Monday, February 28, 2011

Summer 2011 poultry industry internships available

The Lee Campbell Poultry & Egg Educational Foundation is offering poultry industry internships for summer 2011.
The foundation will assist in sponsoring a qualified college student for up to 10 weeks of work experience at a major poultry company. In addition to learning the workings of the poultry export business, the intern will be given an overview of poultry production, processing and marketing. The foundation will grant the intern $1,500 at the beginning of the internship to help defray travel and housing expenses, with an additional $1,000 possible at the end of the summer 2011 program for submitting an acceptable paper that discusses an aspect of poultry exports.
To be eligible for consideration, interested students must complete and submit the foundation’s internship application form and are encouraged to also submit a brief (up to two pages) essay about their career objectives and the benefits the internship would have for them. Applications for the program must be received by close-of-business Monday, March 28, 2011.

Australian chicken consumption overtakes beef, continues to rise

According to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australians consume an average of 37 kilograms of chicken meat each per year, up from six kilograms in the 1960s and a number that overtakes beef consumption as the Australian consumer's primary mealtime meat.
"The statistics coming out of ABARE suggest chicken meat consumption will go to 42 kilograms and we expect it to go beyond that," said George Schlahtych, a group executive manager for Inghams Enterprises. "In fact, we're looking at getting ready for a doubling of this industry within the next 10 to 12 years," he said.
Such projected growth has the $4 billion industry urging more people to take up chicken farming, as current businesses are breeding at capacity. The South Australian government released a plan five years ago aimed at capturing at least 50% of the growth in the industry over the next decade. South Australia is currently fourth in terms of chicken numbers, behind New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

Louisiana distributes $11.2 million in poultry grower aid

The Louisiana Agricultural Finance Authority has distributed $11.2 million in aid to 175 poultry growers affected by the 2008 bankruptcy of chicken processor Pilgrim's Pride.
The company's closing of its Farmerville plant in 2009 affected more than 300 poultry suppliers in Louisiana and Arkansas. Other growers were hit in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas, and more than $60 million in total aid has been distributed. "This money will literally help some of the growers make back payments on their mortgages that will allow them to keep their farms," said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.

Sanderson Farms reports first-quarter loss due to feed prices, excess inventories

Sanderson Farms Inc. posted a first-quarter loss of $33.6 million compared with a year-earlier profit of $15.8 million, due largely to an excess of chicken brought on by slow restaurant sales and increased feed prices, according to the company.
Prices for breast meat, commonly sold to restaurants, were down 3.1% in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, and wing prices were down nearly 37%. "We expect this trend will remain until the national unemployment rate improves," said CEO Joe Sanderson. "Consumers are simply not dining out as frequently, and restaurant traffic has remained under pressure." At the same time, corn prices reached $6.50 a bushel during the quarter, up nearly 80% from a year earlier.
Sanderson recently completed a Kinston, N.C., plant that started operation in January and is expected to be at full production in 2012. The company said it will delay construction of a second North Carolina plant due to concerns about corn's cost and availability.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Hulless barley may offer swine producers nutritional advantages over covered barley

Scientists at the University of Saskatchewan's Crop Development Centre have been working on developing hulless barleys specifically aimed at the swine feed market, at a time when the industry is searching for more efficient, lower-cost alternatives to traditional feed.
"I'd say the most recent varieties are very excellent as far as their disease and agronomic characteristics," said David Gehl, head of the Seed Increase Unit with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. "I think they're quite comparable with our standard covered barleys. They have a farily major advantage to the hulled barleys in that they have much lower fiber content so they've got a higher digestible energy, and I'd say they're a more suitable feed grain for swine, definitely, than the standard barley."
So far, the interest in producing hulless barley has been limited to areas where there are large concentrations of livestock. According to Gehl, most commercial grain growers for now are focusing on premium malting barleys. "It needs demand from the industry before the seed growers will produce the seed," said Gehl.

Swine researchers find UV light may inactivate PRRS virus

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine's Swine Disease Eradication Center, ultraviolet light may have the ability to inactivate the porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus.
Ultraviolet light is already known for neutralizing viruses, bacteria and parasites by disrupting the nucleic acid and preventing replication. The study focused on the concentration and viability of PRRSV on surfaces and materials commonly encountered on swine farms, including wood, plastic, latex, rubber, styrofoam, metal, leather, cloth, concrete, cardboard, glass and paper.
The researchers' results suggest that UV(254) is an effective means to inactivate PRRSV on commonly encountered farm surfaces and materials and inactivation can be accomplished following 10 minutes of exposure.

England, Wales test new, producer-to-slaughterhouse electronic pig movement program

The new BPEX electronic pig movement project, known as eAML2, aims to reduce paperwork and move online the process of transporting pigs from farm to slaughter in England and Wales.
The system, which combines the Animal Movement License and the Food Chain Information form, is being trialed in all assured abattoirs and will go live across the pig industry in England and Wales in April 2011. “The pig keeper fills in details of his consignment online before sending them for slaughter and the abattoir is emailed the information automatically early in the morning before the pigs arrive," said Dorothea Schiemann of BPEX. “As before, the abattoir confirms the number of pigs received, but now the information will be submitted online and automatically uploaded to the government database — removing the need for paperwork.” Producers are emailed their Meat Hygiene Service carcass reports within 48 hours.
The next step is to recruit independent abattoirs to join the trial in November. For now, the project only covers farm to slaughter movements, but similar online coverage for farm to farm, market or show movements are in the works. The system is funded by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and is free to use.

New technology may improve welfare of broiler chickens

Research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council Animal Welfare Programme has come up with a small-scale camera and computer setup that may improve the welfare of broiler chickens, according to researchers.
The welfare of broiler chicken flocks is often assessed by examining the health of the birds' feet and legs at the point of slaughter. The alternative is to have teams of people go into poultry sheds and assess how well the birds are walking and moving around, eventually calculating a "gait score." With the new technology, a small box mounted on the wall in a chicken shed will contain a camera and computer that can use a technique called "optical flow" to monitor the shifting patterns of movement in the flock. If there are a lot of slow-moving birds, the overall pattern of movement is disrupted and the monitoring device detects that there may be a welfare issue such as illness or lameness.
"Waiting until the birds are slaughtered is obviously not an ideal way of monitoring animal welfare on farms and the gait score method is rather labor intensive and expensive for an industry that is already hard pressed by cheap imports,” said lead researcher Professor Marian Dawkins with the University of Oxford. “Our invention correlates well with the gait score method and is at least as sensitive at picking up the very early warning signs that something is wrong. It has the potential to become totally automated to raise an alarm when a problem is detected.”
Dawkins and her team are working to test the system further.

EU to allow feed imports with 0.1% GM material

NFU Scotland has welcomed new EU measures which will allow EU Member States to accept shipments of animal feed materials which include traces of not yet EU-approved GM material up to 0.1%.
The measures agreed upon by the EU’s Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health are intended stop shipments of feed material imported from third countries into the EU market from being turned back because of minute quantities of not-yet-approved GM grain. Previously, a zero-tolerance policy was in place. “Until now, Europe’s zero-tolerance approach had restricted feed imports from countries where new GM crops are widely grown, most notably in Argentina, Brazil and the United States," said  Peter Loggie, NFU Scotland’s pigs and poultry policy manager. "Even with thorough cleaning of the boats used for transporting materials, it is almost impossible to avoid trace contamination. Given that the EU needs to import almost 80% of its protein requirements for livestock from those countries, it is no wonder that UK farming unions have campaigned for years to introduce a low level of tolerance."
Still, the NFUS said it remains to be seen whether the new measure will make a difference in import costs. “The percentage is a step in the right direction, but could still prove too low as the rocketing cost of shipping feed material from these countries and the bureaucratic hassle that entails when shipments are rejected has meant that third countries have begun developing markets elsewhere, largely in Asia, where livestock production is growing and where the process of gaining approval for new GM varieties is more rapid than the EU system," said Loggie.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Germany dioxin danger passed, say EU health experts

European Union health experts have said that the recent dioxin contamination of animal feed in Germany is no longer a threat.
"The member states, meeting in the framework of the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, recognized that the contamination incident is fully under control by the German authorities and there is no risk that potentially contaminated food and feed are placed on the EU market or dispatched to Third countries," said an EU statement. "All potentially contaminated feed fat, compound feed and farms having received potentially contaminated feed have been blocked by way of strict precaution pending the outcome of dioxin analysis."
Only 49 of the 4,760 German farms sealed off at the height of the alert remain closed, and the investigation into the cause of the contamination remains ongoing, according to German officials.

EU ministers vote against 2012 cage ban delay

The EU’s proposed ban on conventional cages is set to take effect in 2012.
Attempts to delay the EU’s proposed ban on conventional cages, due to come into force on Jan. 1, 2012, have been blocked. At a meeting of agriculture and fisheries ministers, various countries, including France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK, all backed calls to ensure that the change was implemented on time.
“Egg producers in the UK, and indeed in many other European countries, have worked hard to convert out of battery cages ahead of the European deadline and have invested considerable sums converting their systems to ensure they meet the strictest possible standards," said British Veterinary Association President Harvey Locke. “The egg industry throughout Europe has had 12 years to prepare for this change in law.”

South Africa corn exports to reach E2,340 per metric ton

South Africa corn exported to Swaziland will reach costs of E2,340 (US$330.56) per metric ton, up from E2,000 (US$282.53), according to Swaziland's National Maize Corporation, and prices are expected to continue increasing throughout the season due to an anticipated poor harvest and bad weather.
The NMC imports roughly 3,000 metric tons of corn for Swaziland from South Africa each month. “Consumers must brace themselves for a continued price increase of maize throughout the year," said NMC CEO Sipho Nxumalo. "Locals are failing to meet the year’s demand, hence we import from South Africa to try and meet the demand. South African maize prices have changed and we are compelled to increase the prices here."
Local farmers produce 75,000 metric tons of corn, but imports of at least 40,000 metric tons are still necessary to satisfy demand.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Aviagen acquires remaining 50% of distributor Ross Breeders

Alabama-based Aviagen has acquired the remaining 50.44% of Ross Breeders Peninsular S.A., the company's distributor for Spain, Portugal and Morocco, in order to further expand its European poultry production base. 
Ross Breeders is one of Aviagen’s key partners in Europe. As part of the deal, the company will be renamed Aviagen S.A. "We are delighted to be in a position to purchase the entire shareholding of Ross Breeders Peninsular and look forward to working more closely with the management team to continue the impressive growth of the business," said Brian Whittle, Aviagen’s president of European operations. "This move is beneficial to both our companies and, most importantly, to our customers in Spain, Portugal and Morocco."  

NCC commends US House block on Ethanol subsidy, E15 implementation

The National Chicken Council has said it supports the actions of the U.S. House of Representatives in voting to block federal funding of blender pumps for gasoline mixed with ethanol at service stations, and to prohibit the Environmental Protection Agency from carrying out a decision to allow up to 15% ethanol in motor gasoline (E15).
The House voted 261-168 to ban federal funding for installing blender pumps. The amendment was to the continuing resolution funding the government for the rest of this fiscal year.
The House also voted 286-135 to block the EPA from spending any federal funds to carry out waivers granted over the past year that would allow fuel blenders to put as much as 15% ethanol into gasoline for cars and trucks. The legal limit has been 10%. “We commend the House for voting to begin the process of reining in the out-of-control ethanol program,” said NCC President George Watts. “This country needs neither E15 nor taxpayer-subsidized ethanol facilities. We urge the Senate to take similar action.”

National Resources Inventory: 23 million acres of US agricultural land lost between 1982 and 2007

The most recent National Resources Inventory, a survey of U.S. non-federal lands conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, has revealed that every state lost agricultural land to development between 1982 and 2007 — more than 23 million acres in all.
According to the survey, the five states to lose the most land were Texas, California, Florida, Arizona and North Carolina. The states that developed the largest percentage of their land were New Jersey (26.8%), Rhode Island (22.5%), Massachusetts (18.1%), Delaware (14.3%) and New Hampshire (13.2%). Further, 44% more of the land converted was considered prime agricultural land than not, raising concerns among experts. "Many of the numbers from the NRI that we’ve analyzed are sobering,” said Jon Scholl, president of American Farmland Trust.
Still, said Scholl, there are a few bright spots, such as a decline in the nationwide rate of farmland loss over the 25-year reporting period, despite a booming housing market during portions of that timeframe. “This overall decline is likely due to smart growth policies that encourage more efficient development,” said Julia Freedgood, AFT's managing director of farmland protection. “The NRI data show that the threat to our agricultural resources is real. But we were heartened to find that policies to encourage more efficient development work — slowing farmland loss and buying time. Smart growth coupled with permanent farmland protection programs ensures that in the face of growth agricultural land will be available to produce food for our nation and a growing world population.”

Carbon dioxide pollution may help weeds survive against herbicides

According to a study published in the latest edition of Weed Science, carbon dioxide acts as a fertilizer to invasive exotic grasses, resulting in higher growth rates and larger leaves, and makes them more resistant to glyphosate, an herbicide commercially known as Roundup.
The study looked at the effects of elevated carbon dioxide levels on four species of grass and gauged the tolerance of these plants to glyphosate. The four species tested are all invasive exotic plants in Australia that have previously been chemically controlled with glyphosate. When treated with the herbicide, three of the four species showed a significantly higher survival rate under elevated carbon dioxide levels compared with ambient levels.
Based on the study's results, the use of herbicides may need to be increased to counter the effects of stronger weeds — a move that could have significant implications for affected industries.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Perdue to outsource 100 poultry processing plant jobs

Perdue Farms Inc. has said it plans to outsource roughly 100 poultry processing plant jobs at the end of March, according to reports.
Perdue has hired subcontractor Unicon to employ chicken catchers at Perdue processing plants in Georgetown, Del., and Accomack County, Va. According to Perdue Vice president of Corporate Communications Luis Luna, the decision was made to cut costs.
Chicken catcher positions at Perdue's plant in Milford, Del., have already been subcontracted; according to Luna the same change is being assessed at the company's site in Salisbury.

University of Pennsylvania, Life Technologies develop new salmonella detection kit

The University of Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine and Life Technologies have developed a DNA-based Salmonella enteritidis detection kit, which has been Food and Drug Administration-approved for use with liquid eggs.
The kit, which took just over a year to finalize, returns results in 27 hours. Traditional laboratory tests take a minimum of 10 days.
Shelley Rankin, associate professor of microbiology at Penn Vet, said she initiated work to develop a new, quicker test after learning about the revised federal guidelines for egg quality assurance. She also said that her lab's work isn't complete. “I’m hoping that as we move along over the next couple years that we’ll improve this kit," she said. “There [are] some amazing techniques out there right now that might actually take this over at some point and allow us to do testing of a lot more samples than we test currently for a much-reduced cost. This is something my lab is going to be working on for several years to come.”

2010 US poultry export values reach $4.2 billion in spite of trade challenges

U.S. Exports of Table Eggs and Egg Products (in shell egg equivalent) since 1989. Source: USDA/FAS GATS database.
U.S. poultry export values reached $4.2 billion in 2010, up 0.2% over 2009 in spite of a year when Russia, historically the largest importer of U.S. chicken, banned U.S. poultry imports for the first eight months and China pursued an anti-dumping case against U.S. chicken that had exports to that country at a standstill for most of the year.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, total U.S. poultry exports for 2010 were 3.7 million metric tons, down only 4.4% over 2009. “We would not normally tout declines in exports, but the fact that our exports declined so little, and the value of our chicken and turkey exports actually increased is a testament to our industry’s resilience and adaptability in finding new markets,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council.
The egg export market actually gained in both value and quantity in 2010, with U.S. exports of table eggs and processed egg products setting a new year-on-year record while rising to the second highest total quantity in history. Total U.S. egg export value last year increased by nearly 4% over 2009, hitting an all-time high of $173.2 million. Total egg export quantity for the year climbed to the equivalent of 206.1 million dozen, up almost 8%.

Czech Republic reports poultry consumption up 13-fold since 1948

Chicken meat consumption in the Czech Republic has grown to 13 times the 1948 numbers, from roughly 2 kilograms to 24.8 kilograms in 2009, according to the Czech Statistical Office.
This number beats out the country's beef consumption, which has declined, and pork production, which has stagnated in recent years. Overall, Czechs consumed 78.8 kilograms of meat per person on average in 2009. Consumption was at its highest for the country in 1989, when numbers reached an average of 97 kilograms per person.

Monday, February 21, 2011

British pig farmers launch 'buy local' pork campaign

British pig farmers, currently making losses because of the high cost of pig feed, have stepped up to help launch a national advertising campaign to get British citizens to buy home-grown pork.
Roadside fields are being used to display signs in support of buying British pork, and so far more than 270 banners have gone up on farms around the country. “Many shoppers are already pretty loyal when it comes to choosing British pork, because they know it is higher quality," said pig farmer Richard Lister. "The aim of this campaign is to persuade shoppers to make an extra effort to choose British rather than anonymous lower-welfare imported pork."
Pig farmers are planning a March 3 Westminster rally to raise awareness among the government and to ask supermarkets to pay them a fair price. “We need supermarkets to pay pig farmers enough to cover the cost of producing high-welfare British pork," said Lister. "At the moment, supermarkets and most processors are making large profits — but pig farmers are losing around £20 on every pig they sell.”

European Porcine Circovirus Research Award sees record number of applicants

The European PCV2 (Porcine Circovirus) Research Award, sponsored annually by Boehringer Ingelheim, received a record number of applicants for the 2010 award year.
Thirteen researchers from 10 different countries applied for the award, which focuses on research proposals in the area of applied immunological PCV2 research. While clinical disease associated with PCV2 is not considered a major issue due to effective vaccinations, more research is needed to better understand the immunological aspects, pathogenesis and epidemiology of the disease, as well as its interactions with other potential pathogens.
Three, 25,000-euro prizes were awarded in 2010 to research projects in Belgium, Spain and Austria. Applications for 2011 may be submitted by Sept. 10, 2011.

South Korea estimating foot-and-mouth losses at $1.8 billion

South Korea's swine and cattle industries, which have been fighting an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that has resulted in the culling of 3.15 million pigs and 150,000 cattle, may lose more than won2 trillion ($1.8 billion), according to the government.
Domestic pork prices in South Korea have skyrocketed, according to Korea Meat Import Association Secretary-General Bo-Hee Lue, combining with fears of safety to lead consumers to imported pork.
“It’s possible some consumers who bought domestic pork will try buying imported pork because of price-competitiveness,” said Lue.
The country's original pig and cattle herds numbered 10 million and 3 million, respectively. On Dec. 25, Seoul ordered the inoculation of all remaining animals to help contain the disease, a move which could cost the country won100 billion ($89 million) annually to maintain.

Brasil Foods reaches record stock trading after Warren Buffett invests

Poultry exporter Brasil Foods SA reached its highest stock value ever in Sao Paulo trading after Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. began buying shares in the poultry company.
Brasil Foods climbed 74 centavos, or 2.6%, to 29.45 reais as of 9:37 a.m. EST. Earlier, it touched 29.98 reais, the highest since the company started trading in 1997. "The speculation is that Buffett is seeking to have 5% of the company," said Fausto Gouveia, who helps manage 270 million reais in stocks at Legan Administração de Recursos. "Whoever is short on this stock, is buying shares now."

Kelly Turkeys tells industry to play to strengths when competing with retailers

Farmers and butchers should play to their strengths in competing for the Christmas turkey market, according to Paul Kelly, managing director of Kelly Turkeys in his annual letter to poult customers.
“The major retailers are no longer content with selling average turkeys,” he said. “They are looking to supply better quality turkeys with points of difference. But the farmer and butcher have some very strong cards to play — points of difference that the major retailers will not be able to match in any volume.”
In his letter, Kelly highlighted the perceived value of meeting the local butcher or collecting from the farm, dry processing and hanging to mature flavor. He also provided a three-point plan for maximizing opportunity:
  • Look long and hard at the prices the supermarkets charge. “Over my travels around the country I see too many producers underselling themselves,” said Kelly.
  • Grow enough turkeys to satisfy spikes in demand and weight ranges in your known market. 
  • Buy as-hatched poults for one third of your order, which with two-thirds sexed hens will provide a spread of weights to suit just about every order book.   

Friday, February 18, 2011

Texas corn producers promote water conservation, economic growth

The Texas Corn Producers Board and its members have launched a campaign to promote water conservation without sacrificing economic growth in response to potential restrictions on irrigation that they say will damage the state's economy.
Agriculture brings billions of dollars into the economy of the Panhandle and South Plains every year and is the main driver of economic growth in the region,” said David Gibson, executive director of the board. “Through research and development of new technology, we are finding ways to grow more crops with less water. This means we can conserve water for future generations without sacrificing economic growth today.” Thanks to new irrigation methods and improved seed genetics, today a bushel of corn can be grown with half the water that was used 25 years ago, and researchers at Texas A&M AgriLife Research are currently testing new corn hybrids that will reduce water use by another 25%. Seed companies are developing new drought-tolerant crops and the first generation of these water-conserving crops will be available to farmers this year.
The campaign includes televised public service announcements, a 10-minute video and a new website with the slogan “Water grows our economy; let’s make it last.”
“Every person in this region of West Texas is affected by the availability of groundwater, but no one has a bigger stake in conserving water resources than the farmers whose livelihoods depend upon irrigation,” said Gibson. “That’s why we’re working with agencies like the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service to apply conservation practices that benefit everyone who lives and works in the region.”

UK poultry producer 2 Sisters invests in new facility

The UK’s 2 Sisters Food Group, a supplier of raw and prepared chicken products, is spending GBP30 million (US$48.4 million) on a state-of-the-art food facility in Thetford.
Managing director Eddie Power commented: “We are very excited about the opening of our new Thetford factory. This will allow us to offer customers an exciting new range of healthy and nutritious coated food products, alongside our existing bestselling lines.
“We believe we are the first food business to open a new coated protein factory of this scale in the UK for almost 10 years. Our aim is to deliver significant environmental benefits as well as revolutionize the production of coated foods available in the UK.”
The new site is expected to generate over 100 jobs when it opens, with the potential of another 200 jobs in the future. 

Webinars announced for WATT Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe

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 free online event — scheduled for April 6 — offers a valuable mix of live webinars, networking opportunities and information on products and services from major industry suppliers.
The event features one day of live educational webinars, a virtual sponsor centre with exhibits by top industry suppliers, and networking opportunities with colleagues. As always, the Online Animal Forum is free-to-attend and can be accessed from any Internet-based computer in your home or office. Enter and leave the virtual event as your schedule allows.

Attend all five webinars created specifically to address the challenges of feeding the globe:

Innovations from R&D in animal agriculture
by Dr. Leo den Hartog, Director R&D and Quality Affairs, Nutreco, Netherlands

What animal breeding can contribute
by Dr. Pieter Knap, Manager of Genetic Strategy, Genus/PIC International, Germany

Directions to better feed utilization
by Stefaan Van Dyck, Director of Research and Development, Kemin AgriFoods, Worldwide

World feed ingredients outlook - impacts of China, Energy (Ethanol) and Speculation
by Richard A. Brock, President, Brock Associates, USA

A big role for eggs in meeting the world's food needs
by Dr. Simon Shane, Editor, Egg Industry, USA

Visit for details about the WATT Online Animal Forum: Feeding the Globe, including how to register. The forum, on April 6, will run from 0800 to 1700 CST (1400 to 2300 GMT).

Feedtech-Croptech Asia in Bangkok to highlight alternative feed ingredients

The Feedtech-Croptech Asia 2011 Conference, held March 9 by VNU in association with WATT, during VIV Asia in Bangkok, will focus on future trends in animal feeds. With grain prices soaring, the discussion will include the potential for using alternative ingredients to manage feed costs.
Presentations by guest speakers Dr. Budi Tangendjaja, U.S. Grains Council, and Dr Chinnadurai Sugumar, Kemin Industries, will focus on whether agricultural co-products or other crop products might be used instead of conventional energy and protein sources in Asian feeds for poultry and pig.
Alternative ingredients offer more options and therefore more control over the future when supplies of the main grains or proteins may be limited, these presenters point out. Often the candidates for consideration are available locally at relatively low prices, although they tend to be rather bulky and therefore transportation costs might be higher. Moreover, their quality is inconsistent at times and certain anti-nutritional factors may be present. Palatability and digestibility must be taken into account, as well as the potential risk of contamination.
However, positive aspects include not only a lower cost, but also the fact that these co-products do not generally find a use in human food. To assist poultry and pig feed formulation there is a growing amount of knowledge on where and how such alternative feed ingredients can be employed without depressing the performance of the animals or birds, together with the arrival of technology to overcome their disadvantages and allow higher inclusion rates.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

International Regulator’s Roundtable Meeting covers major issues

The 4th International Regulator’s Roundtable Meeting was held concurrently with the 2011 International Feed Exposition in Atlanta. The meeting was attended by 80 industry and regulatory officials from 20 countries.
The major issues comprised the formation of a Codex and Alimentarius Commission Task Force on Animal Feeding. The group considered risk assessments in relation to animal feed and the definition and characterization of global hazards. The second concern related to requirements for ingredient approval in North America and the EU.
Presentations were made on changes to U.S. and EU regulations including the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act and the EU Feed Regulations and Catalog for Feed Materials. For additional information access the International Feed Industry Federation website or the Vice President of the AFIA, Richard Sellers at

South Africa poultry producers may bring anti-dumping case against Brazil

The South African Poultry Association is looking into bringing an anti-dumping case against Brazilian chicken imports, saying that some products are selling for a third of what they're selling for in their country of origin.
In particular, Astral Foods Ltd. is concerned that unfair imports could hurt company profits. According to CEO Chris Schutte, 2010 average broiler prices were the lowest in four years even though per capita consumption rose. Gains in the value of the South African rand have also made imports more competitive. “The strong rand is playing havoc,” said Schutte. "The currency has gained about 38% in the past two years to 7.29 against the dollar."

Oregon small poultry farmers seek 1,000-bird exemption

Three separate Oregon bills — the Farm Direct Bill, the Family Farm Act and HB 2872 — supporting a 1,000-bird exemption rule for poultry processing are being backed by supporters of small family farms and locally grown food.
The state currently has a 20,000-bird exemption, which allows a poultry processor to process up to 20,000 birds per year in a state-inspected, brick-and-mortar facility owned by the processor. Supporters of the bills said this rule isn't friendly to small, family-owned poultry farms. "That facility could cost up to $100,000, (according to) some producers that we've talked to in the state that have actually gone ahead and done this," said Kendra Kimbirauskas, president of Friends of Family Farmers. "Or you can process your birds in a USDA facility," she said, but there is only one USDA facility in Oregon and it just came online in the last few months.
The new exemption would allow growers to process and sell up to 1,000 birds on their farms. "These bills are nearly identical and provide for small grower/producers to raise no more than 1,000 poultry — chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese and guineas — for slaughter and intrastate sale without being licensed or inspected," said Jim Postlewait of the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Food Safety Division. "The poultry grower must slaughter and store poultry while protecting from adulteration (such as) dust, insects, etc."
Lack of formal inspection under the exemption, according to supporters, does not mean giving small farms free reign. "They still have to follow the USDA basic rules, as written in the bill," said Lauren Gwin, co-coordinator of the Niche Meat Processor Assistant Network. "And the USDA can pop in at any time, for example, if there is a complaint to make sure that the farmer isn't breaking those rules, e.g., doing 2,000 birds per year, not keeping sales records or creating an unsanitary cesspool of blood & feathers."

Brazilian chicken exports to Egypt up 235%

Brazil's chicken exports to Egypt grew 235% in January 2011 compared to January 2010 numbers, rising from 2,429 metric tons to 8,156 metric tons.
The growth was even greater in value, from $3.761 million last year to $15.083 million this year — growth of 301%. Sales are expected to continue their upward trend, according to Brazilian Poultry Union President Francisco Turra. "The chance of growth is great as the demand for Brazilian chicken is very high," he said.
In 2010, Egypt was already a main destination for Brazilian chicken exports. Egypt increased its imports during a bird flu scare in the country and numbers have remained high since then. "Egypt is a market that shows great confidence in Brazilian exporters," said Turra. "The entire Middle East is still buying much."

Poland poultry, corn prices up from 2010 numbers

According to data from the Integrated System of Agricultural Market Information, Poland's poultry prices increased by 12% to 14% in the second week of February compared to prices from the same time last year.
Corn prices were 14% higher than in January and 75% higher than the same time last year, according to the data. Wheat prices increased even more, selling at 97% higher than in February 2010.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Scottish pig farmer's consumer campaign aims to boost local purchasing

Roadside banners supporting “Perfect Scottish Pork and Bacon” are starting to appear around Scotland as the nation’s pig farmers take action to promote their products in a bid to return to profitability.
This follows the huge rise in the cost of feed for pigs, which has led to many Scottish pig producers struggling to survive.

UK set to boost pork sales in Germany

The UK pig industry has appointed a new representative to help it to boost the sales of British pork in German-speaking countries.
Dr. Tim Schäfer, who will also promote British lamb and beef sales, has great experience in the meat sector and previously managed the meat marketing section of the German food board CMA, as well as being involved with meat exports.
Jean-Pierre Garnier, export manager for the British Pig Executive, BPEX, said: "We will be very pleased to work with Dr. Schäfer in developing our exports of pork to Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The regions are the largest market for meat in Europe. Germany alone is our biggest destination for pork.” 

US poultry prices slated to rise 2% to 3% in 2011 due to increased corn costs

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting a 2% to 3% poultry price increase in 2011, which will bring the national average price for boneless chicken breast to $3.424 per pound (from $3.324 per pound).
U.S. corn supplies are at their lowest levels in 15 years, due to an increase in demand coupled with a decline in reserves as more of the harvest goes to the ethanol industry. This situation is having an even greater impact on pork prices, which are expected to increase 3.5% to 4.5%. "All of the meat commodities that we put in the center of the plate are going to have some price (increases)," said Tom Jackson, president and CEO of the Ohio Grocers Association, since chicken, hogs and cattle are all fed corn.
According to grocers, poultry products will be the first to reflect the price increases. "Pork will follow, then beef," said Food-4-Less owner Bucky Lee, who has been in the grocery business for 44 years. "It just takes them longer to get fed and into the food supply."

FDA milk testing program meets opposition

The FDA has introduced a program for testing milk for the presence of antibiotics, concentrating on dairies with previous violations. The problem relates to the need to withhold milk until microbiological assay results are obtained.
This situation is reminiscent of the requirements of the Final Rule on Salmonella enteritidis, which obliges farmers to submit four consecutive egg samples for assay over a protracted period following detection of SE in the environment of flocks. The presence of SE in eggs will result in mandatory recall. In the absence of SE. producers are allowed to ship eggs but if the pathogen is identified a mandatory recall is required.
Concern over antibiotic residues in milk stems from test performed on culled cows in which residue violations were detected from in 788 out of 2.6 million slaughtered animals in 2008. The FDA contends that inappropriate administration of therapeutic antibiotics may be leading to a problem of milk residues. Accordingly they intend to test for approximately 20 antibiotics beyond the six that are frequently included in antibiotic panels.
Following vehement protests from agricultural officials in ten northeastern states with significant dairy production, the FDA indicated that it would review the program since it will seriously disrupt milk production and cause significant financial loss to farmers.

Canada invests $3.7 million to strengthen swine traceability

The Government of Canada has announced an investment of more than $3.7 million to strengthen the Canadian Pork Council’s national swine traceability system, bringing the total investment for this initiative up to $7 million.
The Canadian Pork Council’s traceability system, PigTrace Canada, is designed to track the movement of hogs across the country. Phase 1 of this initiative focused on the creation of a tag distribution system for hogs, while Phase 2 will focus on combining swine movement information into a national centralized database. “There is no doubt that a strong traceability system benefits Canadian producers, the value chain and consumers alike,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “This investment will help the Canadian Pork Council continue the development of its hog traceability system and give our hog farmers the competitive edge they need to access markets around the world.”
The investment will be delivered through Growing Forward through the Canadian Integrated Food Safety Initiative, a program that supports national organizations in the development and implementation of traceability processes and systems.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

National Chicken Council chooses Mike Brown as new president

The National Chicken Council has named Mike Brown as its next president, to succeed George Watts, who is retiring after 38 years as president.
Brown is currently serving as senior vice president for legislative affairs of the American Meat Institute and will join the NCC in March. "The search committee considered many qualified candidates before recommending Mike Brown's election to the NCC Executive Committee," said NCC Chairman Bernard Leonard, who is group vice president/food service of Tyson Foods. "We believe that Mike is the person who can lead the NCC as it addresses the issues that will shape the future of the poultry industry."

Maryland state legislature introduces bill to ban arsenic from chicken feed

Maryland Sen. Paul G. Pinsky and delegate Tom Hucker have introduced a bill into the state legislature that would ban arsenic-based drugs commonly used in the feed of commercial poultry operations.
Arsenic is found in chicken feed in the form of roxarsone, which is added to control coccidiosis and promote growth. Those against its use say that arsenic in chicken feed contaminates chicken meat and are concerned about arsenic infiltrating Maryland's groundwater through poultry waste.
Some growers, including Perdue, have stopped using arsenic, but others have fought similar bills, pointing out that arsenic's use has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Virginia studying poultry litter as energy source

Virginia state officials are looking into using poultry litter as an alternative way to generate electricity and help Shenandoah Valley poultry farmers dispose of animal waste.
The Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Conservation and Recreation have partnered to study the possibility of a power plant that would convert poultry waste into electricity. The goal, according to Environmental Quality spokesman Bill Hayden, is to reduce nutrient pollution in a way that doesn't contribute to air pollution.

Layer Health Management School to be held at Purdue University

The Tenth Annual Layer Health Management Health School will be held at Purdue University from Wednesday, May 11 through Thursday, May 12, 2011. The School is designed to provide training for managers and service persons.
Topics will include disease prevention, nutrition and management and will be presented by faculty of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Avian Specialists affiliated with industry and breeder companies.
The cost for the School is $375 and accommodation is available at the Union Club Hotel at the Purdue Memorial Union. For further information contact the coordinator Dr. Teresa Y. Morishita by email or +1.909.469.5512.

Walmart announces healthy foods initiative

Walmart, the largest retailer of food in the U.S., has unveiled an initiative promoting healthier products. The Great Value house brands will be reformulated to reduce sodium content by 25%, lower sugars by 10% and eliminate trans-fats in various products including frozen entrees, fruit drinks and packed food products.
The company will also work with suppliers to reduce the sodium, sugars and trans-fat content in national brands by 2015.
The announcement was attended by First Lady, Michelle Obama at an event in Washington DC. To make “healthier foods” more available to lower income groups, Walmart has pledged to build more stores in underserved communities and reduce the price premium on reduced sodium, sugar and fat foods which will save consumers as much as $1 billion annually.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Diamond V presents Dr. Tom Oelberg with President's Award

Diamond V Dairy Field Technical Specialist Tom Oelberg, Ph.D., (2nd from right) receives the Diamond V President’s Award from John Bloomhall, Diamond V President and CEO (2nd from left); Curtis Harms, DVM, Diamond V Central Region Manager (far left); and Gerald Poppy, DVM, MBA, Diamond V Director of North American Dairy (far right).
Tom Oelberg, Ph.D., dairy field technical specialist for Diamond V, received the Diamond V’s President’s Award in recognition of outstanding leadership, dedication, contribution and service to the company.
Oelberg was recognized in a ceremony on Feb. 5, for his development and implementation of the dairy total mixed ration audit system. Oelberg has traveled throughout the United States and Canada performing TMR audits. The TMR Audit Program helps dairymen make better nutritional choices for healthier cows and improved production efficiency.
Oelberg has worked in the Upper Midwest dairy industry for more than 24 years and has been with Diamond V for four years.

Aviagen announces establishment of Valley of the Moon Commercial Poults Inc.

Aviagen has announced the establishment of a new enterprise to supply commercial poults and eggs to the turkey industry: Valley of the Moon Commercial Poults Inc.
The new company will operate under the direction of David Kenyon as president, who brings 20 years of turkey industry experience to the job. “The focus of Valley of the Moon Commercial Poults will be on providing the best quality poults and genetics to the industry by utilizing the best hatching technology and delivery trucks, by implementing the highest selection pressure and by having access to Aviagen Turkeys’ R&D program” said Kenyon. “The demand from the end user is high and Valley of the Moon CP will be able to meet this demand.”
Construction of a new hatchery with a 50 million-egg capacity is underway in Iowa that will allow Valley of the Moon to expand its product to many regions of the U.S. Completion of the hatchery is expected in early November 2011 with poults available to customers in January 2012.

Global feed crops production down while prices, demand continue to rise

World output of crops such as corn, soybeans and wheat is expected to drop 2.1% due to droughts in parts of Europe and excessive rains in the U.S., Canada and Australia, according to analysts.
The decrease in output coupled with a rise in demand is causing prices to rise significantly. The price of corn, for example, jumped 89% in the last year, reaching a 30-month high on Feb. 7. Soybeans are up 54% from a year ago and wheat has hit its highest price since August 2008. "There is not one crop you can point to that is without supply problems," said Steve Nicholson, a commodity procurement specialist for International Food Products Corp. "Production is not keeping up with demand, exacerbating the global food crisis."
The global production of corn, soybeans and wheat is forecast at 1.717 billion metric tons, down from 1.755 billion metric tons in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The forecast for U.S. corn reserves will likely be adjusted down 2.1% to 729 million bushels, the lowest since 1995 and down 57% from a year earlier. World corn inventories may be cut to 125.4 million tons prior to the Northern Hemisphere harvests, the lowest number since 2007.

Canada to remain net poultry importer through 2015

According to a Research and Markets "Canada Agribusiness Report Q1 2011" study, Canada will remain a net importer of poultry through 2015 even as production is projected to grow by 11%.
Poultry production will reach 1.34 million metric tons in 2014/2015, according to the report. This boost will come from an increase in consumption due to the perceived healthier nature of poultry, as well as greater export opportunities.
Overall, Canada's agriculture production will experience moderate growth over the medium term due to increasing competition for export markets and small domestic demand growth.

Azerbaijan to increase poultry production to 80,000 metric tons by 2015

Azerbaijan has laid out plans to increase its poultry production to 80,000 metric tons annually by 2015 as part of a sweeping effort to meet the country's food demands.
Currently, Azerbaijan produces 70% of the farm products it consumes annually, according to Islam Ibrahimov, department head at the Agriculture Ministry. The goal is to increase agricultural production by 5% to 6% annually until 2015. The country produced 440,000 metric tons of meat and 50,000 metric tons of poultry in 2010.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Maschhoffs to acquire majority of NPP hog production assets

Carlyle, Illinois-based pork producer The Maschhoffs LLC has made an agreement with NPP LLC to purchase the majority of NPP's swine production assets, including approximately 50,000 sows, associated inventory and related market hog production.
The deal also includes NPP production facilities in Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. Representatives from both companies said they expected a smooth transition, calling the deal a natural fit due to the similar operating philosophies and values of the two organizations. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2011. The exact terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Eastern Shore poultry industry will have challenging 2011, say officials

In a meeting with state lawmakers from the Eastern Shore (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia), poultry industry officials expressed concerns that the business is in for a challenging 2011 due to factors like high grain prices, stricter state regulations and the impact of a down economy.  
"This is going to be a tough year in the chicken industry, a real tough year of belt-tightening, because of a number of factors," said Bill Satterfield, the executive director of Delmarva Poultry Industries Inc. He said the poultry industry is dealing with record-high grain prices, high fuel prices, a dwindling export market and declining restaurant sales due to the struggling economy.
An additional concern involves area stormwater management regulations, which Kenny Bounds, chairman of DPI's government relations committee, said are having a negative impact on the poultry industry. Due to these regulations, the site work for a new poultry house now costs 300% more, making construction financially prohibitive. A report on the issue has been prepared for the Maryland Department of the Environment.
In spite of the challenges, some large poultry companies, including Allen Family Foods, Perdue and Mountaire Farms, have been investing in new buildings and expanded operations on the Eastern Shore. Production, however, has remained flat, according to Satterfield.

Czech Republic reports pig numbers down by 3.5% in 2010

The Czech Republic reported pig numbers at their lowest levels since 1946, according to the Czech Statistical Office, to 1.84 million pigs in 2010 — a 3.5% decrease from 2009.
Farmers have said that they can't compete with the cheaper pork imported into the country, and according to the Agricultural Chamber the Czech Republic's self-sufficiency in pork production will drop below 50% in 2011. In 1999, the country's pig numbers reached 4 million, a statistic the government hopes to reach again. Agriculture Minister Ivan Fuksa said he wants to increase support to pig breeders using funds from a package of Kc800 million that the ministry has earmarked for support of sensitive commodities.

North Dakota hog, pig numbers at lowest levels since late 1800s

The number of hogs and pigs in North Dakota is at its lowest levels since the late 1800s, due in large part to the shift from many small, diversified farms towards fewer, larger facilities and the rise in feed prices which has led many operations to ship pigs out of state for finishing.
According to the state's Department of Agriculture, North Dakota's hog and pig inventory is at 143,000 animals, down 12,000 from last year. The North Dakota Pork Council has estimated the number of swine producers in the state at 275, down roughly 150 from four years ago. "Whenever we had a lot more small, diversified farms in North Dakota, we had a lot more hogs in North Dakota," said David Newman, the swine specialist for the North Dakota State University Extension Service."In the times of small family farms, everybody owned a pig. Granted, there weren't a million people in North Dakota back then, either, but there were just a lot more producers who had hogs around."
The increased cost of corn, a staple in swine diets, has also caused many producers to shift gears to farrowing operations that send their pigs out of state for fattening to slaughter weight. "A great deal of pigs that are born in North Dakota end up being counted in the production in other states," said Newman.
In spite of recent declines, Newman said he sees a possible upswing on the horizon for the North Dakota hog and pig industry due to an increase in research for feed alternatives to corn and a focus on educating the next generation of potential farmers. "I think we will see pork production increase in the next decade in North Dakota," he said. "In terms of size and scale, I think there is going to be a place in that same time period for small, diversified farmers to get into the business."

Hungary Poultry Products Council calls for state purchases of maize

Hungary's Poultry Products Council is calling for state intervention purchases of 500,000 metric tons of maize to prevent fears of domestic shortages stemming from increased feed exports.
A wheat shortage in Europe is driving up maize prices, which have reached HUF 58,000 to HUF 60,000 per metric ton, triggering an increase in maize exports. The rise in feed prices may also push up farm gate poultry prices by 20 to 25pc beginning in March, according to council head Laszlo Barany.
In response, Hungary's Rural Development Ministry said the country's maize harvest is more than 3 metric tons over domestic demand, and the supply of grain-based feed in the rest of Europe is currently at sufficient levels.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health launches INNOVAX website

Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health has launched a website to support INNOVAX recombinant vaccines. The site will display articles, technical bulletins, newsletters and other items relevant to recombinant technology including mode of action of the vaccine and safety.
Information on INNOVAX can be accessed at and for specific information on the Newcastle and LT vaccines respectively.

Poultry & Egg Export Council: Industry will fight Mexico anti-dumping case

After the Mexican Secretariat of Economy's, Economia, move to publish a notice in the Feb. 8 Diario Oficial — Mexico’s official government organ — that it will begin an anti-dumping investigation on the import of certain U.S. chicken products, the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council responded by saying that the poultry industry will fight the case.
Economia published the notice on behalf of Bachoco and two other companies, Productores Avicolas de Tehuacan SA de CV and Buenaventura. Import tariff lines included in the notification cover a range of fresh and frozen dark-meat chicken products, such as leg quarters, thighs, drumsticks and boneless legs and thighs. No turkey products are included in the investigation. “We’re a bit surprised by this case,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USAPEEC. “The U.S. and Mexican industries have a long history of cooperation. We look forward to resolving this case promptly."
According to Sumner, the Mexican Poultry Producers Association,UNA, and many public officials were unaware of the charges being brought against the U.S. “In fact, the UNA has said that the organization does not support the anti-dumping investigation,” said Sumner.
The USAPEEC has retained a Mexican law firm, Uruchurtu and Associates, to contest the allegations, and has also retained the services of Gary Horlick, a Washington, D.C.-based trade lawyer. “We intend to fight these baseless allegations aggressively on behalf of the U.S. chicken industry and in cooperation with the U.S. government,” said Horlick. “This case lacks justification. The main petitioner just reported a sales increase for 2010 of nearly 10%, and our calculations show that U.S. companies were not selling their chicken to Mexico at prices below the U.S. price, which is the definition of dumping.”

Poultry a promising Ukraine agribusiness sector

Ukraine's meat industry, and more specifically the poultry industry, is one of the most promising sectors of the country's economy as Ukraine rebounds from being one of the hardest-hit European countries during the economic downturn of the last few years, according to recent data.
In 2009, Ukraine's GDP fell 15%, but is now recovering and estimating a GDP growth of 4.4% in 2011 on the heels of 4.2% growth in 2010. A significant portion of this upswing belongs to the country's poultry production, rising due to both national consumption and a solid export foundation. In 2009, Ukraine consumed 2.2 million tons of meat (105 pounds per person), nearly half of which was poultry. In addition, Ukraine's proximity to both Russia and Europe allow the country to take advantage of poultry exporting.
"[Renaissance Capital] estimates that Ukraine’s share of poultry consumption will grow over the next five years to reach the same level as South Africa, Venezuela and Mexico," said Frank Holmes, CEO and chief investment officer for U.S. Global Investors. "This is an important development for companies...with industrialized production of poultry. These companies and the Ukrainian economy could substantially benefit if the RenCap forecast materializes. Overall, look for the developing agricultural sector to play a bigger role in Europe’s food chain."

USDA: Eggs 14% lower in cholesterol, 64% higher in vitamin D than previously thought

According to a USDA ARS report, eggs are 14% lower in cholesterol and 64% higher in vitamin D than previously thought.
According to new nutrition data from the United States Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service, eggs are 14% lower in cholesterol and 64% higher in vitamin D than previously thought.
The ARS recently reviewed the nutrient composition of standard large eggs, and results show the average amount of cholesterol in one large egg is 185 mg. The analysis also revealed that large eggs now contain 41 IU of vitamin D. "We collected a random sample of regular large shell eggs from 12 locations across the country to analyze the nutrient content of eggs," said Dr. Jacob Exler, nutritionist with the ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory. "This testing procedure was last completed with eggs in 2002, and while most nutrients remained similar to those values, cholesterol decreased by 14 percent and vitamin D increased by 64 percent from 2002 values."
This information is available on the nutrient data lab website. The new nutrient information will also be updated on nutrition labels to reflect these changes wherever eggs are sold, from egg cartons in supermarkets to school and restaurant menus.

Salmonella regulations proposed for Iowa egg producers

Outgoing Governor Chet Culver unveiled a state initiate to suppress salmonella infection in egg-producing flocks. Presumably referring to Salmonella enteritidis infection, regulations will appear to duplicate the FDA Final Rule with respect to all farms over 3,000 hens.
It is proposed that the Iowa Department and Appeals would require notification of any isolation of presumably SE derived from environmental swabs or eggs. The proposed legislation is in response to the adverse publicity directed to Iowa following the August 2010 recall.
The bill requires all farms irrespective of size to operate in accordance with a written SE prevention plan and to be subject to inspection by state officials.
It is significant that the Iowa Egg Council was not consulted before release of the proposal. There is doubt however that the proposed regulations will be enacted into law by the incoming legislature, which is divided between the two major parties.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Denmark measures 3.2% drop in pig antibiotics use from 2009 numbers

Denmark’s VSP Knowledge Centre for Pig Production reports that total antimicrobial use on Danish pigs in 2010 dropped by 3.2% from the previous year.
There was a significant difference between the first and second half of 2010, with the usage of antibiotics falling by 14.2% in the period from July to December compared with January to June. VSP director Nicolaj Nørgaard said that the sharp downward trend was a great achievement for the country's veterinarians and pig producers. It had also shown that the country’s Yellow Card system of warning individual farms and their advisers about instances of excessive use was working as intended.
To ensure a continued decline in the application of antibiotics, VSP has launched a new four-year project aimed at generating new knowledge about treatments and ways to ensure better health in pigs without compromising animal welfare.

Rise in agriculture market prices leading to higher food costs

Demands for U.S. agriculture and meat products are projected to be near their highest in 2011, coming at a time when production is down and prices are rising each month and hitting record highs.
The latest storm in the U.S. contributed to price increases, with corn rising almost 2.5% in Chicago and lean hogs edging higher as investors reweighed the impact of the snowstorm that halted grains and livestock movement in the Midwest. Corn futures for March finished up $0.16, or 2.4%, at above $6.78 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade. For the week, the market was up more than 5%.
A Reuters poll on Friday showed U.S. cattle and hog futures were expected to hit record highs in 2011, setting the stage for less meat on the dining table. "That should push up prices," said Ron Plain, an agricultural economist at the University of Missouri. Profits made by Tyson Foods in the last quarter by selling pork and beef at higher prices also showed food makers might pass rising costs to consumers.
Wheat for March fell 0.6% to $8.53 per bushel, but was up 3.3% on the week. Soybeans finished almost flat on the day and up 2.6% on the week.

USPOULTRY releases recombinant laryngotracheitis vaccine study, paw burn study results

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has released the results of two of its latest studies: one entitled "Recombinant Laryngotracheitis Virus Vaccines: Evaluation of Effectiveness for Prevention of Disease in Commercial Broiler Chickens" and another entitled "Paw Burn Reduction in Broiler Chickens through the Use of Feed Grade Enzymes."
In the first project, the effectiveness of commercially-available, recombinant virus-vectored laryngotracheitis vaccines was compared to modified-live virus vaccines. Recombinant LT virus vaccines, when individually administered in ovo, had less protective immunity compared to conventional modified-live virus vaccines. Chickens vaccinated with both recombinant vaccines had similar protection compared to conventional CEO and TCO vaccine treatments, and absence of clinical LT signs and body weight depression. The conclusion was that recombinant virus-vectored vaccines may improve the safety and effectiveness of subsequent CEO vaccination by reducing numbers of birds with detectable LT virus in the trachea compared to CEO vaccination alone.
In the second project, trials were conducted to determine if feed-grade enzymes improve foot pad quality through a reduction in undigested complex carbohydrates being passed into the litter. Six commercial enzymes fed throughout the grow-out period did not improve foot pad quality scores in broilers, according to results, though improvements in intestinal viscosity were observed in most enzyme treatments. In addition, supplementation of broiler diets with high levels of biotin also resulted in no improvement of foot pad lesions. Overall, litter moisture was shown to have a substantial effect on the development of foot pad burns, indicating the importance of proper in-house environmental management.
The two studies are part of the USPOULTRY’s research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

Gold'n Plump Poultry donated chicken for 2 million meals in 2010

Gold'n Plump Poultry has reported the outcome of its 2010 giving programs, which shows that the company donated enough chicken for more than 2 million meals in 2010.
Most contributions went to Minnesota- and Wisconsin-based hunger relief organizations like Second Harvest Heartland, as well as local school and youth programs and community causes in cities where Gold'n Plump operates. "We have a long-standing belief that giving back to our communities is the right thing to do, especially as a food company," said CEO Mike Helgeson. Gold'n Plump has also donated 5% of its pre-tax profits to charitable causes each year for the past 20 years, especially in the area of hunger relief.
In the current economic climate, charities say they're appreciative for any help they can get. "If there’s one message we'd like to get out there, it's that we see more than 450,000 unique visitors at our food shelves each year, which means that we're all just one hardship away from depending on our local food shelves," said Tony Mans, director of food sourcing at Second Harvest Heartland. "While we appreciate all of the generous donations we receive, we'd like to encourage more donations of nutritious foods. Partnerships like the one we have with Gold'n Plump help us provide high-quality items for well-balanced meals."

Poultry Products International to build $2.75 million Idaho processing plant

Poultry Products International has moved forward with plans to build a $2.75 million chicken processing plant in Burley, Idaho, rebooting a project that had languished for several years before permits were renewed at the end of 2009.
The project, which involved the purchase of 112 acres of land in the area, will also include a hatchery and other facilities at remote locations that have not yet been named, according to Burley's Economic Director Doug Manning. The work of building the plant is expected to create 1,000 construction jobs over two years and as many permanent jobs when construction is finished. It is uncertain as of yet exactly when construction will start, but it may be as soon as this year, according to Manning.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

FEFAC president to open Victam International 2011

The president of the European Feed Manufacturers Federation, Vanden Avenne, will help open the Victam International 2011 show to be held in Cologne, Germany.
The animal feed event, which will also encompass FIAAP International and GRAPAS International, will be the first since it was last held in 2007. “It has been four years since the last Victam International exhibition and a lot has happened in the industries that this world-famous exhibition serves," said Victam General Manager Henk van de Bunt. "This will be reflected in this new event — there will now be three trade shows in the exhibition hall and seven different conferences for the international delegates to attend."
Roughly 300 exhibitors from 28 countries are expected on the tradeshow floor. "Our visitors will see the latest specialist-appropriate technology that is used in the safe and cost effective manufacture of animal and aqua feeds as well for dry pet food," said van de Bunt. "There will also be a wide selection of companies that supply the 'nuts and bolts' equipment that are so necessary for a modern and efficient production plant and distribution system."
Victam International will be held May 3 through 5.

Corn Growers Association, Grain and Feed Foundation release grain bin safety video

The National Corn Growers Association and the National Grain and Feed Foundation (the research and education arm of the National Grain and Feed Association) have unveiled a joint video project to promote awareness about grain bin safety on the farm.
The two organizations teamed up in November to develop the video in response to an increase in U.S. fatalities and injuries associated with entry into grain bins. “In 2010 we saw a record number of farmers becoming engulfed in grain bins and we decided it was time to have a proactive role in creating awareness about the serious nature of this issue,” said NCGA President Bart Schott. “We hope that this video makes farmers stop and think twice before the next time they put themselves in danger.”
The video, shot on location in several states, provides a wide range of information from prevention tips and background data on grain bin accidents. The project also involved interviews with professionals in the fields of grain bin safety research and rescue to provide as much information to viewers as possible.
The video is available at and on the NCGA’s YouTube channel.

Industrias Bachoco sales up 6.6% for 2010

Mexico-based Industrias Bachoco S.A.B. de C.V. has released its numbers for the fourth quarter and the full 2010 year, showing a 9.9% rise in fourth-quarter sales over 2009 numbers (Ps. 6.4 billion, up from Ps. 5.8 billion) and a 6.6% rise in sales for all of 2010 (Ps. 24.8 billion, up from Ps. 23.3 billion).
Fourth-quarter 2010 chicken sales were up significantly over the same quarter in 2009, increasing by 14.9%. This is mostly attributable to a 17.8% increase in chicken prices, which offset a 2.5% decrease in volume sold. Egg sales decreased by 15.2% during the fourth quarter, as egg prices decreased 10.6% and volume fell by 5.1%. "The fourth quarter is typically a good quarter for the company and this year was not the exception; we recorded solid results," said CEO Rodolfo Ramos. "Our chicken business line performance was strong during the quarter; we observed a good demand and prices were sound. Our egg business line continued to be affected by oversupply conditions; nevertheless, prices and volume showed some recovery when compared with previous quarters."
Earnings per share for 2010 reached Ps. 3.34, up from 2009's Ps. 1.35. "We recorded a successful year for the company in 2010," said Ramos. "We achieved our goals and set a solid basis to face a challenging 2011. We trust our team which, along with the continuous improvement of our processes and an adequate administration of our raw materials inventories, will lead us to achieve new goals."

Retiring NCC president George Watts receives lifetime achievement award

George Watts, retiring president of the National Chicken Council, was honored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association during the 2011 International Poultry Expo with the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award is presented to an individual whose dedication and leadership over the years have far exceeded the ordinary and impacted both the poultry industry and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association in an exemplary manner. The award is presented non-annually and when the Awards and Recognition Committee unanimously recognizes and endorses the need for occasional, unique recognition for exceptional contributions.
"[Watts] has been influential in leveraging industry effectiveness through the development of partnerships and collaborations with other trade associations," said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY. "Under his direction, a single Environmental Committee and Human Resources and Safety Committee now represent the interests of the NCC, [National Turkey Federation] and USPOULTRY. George’s determination to enhance these partnerships extended beyond making the National Chicken Council successful to making the entire industry and affiliated organizations successful."
Watts currently serves on the board of directors for the International Poultry Development Program joint-venture broiler project in Russia. He received the Poultry Industry Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poultry and Food Distributors Association in January 2002 and the Merial Distinguished Poultry Industry Career Award at the 2009 Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting.

Ptarmigan study may help poultry farmers breed heavier, stronger birds

A University of Manchester team studying the Svalbard rock ptarmigan hopes to adapt its findings to benefit poultry farmers interested in breeding heavier, stronger birds.
The ptarmigan, an arctic relative of the grouse, can put on up to 32% of its body weight in fat during the winter, yet according to the study the birds become more efficient in their movements during this time, able to easily handle the extreme weight gain. “We are hoping that the knowledge we gain from our studies will eventually help the poultry meat industry to breed birds that can put on weight quickly but have the necessary physiological features so that they don’t suffer as a result,” said Dr. Jonathan Codd, who leads the research team.
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council funded the study. “It is really important that we increase food production, and that includes meat," said BBSRC Director of Research Janet Allen. "Our aim is to do this sustainably and with the same or improved welfare of the animals that are farmed. Studies such as this that tell us about the basic underlying biology of animals that operate in extreme environments...[can] tell us a great deal about how to breed farmed animals that are fit, healthy and productive.”

Monday, February 7, 2011

South African farmers want more time to improve pig living conditions

South African pig farmers are asking for an extension of the latest 2016 deadline to improve the living conditions of their animals, saying that 2020 is a more realistic date to work towards.
The original deadline for compliance, by which time farmers were expected to incorporate things like larger individual pens for housing sows, was 2011. Farmers have said they are concerned that their product will be less competitive internationally due to the increased cost of implementing changes, and that small and emerging farmers may be forced out of the market. "Farmers should not be disadvantaged by the changing rules because of the significant investment they are expected to make to change the conditions of their livestock," said South African Pork Producers' Organisation veterinary liaison officer Dr. Peter Evans.
The National Council of the Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has said the revised target date is on par with other parts of the world. The European Union will be phasing out the practice of confined spaces next year, New Zealand by 2015 and Australia and Tasmania by 2017, "so our target is within international norms," said Celeste Houseman, manager of the NSPCA's farm animal unit.

Glycerin may be viable feed source for swine, according to study

Glycerin, a biodiesel byproduct, may be a viable feed source in swine diets, according to a University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study.
Researchers say that up to 15% of a pig's typical corn and soybean diet can be replaced with glycerin, leading to a possible cost-effective alternative during a time when corn and soybean prices are going up. “If the price was low enough, it could lead to a low-cost diet,” said Michael Ellis, an animal sciences professor at the University of Illinois. “The prices vary with market conditions. The problem has become that corn and soybeans have become expensive so now there’s more incentive on a cost basis to produce a cheaper diet than corn or soybeans.”
Prices for corn and soybeans have doubled in the last four months, according to Illinois pork producer Mike Haag, but the initial adaptation to using glycerin has costs of its own. Most swine feeders are designed to handle dry products, so introducing a liquid might require the installation of heated tanks and the modification of current feeder systems. “You need to make sure when you add these all up that it’s cost efficient,” said Haag.