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Increased rainfall

first_imgWhile the spring rains have helped increase forage and corn yields, farmers are worried the wet plants and ground could lead to more disease and insect problems. According to the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network, Tifton, Ga., received 39.27 inches of rain from Jan. 1 to June 26. This is more than double last year’s 19.37 inches and almost triple the 13.20 inches recorded in 2011. During that same time period, Atlanta received 33.59 inches, almost twice as much as the 16.95 recorded last year. Also, Watkinsville, located just south of Athens, has 32.10 inches of rain this year, considerably more than the 14.77 inches it recorded last year.“The rain has been great from the standpoint of corn, but a lot of our summer annuals that like a lot more heat, they’ve been a little slower to get growing,” said John Bernard, a University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences professor of animal and dairy science on the Tifton campus. “Fortunately, we’ve had rain that’s kept everything green. The cooler spring kept some of the winter annuals from growing longer and in greater quantity than we’ve had in the past.”Heavy rain in April and May is uncommon for farmers around the state. In those two months this year, Tifton recorded 7.06 inches, up from last year’s 4.69 and the 1.61 mark in 2011. The rain showers haven’t stopped this month, either, with this month’s mark reaching 10.31 inches, more than the entire month in 2010-12 combined. Atlanta’s rain totals of 17.84 inches from April 1-June 26 is more than its totals during those three months in ’10-’12 combined.“We’ve had a lot of dry years, a lot of droughts where we’ve worried about forages,” Bernard said. “This year we’ve got a good bit of rain where we’re getting a lot of forages grown. The challenge is going to be trying to get it put up on a timely basis.”Bernard says farmers are glad their animals have plenty of grass to eat but have to “keep it under control and grazed at the right levels.”Other obstacles in dealing with increased rainfall include disease management and preserving quality, he said. “There can be more disease because the forages are going to stay wetter,” Bernard said. “Some insects may come on in a little quicker. The other thing is preserving quality. When you have good weather like this, you’ve got plenty of rain and the forage is growing good, it tends to put down more fiber and lignin, so digestibility isn’t quite as good as in a dry year.”Bernard recommends farmers cut their forages “a little quicker” than they normally would to maintain the quality.Adjusting to unpredictable rainfall hasn’t been producers’ only obstacle this year. As Bernard pointed out during last week’s Corn Silage and Forage Field Day at the Tifton campus, high feed cost continues to be an issue.“It has put a squeeze on because the feed we have to buy to supplement our forages has gone up tremendously,” Bernard said. “Although milk and beef prices have been very good, it’s cut those margins down significantly.”For more information on UGA Animal and Dairy Science programs, go to http://www.ads.uga.edu/.last_img read more

Brunt confident West Brom can end slump

first_img The Baggies will go into Monday evening’s Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool at Anfield on the back of five defeats in their last six games. Brunt believes the busy programme of games in December and January and injuries took its toll on a squad unable to be rotated in the same way as at the bigger clubs. But the Northern Ireland international is confident Albion can emulate previous years and have a strong finale to the campaign, saying: “We are going through a bit of a rough patch at the moment but, for a club our size and for the money we’ve got and spent, we are still ninth in the league, 34 points.” Press Association He continued: “We are moving in the right direction but the last few weeks we haven’t been great. We know that ourselves and know where we’ve got to improve to get it right. “December and January is a pretty hectic period and it’s one where we have tended to struggle a bit in the last few seasons and then picked up in February. “Hopefully that will be the case again – starting on Monday. Our squad has been really stretched over the last few months, a lot of games and a few injuries have really hurt us. “The boys have just had to play through it or play out of position because we don’t have the luxury of rotating the team other clubs can to keep players fresher.” Albion, currently lying in ninth position despite their poor run of results, will only play one match a week through until May and will also have next weekend off after an early exit from the FA Cup. Brunt said: “From here on in, we go back to playing once a week and, when you have a smaller squad, that does suit you much better. I think that’s one of the reasons we’ve had strong ends to the last couple of seasons. We’re all human, you just can’t press the play button and off you go again. When players are carrying knocks or have a lot of games, it does take its toll. “That’s why the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea have such big squads, to carry them through the busy periods without suffering but we don’t have that luxury.” center_img Skipper Chris Brunt is convinced West Brom will emerge from their current slump now they face a less demanding schedule for the remainder of the campaign.last_img read more

“Evidence-Based” Findings May Not Be

first_img(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Patients are encouraged to seek only “evidence-based” treatments for disease, but a look behind the scenes of clinical trials reveals some of the same human foibles that plague any science: shortcomings in honesty and transparency.Finding cause-and-effect relationships in medical science is notoriously difficult.  Supposedly, the path to reliable findings is to use randomized clinical trials, where a proposed new therapy goes through three distinct phases of testing on large numbers of people.  Sounds good in theory, but what happens when investigators find less-than-full disclosure and potential conflicts of interest?  Those issues were addressed in Science Insider recently.  Violations are, unfortunately, more common than expected.We’ve heard of studies funded by tobacco companies that prove cigarettes are safe.  Give a researcher enough money, and it’s tempting (though not necessarily guaranteed) his or her findings will corroborate the company’s claims.  How are conflicts of interest avoided?  How are standards for reporting maintained?  Science Insider attended a recent International Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication in Chicago, and reported some red flags: (1) “Published trial results often differ from those initially posted“; and (2) “Potential conflicts of interest often go unreported.”The honor system, such as merely deploying forms asking researchers to list all conflicts of interest, is insufficient.  Despite years of reminding researchers how important it is to maintain transparency about potential conflicts, many still fail to disclose them.  Often it is left up to the researcher’s own judgment whether such conflicts are “relevant” to the trial.  Ignorance of the need for high standards, the Congress on Peer Review and Biomedical Publication found, is sadly widespread.Although most of the doctors disclosed relationships they had with the firm funding the published research, fewer than half shared relationships they had with industry competitors. And despite all the talk in recent years about conflicts, 16% who had a financial tie to a sponsor or drug manufacturer leading the study didn’t report it. One example cited by Rasmussen: a physician who was an advisory board member and speaker for AstraZeneca, maker of the drug being covered by the paper, who declared he or she had no conflicts.“I was actually very disappointed” by this, says Vivienne Bachelet, editor-in-chief of the journal Medwave in Santiago, who was not involved in the study. In her country, she says, the “level of awareness is just nil” about conflicts of interest. Medical societies in particular get substantial funding from drug companies but almost no one—the societies themselves, drug regulators, or the individual doctors—see this as something that should be disclosed, Bachelet says. “If they’re not disclosing over there,” in Denmark, “what’s to be expected in Chile?”Regarding publication discrepancies, a survey of thousands of papers revealed frequent inconsistencies between public reports and journal publications about results of primary endpoints (main purposes of the trial) and secondary endpoints (serendipitous findings):For 21% of the primary endpoints, what appeared in the journal wasn’t exactly the outcome described on ClinicalTrials.gov, and in 6%, the Yale group suggested that this difference influenced how the results would be interpreted.For secondary endpoints, the difference was even more dramatic: Of more than 2000 secondary endpoints listed across the trials, just 16% appeared the same way in both the public database and the published article along with the same results. Results for dozens of secondary endpoints were inconsistent. “Our findings raise concerns about the accuracy of information in both places, leading us to wonder which to believe,” Becker said.The director of ClinicalTrials.gov at the National Library of Medicine called the website a “view into the sausage factory” of how research results are reported.Speaking of randomized clinical trials (RCT), Nature reported that little more than half of them produce treatments better than the standard of care – and that’s as it should be, given that RCT outcomes are unpredictable.  Progress is incremental but steady.  There’s no question that cancer patients are surviving much longer on average than they were a couple of decades ago, thanks to clinical trials.The slowness of the process, though, is frustrating to patients, especially those with cancer, who can’t wait a decade for all three phases to complete before government approval is given.  Medical Xpress raised the question of whether clinical trials are always necessary.  Sometimes phase III (comparing the new treatment with the standard treatment) might be superfluous if a new therapy has already shown benefit, and patients are out of options.  Another recent trend is toward individualized care based on genetic screening or specific tissue sample characteristics.  Trends like that may not jive with randomized clinical trials, because each patient is treated as a unique case (a sample of one).  Alternatives to RCT may need to be devised for such new developments.In the philosophy of science, nothing like peer review or RCT (as practiced) is set in stone.  As practices and findings change, policies and procedures need to keep in step with them.  One thing that should not change, though, is a scrupulous insistence on honesty.Update 9/14/13: Medical Xpress reported that leading medical societies in Britain and America are poised to start publishing negative findings.  This is important, be knowing what doesn’t work can be just as important as knowing what does.   “It is ethically correct for pharmacologists working in academia, industry and the health services to publish negative findings,” the head of the British Pharmacological Society said.  “Openness not only ensures that the research community is collectively making the best possible use of resources, but also that clinical trial volunteers are not unnecessarily exposed to likely ineffective or potentially unsafe treatments when evidence may already suggest that the drug target in question is flawed.”  The lack of openness about negative results can waste time and resources if researchers unknowingly repeat a failed trial. “Historically, negative findings have tended to remain unpublished,” one journal editor noted with apparent regret.  Another expert feels that all clinical results, both positive and negative, should be in the public domain.No science can survive without honesty.  We are often told that science is self-checking.  The problem is that the checking is inconsistent, and often found out long after damage has been done.  This is shameful.  In medical clinical trials, people’s lives are on the line.  How can the public have confidence in findings, when they lose confidence in the honesty of the researchers?  Miracle treatments are promised that might actually be hyped by the drug company funding the research, or the researcher is on the company’s board, but refuses to disclose the conflict of interest, considering it (in his opinion) “not relevant.”  Then there is the temptation to announce breakthroughs to advance one’s career or the reputation of the institution.  Now we hear about the actual very low rate of honest reporting.  To put it mildly, “What they found was not particularly encouraging.”This is not to disparage the many honest, hard-working individual researchers with pure motives, or the reputable institutions that succeed in finding and helping patients with new effective treatments.  It just goes to show that scientific research is nothing without honesty.  The answer is not to run from “evidence-based” research toward unproven alternative therapies, many of which have even less evidence and are riddled with deeper conflicts of interest (such as hyped claims motivated to sell a product).  There are quacks who prey on the desperate, but conspiracy theories alleging collusion with drug companies to keep alternatives off the market are sometimes a ploy to mislead by undermining the credibility of competition.  In the morass of potential pitfalls, is anything better than clinical trials?  The answer is to improve the system: require independent checking for compliance, publicly humiliate violators, and financially punish institutions found culpable.Randomized clinical trials offer the best hope for establishing cause and effect in medical research, but sometimes the anecdotal reports of alternative treatments have merit; we should remain open to them and check them with a skeptical yet inquiring eye, weeding out conflicts of interest as best we can, investigating the reasonableness of the correlation.  As these reports show, “evidence-based” reports sometimes fail to live up to their ideal.  Honest researchers will keep an open mind about alternatives.  There’s much human beings do not know.  Things that work for some individuals do not always work for others.One other lesson: if correlations are this difficult to establish in humans, of which there are 7 billion to test, how much more error-prone are claims about the unobservable past supposed millions of years ago – especially when certain researchers have a conflict of interest to maintain their secular worldview?last_img read more

Soybean trade with China holds multiple scenarios with June 15th deadline

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest June 15th has been circled on many calendars in farm country. That is when President Trump will release plans to put tariffs on $50 billion worth of China goods. It is also when soybean farmers will find out how retaliation measures taken by China may impact their bottom line. The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins has more with Ohio Soybean Association President Allen Armstrong.last_img

World Cup: Ex-skipper Hashan Tillekaratne accuses Lanka team of match-fixing, questions selection for final match

first_imgHashan Tillekaratne, who played 83 Tests and 200 ODIs for Sri Lanka, made the sensational claim while appearing in a TV show.India’s triumph in the ICC World Cup earlier this month has come under the match-fixing cloud after a former Sri Lankan captain’s accusation that the unlawful practice has been rampant in the island nation’s team. Appearing on a TV talk show, cricketer-turned-politician Hashan Tillekaratne raised his doubts about the selection of the Sri Lankan team for the World Cup finals. The Lankan team had made as many as four changes for the vital match against India, held on April 2 in Mumbai. Tillekaratne, who played as many as 83 Tests and 200 ODIs in his 16-year international cricket career, questioned the logic behind making extensive changes for such an important match. Maintaining that he did not think that the final match was fixed, Tillekaratne said that it was unfair to have replaced spinner Ajantha Mendis and all-rounder Chamara Silva. Tillekaratne claimed that match-fixing has been a problem in Sri Lankan cricket since 1992. He said he knew all the people responsible for it and would expose them soon. He alleged that every time the matter of match-fixing was brought up, it was quietly swept under the carpet by corrupt administrators. He alleged that money was exchanged to hush up the issue.Earlier, former captain Arjuna Ranatunga had also raised concerns about the manner in which cricket was being run in his country. A day after the visitors lost to India in the finals, Ranatunga told Headlines Today that “mafia” had got into Sri Lankan cricket and that corrupt administrators were running the game.”When we won the World Cup, we had a very honest, very good cricket precedent. But the business mafia got involved in cricket and they knew that the money is there and all unwanted… some of them were involved in bookies, they come from bookie families, some of them ordinary business people who wanted to get into cricket to create a name,” said Ranatunga, who led his side to win the coveted cup in 1996.”Even now what they do is, they appoint wrong people to run cricket. They enjoy the comfort, they enjoy the money that comes from cricket… and I tell you, lot of money has gone under the carpet. I think government has to be blamed,” he said.advertisementlast_img read more

Work On Cornwall Regional Hospital to Be Completed in 2018/19 Fiscal Year

first_img Phase II of the Cornwall Regional Hospital Rehabilitation project, which includes significant work on the ventilation system, is expected to be completed in the 2018/19 fiscal year. Story Highlights Phase II of the Cornwall Regional Hospital Rehabilitation project, which includes significant work on the ventilation system, is expected to be completed in the 2018/19 fiscal year.This was disclosed by Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, while delivering the 2018/19 Throne Speech in Parliament on February 15.Citing other programmes that will be undertaken by the Administration in the health sector, he said priority will continue to be placed on the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle as a means of countering the ongoing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), through the Jamaica Moves campaign.The Jamaica Moves campaign is the Government’s signature health promotion intervention, which places emphasis on increased physical activity, healthy eating and regular health checks.The Governor-General said the completion of the pre-investment works and breaking of ground for the construction of a Child and Adolescent Hospital in Western Jamaica will also be undertaken.He said the focus remains on creating a healthier Jamaica, and programmes to rehabilitate and make new investments in critical health infrastructure will continue.“Productivity of all sectors hinges on the health and well-being of our people, and while focusing on prevention, we must also continue to expand access and improve the quality of care to optimise the quality of life of all Jamaicans,” the Governor-General said.The Throne Speech was delivered under the theme ‘Continuing on the Path to Prosperity’. The Governor-General said the completion of the pre-investment works and breaking of ground for the construction of a Child and Adolescent Hospital in Western Jamaica will also be undertaken. Citing other programmes that will be undertaken by the Administration in the health sector, he said priority will continue to be placed on the promotion of a healthy and active lifestyle as a means of countering the ongoing epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), through the Jamaica Moves campaign.last_img read more