Catching Up with CALS — Aug. 26, 2020
Dean's Message — A Significant Step
Following the language from the American Veterinary Medical Association website, animal welfare means how an animal is coping with the conditions in which it lives. An animal is in a good state of welfare if it is healthy, comfortable, well-nourished, safe, able to express innate behavior, and if it is not suffering from unpleasant states such as pain, fear and distress.
Good animal welfare requires disease prevention and veterinary treatment, appropriate shelter, management, nutrition, humane handling and humane slaughter. Protecting an animal's welfare means providing for its physical and mental needs.
Ensuring animal welfare is a human responsibility that includes consideration for all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.
The AAALAC (Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care) International is a private, nonprofit organization that promotes the humane treatment of animals in science through voluntary accreditation and assessment programs.
More than 1,000 companies, universities, hospitals, government agencies and other research institutions in 49 countries have earned AAALAC accreditation, demonstrating their commitment to responsible animal care and use.
A report from AAALAC representatives who recently visited U of I/CALS animal facilities started off with the statement: “Lots of healthy, well cared for animals.”
The association sent representatives to campus for an initial assessment of the planned full accreditation of our animal care facilities and practices.
The report offered some well-deserved kudos for CALS employees statewide who the visitors described as providing excellent, enthusiastic participation.
The report identified positive features at the Nancy M. Cummings Research, Extension and Education Center, Hagerman Fish Culture Station, Rinker Rock Creek Ranch and on campus, from the dairy, sheep center, and the aquaculture and laboratory animal facilities.
There were some suggestions for improvement, too, as one might expect given the diversity and scope of animal care facilities operated by U of I. CALS is committed to ensuring the animals we keep on campus from mice to steers are properly cared for and our efforts meet all the necessary AAALAC requirements.
I am confident we will take those suggestions seriously and make those improvements as rapidly as possible.
Earning accreditation from the AAALAC is an important step as the university continues to move towards R1 research university status.
The association’s report was especially welcome because it underscored the camaraderie among those who care for the animals. Josh Peak, who serves as Palouse Research, Extension and Education Center superintendent and oversees CALS sheep and cattle operations in Moscow thanked the employees responsible for their efforts during the AAALAC visit.
Josh noted the AAALAC committee’s visit and recommendation is a welcome step after 10 years of efforts to ensure our work and policies meet standards.
Congratulations to those responsible.
Michael P. Parrella
College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
By the Numbers
83% of Idaho’s winter wheat was harvested by Aug. 23, slightly ahead of last year’s 79%, but behind the 5-year average of 88% by late August, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. The spring wheat harvest stood at 52%, substantially ahead of last year’s 40% but trailed the 5-year average of 61%. The barley harvest stood at 61% through Sunday, up from 57% last year but behind the 5-year average of 70%. The potato harvest is just beginning with 6% harvested, twice last year’s 3% at this time and slightly ahead of the 5-year average of 6%.
Our Stories — Popular Parma Fruit Field Day Shifts Strategy
The University of Idaho’s annual Pomology and Viticulture Program Fruit Field Day in Parma is canceled this year to acknowledge public safety concerns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event typically draws hundreds of people in early September to the Parma Research and Extension Center’s Pomology and Viticulture Research Orchards and Vineyards. Fruit typically given to visitors during past fruit field days will go to food banks this year, including an estimated two tons of apples.
Instead, U of I pomology professor Essie Fallahi shifted his focus to spreading the word about research at the orchard to small groups with an educational focus who will in turn share the information with broader groups. He also plans to provide updates through newspapers and television.
This year’s news from the orchard and vineyard includes improvements in table grape production and an almond harvest that which is good, or at least mixed.
A spring cold snap hurt almond yields but gave Fallahi the opportunity to see which varieties can best withstand the cold. Some trees still bore promising yields; others did not.
Fallahi is excited about a new “pedestrian orchard” concept for apples and cherries now in its second year of testing. The orchard trees are pruned to six-feet tall, eliminating the need for ladders. The cherry trees suffered from the early cold snap, but the apples are starting to bear high-quality fruit.
A springtime photo of the new cherry orchard architecture shows trees pruned and trellised to provide easier access. Apples from the new pedestrian orchard were bigger than others grown with a more conventional system.
The shorter trees could help apple growers financially, Fallahi said. “Ladders require 29% of the labor in an orchard, so eliminating the need for them could mean reduced costs for growers,” he said.
In his 31st year at the Parma center, Fallahi said he misses the opportunity to welcome back the hundreds of people who have enjoyed the annual event he’s held for at least the last 25 years.
The novel coronavirus makes it too risky to entertain large gatherings, public health officials say.
“We had to find a way to tell people about what we are doing through grower groups, schoolteachers and media,” Fallahi said. “We wish we could enjoy another field day this year, but we are trying to find the best way to educate people about our work.”
Faces and Places
UI Extension Educator Brad Stokes in Elmore County will receive the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) 2020 Pollinator Advocate Award for the United States. This award recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to pollinator protection, conservation and issue outreach resulting in increased awareness of the importance of pollinators and pollination.
- Sept. 16 — "Heritage Apple Identification Using Genetic Fingerprinting Methods," Heritage Orchard Conference, 10-11:30 a.m. Pacific time
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