Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Higher phytase doses provide better phosphorous utilization in broiler diets

    Calcium and phosphorous are components of hydroxyapatite, which is the primary structural mineral in bone. Cartilage forms the organic matrix of bone which is later mineralized with hydroxyapatite.
    Dr. Douglas R. Korver, professor, University of Alberta, said that broilers have immature bones at today's market ages of six weeks or less. Speaking at the WATTAgNet.com webinar, Optimizing calcium/phosphorous contribution and skeletal integrity through phytase use in broiler diets, Korver said that recent genetic improvements have resulted in faster growing strains that don't have as many of the metabolic and structural issues as broilers had in the 1990s. But, this doesn't mean today's broilers can't have skeletal issues.
    Rapid growth and porous bones
    The immature bones of broilers tend to be porous, according to Korver, because the bones haven't been fully mineralized. The porosity of the bones can lead to some breakage issues when the birds are processed, and it can also cause what he characterized as "black bone syndrome." When bone-in-chicken is frozen, the bone marrow expands and can be forced out of the bone through the pores in the bone where the marrow can stain the meat. The meat then looks "black" around the bone when it is cooked.
    The rapid growth rate of modern broilers pushes the birds closer to the physiological limits of bone formation and this makes feeding calcium and phosphorous at the appropriate levels even more important than it has been in the past, Korver reported. Because producers are now counting on the phytate phosphorous in feed ingredients as a major source of phosphorous for broilers and layers, it is important to make sure you are adding the right amount of phytase enzyme to the diet.
    Phytase activity
    Phytase enzymes break down the phytate molecules in feedstuffs and make the phosphorous available for the bird to use, but it isn't quite as simple as it sounds, according to Dr. Peter Plumstead, associate professor, University of Pretoria. He said that there are a number of phytase products on the market and they don't all have the same activity levels at different pHs. Feed has a residency time of 40 to 60 minutes in the proventriculus and gizzard of a broiler, where the pH is 2.5. Because of this, Plumstead said that you want a phytase that works rapidly at a low pH in broilers to make as much of the phytate phosphorus available to the bird.
    Plumstead shared data on factors affecting the availability of phytate phosphorous with phytase addition to the diet and he said that it is important to know the phytate concentration in the feedstuffs used to formulate the diet. Korver said that new imaging technologies allow for bone development in individual birds to be tracked over time. Older measures like bone breaking strength and bone ash weights required the bird be sacrificed to take the measurements. He said that the new techniques will help provide insight on how dietary changes affect bone development.
    Plumstead said that adding phytase to the diet reduces the amount of inorganic phosphorous that must be added to the diet, which saves money and it reduces the amount of phosphorous in the litter. Some producers are successfully using higher phytase concentrations in diets, and this can be good for the environment and the bottom line.

Chicken most popular UK choice for Easter

    U.K. shoppers are more optimistic this Easter compared with last year, according to the latest IGD ShopperVista research, and more than 43 percent of participants in the research said they would prepare a special meal for their family and household over the Easter break – up from 38 percent last year.
    While lamb may be the traditional choice of UK consumers at Easter, of those planning to prepare an Easter meal, 41 percent are planning to cook chicken. 
    Joanne  Denney-Finch, IGD chief executive, said: “Chicken tops our poll as the favorite meal over Easter, but the more traditional lamb is still a popular choice. Poultry as a group is the preferred option with nearly six out of 10 shoppers choosing it for a special meat over the holiday period.”

PED virus woes prompt USDA to lower pork production forecast

    The USDA has lowered its forecast for U.S. pork production in 2014, largely due to the loss of piglets to porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus. In the April 9 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, the USDA estimated that about 22.7 billion pounds of pork would be produced in 2014, backing down from its March projection of 23.4 billion pounds.
    The April 2014 WASDE report also indicated that U.S. pork production in 2014 would decline from the 2013 U.S. pork production amount of 23.2 billion pounds.
    According to the April 2014 WASDE report, pork producers had indicated intentions to increase sows farrowing in the period from March through August, but the loss of piglets to PED virus is expected to result in lower slaughter during the remainder of 2014. Carcass weights are forecast higher, but those gains will not be sufficient to offset the reduced slaughter numbers.

Aviagen hosts Hå Rugeri and customers at event in Scotland

    Aviagen recently hosted a visit to Edinburgh, Scotland, for one of its Norwegian Ross parent stock (PS) customers, Hå Rugeri, and a number of their customers and suppliers. The four-day trip provided the visitors with an opportunity to hear from Aviagen experts and learn about the Ross brand in the country from where it originates.
    The visit was organized by Arild Pollestad, managing director of Hå Rugeri, as a fact-finding exercise and an opportunity to gain valued insights into the Ross breeding program, as well as best practice to ensure maximum flock performance. Hå Rugeri has been a customer of Aviagen SweChick since 1996, building a strong relationship with the team, although this was the first official trip of its kind to the UK.
    The party was met by Alan Thomson, Aviagen's regional commercial and technical manager for Western Europe, who provided a feel for Aviagen's role within the poultry industry and what is involved in being part of a truly global network of industry specialists.
    Interactive discussions were then held with Aviagen experts and guest speakers on a range of topics. Guo Jun, from Aviagen's global hatchery support team, led a discussion on hatchery influences on broiler production, Kellie Watson provided a research and development update and Stuart Thomson looked at key management inputs for broiler and breeder management.
    Day two saw Thomas Carlson, Aviagen SweChick managing director, welcome attendees and provide an update on Aviagen SweChick operations. Following from this, a series of breakout sessions took place, providing an opportunity for representatives from Petersime, Innovatec, Fjøssystemer/Systemteknikk and REHA Elektro to address delegates in smaller groups and have a much more personal touch when discussing important technical details and providing advice.
    Discussing the visit, organizer Pollestad said: "I am delighted that the trip was a great success from when we set off and until we returned to Norway. Everybody in the group had a great time and I am very grateful to Aviagen for their outstanding support in the planning and organization of the trip."
    Thomson added: "We were thrilled to welcome the Hå Rugeri team and customers to Scotland and Edinburgh and spend time with them both on a business and social level, with the meetings proving to be constructive and informative."
    Carlson said: "We worked closely with Arild to put together a comprehensive program for our guests that highlighted the main issues affecting our industry, while providing practical advice on optimizing performance. There was a good-natured and friendly spirit throughout the four days and we hope our visitors enjoyed the trip and hearing about the history and future vision of the Ross brand."
    A gala dinner was held at the end of the first day in the historic Scottish setting of Gosford House, which gave Aviagen's Norwegian visitors a real taste of Scotland.

US Grains Council releases corn export cargo quality report

    The U.S. Grains Council recently released its 2013/2014 Corn Export Cargo Quality Report, which found the average aggregate quality of the corn exported early in the 2013-14 marketing year was better than U.S. No. 2 on all grade factors. In addition, the incidences of positive levels of aflatoxin and deoxynivalenol (DON) test results were very low.
    The Export Quality Report, now in its third year, measures the quality of U.S. corn sampled at the point of loading for export. Three export channels are reported: the Gulf of Mexico, the Pacific Northwest and inland terminals shipping by rail to Mexico.
    Other findings show moisture content was higher than in the 2012-13 and 2011-12 samples. Chemical and physical attributes were similar to 2011-12 export samples, but below that of the 2012-13 samples on some factors.
    The report found all of the export samples tested below the FDA action level of 20 ppb for aflatoxins. A significantly higher proportion of the export samples tested below 5 ppb aflatoxin than in the previous two years. All of the samples tested below the FDA advisory levels for DON (5 ppm for hogs and other animals and 10 ppm for chicken and cattle). About 95 percent of the samples tested below 0.5 ppm DON, which was about the same as 2012-13 and higher than 2011-12.
    "We set out to raise the bar with data reporting," says Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council president and CEO. "The Council is providing an unmatched level of information about the U.S. corn crop, reinforcing the U.S. reputation for quality, reliability and transparency."
    "Our purpose is to give U.S. corn buyers reliable and timely information," Sleight said. "The interest generated in the report demonstrates we are meeting and exceeding their needs."
    The Council will begin presenting the report's findings to buyers and other stakeholders around the world in coming weeks.

Indiana creating new opportunity for small meat processors

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on April 8 that Indiana has become the latest among a handful of states taking action to help provide new opportunities for small businesses processing meat and poultry.  Indiana has joined USDA's Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program, which gives certain selected small and very small state-inspected meat and poultry processors the option to ship meat and poultry products bearing an official USDA mark of inspection across state lines.
    Indiana joins Ohio, North Dakota and Wisconsin in the voluntary shipment program designed to expand market opportunities for America's small meat and poultry producers and processors, strengthen state and local economies, and increase consumer access to safe, locally-produced food.
    "This program plays an important role in expanding opportunities for local producers and small businesses, while also ensuring that a robust food safety inspection system is maintained to protect consumers," said Brian Ronholm, USDA acting undersecretary for food safety.
    State-inspected establishments selected to participate in the program are required to comply with federal standards under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA). The facilities receive inspection services from state inspection personnel that have been trained in FMIA and PPIA requirements. The facilities are then allowed to sell and ship their products outside their home states. 
    The Cooperative Interstate Shipment Program was established by the 2008 Farm Bill.  In 2011, USDA finalized regulations to allow state employees to administer federal regulations and use the USDA Mark of Inspection at selected establishments. Prior to instituting the program, state-inspected businesses did not have the opportunity to sell products outside their state.
    The FSIS partnership with other USDA agencies through the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative provides a full range of services to more than 90 percent of the more than 6,200 federally inspected small or very small meat, poultry and egg processing plants.
    Indiana state-inspected establishments interested in shipping interstate should contact the Indiana State Board of Animal Health. The USDA's Small Plant Help Desk provides small meat businesses with assistance in understanding regulatory requirements. The help desk can be reached between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday, at 1-877-FSISHelp (1-877-374-7435).

Poultry groups comment on proposed NLRB ‘quickie election’ rules

    The U. S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation submitted comments opposing the National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) proposed rules governing representation procedures. The proposed rules, dubbed "quickie election rules" for their anticipated impact on the election process timeframe, were published in the Federal Register on February 6.
    The comments were prepared by the Joint Poultry Industry Human Resources Council, which is made up of members from the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council and National Turkey Federation. Collectively, the three organizations represent 95 percent of the nation's poultry products, and their members generate more than 1.3 million total U.S. jobs.
    Although the current procedures result in elections held within an average of 38 days, the proposed rules favor "rushed" elections and make other unreasonable changes in the unionization process. The poultry industry comments identify 23 issues with the proposed rule, many of which carry the unmistakable appearance of a denial of due process and certainly will serve to increase litigation and delay timely elections rather than speed the election process. 
    "Limiting the time period to seven days between the notice of hearing and the hearing presents an almost impossible sequence of events to satisfy timely,' commented the Joint Poultry Industry Human Resources Council. "There are no provisions in the National Labor Relations Act or the regulations that require "rushed" elections, although there are many provisions requiring "fair" elections. The proposed changes do not meet that goal."