Monday, January 31, 2011

U of I, Pork Producers hosting swine webinar series

The University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, in conjunction with the Illinois Pork Producers Association and The Pork Checkoff, is hosting a swine webinar series that will feature industry experts giving presentations on topics like reproduction, disease, swine management and animal housing issues.
“This webinar series will offer pork producers an excellent opportunity to hear from several different swine industry experts without leaving the comfort of their home or farm office,” said Tim Maiers, IPPA director of industry and public relations. The first webinar, which will be held on Feb. 28, is entitled "Reproduction: Gilt induction of puberty."
Programs will take place on the fourth Monday of each month starting at 2 p.m. CST. Sessions will take 30 minutes with a 15-minute question-and-answer period.

USPOULTRY announces Workhorse of the Year recipient, 2011 officers

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association presented Monty Henderson, retired president of George's Inc. and 2009 Association chairman of the board, with its Workhorse of the Year honor during the 2011 International Poultry Expo.
The award is given annually in recognition of dedicated service and valuable leadership given to the Association and poultry industry. "We are very pleased to honor [Henderson] with this special award and acknowledge his many contributions to the Association and the industry," said 2010 USPOULTRY Chairman Willardsen. "[Henderson] has gone way above the call of duty in committing time and energy to help address and meet the challenges facing our industry on a day-to-day basis. We are thankful for his leadership and commitment."
During the Expo, USPOULTRY also announced the election of its 2011 chairman of the board of directors, Gary Cooper of Cooper Farms. Cooper previously served as the Association's vice chairman. Among other positions announced for 2011 were:
  • Vice Chairman: Mark Waller, Ingram Farms
  • Treasurer: James Adams, Wenger's Feed Mill
  • Secretary: Elton Maddox, Wayne Farms
  • Immediate Past Chairman: Steve Willardsen, Cargill Value Added Meats

Agriculture Secretary comments on record US-China soybean sale

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement on the reported sale of 2.74 million metric tons of U.S. soybeans to China in the 2011-12 marketing year, calling it "another strong sign that China continues to look to the United States as a reliable supplier of high-quality products."
According to Vilsack, the transaction is the single largest daily soybean sale since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began issuing daily sales reports in 1977. "This is great news not just for American soybean farmers but for the U.S. economy overall," said Vilsack. "The U.S.-China trade relationship continues to flourish, thanks in large part to agriculture. U.S. farm exports to China have grown nearly tenfold over the past decade, from $1.5 billion in fiscal year 2000 to $15 billion in 2010. Each $1 billion in exports supports 8,000 jobs throughout the supply chain, including rural growers, processors, shippers and others. China will continue to be a key trading partner as agriculture contributes to President Obama's goal of doubling total U.S. exports over the next five years."

JBS may offer Sara Lee $21 per share in takeover bid

JBS SA may offer Sara Lee Corp. around $21 a share in its latest bid to take over the company, according to reports.
The offer places Sara Lee's value at around $13.4 billion, roughly 7% higher than the company was trading at ($19.64 per share) when the market closed on Jan. 25 and a significant raise over JBS' mid-December bid of $17.50 per share, which was rejected by Sara Lee. The offer, if formalized, will pit JBS against other investors who have expressed interest in taking over Sara Lee, though the company has rejected the most recent bid ($18 per share) from a cosortium including Apollo Management, Bain Capital and TPG Capital as being too low.
Marcel Smits has been the Interim Chief Executive Officer at Sara Lee since May 14, 2010, previously serving as the company's Chief Financial Officer. Smits took over after former CEO Brenda Barnes stepped down for health reasons.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Watch the latest videos from the 2011 IPE/IFE show

See the latest videos from the 2011 International Poultry Expo/International Feed Expo, the world's premier show for the poultry and feed industries. This year's show is in Atlanta, Jan. 26-28. Check back often, new videos are added daily.

USDA inspection service prohibiting imports of birds from regions with avian influenza

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has issued an interim rule prohibiting the importation of birds and poultry products from regions where any subtype of highly pathogenic avian influenza exists. 
Previous restrictions covered only the H5N1 subtype of avian influenza. APHIS is also adding restrictions for live poultry and birds that have been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of HPAI or that have moved through regions where any HPAI subtype exists.
Under the interim rule, live birds or poultry that have been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza are prohibited entry into the U.S. These restrictions also apply to hatching eggs laid by birds or poultry vaccinated for the H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. Non-vaccinated birds, poultry and their hatching eggs imported into the U.S. must be accompanied by a certificate stating that the birds have not been vaccinated for any H5 or H7 subtype of avian influenza. The importation of live birds, poultry and hatching eggs that travel through areas where any HPAI subtype is known to exist is also prohibited.
Comments on the new rule will be accepted through March 25, 2011.

December 2010 US egg production reaches 7.9 billion

U.S. egg production totaled 7.9 billion in December 2010, up 1% from the same time in 2009, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service report.
Production numbers included 6.83 billion table eggs and 1.07 billion hatching eggs, of which 1 billion were broiler-type and 67 million were egg-type. In addition, the total number of layers in December 2010 was slightly up (1%) from December 2009 numbers, averaging 341 million. Production per 100 layers was 2,313 eggs.
The numbers of chicks hatched in December 2010 were both up and down compared to the same time period in 2009, with broiler-type chicks hatched up 1% (to 786 million) and egg-type chicks hatched down 4% (to 37.9 million).

Neogen salmonella tests meet FDA proposed guidance

Neogen Corporation's salmonella tests meet the guidance for salmonella in animal feed currently being considered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, according to the company.
The FDA is proposing the testing of "direct human contact animal feed" for the presence of any salmonella and the testing of other animal feeds for salmonella strains of known concern to specific animal species. In particular, the government agency is focusing on poultry feed with Salmonella pullorum, Salmonella gallinarum or Salmonella enteritidis; swine feed with Salmonella choleraesuis; sheep feed with Salmonella abortusovis; horse feed with Salmonella abortusequi; and dairy and beef feeds with Salmonella newport or Salmonella dublin.
“Advancements in the ability to definitively trace a pathogenic outbreak to its root cause have solidified the link between animal feed and pet food contaminated with salmonella and human and animal illness,” said Ed Bradley, Neogen’s vice president of food safety. The company offers several testing platforms, including the Reveal 2.0 salmonella test system and the GeneQuence salmonella, which combines DNA hybridization technology with the ability to process up to 372 samples at once using a fully automated method or a small number of samples via a non-automated approach.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Poultry ready-to-cook weight up 6% from 2009, says USDA

Poultry certified wholesome in December 2010 totaled 3.69 billion pounds in ready-to-cook weight, up 6% from December 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest poultry slaughter report.
This growth can also be seen in an increase in the number of birds inspected across the board for December 2010: young chickens were up by 7% (to 4.23 billion pounds), mature chickens were up by 14% (to 69.7 million pounds), turkeys were up by 1% (to 578 million pounds) and ducks were up by 4% (to 15.0 million pounds) from December 2009 numbers. In addition, the birds' average weight was up, particularly for mature chickens at 5.79 pounds per bird, a 5% increase from 2009.

Japan to cull 410,000 bird flu-infected chickens

A farm in Miyazaki, Japan, is culling 410,000 of its chickens after five of the birds were found dead and infected with the H5 strain of bird flu.
The farm is located in Japan's second-biggest growing region for poultry, and additional precautions are being taken to prevent spreading the disease through the area. The government has imposed a band on the movement of birds and eggs within a radius of 10 kilometers from the affected farms and is disinfecting area vehicles. “We have not received any additional reports of bird-flu outbreaks so far,” said Shinichi Igawa, an official at the ministry’s animal health division.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

GIPSA amends livestock, feed scale testing regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration has amended section 201.72(a) (9 CFR 201.72(a)) of the regulations under the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, which provides details for the number and frequency of times that stockyard owners, market agencies, dealers, packers or live poultry dealers that weigh livestock, live poultry or feed must have their scales tested.
The former regulation, which said that the scales must be tested at least twice each calendar year at intervals of approximately six months, has been amended to require regulated entities to complete the first of two scale tests between Jan. 1 and June 30 of the calendar year and the remaining scale test between July 1 and Dec. 31. In addition, a minimum period of 120 days is required between these two tests. More frequent testing would still be required in cases where a scale does not maintain accuracy between tests.
GIPSA has provided an exception for the testing of scales used on a limited seasonal basis. A seasonal scale is one used from either Jan. 1 through June 30 or July 1 through Dec.31, but not during both periods. These scales must be tested once during the calendar year, within the six months prior to use.
That same section of the regulations has been amended to add "swine contractors" to the list of regulated entities to which the section applies.

FEFAC: EU pig market 'facing a near market collapse'

European Feed Manufacturers' Federation, FEFAC, President Patrick Vanden Avenne has called on the European Union Farm Council presidency to take urgent measures to prevent the collapse of the EU pig market.
“The current market situation of the EU livestock sector is extremely worrying," said Avenne. "In particular the EU pig sector is facing a near market collapse. A key reason for this situation lays in particular in the rising cost for feed grains, which have recently reached the levels of 2007/2008, resulting from global demand outpacing supplies of feed grains. The current market crisis has been further exacerbated by the knock-on effects of the dioxin incident in Germany leading to a drastic fall in domestic consumption and temporary closure of some important export markets for German pigmeat. In the meantime, however, market experts anticipate that the present tension on the EU and global cereals markets may grow further before the end of the marketing year due to rising global competition for scarce feed grain supplies.”
FEFAC has urged the EU Farm Council to ease the market access to the supply of competitive feed grains on the EU market by suspending the import duties for all cereals, as was done in 2007, in the light of the current market situation.

EPA grants E15 fuel waiver for 2001-2006 vehicles

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has waived a limitation on selling gasoline that contains more than 10% ethanol for model year 2001 through 2006 passenger vehicles, including cars, SUVs and light pickup trucks.
The waiver, which applies to fuel that contains up to 15% ethanol, is being called "another giveaway to the ethanol interests" that will only complicate price problems for both animal feed users and retail consumers by the National Chicken Council. “E15 may be good for ethanol producers and corn farmers, but it is clearly detrimental to all other interested parties,” said Bill Roenigk, senior vice president of the NCC. “To the extent the EPA and the ethanol industry actually manage to force more ethanol into the nation’s motor gasoline, they will put even more pressure on the already very tight supply of corn."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the decision is "another important step to get existing ethanol production capacity into the market to support and create jobs in rural America, improve our nation's energy security, protect our environment and provide the renewable fuels industry with the support it needs to grow and mature."
The waiver does not extend to motorcycles, heavy-duty vehicles or non-road engines.

TABS survey: 13.4% consumers buy organic chicken

A survey conducted by TABS Group in early January 2011 determined that in a panel of 1,000 people aged 18-75, 13.4% said they bought organic chicken at some point in 2010, according to a report.
Some 38%-39% of those surveyed said they had bought organic products of some sort in 2010. Other numbers included organic egg purchases (17% of those surveyed), organic milk (16% of those surveyed) and red meat (purchased by 6% of those surveyed).
This year was the first time organic chicken was included in the survey.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Feed union calls for European action on escalating grain costs

European feed manufacturers’ federation FEFAC has called on the Farm Council of the European Union to suspend import duties on all cereals in order to ease the “extremely worrying” market situation of the EU livestock sector caused by escalating feed grain costs.
The last time the EU suspended cereal import duties was in 2007, according to the federation, and prices for feed grains have recently returned to the exceptionally high levels of 2007/2008. “The EU pig sector in particular is facing a near market collapse,” said FEFAC president Patrick Vanden Avenne. “A key reason is the rising cost of feed grains resulting from global demand outpacing supplies. The current market crisis has been further exacerbated by the knock-on effects of the dioxin incident in Germany, leading to a drastic fall in domestic consumption and the temporary closure of some important export markets for German pigmeat.
Market experts, according to Avenne, anticipate that the present tension on the EU and global cereals markets may grow further before the end of the marketing year due to rising global competition for scarce feed grain supplies.

Jerusalem artichokes emerging as a biofuels crop

The versatile root vegetable has many industrial applications.
Scientists in Canada are evaluating Jerusalem artichoke production as a feedstock for biofuels production. The versatile crop has many industrial applications and could displace some corn which is currently diverted to ethanol.
It is anticipated that a grower cooperative will be established in the Okanogan Valley in central British Colombia to cultivate Jerusalem artichokes, which will be used to produce organic inulin and other derivatives.
A native of the temperate zones of North America, Jerusalem artichokes were introduced into Europe where they have been consumed as a root vegetable for over four centuries.

World grain supplies tightening due to lower production, higher consumption

World grains supplies are tightening, according to a January 2011 market review from the International Grains Council, with production in 2010/11 expected to decline by 3.8% to 1.73 billion metric tons while consumption rises by 1.4% to 1.79 billion metric tons.
According to the report, 678 million metric tons of wheat was produced in 2009/10, compared to 813 million metric tons of maize. Estimates for wheat in 2010/11 include that production will work out at 647 million metric tons and consumption at 661 million metric tons. For maize, an output of 809 million metric tons is estimated as consumption grows to 842 million metric tons.
The outlook for northern hemisphere grains crops in 2011/12 appears generally favorable at this early stage, said the IGC, although much will depend on the extent to which growers expand plantings of spring crops, especially maize and barley. After last year’s sharp drop, the global wheat area is projected to rise by about 3%. Assuming average yields, wheat production globally is forecast to rise to 670 million metric tons.

US may resume horse slaughter

Prior to the 2007 ban, 100,000 horses representing the surplus population were processed in the U.S. each year.
An in-depth review in a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal documents the effect of the ban on U.S. slaughtered horses introduced four years ago. A meeting entitled “Summit of the Horse” aims at resuming slaughter of horses in part to dispose of the old, lame and surplus animals that are either shipped to Mexico or live an unhappy life in the U.S.
Animal-rights activists wish to exacerbate the situation by banning the export of up to 60,000 horses annually. Prior to the 2007 ban, 100,000 horses representing the surplus population were processed in the U.S. each year. The American Humane Association, noted for its pragmatism and even-handed approach to welfare of all animals including livestock and pets, has agreed to develop science-based guidelines for handling and processing horses. The National Conference of State Legislatures has adopted a resolution requesting Congress to support horse processing and to rescind the 2007 ban.
An additional problem relating to horses is the accumulation of thousands of feral mustangs which are culled each year to reduce herds to manageable levels.
Costs for management and subsistence have risen to over $37 million annually to temporary hold 40,000 horses in corrals and pasture. According to the Bureau of Land Management, slaughter is not an acceptable option.

Hickman's acquires Armstrong layer flock

Hickman’s Family Farms of Arizona has acquired the Armstrong layer flock in Valley Center, Calif. 
The addition brings Hickman’s current flock capacity to more than 5.5 million layers. “This deal will allow us to better serve and grow our base of customers in California,” said Glenn Hickman, president of Hickman’s.

Future farmers program works with USDA to support industry students

The National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation have entered into a new alliance with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Council for Agricultural Education designed to develop agriculture students’ skills, leadership qualities, personal growth and career success.
Under the agreement, the FFA will work with the USDA to identify the needs and interests of agriculture teachers, students, communities, farmers, agribusiness and related groups. The FFA will also collaborate with other USDA programs, such as 4-H and Agriculture in the Classroom, to extend efforts to educate and inform students about agriculture and promote awareness of career opportunities within the agriculture industry. “The National FFA Organization and National FFA Foundation believe that this new strategic partnership will heighten our collective focus on our common goals and significantly strengthen our combined efforts to effectively train and develop tomorrow’s leaders in the science, business and technology of agriculture,” said Rob Cooper, executive director of the National FFA Foundation. “The FFA is committed to increased collaboration with the federal government and council.”
The agreement was signed by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack after a meeting in Washington with representatives from the FFA, the National FFA Foundation, the USDA and council.

AFIA involvement instrumental in Food Safety Act

The American Feed Industry Association was instrumental in protecting the interest of the feed industry during the framing of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed in to law on January 4, 2011, according to Richard Sellers the vice president to Feed Regulation and Safety of the AFIA.
The major provision of this new legislation is the requirement for all food, feed, ingredient and pet food facilities to identify safety hazards and develop written guidelines to control them. The law invests FDA with mandatory recall authority and administrative detention.
"Through a number of meetings and briefings with the AFIA Board of Directors, members of Congress and FDA officials, the AFIA believes it was able to reach a reasonable consensus and compromise on the major provisions of the Bill that will affect the feed industry,” commented AFIA president and CEO Joel G. Newman.
The major achievement by AFIA was establishing the principle that the FDA should differentiate between food and feed in rulemaking relating to performance standards, risk management and written plans.

Tunisia poultry production slows due to decreased demand, increased feed prices

Tunisia’s poultry production has slowed due to lower consumer demand and increased feed prices, according to Cary Sifferath, U.S. Grains Council regional director based in the North African country.
The cutback will reduce the national demand for feed grains in 2011 after 2010 saw record corn imports and the first major importation of distillers dried grains.
This follows the social unrest and riots in Tunisia this year, in which rising food costs and unemployment were a major factor. The riots can be expected to have a major impact on Tunisia’s tourism industry and therefore for the national economy, said Sifferath. Tourism has represented 8% to 10% of Tunisia’s gross domestic product and was a major source of hard currency. “The effects on feed grains demand across North Africa is not known yet," said Sifferath. "However, Tunisia’s demand will be set back in 2011.” 

South Korea culls 3.6 million poultry, 2.1 million pigs, cattle over disease fears

South Korea has culled 3.6 million poultry, mostly chickens, and 1.2 million pigs and cattle due to the countrywide outbreaks of avian influenza and foot-and-mouth disease.
The numbers represent roughly 3% of the country's poultry population and 15% of its pig and cattle population. Nationwide vaccination is currently taking place to stop the spread of both diseases. "The government set a policy to minimize slaughter against foot-and-mouth, while utilizing vaccination to prevent the disease," said President Lee Myung-bak.
Foot-and-mouth outbreaks began at the end of November, while the first case of bird flu was reported on Dec. 31. So far, the agriculture ministry has confirmed 120 cases of food-and-mouth and 26 cases of bird flu.

US egg farmers launch new 'incredible edible egg' ad campaign

America's egg farmers have introduced "You Do Everything," a new national advertising campaign for the "incredible edible egg" focusing on how an all-natural, high-quality protein breakfast can contribute to a successful day.
"Eggs are often a part of weekend breakfasts, but there is an opportunity to make eggs a bigger part of Americans' weekday breakfast routines," said Kevin Burkum, senior vice president of marketing for the American Egg Board. "This new advertising builds on a universal truth that parents will do whatever it takes to help their child succeed in school, sports and beyond. We want to remind parents that success starts with an all-natural, high-quality protein breakfast, like eggs, to give kids the energy they need to perform their best throughout the day."
The ads are currently running in spots during "Good Morning America," the "Rachael Ray Show," on the Food Network and online.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Kemin expands into veterinary market

Kemin Industries Inc. has expanded into the veterinary market with the launch of a new division, Kemin Vet Innovations, set to provide products, solutions and services for the veterinary community serving the livestock, poultry, equine and companion animal markets worldwide.
The division will be led by Andrew Yersin, former director of research and development for Kemin AgriFoods North America. “This is an exciting addition to Kemin’s growing global presence,” said Yersin. “We look forward to expanding our product offerings across regions and supporting the veterinary market with innovative, molecular solutions.
Kemin Vet Innovations will be based at Kemin’s corporate headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa and will have additional representation in the Middle East, China, Mexico, India and Asia Pacific.

European Food Safety Authority opens engineered nanomaterial guidance document to public

The European Food Safety Authority has launched a public consultation on its draft guidance document for engineered nanomaterial applications in food and feed.
According to the guidance document, prepared by the Scientific Committee in response to a request from the European Commission, it is essential to characterize ENM following classical risk assessment practices. The draft guidance also mentions several uncertainties related to test methodologies and the availability of data and makes recommendations about how risk assessments should reflect such uncertainties. “Building on the EFSA’s previous scientific opinions in the area of nanotechnologies, we are now in the position to provide practical guidance on the risk assessment process," said Professor Vittorio Silano, chair of the EFSA’s Scientific Committee. "The EFSA recognizes the importance of developing risk assessment methodologies in this area of science, supporting innovation whilst ensuring the safety of food and feed. This is the first time that risk assessment guidance on nanotechnologies related to the food chain has been developed, making this public consultation very important to EFSA.”
Comments on the draft opinion can be submitted until Feb. 25, 2011. The final guidance document will be adopted by the EFSA’s Scientific Committee, which will consider the comments received, following the public consultation.

UK animal feed production up 4.9% in November 2010

According to the latest report from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, animal feed production in the United Kingdom was up by 4.9% in November 2010 compared to the same time period in 2009.
The total of all feed produced in November 2010 came to 818,200 metric tons, up 5.1% from October 2010 and 4.9% over November 2009 numbers. Of the various feeds, sheep feed boasted the highest growth over 2009, increasing by 14.2% in November 2010 to 41,600 metric tons. Poultry and pig feeds also saw significant growth in November 2010 compared to November 2009, at 9.7% (to 255,200 metric tons) and 5.8% (to 121,500 metric tons), respectively.
A breakdown of poultry feed in particular saw growth in all areas, with turkey feed seeing the highest growth — 11.2% (to 55,000 metric tons) in November 2010 over the same time period the previous year.

Salmonella/campylobacter reduction conference reaches more than 350 registrants

Registration for the Salmonella and Campylobacter Reduction Conference, co-sponsored by Watt Poultry USA and taking place on Jan. 26 and 27 at the International Poultry Expo, has obtained more than 350 registrants so far, according to the North American Meat Processors Association.
The NAMP organized the upcoming conference with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the National Chicken Council. On-site registration for the conference begins Jan. 23, at noon. The cost is $150.

Egg Industry Center reports on molting

The EIC evaluated records from 12 producer companies using an 80-week, single-cycle program and a 110-week two-cycle program with molting at 70 weeks.
Part five of the Egg Industry Center review of egg production reported on the financial impact of molting. The report (EEU328) dated December 29, 2010 is accessable through the EIC and
Guided by Don Bell, software was developed, permitting input of production data and price information. The EIC evaluated records from 12 producer companies using an 80-week, single-cycle program and a 110-week two-cycle program with molting at 70 weeks. Eight of the 12 companies demonstrated higher returns with the 80-week program. The 52-week average profit from the 80-week program followed by 12 companies was $4.01 compared to $4.10 for the two-cycle 110-week program.
Further details relating to hen-housed egg production, weekly mortality, case weight and daily feed intake can be reviewed in the report. The averages are indicated in the table below:

 Parameter  80 week  70 + 40 weeks 
 52-week profit  $4.01  $4.10 
 Hen-housed eggs  340  457 
 Av.weekly mortality  0.16%  0.19% 
 Case weight  47.5 lb  48.1 lb 
 Feed intake per hen  0.220 lb  0.280 lb 
 Feed conversion  3.24  3.43 

Dr. Karel Schat wins lifetime achievement award for poultry health contributions

Dr. Karel Schat of the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine was presented with a lifetime achievement award "in recognition of outstanding research and contributions to poultry health" at the 5th International Workshop on the Molecular Pathogenesis of Marek's Disease Virus.
The award, Schat's fifth relating to his work in poultry health, is meant to honor all his accomplishments in the field, including his work on Marek's disease. “This award is a fitting capstone to [Schat's] scientific career,” said Dr. Avery August, chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology to which Schat belongs. “I believe that it illustrates the esteem with which his colleagues view him and his work in avian health research, particularly his work on Marek’s disease."
Schat's other awards include the Beecham Award for Research Excellence, the Upjohn Achievement Award for distinguished contributions in avian medicine, the Bart Rispens Research Award in recognition of an outstanding research contribution in the field of avian pathology, the Pfizer Award for Excellence in Poultry Research and the Merck Award for Achievement in Poultry Science.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Joint Poultry Industry Safety Award program calls for applicants

The Joint Poultry Industry Safety Award Program, which recognizes facilities that have achieved injury and illness rates below the industry average for three consecutive years through the implementation of innovative and effective programs, has put out a call for applicants throughout the poultry industry. 
Poultry or egg processing plants, hatcheries, feed mills or rendering facilities that are operated by member companies of the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association are eligible to apply. The application deadline for the 2011 awards is March 1.

Vancouver Humane Society releases public perceptions of welfare in caged hens study

The Vancouver Humane Society, which operates the website ChickenOut!, has posted the results of a Harris/Decima poll that was funded by the Vancouver Foundation. The survey was carried out to assess public perceptions of welfare in caged hens.
The study documented that 71% of those questioned were concerned about the welfare of farm animals and 65% indicated that this would influence their support of political candidates. Over 57% were opposed to caged housing and 68% would support a legislative ban on cages in British Columbia.
It is noted that 97% of Canadian eggs are derived from confined hens.
Details of the survey are available on the VHS website.

Salmonella contamination detected in green produce

J & D Produce Inc. of Edinburg, Texas, has recalled a substantial quantity of parsley and cilantro which was contaminated with salmonella (serotype not specified). Random sampling applied by U.S. and Canadian inspectors revealed the presence of potential pathogens. Traceback confirmed that the produce was packed on November 30 and December 6, 2010 in the implicated plant.
At the present time there are no recorded cases of illness associated with this source. As a precaution the company recalled other produce including leeks, mustard beets, Swiss chard and turnips. The company shut down all production lines, sanitized the packing plant and implemented additional rinsing steps.
Salmonella contamination of produce is an emerging problem and represents a significant challenge to producers and public health authorities since most of the products are consumed in salads and are not subjected to any potential thermal inactivation as with red and white meat and eggs.
It is also noteworthy that the produce apparently grown in the Rio Grande Valley was distributed widely in the U.S. and also in two Canadian Provinces representing challenges to trace back and recall in the event of a public health incident.
Combating salmonella contamination of produce and green vegetables was a major topic at the 2010 Institute of Food Technology Annual Scientific Meeting. There are no absolute modalities to eliminate risk but possibilities include improved cultivation practices, immersion of produce in disinfectant solutions and possibly low dose gamma or electron beam irradiation.

Dutch to phase out feed additive antibiotics

The Dutch Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation mandated the reduction of antibiotic inclusion in feeds by 20% over current levels by the end of 2011 and a 50% reduction by 2013 in a press release dated December 24, 2010. The Dutch Compound Feed Organization, NEVEDI, and the Farmers Union, LTO, indicated that manufacture of medicated feed will cease effective 2011.
The Central Veterinary Database, Vetcis, will record the use of antibiotics by veterinarians and farmers. Oversight will also be provided by the Foundation for Animal Medicine Authority an independent organization financed by the Ministry of Economics, Agriculture and Innovation.
The following issues will be incorporated in pending legislation:
  • Limiting use of third- and fourth-generation antibiotics including fluorquinolones and cephalosporins which should be reserved for human therapeutic applications
  • A ban on the use of antibiotics for preventive and performance-enhancing purposes
  • Restriction on advertising of antibiotics
It is understood that export of medicated feeds will be allowed subject to the EU directive 19/167/EU.

US turkey poults hatched reach 23.3 million in December 2010

Turkey poults hatched in the U.S. in December 2010 reached 23.3 million, up 3% from the same time in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Poults placed were also up by 3% compared to 2009, with 22.7 million net poults placed in December 2010, and slightly up from the November 2010 total of 22.6 million. On Jan. 1, turkey eggs in incubators totaled 27.9 million, up 1% from the same time last year, with the East North Central U.S. posting the largest regional boost at 11% up from 2010 numbers.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Russian poultry exports may quadruple in 2011

Russian poultry exports for 2011 may increase by three to four times from last year's 15,000 metric tons, according to the Russian Poultry Producers Union.
The country's total output is currently estimated to hit 3.2 million tons this year, up 300,000 tons from 2010. Kazakhstan and China, the main buyers of Russian poultry, are expected to account for a significant percentage of those numbers.

Poultry processing plant injuries down by 42% since 2002

The number of workplace injuries for poultry processing facilities declined by 42% between 2002 and 2009, according to an annual U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
The number of nonfatal injuries stood at 17,800 in 2002, an average of 6.9 incidents per 100 workers. On the other hand, the 2009 number came to 10,400 injuries for the year, or 4.4 incidences per 100 workers. “The dramatic reduction in recordable injuries and illnesses is not surprising when you consider that over the past 25 years the industry has put considerable emphasis not only on complying with safety regulations but also on proactively tackling safety challenges," said Craig Wyvill, retired division chief of the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s Food Processing Technology division. "The industry’s efforts have changed the way safety is handled in processing plants today.” The 2009 numbers also beat out 2008, when 11,800 workers in poultry processing plants filed injury claims, an incidence rate of 4.8 per 100 people.

High-intensity light pulse technology reduces microbial levels on poultry

The use of high-intensity light pulse technology reduces the microbial counts of bacteria like Campylobacter spp., Escherichia coli and Salmonella enteritidis on raw chicken, as well as packaging and related surface materials, according to scientists at the Centre for Food Safety, School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine at University College Dublin.
Complete inactivation of the bacteria in liquid was achieved after 30 seconds of HILP treatment, with significant reductions after five seconds. Treatment became more effective on the chicken as the thickness of the packaging film decreased. "This study has shown HILP to be an effective method for the decontamination of packaging and surface materials," said scientists. "Additionally, it has demonstrated the potential of HILP to be used as a decontamination method for packaged chicken."

Canada’s pig industry urges Korean Free Trade Agreement talks

The Canadian Pork Council, Canada Pork International and the Canadian Meat Council are calling on the Canadian government to resume the Free Trade Agreement talks with Korea that have been interrupted since 2008.
With the recent agreement between South Korea and the US, the Canadian pork industry is very concerned that postponing talks any further will seriously affect the competitiveness of the pork industry and all other Canadian sectors exporting to Korea.

UK pig producers must add storage to meet 2012 slurry requirements

Pig producers in the UK are being urged by the British Pig Executive to start making plans as soon as possible in order to meet a change in national regulations on the storage of liquid manure (slurry) that goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
Beginning then, all pig units located in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones — areas of land where drainage enters waters containing nitrates from agriculture — must have sufficient capacity to store slurry securely for at least six months. The official Environment Agency can visit farms before the deadline in order to check they are taking active steps towards putting storage in place and that they have already completed satisfactory slurry storage calculations. Where breaches occur later due to lack of storage, the agency may apply for civil or criminal sanctions against the unit’s operator.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stephen Hitchner poultry disease expert dies at 94

Dr. Steve Hitchner, a distinguished poultry production and disease specialist, died on January 1, 2011 at his home in Salisbury, Mont., at the age of 94.
In his long and productive career, Dr. Hitchner served in the U.S Army during WWII followed by a research and teaching positions at Virginia Polytechnic University and the University of Massachusetts. He was a pioneer of the poultry biologics industry developing vaccines and was a founder member of American Scientific Laboratories in Madison, Wisconsin and subsequently L & M Laboratories on the Eastern Shore. He served as the Chairman of the Department of Avian Diseases at Cornell University, from 1966 through 1981.
Dr. Hitchner obtained a Baccalaureate degree from Rutgers University and his VMD from the University of Pennsylvania. He was an Honorary Diplomate of the American College of Poultry Veterinarians. His many achievements included the isolation, propagation and commercialization of a mild Newcastle disease strain which bears his name and which formed of ND prevention programs worldwide.
He will be remembered for his modesty, willingness to help producers and students and for his contributions to his community and church. He is survived by Marina, his wife of 67 years, and four children.
Steve will be sorely missed by his colleagues in the Veterinary profession and by the poultry industry.

Vencomatic reports on Bolegg Terrace poultry house installation

The Bolegg Terrace is a compact, but complete aviary system for layers which can be placed in adjacent rows in the house.
The November issue of the Vencomatic e-Newsletter reports on the successful implementation operation of a Bolegg Terrace installation at Ritewood Farms in Utah.
Completed in mid 2009, management achieved excellent performance in pullets raised on the JumpStart and then transferred to the Bolegg Terrace laying unit.
The vertical movement of birds between tiers of the rearing and laying systems increases perching and activity within the house and reduces broodiness and floor eggs.

Avian influenza in Manitoba controlled

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has lifted quarantine restrictions following successful containment and eradication of an avian influenza outbreak in Manitoba. Eggs and poults in a turkey hatchery were destroyed and live birds on the index farm were depopulated using carbon dioxide.
The infected farm will remain under quarantine for 21 days in accordance with World Organization for Animal Health recommendations. The rapid response to the outbreak including recognition, diagnosis and containment averted dissemination of infection from the affected farm.

New genetically modified chickens can't transmit bird flu

Scientists from Cambridge and Edinburgh universities have developed genetically modified chickens that can't transmit bird flu infections.
According to the researchers, while the birds still got sick and died when exposed to H5N1 bird flu, they didn't transmit the virus to other chickens they came into contact with. "Preventing virus transmission in chickens should reduce the economic impact of the disease and reduce the risk posed to people," said Laurence Tiley, of Cambridge's department of veterinary medicine, one of the lead researchers on the study.
The chickens could offer a way to improve economic and food security in parts of the world where bird flu is the biggest threat, but using them would probably raise farm costs. "It will inevitably be more expensive because you'd have to use the products of breeding companies to stock the producers," said Helen Sang from the Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University. In addition, for now, only large poultry producers could take advantage of the new chicken, until scientists create birds that can be bred on small farms.
Next, the researchers plan to expand their work to making chickens that are fully resistant to bird flu.

Farmers' Union calls for British egg market support

Consumers and the rest of the food chain should support the British egg market when new European welfare rules for hens are introduced later this year, according to the United Kingdom's National Farmers' Union.
Producers in the UK have already spent £400 million to meet or exceed European legislation which will make it illegal to produce eggs from conventional battery cages, said NFU president Peter Kendall. He said he hopes consumers will respond by buying locally, rather than purchasing foreign eggs that might now be cheaper. “UK producers have invested significantly in higher welfare standards to meet the demands of the EU Welfare of Laying Hens Directive, but producers in some countries will have not," said Kendall. “British egg producers must not be punished for playing by the rules, taking risks and putting themselves on the line and having the foresight to convert their units to meet the directive

Monday, January 17, 2011

Delmarva chicken industry sees positive end to 2010

The Delmarva Peninsula, an area on the East Coast of the U.S. that encompasses parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, has a poultry industry that produces 600 million chickens per year and saw investments and the potential for long-term growth in several of the area's poultry companies at the end of 2010:
  • Amick Chicken Farms LLC became the first new company to raise and process chickens on Delmarva since 1988.
  • Allen Family Foods Inc. completed phase one of an expansion that increased its weekly bird processing by 20%, with another increase expected in spring of 2011.
  • Mountaire Farms has made plans to invest $34.5 million into a rendering and resource-recovery plant in Millsboro, Del.
  • Perdue Farms Inc.'s headquarters in Salisbury, Md., is undergoing a $12.8 million renovation.
  • Tyson Foods Inc. is looking to expand its Temperanceville, Va., processing plant. 
Delmarva's poultry industry, which employs roughly 100,000 workers, had no major layoffs or plant closings in 2010.

National Organic Program offers bi-monthly newsletter for poultry producers

The National Organic Program issues an "Insider Bi-Monthly Report" to guide poultry producers. The November/December newsletter contains information of relevance to organic eggs, including highlights from the Fall 2010 meeting of the National Organic Standards Board held in late October in Madison, Wis.
Other topics reviewed include harmonization with regulations in Canada, fraudulent claims for organic status, outdoor access for organic poultry, and use of chlorine based materials in organic production.

HSUS expenditures questioned

The nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom has determined that the Humane Society of the United States used 50 cents of every donated dollar on non-welfare activities. The HSUS has a disproportionate cost for fundraising, overhead, lobbying and support of an $11 million pension plan.
The revelation was made following a review of the 2009 Federal income tax return submitted by the organization. The American Institute of Philanthropy has assigned a “D” rating to HSUS. Charity Navigator awarded only one star out of four to HSUS for organization and efficiency.
"Animal lovers need to know the difference between HSUS and real humane societies,” said Humane Watch spokesperson David Martosko. “The only way to be sure your donations will help homeless dogs and cats is to give to organizations in your own communities.”

US 2011 poultry production to reach estimated 43.26 billion pounds

In its latest report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that total U.S. poultry production for 2011 will reach roughly 43.26 billion pounds, up from the 2010 number of 42.84 billion pounds.
The estimate, which includes broilers, turkeys and mature chickens, includes a slight decrease in turkey production (5.56 billion pounds for 2011 compared to 2010's 5.61 billion pounds) and an increase in broiler production (37.20 billion pounds for 2011, compared to 36.73 billion pounds for 2010).
Egg production is also expected to be up slightly from 2010, with a projected 7.64 billion for 2011 compared to 7.59 billion dozen produced last year.

FDA implicates Salmonella Heidelberg in egg recall

In the concurrence letter from the Food and Drug Administration addressed to Jack DeCoster in early December, the FDA communication makes mention of Salmonella Heidelberg in the required program of suppressing Salmonella enteritidis, which is the principal focus of the Final Rule. Mention of other than a Group D Salmonella creates concern.
Although S. Heidelberg along with many other Salmonella serotype is potentially pathogenic to consumers, there is no evidence that serotypes other than SE can be transmitted by the vertical route. Contamination of the surface of shells with Group B and Group C Salmonella should be inactivated by effective washing in an efficient and well-managed plant. It is understood from industry sources that FDA does not intend to initiate a program requiring either depletion or diversion in the event of detecting Salmonella Heidelberg.
The present action relates specifically to Wright County Eggs where S. Heidelberg was detected in the process of extensive environmental sampling. There is concern that this aspect of the Wright County Egg investigation has created a precedent since FDA has the authority to investigate outbreaks of any food-borne disease. In the event of a traceback due to a non-Type D Salmonella it is presumed that appropriate remedial action will be required or mandated.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Betagro to increase poultry production 10% in 2011

Betagro Group plans to spend Baht3 billion in 2011 on upgrades to improve its supply chain and increase its poultry production capacity.
The improvements will raise chicken production to 410,000 birds per day, according to COO Vasit Taepaisitphongse, up from 370,000 in 2010. The increased production, in turn, will increase Betagro's market share in exports. "Export prices were high in last year's fourth quarter thanks to the strong yen and larger orders placed ahead of the festive season," said Vasit. Chicken products shipped to Japan earned Betagro US$7,000 to $8,000 per metric ton, he said, far above the average export price for all processed chicken shipped from Thailand ($4,500 per metric ton).
Betagro is looking for 10% overall company growth this year and expects to export 438,000 metric tons of chicken meat, up from 417,500 metric tons in 2010.

USDA develops new Newcastle disease vaccine

U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists have developed a new vaccine against Newcastle disease in poultry.
The new vaccine was formulated using part of a virus that is similar to the wild-type Newcastle disease, and improves on the old vaccines by reducing the shedding of the virus from infected birds to healthy birds. In addition, the vaccine reduces mortality and severity of NDV symptoms in poultry.
The majority of other NDV vaccines used in the U.S. were formulated based on the version of the virus isolated in the 1940s, according to Agricultural Research Service microbiologist Qingzhong Yu. However, since then new strains have emerged that are genetically different, necessitating the formulation of a newer, more effective vaccine.

UK pig producers to debate genetically modified feed materials

UK pig producers and supply chain businesses are being invited to a live debate on consumer opinions regarding genetically modified feed materials and processed animal protein in livestock rations.
Pig & Poultry LIVE 2011, on May 11 at Stoneleigh Park near Coventry, will include a series of highly focused technical and business workshops on topics ranging from risk management when buying feed to health and welfare. Organized by the Royal Agricultural Society of England in partnership with nutrition business ABN, the event will also look at the next steps the industry needs to take to ensure a more successful and profitable supply chain.
For more information, visit:

Canada enhances swine disease surveillance

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is enhancing the way it monitors Canada's swine herd for diseases such as porcine brucellosis, trichinellosis and pseudorabies.
Under the new surveillance system, the CFIA will regularly collect and test blood samples from mature animals at Canadian slaughter facilities, as opposed to conducting periodic, large-scale surveys as they have in the past. The process, which has gained the support of the Canadian Pork Council, the Canadian Swine Health Board and Canadian Pork International, is not expected to disrupt regular animal marketing activities. Additional sample collection points may be identified as the surveillance system is further developed and implemented.

Germany kills hundreds of pigs as dioxin troubles spread

German authorities ordered hundreds of pigs slaughtered after tests at one farm showed the animals had elevated levels of dioxin in their systems.
This is the first instance of evidence that the contamination has spread beyond poultry and eggs, according to authorities, who had already halted pork sales as a precaution when the contamination was first discovered. "We were specifically investigating this farm because they had bought their livestock feed from Harles & Jentzsch, the company that delivered tainted feed to all the other farms that had to be banned," said Lower Saxony's Agriculture Minister Gert Hahne.
The investigation into both Harles & Jentzsch and potentially infected farms continues, with 558 of the original 4,700 targeted farms remaining closed.

Nova Scotia poultry group may repurpose closing Maple Leaf facility

The Nova Scotia poultry industry's strategic planning committee, in conjunction with Maple Lodge Holding Corp. of Ontario, is looking into the possibility of acquiring a Maple Leaf Foods Berwick pork processing plant due to close this spring.
Plans were already in the works to build a poultry processing plant in the Kentville Industrial Park, but with the announcement in November of the upcoming closure of the Berwick facility, representatives of the poultry group started talking to Maple Leaf about repurposing the existing plant. Maple Leaf said it would work with all levels of government to find other users for the building. "We believe the Berwick facility provides an excellent opportunity for another food processor," said Rick Young, executive vice president of Maple Leaf Consumer Foods.
Ian Blenkharn, director of a new numbered company representing some Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island poultry producers and Maple Lodge Holding Corp., said the plant is just one option for now. "We still have not made a decision," said Blenkharn. "Our design team and engineering firm continue to investigate the facility and work with Maple Leaf to determine if it is a viable option for our business venture." Whatever its location, the planned poultry processing plant is slated to open by the summer of 2012.

Potential Sanderson Farms site to undergo second rezoning

A potential site for a new Sanderson Farms' North Carolina poultry plant will undergo a second industrial rezoning at the insistence of Nash County residents, who are suing the county for allegedly not following its ordinance during the original rezoning in November.
The process could take several months to complete, according to Sanderson Farms executives, which could impact the company's choice between the 150-acre Nash County site and another potential plot of land in Wayne County.
Nash County will also propose to the planning board several amendments to the existing procedure, in order to eliminate possible ambiguities and clarify the process. “In considering the November rezoning, Nash County met all state statutes and consistently interpreted the [Unified Development Ordinance] just as we have with rezoning since it was adopted in 1999,” said Nash County Planning Director Rosemary Dorsey. “We’ve not heard these complaints about the procedure before, but to try to accommodate the citizens who weren’t pleased with the process, we’re proposing minor revisions to the zoning ordinance and repeating the rezoning.” The planning board's recommendations will be presented in February.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FEFAC dioxin testing protocol addresses contamination risks linked to feed fat supply chain

The European Compound Feed Manufacturers' Federation, FEFAC, revealed a two-pillar action plan to address dioxin contamination risks linked to the feed fat supply chain.
Such a step comes on the heels of the recent dioxin-contaminated animal feed issue in Germany, which temporarily closed down 4,700 farms and disrupted trade in the region. The two pillars of the plan, submitted at the 2nd European Commission briefing for the European Union feed fat chain partners, are:
Pillar 1: Development of a testing protocol for a structured dioxin monitoring plan of the feed fat supply chain at EU level before the end of the month.
Pillar 2: Review of the registration, i.e., approval requirements for fat blending businesses under the EU Feed Hygiene Regulation (EC) No 183/2005.
“Although the German authorities consider fraud at the fat blending plant which mixed technical fats in feed fats as the most plausible road of the contamination, we, as customers, must take all necessary and effective action which can help preventing such incidents in the future,” said FEFAC President Patrick Vanden Avenne. “In our view, this would require a combination of an industry-own structured monitoring plan and specific legal requirements for the approval of fat blending plants, which currently only have to be registered under the EU Feed Hygiene Regulation.”

Australia’s pig producers receive semen by helicopter

With flood waters in Queensland, Australia, covering an area the size of Germany and France many piggeries have become isolated. This has meant that they have been unable to receive – by conventional means at least – any semen for sows ready to be mated.
Yet semen supplier Pork Storks Australia has continued to deliver its product to piggeries isolated by the waters.
While deliveries were initially made with vehicles crossing flooded roads and bridges, safety issues meant that this approach had to cease, and the company decided that it needed to take a more pro-active approach, securing the use of a helicopter and a light plane to deliver semen to isolated piggeries.
Bridget Jervois, operations at Prok Storks Australia said: “We wanted to act early to acquire helicopters to ensure that customers’ mating programs were minimally disrupted. That said, there were, and continue to be, several difficulties to overcome as part of our plan, including extreme weather conditions from a tropical cyclone, a couple of forced landings, and the limited availability of aircraft in light of evacuations of entire towns.
“The team also coordinated the delivery of semen to regional landing sites, where customers came to collect the semen. What’s more, Pork Storks Australia also used their helicopter to deliver emergency veterinary supplies to these isolated piggeries.” 

PCV2 virus study gives UK pig producers insight into porcine reproductive failure

Britain’s Veterinary Laboratories Agency, VLA, is to increase surveillance for PCV2 virus as a cause of reproductive failure in cases of abortion and stillbirth, where no other infectious cause has been identified.
The hearts of stillborn or aborted piglets submitted to the agency will be examined for myocarditis, the lesion caused by PCV2 in the heart of the developing pig foetus. When a myocarditis is detected, immunohistochemistry will be used to determine whether PCV2 is the cause.
VLA veterinary officer Susanna Williamson says: “Data from the field and research show that PCV2 can be transmitted to the pig foetus, and may, in previously na├»ve gilts and sows, cause piglets to be aborted or stillborn with myocarditis lesions. "Through this increased surveillance we will be able to monitor for PCV2-associated abortion and stillbirth and obtain a better idea of the role that it plays in porcine reproductive failure in England and Wales. Other pathogens may also cause myocarditis, which is why it will be essential to demonstrate the PCV2 in association with lesions to obtain a diagnosis.”
Ricardo Neto, veterinary advisor with Merial Animal Health, said: “We welcome this move as it should provide a clearer picture about what is happening with regard to the transmission of the PCV2 virus and the effect that it has.
“It would be very helpful if vets could have a diagnosis of PCV2 in reproductive failures on their client farms, especially because the control of PCV2 among breeding animals can have such a great economic impact.”

The free WATT Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe will be held April 6

The WATT Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe is designed to help animal agriculture executives meet the challenges of feeding the world’s growing population. This online event — scheduled for Apr. 6 — offers a valuable mix of live webinars, networking opportunities and information on products and services from major industry suppliers.
Animal agriculture has enormous opportunities for global expansion over the next 30 to 40 years. United Nations projections indicate that the world population will grow from a current level of about 7 billion to exceed 9 billion by 2050, meaning that there will be 30% more mouths to feed. For company executives in the poultry and livestock sectors and their technical advisers, the question will be how to position the business to take advantage of the projected market growth.
“Everyone involved in the operation and strategic planning of enterprises in meat and eggs needs to be well informed about the key challenges that we will all face in feeding another 2 billion people worldwide,” says Peter Best, consulting editor for the international agrifood information services of WATT. “That is why WATT is organizing this special online forum.”
The forum, which will include a range of speakers from different disciplines and geographic areas, is free to attend and can be accessed through the Internet from the comfort of your home or office. Attendees may enter and leave the forum as their schedules allow.
Visit for details about the WATT Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe, including how to register. The forum, on Apr. 6, will run from 0800 to 1700 CST (1400 to 2300 GMT).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Heartland Co-op, Fieldale Farms sign contracting agreement for NutriDense Grain

Heartland Co-op and Fieldale Farms announced  a new contracting agreement for NutriDense Grain, which will be delivered to Heartland and then utilized by Fieldale, an independent poultry producer in northeast Georgia.
“Through this NutriDense Grain partnership with Fieldale Farms, our growers will have a premium contracting opportunity,” said Kent Jessen, Heartland director of merchandising. “We are constantly seeking innovative solutions to meet our customers’ needs and are very interested in the optimal nutrition and enhanced animal feed performance NutriDense Grain offers.” Through Heartland's buyer’s call contracting, corn growers who plant NutriDense Grain during the 2011 season will receive acreage contracts with a premium of $0.25 per bushel.
Delivery of NutriDense will be available to the Des Moines area Heartland elevators during the spring/summer of 2012. “We are excited to help facilitate this arrangement between Heartland Co-op and Fieldale Farms, two strong brands within the poultry industry,” said Scott Friedlund, NutriDense Grain product manager. “This program will provide the opportunity for corn growers in the Heartland Co-op to enjoy the financial benefits of NutriDense Grain while the growers of Fieldale Farms experience the nutritional advantage.”

Report outlines US trade implications of antimicrobial restrictions in poultry, livestock

A new Congressional Research Service report takes a look at the potential trade implications for U.S. livestock and poultry exports from tightened restrictions or prohibitions in the use of antimicrobial drugs in animal feed for growth promotion.
The report focused on two specific scenarios: "tightened restrictions or prohibitions on key U.S. export markets, without corresponding changes in the United States on the use of antimicrobials in animal feed for growth promotion" and "tightened restrictions or prohibitions in key U.S. export markets, with corresponding prohibitions in the United States on the use of antimicrobials in animal feed for growth promotion." Possible outcomes under these scenarios, in terms of changes in U.S. livestock and poultry exports and changes in U.S. market share in global meat markets, were discussed, though the report determined that it is currently impossible to predict all future implications due to the large number of market variables and trade issues that would also need to be predicted.

Sara Lee stock rises in response to takeover speculations

Sara Lee Corp.'s stock rose 4.5% to $18.21 per share after a day of trading over new talk that the company is a takeover target.
Speculation was boosted by reports that a group of investors, including Apollo Global Management LLC and C. Dean Metropoulos, are considering an acquisition. According to the Wall Street Journal, the group has met with Sara Lee advisers to discuss a possible deal. Sara Lee previously turned down a bid from JBS SA; JBS executives will be in the U.S. this week in an attempt to renegotiate. Sara Lee's desired purchase price is unknown, but analysts believe that the number is likely somewhere around $13 billion ($20 per share). Sara Lee has also been considering its options for breaking up the company.

DuPont to acquire Danisco for $6.3 billion

DuPont has agreed to acquire Denmark-based Danisco for $6.3 billion, DKK655 ($113.85) per share.
The acquisition is expected to boost DuPont's efforts in industrial biotechnology, including renewable fuels and materials. “Danisco has two well-positioned global businesses that strongly complement our current biotechnology capabilities, R&D pipeline and specialty food ingredients, a combination that offers attractive long-term financial returns,” said DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman. “This also would create opportunities across other parts of the DuPont portfolio, including traditional materials science offerings.”
DuPont will fund the purchase with $3 billion in cash and the remainder in debt, and the deal is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2011.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sara Lee may break up company without higher JBS bid

Sara Lee Corp.'s board is considering the possibility of breaking up the company while it waits for a response from potential purchaser JBS SA of Brazil, which has yet to present a higher bid since its mid-December $17.50-per-share offer.
The board is focusing on a spinoff of its meat or coffee business as one possible avenue and plans to finalize a decision by the end of the month. According to sources, the stalled negotiations between Sara Lee and JBS have affected Sara Lee's search for a new CEO. Former CEO Brenda Barnes resigned last year for health reasons and Marcel Smits has been serving as the company's interim CEO.
According to analysts, JBS may still come back with a higher bid, as the purchase of Sara Lee's meat business in particular would help JBS expand its own business beyond Latin America.

Germany lifts dioxin-related bans on 3,050 farms

German agricultural officials have given 3,050 farms the go-ahead to resume sales after originally closing down more than 4,700 facilities in response to the dioxin contamination of livestock feed from Harles & Jentzsch GmbH.
The number of farms still awaiting the go-ahead from inspectors currently stands at 1,635. "The situation has eased ...but there can't be an all-clear yet," said Agriculture Ministry spokesman Holger Eichele. In response to Germany's actions, Slovakia has lifted its ban on German farm products, though South Korea has halted all imports of German pork and poultry and Britain has stopped selling quiches and cakes made with German eggs.
Government officials are still investigating the contaminated feed and are looking into legal action against Harles & Jentzsch. "The judiciary has to clamp down hard here," said Agriculture Minister Isle Aigner.

New FDA salmonella draft policy clarifies animal feed issues

A new Food and Drug Administration draft policy takes a more science- and risk-based approach to regulating salmonella in animal feed, according to the National Grain and Feed Association.
Under the FDA’s draft policy, the agency identifies eight salmonella serotypes that are of regulatory concern to animal health:  1) poultry feed with Salmonella pullorum, Salmonella gallinarum or Salmonella enteritidis; 2) swine feed with Salmonella choleraesuis; 3) sheep feed with Salmonella abortusovis; 4) horse feed with Salmonella abortusequi; and 5) dairy and beef feeds with Salmonella newport or Salmonella dublin. Previously, the FDA had applied regulatory oversight to all types of salmonella that might be present in animal feed, although it exercised enforcement discretion.
The policy also mentioned several types of commercial heat treatments, such as pelleting, extrusion and rendering, as well as irradiation, as effective in killing salmonella. “We believe this draft policy provides a sound basis for addressing salmonella that may be present in animal feed in a way that focuses on specific serotypes that the agency believes are of concern, while fully protecting human and animal health,” said the NGFA. “That approach is consistent with the charge by Congress in the recently enacted food/feed safety law and will enable the agency to better target its resources.”

Stonyfield spotlights organic farmers with Grant-a-Wish Program

Stonyfield Farm and Organic Valley have chosen six finalists for the Stonyfield Organic Farmers Grant-a-Wish Program, which helps fund organic farming projects that can make a strong environmental impact or improve the long-term viability of organic farming.
"Stonyfield's 2011 goal is to build unprecedented levels of support for organic farming through an intensive yearlong 'organic stories' initiative that starts where organic begins, on the farm," said Gary Hirshberg, Stonyfield president and CEO. "The Stonyfield Organic Farmers Grant-a-Wish Program will help some of America's most innovative organic farmers bring to life projects they need help funding." The six finalists are in line for a total of $31,000 in grants: one $10,000 prize, two $7,500 grants and three $2,000 grants will be announced in March.
More information on the finalists, as well as the ability to vote for who should win top prize, is available on Stonyfield's Facebook page.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Animal Science Products held Chinese poultry 'Vaccination Good Management Practices' seminars

Animal Science Products recently held a series of poultry seminars in China entitled, "Vaccination Good Management Practices."
The seminars, hosted by ASP distributor Balantek Biotechnology Co., focused on educating poultry professionals on methods to maximize vaccine performance. “Our goal is to help the customer understand that vaccination does not guarantee immunization," said Ryan Izard, ASP's chief science and technology officer. "There are many challenges in mass vaccination and our job is to safeguard the producer’s investment by protecting the vaccine until the bird is inoculated.”

Dioxin-tainted eggs exported to UK pose no health risk

Fourteen tons of dioxin-tainted liquid eggs from Germany exported to the United Kingdom are not thought to pose a health risk, according to officials.
The eggs were used in such end products as cakes and quiches, according to the Food Standards Agency.
At least 136,000 potentially contaminated eggs were already known to have been shipped to the Netherlands in early December, but the investigation to determine just how far the contamination might have spread is ongoing, according to German Minister of Agriculture and Consumer Protection Ilse Aigner. UK authorities have launched their own effort, attempting to follow the paths of items produced with the tainted eggs. "These eggs were mixed with other non-contaminated eggs to make pasteurized liquid egg," said an FSA representative. "This pasteurized liquid egg has been distributed to the UK. The mixing of the eggs will have diluted the levels of dioxins and they are not thought to be a risk to health. The FSA is currently liaising with the industry and will provide further updates as information becomes available."
The dioxin contamination comes from tainted animal feed supplied by Harles & Jentzsch GmbH. The company has said that it was "careless" in assuming a certain mixed fatty acid, normally used for technical industrial uses such as making lubricants and biofuels, would be suitable for manufacture of animal feed. Up to 3,000 metric tons of the feed was shipped to farmers in eight German states, said Holger Eichele, a spokesman for Aigner.
Over 4,700 farms have been affected, leading the German Farmers' Association to call for compensation. The farms have been shut down as a precaution and will not be allowed to make any deliveries until they have been checked and found clear of contamination. The majority of the farms are pig properties in Lower Saxony. Born said that while it is too soon to produce an exact monetary figure, the association is expecting the total to be "in the millions" of euros.

EU pig meat demand, production to recover through 2020

European Union demand for pig meat is expected to recover over the next nine years, according to a European Commission report on agriculture markets, and will increase by 8% to reach 22.3 million tons in 2020.
The growth is connected to a projected increase in consumption, 43.3 kilograms per capita in 2020, which exceeds the 2009 level by almost 5%. Pig meat production will grow 7% on aggregate, reaching 23.7 million tons by 2020. Exports will reduce to below 1.2 million tons in 2020 due to the strengthening euro, while imports will see a modest increase of 6%, to 41,000 tons.
"Despite the relatively favorable market outlook for pig meat, production prospects would remain conditional on a recovery in EU demand and limited interest from major exporters to fulfill EU sanitary requirements," said the Commission. "The speed and efficiency of the Russian authorities to implement the development of their domestic production capacity would have strong implications on EU export potential. On the short-term, a possible spread of the African swine fever virus from Russia into the EU remains a critical issue."

EU will be net poultry importer by 2016

The European Union will become a net importer of poultry meat by 2016, with imports surpassing exports by 155,000 metric tons in 2020, according to a European Commission report on agricultural markets.
EU consumption of poultry meat is expected to steadily rise through 2020, due largely to its low cost and convenience compared to other meat products, said the report. Consumption per capita is expected to stand at 24.7 kilograms in 2020, exceeding 2009 levels by more than 6%. Production is also expected to grow by almost 7% on aggregate from 2009 numbers (11.64 million tons) to 2020 (12.47 million tons). Exports will gradually decrease by 22% on aggregate, mostly due to a strong euro and relatively high prices which will hold back poultry shipments outside EU borders, according to the Commission