Thursday, May 24, 2018

PED virus hits Manitoba farm

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus has broken out on a farm in southeastern Manitoba. 

It’s the third year in a row that there has been a PED virus outbreak in that area in May or June.

Hog farmers have been put on high alert, especially in an area bounded by highways 75, 12 and 52 to the Red River and Provincial Road 210.

Pork Congress will take sharps

The Ontario Pork Congress will be taking in sharps on June 20.
Sharps can be dropped off during the Congress between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

It’s a joint effort of the Ontario Pork marketing board and industry partners.

The dropoff will be at a collection booth to the right of the main entrance to the community hall.

Sharps must be in a puncture-proof, leak-resistant plastic container with a tight-fitting lid – no larger than a two-gallon (14.5 litre) pail.

Secure the lid with duct tape to reduce the risk of spillage during transport and disposal.

The offer is for needles and scalpel blades only. They are not taking expired medications or used vaccine vials.

Collected sharps will be picked up immediately after the drop-off period which means that 3 p.m. is a firm deadline for drop-offs.

For more information,  contact Kathy Zurbrigg at 1-877-668-7675, ext. 1208 or

Saputo buys niche-market cheese company

Saputo, Canada’s largest dairy processing company, is buying one of Canada’s smallest cheese makers – Shepherd Gourmet Dairy Inc. of St. Marys.

Shepherd Gourmet is famous for feta cheese and Skyr Icelandic-style yogourt.

Saputo is paying $100 million for the company that was founded by Stewart Cardiff and now employs about 90 people.

Shepherd Gourmet had sales last year of about $57 million.

Cardiff left agriculture banking to launch the company in Tavistock, recognizing the demand for imported feta and some other cheeses and yogourt that he felt he could produce.

He started with milk from sheep at his family’s farm near Brussels, but then branched out to several types of milk.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Flies can spread PED

New research indicates flies can spread Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus.

It might also explain why there are more outbreaks during cold weather when hog operations are less likely to practice fly control.

But the virus is also known to survive longer in cool conditions.

Even a few flies have the ability to infect pigs with PED virus, says veterinarian Grant Allison at the Walcott, Iowa, Veterinary Clinic.

Flies captured on swine operations amid outbreaks of PED virus and Senecavirus A, tested positive as carriers of the viruses in Iowa and Minnesota studies. 

In the case of Senecavirus A as well as PED virus, flies transmitted live virus—the first known such findings in a commercial setting.

Flies multiply in wet manure “so there’s an intimate relationship between manure and virus and flies,” Allison said.

Meat inspection varies

The safety of the meat you buy may depend on when government inspectors passed judgement on your purchase.

A study by the Harvard School of Business has found that inspectors catch fewer violations later in their shifts. They also worked faster when they were working later than usual.

If they have been catching a lot of violations, they are more likely to spot problems when they go to the next packing plant.

The research results are published in a paper, “How Scheduling Can Bias Quality Assessment: Evidence from Food Safety Inspections,” that has been published on the website of the Social Science Research Network.

The results are intended to apply to inspectors of all types of business sectors, but the study sample included information on 12,017 inspections by 86 inspectors over several years at 3,399 restaurants, grocers and schools in Alaska, Illinois and New Jersey, according to a report in Food Safety News.

In the area of food safety, the researchers propose that arranging an inspector’s schedule to account for such biases, if the rescheduling was 100 percent successful, would produce an average of 9.9 percent more violations noted which could result in 19 million fewer cases of foodborne illness each year, and savings of an aggregated $14.2 billion to $30.9 billion.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

China, U.S. reach trade truce

China and the United States have reached a trade truce agreement that President Donald Trump says it good news for farmers.

He said they can produce as much as they want now that China has lifted its trade restrictions on pork and soybeans.

That is not only good news for U.S. farmers, but also Canadians because prices for both countries move together.

However, it also means that Chinese buyers will no longer be quite so keen about buying Canadian pork and soybeans to fill the gap when they weren’t buying from the U.S.

Deere poised to raise prices

Deere and Co. told stock market followers that it plans to increase prices this year to offset rising costs.

It said U.S. President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and aluminum have raised those costs and transportation is more expensive.

The company said it will be cutting costs and increasing prices to improve its profits, and the stock-market watchers responded by bidding higher prices to buy Deere shares.