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Green and mean

Moving intramuscular injections from the top sirloin butt to the neck region saved the beef industry more than $75 million between 1995 and 2000, but there's still work to do, say Colorado State University researchers. The incidence of lesions in top sirloin butts of fed cattle declined from 11.4% in November 1995 to 2.1% in July 2000. That resulted in a net savings of $2.15/fed steer or heifer. But,

Moving intramuscular injections from the top sirloin butt to the neck region saved the beef industry more than $75 million between 1995 and 2000, but there's still work to do, say Colorado State University researchers.

The incidence of lesions in top sirloin butts of fed cattle declined from 11.4% in November 1995 to 2.1% in July 2000. That resulted in a net savings of $2.15/fed steer or heifer.

But, researchers say, some injections are being given right in front of the shoulder blade. That's too far back and too high, causing lesions in chuck cuts. These sites turn green in modified atmosphere packages for case-ready products.

The presence of injection site lesions in market cattle costs the beef and dairy industries more than $9 million annually.

For more information, contact Deb Roeber, Colorado State University, at 970/491-3312 or e-mail

Developed to decontaminate military equipment exposed to biological warfare agents, a new foam product also may be helpful in feedlots and meat processing plants.

The non-toxic, non-corrosive foam already has been proven to kill anthrax spores, and it also may kill foodborne pathogens on meat processing equipment, say Kansas State University researchers. In addition, it may sanitize feedlot pens and meat cutters' protective equipment.

Developed by Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, NM, the foam is more stable and more effective than other products currently used in the food industry, researchers say. With ingredients similar to common household products, the foam has been found effective in reducing unattached cells of foodborne pathogens, according to one study.

Now, researchers are trying to determine the foam's effectiveness against biofilms that attach to hard surfaces like stainless steel equipment. These microorganisms are up to 500 times more resistant to commonly-used sanitizers. Other forms of the foam solution, including a mist, are being investigated, too.

For more information, contact Randy Phebus, Kansas State University, at 785/532-1215 or e-mail

Researchers at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) are in the process of completing a genomic map of Listeria, a bacterium known to cause serious food-borne illness.

Recently, scientists finished examining individual fragments of the Listeria genome, and those are now being assembled into a genomic map.

Sequencing the Listeria genome will help researchers better understand how the bacterium persists in animals, foods and food processing plants. It also will help them better understand how Listeria affects people.

Researchers selected a serotype 4b strain of Listeria monocytogenes for the project because strains of that serotype cause most food-borne listeriosis outbreaks and 50% of sporadic cases.

For more information, contact John Luchansky, ARS Microbial Food Safety Research Unit, at 215/233-6620 or e-mail

Consumption of low-quality feeds is a learned response, say researchers at Utah State University (USU). Exposing suckling calves to low-quality forages may improve their performance as mature cows wintered on those forages.

In the USU study, one group of heifer calves had access to the ammoniated wheat straw fed to their dams for 60-90 days after birth while another group did not.

Over the first two wintering periods after producing their own calves, the exposed cows showed higher body weight, higher body condition scores, increased milk output and shorter postpartum anestrus periods than the other cows.

For more information, contact Randall Weidmeier, Utah State University, at 435/797-2151 or e-mail

A rapid test to detect unapproved animal remnants in feed may be available soon.

Scientists at Strategic Diagnostics Inc. and Molecular Circuitry Inc. are working together to develop a commercial test kit that's fast and easy to use. The finished test should begin shipping in the first half of 2002, according to Strategic Diagnostics.

Many scientists believe that some animal remnants in feed may be linked to the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy.

McDonald's Corp. is sponsoring the test's development because it wants to develop a way to source the highest quality meat products, a company spokesperson says.

Adding processed fat to finishing diets is a practical way to boost the conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) content of beef and produce lean, highly palatable beef, according to researchers at Washington State University (WSU).

In a recent WSU study, 168 crossbred steers were fed barley and potato by-product-based finishing diets for 165 days. In addition to one treatment of 7% alfalfa hay and 6% tallow, the diet was supplemented with either 3.5% or 7% alfalfa hay and 0%, 3% or 6% yellow grease.

Yellow grease, a restaurant by-product which is high in linoleic acid, is converted to CLA in the rumen.

Researchers evaluated the steer carcasses for quality and evaluated meat samples for chemical composition, shelf-life, palatability and other characteristics that affect consumer desirability.

Besides increasing CLA content of beef by 50%, yellow grease increased steer gain and carcass fatness, improved feed efficiency and increased beef tenderness without increasing the total amount of fatty acids in the muscle, researchers say.

For more information, contact M.L. Nelson at 509/335-5623 or e-mail

Three new soybeans can serve as a good transition forage for cattle heading to the feedlot, say researchers at the USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

Forage soybeans can be used for hay, silage or grazing, and they reduce the need for concentrates as a protein source.

Bred especially for use as forage, the new soybean cultivars are: Donegal, adapted to the Northeast; Derry, adapted to the northern Midwest; and Tyrone, adapted to the South.

In good conditions, these cultivars can grow more than 6-ft. high — twice the height of traditional soybean cultivars.

They can be grown alone or in combination with grass species such as brown midrib sorghum-sudangrass hybrids, corn or pearl millet. Use of the forage soybeans in mixed stands with tall-growing grass species improves the protein content of the forage mixture, researchers say.

For more information, including seed availability, contact Thomas E. Devine, ARS research geneticist, at 301/504-6375 or e-mail

Several new forage legumes may soon be promising alternatives to alfalfa, according to researchers at the Lethbridge Research Centre in Alberta, Canada.

Cicer milkvetch, fenugreek and sainfoin are among those forage legumes researchers are studying to improve establishment, yield and persistence in mixed stands and under grazing. In addition to these genetic improvements, the research programs also involve developing agronomic packages and effective inoculants for maximizing crop productivity and longevity.

A long-lived crop with no serious disease or insect pests, cicer milkvetch is the most promising of these new forage legumes, researchers say. After flowering and seed set, the top leaves and stems continue to grow and produce lush, green, high-quality forage. Although it doesn't lend itself to hay making, cattle readily graze the crop.

Seed for AC Oxley II, a new cicer milkvetch variety specially selected for seedling vigor and forage yield, should be available for commercial planting this spring (2002).

Another prospect is fenugreek, which can be used as a high-quality forage at any stage of maturity. It contains diosgenin and other steroidal compounds that may increase livestock growth rates, researchers say. They plan to release the first forage fenugreek cultivar in 2003.

Sainfoin is another promising forage legume. When mixed with alfalfa, it can prevent bloat in grazing cattle. But under intensive grazing, current cultivars only survive one to two years. Projects to improve the persistence of mixed sainfoin/alfalfa stands are underway.

For more information, contact Surya Acharya, Lethbridge Research Centre, at 403/317-2277.

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