Thursday, December 31, 2009

Pork, soybean, corn groups donate to Midwest Food Bank

The Illinois Pork Producers Association (IPPA), Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), and the Illinois Corn Marketing Board (ICMB) recently presented the Midwest Food Bank with a check for $7,500 as part of the Pork Power: Partnering to Fight Hunger in Illinois campaign.
The donation was made to support Gridley Meats’ continued processing of hogs donated by local pork producers.
IPPA continued the Pork Power program during 2009 and partnered with ICMB, ISA and the Illinois Association of Meat Processors (IAMP) to build upon the success of the 2008 campaign in which the partners provided more than 100,000 pounds of donated pork to food banks in Illinois.
The Midwest Food Bank was started six years ago, and the food given out each month now reaches more than 100,000 people.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ag goups ask gov. to leave Farm Credit System alone

The National Pork Producers Council and 22 other national agriculture groups recently sent a letter to Congress, encouraging them not to change the Farm Credit System.
The letter, addressed to Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., highlighted a letter sent last year asking that “the Farm Credit System not be swept up in any effort to resolve problems with the housing GSEs, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the commercial banking or securities regulatory structure. Including Farm Credit in these legislative initiatives would undermine the mission that the Agriculture Committees gave Farm Credit some 90 years ago.”
The organizations take issue with the Consumer Financial Protection Act (CFPA), that established a federal agency given broad authority to oversee the provision of credit and financial products and services to consumers. The letter states:
"While the language of the proposed legislation does not specifically reference the Farm Credit Administration (FCA), the Farm Credit System or the Farm Credit Act, the language of the bill impacts Farm Credit directly. The definitions of 'credit,' 'consumer financial product,' 'covered person,' 'financial activity,' 'leasing,' 'financial product or service,' all capture the Farm Credit System and how it conducts business. Under the bill, Farm Credit System institutions are treated no differently than unregulated finance companies rather than the highly regulated set of federally chartered institutions that they are."
"We ask that you take whatever steps are necessary to keep the Farm Credit System out of larger financial institution reform efforts."

World grain supplies increase

International Grains Council (IGC) noted at its latest meeting that world grain stocks were expected to increase further at the end of 2009/10, to 373 million metric tons, mainly resulting from more ample wheat supplies.
The outcome of the global maize harvest would depend on southern hemisphere crops early in 2010, plantings of which had been reduced, but this year’s big rise in U.S. output was offset by marked falls in China and the EU. For 2010/11, a slight reduction in the total wheat area was forecast. With an assumed return to average yields following the highs seen in 2008 and 2009, this was expected to result in a crop of 645 metric tons, 3.5% lower than the past year’s, likely leading to a minor decline in world stocks. World trade in wheat in 2010/11 was forecast to be only slightly smaller than the estimate for the current year.
The Council also examined the factors likely to affect supply and demand in the next five years. It noted that grain availabilities were currently more ample than forecast a year ago, with the secretariat assuming that output would rise by 1.5% annually to 2014/15. Improved economic activity should boost grain demand but a slowdown in the expansion of the ethanol sector may contain growth.
Feed demand was expected to increase, although this would be affected by the increased use of industrialco-products such as distillers dried grains, as well as oilseed meals. Global stocks were projected to recede, mainly because of tightening maize inventories. World trade in grains was expected to rise by 2% annually.
Members of the Council also reviewed the global oilseeds situation, with another year of very big purchases by China helping to lift world trade in soyabeans in 2009/10 to a record 78 million tons from 76.8 million tons in 2008/09.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Danish processor may leave Poland

Market sources in Denmark are reporting that Danish pork processor Tican wants to sell its pig meat businesses in Poland.
According to an export bulletin in the UK quoted by the British Pig Executive (BPEX), the operation in Poland has been occupying too many management resources and also has cost Tican over €15 million. But the processor's CEO, Ove Thejls, says no decision has been taken yet on selling its Polish subsidiary, called Nove, and any sale would not take place until 2011 at the earliest, since the business must first be profitable before it is sold.

Ukraine egg prices rise

Medium and large-sized agricultural enterprises in Ukraine saw sales prices for their eggs rise steadily during 2009, with the average price rising to UAH388 (US$48.7) per thousand in the first eleven months of the year.
The highest sales price of eggs during the period, UAH419 (US$52.6) per thousand, was recorded in the Kherson oblast (region), with the lowest price recorded in the Zakarpattya oblast. In comparison, the average price per thousand eggs in the first half of this year was only UAH344 (US$43.2), and in the first eleven months of 2008, UAH366 (US$45.9) per thousand.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Philippine Customs places tax on imported eggs

The Philippine Bureau of Customs has placed a 12% value-added tax on imported eggs after the United Broilers and Raisers Association and the Philippine Association of Broiler Integrators sought to bring in 150,000 hatching eggs for broiler production, according to The Philippine Star.
Gregorio San Diego, president of UBRA, said the importation of eggs is to alleviate a temporary shortage in chick production due to recent typhoons.
UBRA and Agriculture Undersecretary Bernie Fondevilla plan to appeal to the BOC and the Department of Finance to lift the tax.

Weltec BioPower to build biogas park

In the second quarter of 2010, Weltec BioPower will start building a biogas plant in Arneburg, Germany. From 2011 on, more than 350 million cubic feet of biomethane will be produced every year in six fermenters, four digestate storage units, and one liquid reservoir, and will be fed into the natural gas grid.
Weltec BioPower is the general contractor, and NordMethan Produktion Arneburg is the investor and operator. It represents an investment of approximately EUR21 million, and will also create 10 jobs, according to the company.
The concept of the biogas park, which will be erected at a 10-hectare (25-acre) site, comprises the use of renewable raw materials and manure from 30 farmers. The digestate accumulating at the plant will be used by the farmers.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

Thank you for feeding the world!

Azerbaijan increases egg production

Azerbaijan is the latest of a number of former Soviet states to report a relatively high level of egg production in 2009. The country's egg production in the first ten months of the year was 10.2% higher year-on-year at 992 million.
Azerbaijan produced 1.1 billion eggs in 2008, 954 million in 2007 and 761 million in 2006, according to the country's State Statistics Committee. In geographical terms, the Absharon region is the largest egg producer in Azerbaijan, followed by the Khyzy region and then the Hajigabul region.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

FSIS wants feedback on proposed labeling rule

The Food Safety and Inspection Service is seeking feedback on its recently proposed rule to require nutrition labels on packages of single-ingredient, raw ground or chopped products, rather than at their point-of-purchase.
The FSIS invites interested persons to submit comments on this proposed rule.

Comments may be submitted via or may be submitted via snail mail to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 2-2127, Beltsville, MD 20705.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

End of the year a time of reflection

This final edition of Egg Industry for 2009 is a cause for reflection.
Our industry has weathered a severe recession reflected in lower profitability compared to 2008. The months of May through September were especially tough. Prospects for the first three quarters of 2010 appear promising, provided we are not hit with disease or an escalation in the cost of feed ingredients. This unfortunately is beyond our direct control other than judicious hedging, appropriate selection of dietary specifications, prudent formulation and careful management of flocks. ... Read the full blog on

China’s 2009 feed output to hit $66B

China’s Ministry of Agriculture projects that the value of the country’s commercial feed output will reach US$66B (¥450B) in 2009, an increase of 5.7% from last year. Volume is expected to rise 2.4% to 140 million tons.
However, as a result of falling sales during the first half of 2009, the rate of volume growth has slowed, dropping 8.4 percentage points lower than 2008.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Food trends for 2010

The Food Channel recently released its top 10 food trends for 2010. The list is based on research from the network, CultureWaves and the International Food Futurists.

1. Keeping it Real: Basic ingredients, shaped by the current economy.
2. Experimentation Nation: New restaurant concepts around “fresh” and DIY.
3. More in Store: Growth in grocery stores, particularly as private label assumes prominence.
4. American, The New Ethnic: The latest flavors are coming from the American melting pot.
5. Food Vetting: Assurance of eating the right things and that food is safe.
6. Mainstreaming Sustainability: People and companies becoming sustainable for authentic reasons.
7. Food with Benefits: Nutrient-dense food.
8. I Want My Umami: Experimentation and a willingness to try new things.
9. Will Trade for Food: A barter system assisted by technology.
10. I, Me, Mine: The rise of the individual; but it’s not just about portion size — it’s also about food that reflects personality.

Bird flu hits Vietnamese poultry farms

Viet Nam News reports that influenza A H5N1 has killed hundreds of chickens in Thai Nguyen and Ca Mau provinces.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development official said the outbreak underscores the need for widespread vaccination of poultry, and it issued 1 million vaccine doses to the provinces. Authorities have incinerated close to 5,000 chickens to contain the virus, the news agency reports.

Company to turn poultry fat into fuel

Elevance Renewable Sciences, based in Bolingbrook, Ill., plans to convert poultry fat into jet fuel at an Iowa biofuels plant, reports the Associated Press.
The $15M facility could be approved by local government officials by the end of January 2010, according to K'Lynne Johnson, Elevance's chief executive. The company has received $2.5M from the U.S. Department of Energy for the plant.
Johnson said that poultry fat will contribute to a quarter of production in the first year, with the rest coming from plant oils. The converted fat could be used as a petroleum chemical substitute in jet fuel, lubricants and consumer products, such as cosmetics.
Johnson said the 1.4 billion pounds of poultry fat produced annually in the United States could be converted into 250 million gallons of petroleum replacement products, such as diesel and jet fuel. That’s equivalent to about a gallon of fuel for every 50 chickens.
Lucy Norton, managing director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, told the Associated Press that the Elevance facility would be the first biofuels plant in Iowa to make jet fuel from animal fat.

Jamaican broilers to lose $4M during chicken sale

The Jamaica Broilers Group announced that its week-long chicken sale, a 19% to 20% reduction in the price of leg and breast quarters, will cost the group $4 million, according to The Jamaica Gleaner.
Chris Levy, president and CEO of Jamaica Broilers, said the group will minimize its costs by cutting expenses in other areas, such as public relations and advertising.

Chickens outpace horses in Kentucky

Kentucky’s revenue from poultry is projected to hit $930M this year, significantly higher than the horse industry’s predicted revenue of $750M, University of Kentucky agricultural economist Lee Meyer told the Associated Press. The poultry industry has grown rapidly in the past decade, with revenue increasing from $260M in 2001 to $918M in 2008, the AP reports.
The recession has hit the state’s traditional equine sector hard, with income from sales of thoroughbreds and breeding stock steadily dropping in the past few years from $1.1B in 2007, the professor said.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bankruptcy court approves Pilgrim's Pride reorganization plan

A federal bankruptcy court in Texas has approved the joint reorganization plan of Pilgrim's Pride Corporation and six of its subsidiaries. This paves the way for Pilgrim’s Pride and the subsidiaries to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of December, according to company representatives.
Under terms of the joint plan of reorganization, the poultry processor has entered into an agreement to sell 64% of the reorganized company’s new common stock to
JBS USA for $800 million in cash. The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval and certain closing conditions, including the closing of an exit facility for senior secured financing in an aggregate principal amount of up to $1.75 billion.

Crop producers see bright future for their businesses

Agribusiness leaders are looking on the bright side of the recession. While little more than a third think the U.S. economy will rebound in 2010, a majority are optimistic or very optimistic about their own businesses, according to a recent poll of U.S. agricultural company executives by Agri Marketing magazine and AdFarm public relations agency. Only 9% had a pessimistic or very pessimistic outlook, Lynn Henderson, publisher of Agri Marketing, told the San Angelo Standard-Times.
Crop producers had a more positive outlook for their companies than did livestock executives, with the sectors’ share of optimists at 65% and 40%, respectively. A majority of respondents predicted a drop in swine production.
The average 2010 corn price predicted by respondents was $3.30 a bushel, but a significant share—almost a quarter—thought prices would hit more than $4 a bushel.

Maple Leaf Foods creates independent food safety advisory council

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has established an independent advisory council of food safety experts to provide ongoing reviews of the company’s food safety strategy. In its first year, the committee will focus on making additions and modifications to Maple Leaf’s food safety program, evaluating emerging food safety risks in the industry and improving employee education and training.
Advisory council members are:
*Harvey Anderson, director of the program in food safety, nutrition and regulatory affairs at the University of Toronto
*Colin Dennis, retired director general of the
Campden BRI food research center in the United Kingdom
*Mansel Griffiths, director of the
Canadian Research Institute for Food Safety and chair of the masters program in food safety at the University of Guelph, Ontario
*R. Bruce Tompkin, a microbiologist with more than 45 years in the food processing industry and one of the developers of the Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (
HACCP) food safety management system
*John Weisgerber, former director of quality for a major North American meat processor with nearly 40 years experience in quality and food safety management
"The primary mandate of the council is to challenge the status quo of Maple Leaf's food safety program so we continue to raise the bar ever higher," said Randy Huffman, the company’s chief food safety officer.
In August 2008, Maple Leaf was hit by a recall of more than 220 product lines when the Canadian government identified one of its factories as the source of a listeria outbreak that sickened at least 26 people, according to
The New York Times. At the time, company leaders estimated that the recall would cost the company more than CAN$20M.

Delaware’s broiler output drops

Delaware is expected to hit a 20-year low in broiler production this year, reports The News Journal.
The state’s output of broilers dropped 9% in two years from its 2006 record of 1.8 billion pounds. In 2008, contract growers received 246 million chicks, among the lowest numbers in two decades, and they report longer gaps between production cycles this year, according to the newspaper. Production is also declining in neighboring Maryland.
Large farms with more than 125,000 birds contribute more than 60% to Delaware’s poultry production, but the state also has a high number of smaller operations that are less resilient, The News Journal reports. "The trend nationwide is toward larger operations, because of the efficiencies of scale," said Richard Lobb, spokesman for the
National Chicken Council. "That's been going on elsewhere in the country for a long time. Delmarva”—the tri-state area of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia—“has been a little unusual in having so many small farms."
"We're concerned about anything that would have an impact on the industry," said Ed Kee, Delaware’s agriculture secretary. "The bottom line is, we want to make sure that poultry remains a healthy and viable part of the economy."

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sumitomo expands into China

Sumitomo Chemical Co. will soon produce amino acid feed additives outside of Japan for the first time, according to The Nikkei. The company has an 80% stake in a plant that is under construction in China’s Liaoning province and is set to begin production of the amino acid methionine for poultry feed in 2011. The factory has a planned annual production capacity of 20,000 tons.
The Nikkei reports that the Chinese market for amino acid feed additives is growing 5% to 6% annually as consumption of poultry rises. Sumitomo Chemical’s goal is to supply 20% of the global amino acid feed supplement market, the newspaper reports.

European Poultry Conference set for August 2010

The Thirteenth European Poultry Conference will be held Aug. 23-27, 2010, in Tours, France.
Individuals who want to present research at the conference should submit abstracts by Jan. 15, 2010. Full text for the accepted abstract must be received by May 15, 2010. The event will be organized by the French branch of the
World’s Poultry Science Association and is expected to attract 1,000 poultry professionals from more than 70 countries.

Philippines halts German poultry imports

The Philippines agriculture department has put a temporary stop to poultry imports from Germany and the French village of Saint-Aubin-du-Plain, citing the discovery of “[l]ow pathogenic avian influenza” on a duck farm in Saint-Aubin-du-Plain and a bird farm in Thuringen, Germany, in November.
The poultry product ban applies to live birds, meat, chicks, eggs and semen, according to
BusinessWorld, based in Manila. The Philippines is one of only three countries in Southeast Asia where avian flu has not taken hold, the publication reports.
In 2008, the Philippines imported nearly 1 million kilograms of poultry and poultry products from France and 112,264 kilograms from Germany, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

Auctioneer says market for cropland improving

Prices for high-quality farmland are rebounding, according to Rex Schrader, president of Schrader Real Estate and Auction Company in Columbia City, Ind., one of the largest auctioneers of agricultural land in the United States.
"The optimism is back in the market, especially for higher quality land. … Land in the top one-third in terms of quality is up a good 10% during this quarter, and we are seeing new records for land prices in many counties," he said. “The evidence of the uptrend in the market for good cropland today is very clear."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Alltech–Muhammad Ali Center launches cell phone recycling program

The Louisville, Ky.-based Alltech–Muhammad Ali Center Global Education and Charitable Fund recently launched a cell phone recycling program to support educational and humanitarian initiatives while increasing access to cell phones in developing nations.
Donated cell phones have their memories wiped before they are refurbished for sale in developing countries or broken down for recycling. Proceeds from the sale and recycling of the phones will go to the Fund. On Nov. 23, USA Today published a Sports Weekly Special Edition featuring Muhammad Ali that included a postage-paid envelope to be used for the cell phone recycling program.
Used cell phones can be mailed to
Alltech International, 3031 Catnip Hill Pike, Nicholasville, KY 40356. Alltech is a global animal health company supplying natural feed supplements for animal agriculture in 120 countries.

Poultry Federation launches redesigned Web site

The Poultry Federation, a trade organization representing the poultry and egg industries in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, has redesigned its Web site.
The new design is meant to be easier to navigate and includes RSS feeds for poultry and egg industry news, including legislative updates for the federation’s tri-state area. The Web site also incorporates the social networking tools Facebook and Twitter, a searchable membership roster, an event calendar, event registrations, statistics and industry resources.

Thailand seeks resumption of chicken exports to EU

The Bangkok Post reports that Thailand has requested France’s assistance in resuming Thai frozen chicken exports to the European Union. Europe has barred the imports for five years because of avian influenza, but Thailand has not had a case of the disease since November 2008, according to Thai officials.
Currently, the European Union allows only imports of cooked poultry from Thailand, which met its import quota of 160,033 tonnes of processed chicken last year. Thailand’s total poultry exports were valued at ฿62.11B in 2008, according to the country’s Commerce Ministry.
Porntiva Nakasai , Thailand’s Commerce Minister, requested France’s assistance on Dec. 14 while meeting with Anne-Marie Idrac, the minister of state for foreign trade of France, reports the Bangkok Post.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to destroy an industry?

In the International Egg Commission International Egg Market Annual Review a distinguished economist and consultant to the IEC Professor Hans-Wilhelm Windhorst documents the effect of a ban on cages in the EU. What has occurred is an obvious application of The Law of Unintentional Consequences. During the period 2002 through 2007, egg production in the EU fell by 2.5%. This aggregate figure disguises the fact that the loss in domestic output was considerably higher in countries that followed directive 1999/74/EC in advance of the 2012 implementation date.
According to Dr. Windhorst the problem has been exacerbated by a number of prominent supermarket chains in Germany refusing to stock eggs derived from caged flocks. In Germany and Austria all cages will be banned from 2010, hastening the demise of conventional flocks. The German Bundesrat (legislature) has waivered over whether to allow or ban colony cages. Farmers who invested in this system in anticipation of the ban on conventional cages are now faced with being excluded from major markets and will not in any event recover a premium for their additional costs. It is anticipated that by the end of 2009 the total number of hens in Germany will be reduced by 6 to 7 million.
The cost of replacing conventional cages with non-confined systems in the EU is estimated to be $10 billion. Raising capital to replace egg production facilities is regarded as unlikely given the current restrictions on loan capital to agricultural enterprises. The longer the delay in deciding on alternative systems, the greater will be the escalation in cost and the eventual impact on profitability. Read the full blog on

Up to scratch

The UK's Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) has launcehd a new campaign called Bioscience for Life.
The campaign has been introduced to highlight the role and impact of bioscience research in our daily lives. It seeks to raise awareness of the importance of the biosciences in putting enough safe and nuritious food on our dinner plates, in protecting farms from exotic diseases, in helping to keep us active and healthy for longer in old age, amongst other areas. Read the full blog on

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Drought decimates Argentine grain output

After a hard drought and a year-long conflict between the government and the rural sector, the once thriving industry suffers a setback. Read the full article in Feed International.

Petersime expands into Brazil

Petersime, the Belgium-based specialist in incubators and hatcheries, announced the opening of a new subsidiary, Petersime do Brasil Incubadoras e Incubatórios Ltda., in Criciúma, Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Petersime do Brasil will be the company’s key point of contact for all of Latin America. The new setup includes engineers fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, and a warehouse to allow quicker delivery of spare parts to businesses in Latin America.

US corn 88% harvested, sorghum harvest 94% complete

The USDA Crop Progress Report for the week ending December 6 estimates 88% of corn is out of the fields, compared to 79% a week earlier.
The corn harvest is so late this year that the USDA has no comparison figures for this same date during the last five years.
Soybean growers had harvested 96% of the crop a week ago, and the USDA is no longer tracking that harvest.
The sorghum crop is 94% in, compared to 87% last week. Just as with the corn crop, the sorghum harvest is so late that there are no comparison figures for this date for the last five years. Although sorghum is not frequently used in animal feed in th US, the US exports large quantities since other countries do use it in for producing feed.

Kansas State studies effects of proposed climate legislation on agriculture

An analysis of six economic studies by a Kansas State University team has concluded that the effect of proposed U.S. climate legislation would be largely neutral to positive for the agricultural sector.
Team leader Bill Golden of KSU’s agricultural economics department said, "Overall, the research suggests U.S. agriculture has more to gain than lose with the passage of H.R. 2454," which is also known as the Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, or the Waxman-Markey bill. "The bill specifically exempts production agriculture from emissions caps, provides provisions to ease the transition to higher fertilizer prices and fosters the development of carbon offset markets, which will likely enhance agricultural revenues."
The studies considered by the KSU team make different assumptions about key variables that can have significant impact on the results, and not all of them included the various offset categories as they exist in the House-passed legislation. By analyzing the studies in light of recent revisions to the legislation, the KSU team was able to make the following key findings:
*In the short-run, per-acre profitability for both crop and livestock producers may decline but, for the most part, the short-term declines will be modest, with changes in production costs ranging from 0.3% to 6.4% by 2025.
*If other countries adopt similar legislation, the market for agricultural commodities will adjust in the long run and return producers' profits to pre-H.R. 2454 levels.
*The economic impacts will vary regionally and by crop and livestock sub-sector. The impacts depend on cultural and management practices and the farm-specific ability to sequester carbon and receive offset income.
*H.R. 2454 establishes a renewable energy standard that mandates a portion of all U.S. electricity be produced from low-carbon renewable energy sources. As the market for these energy sources expands, the agricultural sector will benefit financially.
"At the present time, it is not completely clear how renewable energy legislation and climate offset markets will function together," said Golden. Potential offsets include dairy digesters, improvements in soil management and tillage practices, advancements in nutrient management and alternative manure-management systems. “What is clear is that these markets have the potential to provide significant financial benefits to agricultural producers.”
American Farmland Trust sponsored the research, which did not cover the testimony presented to the House Agriculture Committee in December. The organization expects to conduct another summary analysis that will include this new research.
A copy of the KSU Study is available on
American Farmland Trust's Web site or through Kansas State University.

Monday, December 14, 2009

China urges EU to approve more Chinese poultry suppliers

China is negotiating with the European Union to resume cooked poultry imports from Beijing and the three provinces of Jilin, Henan and Fujian, said Yu Taiwei, head of the Food Safety Bureau of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, in an online interview December 11.
So far, only nine Chinese poultry companies in Shandong province are licensed to sell cooked poultry to the European Union. Statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce show that the total export volume of cooked poultry to the European Union was 1,752 tons from December 2008 to May 2009.

Texas A&M offers feed industry HACCP training

Texas A&M is offering Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point training on its campus in College Station, Jan. 12-14, 2010. The course is designed for feed industry personnel who are responsible for developing their company's HACCP plan.
Registrations are due by Jan. 6, 2010. The fee is $500 and includes course materials, lunches and shuttle service to and from the training location. More information is
available online.

Public vote for new EU organic symbol

The European Commission is inviting members of the public to vote from among three finalists for a new European Union organic logo. The deadline for voting is January 30, 2010, and votes can be cast online.
The winning logo will be required on all prepackaged organic products from EU member states.

BASF Plant Science, Monsanto to collaborate on new corn hybrids

BASF Plant Science and Monsanto announced the signing of an agreement to develop and commercialize new, more nutritious corn hybrids for animal feed.
The new hybrids will combine BASF’s NutriDense traits with Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Genuity VT Triple PRO and Genuity SmartStax corn for release in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The companies expect the new hybrids to deliver yields equivalent to elite conventional corn and better feed value. They say that corn growers could benefit from premium pricing to animal feed operations.
Roughly 45 percent of the corn grown in the United States is used as animal feed, with the majority being fed specifically to swine or poultry.

Spinal abscesses hit US broiler flocks

More questions than answers still surround this emerging disease syndrome which causes lameness in typically 2-4% of birds in affected flocks. Read the full article in Poultry USA.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter weather increases use of cattle feed in Texas

Cold, wet weather through most of Texas has temporarily increased cattle farmers’ reliance on feed and hay, according to the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. However, the rains should result in more productive winter pastures in the upcoming months.
“Earlier this week we received some moisture in the form of rain and sleet, and a small amount of snow. Although this has slowed down harvest, it has been a blessing for pastures and rangeland,” said Ryan Martin, AgriLife Extension agent in Motley County, southeast of Amarillo.

Running efficient finishing pens

As some slaughterhouses reduce their weekly kills, stocking densities increase in finishing pens.
“While maximizing sale weights increases the return on a pig, considerable numbers of over-weights are being seen on some farms,” says Paul Thompson, veterinary consultant to the UK-based pig-breeding company
Even when pigs gain more weight by spending additional time in finishing pens, the practice can cause problems, he explains, because higher stocking density can reduce daily liveweight gain and lead to more disease.
Thompson suggests that farmers consider short-term alternative accommodations or accepting a lower price on a percentage of pigs in order to clear the backlog and ensure that remaining pigs grow efficiently.

Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan form customs union

Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan established a customs union in early December to simplify trade among them. A single set of customs tariffs goes into effect January 1, 2010. The three countries have set 2010 meat import quotas within the framework of the union, according to the Interfax news agency.
Russia's pork import quota in 2010 will be 500,000 tonnes; Belarus' will be 30,000 tonnes, and Kazakhstan's will be 7,400 tonnes.
For poultry, Russia's and Kazakhstan's quotas in 2010 will be 780,000 tonnes and 110,000 tonnes respectively; Belarus' poultry quota for 2010 has not yet been set.
Kyrgyzstan is reportedly interested in joining the customs union.

Philippines corn output set to grow in 2009

The Philippines Department of Agriculture expects 2009 corn production to be 1.63% higher than in 2008, despite the impact of typhoons and lowered production in the first half of the year, reported the Philippines Daily Inquirer.
According to the country’s Bureau of Statistics, corn production was 3.22 million metric tons in the first half of 2009, 2.27% lower than the same period in 2008. But production in the third quarter rose 5.17% from the same period in 2008 to 2.37 metric tons as a result of increased harvest areas and yield improvements, putting the country on track to produce a total of 7.041 million metric tons in 2009.
Officials said a rise in the corn support price and increased procurement from the country’s National Food Authority contributed to the improved production numbers.

US Grains Council meets with USDA

Representatives of the U.S. Grains Council met with USDA Under Secretary Jim Miller earlier this week in Geneva, Switzerland, for insight into the World Trade Organization’s Ministerial Conference taking place there and to learn about progress being made in the Doha Round of WTO negotiations.
According to a press release from the council, Miller said that Ministerial Conference was not a negotiating session, but that the Doha Round is moving toward a close and his primary concern is that the United States gets adequate market access from advanced developing nations.
In a press release, USGC president and CEO Thomas C. Dorr said his organization “supports the United States’ position consistently stating that we want the following: market access; more clarity on the modality texts; and to know what products will be designated as special or requiring special safeguards in the designated tariff lines.”
He added that the council “will continue to follow these negotiations closely as they directly affect the economic standing of the United States as well as the U.S. farmer."

Pakistan poultry industry faces chick shortage

According to Pakistan’s Business Recorder newspaper, the chairman of the Pakistan Poultry Association reports serious challenges to the country’s poultry industry as a result of a 40% drop in the production of day-old chicks. As a result, prices of day-old chicks, broiler chickens and eggs are on the rise.
Despite the challenges, the industry is growing at an annual rate of 8% to 10%, according to the association’s chairman, Muhammad Aslam. He added that 1.5 million Pakistani families are involved in poultry and egg production.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Fine-tuning pig nursery management

Improving performance immediately post-weaning is critical for determining lifetime health. Read the full article in Pig International.

Novus announces acquisition intent

Novus International Inc. announced today its intent to acquire the animal nutrition division of Albion Laboratories Inc., a company based in Clearfield, Utah. Terms of the proposed deal were not disclosed.
Products from the acquisition will align with Novus’s Mintrex chelated trace mineral products and further expand its mineral technology. When complete, this acquisition will enable Novus to offer its customers and the animal agriculture market an expanded chelated trace mineral product portfolio to support its livestock operations.
"The intent to acquire Albion's animal division is consistent with the direction Novus has taken to work with industry partners to achieve greater production efficiencies and minimize environmental impact,” said Giovanni Gasperoni, executive vice president, Novus International.
"Novus will continue to fully support and invest in its Mintrex chelated trace mineral technology. Albion will be viewed as an additional line to support the industry’s movement to superior, well-defined and efficacious chelated mineral solutions."

Written to your local newspaper recently?

I wrote a letter to the Editor of The Daily Telegraph, the widest circulating daily newspaper in the UK, this past week.
My letter has not and might never be published, but I don’t see why the point I was trying to make is not made because an editor considers other letters on the subject more suitable for publication or there is insufficient space to accommodate everyone's views. That’s where blogging comes into its own.
The subject I was particularly aggrieved over was the claim that we should eat less meat to help save the plant from global warming! Quoted were scientists and politicians saying what a great idea it would be to reduce our consumption of meat by at least one third. The article was written by the paper’s medical correspondent and did not quote anyone from the livestock sector.
Call me a ‘flat-earther’ - as Prime Mister Gordon Brown would label me - or a cynic if you will, but personally I think the whole climate change issues is more reflective in the ‘King has no cloths’ analogy. I support many of the policies being proposed by the climate lobby if only because it makes good sense to clean up after ourselves and leave the place as we found it when we check out. Therefore, in terms of recycling, reducing the pollution we pump into the environment and atmosphere and avoiding contaminating water and land resources, I go long with many of the suggested polices. However, encouraging us to eat less meat will not mean we will all live longer and happier lives in a landscape as pristine as if there were no human habitation. ...Read the full blog on AnimalAgNet.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

EU pig producers on profit roller coaster

SPACE show experts predict stronger returns in the latter half of 2010. Read the full Pig International article.

Ukraine poultry production set to grow

Poultry meat production in Ukraine should grow by 12% to 13% in 2009 to 1 million tons, according to Oleksandr Bakumenko, head of the Union of Ukrainian Poultry Farmers board of directors. Almost all of Ukraine’s poultry meat is for domestic consumption, Bakumenko said, with a small amount exported to Kazakhstan, Georgia and Turkey.
As part of the Ukrainian poultry industry’s effort to enter the European market, inspectors will visit poultry and egg producers this January and February, according to
Ukrinform, the Ukrainian national news agency.
Bakumenko told Ukrinform that inspections this summer raised only minor issues “linked to the harmonization of the Ukrainian veterinary legislation with the European one,” and the industry is addressing these issues.
Ukraine is modernizing its poultry industry in a number of ways. Okhoche, an egg production company in the Kharkiv region, is among the first Ukrainian poultry enterprises to use large-scale automation. Two workers operate the system to sort and pack 200,000 eggs daily, according to Ukrinform.

Moroccan poultry industry expanding

Morocco’s market for chicken is growing steadily, reports the U.S. Grains Council Corn Mission team. On a Dec. 4 visit to a Moroccan poultry farm, the team spoke with farmer Ahmed Addioui and USGC Consultant Abdellah Ait Boulahsen about changes in the country’s poultry industry, including new vaccination and labor standards.
Morocco’s per capita chicken consumption has grown from 7 kilograms in 1990 to 15.5 kilograms in 2008. According to Addioui and Boulahsen, all of the chicken is produced domestically, but 90% of feed is imported. The feed is about 60% corn.

Animal Agriculture Alliance conference set for April

The Animal Agriculture Alliance will host its ninth annual Stakeholders Summit on April 28 and 29, 2010, in Arlington, Va. The conference will address issues facing animal agriculture, including animal welfare, public health, farm security and the animal rights movement.
Early registration for the one-and-a-half day event is $325 for Alliance members, $375 for non-members and $275 for individuals in government or academia. Registration materials, hotel information, and sponsorship information are available on the Alliance’s
Web site.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

2010 IPE/IFE Guide now available online

Turn to the 2010 International Expo Guide to plan and maximize your time at the International Poultry/International Feed Expo, January 27-29, in Atlanta, Ga.
The Guide provides:
• Information on more than 700 poultry and feed industry exhibitors,
• A new, easy-to-use products and services listing,
• Quick reference alphabetical index of exhibitors,
• Exhibit floor maps, and
• A schedule of educational and networking events.
To start using the 2010 International Expo Guide, go to

Guangzhou to close live pig wholesale markets

Southeastern China’s Guangzhou city will shut down live pig wholesale markets in 2010, in order to improve quality control on hog production, slaughtering and sales, according to a report from Southern Countryside Paper.
Under the new policy, live pigs will be transported from hog farms directly to large-scale slaughterhouses, skipping hog wholesale trade markets that cause difficulties in product traceability, the report said.

Consumer attitudes on welfare

A report on a recent study on consumer attitudes towards welfare, conducted by agricultural economists F. Bailey Norwood and Jayson Lusk at Oklahoma State University, was published in Farm Gate, a University of Illinois journal. Only 29% of the responders regarded "welfare" to be of low importance. Almost 70% maintained that “animals should not suffer” but that “happiness” is not a consideration with regard to food producing livestock.
A majority of consumers [58%] supported relevant legislation to prevent cruelty and a quarter of those questioned supported the principle of laws to ban housing systems opposed by the majority of citizens. There appears to be considerable support for voluntary labeling of food products with almost half of the respondents in favor of some visible indication of welfare standard and housing system.
The authors of the review analyzed the campaign mounted by United Egg Producers and proponents of confined housing for egg production in relation to the opposition raised by HSUS and kindred organizations. The conflict is entrenched in public perceptions of animal wellbeing and the definition of "welfare." The discrepancy between theory and practice allows organizations opposing intensive animal production to inject emotion into the debate and to distort facts and scientific knowledge to advance their cause. Read the full blog on AnimalAgNet.

Remember the bird flu? It's still there.

With all the focus on the H1N1 pandemic flu, the bird flu has taken a back seat (very far back) but it's still very much there and continues to affect people in Asia and the Middle East.
The big news is still H1N1 - it came out today that a US turkey flock in Virginia has been diagnosed with H1N1 - as well as the fact that the flu pandemic in the US seems to have reached its peak and is beginning to wane. However, recent reports show that people are still getting the H5N1 bird flu from sick chickens, particularly in Indonesia, Egypt, Vietnam and China. This is the same bird flu crisis that started in Asia in nearly 2004, has yet to be fully controlled and probably never will be.
Egypt was affected later, but still continues to struggle with the bird flu, which probably explains why they culled the country's entire swine herd right after the H1N1 pandemic started this year. Read the full blog on AnimalAgNet.

British examine pig industry's footprint

The environmental impact and carbon footprint of English pig production are interwoven, and the industry in England is seeking to begin to tackle both at the same time, says a bulletin from the British Pig Executive (BPEX). It has launched two reports looking at the carbon footprint of pig production together with the sustainability of the industry.
The first report is called Scoping Life Cycle Assessment of Pork Production. It contains estimates of the environmental impact of pork production and identifies opportunities for improvement.
The second is Pigs and the Environment, which looks at how BPEX can work to enhance the environmental sustainability of pork production.
Like all economic activity, pork production causes environmental impacts; primarily climate change, air pollution, water pollution and loss of biodiversity. These impacts tend to be lower for pork products than for beef and lamb, but higher than for poultry.
Chris Lamb, BPEX head of marketing, said, "The English pig industry has already taken major steps to improve efficiency and, as a consequence, cut CO2 and other environmental impacts.
"As the industry has a comparatively small number of producers, positive changes are relatively easier to introduce and this has been part of the reason for the excellent response.
"The pig industry is determined to participate fully in the environmental debate and play its part in reducing GHG emissions."

Monday, December 7, 2009

AFIA issues mycotoxin advisory

The American Feed Industry Association has issued an advisory on the potential for significant mycotoxin contamination of corn harvested during the recent inclement fall weather.
Assays have detected fumonisins, aflatoxins and deoxynivalenol (DON, vomitoxin) in samples of corn frequently exceeding FDA guidance levels.

Deoxynivalenol :
*10ppm DON for chickens and ruminating cattle assuming 50% inclusion in diets
*5ppm DON for swine with an upper limit of 20% inclusion [1ppm in diet]
*5ppm DON for all other livestock provided contaminated ingredients do not exceed 40% inclusion [2ppm in diet]

*Ruminants of over 3 months of age, 60ppm with 50% inclusion [30ppm in diet]
*Immature poultry, 100ppm with 50% inclusion [50ppm in diet]
*Dairy herds and mature poultry, 30ppm with 50% inclusion [15ppm in diet]

*200ppb in corn intended for growing swine, 100 lbs or greater
*100ppb in corn intended for breeding beef cattle, breeder swine or mature poultry
*20ppb in corn for immature animals
It is emphasized that obtaining a representative sample from bulk shipments including barges, rail cars and trailers is difficult due to hot spots and stratification.

New technology extends egg product life

Sanovo has introduced post-pasteurizing modules applying wave technology for extended life products. The new application can achieve high levels of bacterial inactivation compared to traditional pasteurization.
An added advantage is that the functional properties of eggs are not impaired. Wave technology exposes egg liquid to an electromagnetic force which produces an electric field. Rapid reversal in the electric field polarity generates kinetic energy, which is expressed as a heating effect. Intermolecular friction inactivates bacteria without affecting the inherent beneficial properties of egg liquid since the process is carried out at sub-coagulation temperatures.
The technology has been tested under commercial conditions in the EU. Products processed with Sanovo wave technology tested 17 weeks after processing show a total plate count less than 10 CFM per gram.

Food association to supply ISA brown pullets

The Midwest Food Association (MFA) has announced the organization will commence distributing ISA brown-feathered pullets.
Peter Mumm, director of operations, commented that the strain will offer competitive feed conversion, uniform shell quality and color and adaptability to a broad range of environments.

Cambodia could become an Asian maize belt

When we asked feed manufacturers in Vietnam where their ingredients might be sourced in future, among their replies was a recommendation to look at what is happening in Cambodia regarding grain supplies. The southern part of Vietnam shares a long border with Cambodia and Ho Chi Minh City is only about 400 kilometres from the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh. What is more, the Mekong River runs through both countries.
Cambodia is already cited by Vietnamese executives as an example of what can be achieved to promote better drying and storage arrangements for harvested crops, due to the success of a private-sector initiative on this theme. But an even greater attraction for Vietnam’s feed manufacturers is Cambodia’s potential to be a regional breadbasket supplying much-needed grains.

Capable of becoming big producer
Several thousand metric tons of Cambodian maize, cassava and soybeans have already been exported for use in feeds in Thailand as well as Vietnam. Much more could follow. Compared with a current grain production in the range of 2-4 million metric tons per year, Cambodia is said to be capable of producing 10-20 million metric tons annually if the right investments are made.
The most obvious financing currently has been with money from Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, China and Korea for ethanol production from cassava. Their focus on the Cambodian provinces of Battambang, Kompong Speu and Kompong Cham overlaps the main corn-growing areas which are in Battambang, Pailin and Banteay Meanchey.
During the dry seasons of 2008 and 2009, according to a report from Cambodia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the three provinces together grew red corn on 114,343 hectares, yielding 502,798 metric tons. This corresponded to 90% of the country's total production of 561,584 metric tons.

100,000 hectares suitable for maize
The director of Battambang’s provincial department of agriculture was quoted by the Phom Penh Post newspaper at the end of 2009 as saying the province had about 100,000 hectares of land suitable for growing maize. The farmers would use more of it for this purpose once they were sure they could find a customer for the grain.
The view from Vietnam is that Cambodia in total has 5 million hectares of arable land and the valuable possibility of using the Mekong River for irrigation and transport. Good climatological conditions should allow several million tons of maize, cassava and soybeans to be grown easily. Exported grain could simply be loaded into large barges to travel down the Mekong for delivery to the south of Vietnam

Keep pigs in their comfort zone

Temperature control is still poor on many pig units and production and health are affected.
Air temperature can affect growth performance mainly through its effect on feed intake if the pig is outside its thermal comfort zone. The critical time for temperature control is the post-weaning period when the pig’s feed intake is low as it adjusts to the new environment.
In colder conditions the older pig can adjust somewhat by increasing feed intake to increase energy input. But post-weaning, the pig cannot compensate with higher feed intakes and this results in reduced body insulation, and poorer pig performance.

Piglet health
Piglets were weaned at 28 days with a weaning weight of 6.64 kg and weaned into either a pen with a heat lamp or pen without a heat lamp. Room temperature was maintained at 21°C while those pigs with a heat lamp were maintained at 29°C. The outcome was that after 10 days the pigs at 21°C grew 33% less and consumed 53% more feed than those pigs maintained at 29°C.
This shows the importance of ensuring that the pig remains in the comfort zone thereby
optimizing pig performance. As producers, we often do not know what the temperature is at the pig level and not only is the average temperature important but the daily temperature variation. Studies (Kurihara et al, 1996; Le Dividich, 1981) have shown that large daily temperature variation (minimum and maximum) has a negative impact on performance. Kurihara et al (1996) compared pigs at an average of 58 days in a constant environment of 21°C with pigs that had a variation of 3°C around 21°C and pigs that a 6°C variation around 21°C.
The feed intake of the piglets was reduced by 14% under the high fluctuating conditions while there was a 3% reduction in the low fluctuating conditions resulting in poorer performance in both treatments.
It is therefore important to not only provide the correct temperature but with a minimum variation throughout the period and although limited data the minimum variation would be <3°c.

University links corn with crude prices

A recent National Chicken Council report cites the results of research from University of Missouri Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) linking the prices of corn and crude oil.
Industry economists, including Dr. Paul Aho, have previously emphasized the relationship between the two commodities with linkage influenced by diversion of corn to ethanol in the U.S.
FAPRI Co-Director, Dr. Pat Westhoff, said, “Throughout most of 2007 and 2008 there was a strong correlation between corn and oil prices. You could divide the price of oil in dollars per barrel by 20 and get the corn price.”
The implication of linkage is that oil prices above $70 will be correlated to a corn price over $3.50/bushel. Recovery of world economies possibly at a faster rate than that in the U.S. will result in increased demand for corn and soybeans, and, coupled with a low dollar, ingredient prices will be high through 2010.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pet chicken owner, falconer clash

The upsurge in urban chicken populations occasioned by relaxation of city ordinances to allow small egg production flocks has resulted in cases of predation. In a recent incident, a resident of Cary, N.C., complained when a red-tailed hawk, exercised by a falconer, supplemented its usual diet of rodents with a young rooster snatched from a backyard.
The news report, which made the front page of the
News and Observer, illustrates the conflict of rights represented by the licensed falconer and the homeowner.
Although raising hens in urban areas has increased, problems associated with disease, cost of feed, parasites, fly infestation and poor egg production may convince urban chicken owners to revert to purchasing their needs at the local supermarket.

Feed bill unanimously approved in Senate committee

The Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously approved bill bill S.510 to upgrade the Food and Safety Law and reform the FDA.
In a press release from the
American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the industry body expressed its support for this legislation with the proviso that there should be distinct and separate language applying to the feed industry and allowing specific exemptions in the rulemaking process.
The AFIA also will request reasonable controls and due process relating to any mandatory recall. The organization is desirous of FDA maintaining recognition for third-party inspections and elimination of inspection fees that are directed at preventing foodborne diseases.
For more information, e-mail Steve Kopperud at

Chicken labeling leads to GM controversy

According to reports, New Zealand’s Commerce Commission warned poultry producer Inghams about false advertising under the Fair Trading Act. This stems from company advertising stating its poultry contains no genetically modified (GM) content, even though the birds were eating a feed with 13% GM soy.
University of Canterbury professor of genetics and molecular biology, Jack Heinemann, researched whether chickens fed GM feed could contain GM ingredients in their meat. The professor said GM plant material can transfer to animals fed GM feed.
This goes against an international scientific consensus that states animals that eat GM feed are themselves not genetically modified.

Agromek-Livestock reports strong attendance

Denmark’s annual Agromek show has reported a strong attendance for its first Agromek-Livestock edition held in November 2009, with 38,671 visitors. This included 4,644 foreign visitors from 67 countries.
From 2009, Agromek has changed to a schedule of an alternating focus between supplies for livestock production and machines for field crops. Its next livestock edition will be in November 2011.

NCC responds to Consumer Reports article

The National Chicken Council responded to a recent article by Consumer Reports saying, “Chicken is safe. Like all fresh foods, raw chicken may have some microorganisms present, but these are destroyed by the heat of normal cooking. Consumers are encouraged to follow the safe handling and cooking instructions printed on every package of fresh meat and poultry sold in this country.
“A much more comprehensive survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture found salmonella and campylobacter on fewer raw chickens than Consumer Reports. More important is the fact that USDA found that the levels of microorganisms present are usually very low. Consumer Reports failed to perform this analysis. The USDA survey also showed that poultry processing greatly improves the microbiological profile of raw chickens.”

World Nutrition Forum selects date, location

The World Nutrition Forum will be held October 13-16, 2010, in Salzburg, Austria, with the theme of The Sound of Nutrition.
As the world economy climbs out of the downturn, the World Nutrition Forum aims to shed light on the trends that will affect animal nutrition and production, and how businesses can move forward.
The theme for the 2010 Forum, The Sound of Nutrition, was inspired by the vision of a harmonious approach to balancing the sounds or demands of nutrition, with that of the environment, economics, science and business.
In the tradition of past forums, the 2010 edition will also include a lineup of issues related to business, trade, science and leadership, including the B.R.A.I.N. (Biomin Research and Innovation Network) program, that awards groundbreaking work in animal nutrition.

Pig production costs confirm widespread losses

Average pig production costs per kilogram of carcass in the first six months of 2009 continued to be lower in Brazil, Canada and the U.S. than for the member states of the European Union, according to InterPig costings presented to a meeting of the European Pig Producers organization.
Costs were lower in Denmark, Spain, France and the Netherlands than in the UK, Ireland and Germany. However, calculations shown by the council's 2009 annual report suggest that producers in all of the countries made losses in the January to June period as feed costs were restored only slowly to lower levels after the high grain prices of 2008.
In Denmark it meant a production cost of slightly over US$2 per kilogram, leaving a negative margin of about 40 cents. For Germany it gave an average loss of about 44 cents from a production cost of approximately $2.43. The same rate of loss per kilogram was calculated for Canada due to low pig prices, even though the Canadian production cost was lower at around US$1.64.
Danish prices just about covered costs in the third quarter of the year, says Finn Udesen at the agriculture/food council, before margins slipped into the minus zone again in the final three months. On balance, therefore, there had been some improvement in profitability in the second six months of 2009.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

EU survey reports on MRSA in pigs

The European Food Safety Authority has published the first EU-wide survey on MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcusaureus) in breeding pigs. The results indicate that MRSA, a bacterium resistant to many antibiotics, is commonly detected in holdings with breeding pigs in some EU member states.
The survey provides estimates of its occurrence and makes recommendations for further monitoring of pig holdings in the EU.
The survey was carried out in 24 member states, 17 of which found some type of MRSA in their holdings with breeding pigs, and seven found none at all. On average, different types of MRSA were found in one out of four holdings with breeding pigs across the EU, but the survey also says that figures vary greatly between member states. MRSA ST398 was the most reported type of MRSA among the holdings with breeding pigs in the EU; some member states also reported other types, but their prevalence was much lower.
MRSA is a major concern for public health, and its various types are recognized as an important cause of hospital-acquired infections in humans. The specific type MRSA ST398 has been identified in some domestic animals and is considered an occupational health risk for farmers, veterinarians and their families, who may become exposed to it through direct or indirect contact with these animals.

Thai chicken exports to hit 50 billion baht in 2009

Thanks to increasing demand from the European Union (EU), Thai exporters forecast full-year chicken exports to hit 500,000 tons, worth more than US$150.6 million (50 billion baht), according to National News Bureau of Thailand (NNT).
This year, Thai chicken exports have increased 13%, according to Chaveewan Khumpa, president of the Poultry Promotion Association of Thailand. However, Thai chicken exports to the Japanese market were likely to decrease because of Japan’s full stocks from last year, added Khumpa.
Thai poultry exporters will face tough competition from China and Brazil, which now sell products to the EU and Japan for cheaper prices.

Australians invest in farm-mixed feed

Substantial investments in on-farm feed manufacturing by three large pork producers in Australia have been reported at the Agromek-Livestock show in Denmark by Danish equipment group Skiold.
By the end of the year, it will have delivered installations to the enterprises in Queensland and South Australia for the fully automatic preparation of up to 20 metric tons/hour of diets in a pelleted form.
The customers range in size from 4,000 to 17,000 sows and they operate on multiple sites that involve transporting the feeds in their own vehicles some distance from the central mill-mixing plant. They have, therefore, chosen to add pelleting after the Disc mill and mixer to avoid the separation of particles during transportation.
The installations include barcode identification of raw materials and internet connection for the controls to allow remote access from the producer’s office and the possibility of long-distance support from the supplier’s technical team in Denmark.

Alltech creates mycotoxin hotline

Delays in the North American corn harvest have brought about concerns over mycotoxin contamination, particularly toxins produced by Fusarium molds including DON (vomitoxin), zearalenone, and fusaric acid.
Alltech has established the “Mycotoxin Hotline," which is available toll-free at +1.866.322.3484.
The telephone resource is in addition to the company’s sponsorship of the Web site, which is designed to provide producers and feed mill professionals a quick route to answers and a centralized point of access to references and industry experts.

Bosnia and Herzegovina year-on-year exports increase

Animal feed exporters in Bosnia and Herzegovina substantially increased their year-on-year exports in the first nine months of this year.
Although the exports were 84.3% higher, they were still worth only EUR216,000, according to
Bosnia's Federal Statistics Office.
Bosnia's animal feed imports fell by just 0.1% year-on-year to EUR17.3 million in the January to September period.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

UDSA funds turkey genome sequencing project

Reports say USDA has awarded Virginia Tech and the University of Minnesota a $908,280 grant for a turkey genome sequencing project.
The two-year funding will be used to complete the genome sequencing of the domesticated turkey, Meleagris gallopavo. The project will identify genes and functions, and also help establish a bioinformatics and comparative genome resource for both chicken and turkey.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Annual meat conference slated for March

The 2010 Annual Meat Conference is scheduled for Sunday, March 7-Tuesday, March 9, 2010, at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Fla.
This annual conference addresses consumer trends, marketing and merchandising, technology, human resources and meat department profitability. There will also be educational sessions, a tech fair and a product tasting reception.
The event is co-sponsored by
Food Marketing Institute and the American Meat Institute in conjunction with the American Lamb Board, National Cattlemen's Association, National Chicken Council, National Pork Board and the National Turkey Federation.
Rosen Shingle Creek is located at 9939 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL 32819. Room reservations can be made directly with the hotel by calling +1.866.996.9939. The reservation cut-off date is February 12, 2010.
For more information, visit

Monday, November 30, 2009

Jakarta slaughters poultry to contain bird flu

Reports say bird flu is anticipated in East Jakarta, Indonesia, where thousands of birds are being killed to stop the epidemic, per bylaws of the Poultry Husbandry Control in Jakarta.
According to officials, 1,537 chickens, 390 ducks and 1,825 pigeons were slaughtered and cages burned.

US corn 68% harvested, soybeans 94% complete

The USDA reported farmers have made progress harvesting the 2009 corn crop. The Crop Progress Report estimates 68% of corn is out of the fields, compared to 54% a week earlier.
The corn harvest is still behind last year's 87%, and the five-year average of 94%.
Soybean growers have harvested 94% of the crop compared to 89% a week ago. At the same time in 2008, 97% of soybeans were harvested, and the five-year average is 97%.

Turkish mills face feed ingredients shortage

Mills in Turkey expect to run short of some key feed ingredients in the next four to six weeks because of the country's decision to ban the importation of all food and feed products containing genetically modified (GM) components, says U.S. Grains Council (USGC).
Joe O’Brien, USGC regional director in the Middle East and subcontinent, said feedmillers and livestock producers are running out of feed, especially corn and distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). No progress had been made to reverse or amend Turkey's additional requirements on imports with a GM content. The council said those involved in the import and use of the products are still waiting for the outcome of a court case filed shortly after the regulations were announced.
"Meanwhile, there are vessels near the region that are not able to come into port to deliver essential feed ingredients only available through exports and are circling the area or consigning the cargo into costly bonded facilities, driving up costs," O’Brien said.
Prices for alternatives to corn and DDGS have rapidly increased threatening a standstill in the industry, USGC said. Local feedmillers are banding together to present their case to government officials, commissioning their own scientific research to counter claims that have been made.

Corn DNA fully decoded

According to reports, the genetic code for corn has been uncovered by U.S. scientists. This could lead to higher corn yields.
The Washington University team of 150 experts identified the 32,000 DNA sequences located in the 10 chromosomes that make up corn.

Novus launches podcast series

Novus International recently launched a bi-weekly podcast series titled, “What’s New with Novus.” The first podcast was made available November 18 on iTunes, Zune and on the company Web site.
The topics will focus on issues facing the global agriculture community today. These issues include the global food crisis, sustainability and key industry events. Every other podcast will focus on Alimet feed supplement.
The first podcast features Dr. Giovanni Gasperoni, executive vice president, marketing and sales, Novus.
The next edition of “What’s New with Novus” will be available November 30. Novus’s Global Ruminant Market Manager Stephanie Gable will be discussing oxidative balance in cows.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Welfare labels for all of Europe’s meat?

A pig housing supplier in Europe warned recently that all meat produced in the European Union would soon be required by a new EU law to be labelled with one of four possible categories according to the animal welfare status of the system used in its production.
The warning may have been slightly premature in that the EU discussions are still ongoing (and no-one yet knows the number of categories, nor the proposed form of assessment). But it is true that the European Commission has tabled proposals for a co-ordinated labelling scheme aimed at informing consumers and encouraging higher-welfare systems. ... Read the rest of the blog on

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

EU threatens court action over missing permits

Spain, Greece and Portugal are in the firing line over permits for their larger producers of poultry and pigs, says a market note from BPEX in the U.K.
European Commission intends to take legal action against nine Member States over missing IPPC permits. These documents are required of larger enterprises relating to protection against environmental pollution. The three countries mentioned head a list of member states in which permits are still outstanding for a number of installations that qualify for IPPC.

Chicken prices drop in Pakistan

According to reports, Pakistani chicken farmers have dropped their chicken prices by Rs30 per kilogram to lighten their inventory before the coming Muslim religious festival, Eid-ul-Azha, when chicken demand traditionally drops.
Retired Secretary
Pakistan Poultry Association Punjab Major Javed Bokhari said chicken farmers profited when prices ranged between Rs170 and Rs180 per kilogram earlier, making the lower price affordable to the farmers.

Philippines ends ban on US meat, bone meal

The Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) has lifted the temporary ban on meat and bone meal imports from the United States following official confirmation from global health authorities on the controlled-risk status of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in the U.S.
DA Secretary Arthur Yap said in a memorandum that the
World Animal Health Organization (OIE) has adopted a resolution recognizing the United States as "Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) controlled risk" based on the provisions of the OIE's Terrestrial Code. BSE is also known as mad cow disease.
Controlled risk means there has been no case of BSE or, if there has been a case, every case of BSE has been demonstrated to have been imported and has been completely destroyed.
He further noted the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration finalized additional restrictions to its Feed Rule (USFDA-HHS 2008) with the implementation of the “cattle material prohibited from animal feed,” to decrease the risk of BSE in the U.S.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Broiler production up a slim 1% in Q4

According to the Nov. 17 issue of USDA’s Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Outlook, broiler production in the fourth quarter of 2009 is forecast to be up only 1% from the previous year.
Broiler production in fourth-quarter 2009 is forecast at 8.95 billion pounds, up only 1% from the previous year, but it's the first year-over-year increase in production after four consecutive quarterly declines. Broiler meat production is expected to increase only slightly in 2010, as the positive impact of generally lower prices for corn and soybean meal are expected to be partially offset by little growth in real disposable income and continued high unemployment.
Turkey production in fourth-quarter 2009 is expected to total 1.48 billion pounds, down 6.8% from the previous year.
Production in 2010 is forecast at 5.73 billion pounds, up 0.5 % from 2009. Wholesale prices for whole hen turkeys in the Eastern market in fourth-quarter 2009 are expected to be 81-83 cents per pound, down 5% to 7% from 2008.