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Smaller U. S. Cattle Supply Bullish

Agovernment report Dec. 18 showed a smaller-than-expected cattle supply. But analysts cautioned that the economic recession, which has been a drag on beef sales, may prevent long-term gains in prices.

The USDA reported one per cent fewer cattle in feedlots as of Dec. 1 and eight per cent fewer young cattle added to feedlots in November versus a year ago. These placements were the second lowest for a November since 1996 when USDA began keeping records.

“It is pretty friendly,” said Dennis Smith, a broker with Archer Financial.

The smaller cattle supply was blamed on high prices for feed corn and slow beef sales.

Dutch Cull 35,000 Goats To Fight Q Fever

Dutch authorities plan to cull all of about 34,000 pregnant goats on farms hit by the highly infectious disease Q fever and 1,200 male goats to stop it spreading to humans, Dutch ministries said on Dec. 16.

Q fever is caused by a bacterium that is mostly transmitted to humans from goats and sheep, especially during delivery of young, and the number of human cases of the disease has risen to about 2,200 currently from about 170 in 2007.

For humans, the illness causes flu-like symptoms treatable with antibiotics, but in rare cases it can be fatal. Six people who had other diseases or were weakened have died this year while having Q fever.

Authorities had initially aimed to distinguish between contaminated farms where vaccinations had or had not taken place.

They had originally planned to cull pregnant goats along with contaminated animals on farms that had not carried out vaccinations against the disease, but kill only contaminated animals on farms where animals were vaccinated.

However, on the basis of recent health advice, they had decided to modify the measure and cull all pregnant animals on all contaminated farms, the Dutch ministries for Agriculture and Health said in a statement.

About 1,200 male goats on the farms will also be culled, and breeding will be banned on all farms with sheep and goats until July 1, 2010.

Animals will be killed by lethal injection, the ministries said, starting from Dec. 21.

About 55 farms in the Netherlands are contaminated, which have a total of about 64,000 goats, of which 34,000 are pregnant animals.

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