Iowa State University

February 1997


New program shows Johne's disease can be controlled
Research at ISU's College of Veterinary Medicine has shown that Johne's disease, a costly and widespread problem in cattle, can be controlled. Veterinary medicine researcher Charles Thoen says a new control program using vaccination and specific management practices eliminated the disease in Iowa dairy herds that were part of a six-year research project. Thoen adds that the program is a practical approach to disease control. The program includes vaccinations for young calves, changes in management techniques to prevent exposure to the Johne's organism and laboratory tests. The findings are preliminary and more research is needed to confirm the results.

Johne's disease is the top dairy and beef research priority of the Iowa Livestock Health Advisory Council. The disease shrinks producers' profits through lower milk production and reduced salvage value. Thoen says a recent USDA study found that 40 percent of the dairy cattle herds and 3.7 percent of the dairy cattle surveyed in Iowa were infected with Johne's disease. Contact Thoen at (515) 294-7608 or Steve Jones, News Service, (515) 294-4778.

Better barriers to bug romance
Pheromones have been used around the country to disrupt the meeting and mating of several moth pests. ISU entomologist Tom Baker has been the first to conduct mating-disruption experiments on the European corn borer, which reduces Iowa corn yields each year by an average of 15 bushels per acre. Results are promising but, with standard plastic pheromone dispensers, there are issues of uniform coverage, timing, cost and the potential for litter in fields that could be improved. Baker has developed technology that may help overcome these problems. He is testing a device that slowly releases pheromone at preset intervals and can shut down automatically during the day, when most moths are not active. As a future commercial product, Baker says it may be possible to use a few per acre instead of hundreds of plastic tubes. Contact Baker at (515) 294-7400 or Brian Meyer, Ag Information, (515) 294- 0706.

Warming up to task of piglets' needs
New energy-efficient heat lamps enhance the comfort and well-being of baby pigs while saving producers 30 percent in energy costs, ISU researchers have found. However, they also found that running heat lamps all of the time wastes energy and doesn't provide the ideal environment for the piglets. Agricultural engineer Hongwei Xin is conducting trials to quantify when, where and how baby pigs require the warmth of heat lamps. That information can be used to adjust the use of heat lamps according to the facility's environment and the thermal needs of piglets. Xin will review his research at the second annual Iowa Energy Center Conference at ISU on Feb. 19. Contact Xin at (515) 294-9778 or Brian Meyer, Ag Information, (515) 294-0706.

Observing FFA Week at ISU
National FFA Week is Feb. 15-22. Here are several contacts for stories related to the observance, or contact Susan Anderson, Ag Information, (515) 294-0705.

Several speakers in sustainable agriculture seminar series
Several speakers are scheduled in the 1997 sustainable agriculture seminar series this spring. The series is a discussion of the interrelationhips between agricultural practices and water quality in Iowa in the 21st century, says ISU animal scientist Jim Russell, series coordinator.

The seminars air at 12 sites around Iowa via the Iowa Communications Network. All seminars are held at the Brenton Center in Curtiss Hall. For information, call 1-800-747-4478, or Anne Larson, Leopold Center, (515) 294-3711.


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Diana Pounds, University Relations,
Copyright © 1997, Iowa State University, all rights reserved
Revised 2/11/97