Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poultry ready-to-cook weight down 2% in April

The average live weight of chickens in April came to 5.63 pounds per bird.
Poultry certified wholesome during April 2011 (ready-to-cook weight) totaled 3.48 billion pounds, down 2% from the amount certified in April 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The March 2011 revised certified total at 3.87 billion pounds, was up 4% from March 2010.
The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during April was 4.60 billion pounds, down 2% from 4.71 billion pounds during the same time in 2010. Young chickens inspected totaled 3.95 billion pounds, down 3%, while mature chickens, at 66.3 million pounds, were up 2% from 2010 numbers.
Turkey inspections totaled 571 million pounds, up 1% from April 2010. Ducks totaled 13.4 million pounds, down slightly.
Young chickens slaughtered during April 2011 averaged 5.76 pounds per bird, up 1% from the same time in 2010. The average live weight of mature chickens was 5.63 pounds per bird, up 5%. Turkeys slaughtered during April 2011 averaged 30 pounds per bird, up 1% from April 2010.

France pig processor focuses on water conservation, reduces consumption 30%

Abera has reduced its water consumption by 30%, saving the company €60,000 a year in expenses.
French pig processor Abera began a water conservation campaign two years ago that has succeeded in reducing the company's consumption by 30%.
According to the company, water use for the first three months of 2011 came to 15,000 cubic meters (15 million liters), compared to 21,300 cubic meters during the same time in 2008. This has resulted in a 30% reduction in usage per pig slaughtered, down to 210 liters from an average of almost 300 liters two years ago. The total savings, said Abera, equates roughly to the amount consumed annually by households in a town of 2,000 residents.
Abera general manager Michel Gaumerais and a team of seven people from the plant launched the campaign, which began by measuring the consumption at each step of the process from lairage to final product. This soon revealed opportunities for reducing the volume, such as at the primary offal removal and carcass washing stages. Wash-down water was recycled for an initial rinse-off of soiling from the vehicles used to transport pigs to the plant, and a method of offal removal using less water was developed. Moreover, each water point in the abattoir was equipped with a new valve offering better management of pressure and flow rate.
The company was also able to renegotiate the contract with its water utility supplier. Overall, Abera estimates that it has managed to save €60,000 per year since the improvements were implemented.

Austria, Hungary poultry industries focus of EU education project

The poultry industries of Austria and Hungary are the focus of the EU-funded Centre of Excellence for Poultry, a three-year education project in the areas of animal nutrition, animal breeding and food safety.
The aim of the Centre, which received €820,000 from the European Regional Development Fund, is to improve the efficiency and production of the border region's poultry industry. The research institutions involved, the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, in Austria, and the University of Pannonia, in Hungary, said they plan to establish a knowledge base covering several areas of poultry nutrition and health that they hope will provide scientific results for practical use.
An interactive website, annual poultry nutrition workshops and various seminars are all planned for the length of the project.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Antitrust lawsuit trial against George's poultry plant acquisition set for August

A Justice Department antitrust lawsuit against George's Inc.'s acquisition of a Harrisonburg, Va., Tyson Foods Inc. poultry plant will go to trial on Aug. 22.
The Justice Department filed the suit on May 10, saying that the acquisition will "reduce growers' ability to receive competitive prices for their services." George's called for the lawsuit to be expedited on the grounds that delaying the case could harm local poultry farmers as well as the employees of the Tyson plant.

Alltech 'great debate' experts discuss agribusiness uses for media technology

Tom Standage, business editor of "The Economist" and author of "A History of the World in Six Glasses" and "An Edible History of Humanity," was one of the panelists at Alltech's Great Debate.
Experts from the field of new media, economics and food company Nestlé discussed how agribusiness should respond to commoditization and innovation for a growing world population at the 2011 "Great Debate," held during the Alltech 27th Annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium.
The panelists commented to an audience of 2,100 delegates from 72 countries on topics ranging from adopting new media technologies and building new connections with consumers to utilizing the power of the World Wide Web to talk about food's ability to connect people to food sources. “Today social media provides a tremendous opportunity for the food industry to build relationships with consumers in a way that no other industry can ... through farm-to-fork traceability," said Tom Standage, business editor of The Economist and author of A History of the World in Six Glasses and An Edible History of Humanity "Consumers have an interest in where their food comes from."
Ben Self, with Blue State Digital, highlighted the importance of each stakeholder in the food chain, from the producer to the consumer to the retailer, in telling the story through new media technologies thereby making it more interesting, memorable and relevant. Hans Jöhr, corporate head of agriculture at Nestlé and director of the Sustainable Agriculture Alliance, addressed how the industry and all the stakeholders in it have an opportunity to create a sustainable agricultural platform. “The real game changer is to understand that we are working in a finite world and that we really need to take care of our assets and how we utilize them so that we can produce nutritious food for everybody,” said Jöhr.
Modern agriculture has many stories to tell but the challenge is how to effectively communicate these stories, said Alltech Vice President Aidan Connolly. "There is a world of opportunities available through new media technologies, which will allow each and every stakeholder in the food and feed chain to communicate messages quickly that connect with people’s emotions," said Connolly. "This presents a real game changer as we feed a growing population on finite resources.”

US egg production, broiler chicks up in April

U.S. egg production in April included 6.56 billion table eggs and 1.06 billion hatching eggs.
U.S. egg production totaled 7.61 billion during April 2011, up slightly from the same time in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
Production included 6.56 billion table eggs and 1.06 billion hatching eggs, of which 987 million were broiler-type and 70 million were egg-type.
The total number of layers during April averaged 340 million, down slightly from 2010 numbers. Egg production per 100 layers was 2,236 eggs, up 1% from April 2010. All layers in the U.S. on May 1 totaled 339 million, including 281 million layers producing table or market type eggs, 54.7 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs and 2.93 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs.
Egg-type chicks hatched during April 2011 totaled 43.4 million, down 9% from April 2010. Eggs in incubators totaled 40.8 million as of May 1, down 2% from the same time in 2010. Broiler-type chicks hatched in April totaled 780 million, up 2% from the same time in 2010. Eggs in incubators totaled 649 million on May 1, up 1% from a year earlier.

India poultry farmers using wheat, bajra as chicken feed alternatives

India's chicken farmers are turning to wheat as a cheaper alternative to corn in animal feed.
Wheat and bajra, also known as pearl millet, are being used as substitutes for corn in chicken feed as corn prices in India continue to rise.
Wheat is currently selling for Rs 7.50 (US$0.17) per kilogram, while bajra and broken rice are selling for Rs 11,000 (US$242.89) per metric ton. Corn stands at Rs 10 (US$0.22) per kilogram, kept higher due to high moisture content in the current harvest and an increase in exports, according to farmers. The Compound Livestock Feed Manufacturers' Association of India is calling for a stop to corn exports to ensure stable prices. "If corn exports are discontinued, prices will fall by 5% to 10%," said B Soundararajan, managing director of chicken producer Suguna Group.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

FDA issues interim final rules for Food Safety Modernization Act

The Food and Drug Administration has published two interim final rules in the Federal Register, regarding the FDA's administrative detention authority and advanced notice of rejected imports, connected to the Food Safety Modernization Act.
The first interim final rule relates to the FDA’s administrative detention authority. Currently, the FDA has the authority to detain products deemed to have “credible evidence or information indicating that the article of food presents a threat of serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals.” Under the FSMA, the criteria level has been modified to the more general definition “reason to believe that the article of food is adulterated or misbranded.” This change in administrative detention authority widens the FDA’s scope of products acceptable for detention to products that would normally be considered as part of a Class II recall.
The second interim final rule relates to importers giving advanced notice of imports that were refused entry into another country. Presently, importers must give the FDA advanced notice of imports electronically through a Customs and Border Protection or FDA system. This interim final rule implements an FSMA-mandated requirement that this prior notice include the identity of any country to which an article of food has been refused entry.
The requirements in both interim final rules will be effective July 3, 2011. Comments will be accepted on both interim final rules and reviewed by the American Feed Industry Association's FSMA work groups.

India could play significant role in next-generation ethanol sector

With significant new policies and government investment, India could play a significant role in the next-generation ethanol industry.
Agricultural residues from rice, wheat, maize and other crops in India could be converted into ethanol, allowing the country to play a significant role in the next-generation ethanol sector, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
According to the Bloomberg study, "Next-generation Ethanol: What's in it for India?," India will produce more than 125 million metric tons of the residues by 2020, at the same time next-generation ethanol may be a $15 billion-per-year industry. India's success, and the success of the industry itself, however, depends on significant new policies and investment, according to the report. Currently, a liter of next-generation ethanol is no more cost-effective than a liter of conventional ethanol, unless significant government assistance is provided.
The creation of the next-generation ethanol industry could lower greenhouse gas emissions from transport fuels, reduce India's dependence on oil imports and create jobs, said BNEF. In one scenario, up to 1 million workers could be hired to collect and convert the agricultural waste.

Rising Japan corn costs may mean profits for US meat exporters

Rising Japan corn prices may provide an opportunity for larger profits for U.S. meat importers.
Japan's corn prices, rising since the Fukushima power plant nuclear accident on fears that import vessels might be tainted with radiation, may lead to greater profits for U.S. meat exporters as Japan's domestic market becomes more expensive, according to reports.
Higher shipping costs are leading to higher feed prices, which spill into higher domestic meat prices. This chain reaction may lead to U.S. companies like Tyson Foods seeing an increase in their exports to Japan.
Pork and beef orders from Japan increased 20% each in April from March, according to Takamichi Tawara, head of Tyson’s Tokyo office. Its meat exports to Japan reached $400 million in 2010 — 60% pork, 20% beef and the rest chicken and processed food. “The export demand out of Japan has remained very strong,” said James V. Lochner, Tyson’s CEO. “We’ve certainly seen no pullback, and if anything we continue to see strong interest up front.”
Right now, Japanese corn importers are paying 5% more to ship corn from the U.S. Gulf to ports in eastern Japan compared to those in western Japan. “Freight operators are still showing an aversion for eastern Japan,” said Hideo Harada, director for livestock-policy planning at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. “It’s very costly to deliver grains to eastern regions after unloading them at ports in other areas.”

Biofuel production may not cause indirect land use change

The annual change in planted areas for cotton, corn/soybeans and oats in the U.S. correlate with the change in croplands for biofuel production, but only cotton seems to be negatively affected, calling into question the theory that biofuel production in the U.S. has induced indirect land use change.
A new study, "Indirect land use change for biofuels: Testing predictions and improving analytical methodologies," compiled historical data from 2002 to 2007 to take a look at the potential correlation between U.S. biofuel production and indirect land use change. The study found that "no arable land increases from the 1990s are observed in the U.S. Furthermore, no declines in natural ecosystem lands in the U.S. have been observed since 1998. Therefore, the U.S. historical data do not indicate that [indirect land use change] occurred within the 48 contiguous states as a result of U.S. biofuel production."
However, said study preparers Seungdo Kim and Bruce Dale of Michigan State University, the results can be interpreted two different ways: either biofuel production in the U.S. through the end of 2007 has not induced indirect land use change, or the test simply failed to detect ongoing indirect land use change from the historical data. The study suggests that more research be done, both with data after 2007 (which is not yet available) and with more sophisticated empirical approaches that might more accurately make use of the historical data.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Bangladesh plans poultry industry tax break extension

Bangladesh's National Board of Revenue is considering further tax breaks for the country's poultry sector that may run until 2025, according to reports.
The current tax holiday is set to end in 2013, but poultry association president Syed Abu Siddique said that 30% of the industry has been affected by bird flu and requires an extension to recoup losses. The industry is also calling for a withdrawal of the existing 5% tax on imported poultry feed.

Ireland drought to affect animal feed industry

An ongoing drought in Northern Ireland will affect the country's animal feed industry if conditions persist, according to reports.
The information comes on the heels of reports that the UK barley harvest is set to be the worst in 40 years due to lack of rainfall. "This is going to have an impact in terms of the feed for our livestock, the lack of forage, the lack of hay, will have repercussions next winter for which we will all start to pay a heavy price," said Dr. Therese Coffey, Conservative MP for the Suffolk Coastal district

US turkey eggs, poults down 4%

U.S. turkey eggs in incubators on May 1 totaled 27.7 million, down 4% from the same time in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The number was roughly on par with April 1 counts.
Turkey poults hatched during April totaled 23.9 million, down 4% from 2010 numbers. This number was also down 2% from the March 2011 total of 24.3 million poults. The 23.2 million net poults placed during April were down 5% from the number placed during the same month in 2010 and down 2% from the March 2011 total of 23.7 million.

Vietnam frozen poultry, pork imports rise 20%-30%

Imports of frozen meat, particularly poultry and pork, have increased by 20% to 30% in Vietnam as prices on the country's domestic market have increased. In April, 8,219 metric tons of poultry meat and 456 metric tons of pork were imported, two to three times higher than typical numbers, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Sub-Department of Animal Health.
The price of imported meat has increased alongside domestic meat, but global prices have not, resulting in significant profits for importers. With taxes and other expenses, the global price for frozen chicken wings is VND65,000 (US$3.14) per kilogram. A kilogram of imported chicken wings, however, is being sold for VND90,000 (US$4.35). Similarity, the cost of a kilogram of imported pork is about VND60,000 (US$2.90) including tax and other expenses, while its retail price in the domestic market is VND70,000-80,000 (US$3.38-$3.87) per kilogram. Imported meat is roughly VND10,000 (US$0.48) cheaper than domestic prices.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Ghana poultry farmers burdened by high yellow corn prices

Rising poultry feed prices have Ghana farmers calling for the government to provide a buffer stock of yellow corn to help the industry.
Ghana's government should provide a buffer stock of yellow corn in an attempt to help poultry farmers combat rising animal feed prices, according to the Ghana National Association of Poultry Farmers.
Right now, 125 kilograms of yellow corn is selling at GH¢100 (US$65.60); the same amount was selling at GH¢60.00 (US$39.36) in March. Although chicken prices have not yet started to rise in response, said Kwadwo Asante, chairman of the association, the industry expects them to if the current trend continues. A rise in Ghana's chicken prices could make the industry less profitable, if consumers begin to focus on cheaper imports, said Asante.

US egg coalition awards $6 million for hen house sustainability research

$6 million has been awarded to a three-year project focusing on comparing conventional cage housing, enriched cage housing and a cage-free aviary system for laying hens.
The Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply has awarded $6 million to support research on the sustainability of laying hen housing in the U.S.
Michigan State University and the University of California, Davis, will participate in the three-year “CSES Laying Hen Housing Research Project,” which will explore the interactions and tradeoffs among food safety, worker safety, environmental impact, hen health and welfare and food affordability aspects of three different housing systems. Information generated by the research, which will focus on conventional cage housing, enriched cage housing and a cage-free aviary system, is expected to help egg purchasers and producers make objective, science-based decisions as the egg industry evolves in response to consumer needs and desires.
“Our goal is to thoroughly understand the full range of sustainability factors," said Dr. Janice Swanson, director of animal welfare and professor of animal science at Michigan State University. "This multi-year study will examine seasonal shifts, bird lifecycles, bird health and behavior, environmental impacts, human health and other factors affecting the sustainability of the egg production system.” Additional cooperating research institutions include Iowa State University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.  

Whole Foods introduces welfare rating system for poultry, pork, beef

Whole Foods Market has certified all its fresh poultry, pork and beef sold in its U.S. stores under the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system, which identifies incrementally higher welfare practices and conditions within farm animal production systems.
The system uses independent third-party certifiers to audit and rate farms' animal welfare practices and conditions using a tiered system that ranges from Step 1 (no crates, cages or crowding) to Step 5+ (animals spend their entire lives on one farm). Whole Foods is the first retailer to adopt the system, and began rolling it out in February 2011. Now, all fresh beef, pork and chicken sold in its U.S. stores meat departments carry a Step certification. To date, more than 1,300 farms and ranches have been certified. "Whole Foods Market has worked hand-in-hand with our producers for many years to encourage a humane approach to raising animals," said Anne Malleau, global animal production and welfare coordinator. "Now, the 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system provides a way to engage and reward these producers by promoting continuous improvement in farm animal welfare. This rating system also informs our customers about how the animals are raised for the meat they are buying."
The company said its next step is to certify further processed meats like bacon and ham to the system.

US poultry producers holding off on cutbacks, waiting for improved demand

Poultry producers are focusing on a predicted increase in demand and low debts to avoid cutbacks.
Poultry producers are avoiding production cutbacks in spite of stagnant demand and high animal feed costs, focusing on low debt and a predicted rise in demand to carry them through, according to reports.
The industry's largest companies hope to hold off the possibility of decreasing production for as long as possible. Sanderson Farms said it is counting on the company's low-debt balance sheet to remain steady during the down period, while Tyson Foods Inc. is focusing on an eventual rise in demand coupled with higher chicken prices as consumers switch from the more expensive beef and pork. However, the current situation lends itself to oversupply, according to analysts, who said that chicken eggs are up 0.5% over the same time in 2010 in spite of lower-than-expected consumer demand. Chicken production in the first quarter of 2011 rose 6.4%, and broiler prices dropped in response to supplies, reaching 77.9 cents per pound compared to 2010's 82.2 cents per pound. 
Tyson and Pilgrim's Pride are hedged on grain costs for the next several months, but feed prices are expected to remain high through 2012. If the desired conditions of a rise in demand and an accompanying rise in poultry prices don't materialize, the industry expects to see supplies begin declining this summer.

Alltech to stream live sessions from Animal Health Symposium

Alltech will host its 27th Annual International Animal Health and Nutrition Symposium on Sunday, May 22, in Lexington, Ky.
Dedicated to exploring "The Game Changers" for business and the animal health and feed industries, Alltech says the program includes The Economist’s Tom Standage, Nestlé’s Hans Jöhr, Chick-fil-A’s Brian Coan, J. O’Callaghan of JBS USA and more.
Several Symposium sessions will be available for live and on-demand streaming via Alltech’s Symposium website as well as accessible on mobile phones. Sessions include: "The Game Changers" debate, Tom Standage’s “An Edible History of Humanity,” and presentations of the Medal of Excellence, Alltech Excellence in Ruminant Nutrition, Alltech Humanitarian and Alltech Young Scientist Awards. Alltech’s Innovations blog will be updated throughout the Symposium to include photos from the event, video interviews with speakers and podcasts.

Monday, May 23, 2011

George's seeks to expedite antitrust lawsuit challenging Tyson purchase

Poultry processor George's Inc. is seeking to expedite a federal antitrust lawsuit stemming from the company's purchase of a Tyson Food Inc. poultry complex in Harrisonburg, Va.
According to George's, delaying the case could harm local poultry farmers. The company has said it intends to retain the majority of the complex's current employees and honor any contracts Tyson had with local poultry growers.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Harrisonburg on May 10, with the Justice Department calling the deal unlawful under antitrust laws. "The department's lawsuit alleges that George's acquisition of Tyson's Harrisonburg chicken-processing facility would reduce growers' ability to receive competitive prices for their services," said Christine Varney, assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division.

Eggs from enriched cages may cost up to 17% more than conventional

The cost of eggs produced in enriched cages, such as this JS West enriched colony system, is higher than that of conventional cages, a study from the company shows.
The cost per dozen eggs produced in enriched cages is 15% to 17% higher than in conventional cages, according to Tom Silva of JS West.
Silva, who spoke at the Egg Industry Issues Forum hosted by the Egg Industry Center of Iowa State University, said the enriched system requires a premium of 10 to 12 cents per dozen to compensate for additional costs.
JS West studied its 151,200 hens housed in enriched cages and compared these birds' results with hens in conventional battery cages through 50 weeks of age. To 50 weeks of age, hen-housed egg production for the two systems was 197 and 191 for the enriched and conventional cages, respectively, with mortality attaining 1.4% and 0.9%. Average production for the period 20 through 50 weeks was 89.4% for enriched cages and 88.3% for conventional cages.
Feed intake per dozen attained 3.7 pounds for the enriched system and 2.94 pounds in conventional cages. Since body weight for the two groups were 3.45 pounds and 3.47 pounds, respectively, inferior feed conversion in enriched cages is attributed in part to increased movement and to the average case weight of 48.8 pounds for enriched cages and 47.0 pounds for conventional batteries.
This system, supplied by Big Dutchman International, along with similar installations, has received the seal of approval of the American Humane Association.

Tyson sees rise in demand for poultry, beef, pork as supplies decline

Tyson Foods Inc. has seen sales of poultry, beef and pork improve in the past two weeks as prices rise and supply goes down, said Donnie Smith, Tyson's president and chief executive officer, and Noel White, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats.
According to White, who spoke with Smith at the BMO Capital Markets 2011 Farm to Market Conference, a key factor driving price is the amount of protein available to consumers. U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that protein supply has declined the past three years and is projected to decline again in 2011, and that strong exports have contributed to this trend. "Exports, along with production efficiencies and value-added programs, are driving our earnings," said White. 

UK broiler survey reveals need for better disease control

A survey covering 90% of broiler farms in the UK's South West region has revealed a higher instance of disease than expected, highlighting the need for better disease control.
The serology survey, commissioned by Datapoul and supported by a Pfizer Poultry Health grant, found that 20% of farms tested positive for infectious bronchitis — IB 793B — and another 7% tested positive for the newer IB QX variant strain. Twenty-four percent of farms tested positive for infectious bursal disease, or Gumboro disease. “I have been quite surprised at the findings — the level of IB is a lot higher than expected and, worryingly, none of the farms with either positive or inconclusive results for Gumboro showed any clinical signs," said Richard Turner, director of Datapoul.
The solution, according to the survey, is a more aggressive vaccine treatment, including switching to stronger versions of existing vaccines in use and giving the vaccines on both day one and day 10.

Friday, May 20, 2011

147 US Congress members reject proposed GIPSA rule

A rule on the marketing of poultry and livestock that would "make profound changes in the relationship between ranchers and farmers who produce cattle, swine, chickens and turkey and the companies that bring meat and poultry products to market" is being opposed by 147 members of the U.S. Congress.
The rule, proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, should be withdrawn and revised once GIPSA completes an economic analysis, according to a statement made by Congress. “I am grateful for the action taken by so many members of Congress in urging the Secretary of Agriculture to withdraw and re-propose the GIPSA rule,” said Mike Brown, president of the National Chicken Council. “The GIPSA rule clearly needs more careful review in light of its impact on economic growth, jobs and the administration’s stated goal of doubling exports.”
The USDA published the proposed rule in June 2010 with a cursory economic analysis, and Vilsack has agreed to conduct a more detailed analysis before a final rule is published. Members of Congress also asked for an update from Vilsack on the timeline for completion of the economic analysis and further action on the proposal. The rule would change, among other things, live poultry dealer behavior, including the tournament system often used for poultry contracts and how the contracts are written.

Europe’s largest wheat ethanol plant to temporarily close

The Ensus bioethanol plant in the UK will temporarily shut down production for up to four months due to a combination of global grain prices, low demand and competition from the U.S., according to reports.
The plant currently uses more than 1 million metric tons of wheat annually to produce ethanol, animal feed and carbon dioxide for the food and drink industry. “Ensus remains committed to operating and growing our European business,” said the company in a statement. “However, to ensure the long-term health of the business for both our customers and our employees we have decided to temporarily shut down our facility while market conditions remain depressed. We fully expect the market to improve in the coming months.”

China pig producers trying to meet increased global demand

The fast expansion of pig production is a key concern of the Chinese government as the demand for pork keeps rising, according to reports.
This has resulted in market prices increasing to €1.65 (US$2.34) per kilogram live weight, making Chinese pig producers profitable in spite of the high cost of raw materials. In addition, the country's pig industry is looking to Europe for knowledge and new genetic lines to make rapid breed improvement, providing new opportunities for European genetic companies to increase export volumes to China. One such company, Rattlerow Seghers, recently exported breeding pigs to Beijing to expand the breeding pyramid in a country that has 60 million sows, according to company spokesman Stefan Derks.

TOPIGS sows weaned average 28.1 piglets each in 2010

Pig farms with TOPIGS sows weaned an average of 28.1 piglets per sow in 2010, according to results from a sow management system linked to TOPIGS.
Data was gathered from 748 Dutch farms with a total of nearly 337,000 sows. The top 10% of farms achieved 30.9 weaned piglets per sow per year. At the same time, mortality of the piglets has fallen slightly and the average piglet mortality is 11.9%, down from both 2009 and 2008 (12.1%). For the top 10% of farms the mortality rate was 10.4%.
Ninety farms (12% of the total) weaned more than 30 piglets per sow per year. The best farm weaned 33.3 piglets per sow per year.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

US corn growers support free trade with Korea, Colombia, Panama

The National Corn Growers Association supports the pending free trade agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama, said NCGA CEO Rick Tolman in a statement to the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.
“Increased production and a consistent product make the United States a reliable supplier of corn in the world market," he said. "Beyond increasing domestic and international demand for corn, passing these FTAs also benefits our customers in the livestock and poultry industries. Developing new markets for our country’s agricultural products will help our sector lead the nation in economic growth and international competitiveness." The full text of the NCGA statement can be found at http://agriculture.house.gov/pdf/hearings/Tolman110512.pdf

Thailand, Philippines animal feed producers cancel soymeal imports

Animal feed producers in Thailand and the Philippines have canceled or delayed around 130,000 metric tons of soymeal imports as a surplus of South American supplies causes global prices to fall.
According to traders, the majority of the soymeal affected comes from Argentina, which is expected to produce a bumper soybean crop for the 2011 season. “[Buyers] had overbought soymeal in forward deals and now that there is plenty of meal lying around, buyers are looking to postpone and even cancel shipments,” said a Singapore-based trader. “We expect more buyers to renegotiate and delay shipments.”
Soybean meal has lost 7% on the Chicago Board of Trade since the start of April. As of 8:05 a.m. CST on May 17, July futures were trading up 1%.

Pig nutrition formulator launches new facilities in China

TechMix LLC has expanded its pig nutrition business with TechMix BioTech in Shanghai, China, in a partnership with GenTech China
"China is the largest swine market in the world with more than 650 million hogs produced every year," said Mike Nelson, president of TechMix. "Chinese producers are looking for more specialty nutrition products for targeted applications to better manage the stress periods of pigs, as alternatives to medications and antibiotics… and based on proven technology." The TechMix BioTech facilities include a manufacturing plant, offices and sales team.
The new business will initially include six products from the TechMix swine product portfolio that focus on sows and young pigs: Swine BlueLite, Mo’ Milk, Liquitein, Gruel-tein, Baby Pig Restart and N-Take. Each product can be used within a targeted intervention protocol, developed by the company, called Timed Even Nutrition.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Proposed legislation would reduce ethanol tax credit for two years

Proposed legislation that would reduce the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit for a two-year period before transitioning to a tax credit that would adjust based on the price of oil has gained support from the National Corn Growers Association, the American Coalition for Ethanol, Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association.
The Domestic Energy Promotion Act of 2011, spearheaded by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, would also improve upon current tax credits for the installation of blender pumps and ethanol fueling infrastructure, and would extend tax credits for small ethanol producers as well as for advanced and cellulosic ethanol. "The Domestic Energy Promotion Act of 2011 would ensure we don’t abandon this increasingly vital American industry, but rather smartly and responsibly foster its continued growth and evolution,” said the groups. “This legislation rightfully recognizes budget constraints by reforming the ethanol tax credit and significantly reducing its cost. Critically, this legislation would also ensure progress made to commercialize advanced ethanol technologies utilizing new feedstocks such as grasses and municipal solid waste is accelerated"

French program protects poultry, livestock producers from high animal feed prices

A voluntary agreement, brokered by France’s minister of agriculture, will offer protection against market volatility by committing livestock producers to re-opening negotiations on animal feed payments each time feed prices rise, in three successive months, to more than 10% above the level of the same month in the previous year.
According to officials, the agreement should ensure that French livestock producers receive more for their poultry and other animals. It has been signed by representatives of 10 farmers’ groups, associations representing French processors and retailers and two independent national store chains.
In France, price negotiations between retailers and their suppliers generally occur only once a year, during February and March. The most recent round of negotiations was especially tough for the livestock sector. While the suppliers of some food products succeeded in winning price gains of up to 20%, especially if they use commodities such as coffee or cocoa, meat producers were much less successful. On the poultry side, for example, the annual increase obtained was no more than 3.5%.

The application of the new voluntary agreement is due to start in July, coinciding with the next contracts between grain producers, feed manufacturers and farmers. Its terms also require the signatories to take part in a revision of negotiating procedures, which will begin with poultry meat, beef and sheep meat as their food chains are thought to be simpler than the pork chain.

South Africa poultry prices to rise in spite of grain surplus

Poultry prices in South Africa are likely to rise 15% by the end of 2011 on increased input costs, in spite of a current grain surplus, according to Kevin Lovell, chief executive of the Southern African Poultry Association.

The country currently has a 2-million-ton surplus of grain, but white and yellow maize futures, which Lovell said follow the U.S. pricing structure, have been rising. SA Futures Exchange white maize prices for July increased to ZAR 1,675 (US$246.99) a ton in May 2011, from ZAR 1,140 (US$168.10) in May 2010 — a 32% increase. The July contract for yellow maize rose by 31% to ZAR 1,720 (US$253.62) a ton from ZAR 1,190 (US$175.47) in May 2010.

According to experts, the surplus will still allow South Africa prices to remain lower than those of other countries who must rely on grain imports for their poultry feed.

Danish researchers, Cobb look to enhance poultry immune systems

A protein found in a Danish strain of egg layers may be responsible for a significant boost in poultry immune systems, according to a project at Danish research institute Aarhus University funded in part by Cobb.
The €2.3 million project, contributed to by both the Danish government (€1.55 million) and Cobb (€350,000), focuses on the genes of Hellevad chickens, which have the protein mannose-binding lectin at two to three times higher levels than other breeds. The MBL protein has developed a reputation as a pathogen detector — binding to mannose and other sugars on the pathogen surface and triggering the immune system to destroy viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites. Researchers hope to identify the gene or combination of genes responsible for MBL levels.
“We’re excited to be involved in this project as the continual improvement of the innate immune system in our commercial broilers is a key focus of our research program," said Dr. Mitch Abrahamsen, Cobb vice president of research and development. Cobb is currently working to determine the MBL genotypes of its pure line breeding stock and validate the role of the protein in enhancing immunity against diseases such as salmonella and E coli

Ukraine poultry, grain producer net income down 45%

Ukraine poultry and grain producer MHP S.A.'s net income was down 45% for the first quarter of 2011, reaching $20 million as opposed to 2010's $36 million. The decrease, according to the company, can be accounted for in the net effect of non-cash foreign exchange losses/gains of $18 million.
The company's poultry segment saw 18% revenue growth for the first quarter of 2011, to $209 million (compared to 2010's $177 million), due largely to a 4% average chicken meat sales price increase. Sales volumes of chicken meat increased 2%, to 84,300 metric tons, compared to 83,000 metric tons in the first quarter of 2010.
Poultry production costs in the first quarter of 2011 rose slightly compared to 2010 due to the increase in grain and utility prices, which was partially compensated by the reduced cost of hatching eggs. Since the second half of 2010, MHP has been self-sufficient in hatching eggs; in the first quarter of 2010 approximately 25% of hatching eggs had to be imported at extra expense.
MHP's grain growing operations grew from $2 million in the first quarter of 2010 to $6 million in 2011, revenue generated by the sale of grain stocks, mainly wheat. In 2011, the company expects to harvest 60% more land (100,000 more hectares) compared to 2010.

Agriculture organizations call for Conservation Reserve Program amendments

Tight supplies of grains and oilseeds make it imperative that farmers be allowed to remove land from the Conservation Reserve Program that can be cropped in an environmentally sustainable way, according to seventy-two national and state agribusiness, meat, livestock and poultry organizations.
In a letter to Congress, the organizations said that providing flexibility to CRP rules is essential if the U.S. is to keep up with the global market. Currently, under the CRP, landowners enter into binding contracts with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to idle land for 10 to 15 years. Penalties — including forfeiting all rental and cost-share payments received for the entire life of the CRP contract, plus interest and liquidated damages — currently apply to CRP contract holders who wish to end their contracts prior to expiration. The CRP currently represents, in acreage terms, America’s fourth largest crop, comprising approximately 31 million acres (roughly 15% of available U.S. farmland).
Other factors supporting the need for additional U.S. planted acreage included:
  • The current low stocks situation will require record corn crops on a consistent basis in 2011 and beyond.  
  • Expansion could help offset yield variability resulting from weather anomalies, particularly given tightening stocks-to-use ratios.  
  • World demand for all grains and oilseeds has increased 30% over the last decade, by 90 million metric tons, and shows no sign of abating. 
  • Several hundred million bushels of corn could potentially be produced in an environmentally sustainable way on land currently enrolled in the CRP.  
  • The use of grain for biofuels has negated the rationale used previously that land-idling programs, like the CRP, were needed as a way to control stocks. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More farmers using technology for efficient planting

Farmers are increasingly using global positioning, computers and other electronics to help them make the most of seed, fertilizer and other critical inputs during planting season, according to reports.
“Precision [agriculture] technology helps growers get more acres planted within their window of opportunity,” said George Huber of Trimble Navigation. “Precision ag will allow them to plant 24 hours a day if they choose.”
Other reasons for adapting the technology include environmental stewardship, the desire for traceability and lower production costs. “The current economic times demand lowering the risks of growing a crop, and this is an excellent time to invest in the tools of precision agriculture,” said Huber. Larger operations, he said, will benefit from the increased efficiency of using computer technology to spread effective management over more acres.

animal feed, pet food contributing to deforestation

More than 10% of all palm kernel meal, a byproduct of palm oil, produced in the world is fed to British animals as feed or petfood, a statistic that may be contributing to deforestation, according to experts.
The plantations on which most of the world’s oil palm is grown have resulted in an 85% loss of biodiversity, according to a study done for the Department of Food and Rural Affairs. But while many British importers are focusing more on sustainable palm oil, the same cannot be said for sustainable palm kernel meal. "It's not just a by-product," said Defra official Sara Eppel, especially in Britain where "we import five times as much kernel from Indonesia as palm oil." In addition, said Eppel, "government buying standards don't currently cover palm oil sustainability.”
According to the report, the focus on sustainability is increasing, but is not yet as widespread as it needs to be to properly protect the rainforests being affected.

Monday, May 16, 2011

EU agriculture producers oppose Mercosur trade agreement

Mercosur trade agreement could have a detrimental effect on the agriculture in the European Union, according to EU producers.
The Committee of Agricultural Organizations and Cooperatives in Europe, Copa-Cogeca, and industry representatives presented data on the effect of a potential alliance with the Latin American bloc. Gerd Sonnleitner, president of Copa-Cogeca, said losses for the European agricultural sector would amount to €13 billion (US$18.7 billion), which would impact employment in rural areas of the EU. In addition, since the Latin American bloc is already exporting over its quota, there is no need for additional concessions to increase trade. "If an agreement is reached, the EU would be dependent on an external source to satisfy their food security and therefore would be exposed to weather conditions or political decisions of these countries," said Sonnleitner.
Mercosur currently provides 86% of cattle imports, 70% of poultry meat purchases and 50% of the European demand for vegetable protein.

Chicken feathers may replace petroleum in some plastic products

Researchers have found ways to substitute keratin — specifically, chicken feathers — for petroleum in some plastic products, potentially opening a new market for poultry producers looking to offload their leftovers.
The poultry industry must deal with roughly 3 billion pounds of leftover chicken feathers each year, according to reports. Eastern BioPlastics has developed a process for removing keratin resin from the feathers that can then be used in the production of such items as flower pots. Right now, said company President Sonny Meyerhoeffer, the process is still in the refining stage. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the American Nursery & Landscape Association are also working on ways to expand the potential of using feathers in place of petroleum.
Further studies are being done on the most cost-effective ways to implement the idea, according to researchers.

Nicaragua poultry industry rejects reducing import tariffs

Nicaragua's poultry sector has rejected the idea of reducing poultry prices through the elimination of import tariffs, an idea suggested by the U.S. government in late April, according to Nicaragua Minister of Commerce Orlando Solórzano.
Alfonso Valerio, president of the Association of Small and Medium Poultry Producers of Nicaragua, said it is necessary to find a way to increase poultry in the international market without affecting Nicaraguan producers. He has requested a negotiation between the government and the poultry industry leaders to find a way to avoid the importation of poultry products. "The massive importation of chicken is not going to solve the problem, because production costs are increased for the poultry industry," said Valerio, referring to the rising international prices of raw materials for animal feed.
Nicaragua's poultry industry contributes 3% to the country’s GDP.

Global pig industry unites to reduce carbon footprint

Pig industry organizations from around the world are in talks about starting a coordinated international campaign to keep the environmental impact of pork production as low as possible.
Industry leaders met recently in Washington, D.C., and will convene again at the World Pork Conference, announced by the International Meat Secretariat, which takes place Oct. 6 and 7 in Bonn, Germany.
IMS Pork Committee Deputy Chairman Mick Sloyan, from the British Pig Executive, told Pig International that the Washington meeting revealed that they have developed so-called roadmaps on how to reduce the carbon footprint of pig meat. The pig organizations are currently coordinating messages on careful environmental stewardship and are looking at proposals to start a routine exchange of technical information obtained from research from individual countries.
Watch Pig International Editor Roger Abbott and Sloyan discuss monitoring the global impact of pig production.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

UK pork imports increased 1% in 2010

The UK imported a total of 362,800 tons of fresh and frozen pork in 2010, 1% higher than in 2009, according to a report from the British Pig Executive.
Denmark supplied 27% of the UK’s pork, with the Netherlands providing 18%. Belgium, Germany and Ireland all supplied 13% and Poland provided just 730 tons, considerably lower than the 1,480 tons it exported to the UK in 2009 and 4,583 tons in 2008.

Broilers with efficient immune response more resistant to poultry parasite

Broiler breeders with an efficient innate immune response are more resistant to the protozoan parasite Eimeria tenella, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture study.
The study, an expansion of a previous study focusing on poultry resistance to salmonella, enterococcus and campylobacter, took two parental broiler lines (A and B) and tested them in three separate experiments. As in the other tests, parental line A, with a more efficient immune response, were more resistant to the parasite. In addition, the birds had higher weight gain compared with line B chickens, reducing potential revenue loss associated with low carcass weights usually found in conjunction with Eimeria tenella.
The results from this study showed that, in addition to having enhanced resistance against bacterial infections, line A chickens were more resistant to coccidial infections compared with line B birds. Taken together with the earlier studies, an efficient innate immune response protects against a broad range of foodborne and poultry pathogens.

Pig breeder announces new franchise for Netherlands market

Pig breeding stock supplier PIC, part of Genus plc, has signed a franchise agreement with Elite Groep bv to deliver the company’s genetic improvement to the Dutch market.
The new company, PIC NL, will operate as PIC’s sole franchisee in the Netherlands, taking over all current business. Elite Groep will operate the franchise separately from its sister company, the production and trading business Elite Varkens bv, and PIC will continue to provide marketing and technical support to the business in the Netherlands, ensuring access to its genetics and international know-how.
“The creation of this new company offers an exciting way forward for our continued growth in the Netherlands market," said Ian Bond of PIC Europe. "It allows us to focus attention on our core business of creating and delivering genetic improvement and economic benefits to all customers.”
Paul van Der Meijden, general manager of PIC NL, called the franchise an important new venture for Elite Groep. “We see that the aims of our two companies are very much in line," said van Der Meijden. "In the current climate the total economy message has never been more important for Dutch farmers, and we believe this fits very well with PIC’s long history of developing genetics that are aimed at maximizing customer profitability.”

US broiler eggs, chicks up in April

Commercial hatcheries in the 19-State weekly program set 208 million eggs in incubators during the week ending April 30, 2011, slightly up from the same time in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Georgia set the most eggs, at 33.3 million, down slightly from the previous week's 33.8 million, while Alabama came in second with 29.6 million eggs set. Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 84%.
Broiler growers in the program placed 173 million chicks for meat production during the same week, also up slightly from 2010. Georgia placed the most chicks for the week, at 28.6 million, while Arkansas came in second at 22 million. Cumulative placements from Jan. 2, 2011 through April 30, 2011, were 2.89 billion, up 1% from the same period in 2010.

USPOULTRY donates $25,000 to egg, hen research facility

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is donating $25,000 to the Michigan State University’s new egg-laying hen research facility.
The new MSU facility will provide housing and rooms to conduct research on hens in conventional cages, cage-free aviary and enriched colony stages. The facility will allow researchers to measure performances and behavioral traits of hens using nests and perches at a variety of floor spacings per hen.
In addition to this donation, USPOULTRY’s research program has funded a $72,600 project, entitled, “Enriched Colony Cages: Stocking Density on Laying Hen Well-Being,” that will be conducted at MSU in the new facilities.

Global animal feed additives market to hit $18.7 billion in 2016

The global animal feed additives market will reach $18.7 billion in 2016, according to estimates in the latest MarketsandMarkets report.
According to "Global Animal Feed Additives by Type, Livestock, Geography, Regulations Trends & Forecasts (2009-2016)," the Asian market, a driving sales force, will hold 28.5% of the global market share in 2016. Increasing demand for meat products in the region and rising domestic meat production are both expected to contribute to the area's growth. Europe is currently the leading market for feed additives, with a 35% share in 2011 resulting from regulatory concerns and increasing per-capita meat consumption. North America is the second largest market as of 2011, with a share of 28%; the U.S. is the largest market with a share of more than 80%, according to the report.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Brazil pig meat exports fall

Brazil's pig meat exports for the first four months of 2011 fell 4.3% by volume, but sales were 7.16% higher by value. Between January and April, the country exported a little over 169,000 tons with a value of US$456.49 million.
During April, exports were 0.6% lower compared with April 2010, totaling just under 60,000 tons with a value of US$145.41 million, an increase of 9.99%. “The numbers for April are no surprise," said Pedro de Camargo Neto, executive president of the Brazilian Pork Industry and Exporter Association. "Volumes continue to be relatively stable when compared to last year. Fortunately, unit prices have continued to rise, compensating for exchange rate difficulties. Brazil is losing, however, the opportunity to grow sales.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

South Africa yellow corn exports reach 14-year high

South African yellow-corn exports hit a 14-year high for the 2010-2011 season, reaching 1.02 million metric tons compared to 2009-2010's 261,608 metric tons, according to data from the South African Grain Information Service.
The corn season produced a bumper crop and a total of 12.82 million metric tons of white and yellow corn, the most since 1982, according to statistics. Korea was the largest importer of South African yellow corn, at 610,721 metric tons, while Japan was the second-largest importer with 97,880 metric tons. The crop was also exported to Kuwait, Portugal, Spain and Taiwan. Exports of white corn dropped 25% to 1.05 million metric tons, but combined exports of both yellow and white corn were up 24% to 2.07 million metric tons.

Korea US broiler imports up 22% due to avian influenza, domestic demand

Korea's U.S. broiler imports may rise 22% to 110,000 tons in 2011, due to the combination of a highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak and increased domestic demand, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service report.
The country's overall chicken imports for January through March rose 38% from the same period in 2010, most of which were U.S. chicken sales — 20,000 tons; a 118% increase.
As of April 25, 2011, a total of 6.4 million birds had been culled in Korea due to the HPAI outbreak; just under 1 million (935,373) of those were broilers. In spite of that, broiler consumption has risen, due to a shortage of local pork, high red meat prices and fears about radiation-contaminated seafood from Japan, according to the FAS.

North Carolina increases funds to defend poultry processing lawsuit

Officials in Nash County, N.C., have increased funds to defend poultry processor Sanderson Farms from a lawsuit that would prevent the company from establishing a chicken processing plant in the area.
The facility, which would include 500 broiler houses, 24 pullet houses and 48 hen houses, has the support of Nash County because it would bring 1,100 jobs into the area, which currently suffers from a high unemployment rate. The plant is under fire from residents of Raleigh and other communities because of wastewater from the facility that might flow into the Neuse River; the river supplies the area's drinking water.

United Egg Producers updates voluntary egg safety program

United Egg Producers has outlined proposed changes to its 5-Star Assurance Program that will “help ensure the safety of the nation’s egg supply and provide consumers with an assurance that the egg industry is doing everything possible to produce a safe product,” according to Krista Eberle, UEP Director of Food Safety Programs.
The updated program, renamed the UEP 5-Star Egg Safety Program, mirrors many of the aspects of the Food and Drug Administration's Egg Safety Rule introduced in July 2010, particularly with respect to biosecurity, integrated pest management, cleaning and disinfection, environmental and egg testing for Salmonella enteritidis and refrigeration. One significant addition to the FDA program involves the required administration of both live and inactivated vaccines. 
Participation in the UEP 5-Star program is voluntary and auditing will be carried out by Validus Services. It is anticipated that the final draft of the program will be presented to the Food Safety Committee and the Board of the UEP in May, with implementation of audits in August.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

US Supreme Court upholds $14.5 million payout for Oklahoma poultry farmers

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear an appeal by Arkansas-based O.K. Foods Inc., leaving in place an order that the company must pay $14.5 million to 300 Oklahoma poultry farmers, according to reports.
The poultry farmers, who had contracts to supply O.K. Foods with chickens, claimed that the contracts were anti-competitive and filed a lawsuit in 2002. According to the farmers, O.K. Foods used its power as the only poultry buyer in the area to manipulate lower chicken prices. O.K. Foods' defense said that the farmers failed to prove their claims.
In 2008, a federal jury in the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled in favor of the farmers and awarded them $21.1 million. The amount was then lowered to $14.5 million by the judge on the case.
A three-judge panel in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Co., upheld the award in October 2010. The next step will be to consider a formula for distributing the judgment to the growers and to consider the amount of attorney fees.

Pig short course highlights issues facing the global pork industry

The American Meat Science Association is partnering with the National Pork Board and the U.S. Meat Export Federation to offer PORK 505, a short course focusing on quality standards, culinary techniques, international marketing and other issues facing the global pork industry.
The day-and-a-half program will take place ahead of the World Pork Expo on June 6 and 7 at the University of Nebraska.
Key PORK 505 topics include:
  • Hands-on international carcass fabrication methods
  • Pork palatability and quality standards
  • Hands-on culinary demonstration and preparation of international recipes using fabricated cuts
  • Niche/specialty products that appeal to the worldwide marketplace
  • Currently exported offal products and their importance in the worldwide marketplace
  • Hot topics in the international pork industry
AMSA is offering discounted registration fees to companies or organizations sending more than one person to any AMSA short course. After the first person pays the full registration fee, the second person receives a 10% discount. All additional registrants will receive a 25% discount. Attendees must attend the class at the same location to qualify for the discount. For a complete course outline and to register, visit: http://www.meatscience.org/Page.aspx?ID=7321.

US agricultural council studies pig, poultry air quality issues

A Council for Agricultural Science and Technology study on North American air quality has been released, focusing on the topic as it relates to the areas of swine, poultry, dairy and beef farming.
The goal of "Air Issues Associated with Animal Agriculture: A North American Perspective," according to researchers, is to use science-based information to help all stakeholders involved in animal production protect the environment and public health in a proactive manner and avoid costly litigation to solve nuisance suits or enforce regulations. Historically, environmental concerns and regulations of animal agriculture focused on water quality. In the past 15 to 20 years, however, air quality issues associated with the livestock and poultry industries have become a growing concern for the public, leading to increased attention on enforcing air quality regulations for animal agriculture and new multimedia regulatory efforts.
A few of the study's specific findings, composed from data for odor, hazardous gases, greenhouse gases and pollutant concentrations in animal buildings, include:
  • Diet composition has a significant impact on emissions.
  • Mitigation methods, such as covering the manure storage surface, can greatly decrease odor emissions.
  • Aeration of the storage basin or employing anaerobic digestion of the manure will also reduce the odor, but with higher costs.
Swine production systems generate a large variety of significant air emissions, according to the report. Ammonia, H2S, odor, volatile organic compounds, particulate matter, bioaerosols and greenhouse gases are all emitted in quantities of concern from pork production systems. This has created challenges for pork producers, because a more comprehensive approach (versus targeting one or two contaminants) is necessary to control or manage several of these air emission parameters simultaneously. But the pork industry has been quite progressive in dealing with air quality problems, funding emissions research projects and promoting practices and technologies that manage and mitigate air emissions from their production systems.
Poultry producers, on the other hand, have been concerned primarily with one airborne contaminant — ammonia — secondarily, with particulate matter and, potentially, bioaerosols. This is especially the case for layer operations, according to the report. Meat bird (broiler and turkey) producers have some concern with particulate matter levels in barns and particulate matter emissions because of the litter pack manure-handling systems. Ammonia emissions have been determined for the major housing systems used in the poultry industry, with some housing systems and/or management practices producing substantial NH3 emission decrease.

Monday, May 9, 2011

China pork prices rising over tainted meat, animal feed costs, supply shortages

Pork prices are likely to add challenges for the Chinese government to control increases in the consumer price index in 2011.
China's pork prices are rising due to pig producers' concerns over tainted meat, rising costs and supply shortages, according to reports.
Pork prices have risen to an average 15 Chinese yuan (US$2.31) per kilogram, up from nine yuan (US$1.39) in 2010. Recent troubles involving pigs being fed with banned lean-meat-producing drugs have worsened the country's existing supply shortage and pushed prices higher, said experts. China's supply of sows was at 47.3 million at the beginning of the year, 10% short of market demands, according to a report by Qilu Securities.
Rising animal feed and labor costs are also playing a significant part in keeping pork prices at higher levels during the second quarter of 2011. Corn and feed prices have gone up 15.56% and 9.68% higher, respectively, compared to their 2010 numbers.
Pork prices are likely to add challenges for the Chinese government to control increases in the consumer price index in 2011, said Yi Xiaoguang, president of the Comprehensive Economic Research Institute. When conditions are right, dropping pork prices lead to decreasing numbers of piglets, which leads to significantly rising pork prices for producers and consumers.

Perdue cleared to acquire organic poultry processor

Perdue Farms Inc.'s parent company, FPP Family Investments, has been cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division to purchase organic and natural poultry processor Coleman Natural Foods.
According to the Department of Justice, which interviewed customers, chicken processors and more than 100 chicken growers, "after a thorough review of the evidence...the facts do not support challenging the proposed transaction." The Antitrust Division said that it does not believe the proposed buyout will cause the poultry industry any harm.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ceva Kansas poultry vaccine facility to increase production

Veterinary health company Ceva Animal Health is expanding its product availability with the opening of an $18 million poultry vaccine production facility in Lenexa, Kan.
"Today, what we output is almost entirely for the domestic market," said Dr. Arnaud Bourgeois, vice president and global director of biology at Ceva. "The new facility will double our domestic output while also allowing for expansion globally." The 55,000-square-foot facility will have state-of-the-art operations and the capability to produce both standard and vector vaccines. It is expected to employ 80 production, research and development staff by 2015.
The facility's grand opening, which drew over 350 people, including customers, employees and other key officials, was held on May 3. The event featured opening remarks from Lenexa Mayor Michael Boehm and Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman, a tour of the new building and a mini scientific symposium for customers.

South Africa considering opening animal feed dioxin test center

Recent incidents involving the accidental contamination of animal feeds with dioxins have led to countries like South Africa wanting to begin their own testing of feed products for dioxins.
At the Victam International feed industries show in Cologne, Germany, the focus was on further product testing to certify feeds as safe. Currently, South African feed manufacturers must send samples abroad for testing, due to an absence of certified facilities to conduct the tests in their own country. Talks are due to begin shortly between the private sector and the government to explore possibilities for opening a South African test center. Several options have been proposed, including an extension of the operations performed by the South African Bureau of Standards laboratory and the South African Grain Laboratory, which already runs checks for things like mycotoxins.
Information from a national dioxins lab would go into a new database to be maintained by the country's Animal Feed Manufacturers Association, which already has databases on test results for contaminants, including mycotoxins and salmonella, to act as an early warning alert if problems arise.

Tyson Foods donates 270,000 pounds of poultry, other food to US disaster relief

Tyson Foods Inc. has donated more than 270,000 pounds of poultry, meat and tortillas this week as part of disaster relief efforts in several U.S. states affected by storms.
The company has six cooking teams stationed in northern Alabama to help feed disaster relief workers, as well as employees, contract poultry growers and local residents who have been affected by the storms. In addition to delivering four truckloads of food, the company brought in ice and 27,000 bottles of water.
In central North Carolina, Tyson donated a truckload of chicken and a truckload of tortillas to the American Red Cross, The Salvation Army and the Christian United Outreach Center to help with relief efforts. In Arkansas, the company shipped a truckload of food to the Arkansas Food Bank Network of Little Rock to help in the aftermath of tornadoes that hit the central region of the state, and employees of Tyson Fresh Meats in Dakota Dunes, S.D., and in Storm Lake, Iowa, collected and donated more than $2,000 to help with disaster relief.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Dutch companies propose international animal feed development center

Plans to create an international facility for the development of new animal feed products have been unveiled at the Victam International feed industries show in Cologne, Germany. 
With a starting budget estimated at between €3-4 million (US$4.5-5.9 million), the facility would represent an investment by a collection of industry suppliers and feed manufacturers in order to provide an independent center where ingredients and formulations could be tested under controlled conditions using the latest technology.
Four companies from the Netherlands are behind these plans — equipment company Dinnissen Process Technology, feed products supplier Vitelia, ingredients specialist DSM and software house Imtech. They hope to be joined by one or two manufacturers of complete feeds or premixes to complete the team of founders, but emphasize that the proposed center will not be allied to any one company. It will be open to any developer to use on a confidential basis and will contain system components from a range of suppliers. The partners also envision that it will have an international training role in introducing young people from various countries to the different parts of the feed manufacturing process.
This process will be fully represented from the grinding stage right through to final steps such as extrusion, according to the plans. Tests can involve any or all stages, in production runs from 200 kilograms to 2,000 kilograms per hour.
Design details have been finalized, said Henri Michiels, director of Dinnissen, and the center's location has been chosen. The group hopes to have financing settled during the second half of 2011 with construction beginning soon after.

2011 Victam Innovation Awards announced for animal feed industry

Representatives from Amandus Kahl, Buhler and European Machine Trading with their 2011 Victam Innovation Awards.
Animal feed factory and machine manufacturer Amandus Kahl's crown expander was the gold award winner at the 2011 Victam Innovation Awards in Cologne, Germany. There were 22 entries for this year’s innovation awards, with Swiss manufacturer Buhler and European Machine Trading winning the silver and bronze awards.
The crown expander enables easy processing and pelleting of feed mixtures that are usually difficult to pellet. It also increases the flexibility of the expander process.
The DPEF pellet mill from Buhler received the silver award. The pellet press is the first with a direct-drive concept and an antiblocking system for the rolls. The press has a motor that reduces energy consumption by 15% and eliminates the need for V-belt changes.
European Machine Trading won the bronze award for its portable big bag filling unit. The unit consists of a big bag filling machine in three containers with a capacity of 60 tons per hour. The machine comes to the product that needs to be bagged, rather than the product being brought to the machines, resulting in transport cost savings and minimized damage to the product.

For videos from Victam International 2011:
Victam International 2011 shows growing investment in animal feed industry
Feed federation represents 85 percent feed production globally

Pathogen study offers new data for poultry producers, food safety officials

A new University of Florida Emerging Pathogens Institute study offers food safety officials a systematic way to idenitfy both the pathogens and pathogen-food combinations that can lead to a high burden of disease, according to researchers.
"Ranking the Risks: The 10 Pathogen-Food Combinations with the Greatest Burden on Public Health," the first report to focus on the comprehensive ranking of such data for the U.S., should allow food safety regulators to target public dollars toward the biggest food safety problems and find solutions to protect consumers. According to University researchers, consumers can also use the report, not as a top 10 list of foods to avoid, but as a reminder that many of the foods we eat every day can become contaminated.
Overall, according to the study, five pathogens are responsible for more than 90% of the total $14 billion a year the U.S. spends on human disease: salmonella, campylobacter, Listeria monocytogenes, Toxoplasma gondii and norovirus. Salmonella is the leading disease-causing bug overall, contaminating produce and multi-ingredient foods in addition to poultry and eggs, costing the U.S. more than $3 billion annually and taking up four spots on the report's top 10 list. 
According to the study, poultry contaminated with campylobacter bacteria is the riskiest pathogen-food combination in the U.S., sickening more than 600,000 Americans at a cost of $1.3 billion per year. Salmonella in poultry as the fourth-riskiest combination (costing the U.S. $700 million per year), while salmonella in eggs took the number 10 spot on the list (costing $400 million annually). Poultry causes more foodborne disease than any other type of food, according to the analysis, costing the U.S. $2.4 billion per year.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Butterball donates 160 pounds of turkey to healthy living event

Butterball LLC donated more than 160 pounds of turkey pot roast to the Salud Family Health Centers for a Dia de los Niños celebration aimed at raising awareness about the importance of healthy living.
“Butterball is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with groups like Salud Family Health Centers, who are committed to building a healthier community,” said Tony Seta, Butterball's celebrity chef for the event. “It’s important that consumers have access to nutritious, wholesome meal options that are also affordable. Turkey is a great option because it is a relatively affordable form of protein." Seta used the turkey meat to prepare a turkey taco recipe for the approximately 400 guests who attended the celebration on April 29.
Dia de los Niños also provided nutritional education and demonstrations, with more than 30 booths from local Longmont, Colo., groups. “There are many youth within our community that do not receive immunizations, dental checks or health screenings that are essential preventive measures for a healthy lifestyle,” said Kirk Bjella, AmeriCorps member of Salud Family Health Centers. “We fill the gap by providing these services at affordable rates. Further, we work to educate the community on available resources, thus increasing the community's ability to deal with health issues that arise.”