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A brief look at global ag

A brief look at global ag

The Dutch government approved a vaccine for livestock farmers to use against bluetongue

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

This quick look at agriculture around the world begins in Holland, where the federal government recently approved a livestock vaccine.

Dutch Agriculture Minister Piet Adema gave the green light to a Spanish-made vaccine to protect about one million sheep from bluetongue.

“The past period has been terrible for both the animals infected with the bluetongue virus and the keepers of these animals,” Minister Adema wrote to the House of Representatives, Ruetir reported. “The ministry expects that one million doses will become available within a week. The intention is that sufficient livestock will have been vaccinated next summer to prevent major outbreaks of infection.”

The virus, which is transmitted through midges, can be fatal to livestock. Its symptoms include swollen lips and tongues, lameness, and fever.

This disease killed about 61,000 sheep, or around 8.4 percent of the Dutch sheep population in 2023.

Last year’s outbreak also caused China to ban ruminant animal imports from Holland and other countries dealing with bluetongue.

Bluetongue vaccines aren’t approved in Canada or the U.S.

Farmers in those countries are encouraged to use insecticides to reduce biting midge populations.

Elsewhere, a Qatari company is preparing to launch the world’s largest dairy operation.

Baladna, Qatar’s largest milk and dairy company, signed a $3.5 billion deal with the Algerian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“Algeria aims to reduce its imports of powdered milk and create jobs for its youth, and Baladna’s output will come online in 2026,” the ministry said, Al-Monitor reports.

The project is expected to span more than 100,000 hectares and include three complexes, each with separate farms and powdered milk factories.

By the ninth year of this partnership, it’s estimated the herd size will be about 270,000, produce almost 2 billion litres of milk annually, meet almost half of Algeria’s milk needs and employ about 5,000 people.

And in South America, Argentine farmers are asking the government to remove an export tax.

Farmers there are currently subject to a 12 percent tax on wheat exports, which industry groups say needs to be removed to support profitability.

"We urge the authorities to urgently review these policies and work to implement measures that promote an environment conducive to the development of wheat production, where the elimination of export duties should come first," the Argentine Rural Confederations said in a statement, Reuters reports.

The Argentine government implemented these taxes and others to raise revenue because of the country’s weak economic situation.

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