Friday, October 30, 2009

Afta plan removes feed material tariffs

According to reports, the free-trade plan of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will lower feed costs for poultry and hog farmers. The plan is awaiting implementation.The Asean Free Trade Area-Common Effective Preferential Treatment (Afta-Cept) will eliminate tariffs, making alternative feed materials such as tapioca more affordable. The current tapioca tariff is 35%.
Other tariffs to be lifted include those on soybean meal and DDGS at 3%, and soybeans at 1%. Under the new plan, a 35% tariff on yellow corn imposed by Manila, Philippines, will also cease, potentially opening up new markets.

Turkmenistan opens first poultry complex

According to reports, Turkmenistan recently opened its first full-cycle poultry complex in Akhal province.
The private farm, which employs 180 people, is expected to produce 3,000 tons of poultry meat and 4 million eggs per year.The facility, which includes an industrial incubator, feed mill and a protein factory, claims to be virtually waste free.In 2007, the government decreed its support of this agro-industrial project.

PAVA conducts talks with Japanese partners

Grain processor PAVA negotiated with one of the largest Japanese corporations as part of the company’s policy to expand international partnerships.
The meeting was held in Barnaul, Russia, where PAVA headquarters are located.The agenda of the meeting included a number of issues including potential trading cooperation and financial partnerships regarding PAVA’s new projects. Current business strategy of the grain processor is based on implementation of two projects: “Russian Agricultural Division” (expansion of land bank and farming) and “Grainvest” (deep wheat processing that involves reconstruction of some facilities).

IEC speaks on enriched colony cages

The organizers of the 2009 IEC Conference arranged a panel of EU experts to review progress in adoption of enriched colony cages. In 2008, 7% of the 278 million confined hens in the EU were housed in colony cages. Germany leads the nations of the EU in adoption of the system, referred to as Kleingruppenhaltung, which is translated as “housing in small groups.”
In contrast, Austria has banned colony cages, effective 2020. Sweden has allowed colony systems following the phasing out of conventional cages at the end of 2002. Belgium will ban conventional cages beginning in 2012, but will allow enriched colony cages through 2024.
Studies conducted on colony cages in the Netherlands showed more than 95% of eggs were laid in nest boxes, and 90% of the hens used perches at night. Evaluations of the behavior of hens in cages are still in progress, with attempts to correlate performance with activity of flocks in a small group. It is estimated egg production costs 10% more in colony cages compared to conventional cages. In the EU, there is no premium for eggs derived from colony systems as compared to free range and non-confined flocks.
The question arose at the conference asking if enriched colony cages will comply with emerging U.S. animal welfare guidelines including California Proposition #2 and the recently enacted law in Michigan. A reading of both items would appear to exclude colony cages.
The HSUS and others regard a cage of any form as “confinement” and non-compliant with their position that hens must be able to “spread their wings without touching either side of an enclosure or another bird.” This provision would effectively eliminate colony cages and may extend to any non-confined barn system depending on interpretation. Advancing colony cages, as a means of appeasing the HSUS and PETA, will be futile, given abolition of intensive livestock production is the ultimate goal of these groups.

IEC conference speaks to branding, marketing

At the recent International Egg Commission Conference, Dr. Jan-Benedict Steenkamp shared his views on branding, emphasizing “strong brands don’t just happen; they are created.”
He maintained that branding eggs represents a practical alternative to store-designations since consumers invariably seek out brand names to simplify the purchase process. Since most consumers make a purchase decision within 20 seconds, it is important for brands to be featured on packs. In addition, product attributes including nutritional content should also be clearly visible.

Brand promotions can be extremely effective, providing consumers can appreciate the attributes of the product. Competitive advantages accrue to successful brands despite the costs associated with advertising. Steenkamp maintains brand promotion is most effective in concentrated markets such as the major metropolitan areas of the U.S.
With the supermarket industry representing an oligopoly in the U.S. and the EU, and the inclinations of multinationals toward store brands, producers must be flexible and prepared to sell both generic and premium products to the major chains. At the end of the day, the reality is that supermarkets own their shelves. They are, however, prepared to sell both specialty and store brands in response to consumer demand since customers loyal to a specific brand may fill their weekly baskets at a competing store with broader offerings.
Of special importance to the U.S. industry is the distinction between generic and brand promotion. Steenkamp recognizes the role generic promotion may have in dispelling misconceptions among consumers. A specific example is the work of the American Egg Board in removing the stigma of cholesterol from eggs.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

USDA, FAS release egg statistics

According to the latest statistics issued by the USDA Economic Research Service and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), cumulative exports for the first eight months of 2009 amounted to 77.2 million dozen shell eggs.
This represents a 7% increase over the corresponding period in 2008.

On an annualized basis, shell egg exports in 2009 would amount to 115 million dozen, representing the output of five million hens or 1.8% of the national flock. Among the significant importers, Canada declined by 8% to 21.5 million dozen, compensated by a 16% increase in exports of 16.2 million dozen to Hong Kong. Exports to unspecified countries, including the Caribbean, increased by 4% to 25.4 million dozen.
According to USAPEEC, an average of 74 cents per dozen was obtained for shell eggs. Exports of egg products expressed as shell egg equivalents attained 67 million dozen for the first eight months of 2009, which was virtually unchanged from the value in 2008.
Japan reduced imports by 38% to 14 million dozen shell-equivalents, but this was compensated by a 273% increase in exports to Canada (5.3 million shell-equivalents) and a 50% increase to Germany. China showed a significant drop from 3.8 million dozen shell-equivalents to 283,000 dozen. This virtually identical reduction in volume occurred previously between 2005 and the precipitous drop in 2006.Total exports of shell eggs and products expressed as shell-equivalents represent the output of seven million hens or 2.6% of the national flock and constitutes an important market stabilizing factor.

Israel’s poultry proposal draws criticism

According to reports, Israel’s Agriculture Ministry’s proposed poultry reform has opponents complaining it is inhumane to birds, will blight the landscape and offers unequal benefits to those in agriculture. Proponents believe the plan will save money. The changes stem from the cabinet resolution calling for the relocation of family-run chicken farms in the Upper Galilee region to several dozen centralized locations. The change involves more than 500 coops.
The government says large, centrally-located coops will be more efficient. Opponents believe larger bird facilities will impact the Upper Galilee's mountainous landscape.Another controversial part of the plan is that small coop owners will receive financial help to convert to new businesses.

Maryland community to review animal ordinance

Reports say the town of Berlin, Md., is reviewing an ordinance amendment that would outlaw the keeping of chickens and other farm animals within town limits.
This comes after a small flock of backyard chickens and ducks, kept as pets, led to community concern.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Vietnam to regulate feed industry

According to reports, the Vietnamese government will begin regulating animal feed costs. Domestic market prices for feed are 10% to 15% higher than in nearby countries.
The Viet Nam Feed Association claims costs are higher due to the need to import half of the raw materials needed in feed production. With no domestic competition, foreign companies charge higher prices.The association says the country imports 3.7 million tonnes of grain to produce feed. The industry is asking for government help to encourage investment in raw material production.

Russia to increase grain exports

According to reports, Russia is closer to its goal of increased grain exports. Black Earth Farming Ltd. is expected to export grain to Japan and expand grain production by more than 500,000 metric tons this year.
Russia plans to double its exports in the next 10 to 15 years by developing fallow land. The country is promoting the endeavor with loans to support additional grain terminals and silos. Black Earth also plans forward sales with traders and fertilizer suppliers both at home and abroad.In Stockholm trading, Black Earth rose 1 krona, or 4.1%, to close at 25.70 kronor.

USDA seeks comments on Codex positions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration are sponsoring a public meeting Oct. 28, 1-4 p.m., to provide information and receive public comments on agenda items and draft U.S. positions that will be discussed at the 41st Session of the Codex Committee on Food Hygiene (CCFH) of the Codex Alimentarius Commission.
The Codex committee's session is scheduled for Nov. 16-20, in San Diego, Calif.
The public meeting will be held at FDA, Harvey Wiley Federal Building, 5100 Paint Branch Parkway, Room 1A-003 (Auditorium), College Park, Md. Documents related to the 41st Session of the CCFH will be accessible

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Indian poultry industry enjoys improved margins

According to reports, India is experiencing a rise in poultry demand as the festival season continues and the country enjoys a mild start to winter. This comes as feed prices are stable, and thus improving margins for poultry traders.Prices for live weight broilers have increased to Rs70 a kg from Rs60 a month ago. Egg prices have also increased 15%.
Poultry traders speculate that increased feed costs are coming due to low bean output.

EU blocks request for WTO ruling on poultry ban

According to reports, the European Union blocked the U.S. request for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to rule on an American poultry ban by Europe.The ban stems from pathogen-reduction treatments used to clean U.S. poultry, which is not allowed in the EU. Imports of U.S. chicken and turkey stopped in April 1997. Should trade resume, U.S. poultry producers stand to gain over $300 million in export sales, according to the National Chicken Council.
The EU was able to block the first request from the U.S. to involve the WTO, but under current dispute rules, will not be able to block a second request usually put forth the following month.

Lallemand reports momentum for yeast derivatives

Lallemand reports that yeast derivatives are gaining momentum in all animal nutrition.
The gain has been attributed to their stability, resistance to harsh feed manufacturing processes and documented efficacy.

Monday, October 26, 2009

USDA holds teleconferences on interstate shipments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will hold teleconferences Oct. 27 and Nov. 5 regarding changes to meat and poultry shipment policies from state-inspected plants.The proposed regulation impacts meat and poultry producers from the 27 states that operate their own inspection services. The change would allow companies with 25 or fewer employees to ship their meat and poultry across state lines without federal inspection.
The teleconferences will be held from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. EDT (Nov. 5 conference EST) on the above dates and require pre-registration to participate. Information about the meetings, including how to register and the agenda will be made available for viewing on the FSIS Web site.
Comments on this voluntary cooperative program may also be submitted on or before Nov. 16, 2009, using either the Federal eRulemaking Portal or by mail. All comments must identify FSIS and the docket number FSIS-2008-0027. Comments will be available for viewing online .

USDA mulling over pork purchase

According to reports, Deputy Agriculture Undersecretary Michael Scuse said the U.S. Department of Agriculture will take up to two months to decide if it will purchase more pork in an effort to assist the industry.
As hog producers have sustained great losses, the National Pork Producers Council has requested the government food assistance programs purchase at least $50 million of pork products.In fiscal year 2009, USDA bought $164.6 million of pork products.

EU needs soy imports, lacks approval

According to reports, imports of U.S. soybeans to the European Union have been halted due to EU regulations against non-approved GMOs, even in trace amounts.
Because of low harvests in South America this year, Europe needs six to 7.5 million tons of U.S. soybeans, say feed industry and grain trade associations Fediol, Fefac and Coceral. The soybeans are needed for animal feed production.
No decisions were made Oct. 19 by EU farm ministers regarding GMO approvals, though the EU Commission indicated it would make a quick decision.In past months, 180,000 tons of U.S. soy were not allowed into Europe due to traces of three GMO maize not approved by the EU.

DDGS use may save farmers money

Danisco Animal Nutrition has released research findings that indicate pig producers can save around US$5/ton in feed costs using diets containing distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS). This savings, according to the company, does not risk animal performance.
In a trial conducted at the University of Illinois, combining a new-generation phytase (Phyzyme XP) with a xylanase enzyme (Porzyme 9302) in corn-based pigs diets containing 20% corn, DDGS significantly improved digestible energy by 5.6%, ileal amino acid digestibility by 4% to 8% and increased phosphorus digestibility from 22% to 51%.
In a trial conducted at the University of Kentucky, adding the xylanase and phytase combination resulted in net savings in feed costs of about US$5/ton. Performance of pigs fed a corn-based diet containing 20% corn DDGS reduced in both digestible energy and available phosphorus and supplemented with the enzyme combination, was at least equivalent to the performance of pigs fed a more expensive standard diet.
Danisco said that while DDGS is potentially a cost effective and valuable feed ingredient, there are certain anti-nutritional factors which can limit its use in pig feed.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Group seeks to curb hog, poultry farm growth

According to reports, the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment (CFFE) is asking the USDA, in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Vilsack, to halt direct and guaranteed loans to new or expanding hog and poultry farms. The letter contained 25,000 signatures and is in response to what the group views as overproduction.
Farmer and Missouri Rural Crisis Center member, Rhonda Perry, said on radio station KBIA, "We've got 547 million pounds of pork in cold storage, which is 25% higher than the five-year average, and I believe it's about 8% above last year's numbers."Presently the hog and poultry industries are experiencing historically low prices and oversupply conditions.
A similar loan hold was done in 1999 in response to the hog industry price crisis of that time.

US boosts soybean sales to China

Reports say soybean sales to China have grown to 12.5 million tons. This represents a significant increase over the same time last year at 7.7 million tons.The increase comes from demands of China’s growing middle class. As the population becomes more affluent, so grows their taste for grain-fed meats.Last year the country purchased US$7.3 billion in soybeans from the U.S.

Canadian hog farmers ask for aid

Reports say the Manitoba Pork Council is asking for support from the provincial government for the hog sector, which has been losing money for more than two years.Manitoba Pork Council chair, Karl Kynoch, says the industry has been refused a match to the Saskatchewan program and has not been offered other solutions by the government.The council is seeking tax relief on barns that farmers cannot afford to pay given the state of the industry.

Poultry forum speakers announced

Economist Donald Ratajczak will be a featured speaker at the Poultry Market Intelligence Forum, during the International Poultry Expo in 2010. He will offer insight on U.S. and global economic conditions. Sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, the event is slated for Jan. 27-29, 2010, at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
Additional speakers include economists Mike Donohue and Paul Aho. They will examine the issues that will impact the domestic and international poultry industry in 2010.

Germany feels impact of cage ban

Just as British egg producers are preparing for new cage legislation in advance of an EU-wide ban in 2012, Klaus Torborg of Lohmann Animal Health addressed leading UK producers in Shropshire and spoke about Germany’s experience.
According to Torborg, the German industry delayed converting its systems. As a result, many producers have been forced out of production. The number of layers dropped from 40 million to around 33 million, and self-sufficiency in eggs fell from 70% to 55%. Imports have flooded in from other countries, particularly Holland, which has been quicker to convert its systems.
Torborg said Germany was over-eager in complying with EU policy and required enriched cages to be installed three years before it became necessary under EU law. But when the government changed to a conservative administration this was not repealed, so the efforts of producers who had installed enriched cages were not rewarded. Their eggs were labeled as "Class 3," the same as those from standard cages, he explained.
Another big influence on the industry has been discount supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl and Netto. The discounters now account for about 47% of all eggs sold in Germany and, for marketing/animal welfare reasons, will not sell eggs from enriched cages. Most egg producers, despite high investment in enriched cages, will have to convert to the barn system, he said.
Cage houses converted to the barn system hold far fewer birds due to lower stocking density, so many producers are additionally faced with putting up new buildings if they wish to maintain their hen numbers.

British pork sales up

According to reports, the British Pig Executive (BPEX) has released figures showing strong consumer purchases of bacon up 7.9%. Also, favorable purchasing was indicated for fresh pork and sausages, up 5.3% and 2%, respectively.
These numbers represent the four-week period ending October 4, compared with the same time frame from last year.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Minnesota hog with H1N1 flu confirmed

Reports say the Minnesota State Fair is the location of the first confirmed case of H1N1 flu virus in a U.S. hog. The fairgrounds had four teenagers sick with the virus.Officials stressed this incident did not endanger commercial pigs raised for consumption, and that there is not a link between consuming pork products and contracting the virus.

Russia’s new restrictions limit imports

According to reports, Russia is said to have temporary limitations on German and Dutch poultry and dry milk from Moldavia.This comes just as the Rosselkhoznadzor restrictions are to come into effect. These rules will impact imports of turkey containing antibiotics and poultry meat containing doxycycline.

No new chicken houses along Maryland shoreline

According to reports, Environmental Protection Agency regulations containing “zero discharge” policies have made new chicken houses impossible on the Maryland shoreline.The regulations expose farmers to fines and criminal penalties should any runoff enter waterways.

DSM product gains EU approval

DSM Nutritional Products’ Rovimix HyD 1.25% recently was authorized for use in pig feed in the EU. This comes after a positive safety assessment by the European Food Safety Authority was granted.The feed additive, according to information provided by the company, raises blood levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in swine.

China lowers forecast for corn, soybean output

As drought hit Northeastern China’s major corn growing areas earlier this year, China is expected to produce 163 million tons of corn in 2009, a drop of 2.92 million tons or 1.8% against 2008, according to Beijing’s state-own China National Grain and Oils Information Centre (CNGOIC).
CNGOIC has also lowered its forecast for the country’s soybean output to 14.5 million tons in 2009, 1.045 million tons or 6.7% down from last year.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

GOA report questions ethanol subsidy

The Government Accounting Agency (GAO) issued a report, GAO-09-446, in August 2009 on the tax subsidies and targets set forth in the Federal Renewable Fuels Standard for ethanol in gasoline.
The report questions the desirability of continuing the 45 cent/gallon Volumetric Ethanol Tax Credit for blending ethanol into gasoline. This is based on the ethanol industry now being considered mature, and capacity theoretically approaching the annual 15 billion gallon target set for 2015, corresponding to 10% inclusion of ethanol in gasoline.
The Renewable Fuels Association is currently lobbying the Environmental Protection Agency to raise the inclusion level to 15% to penetrate the 10% “blend wall.” The GAO recognizes the need to increase domestic production of biofuels, but considers funds should rather be expended on research and development of alternatives to corn-based ethanol.
Contrary to the assertions of the Renewable Fuels Association, diversion of corn to ethanol has resulted in increased prices of corn and other ingredients, and indirect increases of livestock production costs and consumer prices.

Overview of 2009 US egg statistics

University of California Poultry Memo, Number 82, covering 2009 through August, has been circulated by Don Bell, poultry specialist emeritus, University of California-Riverside.
The following key values were presented:
*155 million pullet chicks have been hatched to date representing a 2.6% decline over the corresponding period in 2008.
*The 24-month previous hatch through August 2009 amounted to 459 million pullets, representing an increase of 8.3 million pullets over the 24-month cumulative hatch through August 2008. It is noted that this parameter is correlated strongly to the Urner-Barry (U-B) Midwest egg price.
*The average monthly transfer of pullets to layer houses is projected to attain 16.4 million for 2009 representing a 1.7% increase over the corresponding value for 2008.
*As of August 2009 the producing flock comprised 276.6 million hens. The average flock size to date is 280.3 million hens, relatively unchanged compared to the first eight months of 2008.
*Total egg production through the first eight months of 2009 amounted to 51.343 billion eggs a 0.9% increase over the first eight months of 2008. Pullet transfers, hen numbers and egg production data suggest restraint in expansion consistent with U-B egg prices prevailing in 2009.
*An average of 24.4% of the national flock has been molted, relatively unchanged from 2008 but an approximately 12% reduction from 2007. This has resulted in a decrease in weighted average flock age.
*44 million hens were depleted through August 2008, representing a 9% decrease over 2008 but a 13% reduction from the corresponding eight month period in 2007.
*44.4 million cases were consigned to breakers or processed in in-line units during the first eight months of 2009, a 2.2% reduction over January–August 2008. Approximately 31% of total U.S. domestic consumption is now further-processed.
*The nine-month average U-B Midwest, Large price is 101 cents/dozen. This is a 32% decrease over the nine-month average of 2008. The months of May–September were below 100 cents per dozen offsetting the higher revenues through the first 4 months of this year.
*Average U-B Midwest breaker egg price for the first 9-months of 2009 was 42.6 cents/dozen, a 45% decrease from the 87.8 cents/dozen in 2008. Unit revenue for breaking eggs has declined as a proportion of production cost and is now close to 64% of calculated nest-run production cost. It is noted that breaker egg prices peaked at 114 cents/dozen in March 2008 with a prevailing U-B price of 165.6 cents per dozen.
*Nine-month average production cost in 2009 is 59 cents/dozen, ranging from a high of 63.7 cents/dozen in June to a low of 57 cents/dozen in September. The approximately 9% reduction in production cost over the 68 cents/dozen recorded in 2008 is attributed to lower ingredient costs. Production costs peaked in June and July of 2008 at 73 cents/dozen.

Six states hold more than half US hens

The latest USDA figures show the top six states hold 56% of U.S. hens, led by Iowa and Ohio (see chart).
Following the 2007 passage of Proposition 2 in California, it is expected California will drop from the list with compensatory expansion in the Midwest and High Plains states. The status of Ohio will depend strongly on the outcome of a referendum.

EU ban on GM ingredients imposes costs

According to the Nederlandse Vereniging Diervoederindustrie, the Dutch association for the feed industry, the zero-tolerance standard relating to GMO contamination of imported feed ingredients will impose high costs on feed manufacturers, livestock producers and, ultimately, consumers.
In addition to the current ban on importation of canola, corn and rice products from North America, the new barrier to soybeans will impose a severe economic impact. Nevedi, which represents 115 feed companies in Holland, collectively producing 96% of the 13 million tons of feed produced annually, calculates the cost will be as high as US$380 million with a potential loss of up to 700 jobs. The damage could be higher if the ban is extended to oil marketed from imported beans.
Nevedi has consistently emphasized that the zero tolerance for unapproved GM material in imported products is unwarranted and represents a severe burden for producers in Holland and other EU countries, and will affect competitiveness of the EU agri-food industry.
Pedro Correa, president of the European Food Manufacturers Association (FEFAC), indicated banning soybean imports from the U.S. will be of concern to the entire livestock industry until the new crop of soybeans becomes available from Latin America during spring 2010. The EU will compete with China for available soybean, and yields from Argentina are expected to be depressed due to drought conditions.
The EU depends on imports for 80% of vegetable protein requirements, and the zero-tolerance policy, which cannot be justified by scientific studies that have confirmed safety, may ultimately be to the detriment of the EU. According to the
Nederlandse Vereniging Diervoederindustrie, the Dutch association for the feed industry, the zero-tolerance standard relating to GMO contamination of imported feed ingredients will impose high costs on feed manufacturers, livestock producers and, ultimately, consumers.
In addition to the current ban on importation of canola, corn and rice products from North America, the new barrier to soybeans will impose a severe economic impact. Nevedi, which represents 115 feed companies in Holland, collectively producing 96% of the 13 million tons of feed produced annually, calculates the cost will be as high as US$380 million with a potential loss of up to 700 jobs. The damage could be higher if the ban is extended to oil marketed from imported beans.
Nevedi has consistently emphasized that the zero tolerance for unapproved GM material in imported products is unwarranted and represents a severe burden for producers in Holland and other EU countries, and will affect competitiveness of the EU agri-food industry.
Pedro Correa, president of the European Food Manufacturers Association (FEFAC), indicated banning soybean imports from the U.S. will be of concern to the entire livestock industry until the new crop of soybeans becomes available from Latin America during spring 2010. The EU will compete with China for available soybean, and yields from Argentina are expected to be depressed due to drought conditions.
The EU depends on imports for 80% of vegetable protein requirements, and the zero-tolerance policy, which cannot be justified by scientific studies that have confirmed safety, may ultimately be to the detriment of the EU.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Slow harvest raises prices

A rain-slowed harvest in the U.S. is increasing feed costs, as corn closes in on $4/bushel and soybeans at nearly $10/bushel, say reports. This further hurt producers who were already suffering from weak demand for meat during the economic downturn.
Corn, with a $1/bushel increase, is expected to impact chicken farmers. A J.P. Morgan analyst cut earnings estimates for Tyson Foods because of the higher grain prices.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates the corn harvest is 22% behind the five-year average for corn acreage harvested at this time. Cool, rainy weather is blamed for the lag on what was to be a record corn yield. More wet weather is predicted.
Most significantly impacted has been Illinois, which only has 6% of its crop harvested. Other impacted states include Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky, which all are 35% behind typical averages.

Artemisia plant studied for poultry use

Scientists at University of Washington and Washington State University are testing the artemisia plant for use in the poultry industry and other medical areas, according to reports.
The project has been funded $1.3 million by the Washington State Life Sciences Discovery Fund.
The plant produces artemisinin, an active ingredient in malaria treatments. It is thought to have antibacterial properties that may fight bacterial infections and control parasites in poultry. Artemisia could provide a natural way to avoid chemical residue in chicken meat.

Ontario official assists in organic turkey conflict

Ontario's Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Leona Dombrowsky, is getting involved in the disagreement between conflicting rules for raising organic turkeys, according to reports.
Turkey Farmers of Ontario (TFO) states turkeys must be confined indoors to protect against avian influenza from wild birds. This contradicts the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency (CFIA) mandate that organic birds be raised outdoors. The disagreement could cost some farmers their organic certification.
Dombrowsky has asked the Ontario Farm Products Marketing Commission to work with the involved agencies to accommodate the free-range organic production of turkeys.

Russian poultry forecast upbeat

Vladimir Fisinin, president of Russia's Poultry Union, has given an upbeat forecast for Russian poultry production this year, indicating that this will increase by 300,000 tonnes year-on-year to 2.5 million tonnes.
Nine-month production was 200,000 tonnes higher year-on-year.
Fisinin made the comments at the 11th Russian Agro-Exposition Golden Autumn in Moscow in early October, according to the
Interfax news agency. Russian egg production will also increase substantially this year to approximately 39 billion, with nine-month production this year rising by 1.1 billion year-on-year. For 2009 as a whole, egg production is likely to be 1.5 billion higher year-on-year, said Fisinin.

H1N1 infects more Norwegian pigs

Mattilsynet, Norway's food and veterinary watchdog, says the number of pig herds in Nord Trondelag county infected by H1N1 as of Oct. 15 has increased to eight.
Three of six new samples tested were found to be positive for the virus. Mattilsynet is concerned about the illness passing from humans to pigs.
Mattilsynet added it will expand the use of restrictions concerning infected pigs or pigs suspected of being infected; the most important of which is the non-movement of live animals. The transport of pigs for slaughter will be allowed following necessary approvals.
The group noted it would try to find whether pig herds in other parts of Norway are infected, focusing on areas with the highest concentration of pig farms.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Backyard chickens considered in Chicago suburb

City officials in Evanston, Ill., may reconsider a 1974 law prohibiting the keeping of chickens, according to reports.
The citizen group, Evanston Backyard Chicken Committee, is interested in raising chickens for eggs and is pushing for the law change.
Members hope to develop a model ordinance based on successful policy in other parts of the country. The group would present its proposal to a sub-committee of the city council.

Hong Kong suspends poultry from Spain

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong announced imports of poultry and poultry products from Spain would be suspended immediately.
The decision was made because of an avian influenza H7 outbreak in a poultry farm in Castilla-La Mancha, said the CFS statement.
The data from CFS shows Hong Kong imported about 300 tons of Spanish frozen poultry and poultry products from January to July 2009.

Energy tables introduced for weaning pigs

Schothorst Feed Research has developed a separate energy table of feedstuffs for weaning pigs up to 25kg. The table provides feed producers the opportunity to improve the accuracy of diet formulation for weaning pigs.
The new chart accounts for the rapidly developing digestive system of pigs and the effect of weaning.
The new tables are available for participants in the Advanced Feed Package program of Schothorst Feed Research.

More than 100K hens suffocate from tampered controls

The BBC reports approximately 136,000 hens died when a poultry farm near Edinburgh, Scotland, was broken into and environmental controls tampered with in August.
Officials say the air supply to 12 poultry sheds was turned off, leaving the birds to suffocate. They do not believe the crime, which occurred at Beechgrove Farm, was the work of animal rights activists.
Total worth of the hens was put at £400,000.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Official meets with Irish egg industry

Irish Parliament member and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michelle Gildernew, met with Irish egg producers, say reports. The meeting’s purpose was to talk through the challenges facing the industry given the coming EU ban on conventional hen cages.
The ban was announced in 1999 and will be enforced beginning in 2012.
Gildernew encouraged egg producers to meet with their bankers regarding the transitional costs, and said her office would continue to support the industry through the Processing and Marketing Grant Scheme. She also pledged to write to the EU Commission asking for a new marketing code to differentiate between eggs from hens in enriched systems and those in conventional cages.

China requires electronic import notification

China will begin implementing its new electronic notification procedures Oct. 15, 2009. This requires U.S. poultry exporters to the country to e-mail scanned health certificates to U.S. officials.
The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) will then forward the information to China’s
General Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).
This change stemmed from incidents of U.S. poultry containing fraudulent FSIS health certificates entering China.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mexico leads world in per capita egg consumption

Mexico's National Poultry Institute (INA) announced that Mexicans consume the most eggs worldwide, according to reports. That’s an average of 438 eggs per year per person. Lawmakers are fighting to exclude eggs from a proposed food tax arguing the product is an inexpensive and healthy protein source.
Mexico is expected to produce 2.35 million tons of eggs this year.

Price volatility management strategies

Managing a feed company during extraordinary prices swings like those seen in 2008 and early 2009 is no easy task.
John Scheuers, vice president of feed operations for United Cooperative, based in Beaver Dam, Wis., says the overall key ingredient to successful management when prices yo-yo on a daily basis is to pay attention to detail.
“There were times when we changed prices daily on our feeds instead of weekly,” Scheuers says. “We went to a daily price concept as we made our way through the volatility.”
He and his cooperative, which serves mostly dairy producers in south-central Wisconsin, also paid closer attention to risk management.
“We took smaller positions more often rather than larger positions less often,” he says. That gave United Cooperative more flexibility and helped it cost-average in and out of the various grain and oilseed markets.
“In such volatility you are either on the right side or the wrong side of the market,” Scheuers notes. “Taking smaller bites helps spread out risk.”
On the feed side of the business, United Cooperative buys basis and manages for basis versus doing a lot of hedging or position taking, while the grain side of the cooperative takes more positions in the futures markets.

Dairy industry struggling
With the dairy industry in one of its deepest and longest slumps in years, volatility has also hit the co-op through sales.
“People have cut back on volume and on the level of nutrition being fed. They are in survival mode versus thriving mode,” Scheuers notes. “That affects income, so we’ve become more cost sensitive in the operations of the company.”
Overall, both producers and those in the feed industry have become more conservative since the 2008 commodity bubble popped.
Buyers want shorter contracts, and in general livestock producers are living more hand-to-mouth with their feed needs.

Water’s effect on egg performance studied

Don Bell, poultry specialist emeritus of the University of California-Riverside, has recently published his analysis of water consumption on performance and profit in the egg industry.
The effort compared 11 participating companies with 160 flocks comprising 17.5 million laying hens hatched between 2002 and 2005. Data relating to water intake were tabulated to determine how water consumption impacted hen day production, egg mass, egg weight, mortality and feed consumption.
Water consumption was weakly correlated with egg mass to egg weight and to feed consumption. There was no apparent correlation between water consumption and mortality or hen-day production.

Justice clears JBS acquisition of Pilgrim’s Pride

The U.S. Department of Justice is terminating its investigation into JBS USA Holdings Inc.’s acquisition of Pilgrim’s Pride and allowing the transaction to proceed, according to a statement released by JBS.
Under the terms of the acquisition, JBS USA will purchase shares representing 64% of the total and voting capital stock of Pilgrim’s for $800 million in cash. The transaction represents an enterprise value of $2.8 billion.
The conclusion of the acquisition is subject to the final approval of the reorganization plan by the bankruptcy court, which is expected to take place before the end of the year.

Chicken feed recalled for low protein

A limited voluntary recall has begun of Country Acres poultry feed in 50-pound bags, according to reports . The feed mistakenly contains a lower than intended protein level which could be detrimental to birds.
The recall impacts dealers in Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Arkansas and eastern Texas.Lot numbers appear on the sewn strip of bags and contain the lot numbers: 9AUG20ARC1, 9Year / AUG Month / 20Day of Month / ARC1 Plant Code.
Country Acres is a product of Land O'Lakes Purina Feed.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

EU regulation eases feed additive process

The European Commission published a new regulation, (EC) No 885/2009, intended to reduce the fees for feed additive authorization. This will result in direct savings for the industry, according to the EU Feed Additives and Premixtures Association (FEFANA).
Applicants will now be allowed to put forward grouped applications. The procedure and fees have also been amended for applications to extend the terms of an additive that has been previously authorized. Also, some applications will have fewer sample requirements.

Russian company sells shares, land access

Reports say Russian grain processing firm Pava is seeking Gulf region investors via a share sale. The sale is hoped to raise 100 million euros by granting access to valuable farmland.
The funds would be used to invest in technology and triple the company’s farmland. This move would circumvent Russian law that prevents foreign investors from owning farmland.
The deal could allow Gulf investors to use 1.24 million acres of Russian land to increase their food supplies.

EU has only a month’s supply of soy left

European feed and livestock industries are “hugely concerned” that there have been no recent soybean shipments from the U.S. and no forward bookings to the in the immediate future, says David Green, a consultant to the U.S. Soybean Export Council.They appreciate that they are in a “serious position” with the U.S. harvest underway, South American stocks at almost record lows, the Chinese market being very strong and the failure by the EU to resolve its slow biotech approvals process and its zero tolerance issue for EU-unapproved biotech events.

Hog producers running low
Hog producers in Spain and feed compounders in France and the UK say they have only a month’s soy supplies at most.Some are paying $90 a ton premium just to get soy from any source, Green states. Others are using other protein sources but accept that can only be a stop gap measure. They are enormously frustrated with politicians and officials in various member states who they say simply do not grasp the seriousness of the issue.Two reports – one from the feed and livestock industry and another from the prestigious Dutch university at Wageningen state that the loss of US shipments could cost the EU up to $5 billion between now and next March, Green says. However, there are some encouraging signs albeit temporary.

Lost in committee
Later this month one of the corn varieties not yet approved in the EU and which has been showing up in trace amounts in US soybean shipments will go before the EU’s Farm Ministers for a vote on authorization.It is likely there will be a split vote with the dossier unable to muster the required number of votes either to approve or reject EU authorization for import and processing. Under the EU’s rather complex voting and approval system this means that final approval will be left to the European Commission by a default process.In that event, the Commission will almost certainly issue an EU authorization within one or two weeks in line with the positive assessment of the European Food Safety Authority’s findings earlier this year.The second EU-unapproved corn event is likely to go before the Farm Ministers for a vote in the middle of November with a similar outcome resulting in the Commission using an authorization. That’s the good news providing there is not an outright vote against at either Farm Ministers meeting.Authorization of these two biotech corn events will take care of the immediate problem of dust traces being found in soybean shipments, Green says.The not so good news is that once the ‘phew we got out of that mess’ eases, the problem of the EU’s unworkable biotech laws remains, he says. Already, the EU feed and farming industries and consumers have been hit by unnecessary costs. Without a workable solution soon they’ll get to pay all over again next year, Green says.

Biotech an ongoing problem
He continues that the EU stands virtually alone among countries with functioning biotech regulatory systems “in having its system held hostage to political cowardice.”Various counties opposed to biotech have hijacked science and proven technology in favor of ideology and ignorance. In doing so they ignore their own scientists and food safety agencies such as EFSA and fail to provide leadership and sheer common sense to their consumers, he argues. “As more and more biotech soy and corn events come forward both in the U.S. and the rest of the world, the EU’s current policies will once again create chaos. That’s a prediction that’s fairly safe to make,” he adds.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

US, Brazil poultry industries to cooperate on common issue

Leaders of the poultry industries of the United States and Brazil signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding in Cologne, Germany, during ANUGA, the world’s largest food and beverage fair.
Joined by members of both organizations, Jim Sumner, president of the
USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), and Francisco Turra, president of the Brazilian Chicken Producers and Exporters Association (ABEF), signed the MOU during the hustle and bustle of ANUGA, the world’s largest food and beverage fair.
Although the two industry organizations, whose members account for nearly 80 percent of global poultry exports, have talked about such an agreement for some time, Sumner and Turra set the wheels in motion in August during a meeting between the two in Brazil.
“Our industry strongly supports the concepts stated in the MOU,” Sumner said. “We will continue to agree to disagree, because after all, we remain competitors above everything else. But under the terms of the MOU, we agree to work cooperatively on issues of mutual concern.”
Turra agreed. “This document means simply that the industries of the U.S. and Brazil believe that by working together we can overcome many challenges that we face globally, such as the environment, animal welfare, and global trade barriers. Even though we are fierce competitors, this does not prevent us from collaborating on those issues that affect our ability to trade.”
Under terms laid out in the MOU, USAPEEC and ABEF agree to promote sound public policies on several key points, including ecologically sustainable guidelines for poultry production, science-based animal health and food safety regulations, the expansion of free trade, and promoting relations based on cooperation instead of confrontation.

Russia: 2010 import quotas for poultry, pork may decrease

Russia's Economic Development Ministry has indicated Russia could reduce its import quotas for both poultry and pork in 2010, while leaving the quota for beef basically unchanged as compared to 2009.
The matter will be discussed at a coming meeting of the government commission on customs and tariffs. The setting of specific quotas for individual countries and duty rates for imports within and above quotas will be continued, according to the
Interfax news agency.

FSIS proposes new cooperative program

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing regulations to implement a new voluntary cooperative program. The proposal would allow state-inspected establishments with 25 or fewer employees to ship meat and poultry products in interstate commerce.
In participating states, state-inspected establishments selected to take part in this program will be required to comply with all federal standards under the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) and the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA), as well as with all state standards.
Meat and poultry products, which pass the rigors of the acts, will bear an official federal mark of inspection and can be distributed in interstate commerce.
FSIS will provide oversight and enforcement of the program.

Monday, October 12, 2009

New technology scans for poultry contamination

Technology that automatically scans poultry carcasses for contamination has been successfully tested in a commercial poultry plant.
The system was by developed by scientists at the USDA's
Agricultural Research Service (ARS) as a research agreement with Stork Food Systems, a manufacturer of poultry processing equipment in Gainesville, Ga.
The system uses hyperspectral imaging, which combines digital imaging with spectroscopy, creating individual wavelengths of light that pinpoint contaminants. ARS researchers have improved the hyperspectral imaging system so it detects small amounts of fecal contamination.
To test the technology commercially, a prototype was installed in a commercial poultry plant. The system ran for several days without hardware or software problems.
The team plans to have a new prototype tested by the end of 2009.

Polish live pig exports higher over 2008

Polish exports of live pigs were at a relatively high level in the first half of 2009, being 8% higher year-on-year at EUR29.7 million.
A breakdown of the overall export figure reveals exports to the European Union fell substantially year-on-year in the January to June period, but exports to other central and eastern European countries rose substantially year-on-year. In dollar terms, Polish live pig exports fell by 6.2% year-on-year in first half of 2009, according to Poland's Central Statistics Office.
Polish live pig imports approximately doubled year-on-year to EUR52.8 million in the first half of 2009, with imports also showing a substantial year-on-year increase in dollar terms.

US calls for WTO panel on EU poultry restrictions

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a dispute panel regarding the EU’s restrictions on imports of US poultry.
The WTO has been asked to review whether the EU’s ban on the import and marketing of poultry meat and poultry meat products processed with pathogen reduction treatments (PRTs) is consistent with the EU’s WTO obligations.
USTR spokeswoman, Nefeterius McPherson, commented: “The US poultry subject to the EU ban is safe. There is no scientific evidence that the use of pathogen reduction treatments poses a health risk to consumers.”
The EU rules state that slaughterhouses can only use water, or other approved substances, to rinse meat products to diminish their bacterial contamination. The rule applies to all meat products sold in the European Community, irrespective of whether they are produced locally or imported.
The US had submitted requests for approval of certain substances used in the US for the cleaning of poultry carcasses, mainly substances based on chlorine, but the EU rejected the approval of these substances in 2008.
European Commission spokesperson for trade, Lutz Gullner, said: “We regret that the United States has decided to ask for a panel to be established in this case. We feel that litigation is not the most appropriate way to deal with complex issues such as this one. However, since the US has chosen this path, we will defend our food safety legislation, which does not discriminate against imported products.”
US poultry companies and organizations have applauded the USTR’s action, arguing the EU has deprived them of a fair opportunity to compete in the European market. They say that, despite the recommendations of the EU’s own scientific committees on the four antimicrobials at issue, the EU has continued to maintain a ban on products treated with them.

Ongoing dispute
In 2008, the EU imported more than 890,000 tons of poultry from third countries, mainly from Brazil and Thailand. The European Commission notes imports of poultry from the US have been marginal since 1997, when several US slaughterhouses were removed from its list of authorized establishments for not being in line with European hygiene requirements.
The USTR’s office points out that, in 1997, the EU began prohibiting the use of PRTs to reduce microbe levels on poultry, stopping the shipment of virtually all US poultry to the EU. Since that time, the US has attempted to address the market access barrier without resorting to litigation.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Canada launches new pig tagging effort

In an effort to better respond to disease outbreaks, the Canadian Pork Council has begun to distribute traceability ear tags as part of a national program, say reports.
The tag will allow room for a barn management system number, along with the government’s unique traceability number and an electronic identifier button.
The program is launching in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

UK pork exports rise in Asia

Britain expects its exports of pigmeat to Hong Kong to grow from 17,000 tonnes last year to some 19,000 tonnes this year, making it the country’s second biggest market after Germany, which took 33,000 tonnes of British pigmeat in 2008.
“This is all very encouraging and makes us more determined to focus on the Far East,” says British Pig Executive (BPEX) international manager Peter Hardwick, who added the UK had also started exporting breeding pigs to the Ukraine, which he described as a “sizeable and active” market.

Group cites loophole in grassfed standard

The organization Animal Welfare Approved recently pointed out loopholes in the USDA "Grass Fed" standard. The statement was released as La Cense Ranch announced it is the first grassfed beef producer to be certified under the USDA standard.Animal Welfare Approved Program Director Andrew Gunther stated the government standard only partially addresses buyers' expectations for grassfed meat. He expressed concern that consumers may believe ruminants are raised on pasture for the duration of their lives, without confinement or feedlots. The USDA standard does not guarantee this.
As it stands, it only requires access to the outdoors during the growing season. This could mean that six months of the year, animals can be kept confined as long as they are fed grass and forage. Animal Welfare Approved and American Grassfed Association assert animals should have to be on pasture or range to be considered grassfed.

Online virtual poultry health forum rescheduled

The agribusiness industry’s second vital, educational virtual forum, WATT Poultry Nutrition and Health Forum, has been rescheduled to Thursday, 25 March, 2010. Event hours remain the same: 03.00 hrs.- 18.00 hrs. CST (-6 GMT). The event was originally scheduled for 18 November, 2009.
The educational event offers five Web seminars with live Q&A sessions, on-demand content, virtual sponsor booths and networking – all the components of a live tradeshow, and more – in a format that is held 100% on the Internet.
During the virtual event, attendees can attend the feature presentation;
The Welfare Trap: Gut Health, Leg Problems and More (Panel) moderated by Dr. Peter Ferket, with Dr. Richard Ducatelle and Dr. Ken Powell. For for information go to

Thursday, October 8, 2009

SmartStax corn qualifies for insurance break

According to reports, corn hybrids containing SmartStax, a technology developed by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences, will qualify for the Pilot Biotechnology Endorsement (BE) in 2010.
This program allows farmers to receive a break on their crop insurance premium rate. The Pilot BE program brings down the costs of crop insurance for those who meet the program requirements and plant certain qualifying hybrids in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin.

Ontario may strengthen response to animal disease

According to reports, the recently introduced legislation, the Animal Health Act, aims to give the Ontario government more ability to respond during a disease outbreak among chicken or livestock.
The law would require reporting by veterinarians and laboratories on specific animal diseases to the provincial chief veterinarian (CVO). It would also grant inspectors the authority to inspect farms if there are "reasonable grounds" of a possible hazard. Other powers stipulated in the pending law include the use of surveillance, quarantine orders and the ability to order the destruction of livestock.

Russia to increase grain production

Elena Skrynnik, the Minister of Agriculture of Russia, announced the country would grow up to 120-125 million tons per year of grain in 10-15 years, say reports. This gain will come from the use of additional lands and increased yields.
These volumes will allow Russia to double current exports to 40-50 million tons to Central and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Southern Europe and Africa. It may also spur the modernization of grain storage and transportation in Russia.

FSA studies bacteria levels in chicken

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) in Britain has been working with the chicken industry, including the National Farmers' Union (NFU), to reduce bacteria risks. A report issued by the FSA classified salmonella in poultry at a “low level” appearing in 6% of poultry samples.
However, the FSA findings also highlighted the work that still needs to be done to reduce levels of campylobacter bacteria. Results showed campylobacter was present in 65% of the samples.
The FSA advises properly cooked chicken is safe to eat.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

FSIS seeks input on 'natural' label

Public input is sought for creating a definition of the term “natural” as it relates to the labeling of meat and poultry. U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is accepting comments until Nov. 13, 2009, on the issue.
This comes after an initial comment period in 2006 when the FSIS determined more input was necessary. Input is sought on a variety of topics, such as the use of anti-microbial products and whether the term “natural” should reflect the conditions in which the bird was raised.

Canadians try to save chicken breed

According to reports, an effort is underway to save an authentic Canadian chicken from extinction. Three Quebec egg and poultry producers plan to launch the historic bird into commercial production. A chicken once believed to be extinct, the Chantecler is alive in small numbers in Quebec.
A monk created the breed in an effort to crossbreed a chicken resistant to the cold weather. The bird became a cultural symbol for the province.The breed waned in popularity as faster growing chickens, which produced more eggs, overtook it.It is predicted that the distinctively flavored Chantecler chicken will create a niche in the specialized market.

Poultry waste to fuel project

Fibrowatt, a member of the Homeland Renewable Energy Group, announced it has entered agreements with the Fagen company for the design and construction of its first biomass-fueled power project in North Carolina. The primary fuel consumed by this power plant will be poultry droppings.
The North Carolina project will produce 55 megawatts of renewable electricity, enough power annually to supply over 40,000 homes. This will help the state meet its commitment to renewable energy, provide jobs and give farmers an alternative use for poultry waste.

Pilgrim’s Pride to close Alabama plant

Reports indicate the Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant in Athens, Ala., will be closing. The move will leave hundreds without work.
This comes after the company’s filing for reorganization bankruptcy and its recent closing of several other plants. The combined closings impact more than 4,000 employees.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bill to help dairy, allow Chinese chicken imports

According to reports, legislators in Washington, D.C., are considering an appropriations measure that contains emergency aid to dairy farmers and lifts an import ban of two years on Chinese poultry.
The agreement would give $290 million to dairy farmers and also authorize USDA to buy $60 million in cheese and other dairy products to reduce surpluses.If passed, Chinese poultry that meets this country’s safety standards could again be imported.

More farmers turning to biogas

German biogas company EnviTec announced that despite the global recession it has seen its business expand. The company credits the uncertain prices of agricultural products in its business upswing, as farmers are prompted to diversify operations.
Farmers are increasingly turning to biogas as a means of broadening their business interests, according to EnviTec. The company boosted its sales by 33% in the first six months of 2009. Production capacity has been expanded and the number of employees has been increased.

Survey shows US farm income down

Rabobank conducted its Farm & Ranch survey to gauge farmers' confidence among target regions in the U.S. Its research found less than 5% of farms saw an improvement in income this year, a drastic downturn compared to the same time last year when 25% saw better year-over-year income.
"U.S. farmers and ranchers continue to take a consistently conservative position when anticipating future performance, irrespective of the recent market volatility," said John Ryan, president and CEO for Rabo AgriFinance.
Higher input costs continue to be the most frequently mentioned economic challenge facing U.S. farmers. Three in five farmers rank it the primary factor that has contributed to their economic challenges. Additionally there is an increasing concern regarding reduced demand (55%) and weather conditions (57%). Nearly all surveyed (94%) are concerned about price fluctuations.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Farm identified as pig H1N1 source

Reports indicate the World Animal Health Organization (OIE) in Paris has located the source of the H1N1 flu in pigs. The organization has named a breeding unit in Kilworth, north Cork, Ireland.
The pigs had been monitored since late September when an animal caretaker was confirmed to have the virus. There are 40 cases of H1N1 flu in pigs at the location. No pigs were taken off site since Sept. 18 in accordance with health codes.
The Department of Agriculture continues to stress there is no risk for humans to contract the H1N1 virus from pork consumption.

Poultry & Egg Institute hosts economic conference

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Poultry & Egg Institute will host economist Dr. Donald Ratajczak as a featured speaker to the 2009 Grain Forecast and Economic Outlook Conference. He will present a talk on the economic outlook for 2010.
Conference topics will also include grain and feed purchasing, oilseed outlook, seed technology and commodity risk management.
The conference is scheduled for Nov. 12 in Atlanta with registration available

Novus to upgrade supply chain

Novus International is upgrading the infrastructure of its patented automated supply chain management system, AIMS. The company pioneered vendor-managed inventory for feed industry bulk liquids in 1993. Since then, the system has improved supply chain efficiency and reduced environmental impact (by reducing IBC and drum usage).
The new system will improve reliability and upgrade the telemetry system to a sustainable technology platform using satellite communication. This will allow Novus to better monitor customer inventory.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Industry leaders to speak at conference

The 2009 Women’s Leadership Conference, sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Poultry & Egg Institute, is slated for October 22-23, in Destin, Fla.
Elise Durbin of the Marshall Durbin Companies will be a featured speaker. Durbin is the corporate secretary-treasurer and vice president of legal affairs for the company her grandfather, Marshall Durbin Sr., founded. She will present a “Profile of Women in Management."
Co-featured at the event is Jim Perdue, president and CEO of
Perdue Farms. Perdue will discuss “A CEO’s Perspective of Women in Leadership Roles.”

Australia readies for strong winter crop

Australia, a large exporter of wheat, is expecting a bountiful winter crop of wheat, barley and canola given the recent rain, according to reports. Parts of the country have received more than half an inch to nearly two inches of precipitation.
September rains are key for Australian farmers to boost the fall harvest, which may total as much as 36 million metric tons.

Groups urge trade rep. to challenge EU's US poultry barrier

Four concerned groups are jointly urging the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative to have the World Trade Organization (WTO) determine if a major barrier to U.S. poultry exports to the European Union is a violation of WTO’s rules.
In a September 24 letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the
National Chicken Council, USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, National Turkey Federation and the National Association of Manufacturers reconfirmed their strong support for the office's action that would result in a WTO dispute settlement panel that addresses the EU’s blocking action against four antimicrobials that reduce pathogens during poultry processing.
U.S. poultry exports to the EU have not been permitted since 1997. If the EU was an eligible market for U.S. poultry, it is estimated that annual poultry exports would top $300 million.

Poultry, meat groups criticize EPA proposal

Poultry and meat trade groups submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The groups sharply criticized EPA’s proposed changes, citing inadequate analysis of the impact on agricultural commodity prices.
National Turkey Federation (NTF), National Chicken Council, American Meat Institute and FarmEcon noted the proposed regulations have not considered the variability of the grain crop or other biomass production risks. The groups believe this could have serious consequences on food and fuel production costs in years of reduced crop production, and further argue that an increased reliance on biofuels would likely increase fuel supply instability.
In their comments, the groups link fuel production and cost of animal feed with food prices.
“The proposed RFS program poses severe consequences for the U.S. food supply, ” said Joel Brandenberger, NTF’s president.
According to FarmEcon, if the RFS is increased to 20 billion gallons of grain-based ethanol per year, consumers could see almost a 5% increase in average food costs.

Storage facilities under bumper crop pressure

Fall harvests of corn, sorghum and soybean are expected to be high, leaving the Midwest with storage concerns, according to reports. A lackluster demand for the abundant winter wheat crop is causing storage problems as overseas buyers watch and wait as prices fall. With a strong fall harvest on the way, storage will be difficult to come by.
Some grain will be “placed on the ground in some areas,” said Tom Tunnell, executive director of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association. This leads to problems for elevator operators as crops stored in this manner typically have much higher rates of spoilage.
Some winter crops have been stored in Oklahoma where crops have been poor, making storage space available.
Wheat futures on the Chicago Board of Trade are trading around $4.5575 a bushel, down from August’s $5.7725.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Townsends creates poultry jobs in N.C.

Townsends Inc., a Delaware-based poultry company, will be expanding operations in N.C., say reports.
The state’s governor, Bev Perdue, announced the company’s three-year plan to add 103 jobs and invest $700,000.
A grant of $250,000 was allotted for the expansion, from the
One North Carolina Fund.

RSPCA eases restrictions on free-range eggs

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is doubling the allowed density of birds from 1,000 per hectare to 2,000, as demand for free-range eggs continues to grow.
With the increased hens come regulations to increase shelter and other provisions needed for the birds’ welfare. This remains a tighter standard than those in the EU.
Demand for free-range eggs has soared, due to public campaigns and celebrities endorsing the product.
If the demand cannot be met, overseas eggs produced under lower welfare standards would potentially be imported.

Judge allows pollution reports in poultry trial

The federal judge in the Oklahoma vs. poultry companies lawsuit is allowing government attorneys to submit reports on issues with chicken waste in the Illinois River watershed, according to reports.
Previously, opposing council convinced U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell to leave out some of the pollution reports.
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson argued the poultry companies did not flag the reports as problematic before the trial, whereas attorneys for the poultry companies called the reports political.