Friday, July 29, 2011

China releases stored pig meat to cut prices

China has announced plans to release supplies of stored pork on to the market to help cut prices, according to the latest issue of the British Pig Executive’s Export Bulletin.
The country also said it was planning to build up its reserves of the meat, as the price of pork has jumped by 57.1%, pushing the rate of inflation to a three-year high. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has said that there were 200,000 metric tons of pork in reserves which would be released into the market. Analysts have said that the current reserves of pork are equal to one or two days’ worth of China's total pork consumption.

UK to monitor pig movements with electronic recording

Electronic recording of pig movements will become law in the UK in October 2011, with the existing Pigs, Records, Identification and Movements Order 2007 amended by the government to reflect the need for pre-notification of movements.
The new system is expected to provide the industry with a realistic herd register containing accurate and timely information to enable better communication and control in the event of disease outbreak. In addition, when pigs are sent to slaughter, the system will combine the movement licence and Food Chain Information form in one and save producers time.  
There will be a transitional period of six months for the phasing out of the paper-based AML2 forms from October 1 to give producers and businesses the opportunity to adjust to the change in process. “From April 2012 the AML2 paper forms will cease to be a valid method of reporting movements," said Dorothea Schiemann of the British Pig Executive. "Pig movements will either have to be reported using the free eAML2 online service or the free eAML2 bureau service. There will also be third-party agents, such as marketing groups or the British Pig Association."

Record Texas drought raising livestock feed cost

A record drought in Texas is affecting an already small hay crop, causing prices of varieties like alfalfa to jump 51% (to $186 per short ton) in the last year, according to government data. This, in turn, is causing livestock feed prices to rise for dairy farmers and beef producers from California to Maryland.
Drought problems are compounding a hay shortage caused by farmers using land for more profitable crops like corn, say farmers. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, retail meat prices may increase in response to the rise in feed costs by as much as 7% by the end of 2011, while dairy products jump 6% — more than the food inflation rate of 3% to 4%.

EU soymeal imports rise as rapemeal supplies drop

European Union imports of soymeal are expected to rise 10% to 24.4 million metric tons by the end of the marketing year (September 30) as grain prices continue to rise and rapemeal supplies decline, reaching second-highest levels ever, according to reports.
Argentina’s soymeal exports to the EU will rise 13% to 13.3 million metric tons and Brazilian shipments are expected to rise 17% to 10.3 million metric tons. India will ship 300,000 metric tons, up from 39,000 tons in 2010, according to reports.

WATT to display rare poultry breed portraits at Rockford Art Museum

Jersey White Giants by L. Stahmer (1931)
Experience a piece of agricultural history during a select showing of pieces from the WATT collection of poultry breed paintings (1926-1950), the largest single collection of rare poultry breed portraits worldwide. Hatching History: A WATT collection of rare poultry breed portraits will be on display at the Rockford Art Museum’s Art Annex from August 19 through November 20.
The complete collection is comprised of 57 framed oil paintings created by three American artists, A.O. Schilling, L. Stahmer and F.L. Sewell, and was commissioned by J.W. Watt, founder of Watt Publishing Company in the mid-1920s. Approximately 15 of these paintings will be on display at Rockford Art Museum.
With its corporate headquarters based in Rockford, Ill., WATT invites the community to appreciate the beauty of the artists’ interpretations of rare poultry breeds and learn about the company’s rich history and its contributions to the poultry industry over the past 94 years.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Brazil egg association calls for eggs in school meals

Eggs should be included in Brazil's school lunches in order to support the industry and improve the nutritional quality of school meals, according to Brazil’s poultry producers and exporters association, UBABEF.
“Poor nutrition is a factor that slows down learning and makes it more difficult, contributing to high levels absenteeism and repeated years," said UBABEF President Francisco Turra. "The poorly fed pupil is, in general, inattentive, apathetic and subject to illness.” Even in the most developed regions of the country, the inclusion of eggs, one of the most complete foods available, in school meals would meet the nutritional needs that maintain students’ glycemic levels that helps with learning, said Turra.

Japan corn imports drop on tainted meat concerns

Japan's corn imports may drop 5% to 15.4 million metric tons overall in 2011 as a result of concerns about radiation-tainted meat, which have curbed livestock production, according to reports.
Beef imports rose 11% after it was discovered that stores sold meat from cattle fed with hay contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Japan’s corn purchases in the first five months of 2011 fell 4.5% to 6.47 million metric tons, according to government data. Cargoes of feed corn fell 8.2% to 4.05 million metric tons.

Poultry industry responds to Pew environmental report

The U.S. poultry industry is committed to the responsible production of food that is safe, affordable and abundant, and is more diligent and innovative than ever in pursuing environmental improvements, according to the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the National Chicken Council in response to Pew's latest report, "Big Chicken: Pollution and Industrial Poultry Production in America."
The report focuses on the U.S. broiler industry's development over the last 50 to 60 years and its impact on the environment. “In just over 50 years, the broiler industry has been transformed from more than 1 million small farms spread across the country to a limited number of factory-style operations concentrated in 15 states,” said Karen Steuer with Pew. “This growth has harmed the environment, particularly water, because management programs for chicken waste have not kept pace with output.”
According to the poultry industry, the report fails to take into account the efforts of broiler companies to do their part to be good environmental stewards. "The 30,000 family farms and companies in the poultry community are involved in many different aspects of sustainability including animal welfare, recycling and waste reduction, worker safety and community concerns," said USPOULTRY and the NCC. "The Pew report fails to capture the true picture of the contributions we're committed to making today and in the future."

Turkey federation opposes federal animal welfare standards

The executive committee of the National Turkey Federation has adopted a resolution to oppose any legislation that would allow the federal government to enforce on-farm animal welfare standards.   
The decision, made at the federation's Leadership Conference in Washington D.C., was in response to the recently announced agreement by the Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers in which both groups pledged to lobby Congress to adopt legislation covering housing and some husbandry practices for laying hens.
The resolution to oppose any federal legislation allowing on-farm enforcement of animal welfare standards was also approved by the NTF's legislative and turkey health and welfare committees. During discussion of this resolution, NTF executive committee members and NTF staff stated that NTF would not typically take a position regarding specific standards the egg industry has chosen to impose on itself, but the HSUS-UEP agreement seeks federal legislation to enforce these standards. The NTF's position is that federal legislation for egg layer welfare would establish a precedent for the federal government to come onto the farm to impose animal welfare standards in other industries, as well.

Japan radiation-contaminated animal feed troubles spread

Nearly 1,500 cattle in nine Japanese prefectures are thought to have been fed straw contaminated with radioactive caesium as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi plant nuclear crisis, resulting in a spreading problem as the contaminated meat has been shipped throughout the country, according to reports.
Radioactive readings in the straw are at 43 times the government limit, according to local authorities. Shipments of Fukushima beef are now banned, and Tokyo has pledged to compensate farmers for losses as consumer confidence has dropped.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Mountaire Farms discontinues purchase of Allen Family Foods

Mountaire Farms has withdrawn its efforts to purchase the assets of bankrupt Delaware poultry company Allen Family Foods.
Mountaire originally expressed plans to purchase the company after Allen filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June. Mountaire would have acquired hatcheries, a feed mill, breeder operations, rendering operations and production assets.
On July 18, South Korea-based Harim Corp. indicated that it would bid for Allen as part of its own expansion efforts. Allen's official bankruptcy auction will be held on July 28 at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del.

India supports small-scale poultry farmers

Small-scale poultry farmers in the Indian state of Goa are receiving cash and equipment to supplement their abilities to raise birds and produce eggs under a new government plan.
A farmer rearing a minimum of 100 birds will be entitled to a cash subsidy of Rs 1,500 (US$33.83) and a cage unit worth Rs 12,000 (US$270.64). The cage will hold 100 birds and will include an egg catcher, manual feeders and waterers.
The goal, according to the government, is to enable farmers to gain supplementary income and a nutritive diet without acquiring additional labor. "In the last five years, Goa has witnessed a drastic reduction in the number of poultry farms and 90% of local small scale poultry farmers were compelled to close down," says the plan. "The government is, therefore, offering encouragement in the form of cash subsidy to boost and supplement agricultural income of the farmers."
The government hopes to help offset some of the costs small farmers might not otherwise be able to absorb. "In recent times, Goa's small-scale poultry farmers could not sustain the competition from poultry farmers of neighboring states that sell poultry products at lower rates," says the plan. "Goa's poultry farmers face high input costs of poultry feed and labor, which are major shares in production costs in comparison to neighboring states."

Ghana calls for poultry production investment

Heavy investment is needed in livestock and poultry production to enhance domestic competitiveness and decrease Ghana's deficit, according to Dr. Tia Alfred Sugri, the country's deputy minister of food and agriculture in charge of livestock.
Such investment would lower the deficit, which stands at 50%, as well as lower production costs and add value to Ghanaian animal products, according to Sugri. Right now, Ghana's needs are largely met via imports. "The live animals are moved into Ghana by road daily from our neighboring countries, namely Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, [and] live day-old chicks are brought in by air while the frozen beef, chicken and pork come in through the harbor,” said Sugri. While the poultry sector has a number of commercial farms in the urban areas, domestic production is largely restricted to small-scale farmers in the northern savannah and coastal plains.
Sugri has said that he would like to see larger domestic involvement and a stronger commitment to reducing dependence on imports.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Europe stance on GM animal feed questioned

Europe's current zero-tolerance policy on genetically modified grains in imports is being questioned by former EU Agriculture Commissioner Franz Fischler, who says that a better solution must be found in order to maintain adequate supplies.
“The import of feed is absolutely necessary," said Fischler in a UK National Farmers Union interview. "Europe cannot, certainly for the time being, produce all the feedstuffs necessary to feed pigs and poultry. It is necessary to clarify the rules and find a better solution for the GM varieties which are not authorized in Europe.”
Asked whether Europe’s farmers would need to cultivate GM crops in the future, Fischler said that the varieties that are currently available would not give European farmers major increases in yield. He said that the situation was slightly different with Bt maize, where there was a real pest and that use of pesticides could be reduced, but the “big new concept” to make a huge difference may only be available in the laboratories of international seed companies. It would be real progress, he said, to have drought tolerant varieties, but he does not see them for the time being.

US June egg production up from 2010

U.S. egg production for June 2011 included 6.44 billion table eggs.
U.S. egg production totaled 7.5 billion during June 2011, up slightly from June 2010 numbers, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Production included 6.44 billion table eggs and 1.07 billion hatching eggs, of which 999 million were broiler-type and 69 million were egg-type.
The total number of layers during June 2011 averaged 336 million, down 1% from 2010. June egg production per 100 layers was 2,230 eggs, up 1% from June 2010. All layers in the U.S. on July 1, 2011, totaled 336 million, down 1% from the same time in 2010. The 336 million layers consisted of 279 million layers producing table- or market-type eggs, 54.3 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs and 2.83 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on July 1, 2011, averaged 74.4 eggs per 100 layers, up 2% from July 1, 2010.
Egg-type chicks hatched during June 2011 totaled 39.3 million, down 7% from June 2010. Eggs in incubators totaled 34.0 million on July 1, 2011, down 10% from the same time in 2010. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 302,000 during June 2011, down 5% from June 2010.
Broiler-type chicks hatched during June 2011 totaled 768 million, down 2% from June 2010. Eggs in incubators totaled 622 million on July 1, 2011, down 5% from 2010 numbers. Leading breeders placed 7.07 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during June 2011, down 1% from June 2010.

Deepwater transit terminal would aid US grains export market

Louisiana State Senator A.G. Crowe, speaking to a meeting of agricultural journalists in New Orleans, proposed building the Louisiana International Gulf Transfer Terminal, a deepwater facility that would allow for new, large containerized cargo vessels, such as those exporting U.S. grains, to offload at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The multibillion dollar project would take advantage of the widening of the Panama Canal, due to be completed in 2014.
Citing the rapid increase in the use of containers in shipping, the senator feels the terminal would be especially helpful for those in the U.S. grain export market.
“We’re looking to install the European/Asian model,” the senator said. “This would enable us to transport any type of product or goods – including grains and soybeans – in containers through the central part of the United States, covering 33 states and about 14,000 miles along the Mississippi River and its tributaries."
The proposed LIGTT is different than the land-based model utilized by most U.S. ports, which distribute cargo shipments throughout the country by truck and by train. As a transfer terminal, the LIGTT would first offload cargo in containers from large ships and then transfer them to smaller ships for distribution upriver or ports around the globe.
As proposed, the LIGTT would be capable of handling any size container cargo ship coming through the Panama Canal because the natural water depth just off the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River is 70 feet.
The LIGTT would be built in phases and funded through investment by private industry. “We don’t want to jeopardize the flow of funds to our other ports,” Crowe said.
Senator Crowe’s presentation is available for viewing. A video summary of Senator Crowe’s comments is also available.

Chicago Exchange to raise corn price limits

CME Group Inc. has made plans to raise the daily price limits on Chicago Board of Trade corn contracts by 33%, to 40 cents per bushel from 30 cents per bushel.
CME Group has said the raise is necessary due to a surge in grain markets and increased volatility. The CBOT originally submitted a proposal for a 50-cent raise to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which must approve any suggested raise, in April.
Some commercial traders opposed the change, but according to experts, the proposal is expected to be approved by the CFTC.

Rains help late Kentucky corn crop

Roughly 80% of Kentucky's corn crop is in good or excellent condition in spite of a late planting season, due largely to timely rains and cooperative weather, according to farmers.
Torrential spring rains prevented crops from being planted on time and, in many cases, forced farmers to reduce their overall acreage when they did plant. Experts say that they are expecting at least an average corn crop, in spite of the early weather struggles. "We're going to make a decent corn crop," said Kenny Perry, the agricultural extension agent in Graves County in far western Kentucky. "I can't say we're going to make 140 bushels per acre right now. I would say we're going to have at least an average corn year, which would be around that mark."

Monday, July 25, 2011

South Africa corn-crop estimate may drop

South Africa may cut its corn-crop estimate by 1.4%, to 10.85 million metric tons, from the 11 million metric tons estimated in June.
A recent survey of 12 traders showed estimates ranging from 10.7 million metric tons to 11 million metric tons. An official updated estimate will be released by the South African Crop Estimates Committee on July 26.

Pilgrim's recalls chicken products for potential listeria contamination

Pilgrim's has voluntarily recalled two products from foodservice distributors due to potential contamination from Listeria monocytogenes.
The first product being recalled is 390 pounds of fully cooked grilled chicken breast fillets with rib meat distributed through a foodservice distribution center in Columbus, Ohio, in 30-pound cases. It carries the item code 4250, a code date of 1180 and a use-by date of Dec. 26, 2011. The recalled item was produced in the Pilgrim's plant in Waco, Texas.
The second product is approximately 10,850 pounds of Sweet Georgia brand fully cooked breaded white chicken nuggets shaped patties from foodservice distributors in Long Valley, N.J.; El Paso, Texas; and San Antonio, Texas; in 10-pound cases. The recalled product carries the item code 93804 and a code date of 1147. It was produced in the Pilgrim's plant in Mt. Pleasant, Texas.
The company is not aware of any illnesses or adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone who is concerned about an illness should consult a physician.

Russia drafts 2012 poultry import quotas

Russia's 2012 import plans include 250,000 metric tons of poultry and 80,000 metric tons of deboned poultry meat, according to the country's Economy Ministry's drafted proposal.
As for other meat, pork quotas are drafted at roughly 320,000 metric tons, while pork trimming products are at 30,000 metric tons. Frozen beef import quotas may be set at 530,000 metric tons, with fresh and chilled beef at 30,000 metric tons, according to the proposal.

USDA proposes raw poultry, meat additives labeling

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service has proposed a new rule to establish names for raw poultry and meat products that include injections, marinades or have otherwise incorporated added solutions which may not be visible to the consumer.
The FSIS has determined that some labels do not clearly identify if a solution has been added to a raw product to enhance flavor or texture. As a result, consumers may be purchasing raw meat and poultry products with higher sodium content than they realize.
Currently, raw meat and poultry products that contain added solutions such as water, teriyaki sauce, salt or a mixture thereof may have the same name on their labels as products that do not contain added solutions. The proposed rule would require that the common or usual name of these products include an accurate description of the raw meat or poultry component, the percentage of added solution and the individual or multi-ingredient components in the added solution. The print for such labels would be presented in a font, size and color that are easily visible to consumers.
The agency invites comments on the proposed rule, which is intended to clarify these products' labels so consumers can easily distinguish them from raw meat and poultry that do not contain added solutions.

EU pork entering Korea market as tariffs ease

EU pork imports are increasing in the Korean market as the country's retailers take advantage of the temporary reduction in pork tariffs implemented by the Korean government to alleviate a chronic shortage of pork bellies.
The recent implementation of the Korea-European Union free trade agreement has also provided incentive for the increased imports, according to reports. Korea's pork prices spiked after the country experienced a shortage due to an outbreak of hoof-and-mouth disease; cheaper imports have helped to offset those costs. The market share of pork bellies, which are very popular in Korea, have seen an 880% increase over last year, according to local retailers. Overall, said the Korea Meat Trade Association, 75,709 tons of pork belly was imported in the first half of 2011, a 32.5% rise from the same period in 2010.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Merck Animal Health expands Netherlands vaccine plant

Merck Animal Health (formerly Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health) is expanding its Netherlands vaccine manufacturing unit at its Biosciences Center Boxmeer campus, which will result in a doubling of the capacity of its Tissue Culture Department, one of the departments where antigens for viral and parasitological vaccines are manufactured for international markets.
The $18 million investment, which is scheduled to be complete by early 2013, has been designed to operate with optimal efficiency and takes into account the anticipated globally growing demand for veterinary vaccines. In addition, the increase of the manufacturing capacity that will be realized anticipates for large-scale emergency production of veterinary vaccines when extensive amounts are needed within a short time period such as during outbreaks of emerging diseases.
The Tissue Culture Department Boxmeer is an EU-GMP licensed facility and produces viral and parasitological antigens that are used as active components of veterinary vaccines. The department specializes in complex biotechnological production processes that require high flexibility, using roller bottles, cell factories and other suitable cell and virus culture and purification systems. In 2010, the department produced 12 different antigens, totaling almost 300 million vaccine doses for cattle, horses, dogs, cats, fish and swine.

Lighting manufacturer filing complaint against poultry program

LED lighting manufacturer Once Innovations Inc. is filing an abuse complaint in connection with a poultry lighting rebate program, claiming that the Arkansas Economic Development Commission Energy Office is managing the program using recovery funds in an "arbitrary and capricious manner" and steering rebate-eligible lamps toward specific, pre-selected manufacturers and lamp designs.
ONCE has expressed concern over what the company says are inappropriate and incomplete specifications for lamps qualifying for these rebates. “In addition to not requiring minimum power quality standards, the AEDC specifications were technically incompetent," said Michael J. Ostaffe, ONCE executive vice president. "They refused to add safety standards, even though urged to do so several times, an omission that could lead to the potential risk of fire, shock or other electrical hazards detrimental to birds, farmers and property. The specifications don’t require, or even reference, basic ANSI, NEMA or UL standards, as is the norm for commercial lighting projects. Not only that, this is an energy saving program, yet lights that are significantly less energy efficient than CFLs or incandescent bulbs could actually qualify for a 50% rebate based on the minimum requirements published by the AEDC.”
In January, ONCE expressed concerns over the program on procedural grounds.

US pork exports may exceed $5 billion in 2011

Exceptional export results have been achieved in South Korea, China and Japan.
U.S. pork exports may surpass the $5 billion mark by the end of 2011, breaking the 2008 record of $4.88 billion, according to Erin Daley Borror, U.S. Meat Export Federation economist.In the first five months of 2011, U.S. pork exports were up 16% in volume (to 916,763 metric tons) and 22% in value (to $2.35 billion) over 2010 numbers. This is due in large part to exceptional results in South Korea, China and Japan, said Borror. Exports to Korea have already exceeded the totals achieved in all of 2010, in part because of a major swine herd culling due to foot-and-mouth disease. China is also currently experiencing short hog supplies, which has had a significant impact on the market.
Exports to Japan are coming off a record-setting value year in 2010, yet exports are up 18% to more than $790 million. Pork exports to Mexico — the largest volume market for U.S. pork — slowed in April but rebounded strongly in May, according to Borror.

Kenya poultry sales drop, production costs rise

Kenya farmers are reducing orders for day-old chicks as poultry production costs rise, impacting hatcheries and overall poultry farming in the industry, according to reports.Kenya-based Kenchic Limited has seen its day-old chick sales decrease by 50%, according to a company spokesperson. Investors overall are cutting back, leading to a reduced supply of chicken and eggs in the Sh 5 billion (US$55.5 million) industry.
The price of maize went up in February, March and June, bring the production cost per chicken from Sh 180 (US$2.00) to Sh 250 (US$2.78). The Kenyan government is currently allowing the importation of cheaper maize to try to offset price increases and revitalize the industry.

New Zealand egg consumers focus on poultry housing

Research carried out in New Zealand has found that a third of the market says that the method of housing affects their egg purchasing choices. Another third says that it can have some effect but other considerations are more important, while a further third says that housing method does not affect their purchase at all. The research was carried out by independent qualitative research and marketing company Qzone, which also found that there is a positive reaction to enriched colony housing and it is seen as a “move in the right direction.” Acceptance and preference for the colony option was found across the egg-buying spectrum and some people who reject cage eggs do not reject enriched colony eggs.
Despite this support, however, price remains an issue. While many shoppers express some flexibility on price, around 22% say that they have no or little tolerance for price increases.
New Zealand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry has released a discussion paper on the welfare of laying hens that provides for the phasing out of conventional cages and the introduction of enriched colonies.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Purina announces Facebook contest to win chickens, feed

Purina and P. Allen Smith are sponsoring the Rule the Roost Sweepstakes, giving contestants the chance to win a free chicken coup, chicken flock and year's supply of feed.
Contestants can enter the Rule the Roost Sweepstakes by "liking" Purina Poultry and Chicken Chat on Facebook, and filling out a contest entry form. The grand prize winner will receive a Horizon Structures chicken coop, heritage flock from P. Allen Smith’s farm and Purina Layena Plus Omega feed for a year. First place prizes include a signed copy of P. Allen Smith’s book, “Seasonal Recipes from the Garden,” and a free bag of Purina Layena Plus Omega-3 feed. All entries will receive a $3 off coupon for Purina Layena Plus Omega-3 feed.
The Purina Rule the Roost Sweepstakes ends September 18, and prizes will be awarded by September 30. For more information, visit Purina Poultry's Facebook page.

Ireland to reduce Campylobacter in poultry production

Ireland’s Food Safety Authority is calling on the country’s poultry industry to develop a voluntary code of practice to control Campylobacter and adopt other measures to reduce the number of deaths that occur as a result of campylobacteriosis.
Among the recommendations are that on-farm hygiene should be improved and access to possible sources of contamination restricted. The FSAI is also calling for the establishment of a voluntary monitoring system to be implemented on-farm and in the slaughterhouse to alert farmers and processors when additional controls are needed and to enable them to assess the effectiveness of their control measures.
The authority is also calling for raw chicken to be packaged in leak-proof packaging, and that safe handling and cooking instructions should be clearly visible at the time of purchase. Additionally, labels on whole birds should advise consumers that carcasses are ready to cook and that in the interest of safe handling, washing of the carcass should be avoided, as this can significantly spread contamination around the kitchen.
Data from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre shows that in 2009, 1,808 cases of campylobacteriosis were reported and the provisional figure for 2010 is 1,666. “Campylobacter causes approximately four times more illness that Salmonella in Ireland," said Professor Alan Reilly, CEO of the FSAI. "We believe there is substantial under-reporting of the illness and as such, these figures in reality could be considerably higher. Measures must be taken by all parties to limit the risk of people becoming ill from these bacteria.”
According to Reilly, a recent European study revealed that some 83% of Irish flocks presented for slaughter and 98% of whole birds at the end of the slaughter process are contaminated with Campylobacter.

Poultry Science Association expanding archives with Legacy Project

The Poultry Science Association has made plans to expand its online archives with the Legacy Project, which aims to take approximately 622 back issues of scientific poultry journals and turn them into online-accessible files.
The PSA currently has a print-only archive of journal issues that begins with the International Association of Instructors and Investigators in Poultry Husbandry Proceedings (1908 - 1912), continues with the Journal of the American Association of Instructors and Investigators in Poultry Husbandry (1914 - 1921) and becomes Poultry Science (1921 - 1996). In all, there are approximately 105,754 pages in 16,955 articles and 622 issues in the collection that are not available online. These issues represent a substantial body of poultry-related research that can be obtained only through library archives, representing roughly nine decades of data and classic papers, according to the association.
The project is expected to cost $60,000; Novus International Inc. has already pledged a $30,000 "challenge grant" to the project to match contributions of member donors. Anyone interested in more information or wishing to make a donation to the project can find information here.

US broiler meat production slowing through 2012

2012 broiler production is estimated to be up just 1.1% from anticipated 2011 numbers.
U.S. broiler meat production for the first 5 months of 2011 was 15.5 billion pounds, up 4.8% from the same period in 2010, due to a greater number of birds being slaughtered and higher average weights at slaughter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. However, starting in late May and continuing through the most recent data, the number of eggs placed in incubators and the number of chicks placed for growout has turned sharply lower than in 2010, and broiler meat production in third-quarter 2011 is expected to be below that of the same time in 2010.
The falling year-over-year production is expected to continue in fourth-quarter 2011, and the fourth-quarter production estimate was lowered to 9.3 billion pounds, down 75 million from the earlier estimate. Production for all of 2011 is estimated at 38.4 billion pounds.
The relatively higher grain prices and the sluggish economy are expected to influence broiler production through 2012. Production in 2012 was reduced by 230 million pounds to 37.8 billion pounds, up only 1.1% from the 2011 total. Most of the reduction was attributed to changes in the second half of 2012, as the expected production increase in that period is now expected to be more modest than originally forecast.
At the beginning of June the number of birds in the broiler breeder flock was estimated at 54.8 million, down just less than 1% from a year earlier. If the size of the broiler breeder flock remains below the previous year over the next several months, the number of eggs placed in incubators and chicks hatched are expected to continue to be significantly lower compared with 2010, and this will reduce the number of birds available for slaughter.

German wheat, potato field trials destroyed

Two German field trials involving genetically modified plants were destroyed by unknown attackers, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research reported.
The trials in Gross Lüsewitz and in Üplingen (Saxony-Anhalt) were being funded by the German Ministry of Research to develop new risk assessment methods. The vandalism caused damage worth hundreds of thousands of euros and politicians from almost all political parties condemned the attacks, according to the report. In Gross Lüsewitz, trial fields of potatoes and wheat, each 265 square meters, were destroyed. In the Üplingen display garden, trial fields of potatoes were destroyed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

India poultry processor to expand capacity

Indian poultry processor Venky's will spend Rs 1.07 billion (US$24 million) over the next 18 months to expand the capacities of its current plants and open new retail outlets, according to the company's CFO A.D. Bauskar.
Improvements include expanding breeding farms and hatcheries and modernizing equipment. Venky's also hopes to use some of the capital expenditure it is acquiring via long-term loans to grow its restaurant operations.

Broiler fecal contamination detection system under development

A system to identify miniscule traces of fecal contamination on chicken carcasses in abattoirs is being developed at the University of Aberystwyth, UK.
The Improved Safety Initiative aims to develop a natural additive for poultry feed that will result in ultra-violet fluorescence of feces. The additive, a water-soluble chlorophyll-based marker approved by the UK’s Food Standards Agency, would be fed to poultry during the last few days of finishing. When screened in abattoirs using fluorescence imaging, the markers would show up and identify contamination. The project builds on technology that is currently developing to detect fecal contamination of red meat.
“Worldwide, suppliers, consumers and public health officials remain concerned over the presence of pathogenic and spoilage micro-organisms in poultry meat and its by-products, which have resulted in large numbers of food poisoning attributed to poultry," said the university's Dr. Michael Lee. “This project will investigate and develop a system for screening poultry carcasses so that unseen fecal contaminants will be visualized. By doing so, any microbial contamination can be greatly reduced or removed completely, depending on the level of intervention.
According to Lee, the project will improve public health by reducing food poisoning outbreaks and may even lead to new products, processes and services, including new feeds formulated to contain the most fluorescent and stable marker and the development of a spectral imaging system for the detection of the marker.

US turkey eggs, poults down from 2010

U.S. turkey eggs in incubators on July 1 totaled 29.1 million, down 3% from the same time in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. They were up 3%, however, from the June 1 total of 28.2 million eggs.
Turkey poults hatched during June 2011 totaled 23.8 million, down 2% from June 2010. Poults hatched were down 1% from the May 2011 total of 24.1 million poults. The 23.4 million net poults placed during June 2011 were down 2% from the number placed during the same month in 2010. Net placements were down 2% from the May 2011 total of 23.9 million.

Chinese authorities predict high hog prices after August

Chinese authorities estimated the growth rate of hog prices will drop steadily after July and August, while hog prices are expected to remain relatively high due to high production costs.
On July 9, the State Statistical Bureau announced that June's food price was 14.4 points higher than the same time last year, resulting in a 4.26% increase in CPI. Pork prices grew 57%, which drove CPI up 1.37 points. The result indicates food prices continues to be the major force pushing up China’s CPI.
Pork prices soared in June, and authorities estimate food prices in July will be 0.7 points higher than in June and 14.2 points higher compared with the same period in 2010.

Dairy science professor Arnold Hippen dies at 58

Arnold R. Hippen, Ph.D., an expert in dairy science, passed away Saturday, July 9, at the age of 58.
Hippen became a professor at South Dakota State University in 1998, where he taught dairy farm management and dairy cattle nutrition. Hippen was recently recognized by the American Dairy Science Association with the Dairy Nutrition Research Award, for accomplishments that include publishing more than 30 manuscripts and patenting two products for ketosis prevention in cattle. Hippen began his career as a dairy farmer, and later attended Iowa State University for his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in nutritional physiology.
Hippen is survived by his wife, Pat, and his son, Eric.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

AFIA presents animal nutrition awards

The American Feed Industry Association presented three animal nutrition awards to Dr. George C. Fahey Jr., Dr. Brian J. Kerr and Dr. Arthur L. Goetsch.
Fahey, professor of Animal Sciences and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was recognized for his professional achievements by the Federation of Animal Science Societies with the New Frontiers award. Kerr, a leading animal scientist for the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was recognized for his professional achievements by the American Society of Animal Science with the Animal Science Nonruminant award. Goetsch, an expert on ruminant animal nutrition and production and the research leader of the E (Kika) de la Garza Institute for Goat Research of Langston University in Langston, Okla., was awarded the Animal Science Ruminant award.

US drought may increase corn prices

Corn prices may reach a record $8.75 per bushel before the harvest if the current drought in the southern U.S. reaches the Midwest, according to Jack Scoville, vice president for Price Futures Group in Chicago.
On the other hand, if the crop is not harmed by extreme weather and production is "very good," prices may drop to $4.50 per bushel. "A lot will depend on what we see in the weather forecast the next few weeks," said Scoville. If it's dry, "you can probably throw some of these lower ideas out the window and look for significantly higher prices, as the U.S. market tries to regulate demand against the potentially available supply."

US broiler eggs, chicks down

Broiler placements were down 4% from 2010 numbers.
U.S. commercial hatcheries in the 19-state weekly program set 196 million eggs in incubators during the week ending July 9, down 5% from the eggs set the corresponding week in 2010, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 85%. Broiler growers in the weekly program placed 166 million chicks for meat production during the week ending July 9. Placements were down 4% from the comparable week in 2010. Cumulative placements from January 2 through July 9 were 4.61 billion, up slightly from the same period in 2010.

Pig, cattle groups against United Egg Producers, HSUS agreement

The National Pork Producers Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association have both spoken out against the agreement between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States to work together toward the enactment of federally mandated egg production standards, citing concerns about setting precedents for government interference in the industry.
“Cattlemen are rightfully concerned with the recent UEP-HSUS agreement to seek unprecedented federal legislation to mandate on-farm production standards," said  Colin Woodall, vice president of government affairs with the NCBA. "More than two decades ago, cattlemen adopted voluntary production practice guidelines. The cattle industry’s successful programs were not the result of a government mandate. They were developed by industry for industry to ensure cattlemen constantly improve handling and management techniques."
According to Woodall, the industry will continue working to ensure its standards are based on the latest knowledge. "Unlike the UEP-HSUS agreement, our cattle care programs should never be weakened by being misused or construed as the basis of a regulatory or government mandated program," he said.
According to the NPPC, legislation pre-empting state laws on egg production systems would set a dangerous precedent for allowing the federal government to dictate how livestock and poultry producers raise and care for their animals, and would inject the federal government into the marketplace with no measurable benefit to public or animal health and welfare.
“The NPPC is gravely concerned that such a one-size-fits-all approach will take away producers’ freedom to operate in a way that’s best for their animals, make it difficult to respond to consumer demands, raise retail meat prices and take away consumer choice, devastate niche producers and, at a time of constrained budgets for agriculture, redirect valuable resources from enhancing food safety and maintaining the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture to regulating on-farm production practices for reasons other than public health and welfare,” said the organization. 

Less corn may be used for animal feed

The latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates report suggests that more corn may be used for ethanol than for animal feed, bringing forward concerns from groups like the National Chicken Council, who say that such numbers could set a worrying precedent.
The WASDE, from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, predict that 5 billion bushels of corn will be used for feed and related purposes in the 2010/2011 crop year, which runs through September, while 5.05 billion bushels will be used for ethanol and byproducts. The report marks the first time that ethanol usage will exceed feed usage, said Bill Roenigk, senior vice president and chief economist for the NCC. The disparity will grow in the 2011/2012 crop year, as 5.05 billion bushels are used for feed and 5.15 billion bushels go into the ethanol category, according to the USDA.
"Raising poultry and livestock as food for people is taking second place to putting ethanol derived from corn into America's gasoline tanks," said Roenigk. "The USDA's overall estimates of corn production are thought by many analysts to be somewhat optimistic. They expect that less corn overall will be produced. If that is correct, than even less corn will be available for poultry and livestock feed because the ethanol sector will always get enough to fulfill the mandate. Ethanol producers will always be able to outbid livestock and poultry producers because the fuel industry is required by law to buy ethanol."
WASDE accounts for the fact that the ethanol industry throws off a certain amount of byproducts, such as dried distillers' grain with solubles, which can be used as a feed supplement for livestock and poultry. However, it lacks the nutritional and energy values of corn. "Producers would rather have corn, but since sufficient quantities are not available at reasonable prices, they will use some DDGS to try to stay in business," said Roenigk.

Monday, July 18, 2011

EU food safety agencies publish Salmonella, Campylobacter report

Scientists from two European Union food safety agencies compiled the first joint EU report on antimicrobial resistance in zoonotic bacteria, such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, affecting humans, animals and food.
Compiled by the European Food Safety Authority and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the report indicates that resistance to antimicrobials was observed in zoonotic bacteria, which may cause infectious diseases found in foods that can be transmitted between animals and humans. The report also presents antimicrobial resistance data for non-disease causing bacteria, such as indicator E. coli and Enterococci, that do not usually cause disease in humans.
The report, based on 2009 data, found Campylobacter was highly resistant resistant to ciprofloxacin in chickens and pigs. The report also indicated high levels of Salmonella resistance for ampicillin, tetracycline and sulphonamide in pigs and pig meat, cattle and poultry meat. 
"Our shared aim is to harmonize the surveillance and monitoring of antimicrobial resistance in infections that are transmitted between animals and humans. This information is critical to inform decisions on the control of antimicrobial resistant infections that affect a growing number of people across Europe," said Mark Sprenger, ECDC director.
A summary of the report's findings is available online from EFSA.

India clear of latest avian influenza outbreaks

There have been no new outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza in India, according to the country's latest report to the World Organisation for Animal Health.
The country's veterinary services notified the OIE of the reoccurrence of the disease, which had been absent since mid-2010, in early February, when 2,198 birds were affected on a duck and poultry farm in Tripura. The outbreak resulted in the destruction of 6,584 birds. In addition to clearing the affected farm, stamping out was carried out within a 3-kilometer radius, local poultry markets were closed and the transportation of poultry products within the affected area were prohibited. 

Poultry, meat prices rise as global food index climbs

Poultry prices rose 3% as the overall meat index increased to match April's record 180.4 points, according to the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization's latest report.
The global food index, currently at 233.8 points for 55 food commodities, is a symptom hinting at prices that may double in the next two decades, according to the FAO. "High feed prices are making their way into those sectors," said Abdolreza Abbassian, a senior economist at the FAO. Experts have said that they expect price swings to remain even as demand continues to increase with a growing global population.

US corn harvest may reach 13.759 billion bushels

Analytics firm Informa Economics predicts U.S. farmers will harvest 13.759 billion bushels of corn and 3.203 billion bushels of soybean crop in 2011, according to reports.
Informa estimates corn yields at 162.5 bushels per acre, based on harvested acreage of 84.7 million acres. The firm's 2011 harvested corn area predictions are 200,000 acres short of June estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Estimates for soybean yields are 43.1 bushels per acre, based on harvested acreage of 74.3 million acres. Estimates for U.S. wheat harvests in 2011 are 2.095 billion bushels from 47.2 million acres, a wheat yield Informa projects to be 44.4 bushels per acre.

Codex holds safety standards for pig, cattle feed ingredient ractopamine

The Codex Alimentarius Commission decided to hold the global food safety standards for Elanco's feed ingredient ractopamine hydrochloride at Step 8, during its 34th Session in Geneva.
Ractopamine is a feed ingredient, sold under the name Paylean for pig and marketed as Optaflexx for cattle.
"Adoption by Codex of the ractopamine standards would have been a major step towards helping address worldwide hunger and enabling sustainable meat production as experts predict that ractopamine's worldwide adoption, based on the increased meat yields, could result in billions of additional servings of pork and beef per year," said Jeff Simmons, Elanco's president.
"We are disappointed that due to national interests and procedural matters Codex did not adopt the global food safety standards for ractopamine," said Dennis Erpelding, director of corporate affairs at Elanco. "Codex standards for ractopamine would help countries to differentiate ractopamine, a beta-agonist that can be safely used in food animal production, from other beta-agonists."

Friday, July 15, 2011

China corn imports may more than double in 2011

China imported 540,000 metric tons of U.S. corn in the year beginning September 1.
China's corn imports may reach 5 million metric tons by the end of 2011, more than doubling the 2 million metric tons the country imported in 2010, according to Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist with the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization.
The country is attempting to boost stockpiles and slow the country's fastest inflation in three years, which currently sits at 6.4%, according to reports. China bought 540,000 metric tons of U.S. corn for delivery in the year starting September 1 and an additional 300,000 metric tons was sold to unknown destinations. This brings the amount of corn sold by exporters without declaring a destination to about 2.5 million metric tons, initiating speculation that the product was bought by China and suggesting that the country is already at roughly 3 million metric tons of imported corn for the year.
Corn traded at $6.5575 a bushel at 4:40 p.m. in Singapore on June 12 after rising 4% when the U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered their estimates on global stockpiles.

South Korea to expand overseas corn, wheat farming

South Korea is making plans to secure 380,000 hectares of overseas farmland by 2018 in order to grow crops like corn and wheat and secure a more stable food supply as prices continue to rise, according to the country's agriculture ministry.
The government plans to help South Korean companies lease arable land or buy stakes in overseas firms, prioritizing in countries such as the Philippines, Cambodia, Ukraine, Indonesia and Russia. South Korea also plans to expand its overseas grain trading business into countries including Brazil, Russia and Ukraine, according to the ministry.

US ethanol producer uses wheat to battle corn shortage

U.S. ethanol producer The Andersons Inc. is mixing wheat into its corn-based biofuel in an effort to cut costs and diversify its supplier sources while fighting an increasing shortage in corn supplies.
Andersons is mixing soft red winter wheat along with corn to produce the biofuel, according to Neill McKinstray, vice president and general manager of the company's ethanol division. According to Newedge analyst Dan Cekander, nearby July wheat futures remain about 20 cents cheaper than nearby corn futures.
"With wheat cheaper than corn, they will likely continue to fit it into their mix to the extent their equipment will allow," said Rich Feltes, an analyst at Chicago's R.J. O'Brien. "Ohio soft red wheat harvest is peaking, and the stuff is available and people are looking for homes for the good harvest."
Analysts expect the company to continue the wheat mixing strategy until a new corn harvest crop comes in October.

Corn futures up on global inventory drop

World corn inventories pre-2012 harvest will fall to 115.66 million metric tons.
U.S. corn futures for December closed at $6.58 per bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade on July 12, gaining 25.25 cents (4%) since June 29 and 68% from the same time in 2010.
Numbers have been affected by U.S. government predictions that corn stockpiles will be smaller than expected, with inventories before next year's harvest coming in at 870 million bushels, the lowest since 1996. Original estimates mentioned 1.029 billion bushels. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has said that a record 5.15 billion bushels of corn will be used to make ethanol, more than originally estimated.
At the same time, global corn consumption continues to rise. In the year that begins October 1, it will rise 4.1% to 877.6 million metric tons, up from an already record 842.8 million metric tons in the current year, according to the USDA. World inventories before the 2012 harvest will fall to 115.66 million metric tons and stockpiles will be equal about 13% of consumption, the lowest since 1974.

Ontario Pork experiments with mobile hog tracker

Ontario Pork is experimenting with a small mobile hog tracking device to determine the probability of being able to transmit hog movement information electronically in real time.
“We are looking at ways of making it more efficient to capture and transfer information to all players in the chain,” said Tim Metzger, national program coordinator for Ontario Pork.
Metzger is working with two transport companies and one processing plant to test the concept of instantly transmitting the information. Transporters participating in the study are equipped with the hand-held devices that collect information at loading. When a truck is completely loaded, this information is transmitted to the dispatch and processing facility, making processors aware of the number of pigs on the truck, what farm they are coming from and when they were loaded.
This project was funded in part through Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial initiative, along with assistance from the Agricultural Adaptation Council.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

AFIA to host July spill prevention control webcast

The American Feed Industry Association will host a webcast on July 27, covering compliance requirements for the Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures rule.
The SPCC rule, which becomes effective Nov. 10, includes requirements for oil spill prevention, preparedness, and response to prevent oil discharges to navigable waters and adjoining shorelines.
The webcast, which begins at 1 p.m. EDT, will cover requirements of the SPCC rule and Environmental Protection Agency presenters, Troy Swackhammer and Greg Wilson, will answer viewer questions. The registration cost for AFIA members is $99 and $198 for non-members, which includes a copy of the presentation on DVD after the webcast. Registration closes on July 25.

UK egg producer website campaigns for fair prices

UK egg producers now have a new website, Egg Producers Together, aimed at uniting farmers to campaign for fairer prices and to raise awareness of the difficulties they face.
According to free range egg producer Ian Chisholm, who set up the portal, UK egg producers have the opportunity to work together to change the way the industry operates and negotiate fairer deals for farmers. “We urgently need the government and the Competition Commission to take another look at the way the egg industry operates," said Chisholm. "There is just not enough competition and some of the packers have a stranglehold on egg production, which is forcing payment to egg producers down lower than the cost of actually producing those eggs.” 

Livestock, poultry groups comment on ethanol tax 'compromise'

A coalition of livestock and poultry groups released a statement regarding the proposed "compromise" on abolition of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit and the protective tariff on imported ethanol. Groups issuing the statement include: American Meat Institute, California Dairies Inc., National Cattlemen's Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Meat Association, National Pork Producers Council and National Turkey Federation.
"We appreciate the work done by Senator Dianne Feinstein in her effort to end the VEETC and tariff," the coalition statement said. "However, the resulting compromise still provides new federal funds for corn-based ethanol, money that would be better spent reducing the deficit or encouraging the development of energy sources that do not compete with feed needs."

Freedman Farms pleads guilty to Clean Water Act hog waste violation

On July 6, Freedman Farms Inc. and its president, William B. Freedman, pleaded guilty in federal court in New Bern, N.C., to violating the Clean Water Act by dumping hog waste into a stream leading to the Waccamaw River, according to the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of North Carolina.
Freedman Farms pleaded guilty to a felony violation of the Clean Water Act for discharging hog waste into Browder’s Branch, a tributary to the Waccamaw River, in December 2007. The hog waste was supposed to be directed to two lagoons for treatment and disposal. William Freedman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the Clean Water Act for his role in the discharge.
“Owners and operators of concentrated animal feeding operations must comply with the nation’s Clean Water Act for the protection of America’s streams, wetlands and rivers,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division at the Department of Justice. “Freedman and his farm failed to do so and should be held accountable for polluting waterways and wetlands in Columbus County and the Waccamaw River watershed.”  
The Clean Water Act is a federal law that makes it illegal to knowingly or negligently discharge a pollutant into waters of the United States, including those with a significant connection to a traditional navigable water.
According to the plea agreement, the government and the corporate defendant jointly requested that the court sentence Freedman Farms to pay $1.5 million, serve a probation term of five years and publish a public apology. Under the plea agreement for William Freedman, the defendant faces up to one year in prison.

US Department of Energy commits to cellulosic ethanol plant funding

The U.S. Department of Energy announced a conditional commitment for a $105 million loan guarantee to support development of the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plant. Project Liberty, sponsored by Poet LLC, will produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year at the plant, which will be located in Emmetsburg, Iowa. 
"This project will help decrease our dependence on oil, create jobs and aid our transition to clean, renewable energy that is produced here at home," said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "The innovations used in this project are another example of how we are seizing the opportunity to create new economic opportunities to win the clean energy future."
Unlike many conventional corn ethanol plants, Project Liberty will use corncobs, leaves and husks from local farmers that do not compete with feed grains. The project's process uses enzymatic hydrolysis to convert waste into ethanol, which will produce enough biogas to power the project's grain-based ethanol plant. Poet estimates the project will create about 200 jobs during construction and 40 permanent jobs at the plant. Poet also estimates the project will generate nearly $14 million in new revenue to area farmers.
Project Liberty will displace over 13.5 million gallons of gasoline annually and fulfill more than 25% of the projected 2013 Renewable Fuel Standard Requirement for biomass-based cellulosic ethanol, Poet estimates. Poet also plans to replicate the process at 27 of the ethanol producer's other corn ethanol facilities, with a projected combined annual capacity of one billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

FAO: 50% of world poultry production comes from four countries

The latest Food and Agriculture Organization - FAO statistics on world chicken meat production, from 2009, show that in the year were produced 80.3 million tons of chicken meat, 2.4% and 45.4% more than, respectively, 2008 and1999.
According to the data the production came from over 204 countries, however 50.2% of that volume came from 4 countries, only - USA,  20.3% of the total; China, 14.2%; Brazil, 12.4% and México, 3,3%.
The top-20 in the year responded for 75% of the world production. Based on FAO’s data, it is possible to conclude that 4 countries responded for 50% of the world production, 16 countries for 25% while the remaining 184 countries for 25%.

US organic layers produce 25.8 million eggs weekly

A U.S. layer flock of an estimated 5 million hens produces roughly 71,701 30-dozen cases of organic eggs (25.8 million individual eggs) each week, according to a new weekly report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The estimated lay rate of the hens is 73.8%, according to the report. For the week of June 27, 9,600 30-dozen cases of organic large eggs were in U.S. stocks, while 7,700 30-dozen cases of ungraded eggs were in stock.
Organic poultry slaughtered under federal inspection in the week ending June 25 reached 451.06 million head of chicken (at an average live weight of 5.82 pounds) and 6.53 million head of turkey (at an average live weight of 24.57 pounds). These numbers are up slightly from the previous week but remain significantly lower than the peak week ending May 28.

USPOULTRY accepting Clean Water Award applications

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is accepting applications for the 2012 Clean Water Awards, which recognizes outstanding water treatment plant performance in the poultry industry.
“Environmental stewardship is an important aspect of daily operations for poultry companies, and they do a terrific job in their water treatment operations,” said Gary Cooper, chairman of USPOULTRY.  “They reclaim most of the water used to process poultry and return it to the environment in first-rate condition. We are pleased to sponsor this annual competition to highlight poultry operations and their environmental management programs that safeguard our natural resources."
There are two categories for the award: one for full treatment facilities, which are those facilities that fully reclaim their wastewater prior to discharge into receiving water or a final land application system; and one for pretreatment facilities, which are those facilities that discharge pretreated effluent to publicly-owned full treatment facilities. Any USPOULTRY member company is eligible to submit one nominee in each category.  Facilities which have previously won the award may not be re-nominated for five years. The deadline for submitting applications is Nov. 15, 2011.
For the application form and more information, go to

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

China poultry prices up 32.3% from 2010

China's poultry prices have increased by 32.3% over 2010 numbers, according to the country's most recent National Bureau of Statistics report, contributing 1.94 percentage points to the country's overall price inflation, which hit a three-year high in June.
China's egg prices were up 23.3%, contributing 0.16 percentage points to the overall growth of the consumer price index, which has increased 6.4% since June 2010. Compared to May numbers, the prices of poultry and related products rose 6.3%.

Minnesota poultry exports halted due to avian flu

Poultry exports from Wright County, Minn., have been halted by Cuba, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan after cases of low-pathogenic bird flu were discovered, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Cuba and Guatemala stopped all shipments of raw poultry and poultry meat products in Wright County from birds slaughtered on or after June 29. Hong Kong and Singapore stopped imports of poultry meat and products derived from birds raised or processed on or after July 4, said the USDA. Taiwan halted imports of all poultry meat and products loaded-on-board vessel on or after June 29.

UAE expands Asia poultry import requirements

The United Arab Emirates has issued new import rules for all live birds and poultry products coming from Asian countries, implementing wider monitoring mechanisms in response to increasing cases of avian influenza being reported, according to Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, UAE minister of environment and water.
The new rules affect all live birds, their meat products, hatching eggs and one-day-old chicks from all Asian countries to the UAE. “The exporting country should be free of bird flu for at least 12 months before the date of shipment, with certificates and documents from government agencies to prove that the products are free from virus or contamination,” said a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Environment and Water. “The shipment of live birds should carry veterinary health certificates from competent authorities of the exporting country to ensure that they are not infected with any type of infectious disease. Also, the importer should produce a certificate issued by an accredited laboratory within a period not exceeding 21 days of the export that the birds or products have been tested clinically."
According to the ministry, any product not meeting the new conditions will be rejected or confiscated and destroyed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New system identifies 'excessive volatility' in corn prices

The Excessive Food Price Variability Early Warning System has been developed to work as a gauge of price swings for corn, wheat and soybeans and can help policy makers identify "excessive volatility," according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.
The system determines the statistical probability of a price move on a particular day, based on trading in the prior 60 sessions, according to Carlos Martins Filho, a senior research fellow at the Institute who helped develop the model. If the chance is 5% or less, he said, the move is deemed extreme or abnormal. “Our goal is here to define a clear method and metric to define when commodities are experiencing clear higher volatility,” said Filho. “You first have to identify, consistently and in a very transparent manner, periods of extreme price volatility. It’s a first step. It’s not a tool that will lead to any policy prescription.”

New US standards for Salmonella, Campylobacter on poultry go into effect

The Food Safety and Inspection Service has put into effect FSIS Notice 31-11, which sets new performance standards for Salmonella and Campylobacter in chilled carcasses at young chicken and turkey slaughter establishments.
The new standards apply to verification sample sets that began on or after July 1, 2011. The number of samples collected for young chicken and turkey verification sets will remain the same, but each sample collected in a set will be analyzed for both Salmonella and Campylobacter
Establishments will pass the updated Salmonella standards if the FSIS finds no more than five positive samples in a 51-sample set for young chickens and no more than four positive samples in a 56-sample set for turkeys. Establishments will pass the new Campylobacter standards if the FSIS finds no more than eight positive samples in a 51-sample set for young chickens and no more than three positive samples in a 56-sample set for turkeys. If the FSIS finds more than the acceptable number of samples positive for passing either of the standards at an establishment, the FSIS will collect a follow-up sample set and will analyze those samples for both organisms. To implement the new standards for Campylobacter, the FSIS will move all young chicken and turkey slaughter establishments to the highest priority for scheduling sample sets.
Additionally, this notice:
  • details changed sample collection procedures for both young chickens and turkeys under the new performance standards and includes complete sampling instructions;
  • details changes in FSIS performance standards and notes that the End of Set Letter provided by the FSIS to establishments upon completion of a verification sample set will now include a report of Campylobacter results;
  • provides an Appendix I with pictures of the test kits; and
  • provides an Appendix II with anticipated questions and answers. 

Proposed federal egg layer legislation gains support

U.S. animal welfare and egg supply groups have stepped forward to comment on the recent federal layer legislation agreement between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States.
The potential legislation, which would set national animal welfare standards for hens involved in U.S. egg production, would bring the U.S. in line with the European Union position on laying hens, according to international farm animal welfare charity Compassion in World Farming. "We welcome the news of an agreement that could see an end to barren battery cages in the U.S.," said Philip Lymbery, the organization's chief executive. "This new a step in the right direction." 
According to the Coalition for Sustainable Egg Supply, the agreement between the UEP and the HSUS reinforces the need for research, which will provide evidence on the best housing systems for laying hens to create a sustainable egg supply. The American Humane Association has also announced its support for the direction of the agreement. "Overall, we are pleased with the intentions of the egg-producing industry," said Dr. Robin Ganzert, association president and CEO. "We haven't seen their proposal, but if they adopt enriched colonies, Americans will have a safe and affordable egg supply that improves the welfare of laying hens. The American public has been demanding better treatment of farm animals, and we support any significant move in that direction."

Brazil’s pig meat exports continue higher in June

The volume of Brazil’s exports of pig meat in June grew by 12.35% in comparison to 2010. Exports by value rose by 29.65%, partly due to the average price achieved for pig meat during the month. This increase occurred despite the Russian embargo that came into force on June 15. The fact that the embargo was announced at the beginning of the month led to a rapid increase in trade during the first two weeks of the month prior to it coming into force.
While sales to Russia may have been curtailed, exports to Hong Kong and Argentina – Brazil’s second and third most important markets for pig meat – were higher during the month. Sales to Ukraine, however, fell.
While coming too late to affect June’s export figures, the Brazilian pig producers’ and exporters’ association, ABIPECS, notes that the reopening of the South African market at the month end was excellent news. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Butterball donates turkey, money for storm relief

Butterball LLC has donated 145,000 pounds of turkey products and over $25,000 to storm relief efforts in areas of eastern North Carolina, western Alabama and southwestern Missouri.
The company has also established the Butterball Disaster Relief Fund to provide for the immediate needs of its affected employees. "We know the damage is extensive," said Walter Pelletier, president of Butterball, co-owner of Maxwell Farms LLC and member of Butterball’s board. "Just within our company, 92 associates and their families were severely affected. We are hopeful that our efforts are helping to eliminate at least one of the uncertainties these families are facing by providing wholesome meals.”
In addition to food and monetary contributions, Butterball associates have helped the various communities by volunteering, providing nearly 4,000 meals and assisting in the rescue efforts. Clothing, bedding and personal hygiene items were collected, and Butterball facilities have provided water, over 200,000 pounds of ice, special gloves that protect against sharp objects, product and cooking equipment to assist relief groups. All of the Butterball facilities have worked with the Red Cross to determine immediate needs.

Brazil corn crop damaged by frost

Brazil's corn crop has been damaged by a late June frost, dropping the estimated output by 3.7% to 11.2 million metric tons, down from the original June 20 estimate of 13.4 million metric tons, according to Parana state's agriculture secretariat.
“The damage is irreversible,” said Methodio Groxko, an analyst at Parana’s agriculture secretariat. “It affected plants that were at different stages of development.” Roughly 190,000 metric tons of wheat also sustained frost damage, dropping the crop's estimated output to 2.613 million metric tons from a previously estimated 2.803 million metric tons.

Georgian egg market oversaturated, production down

Georgian egg producers have decreased production since 2009 in an effort to lighten the country's overburdened market, even as retail prices have increased by 20%.
In 2009, 430.6 million eggs were produced, while in 2010 only 397 million were produced, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia. In addition, however, there is a significant import market — by April 2011, 5 million eggs had already been imported into Georgia, mostly (4.5 million) from Ukraine. Georgia's egg export numbers are not nearly as high; in 2010, the country only managed to export 195,000 eggs.

Egg producers, humane society propose federal legislation for layers

The United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States have partnered to work toward the enactment of federal legislation that would set national standards for hens involved in U.S. egg production. The proposed standards, if enacted, would be the first federal law addressing the treatment of animals on farms.
The proposed legislation would:
  • require conventional cages (currently used by more than 90% of the egg industry) to be replaced, through an ample phase-in period, with new, enriched housing systems that provide each hen nearly double the amount of space they're currently allotted. Egg producers will invest an additional $4 billion over the next decade and a half to effect this industry-wide make-over;
  • require that all egg-laying hens be provided, through the new enriched housing system, with environments that will allow hens to express natural behaviors, such as perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas;
  • mandate labeling on all egg cartons nationwide to inform consumers of the method used to produce the eggs, such as "eggs from caged hens," "eggs from hens in enriched cages," "eggs from cage-free hens" and "eggs from free-range hens;"
  • prohibit feed- or water-withholding molting to extend the laying cycle, a practice already prohibited by the United Egg Producers Certified program adhered to by a majority of egg farmers;
  • require standards approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for euthanasia for egg laying hens;
  • prohibit excessive ammonia levels in henhouses;
  • prohibit the sale of eggs and egg products nationwide that don't meet these requirements.
The two groups will jointly ask Congress for federal legislation which would require egg producers to increase space per bird in a tiered phase-in, with the amount of space birds are given increasing, in intervals, over the next 15 to 18 years. Currently, the majority of birds are each provided 67 square inches of space, with roughly 50 million receiving 48 square inches. The proposed phase-in would culminate with hens nationwide being provided a minimum of 124–144 square inches of space, along with the other improvements noted.
If passed by Congress, the legislation would supersede state laws including those that have already been passed in Arizona, California (Proposition 2), Michigan and Ohio. The agreement to pass comprehensive federal legislation for standards of egg production puts a hold on planned ballot measures related to egg-laying hens in both Washington and Oregon.

EU extends country of origin meat labeling laws

The European Parliament’s July 6 decision to extend mandatory “country of origin” labeling to fresh meat from pigs, as well as sheep, goats and poultry, has been welcomed by the British National Farmers Union.
NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond said the extension is a significant move that gives consumers clear and honest information about the origins of their food. “With mandatory country of origin labeling finally extended to pork, lamb and poultry, all British consumers will at last know where their fresh meat comes from,” said Raymond. “There is more work to be done to make sure origin labeling is extended to processed meats and dairy products,” he said.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

India poultry prices drop on market oversupply

Poultry prices on the Indian market have dropped to below Rs 60 (US$1.34) per kilogram due to an oversupply caused by an influx of outside suppliers following 2010's broiler shortage, which resulted in increased production to compete.
The price drop is causing problems for poultry farmers, who are dealing with increased production costs due largely to rising animal feed costs. "At present, the cost of production is around Rs 47 (US$1.05) per kilogram," said Shabir Ahmed, secretary of Poultry Federation of India. "Taking into account the commission of middlemen, any price lower than Rs 67 to Rs 68 (US$1.50 to US$1.52) will not be profitable for producers."
Normally, according to the industry, poultry consumption rises roughly 10% annually. This year, however, consumption has nearly doubled, and that growth has still not been enough to cover excess production. The situation is likely to remain for the next few months, say experts.

Europe stance on GM crops concerns UK farmers union

The UK's National Farmers Union is concerned that the European Parliament is setting a "dangerous precedent" for EU legislation by ignoring scientific advice on genetically modified crop varieties.
Members of Parliament have backed a report, based on proposals from the European Commission, which would allow Europe’s Member States to disregard advice from the European Food Safety Authority and ban the cultivation of GM crops for non-scientific reasons.
“Farmers need all the tools available to them to contribute to ‘sustainable intensification’," said Dr. Helen Ferrier, NFU chief science and regulatory affairs adviser. "With the world population set to grow to 9 billion by 2050, Europe must be in a position to contribute towards global food security. We believe a common authorization procedure with common health and environmental safety will best serve EU farmers, consumers and the environment.”

US egg products up 3% from 2010

To date, the cumulative total of edible products from U.S. eggs broken in 2011 is 1.103 billion pounds, up 3% from 2010, according to the latest Food Safety and Inspection Service report.
U.S. shell eggs broken totaled 175 million dozen during May 2011, up 2% from May 2010 and 7% above the 164 million broken in April. During the calendar year 2011 through May, shell eggs broken totaled 844 million dozen, up 3% from the comparable period in 2010.