisations, NGOs, civil society and the private sector will be key to finding sustainable solutions. For FAO, Japan is an essential ally in promoting rural development and food security and nutrition worldwide. Japan is not only one of FAO’s major resource partners in Africa, it also provides the expertise of skilled Japanese specialists for various agricultural projects in the region.More Japan is also supporting FAO in building resilience in African countries, where threatening levels of food insecurity result not only from climatic hazards but also from ongoing internal conflicts. Civil unrest must come to an end to achieve food security and improving food security will in turn help build sustainable peace in Africa. Japan and FAO believe that – with a predominantly young and rural population and over 11 million youth expected to enter labour markets over the next decade – Africa’s agriculture sector should be a catalyst for inclusive growth and improved livelihoods. Therefore, major effort should focus on making agriculture attractive and profitable for young people. Africa’s future depends very much on the development of its rural areas. Strengthening the capacities of poor farmers by providing them access to modern technologies and best agricultural practices will enable them to increase their agricultural output and income and contribute to rural economic growth. In 2013, Japan committed to supporting African countries with $32 billion aimed at increasing agricultural production and productivity, especially for rice, and empowering farmers including through the Coalition for African Rice Development (CARD) initiative. Its aim is to double rice production in sub-Saharan Africa between 2008 and 2018 and disseminate the New Rice for Africa (NERICA) a high-yielding hybrid rice. Another example of such cooperation is a closely related five-year $2.5 million project aimed at strengthening agricultural statistics in the CARD countries.

National Dog Day: Could your rescue dog have rabies?.

While the zika virus poses worrisome human health concerns, another potential health problem is brewing that threatens both humans and domesticated animals --the importing of foreign dogs for adoption. Many people are unaware that the U.S. has become something of a favored nation for countries looking to export their rescue dogs due to several reasons. First, Americans are big-hearted, and when seeking dogs many chose animals made available through rescues. Second, there’s a readymade market here – Americans love canines and own an estimated 80 million dogs.Lastly, import rules on dogs can be easily flouted, allowing foreign exporters to send us their sick animals. The vast majority of imported rescue dogs are not tracked in the United States – either upon arrival or after they enter rescue channels. Patti Strand, founder and national director of the National Animal Interest Alliance, a non-profit that studies shelter trends and the importation of rescue dogs, estimates that close to one million rescue dogs are imported annually from regions not known for stellar canine health and safety standards. They include dogs from Puerto Rico, Turkey, several countries in the Middle East and as far away as China and Korea. That compares to about 8 million dogs annually acquired as pets in the U.S.All of this underscores that without improved oversight of pet rescue organizations, there’s no way of definitively identifying how many foreign rescue dogs are put up for adoption here. These foreign rescues may be well-intentioned, but they are courting disaster. While it is often a challenge to gather information on an abandoned dog here in the U.S., it is even harder for a dog that originated overseas. Information may be missing, poorly translated or unreliable. Challenges are especially serious when it comes to health and safety. Animals from other countries are not subject to the health and welfare laws of the U.S. and may arrive carrying serious and infectious canine diseases. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), although importation laws require all dogs to be examined by a licensed veterinarian, foreign paperwork is hard to verify and is commonly invalid or forged. Continue

One health.

Animal and human sectors work together to protecthealth and ensure foodsafety and security. This is how #veterinarians play an integral part of the OneHealth concept: see

Poultry companies need to balance consumer preferences with flock health, welfare and food safety.

. The same people asking for more animal welfare are also asking us to take antibiotics out of poultry production,” lamented Suzanne Dougherty, DVM, a consulting poultry veterinarian based in Alabama, in a recent interview with Poultry Health Today. She noted that veterinarians take very seriously their oath to do what’s best for the animal, which increasingly presents ethical and welfare dilemmas when dealing with sick birds in an antibiotic-free (ABF) program. “We need to consider what’s going to be best for the bird before we just throw all of the antibiotics out,” Dougherty said. “For veterinarians it’s a very difficult ethical issue — it goes against what’s best for the bird.” In some cases, the best treatment option for the bird is an antibiotic to help prevent suffering and even minimize mortality. “At times it is a critical animal-welfare option to have antibiotics available for treatment of the bird,” she said. Antibiotic-free, raised without antibiotics and no antibiotics ever are just a sampling of the claims being used in poultry production and marketing today — and they all say something a little different. For instance, some systems allow the use of ionophores or animal-only antibiotics while others are not using any antibiotics.“Flocks can be raised successfully in an ABF system, but sometimes flocks get sick — just like you or your kids,” she said, adding that veterinarians “should try to explain to consumers why this is an important topic.” Some growers in ABF systems have the option to treat sick birds and sell them through the conventional market following withdrawal times while others have limited options. But regardless of the production system, all growers feel the pressure, she insisted. They want to do the right thing for their birds while meeting the needs of their customers and consumers. Intestinal health is the key to successful ABF production. If the intestinal tract is happy, the bird is productive. When the balance of the bird’s intestinal health becomes disrupted, more opportunistic bacteria often proliferate — Salmonella being the major concern. “We’re all striving to maintain our progress in food safety,” she said. “Sometimes we need to use antibiotics to treat the disease and help keep the animal healthy enough to prevent Salmonella from becoming a problem.” “

AGRIBUSINESS: Litter management.

Litter management using litter amendments which play a crucial role in controlling ammonia. Amendments that decrease litter pH increase ammonia suppression.This can be done solely or as an adjunct to windrowing. The first step in reconditioning litter is de-caking or removing wet material primarily below drinkers. Amendments are then applied on top of the litter these create unfavorable conditions for the bacteria and enzymes that contribute to ammonia formation and production to thrive. Litter amendments form a pH barrier on top of the litter preventing or slowing the formation of ammonia (NH3+). Acidifiers are most commonly used, binding the volatile ammonia (NH3+) with an acid to form the nonvolatile ammonium salt (NH4+).

Windrowing litter can reduce pressure from poultry viruses, insects and bacteria.

Poultry producers looking to improve litter quality and flock health should consider windrowing — a practice that not only works to control ammonia in the reconditioned litter but also reduces pathogen and insect pressure. Windrowing involves raking or rolling the litter into even rows. The moisture present in the rows increases litter temperature, which releases ammonia while reducing pathogens including bacteria, viruses and pests. Producers interested in windrowing should begin incorporating it into their litter-management program during moderate or warm weather, according to Casey Ritz, PhD, poultry-waste management, University of Georgia. Ammonia levels will likely increase following the windrowing process, requiring the use of a litter treatment. The intense heat generated by windrowing inhibits microbial and viral growth while allowing the floor to dry between rows of piled litter. The windrow also traps insects, which can make insecticide treatments more effective. It is critical for windrowed litter to reach a temperature of at least 130° F (54° C) for 3 to 4 days to effectively reduce pathogen levels, the specialist said. Ritz also stressed that the windrow process requires 12 to 14 days of downtime between flocks. He also emphasized the need for time to heat the windrows, treat litter for ammonia and pests, and then level the material allowing it to cool and dry before the next chick placement. He shared these 10 additional tips for effective windrowing: 1)Schedule a minimum of 12 to 14 days of downtime between flocks. 2)Start with a litter depth of 3 to 6 inches.3)Form windrows within 2 days after bird catch. 4)Maintain a temperature in windrow of 130° F or higher for 3 to 4 days to ensure that pathogens are killed. 5) Turn windrows every 3 to 4 days (2 to 3 turns is optimal). 6) Shift entire windrow when turning to allow the floors to dry.7) Level material at least 4 days before chick placement to decrease litter temperature, litter moisture and ammonia levels. 8) Apply litter amendment to control release of ammonia.9) Utilize moderate weather conditions primarily in spring, summer, fall. 10)ventilate during windrow process to decrease ammonia levels. “Windrowing is not for everyone,” Ritz insisted, “but it can provide economic benefits to many average and below-average producing flocks through improved feed conversion and weight gain and reduced mortality.” Poultry producers need to evaluate the time, equipment and labor costs associated with windrowing before committing to the system. contributed by poultry health.

E. coli in broilers: Its costly impact on condemnations and mortality.

Early feeding, housing affect broiler response to immune challenges.

A study in Netherlands from Wageningen University, shows that early feeding after hatch and housing type can affect the response of broilers to immune challenges later in life.In the study, broiler chicks received feed and water either immediately after hatch or after a 72-hour delay, and were reared either on the floor or in a cage system. At 4 weeks of age, researchers challenged the chicks intratracheally with Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide/Human Serum Albumin (HUSA) — a non-infectious lung challenge — or a placebo. They then measured antibody titers up to 14 days after the challenge. Chicks with delayed access to feed and water and that were housed on the floor had the highest antibody titers against HUSA, and showed the strongest sickness response and poorest performance in response to the challenge. The findings indicate that chicks with delayed access to feed might be more sensitive to an environment with higher antigenic pressure, thus early feeding and housing should be taken into account when striving for a balance between disease resistance and performance in poultry.

Improving Rapid Detection Methods for Foodborne Pathogens.

Researchers at Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a microfluidic device that exploits cell movement to separate live and dead bacteria during food processing. The food processing industry is interested in technologies or methods that can quickly and accurately detect viable (live) bacteria, as these are the pathogens that can cause illness.Common foodborne pathogen screening methods like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) use DNA-based methods to perform the detection. However, because both viable (live) and non-viable (dead) bacteria contain the same DNA and other properties, it is difficult to distinguish between them without performing additional time-consuming incubation and culturing steps. Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) have developed a microfluidic device that exploits cell movement to separate live cells from dead ones for real-time pathogen detection.The phenomenon known as chemotaxis is the movement of an organism in response to a chemical stimulus. For example, live bacteria naturally sense nutrient molecules such as sugars and amino acids and move toward them. Dr Jie Xu, GTRI research scientist and project director, explained: “The hypothesis is that by changing the local environment of the cells, their movement can be manipulated so all the viable cells can be separated and concentrated. This would improve the probability of detection and also provide a high level of confidence that viable cells are being detected.” GTRI’s chemotaxis-based microfluidic device consists of a 100-micrometre thick nitrocellulose membrane layer engraved with a micron-sized centre channel to contain the bacteria-laden sample. Two additional side channels are engraved into the same membrane layer that contains nanometer-sized pores that allow the formation of a chemical gradient across the center channel. The bacteria interact with these chemicals in the centre channel and then move based on the nature of these interactions, either toward it if it is a food source or away if it is a repellant. The separated bacteria are then collected in the channel’s respective outlets In recent experiments, E. coli 0157:H7 was used as the model bacterium, and aspartic acid (an attractant) and nickel ion (a repellent) were used as the chemotactic effectors. Researchers found the chemical gradients inside the channel can be maintained for an extended period. They also observed the cell population shift toward the side channel with attractant when live cells flowed inside the center channel, while the dead cells remained in the primary flow stream and exited the center channel.continue

Salmonella prevention requires teamwork between production and processing.

Identifying the pathways of Salmonella contamination has poultry producers and processors looking for answers in every step of the process from the farm to table.Chuck Hofacre, PhD, University of Georgia, told poultry health today that we know Salmonella occurs naturally in the bird’s intestinal tract and lives there without harming the bird. In processing plant, USDA/FSIS routinely samples processed poultry for the presence of Salmonella. While numerous strains of Salmonella have been identified, not all pose a human-health hazard. “Either Salmonella is present or it’s not,” Hofacre said. “FSIS testing doesn’t identify the strain or the relative amount of Salmonella present in a sample.” Contamination often occurs through a broken intestinal tract or feather follicles in the wings. Poultry processors are working on environmental interventions in the plant to reduce bacterial contamination on whole birds and processed poultry parts. Producers with high levels of Salmonella at the processing plant should work to reduce levels on their farms. “We know that Salmonella is passed from the hen to the chick so a strong vaccination program at the breeder level is an important first step,” Hofacre said. In addition to vaccination, environmental interventions including rodent and insect control, water sanitation and dust control help to reduce Salmonella levels. Research shows that the bacteria can survive in dust and litter for several years potentially infecting new flocks of broilers. While Salmonella itself is not necessarily a bigger threat in antibiotic-free production, uneven bird size at processing — a problem often seen in ABF flocks — may contribute to higher contamination levels of processed poultry. According to Hofacre, studies show that increased variation in bird size at processing results in higher levels of Salmonella contamination. Processing machines are standardized for a particular size and weight of bird, he explains that when birds outside those parameters are processed, it is more likely to see intestinal or crop breakage allowing for Salmonella contamination of the carcass. contributed by

National dog day!!!

Antibiotics the cornerstone of modern and veterinary medicine .

A familiar public education campaign uses the catch phrase “Not all bugs need drugs.” It has been around for the last few years in an effort to get the public to think about the need for prescription drugs to treat minor ailments. This program has been largely brought out by our health care profession and the government agencies that administrate health care. Why is this important and how does this relate to us and our pets and our farm animals? To start, let’s look at the history of antibiotic use in medicine. Penicillin and sulfonamide antibiotics were discovered in the period between the First and Second World Wars. The first use of these drugs was at the time of the Second World War. They were miracles! Lives previously lost to infections were saved by the hundreds and thousands. A great rush to find more of these bacteria fighters was soon undertaken and new families of antibiotics came forth. Soon these wonderful medical tools were brought into the veterinary world to save our pets and our livestock animals as well. However, bacteria adapt. By chance mutation, under pressure from the antibiotics that wipe out the weaker sensitive bacteria, stronger resistant bacteria developed. In the space of one human lifetime, the infections that penicillin and sulfonamides used to easily treat have developed resistance to nearly every known antibiotic. They are now called “superbugs.” They are kind of scary. Antibiotic use has been a cornerstone of modern medicine and, secondarily, veterinary medicine. In fact, some of the largest volumes of antibiotics are used in animals to maintain health and even prevent health problems in our food production systems. First, the health of human patients is at risk and superbugs are very difficult to treat with the antibiotic tools we have. We do not want to lose the last tools that work to save lives. At the most recent Canadian Veterinary Convention, there was a full day summit about antimicrobials in animal health. One speaker compared antimicrobial resistance on the scale with the current war on ISIS. Potentially many more lives could be lost than by a war displacing millions of people from their homes as they flee to safety! continue -

Supervet Noel Fitzpatrick tearfully describes his veterinary passion on cancer centre's year anniversary

Noel Fitzpatrick, known as Channel 4's Supervet, has been speaking passionately about his work, saying my "job is to look after that hope until death do us part". Prof.Fitzpatrick was speaking to mark the one year anniversary of the opening of Fitzpatrick Referrals Oncology and Soft Tissue Centre, which has cared for more than 1,000 patients. Mr Fitzpatrick said his original aim was, and remains, for it to become the most advanced veterinary cancer centre in Europe. “When I meet patients they do for me far more than I will ever do for them,” said Mr Fitzpatrick, who runs Fitzpatrick Referrals in Eashing. “They allow me to have a reason to exist and I feel I can make a real difference in that moment in time. “That keeps me going because some days are better than others. It isn’t all joy and rapture. It is also not all despair and the reality is it is a mixture of the two. Noel said another aim of the center is, by 2017, to be the home to a linear accelerator - a machine which customizes high beams of photos to conform to a tumour’s shape and destroy cancer cells, whilst protecting surrounding healthy tissue. continue

The new 100% complete & balanced vegetarian range for pets.

If you are vegetarian, chances are, you are feeding your pet home-cooked vegetarian food. But the fact is, dogs are different from humans and have different nutritional requirements. Introducing Pedigree 100% Vegetarian. A complete and balanced pure vegetarian meal for your pet. Pedigree Vegetarian offers the goodness of high quality protein and is fortified with minerals and vitamins. Try Pedigree Vegetarian and see the 5 Signs of Good Health in just 6 weeks! - Try our new 100% complete & balanced vegetarian range | Pedigree

Agriculture industry looks to refugee population for labour shortage solution.

A pilot project aimed at matching immigrant and refugee job-seekers with agricultural employers has found some success in Alberta, though the program's partners acknowledge that longer-term solutions for the province's labour-starved farms and processing plants are needed. Since January, 29 newcomers to Canada have found employment in southern Alberta's agriculture industry as a result of a partnership between the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council and the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society. The program — which has worked with 155 newly arrived job-seekers in total, including 18 Syrian refugees — seeks to raise awareness among newcomers about opportunities available in an industry that consistently struggles to attract and retain workers. There are many reasons why agricultural employers report difficulties attracting labour, including the hollowing out of the rural population base as well as the seasonal nature of farm work. New restrictions on the federal government's temporary foreign worker program have also exacerbated the problem. While some agricultural employers — including JBS and Cargill, owners of the Brooks and High River plants respectively — have been successfully tapping into immigrant and refugee populations for years as a source of labour, it's a new concept for others who may not know how to go about accessing this potential work force. In addition, employment agencies and immigrant settlement organizations — who are usually based in larger cities — haven't always been aware of the opportunities that exist in agriculture and as a result, may be less likely to present farm jobs as an option to their clients. continue