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.

Poultry companies say other polluters ignored in case

According to reports of Oklahoma's ongoing federal lawsuit against 11 Arkansas poultry companies, an attorney for the defendants claims that there are 20 possible pollution sources for the watershed area the companies are accused of damaging.
The companies contend Oklahoma has not investigated other potential polluters such as storm water, cattle operations or power plants in the region.

Justice Department, USDA to explore poultry competition

Competition and regulatory issues in agriculture will be examined in a series of Department of Justice (DOJ) and USDA workshops beginning in March 2010.
Poultry production contracts, industry concentration and buyer power will be the focus of a workshop at Alabama A&M University, May 21, Normal, Ala.
Crop, dairy, hog and beef farming issues will be addressed in other workshops scheduled March through December 2010.
Each workshop may feature keynote speakers, expert panels and break-out panels that will address more narrowly focused issues. At each workshop, the public will have an opportunity to ask questions and provide comments.
Written comments in advance of the workshops can be submitted in both paper and
electronic form to the Department of Justice, no later than Dec. 31, 2009. Two paper copies should be addressed to the Legal Policy Section, Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 5th Street, NW, Suite 11700, Washington, D.C. 20001.
The May 21 workshop on poultry production issues will be held in the auditorium of Alabama A&M’s James I. Dawson Cooperative Extension Building at 4900 Meridian Street.

Monsanto files for approval of new soybean

According to reports, Monsanto has filed for approval of its new low fat soybean, Vistive III, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.
The company says the bean can be made into cooking oil that would not require any hydrogenation. It is also stated that the oil is lower in saturated fat with no trans fats.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hong Kong resumes import of Spanish poultry

Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety is in the process of resuming imports of Spanish poultry, excepting the provinces of Guadalajara and Navarra, say reports.
Poultry imports from Spain were halted last month after cases of avian influenza H7 were confirmed in Guadalajara, and avian influenza H5 cases were found in Navarra.
Given control measures and no further cases reported, import applications have resumed.

Corn, soybean prices edge up

According to reports, U.S. corn and soybeans prices are up, with concerns that above average rainfall will impact yield in the four states that are the biggest growers of the crops.
Continued rainfall has been predicted in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Indiana from November 21-25, as reported by
U.S. Climate Prediction Center.
Corn to be delivered in March added 0.9% a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade in after-hours electronic trading. January delivered soybeans were up as much a 1.4%. Some analysts and traders believe crop prices will continue to rise as the
USDA yield forecast is reduced.

Philippines increases agricultural production

Reports say the Philippines saw an increase of 1.5% in agricultural production for the first nine months of the year over last year.
Department of Agriculture said rough rice production increased 2.9% and corn jumped 0.8% over last year. Hog production also saw a 2% growth.
The growth is predicted to slow for the remainder of the year given the storm damage to crops.

Turkey farmer burns droppings as experimental fuel

Reports say Minnesota turkey farmer John Zimmerman will try using turkey droppings as a fuel in an experimental gasifier unit developed by the University of Minnesota.
Zimmerman plans to heat both his turkey barns with the new gasifier, which smolders manure to produce gases that are burned for heat. The burned remains, biochar, will be used to amend the farm’s soil.
Xcel Energy is providing funding for the experiment.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Economist at grain conference says bull market ‘real’

Speaking at the 2009 Grain Forecast – Economic Outlook Conference, sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Poultry & Egg Institute, economist Dr. Donald Ratajczak said the recent run-up in the U.S. stock market is real and should continue at least through 2010.
“There are some concerns, but I believe the current bull market that began in March is solid and will last a couple of years,” Ratajczak said.
Steve Freed of
ADM Investor Services presented saying, “The U.S. needs to bump up corn production in the long run. The biggest factor in corn supply recently has been ethanol. And the trend in corn used for ethanol is clearly higher.”

USDA updates crop forecast

The USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate reports lowered corn harvest by 1.3 bushels per acre and adjusted prices for both this commodity and soybeans to reflect domestic and export demand for October 2009. The latest values for the U.S. 2009-10 season are shown in this table.
The values should, however, be interpreted in the light of prolonged unseasonable rains during late October and early November that have impeded harvest in many parts of the Midwest and Southeast. Delays in harvest have resulted in yield loses for soybeans.
The rainfall from Hurricane Ida has apparently destroyed 40% of the soybean crop in Mississippi. The quality of the 2009 corn crop is now in question, as high moisture content will result in low bushel weight from Diplodia and possible mycotoxin contamination.
The delays in harvesting have resulted in firming of prices with CBOT corn futures up 15% and soybeans by 8% since October 1. As of November 15, the USDA estimates 54% of corn (77% in 2008) and 89% of soybeans (95% in 2008) has been harvested.
According to industry observers, the actual harvest will not be known until early January 2010. In the interim there will be uncertainty as to volume and quality complicated by activity in the export market resulting in price fluctuations.

BVA encourages responsible antimicrobial use

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is promoting the responsible use of antimicrobials in veterinary practice by launching an eight-point plan.
Veterinarians are encouraged to follow these guidelines:
1.Work with clients to avoid need for antimicrobials
2. Avoid inappropriate use
3. Choose the right drug for the right bug
4. Monitor antimicrobial sensitivity
5. Minimize prophylactic use
6. Minimize use perioperatively
7. Record and justify deviations from protocols
8. Report suspected failure
Antimicrobials are essential for the treatment and prevention of diseases in animals, says the association, but every use increases both the risk that resistance will develop and the potential for its transfer to man via food-borne pathogens. To protect animal and human health, and optimize food safety, antimicrobials should only be used responsibly and and when necessary.
The guideline is outlined in a poster that can be downloaded from the BVA's
Web site. The new guidance supports the international “One World, One Health” message promoting awareness of the link between animal diseases and human health. The BVA is also working with the Federation of Veterinarians in Europe on using the poster in other European Union countries.

Demand for plant-based fish feed on the rise

A push is on to replace at least a portion of the diets of farm-raised fish with plant sources such as soybeans. One key reason why: growing pressure on the world’s wild fish and seafood stocks.
Demand for fish oil and fishmeal has skyrocketed over the past decade due to the growing popularity of Omega-3 fatty acids that many species contain, says Stanford University professor Rosamond Naylor in the September 8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Tighter regulations needed
Naylor, an environmental professor of Earth system science, says that it takes as much as 5 lbs. of wild fish to produce 1 lb. of farm-raised salmon. “Our thirst for long-chain Omega-3 oils will continue to put a strain on marine ecosystems, unless we develop commercially viable alternatives soon,” she says.
Naylor calls for tighter regulations to reduce the use of fishmeal and fish oil in feeds. The scientist says that a 4% reduction in fish oil would cut the amount of wild fish needed to produce 1 lb. of salmon from 5 lbs. to 3.9 lbs.This would be a far more efficient strategy than reducing use of fishmeal, she continues, as a 5% cut in fish meal use would have little environmental impact. Naylor says that “with appropriate economic and regulatory incentives, the transition toward alternative feedstuffs could accelerate.”T
hat search is well underway, J. T. Winkler, a London Metropolitan University, says in a Nutra Ingredients article.

Alternative feedstuffs
Algae is one potential source, others are genetically modified (GM) soy and rapeseed (canola). The article says that genes with high levels of Omega-3 could be added to the crops to make them possible replacements for fish oil and fish meal, although research is continuing on both sides of the Atlantic.In the United States, aquaculture production continues to expand at a rate of 15% and the largest cost component in aquaculture is feed, accounting for about 50% of production costs in the grow-out phase.
Fish meal (FM) is a major feed component and replacement of it with plant products provides two primary benefits, namely cost reduction and elimination of mercury contaminant problems associated with fish meal, according to a study conducted at the University of Rhode Island.
Fish showed maximum growth on a 40% soybean meal replacement diet plus taurine, significantly greater than all other diets except 40% plus amino acids and 40% plus taurine and phytase, while the FM diet was not significantly different from 40% plus amino acids, 40% plus phytase, or 40% plus taurine and phytase. Fish growth on all 70% replacement diets was significantly less than on all of the FM or 40% replacement diets, but no significant differences existed within the suite of 70% replacement diets.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

UEP comments on EPA greenhouse gas rule

Dr. Tom Hebert, environmental consultant to the United Egg Producers (UEP), recently reported on the status of the EPA Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule.
Reports are scheduled for 2011, but in the case of livestock and poultry operations, only methane or nitrous oxide releases musts be declared. According to calculations performed by Hebert, the 723,600 hen limit is academic since there is no complex in the U.S. which could conceivably exceed the 25,000 metric ton reporting threshold (dry manure).
UEP is currently in communication with EPA to develop a detailed table converting methane and nitrous oxide into carbon dioxide equivalents that form the basis of the 25,000 metric ton greenhouse gas limit. Calculations may have to be developed for large operations using anaerobic lagoons to ensure they conform.
Hebert also commented on the Clean Water Act and the new
CWA enforcement plan. According to Lisa Jackson, EPA Administrator, “where facilities with large numbers of animals are discharging without a permit or in violation of their permits, they can cause significant pollution problems of concern to communities.”
According to Herbert, CAFOs must register and should be in compliance with respect to storage and spreading of manure.

AMI launches sustainability Web site

The American Meat Institute has developed a new Web site to assist producers with aspects of environmental management and related issues.
The home page provides tabs for benefiting community, caring for employees, flock/herd welfare and caring for the environment.
The section on
quantifying the carbon footprint has a link to “the greenhouse gas protocol and actions plans to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Who is responsible for Michael Pollan?

Recently a controversy erupted when Cal Poly at San Luis Obispo cancelled a lecture by Michael Pollan and offered as a substitute a panel discussion on ecology and nutrition.
This action followed closely after a thinly veiled threat by David Wood, Chairman of the Harris Ranch Beef Company to withdraw a $150,000 contribution towards a new meat processing plant on the campus. In a letter to the University authorities he stated that the scheduled lecture by Michael Pollan would cause him to "rethink my continued financial support of the University." After canceling the event Cal Poly offered Pollan the opportunity to participate in the panel discussion.
For those who are not familiar with Michael Pollan, he serves as a Professor of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley and is a prominent advocate of “natural” foods. He has gained considerable prominence for a series of books including the Botany of Desire and The Omnivore’s Dilemma. His mantra is "Eat food, Eat Sparingly, Mostly Plants."
He has appeared on a number of TV talk-shows to promote his books and ideas. This has convinced this commentator that he is abysmally ignorant of biochemistry, the physiology of digestion, scientific nutrition or intermediary metabolism. His simplistic ideas run counter to accepted and conventional notions of science. They are however appealing to the naysayers of intensive food production, processed and convenience items and the menus of quick service restaurants. Admittedly there is a problem of obesity in the U.S. but this has more to do with improper choices and overconsumption based on ignorance rather than defects in existing agricultural practices or supermarket and restaurant offerings.
In reviewing the Cal Poly incident it is obvious that blame should be apportioned equally to all parties. The University obviously did not consider the impact of a provocative lecturer espousing unconventional albeit trendy ideas. If teamed with an opposing (read rational) voice the event may have benefited the student body and attendees. As originally scheduled, Pollan was provided with a bully pulpit to promote his unsubstantiated and ultimately destructive concepts. ... Read the rest of the blog on AnimalAgNet.

Organic pork preservation research reported

American research into the preservation of organic pork products using natural ingredients is reported by the Food Safety Consortium in the U.S. Under U.S. government regulations, the organic products are not permitted to contain preservatives such as nitrate or nitrite. Instead, they may contain vegetable products that provide high concentrations of nitrate in a form which is acceptable because it is from a natural source. The vegetable-based nitrate makes the organic pork product look and taste like it was traditionally cured.
However, the organic products, lacking the directly-added nitrite, do not have the same level of built-in protection against pathogens such as Clostridium perfringens, Clostridium botulinum and Listeria monocytogenes.
Researchers at Iowa State University have tested vinegar, lactate and lemon powder after these became available recently in commercial quantities for use as natural preservatives in foods. Testing showed them to be effective against L. monocytogenes and C. perfringens, although not to the extent that nitrite inhibits the growth of certain foodborne pathogens in traditionally cured pork products.

Bush, Clinton to speak at biotechnology conference

Reports say former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will appear together next spring to discuss biotechnology in Chicago. The talk will take place at the Biotechnology Industry Organization's annual meeting, May 4, 2010.
After their opening remarks, the two former presidents will take questions submitted by BIO President Jim Greenwood.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Survey shows processing reduces chicken bacteria

According to a U.S. Department of Agriculture survey, poultry processing that includes immersion in cold water and the use of antimicrobial interventions improves the microbiological profile of raw chickens and reduces the presence of salmonella and other microorganisms.
Raw chickens showed 5% had salmonella after chilling, and 11% had campylobacter, down from 41% and 71%, respectively, before evisceration. The actual number of bacteria on each raw chicken was reduced by about 99% on average with respect to campylobacter, and 66% on average for salmonella, the survey data show.
According to
National Chicken Council’s Steve Pretanik, the heat of normal cooking destroys bacteria remaining on the raw product.
The USDA survey was conducted from July 2007 to June 2008 at 182 broiler slaughter plants. A total of 6,550 samples were studied.

Hungary's poultry production dips

The production of poultry meat in Hungary in the first nine months of this year was 6.6% lower than in the same period in 2008.
Producers' total sales of poultry meat were 5.3% lower year-on-year, including 3.7% lower sales on the domestic Hungarian market and 8.7% lower sales on export markets, according to the country's
Central Statistical Office.

Philippines to stem chick shortage with egg import

According to reports, a temporary shortfall in Filipino chick production means that 150,000 eggs for hatching will be imported to the country from Malaysia. The import is part of an agreement by the United Broilers and Raisers Association (UBRA) and the Philippine Association of Broiler Integrators.
An UBRA official said chicken supplies remain sufficient with retail prices at approximately P130 per kilogram.

Major growth in China’s feed production

China’s National Bureau of Statistics reports the country's October feed production reached 12.298 million metric tons, an increase of 25.8% from the level in October 2008.
Added to the volume growth recorded for other months this year, the country’s total output of feed from January to October 2009 rose by 22% on an annual basis to 107.941 million metric tons.

Pleurisy reduces carcass weight, increases slaughter charges

Pleurisy in pigs is an important health issue for both production units and processing plants, says the British Pig Executive (BPEX).
It quotes research at Cambridge University's Veterinary School in the UK that found a cost of £2.26 (about US$3.62) per pig to the producer from reduced carcass weight and increased age at slaughter.
This figure is based on an average pig within a batch that has a pleurisy prevalence of 10%, the bulletin noted. Bearing in mind that some batches can have a prevalence greater than 10%, the cost can be even greater.
Further costs are incurred at the processing stage because the abattoir has to carry out extra trimming due to the fact that pleurisy causes the pleural lining around the lungs to become inflamed and stick to the chest wall. According to the UK research, the effect on line speed in the slaughterhouse and increased disposal charges can cost another £0.29 (US$0.46) per pig.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"New" word - anthropozoonosis

We're all familiar with the word "zoonosis,” the transmission of an infectious disease from an animal to a human being, for example, rabies. And now we have a "new" word, “anthropozoonosis,” the transmission of an infectious disease from a person to an animal.
Anthropozoonosis is not new, it's actually been around for centuries, just not readily recognized. But the current H1N1 pandemic flu has really made this very evident - so far, people have passed the flu virus on to pigs, turkeys and ferrets.We already knew that people could give the flu to pigs, but the pandemic H1N1 flu has been passed on from people to pigs in several countries. The first case ocurred not long after the current H1N1 crisis started and I don't think we've seen the last of it.
We now have two cases of the H1N1 flu being passed from humans to turkey breeders. The thing that disturbs me most is that it happened on breeder farms - where biosecurity is very strictly practiced. ... Read the full blog on AnimalAgNet.

Feed output takes hit in Brazil

The decline in the global economy has hit Brazil's feed production sector hard.
For the first half of 2009, total feed production was down 3.8% from the same period a year earlier, with beef cattle and dairy cattle sectors both showing greater than double-digit declines, according to data from the Brazilian Feed Industry Association.
The only categories to show improvement over 2008 in the fourth largest feed producing country behind the U.S., the European Union, and China, were layer feed use, which was up a modest 1%, and fish & shrimp feed demand, up an impressive 18%. Read the full blog on AnimalAgNet.

Managing risk during stormy times

How feed companies are managing risk during boom and bust. Read the full article.

Baiada not fined over waste discharge

According to reports, Australia’s Baiada Poultry will not be fined over $500,000 for release of its rendering plant effluent onto a local road.
The local governing body ruled the discharged waste did contain enough ammonia and nitrogen for punitive action.

Seminar explores challenges to rendering industry

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Poultry Protein & Fat Council sponsored the 2009 Poultry Protein & Fat Seminar featuring Gerald Smith Jr., president of Valley Proteins, Winchester, Va. He presented “A CEO Perspective of the Importance of Rendering.”
Smith explained that fluctuating market conditions, particularly the recent decline in tonnage, causes a major challenge for renderers.
Other challenges include the forecast of only marginal growth in meat and poultry production in the U.S., increasing environmental and food safety regulations and trade issues.
Smith added, however, that biofuels have added significant value to fat products and prices and tonnage should improve, even if at slower rates, as the economy improves.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Recovered poultry fat studied as alternative fuel

The Poultry Science Association and Dr. Brian Kiepper, a poultry scientist at the University of Georgia, are working to convert recovered fat from poultry wastewater streams into an economically viable alternative fuel source for processors.
Waste fat, oil and grease are major components of many food-processing wastewater streams, including poultry production. According to Kiepper, recaptured fat can be purified and then burned to heat water in a processing plant's boilers. It can also be used to make biodiesel.
Such uses can be attractive economically for the processor, particularly when compared to the traditional means of disposing of offal by selling it to rendering facilities, at a rate that values the fat at $0.22/gal. By comparison, once purified, fat recaptured from food processing wastewater can be used instead of fuel oil, which is currently priced at around $2/gal, to fire a plant's boilers.
Kiepper estimates that recovering only 10% (a conservative number) of the 44.6 million gallons of fat produced in Georgia each year would result in an estimated annual savings of nearly $9 million on fuel-oil purchases.

Symposium considers future of animal agriculture

The Future Trends in Animal Agriculture Symposium will feature Marie Belew Wheatley, president and CEO of the American Humane Association, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, December 2.
The symposium will explore what animal agriculture will and should look like in the future.
Other speakers during the daylong conference include U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan; Rep. Rosa DeLauro, chair of U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee; Rep. David Scott, chair of the U.S. House Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Subcommittee; and Dr. Ron DeHaven, CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
The event is free and open to the public. It will be held at the USDA's Jefferson Auditorium, South Agriculture Building, in Washington, D.C.

Salmonella outbreaks increase in England

A sharp increase in cases of Salmonella Enteritidis (SE) characterized as phage type 14b have been reported in England this year. To date, 259 cases have been reported to the Laboratory of Gastrointestinal Pathogens this year.
Many of the isolates demonstrate a low level of resistance to nalidixic acid and ciprofloxacin, a related antibiotic. The incidence graph for 2007-2009 shows a slight increase in cases commencing in summer with a plateau in the fourth quarter.
In contrast, the pattern in 2009 indicates an earlier and higher level of exposed consumers. Nine outbreaks of SE pt14b were reported to the
UK Health Prevention Agency (HPA) recently with case numbers ranging from two to 68 per outbreak. It is noted that all the outbreaks were associated with restaurants, with the exception of one senior care home.
The HPA National Outbreak Control Team is investigating the outbreak. Investigation of sporadic cases of SE began in mid-October with involvement of the
Food Standards Agency, Department of Food, Health and Rural Affairs and the Department of Health and local authorities.

Hong Kong, Taiwan pigs infected with H1N1

Hong Kong and Taiwan authorities confirmed their first case of H1N1 in swine November 5, reported Beijing’s state-run China News Service (CNS).
Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau announced the H1N1 virus was found in two pigs but failed to trace the source of those infected pigs, said the report.
Local pig farms have been urged by Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau to familiarize themselves with measures needed to prevent the spread of H1N1, according to CNS. Also, Hong Kong government plans to tighten inspections of live pigs from mainland China.
In addition, more than 100 pigs from a pig farm in Taidong County started showing H1N1 symptoms, following three confirmed cases of H1N1 there, according to Guo Xusong, an official at Taiwan Disease Control Bureau.

USDA to train farmers in sustainability, marketing

The USDA will advance $17 million to 29 institutions to train farmers in sustainability and aspects of marketing.
The 2008 Farm Bill authorized the funding awarded through the
USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the successor to the Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service.
Farmers with less than 10 years of experience are eligible for course work offered by land grant universities and qualified institutions. Funding is part of the
Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food program, initiated in September 2009. The object of the initiative is to promote the success of family farms including direct marketing to consumer and schools in the local area of production. Education, outreach mentoring and internship opportunities are offered by the program.
The funding announcement was made by Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary of the Department of Agriculture, at an event at Hidden Stream Farm in Elgin, Minn.

Friday, November 13, 2009

20 years of SE control in Maine

Research proves that effective Salmonella enteritidis prevention requires sanitation, rodent control plus vaccination. Read the full article.

Integrated pest management for effective fly control

With the development of resistance to many forms of control, alternate methods must be developed. Read the full article.

Tyson found in violation of labor laws

A jury in federal court found that Tyson Foods Inc. violated federal labor standards at its Blountsville, Ala., processing plant by not paying production line employees for certain pre- and post-shift and meal period activities, such as putting on and taking off sanitary and protective clothing. The jury's verdict in federal court in Birmingham resulted from a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor against the company.
The court ordered Tyson to pay $250,000 for the violations.
The case is another example of an ongoing nationwide legal debate over what types of activities are compensible under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The Department of Labor's lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The federal department alleged Tyson Foods did not keep accurate records and failed to pay production line employees for the time they spend donning and doffing safety and sanitary gear, and performing other work-related activities. The violations span nine years, beginning in 2000 and extending to present day and affect approximately 3,000 current and former plant workers.
The initial Labor Department investigation began in April 2000, and a jury trial, which began in February 2009, ended in a mistrial. The Labor Department chose to pursue a second trial in August 2009, which ended in the ruling that Tyson owed employees the additional compensation.
Gary Mickelson, Tyson, noted that the government argued in closing statements that the jury should award as much as $8 million in compensation for the employee activities in question. "Jurors concluded that there was some uncompensated work activity at the Bloutsville plant during the time period in question; however, the amount they awarded was about 3% of what the Department of Labor requested," he said.
"The DOL lawsuit also alleged that Tyson failed to keep adequate and accurate records of all the hours worked by Blountsville employees during the nine-year time period. However, the jury rejected the government's claim and found no violation of federal recordkeeping requirements," he added.
Mickelson said the company will evaluate the implications of the verdict and determine what its next steps will be.
He called on the DOL to work cooperatively with industries such as the poultry industry to bring clarity to donning and doffing issues.
Tyson's Blountsville plant employs approximately 800 people.
Read the
complete Department of Labor release.

Philippines hog producers want price cap lifted

According to reports, hog producers in the Philippines are asking that the price ceiling placed on pork be lifted.
National Hog Raisers Association President Albert Lim stated there could be pork shortages in Luzon during the high demand period of December with the price cap of P170/kilo discouraging suppliers.
Pig supplies are down in Luzon, however Visayas and Mindanao supplies have remained relatively high.

H1N1 pig, human research receives additional funding

Biomedical and animal health research funding organizations in the UK have announced a £7.5 million ($11.2 million) series of projects aimed at understanding the development and spread of the pandemic influenza virus H1N1. The research will look at every aspect of the virus on pig production units as well as in pig and human populations and in hospital intensive care units.
Recent meetings held in the UK have brought together clinical and veterinary researchers to catalyze action and produce a response from the research community. The outcome is a new round of research projects backed by the
Medical Research Council, Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, together with the British government’s health department and its Defra department, responsible for the environment, food and rural affairs.
These projects will include four major collaborations focusing on areas such as the role of pig-pig and pig-human interactions in the development and spread of pandemic H1N1; flu transmission within households in England; and a study of hospitalized cases of severe infection.
The studies aim to understand how the virus mutates and jumps the species barrier and how it spreads through communities; how the virus causes disease in both pigs and humans and why it affects some individuals more than others; and which interventions are most effective at preventing infection or treating the disease.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Is California dysfunctional?

The New York Times of Sunday, October 11, reported on a speech by the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Ronald M. George, to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The thrust of his speech was that the referendum process in California has created anarchy and "rendered our state government dysfunctional."
The legislature cannot amend or repeal specific laws without voter approval, rendering both legislature and the executive impotent. State officials may not raise taxes without a two-thirds approval of the electorate. This "places California lawmakers and the state itself in a fiscal straight jacket," said the Justice.
Justice George indicated that constitutional and legislative action in California is not the end point of "fact-gathering and deliberation, but rather by the approval of voter initiative measures." He emphasized that ballot outcomes are often manipulated by special interests.
Over the past few years it has become evident that states with voter initiatives incorporated in their constitutions are vulnerable to the effects of lobbying by activist groups. Nowhere is this more evident than the initiatives promoted by HSUS and its surrogates. ... Read the full blog.

International pig production impacted by feed price

An analysis of how international pig production costs suffered from 2008 record feed grain prices has been produced by InterPig.
The multi-country group of pig production economists calculates in its annual report that the 2008 average cost of EU pig production increased by almost 8.5% from the 2007 level to €174 cents/kg slaughter weight.
In percentage terms, the highest cost increases were recorded for Denmark (up 18% to €1.65/kg) and for the Netherlands (up 13% to €1.64/kg). Germany and France saw 11% increases, while the rise for Sweden was 10%. At the other end of the scale the increase was 5% for both Austria and Italy.
Britain was the only EU member to register a decrease in its production costs, down by 2%. Italy’s cost is always more than in other European countries due to the extra slaughter weight of prosciutto ham pigs.
The accompanying graph from InterPig confirms production costs also remained higher for Sweden, Austria and Britain than for other parts of western Europe.

Uzbekistan sees eggs, poultry figures increase

Uzbekistan produced 2 billion eggs in the first nine months of this year, a year-on-year increase of 12.3%. The largest annual increase in production was at private sector farms, which saw their production rise by 39.7%.
The number of poultry at farms in Uzbekistan as of October 1 this year was 2.74 million, or 10.1 %, higher than on the same date in 2008, according to Uzbekistan's State Statistics Office. There were 3.05 million poultry on private farms as of October 1.

Vietnam aims to prevent animal disease outbreaks

Reports say the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has directed Vietnamese provinces to take measures to prevent animal epidemics such as H5N1 avian flu, foot-and-mouth and blue-ear pig disease.
Steps to be taken include vaccinating 80% of livestock, setting up animal quarantine stations and suspending livestock transportation out of outbreak areas.
Since the beginning of 2009, only 30% of poultry have been vaccinated.

Ukraine sees improved poultry, egg performance

Ukraine's poultry industry performed well in the first ten months of this year, with the number of poultry on farms on November 1 being 4.3 % higher year-on-year, at 209 million.
However, this figure was 6.4 million lower than on October 1, and 17.5 million lower than on August 1 this year. Also at a high level in the January to October period was egg production, which increased by 5.1% year-on-year to 13.5 billion.
There were 7.5 million pigs on farms in Ukraine on November 1, an increase of 8.3 % as compared to the number on the same date in 2008.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How Europe’s lag on biotech approvals affects industry

Recent delays on soya imports put EU at comparative disadvantage with competitors. Read the full article.

Wider plant-to-plant nutritional profile of DDGS likely

But look for more consistency of byproducts to be produced by individual ethanol plants, experts say. Read the full article.

IPE sessions to tackle hot-button issues

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association educational programming for the 2010 International Poultry Expo, January 27-29, in Atlanta, will focus on modern animal agriculture and other key topics for the industry.
“The general session in 2010 will take a unique look at animal agriculture under attack,” said program chairman Jay Houchin.
“For several years now, the poultry industry, along with the other segments of animal agriculture, has been under attack from animal rights activists, environmental activists, and other interest groups. This program will describe the realities of modern agriculture and how we should respond to the tactics and strategies of the activist groups,” he said.
The program, scheduled for 9–11 a.m, January 28, will feature Dr. Wes Jamison, Palm Beach Atlantic University in Florida, and Blake Hurst, vice president of the Missouri Farm Bureau Federation.
Other programs:
Equipment Safety – Machine Guarding Workshop
January 28, 9–11 a.m.
Georgia Tech OSHA Training Institute

Nutrient Management Plan Workshop
January 28, 9–11 a.m.
Paul Bredwell, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

Poultry Market Intelligence Forum
January 29, 9–11 a.m.
Dr. Donald Ratajczak, Consulting Economist; Mike Donohue, Agri Stats; and Dr. Paul Aho, Poultry Perspective

FSIS Noncompliance Record Workshops (pre-registration required)
January 27, 8–11 a.m.
January 29, 8–11 a.m.
Dr. Al Yancy, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association

H1N1 found in Indiana swine

Commercial herd pigs in Indiana have been reported to have H1N1, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This is the first time the virus has been found in commercial pigs in the U.S.
The sample showing the virus was collected in October. The USDA reports the pigs and affected employees have recovered.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

China robust export market for soya beans

Processors increasingly turn to imports, which are cheaper and more plentiful, despite efforts to boost local soya bean output. Read the full article.

European feed tonnage drops in 2009

Feed output may fall 4-8%, according to executives at FEFAC and SPACE shows. Read the full article.

USDA loan requests nearly double from 2008

According to reports, Texas A&M agriculture economist Danny Klinefelter projects the demand for loans from USDA will surge. This comes as creditors seek to limit exposure, and farm prices continue a trend of instability.
Requests for emergency loans from
USDA's Farm Service Agency have nearly doubled from last year. In fiscal 2008, loan obligations were at $629 million and have increased to $1.2 billion in fiscal 2009.
USDA forecasts farm incomes in 2009 at $54 billion, down $33.1 billion from 2008, and $9.6 billion below the 10-year average.
The Obama administration, earlier this year, provided more loans via the
American Recovery Act funded at $173.4 million. In 2008, the farm bill raised the limit for direct operating loans by $100,000 to $300,000. The USDA Guaranteed Loan Program also raised limits to $1,112,000.
There is debate as to whether loan funds should be targeted to farmers who do not benefit from hog or poultry production contracts.

FDA, FSIS seek to improve food safety system

A joint public meeting to improve the system for tracing food products and ingredients that are causing illness outbreaks was announced by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Recognizing the need to increase the speed and accuracy of foodborne illness investigations, the agencies are seeking public input to improve food product tracing systems. The meeting is intended to improve the ability of FDA and FSIS to respond to outbreaks by rapidly identifying the source of contamination and removing it from the market.
The meeting will be December 9 and 10 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's South Building in the Jefferson Auditorium in Washington, D.C.
Those interested in attending the public meeting can
pre-register online.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Former Tyson exec questioned on company priorities

According to reports, Tyson’s former director of environmental agriculture was questioned in court regarding the company's concern about pollution issues, as part of an ongoing trial against several poultry companies brought by the state of Oklahoma.
A state attorney questioned the former Tyson executive, Preston Keller, about a training presentation, which stressed the importance of positive company image. The state asserts the presentation shows the company was more concerned with public relations than preventing pollution flowing into the Illinois River watershed.
The companies maintain no laws were broken as they were issued permits to dispose waste as field fertilizer.

Maryland poultry farmers to see tougher pollution standards

Stricter pollution regulations for Maryland poultry farmers may be implemented within five to 10 years, according to reports.
EPA Senior Adviser, Chuck Fox, said the regulations, tougher than those in other areas, could be enforced in the Chesapeake Bay watershed region. He attributed the tighter pollution controls to the Clean Water Act and its protection of the watershed.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley opposes higher pollution standards that would put Maryland farmers at a competitive disadvantage with farmers in other states.

Belarus restricts Russian pork imports

Belarus' Ministry of Agriculture and Food announced temporary restrictions on imports of pork and pork products from Russia in early November, according to the BelTA news agency.
The restrictions have been introduced because of swine fever in Russia, said a Ministry official. In July 2009, Belarus announced a similar ban on pork and pork imports from Lithuania, following a report of a case of swine fever at a pig farm in that country's Panevezys region.
Belarusian pork imports fell by US$36 million year-on-year in the first half of 2009.

Poultry association hosts career program

USPOULTRY chairman Monty Henderson said as part of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s commitment to future leaders, it provides many outreach programs including the College Student Career Program (CSCP) held in conjunction with the International Poultry Expo (IPE) at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga.
Each year the CSCP welcomes more than 300 students from 25 universities to take part in the experience. Seniors and graduates from four-year schools in various majors meet with industry and allied firms and participate in on-site interviews for jobs and internships.
U.S. Poultry & Egg Association provides financial assistance for eligible students and university advisors to defray the costs of hotel rooms while participating in the program. Also, the association hosts an electronic resume database for registered employers to search for candidates with specific backgrounds or skill sets.

Once candidates are identified, the employer schedules interviews at the convention center during show hours.
To participate in the program, companies pay a fee of $50. Interviewing firms can access the student database which hosts hundreds of qualified candidates.

Tyson found in violation of labor laws

Tyson Foods Inc. has been found in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act at its Blountsville, Ala., facility. The jury's verdict in federal court in Birmingham resulted from a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Labor against the company.
The court ordered Tyson to pay $250,000 for the violations.
"This is a victory for workers, and the result of years of dedicated efforts to protecting the rights of working Americans," said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis.
The Department of Labor's lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. The federal department alleged Tyson Foods did not keep accurate records and failed to pay production line employees for the time they spend donning and doffing safety and sanitary gear, and performing other related work activities. The violations span nine years, beginning in 2000 and extending to present day and affect approximately 3,000 current and former plant workers.
The initial investigation began in April 2000 as part of the department's wage and hour division's poultry enforcement initiative. The Labor Department filed the district court complaint in May 2002 following the company's failure to comply with the law and to pay back wages. The first jury trial, which began in February 2009, ended in a mistrial. The Labor Department chose to pursue a second trial in August 2009 to secure a ruling that Tyson was failing to compensate its employees lawfully.
Read the
complete release.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Czech Republic releases poultry data

Poultry meat production in terms of carcass weight in the Czech Republic in the first nine months of this year totaled 145,276 tons, a year-on-year decrease of approximately 6%.
Third quarter figures show poultry meat accounted for 37% of Czech meat production during the period, with poultry meat production 1.4% lower year-on-year, according to the
Czech Statistical Office. There were 26 million head of poultry on farms in the Czech Republic as of June 30, 2.1% more than on the same date in 2008.
The Czech Republic's foreign trade in live poultry saw imports increase substantially, by 43.3%, year-on-year in the third quarter, while live poultry exports rose by a more modest 7.1%. Nearly three-quarters of all imported poultry came from Slovakia, with half of all poultry exports going to Germany.

China opens first veterinary association

China’s first national veterinary association was recently established in Beijing to improve the domestic veterinary system and enhance international cooperation, announced China’s Agriculture Ministry (MOA).
This non-government, nonprofit organization will contribute to animal disease control, animal welfare improvement, industry standard normalization, local veterinarian training and further involvement in global veterinary affairs, Vice Minister of MOA, Gao Hongbin, said in its inaugural meeting.
Jia Youling and Zhang Zhongqiu were named president and secretary general of the association.

GM research urgent

The UK’s national academy of science, The Royal Society, is calling for a GBP2 billion (US$3.28 billion) “Grand Challenge” research programme on global food security.
It has, today, published a report arguing that the UK should lead international research efforts to achieve the massive increase in food crop production (at least 50 percent) that will be required by 2050 to meet global food demands without damaging the environment.
The Royal Society says that implementing a research programme that directs at least GBP200 million in funding annually for the next 10 years to science that improves crops and sustainable crop management must be a priority for the UK government. This would see the addition of at least GBP50 million to what is already spent on science for food-crops each year.
The programme should support areas of research that have been neglected in recent years, the Society says, including exploring new methods of crop management to increase yields and minimize environmental impact. It should also support the development of improved crop varieties by both conventional breeding and genetic modification.
The report’s authors discuss a variety of possible solutions to the impending food shortage. ... Read the full blog.

Fecal contamination becomes easier to detect

USDA's ARS - Agricultural Research Service scientists Kurt Lawrence, Bosoon Park, Bob Windham, and Seung-Chul Yoon—all in the Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit in Athens, Georgia—have made two improvements to a hyperspectral imaging system used to scan the surface of poultry carcasses for contaminants. They have refined the system so that it can detect even tiny amounts of fecal contamination, which can vary significantly depending on where in the digestive tract it originated. They have also developed and implemented a new image-processing method to identify and remove false-positive readings.
To facilitate the transfer of their system, a prototype on-line multispectral imaging system was installed and tested in a commercial poultry plant to detect fecal-contaminated carcasses. The system was developed through a research agreement with Stork Gamco, a manufacturer of poultry-processing equipment based in Gainesville, Georgia. Carcasses were imaged after evisceration but before washing, at a rate of 150 birds per minute.
“The system ran for several days with no hardware or software problems, and it demonstrated the feasibility of accurately detecting fecal-contaminated carcasses,” says Lawrence. ... Read the full blog.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

GAO reports food safety regulation shortfalls

A report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlighted deficiencies in the U.S. food safety system, particularly in imported products.
The office found a lack of coordination among the
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) function of the Department of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
Among the noted issues:
*The CBP computer system does not interact with either FDA or FSIS tracking systems when food products are delivered to U.S. ports.
*The FDA has limited authority to enforce compliance with regulations.
*Individual importers do not have a unique identity number facilitating tracking on CBP and FDA computer systems.
*There is no mechanism to manage shipments that are imported inbound and may be subject to diversion to domestic consumption.
The situation is especially critical in relation to the volume of imports of diverse food products, many of which have the potential to impact public health.

Hemp studied as possible livestock feed

According to reports, the nutritional benefits of hemp seed in poultry feed is being studied at the University of Manitoba.
Research has shown the seed to be very digestible, and it is now being studied as an animal feed ingredient. Trials are underway with laying hens and broiler chickens.

Intensive agriculture in the cross hairs

A number of recent reports on government initiatives and press releases by activists opposed to intensive animal production are individually irritating but taken as a whole appear threatening. Some of the issues which have emerged since the advent of the new administration are clearly aimed at the most productive components of agriculture and appear to favor some idyllic pre-depression, family-farm mindset.
The new administrator of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration has indicated his intention to clarify the relevant sections of the Packers and Stockyard Act dealing with the principles of unfair, unjustly discriminatory and undue unreasonable preference or advantage to any person or geographic locality. This approach may relate to the current concerns of consolidation in the red meat industry and the traditional practices which are followed. It could also apply to the relationship between integrators and contractors producing broilers following industry cutbacks resulting in the inevitable retrenchment of growers.
An organization termed the Campaign for Family Farms and the Environment has demanded suspension of Farm Service Agency direct and guaranteed loans for hog and poultry facilities. These loans are in fact intended to make it possible for individual families to participate in the efficient production of hogs and poultry.
Restricting loans for new and more efficient housing will prevent entry of farmers into the production chain. Output will be limited and job opportunities in processing plants, feed mills and the allied industries will be lost. Consumers will inevitably pay more for their products and our competitive export situation will be sacrificed.
Who are the family farm organizations such as Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, Missouri Rural Crisis Center and the Land Stewardship Project of Minnesota? ... Read the full blog.

Pork production decreases in Czech Republic

Pork production in carcass weight terms in the Czech Republic’s first nine months of this year totaled 213,593 tons, a year-on-year decrease of approximately 10%.
Third quarter figures reveal that pork accounted for around half of Czech meat production during the period, with the number of pigs slaughtered 11.4% lower year-on-year, according to the
Czech Statistical Office. The average carcass weight of slaughtered pigs increased by 0.7% year-on-year to 87.2 kilos in the third quarter. There were 2.13 million head of pigs on farms in the Czech Republic as of Aug. 1, 9.4% fewer than on the same date in 2008.
The Czech Republic's foreign trade in pigs saw imports increase substantially, by 71%, year-on-year in the third quarter, while pig exports fell by 28.1%. Nearly half of all imported pigs came from Germany, with exactly half of all pig exports going to Slovakia.

More Norwegian pigs infected with H1N1

Mattilsynet, Norway's food safety authority, reported H1N1 in two more Norwegian pig herds in late October 2009.
These cases were in the counties of Rogaland and Nord-Trøndelag. As of Oct. 30, 2009, 22 pig herds had been infected with the virus in Nord-Trøndelag county, three in Rogaland, two each in Sør-Trøndelag and Buskerud counties, and one each in Hedmark and Akershus counties.
Pig farmers were urged to take all necessary measures to prevent the spread of H1N1.

Nutreco acquires Brazilian company

Nutreco has acquired a 51% shareholding in a Brazilian animal nutrition and fish feed company, and the new joint venture will be called Fri-Ribe.
The recently acquired company is active in the production and sales of premixes, farm minerals, compound feed, horse feed, petfood and fish feed. It consists of two privately owned companies, Fri-Ribe and Dispa, which operate under the umbrella brand of Fri-Ribe. The companies have five production plants and six sales offices spread across the central and northeast of Brazil. The companies have 400 employees and had annual revenues of EUR47 million in 2008.
Nutreco employs almost 9,300 people in 30 countries, and the company is listed on the Euronext stock exchange in Amsterdam with annual revenues of EUR4.9 billion in 2008.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wet weather affects corn harvest

If you live in the U.S. Midwest, as I do, there is one fact that is perfectly clear - you are in farm country. Specifically, this is corn and soybean country.
Every year, come October and November its harvest time. This year it is also perfectly clear that the lousy weather we're having - as in large quantities of rain - is holding back the harvest.This should not be news to anyone, as it has been widely reported on.
Even today there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about it. The bad weather has delayed the harvest and made corn prices spike 10% this month. The real question is whether or not (no pun intended) the corn will come in OK in the end and prices will drop.
Nobody seems to be quite sure and there is much speculation, so right now you can get someone to agree with just about any theory out there. The fact is that the rate of corn harvest is far behind what it usually is at this time of the year. Read the full blog.

GMO hullabaloo

Given the fact that world demand for food is going to skyrocket, some see it doubling, in the years ahead, it seems that the only word to describe the controversy over genetically-modified organisms is this one: nonsense. The biggest battle over GMOs right now is in the European Union (EU). And it's because of this: last summer, minute traces of unapproved GMO corn unapproved in the EU but approved in the U.S. was found in a shipment of soybeans from the U.S. to Europe. The result has been literally to freeze soybean exports to the EU, which has created nothing short of a crisis for the European feed and livestock industries.
At the moment there is only about a 30-day supply of much needed soy in Spain and several other countries. Because the U.S. cannot guarantee that soy shipments are free of traces of GMO corn, no U.S. soy is being exported to the EU. And with one of the lowest harvests of South American soybeans years due to a serious drought, there are no soybeans of South American beans available for export to anyone. Adding more pressure to the mix for the EU is the fact that China is buying large quantities of soybeans this year.
As a result, it's said that the premium on soybean meal in Europe at the moment is as much as $90/ton.The EU's stance of dragging its heels is putting its feed and livestock industries at a comparative disadvantage, but the larger issue is how its position is justified in a world that is going to need increasing amounts of food, especially animal protein, in the years ahead.
Read the full blog.

Let’s focus on formulating the right food policies

We know all about least-cost formulation and cost-effective production when it comes to getting the best out of our livestock through scientifically-based feed rations, but we are woefully inadequate when it comes to getting across to the general public - and politicians in particular - the essence of what we are achieving in terms of improvements in the efficient use of valuable world resources.
We are taking increasing criticism from poorly informed pressure groups and others that claim livestock are eating ingredients that could and should be used to feed people!
Whether we are formulating feeds or formulating policies, the principles to my mind, are the same - taking a safety first approach; aiming for an efficient use of resources; getting the best return from the money and effort applied; and achieving the objectives that we set out to achieve at the beginning.
It’s about time we took a stand and began to defend our industry where it matters - among policy formulators and the public. Read the rest of the blog.

Ohio passes livestock standards board initiative

Following a campaign with strong support from the agricultural community led by the Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio's State Issue #2 passed with support from nearly two-thirds of voters.
The ballot initiative aims to establish a 13-member board for science-based standards on housing and management of livestock. The measure is widely regarded as a preemptive approach to block a California Proposition #2-style initiative that would effectively ban confined housing of livestock, including caged hens.
The board will be chaired by the Ohio agriculture commissioner, with elected officials appointing the other members. The board must be bipartisan.
In a widely publicized debate November 2, John Fisher, chief executive of the Ohio Farm Bureau, said his opponent, Wayne Pacelle, president of the humane society of the United States (HSUS), promoted a vegan agenda under the guise of welfare.
“We're all about the humane treatment of animals, just not treating them as humans,” Fisher said.
With the adoption of Ohio State Issue #2, the HSUS will have to consider a subsequent constitutional amendment or attempt to advance its program through legislation. The passage of California Proposition #2 by a wide margin in 2008 created momentum for the HSUS and resulted in appeasement by the legislature of Michigan, which recently adopted HSUS wording in an amendment eliminating confined livestock within 10 years.
The November 3 Ohio reversal of the trend established by HSUS represents a model for other state farm associations to oppose attempts to stop intensive livestock production.

Cooking: Back to basics

The right combination of cooking methods can maximize safety, yield and product quality. Read the full article.

Poultry’s global future is here

JBS’ purchase of a majority ownership stake in Pilgrim’s Pride gives new traction to the transnational, multi-protein business model. Read the full article.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Exhibitors’ innovations offer star appeal

Visitors to this year’s edition of the trade show SPACE were not disappointed; we take a tour of what’s new. Read the full article.

Difficulties of sourcing halal chicken in China

With consumers increasingly focusing on environmental issues, the poultry industry is exploring more opportunities to use sustainable packaging. Read the full article.

Brunei aims to export to Singapore

According to reports, Brunei is in negotiations to export chicken to the Singapore market next year.
Brunei’s Agriculture Department is in talks with the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) of Singapore. Brunei officials are said to be pushing through legislation regarding controls on poultry production and a national disease control program for increased bio-security measures to satisfy import requirements.
To make poultry export possible, Brunei plans to double its current production. The country hopes to export its poultry under the Sultanate's Brunei Halal brand.

Study: Bacteria transferred from humans to chicken

Reports say a strain of bacteria has jumped from humans to chickens, according to researchers at the Roslin Institute of the University of Edinburgh. This is believed to be the first evidence of a crossover of a bacterial pathogen from humans to animals.
The bacteria staphylococcus aureus was shown via genetic testing to have crossed over from humans to animals approximately 40 years ago when intensive poultry farming practices began.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences published the study.