Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Philippines lifts Netherlands poultry import ban

The Philippines has lifted a ban on live birds and poultry products imported from a Netherlands province previously reported to have cases of the avian influenza virus.
The World Organisation for Animal Health has received a report that the province, Gelderland, is now free of the H7N7 low pathogenic avian influenza virus. “All import transactions of [poultry] products shall be in accordance with the existing rules of the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Animal Industry and National Meat Inspection Service,” said Philippines Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala. “Based on the evaluation of the BAI, the risk of contamination from importing poultry and poultry products from Gelderland, Netherlands, is negligible.”
The ban was instituted in May.

South Africa poultry prices may increase 20% in 2012

South Africa poultry prices are expected to rise by 10% in December due to demand and may jump by an additional 20% in the new year as poultry feed input costs continue to rise, according to the South Africa Poultry Association.
Imports of duck, turkey, guinea fowl, geese and special chicken cuts may help offset the holiday increases, but local producers continue to struggle, according to reports. “The real problem is that maize import prices are not determined by local production costs," said Kevin Lovell, chief executive of the SA Poultry Association. "They are determined by the U.S. Chicago Board of Trade. We are expected to run out of maize...and we will pay R1,000 per ton (US$117.77) more than export parity prices.” At least 143,000 tons of white maize and 60,000 tons of yellow maize will need to be imported this season, according to reports.

US poultry live weight down in October

The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during October 2011 was 4.86 billion pounds, down 3% from 4.99 billion pounds in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
Young chickens inspected totaled 4.12 billion pounds, down 3% from October 2010. Mature chickens were up 6%, at 68.6 million pounds, and turkeys were up slightly, at 659 million pounds. Ducks totaled 14 million pounds, up 4% from 2010 numbers.
Poultry certified wholesome during October 2011 (ready-to-cook weight) totaled 3.67 billion pounds, down 2% from the amount certified in October 2010. The September 2011 revised certified total, at 3.71 billion pounds, was down 1% from September 2010. The September revision represented an increase of 0.33 million pounds from the preliminary pounds certified.
Young chickens slaughtered during October 2011 averaged 5.88 pounds per bird, up slightly from October 2010. The average live weight of mature chickens was 5.72 pounds per bird, down 3% from 2010 numbers. Turkeys slaughtered during October 2011 averaged 28.3 pounds per bird, down slightly from October 2010.

US egg production up in October

In October 2011, total egg production was 7.78 billion eggs.
United States egg production totaled 7.78 billion during October 2011, up 1% from 2010, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Total production included 6.74 billion table eggs, and 1.04 billion hatching eggs, of which 968 million were broiler-type, and 70 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during October 2011 averaged 336 million, down slightly from 2010. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,317 eggs, up 1% from October 2010.
On November 1, 2011, all layers in the United States totaled 337 million, down slightly from 2010. The 337 million layers consisted of 283 million layers producing table or market-type eggs, 50.2 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 2.94 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, 2011, averaged 74.7 eggs per 100 layers, up 1% from November 1, 2010.
Egg-type chicks hatched during October 2011 totaled 37.8 million, which is down 8% from October 2010. Eggs in incubators totaled 38.3 million on November 1, 2011, down slightly from a year ago. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 266 thousand during October 2011, up 56% from October 2010.
Broiler-type chicks hatched during October 2011 totaled 717 million, down 7% from October 2010. Eggs in incubators totaled 575 million on November 1, 2011, down 7% from a year earlier. Leading breeders placed 6.29 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during October 2011, which is down 9% from October 2010.
For more poultry statistics and information, see

American Feed Industry Association to hold Education Forum at IFE/IPE 2012

The American Feed Industry Association’s International Feed Education Forum will be held on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, at the at the International Feed Expo/International Poultry Expo.
The International Feed Education Forum will address issues unique to feed manufacturers. Three speakers will be featured at 2012 program: Tim Lease, WL Port-Land Systems Inc., will present the opening session on Selecting the Proper Equipment to Maximize Efficiency; Richard Sellers, AFIA's vice president of feed regulation and nutrition, will provide an update on the Food Safety Modernization Act; and Keith Epperson, AFIA’s vice president of manufacturing and training, will conclude with an overview of Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations.
The program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. in Conference Hall A, Room 404 of the Georgia World Conference Center.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Container lines call for refrigerated cargo rate increase

Container lines serving raw meat industries involved in U.S.-Asia trade are calling for an across-the-board increase in refrigerated cargo rates in order to cover higher equipment and operating costs during the traditionally slow season.
Member carriers in the Westbound Transpacific Stabilization Agreement said the recommended guideline increase of $300 per 40-foot container is to take effect January 1, 2012, and will apply to all commodity segments and origin-destination pairs.
WTSA members say the increase is needed to ensure equipment availability by covering the network costs of redeploying refrigerated containers from other trades. Refrigerated equipment tends to be diverted out of the transpacific during winter months in the U.S., which adds to operating costs in serving U.S. export shippers of agricultural and non-agricultural commodities. The problem is compounded when equipment is pulled from more lucrative markets that pay higher rates for refrigerated and other specialized equipment, WTSA members say.

AFIA to hold Pet Food Conference at 2012 IFE/IPE

The 2012 Pet Food Conference will be held in Atlanta on Tuesday, January 24, at the International Feed Expo/International Poultry Expo, organized by the American Feed Industry Association and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.
The conference covers a variety of topics ranging from regulatory issues to the technical aspects of production, food safety, marketing and use of ingredients. Expert speakers will include: Svetlana Uduslivaia, Euromonitor International, addressing domestic and global pet food industry trends; Dr. Dale Hill, ADM Alliance Nutrition Inc., discussing ingredient variability; Douglas Marshall, Eurofins Scientific Inc., and Duarte Diaz, Novus International Inc., addressing petfood safety topics; a U.S. Food and Drug Administration update on the one year anniversary of the Food Safety Modernization Act; and Leah Wilkinson, AFIA, covering third-party certification programs.
The conference will also feature a number of panels. The FDA/AAFCO panel will include officials who will deliver a regulatory update of ingredient approvals, unapproved animal drugs, calorie labeling and the future of GRAS listings in the AAFCO Official Publication. An ingredient supplier question-and-answer panel will offer insight into establishing supplier relationships and issues facing the petfood ingredient sector. The concluding panel will highlight the future of food and feed safety.
The day-long conference, which will be held from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., has an add-on registration fee of $40, in addition to the initial IFE/IPE registration fee of $40. After January 6, the rates for both increase to $60 each. Those interested in attending may register online.

UK poultry farmers facing rising costs, slimmer margins

UK poultry and other farmers are experiencing record rises in the cost of farm inputs while simultaneously dealing with downward pressure from supermarket price wars.  
The National Farmers Union has called on the government to speed up the process of creating the Groceries Code Adjudicator, following the latest Defra Agricultural Prices Index figures that show a 13% rise in the cost of fuel, feed and fertilizer in the last year with prices now above the previous 2008 peak.
It comes as farmers and food manufacturers are pressured into sharing the pain of a major grocery price war, which could see lasting damage to the competitiveness of the supply chain should the current situation continue.
“These figures illustrate that variable and fixed costs for fuel, feed and fertilizer have all been on the rise over the last two years, with this sheer combination of factors pushing the index to its record high,” said Tom Hind, NFU director of corporate affairs. “It contrasts with the fall in the cost of food to consumers and bears out comments by some producers that they are being asked to ‘share the pain’ of the well-documented supermarket price wars.
“When you add this to reports in the Financial Times and other journals about the pressure being passed back by retailers, it calls into question the reliability of the British Retail Consortium’s message that supermarkets are cutting their already-thin margins.”
He continued that there are currently two big risks to UK producers.
“The first is that excessive bargaining power exerted for short-term pressures will undermine the already feeble state of investment on farms and in food manufacturing. In the long-run, this will affect our ability to compete and to offer consumers a choice of high quality, affordable British food. The second is the very real risk that some companies may resort to the underhand tactics of the past to recover lost margins, protecting shareholder dividends whilst undermining farming families.”

Plans for VICTAM, FIAAP, GRAPAS Asia 2012 continue despite Thailand flooding

Preparations for VICTAM, FIAAP and GRAPAS Asia 2012 continue to progress, despite recent flooding in parts of Thailand, including Bangkok, show organizers say.
The situation seems to be improving with flood levels going down throughout Bangkok and the country of Thailand. The majority of Bangkok is flood-free and much of the above-ground transportation system is operating, as well as the underground railway, the BTS Skytrain and Bangkok's International Suvarnabhumi Airport. Downtown Bangkok, where the majority of the city’s hotels are situated, and BITEC, the exhibition venue, have also remained flood-free.
Show organizer Victam International expects the event to draw senior trade executives from throughout the animal feed and grain processing industries of south and southeast Asia. The exhibition is already 25% larger than the last event in 2010, including larger exhibitions, more product launches and more technical seminars. Some of the conferences at the event include Petfood Forum Asia 2012, FIAAP Asia Conference 2012, GRAPAS Asia 2012, Biomass - Pellets Update Asia, Aquafeed Horizons Asia 2012, the Thai Feed Conference, and a GMP+ seminar on feed safety and sustainability.
The shows and conferences will open at BITEC on February 15-17, 2012. To register as a visitor for free or to see a list of all conferences and exhibitors, visit Victam's show website.

Bulgaria's 2011 corn production increases 6.2%

Bulgaria's 2011 corn production increased by 6.2% year-on-year, according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Foods.
As of November 17, a total of 98% of the corn has been harvested. Bulgaria's corn production is expected to total about 2,050,000 metric tons, an increase of 120,000 tons over 2010. Much of the increase is due to the annual rise in the acreage planted with corn in Bulgaria, as 2.88 million decares were planted in 2009, 3.14 million in 2010 and 3.76 million in 2011. 
A total of 9.8 million decares of wheat were planted in Bulgaria in fall 2011 compared to 9.2 million in 2010 and 9.6 million in 2009, according to the Agriculture Ministry. Bulgarian farmers planted 1.62 million decares of barley in 2011, up from 1.61 million in 2010, but down from 2.01 million decares in 2009. Rapeseed, an emerging energy crop, was planted on 2.4 million decares in fall 2011, up from 2.1 million in 2010 and 1.8 million in 2009. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

British National Pig Association warns of feeding leftovers to pigs

Britain’s National Pig Association has warned that recycling human food by feeding it to pigs must only take place under strictly controlled conditions, in an effort to prevent national outbreaks of economically damaging diseases such as foot-and-mouth and classical swine fever, following a recent attempt by an environmental campaigning charity to highlight the benefits of pig farming by giving left-over food to pigs in London's Trafalgar Square.
Friends of the Earth, an environmental charity, attempted to feed pigs leftovers as a publicity stunt to highlight the economic benefits to pig farming. The National Pig Association general manager, Dr. Zoe Davies, however, says the group "really shouldn't have done that."
“We find it difficult enough trying to explain to people why it is wrong to feed waste food to pigs without this kind of high profile stunt, however well meant,” Davies said.
A UK ban prevents feeding waste food from catering establishments, including home kitchens and restaurants, to animals, which has been in effect since Britain's 2001 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. The law also covers food waste from other premises, including food factories and distribution warehouses that contain or come in contact with animal by-products such as raw eggs, meat and fish products.
“We understand Friends of the Earth acted with the best of intentions and was at pains to comply with all the legal issues, but we remain concerned that promoting the image of pigs eating waste food is unhelpful,” said Davies. “The pig industry does use a tremendous amount of by-product from food manufacturing, but only as part of a tightly regulated process.”

Poultry house flooring company receives USDA grant

AviHome LLC was awarded a United States Department of Agricuture Natural Resources Conservation Service grant for commercial demonstration of its environmental technology to the poultry industry.
The USDA NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant Program will contribute 50% of the costs for the company's AviHome Flooring System project and will run for a total of three years with the cooperation of the University of Georgia, Perdue Farms and Fieldale Farms.
“These grants will help some of America’s top agricultural and conservation institutions, foundations and businesses develop unique approaches to enhancing and protecting natural resources on agricultural land,” says NRCS chief, Dave White.
After several years of research and development, AviHome says data indicates that AviHome Flooring System can reduce ammonia in poultry houses to near zero levels and significantly improve bird performance.  

Egg proteins may improve alertness

Egg proteins can help consumers stay awake and alert during the working day, says a study from Cambridge University in the UK published in the journal Neuron. The study suggests that a cellular mechanism may allow brain cells to translate different diets into different patterns of activity.
The research focused on specialized brain cells called orexin-hypocretin neurons. Wakefulness and energy rely on signals transmitted by these cells. Reduced orexin-hypocretin activity results in narcolepsy – a disorder marked by the sudden onset of sleep. The Cambridge team found that protein components of the type found in eggs whites stimulated the neurons much more than other nutrients. The amino acids appeared to stop glucose from blocking the cells.
“We found that activity in the orexin/hypocretin system is regulated by macronutrient balance rather than simply by the caloric content of the diet, suggesting that the brain contains not only energy-sensing cells but also cells that can measure dietary balance,” concluded senior study author Dr. Denis Burdakov.
“Our data support the idea that the orexin/hypocretin neurons are under a ‘push-pull’ control by sugars and proteins. Interestingly, although behavior effects are beyond the scope of our study, this cellular model is consistent with reports that when compared with sugar-rich meals, protein-rich meals are more effective at promoting wakefulness and arousal.”
“This study provides yet more proof that eggs are a superfood,” said Dr. Carrie Ruxton, a British Egg Information Service nutritionist. “As well as being rich in vitamins, minerals and protein, eggs make us feel fuller for longer after meals, thus helping with weight control.”

Shur-Gain to close animal feed mill in Canada

Shur-Gain, a Canadian supplier of animal feeds, will permanently close its livestock and poultry feed mill operation in Stephenville, Newfoundland, at the end of the year, according to reports.
"The reasons for this closure are related to the low volume of finished feeds being manufactured and limited profitability at the operation," said Réjean Faubert, Shur-Gain's Atlantic region general manager. "We will continue to maintain a presence in the livestock industry of the region in supplying sales and technical services - and will remain a supplier of feeds products to Newfoundland customers through our Moncton (New Brunswick) mill facility."
Shur-Gain's Stephenville facility employs one part-time and three full-time employees.
The Newfoundland Feed Grains Society, a not-for-profit group whose members work in the dairy and poultry industries, owns grain storage tanks adjacent to Shur-Gain's feed grain facility. Shur-Gain and the society rely on each other to run their respective operations.
"Without their unloading system, we'd have to put our own in," said Bruce Simmons, the society's chairman. "Without our tanks, they have no way to hold bulk product from boats, so it's kind of a two-way street. We can figure a way to get grain out there without them, but it would be better to use what's there now."
Simmons said it may be in the society's best interest to take over the Shur-Gain facility, but other factors such as a declining market for pre-mixed feeds must be considered.
"We haven't officially made an offer yet and they haven't made an offer to us," Simmons said. "We have discussed it at a meeting, and we may or may not make a proposal in the next little while."

Tyson net income drops 54% in fourth quarter

Tyson Foods Inc. reported its fourth quarter 2011 net income at $95 million, as compared to $208 million in 2010, down 54% from last year. For the fiscal year, Tyson's net income was down 4.18% from 2010, to $733 million.
The overall operating margin was 2% in the fourth quarter of 2011, with a chicken operating loss of $82 million or -2.9% of sales. The company's beef operating income was $118 million or 3.4% of sales, pork operating income was $113 million or 7.9% of sales, and prepared food operating income represented 3.4% of sales at $28 million.
Tyson did report strong sales of $8.4 billion in the fourth quarter, up 12.9% compared to last year.
"In fiscal 2011, we produced record sales and our second best EPS in company history despite record input costs, which included $675 million in additional feed and ingredient costs in our chicken segment," said Donnie Smith, Tyson's president and CEO.
For fiscal 2012, the company expects chicken industry production will decrease approximately 4% from fiscal 2011, which should gradually improve market pricing conditions. Current futures prices indicate higher grain costs in fiscal 2012 compared to fiscal 2011, which the company expects to offset with operational, pricing and mix improvements.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

McDonald's drops egg supplier Sparboe Farms

McDonald's recently dropped its egg supplier, Sparboe Farms, following citations from the Food and Drug Administration for "significant...and serious violations" in egg production, according to an ABC News report
The fast-food chain "will no longer accept" eggs from Sparboe Farms after the egg producer was issued an FDA warning letter and cited at five different locations with more than 13 FDA violations of the federal egg rule, which is meant to prevent Salmonella outbreaks. Sparboe's facility in Vincent, Iowa, was previously producing all eggs used by McDonald's restaurants west of the Mississippi River.
In its statement, McDonald's said its decision was based on concerns about "the management of Sparboe facilities," after a video by the group Mercy for Animals showed cases of animal cruelty at five of the company's facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado.
Target said it also dumped Sparboe as an egg supplier at its Super Target stores nationwide and was pulling Sparboe's eggs off store shelves immediately after "having been made aware of the unacceptable conditions in the company's egg laying facilities."
Sparboe has never had a single egg or chicken detected with Salmonella, said Ken Klippen, Sparboe's director of government relations, concluding that "there was no cause for any enforcement action."
"I was deeply saddened to see the video because this isn’t who Sparboe Farms is," said Sparboe President Beth Sparboe Schnell. "Acts depicted in the footage are totally unacceptable and completely at odds with our values as egg farmers. In fact, they are in direct violation of our animal care code of conduct, which all of our employees read, sign and follow each day."
According to a statement from Schnell, the company launched a comprehensive internal investigation upon learning of the video, and is working with an independent auditor from Iowa State University.

Cargill cleared to purchase Provimi by EU Commission

U.S. agribusiness company Cargill has secured EU regulatory approval to purchase animal feed producer Provimi for €1.5 billion ($US2.17 billion).
The European Commission said that an investigation had established that the deal would not create competition issues. "The investigation showed that the horizontal overlaps between the activities of Cargill and KoroFrance (Provimi's holding company) in animal compound feed and feed mixes would not raise competition concerns given the relatively limited combined market position of the merging parties and the presence of a sufficient number of alternative suppliers," said the Commission.
Cargill made a binding offer for the purchase in August.

US egg production, exports up in September

U.S. table egg production in the third quarter of 2011 was just over 1.65 billion dozen, up slightly from 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
On a year-over-year basis, table egg production has now risen in the last 11 consecutive quarters. With the number of table egg layers in production increasing from August, table egg production is expected to continue above 2010 in fourth-quarter 2011. However, overall table egg production in 2012 is expected to be only about even, as weaker egg prices, high grain costs and a slowly growing economy dampen expansion, according to the USDA.
Hatching egg production in the third quarter of 2011 was 264 million dozen, down 7 million dozen from 2010, a decrease of 2.6%. Hatching egg production is expected to be sharply lower in fourth-quarter 2011 as broiler producers cut back on production. The decrease in third-quarter 2011 was chiefly due to a lower number of meat-type hens as the demand for broiler chicks declined. Hatching egg production is expected to level off in the latter part of 2012 as broiler production starts to gradually expand.
Although egg prices have been relatively volatile in 2011, egg and egg product exports have remained strong to a number of countries, according to USDA numbers. In September, total egg exports were the equivalent of 26.1 million dozen eggs, 9% higher than 2010. In September, exports of shell eggs fell slightly, but those declines were more than offset by strong increases in exports of egg products. The increase in exports is related to strong demand in a number of Asian countries and the weakness of the dollar against a number of other currencies.
Total egg exports in third-quarter 2011 totaled 70.6 million dozen on a shell egg equivalent basis, up 5% from the same period in 2010. With year-to-date exports down to Canada and a number of EU countries, the increases have come from higher shipments to Mexico and a number of Asian countries, particularly Japan and Hong Kong.

US turkey production holds steady in third quarter 2011

U.S. turkey meat production in the third quarter of 2011 was 1.4 billion pounds, up less than 1% from 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As with broiler production, third-quarter 2011 turkey production saw a reduction in the number of birds being slaughtered and an increase in their average weight. In the case of turkeys, the number of birds slaughtered in the third quarter was 61.9 million, down 1% from 2010 numbers. Offsetting this was a 2% increase in average live weights to 28.9 pounds.
Turkey meat production in the fourth quarter of 2011 is forecast at 1.5 billion pounds, which would again be a small increase from 2010. Growth in turkey production in the second half of 2011 is expected to be different from the first half, which showed strong increases in turkey meat production.
Turkey production in 2012 is forecast at 5.85 billion pounds, which would be an increase of just under 1% from 2011. Even though turkey prices have remained strong through all of 2011, turkey producers will be faced with the impact of high grain prices and a relatively sluggish domestic economy, according to the USDA.
For more poultry statistics and information, see

US broiler stocks down in third quarter 2011

Even though broiler meat production rose slightly in the third quarter of 2011, ending cold storage holdings of broiler products totaled 645 million pounds, down 4.9% from 2010 numbers and down 71 million pounds from the end of the second quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
With the exceptions of breast meat and drumsticks, cold storage holdings were lower for all other categories. Holdings of leg meat products were down sharply, with stocks of leg quarters at 87 million pounds, 29% lower than 2010. Stocks of leg quarters have moved lower as the export market has strengthened. Cold storage holdings of legs, thighs and thigh meat were also down from 2010. Stocks of wings totaled 52 million pounds at the end of third-quarter 2011, 8% lower than 2010 numbers. In September and October, stocks of wings have fallen by almost 21 million pounds. Stocks of whole birds are also down from 2010.
With broiler meat production up slightly and most of that growth coming from heavier birds, prices for a number of broiler products have been under downward pressure. In October, whole birds fell to 73.7 cents per pound, down over 8% from 2010 and about 7 cents per pound lower than in August. After rising in September, prices for boneless/skinless breast meat fell to $1.21 per pound in October 2011, down almost 10% from 2010 numbers.
Reflecting generally reduced cold storage holdings, prices for leg meat products were all considerably higher in October than in 2010. Prices for whole wings in the Northeast market averaged $1.20 per pound in October. While this is still down about 10% from October 2010, prices for wings have risen by 23 cents per pound since September. 

UK corn imports predicted to drop in 2011-2012

U.K. corn imports are forecast to drop 11% in the 2011-2012 season, to 904,000 metric tons from 1.02 million metric tons, as farmers use less corn for animal feed and more locally grown wheat, according to the Home-Grown Cereals Authority.
Feed use of wheat will rise 4.9% to 6.45 million metric tons, according to HGCA data. That may cut wheat availability by 61,000 metric tons to 17.85 million metric tons even as U.K. production rose 3.3% to 15.4 million metric tons. The U.K. wheat surplus available for either export or to build stocks will drop to 2.72 million metric tons from 2.83 million metric tons in 2010-2011, according to the HGCA. 

Aviagen poultry feed mill saves energy, expands production

Aviagen's Alabama mill has seen natural gas use drop by 28% since the upgrades.
Aviagen's newly expanded poultry feed mill in Athens, Ala., is producing 30% more feed while reducing its electric, natural gas and diesel gas costs by $169,836 and cutting its CO² emissions by 615 tons, according to the company.
The 2010 expansion, which focused on sustainable practices, added new equipment and procedures ensuring the biosecurity of pelletized and crumbled feed for Aviagen's Pedigree operation in Tennessee and to 115 company poultry farms in Alabama. “Our Athens mill expansion is achieving all our goals,” said Richard Obermeyer, Aviagen’s director of feed production. “We grew capacity, ensured biosecurity and cut costs. But the added benefit is that we enhanced the sustainability of our feed mill operation by reducing energy consumption across the board.”
After the upgrades, electricity consumption dropped by 15%, natural gas use dropped by 28% and diesel fuel savings came in at $63,200, according to Aviagen.

Ukraine may decrease corn planting, increase barley in 2012

Ukraine may decrease corn plantings in 2012 and grow more barley, according to agricultural researcher ProAgro.
A large current supply of corn, which has led to lower prices, may push farmers to look to other crops. “I am more than confident that corn planting will decline,” said Nikolay Vernitsky, director of ProAgro. “Corn supply is big now and prices are not very attractive.” Barley plantings may be increased in the spring, said Vernitsky, when farmers choose their crops based on the condition of winter grain plants and how exports and prices for corn develop.
Ukraine’s winter grains sprouted on 5.7 million hectares, 71% of planted areas, according to Agriculture Ministry data. Winter grains may be lost on more than 2 million hectares, according to the data. 

Hyperspectral imaging may be used to detect broiler meat hazards

Hyperspectral (HS) imaging may be a viable alternative to x-ray imaging when identifying bone, bone fragments and other physical hazards in poultry meat, according to the results of a research project at North Carolina State University.
In the course of the research, broiler fillets were compressed to a thickness of 1 centimeter for studying the fusion of HS transmittance and reflective imaging, which is a non-ionized and non-destructive imaging technique. Experimental results with fillets resulted in a detection accuracy of 100% for bones greater than 2 centimeters in length. However, the false-positive rate was 10%, primarily from thick fatty material, indicating further refinement is necessary prior to commercial use.
Attempts to detect embedded bones in thigh meat were less successful, according to researchers.

US broiler production to decrease in fourth quarter 2011

Fourth-quarter 2011 broiler meat production is forecast at 9 billion pounds, 5.1% below 2010 production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
The lower fourth-quarter production is expected to be driven by sharp declines in the number of birds slaughtered, but these declines are expected to be somewhat offset by an increase in average live weights. Preliminary slaughter data show a lower overall number of broilers slaughtered driven by reduced numbers of lighter birds, pointing toward higher average weights.
Broiler meat production in third-quarter 2011 was 9.53 billion pounds, 0.3% percent above the same period in 2010. This increase was the result of a 3% rise in average live weights, to 5.8 pounds. The increase offsets a decline of 2.9% in the number of broilers slaughtered. Broiler meat production in 2012 is forecast at 36.7 billion pounds, a decrease of 1.7% from 2011.
The decline in broiler meat production is expected to come mainly from a lower number of birds slaughtered, as bird weights are expected to be close to or slightly higher than in 2011. Broiler integrators are not expected to have any strong incentive to expand production, due to the combination of continued high prices for corn and soybean meal and relatively low broiler product prices at the wholesale level.

US September pig meat exports up on Asian demand

U.S. pig meat exports in September were 442 million pounds, more than 37% above September 2010 numbers, due largely to increased demand for U.S. pork products in Asia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's most recent report.
Exports from Japan and China in particular largely account for the sharp year-over-year increase, according to the report. Third-quarter exports were 1.26 billion pounds, about 33% larger than in the same period in 2010. U.S. companies shipped almost 23% of U.S. commercial pork production to foreign destinations in the third quarter, versus about 18% in the third quarter of 2010, and almost 7% in the third quarter of 2000. The strong year-over-year volume increase, together with export share growth, shows the importance that exports have assumed in aggregate demand for U.S. pork products.
The largest foreign destination for U.S. pork products in September was Japan — which imported 121 million pounds and accounted for 27% of U.S. pork exports. China came in second with more than 82 million pounds, followed by Mexico (81 million pounds) and Canada (50 million pounds). One of the explanatory factors for strong September exports is the continued low-valued exchange rate of the U.S. dollar. In particular, the very favorable U.S. dollar-Japanese yen rate is likely a key factor in strong Japanese demand for U.S. pork.
Fourth-quarter exports are forecast at 1.3 billion pounds, more than 13% higher than fourth-quarter 2010. Total U.S. pork exports for 2012 are expected to increase almost 3%, to 5.1 billion pounds. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

India providing subsidy for cattle feed

India's Chief Minister N Rangasamy will be providing cattle feed and calf feed to milk producers living below the poverty line at a 75% subsidized rate, according to reports.
The subsidized rate for cattle feed is Rs 3.60 (US$0.07) per kilogram and Rs 3.80 (US$0.07) per kilogram for calf feed. Milk producers can obtain feed permits from the respective primary cooperative milk producers society and get feed from the veterinary dispensary in their area.
The chief minister has also announced three new livestock rearing plans under a 50% subsidy to increase milk and meat production in the area. So far, 400 elite dairy farms have been set up, with 1,200 elite crossbred milch cows and 1,250 goats being reared.

Lesaffre presents symposium on pig nutrition

French feed additive firm Lesaffre held its second international symposium about nutrition in Lille, northern France, on November 8-9. After a first symposium dedicated to ruminant in 2010, Lesaffre chose this year to focus on pig nutrition, specifically “the benefits of live yeast in pig feed or how nutrition helps to improve health."
The symposium attracted more than 200 nutritionists from feed firms and research centers. Presentations ranged from very fundamental data regarding microbial interface in the gastrointestinal tract of animals such as that presented by Andrew van Kessel from Saskatchewan University; immune links between digestive, pulmonary and mammary mucosal immune responses to improve protection against the pathogen, presented by Henri Salmon, Inra; to very practical day-to-day actions to be taken on farms either in Czech Republic or in France, as presented by Jan Bernardy, Czech Republic and Philippe Le Coz, France.
Some results connected with living yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae SC 47 had been presented either on planetary sessions or on posters. Its utilization had been shown to have positive effects on productive performance after weaning. Rosil Lizardo, Irta, Spain, recommended, for example, its utilization on high fiber piglet diets.

Link between pig nutrition, microflora and the host studied

Andrew van Kessel, Saskatchewan University, Canada, spoke about the link between pig nutrition, microflora and the host at the Lesaffre symposium held in Lille, France, November 8-9.
According to van Kessel, the abundant and taxonomically diverse microbial community colonizing the pig gastrointestinal tract evolves due to environmental and feed factors. Because each of the species of organisms in the intestine possess different capabilities and needs, the relative proportion of different species change in response to a variety of factors including age, diet composition, rearing environment and possibly genotype. Chemical composition of the diet is a major determinant of microbial composition since dietary nutriments are a major substrate for microbial fermentation. Changes in feed chemistry (ingredient selection) not only affect the species that will be advantaged, but also the type and abundance of fermentation products. Both composition and species changes are likely to be important in gut health and nutrition through direct competitive exclusion of pathogens, recognition by host receptors altering the gene expression as substrates for host metabolic pathways, or as toxins.
Butyrate, for example, has been identified as an energy source for colonocytes, an anti-inflammatory factor and an inhibitor of virulence genes in Salmonella. In contrast, ammonia is a colonocyte toxin, which might damage the epithelium increasing host susceptibility to disease.
Recently, van Kessel focused on the interactions of fiber and low quality protein associated with by-products use in pigs. High levels of non-digested protein from lower quality feed sources is available for fermentation as an energy source in the distal gut. There, it favors putrefactive bacterial species and yielding protein fermentation products. Dietary fiber can displace protein fermentation as an energy source in favor of protein utilization for microbial biomass synthesis (microbial protein, nucleic acid), reducing liberation of putative toxins. Using heat-treated soybean meal as a model protein, he observed increased concentrations of protein fermentation products in the colon, which were reduced by the addition of dietary fiber (sugar beet pulp, wheat bran).
High fermentable protein diets were associated with increased in markers of colon inflammation (cell turnover, mucin, pro-inflammatory cytokine expression) but limited changes in epithelial permeability. Interestingly, although fiber reduced several protein fermentation products, there was no amelioration of inflammatory response, suggesting as yet unidentified fermentation products or other factors mediated inflammation. Whether the responses lead to disease susceptibility and whether different fiber sources or feed additives (e.g. probiotics) can negate these outcomes will be subject to further investigation.

Improving piglet immunity through sow-mediated immunity

Henri Salmon, Inra – France, spoke about the link between pig nutrition, microflora and the host at the Lesaffre symposium held in Lille, France, November 8-9.
According to Salmon, the survival of neonate piglets depends directly on the acquisition of maternal immunity via colostrum then milk, affording respectively systemic and mucosal protection. Yeast has long been known to help intestinal flora recovery after pathogen challenges. The speaker said that concerning yeast, SC boulardii had been first described to decrease diarrhea occurrence in consumers of litchis in Cambodia at the beginning of the 20th century.
The immunity system is compartmentalized: the IgM molecules are very heavy and don’t move fast enough to fight disease, so IgG is the queen of the fight in all the cellules spaces, with an adhesive action on the pathogen (antiseptic immunity) and IgA is a kind of “fly killer paper” as it is placed on the mucus. The pathogen adheres to IgA and, with intestinal peristaltic, is excreted with mucus. Thus, the piglet immunity system uses two different strategies to reduce the occurrence of diarrhea. Before farrowing, the sow concentrates IgG. Through the colostrum, she gives a kind of “bolus” of IgG to the piglets that can be used during the first 36 hours, as the digestive tract is very permeable. Then milk contributes for IgA. Whereas colostral IgG are mainly due to accumulation of blood IgG in the acini of the mammary gland at the end of the pregnancy, milk IgA originates from plasma cells: according to their homing receptors, these cells originate from separate mucosal compartments in the respiratory tract and intestine. Such entero-mammary links may be induced or enhanced by probiotic in the feed. The scientist investigates if feeding some sows with various S cerevisiae strains may increase the IgA in colostrum or/and in milk.
Feeding pregnant sows with S cerevisiae strain CNCM I 3856 at 0.05% increases concentration of IgG in colostrum and IgA in milk. It also decreases the incidence of non-typed E. coli diarrhea in piglets. Higher IgG concentration in the colostrum may be associated with increase of blood IgG translocation (more FcRn) and maintenance of IgA level in the milk might be due to persistence of plasma cells in mammary gland and/or in gut and/or lower decay of plgR (translocation site).
Acidity in the intestinal tractus also influences the IgA: it has been shown that butyrate, for example, is able to activate the transport system of IgA, which, in turn, is an incitation to increase the IgA production. Any action improving the IgA production in the sow has a protective action through the milk in the piglet.
In vitro study had been realized at the same time with the same yeast strain. It modulates epithelial cell responses to F4+ E.coli (ETEC) by decreasing the expression of pro-inflammatory transcripts. At the same time, there was a decrease in the mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK ½ and p38 phosphorylation. S. Cerevisiae regulates mRNA levels of the anti-inflammatory PPAR-gamma nuclear receptor, the IL-12p35 cytokine and the CCL25 chemokine involved in gut mucosal immunity.
Salmon concluded that S. cerevisiae strain CNCM I 3856 exhibits various probiotic properties enhancing the sow mediated immunity, probably by intervening at several complementary levels, the resident microflora of the gut and the gut epithelial cells.

Colibacillosis in pigs reviewed at Lesaffre symposium

Eric Cox, Ghent University, Belgium, spoke about the link between pig nutrition, microflora and the host at the Lesaffre symposium held in Lille, France, November 8-9.
According to Cox, 11% of all piglet deaths in post-weaning are due to diarrhea. It causes the death of +/-10 million piglets every year across the world. Around half of the diarrheas are due to E. coli. And no one knows for sure how much oedema provoked by E. coli costs pig producers. In newborn piglets, severe watery diarrhea can be caused by enterotoxigenic E. coli, ETEC, producing F4 (K88), F5 (K00), F41 or F6 (P987) fibriae (colonization factor). Colibacillose in weaned piglets is the result of infection with F4+ or F18+ ETEC or F18+ verotoxigenic E. coli (VTEC). Beside fibriae, ETEC produce thermolabile (LT), thermostable a (STa) and/or b (STb) enterotoxins which induce the secretory diarrhea resulting in weight loss, growth retardation and mortality, whereas sVTEC produce the Shiga toxin STX2e that binds to globotetraosylceraminde on endothelial cells, resulting in oedema, hemorrhage and micro thrombosis leading to nervous signs and mortality.
Newborn animals can be protected via the milk by vaccination of the sow against neonatal colibacillosis. This lactogenic immunity ceases at weaning, making weaned piglets highly susceptible again for enteropathogens. Weaned piglets lack or weakly express receptors on their enterocytes for F5, F6 and F41 fimbriae, but not for F4. The latter are highly expressed in the jejunum of newly weaned piglets making them highly sensible to F4+ ETEC infections. Three serological variants of F4 had been identified.
Piglets can have receptors on their enterocytes for adhesion of one or more of these variants, but receptor expressions can also be completely absent, resulting in resistance against infection. One of those variant (F4ac) is highly immunogenic fimbria that, upon oral administration, results in a specific intestinal IgA response and a protective mucosal immunity against an infection with a virulent F4ac+ETEC strain. Regarding the F18 strains, Cox and his colleagues had investigated the genetic population around the world and had been able to prove that 96% of all the strains have the same adhesion (FedF) and the same receptors on the villous enterocytes, which give a good basis to develop a worldwide management of the disease it provokes. Scientists had identified very recently these receptors as blood group O/A sugars. This identification is very important as it opens a door to fight against the adhesion on the mucosal sites and differ from strain to strain. If the F18 are glycolipides, the F4 receptors had been identified as glycoproteins.
Receptor for F18 fimbriae are absent in newborn piglets and gradually appear at the age of one week, resulting in sufficient receptors in three-week-old piglets for colonization with the F18+ ETEC and/or VTEC strains. Piglets without stress sensitivity gen (FUT1gen) are also without those receptors, a fact that militate to a genetic investigation to decrease diarrhea sensitivity in piglets.
F18 fimbriae are not very immunogenic. Oral administration of those strains does not result in immune response. Prevention of post weaning colibacillosis is difficult and should be based on prevention of predisposing factors, high hygiene and stimulation of the immune system (for F4 challenges). Although oral vaccines are on the market in the U.S. and Canada, there is doubt on their efficacy, and there is a need for developing vaccines, which can be applied during the suckling period.
Other differences had been lightened between F4 and F18 infection; the excretion of coli is quite different. F4 is excreted very soon after infection and thus is easiest to treat on the farm.

Friday, November 18, 2011

US Midwest farm land values up 25% on grain earnings

Farm land values in the U.S. Midwest increased 25% in the third quarter of 2011, the most since 1977, as rising net income for corn and soybean growers and improved cattle, hog and milk earnings supported higher land prices in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
Land values rose 7% from the second quarter, and banks are predicting further rises in the fourth quarter of 2011. Farmland values in Iowa, the largest producer of corn and soybeans, rose 31% from 2010, according to the Federal Reserve Bank. Indiana values rose 29%, Illinois 23%, Wisconsin 17% and Michigan 16%.
Interest rates have fallen for operating and real-estate loans, improving credit conditions for agricultural producers, according to banks. Repayment rates rose in the third quarter compared to 2010 numbers and loan renewals and extensions declined. Loans to buy farm machinery and build grain storage are expected to rise by the end of the year compared to 2010, while the value of all livestock loans is forecast to fall, according to the Federal Reserve Bank.

Missouri turkey feed diet may save producers money

Turkeys eat nearly $2 billion in feed each year. Jessica Salmond/MU Cooperative Media Group.
The Missouri Ideal Turkey Protein diet, a formula based on the exact nutrient requirements of turkeys, may save  poultry producers about $30 per ton of feed, according to Jeff Firman, a University of Missouri Extension poultry scientist.
The protein-based diet, which focuses on adjusting the amino acids in the turkeys' diet, helps reduce overfeeding and brings down costs by not wasting nutrients, said Firman. “We use a computer formulation program to adjust the amino acids, which lets us input detailed nutrient requirements and adjust that formula based on the cost of the ingredients relative to those nutrients,” he said.
“The turkey industry feeds about $2 billion of turkey feed each year," said Firman. "There’s potential for almost $100 million in savings annually.”

'Cultured meat' grown from leftover slaughterhouse animal material may be produced in next year

Scientists in the Netherlands are working on "cultured meat," grown in laboratories from leftover slaughterhouse animal material, and predict that the first lab-grown hamburger may be available in the next year.
The first burger will cost roughly €250,000 (US$345,000), according to Mark Post, a vascular biologist at the University of Maastricht, due to the manpower and labwork involved. So far, whitish pale muscle-like strips around 1 inch long and thin enough to be see-through have been created. Supporters of lab-grown meat hope it will prove to be a sustainable, efficient, tasty alternative to conventional meat production.
"The idea is that since we are now producing it in the lab, we can play with all these variables and we can eventually hopefully turn it in a way that produces healthier meat," said Post. "Whereas in a cow or a pig, you have very limited variables to play with."

Ontario provides $250,000 to poultry, wheat farmers to increase exports

Ontario, Canada, has announced $250,000 in federal funding to poultry and wheat farmers to increase their exports and enhance their competitiveness abroad, according to Pierre Lemieux, parliamentary secretary for agriculture and agri-food.
The Chicken Farmers of Ontario is receiving $120,000 through the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program to enhance readiness to contain potential disease outbreak. Another $130,000 is being provided to Wing’s Food Products of Toronto, which will enable Ontario wheat growers to market their produce to North American noodle and cookie makers and other foreign markets. Both these investments will also help poultry and wheat farmers boost their export potential, according to Lemieux.
The government is also investing $650,000 to support traceability initiatives in Ontario's livestock sector.

UK warns against selling conventional cage eggs once banned

Food manufacturers and retailers in the UK selling eggs or egg products produced from hens in conventional battery cages after the EU ban on such cages takes effect on January 1, 2012, will be breaking the law, confirmed the country’s Agriculture Minister James Paice.
The minister has pledged his strong support for the UK egg industry to ensure that manufacturers and retailers do not use illegal eggs. He has also welcomed the commitment from the British Retail Consortium that the UK’s major retailers will ensure that their cage-produced shell eggs, and their own-label products containing cage-produced eggs, will come from enriched cages. However, he said, it needs to be made clear to owners of branded food products that the law also applies to their ingredients and that any company using eggs produced in conventional battery cages after January 1 will be breaking both the letter and the spirit of the law.
“Food manufacturers and retailers need to know that they will be exposed if they do not ensure that all the eggs they use are fully compliant with the new legislation," said Andrew Parker, British Egg Industry Council chairman. "We welcome the minister’s commitment to take action to ensure that illegally-produced eggs do not undermine British egg producers.”

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Ranchers urged to watch animal feed for dangerous nitrate levels

Ranchers are being urged to pay attention to the nitrate levels in the animal feed they're giving their cattle, because drought-stressed plants harvested as feed ingredients may contain dangerous levels of nitrates, according to University extension officials in Kansas and Missouri.
Extension agents said they have been receiving reports of cattle succumbing to what appears to be nitrate poisoning. "We need to have everyone watch their cattle," said Eldon Cole, a livestock specialist for the University of Missouri Extension. "It's still early. There is a lot of that kind of high-nitrate feed that is still sitting in the barn and in fence rows and bale yards that we will be seeing feed on into the winter."

Hurricane relief assistance for northeast US farmers with crop losses exceeding $10,000

Cobank and Farm Credit East partnered with United Way to help farm families affected by the hurricanes, Irene and Lee. Families with $10,000 of crop losses/damage in designated disaster counties in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Hampshire are eligible for assistance.
This assistance is intended to show “farm community concern” during the holidays for the farm families hurt by the hurricanes, not for businesses or large structure repair.
Farm Credit East and CoBank will each donate $100,000 to this effort and Farm Credit East employees are also making contributions. Yankee Farm Credit will be contributing for the New York and New Hampshire counties that it serves and United Way of the Greater Capital Region also made a contribution. Farm families will receive up to $500 per family.
Those interested in donating may do so by sending a check to: United Way GCR – 2011 Farm Assistance, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, P.O. Box 13865, Albany, NY 12212. Contributions can be made online through the United Way
Families in need of assistance should return the completed application to the address listed at the bottom of the form, or may apply online at before November 26. The United Way hopes to distribute assistance to families by mid-December.  

Monday, November 14, 2011

US, Canada hog inventory up 1%

U.S. and Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs for September 2011 was 78.6 million head, up 1% from September 2010 but down slightly from September 2009 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
The breeding inventory, at 7.11 million head, was up 1% from 2010. Market hog inventory, at 71.5 million head, was up 1% from 2010 numbers. The pig crop, at 36.3 million head, was up 1% from 2010, while sows farrowed totaled 3.60 million head, down 2%.
U.S. inventory of all hogs and pigs on September 1, 2011, was 66.6 million head. This was up 1% from September 1, 2010, but down slightly from September 1, 2009. The breeding inventory, at 5.81 million head, was up 1% from 2010 numbers. Market hog inventory, at 60.8 million head, was up 1% from 2010. The pig crop, at 29.1 million head, was up 1% from 2010 numbers, while sows farrowed totaled 2.90 million head, down 1%.
Canadian inventory of all hogs and pigs on October 1, 2011, was 12.0 million head, up 1% from October 1, 2010, and up slightly from October 1, 2009. The breeding inventory, at 1.31 million head, was up slightly from 2010. Market hog inventory, at 10.7 million head, was up 1% from 2010 numbers. The pig crop, at 7.2 million head, was up 1% from 2010, while sows farrowed totaled 699,000 head, down 2%. 

US poultry, egg exports up in 2011

U.S poultry and egg exports are up through September 2011 compared to 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest meat trade data.
Broiler exports reached 5.11 billion pounds in the January through September 2011 period, compared to 4.81 billion pounds during the same time in 2010. Mexico was the largest target of exports during this period, receiving 751 million pounds of broiler meat. Hong Kong came in second, with 412 million pounds exported. Other chicken exports reached 68.82 million pounds during the January-September 2011 time period, up from 2010's 58.28 million pounds.
Turkey exports hit 504 million pounds, up from 2010's 408 million pounds, according to the USDA. Of the countries the U.S. exported to, Mexico was the top recipient, importing 283 million pounds of turkey meat. China came in second, importing 67.5 million pounds of meat.
U.S. egg exports in the January-September 2011 period came to 209.89 million dozen, up from 2010's 191.79 million dozen. Of the various countries exported to, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada rounded out the top three, with 35.56 million dozen, 29.23 million dozen and 29.14 million dozen eggs imported.

WATT launches Poultry International Resource Focus directory

WATT Publishing has launched Poultry International Resource Focus, a regularly updated directory of key organizations worldwide serving the poultry and egg industries.
Over the last couple of years, Poultry International has been focusing in each issue on a key player in the poultry industry, the egg industry or in a related sector. Now, all these entries have been brought together in one, easy-to-use reference resource at
If you need to know who represents Chile’s poultry producers, or where to find out about egg processing in Europe, the Poultry International Resource Focus should be your first port of call. As well as looking at representatives of primary poultry meat and egg production, the Poultry International Resource Focus offers you details of packaging organizations, international standard setting organizations and those organizations conducting research into poultry meat and eggs.
Each entry offers details of whom that particular organization represents, explains what exactly it does and offers a link to the home page of each particular body — a poultry and egg directory of organizations.
This is an ongoing resource that WATT is continuing to expand and build each month. So be sure to keep visiting to see whether we have included the organization that you have been looking to identify.
If there's an organization you'd like included, please contact Poultry International Editor Mark Clements, at

World feed grain use increases

World utilization of grains for animal feeds is forecast to resume a trend of annual growth in 2011-2012 after two seasons of stagnation, according to the latest Food Outlook global market analysis from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Strong demand from the livestock sectors in the leading emerging economies is seen as the main driver for a projected 1.7% increase in feed grain use to 780 million metric tons. Some 637 million metric tons of this will consist of maize and similar coarse grains, according to the FAO forecasters. This would represent a relatively small annual rise of about 1% for reasons including tight supplies and comparatively high prices against more abundant and cheaper feed wheat and large availabilities of distilled dried grains.
The latest indications point to a 5.6% increase in the global utilization of wheat for feeds, up to 130.9 million metric tons, driven by more competitive prices boosting feed use especially in China, the EU and the U.S.
Overall, however, prospects in the developed-economy countries and regions are predicted to be affected by slow economic growth. In fact, rather than expanding, feed demand is expected to contract in the U.S. (reducing by 3.7%), in the EU-27 (down by 2.6%) and in Canada (lower by 1.4%).
These declines are considered to offset strong expansions elsewhere, particularly in the CIS area including Russia (up 11%) and in China (higher by 4.8%). Total feed utilization of coarse grains in the developed countries is forecast to be around 323 million metric tons, or some 0.5% less than in the previous season. By contrast, the aggregate feed use of these grains (excluding wheat) in developing countries is expected to grow by 2.5% from the 2010-2011 level, to 313 million metric tons.

UK poultry farmers to benefit from environmental support

Poultry producers will be among those eligible to benefit from a new a GBP20 million (US$11.4 million) fund launched by the UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs to help rural businesses increase profits and reduce their impact on the environment.
Producers can apply for grants of up to GBP25,000 to invest in green projects and new machinery so their businesses can grow in an environmentally friendly way. The Farming and Forestry Improvement Scheme will fund new profit-boosting green schemes that, among other things, save energy and reduce carbon emissions, improve animal health and welfare and save and recycle water.
Funds will be allocated between now and December 2013. Grants will cover a maximum of half of the total cost of projects in uplands areas and at most 40% of the total cost of projects in non-upland areas.
Agriculture Minister Jim Paice commented: “Growing our economy goes hand-in-hand with protecting and improving our environment. We want rural businesses to thrive and this new fund will help farmers, foresters and horticulturalists to boost their profits and use greener and more efficient ways of working.”

US corn, soybean production estimates down from October forecast

U.S. corn production is forecast at 12.3 billion bushels, down 1% from the October forecast and down 1% from 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest estimates.
Based on conditions as of November 1, yields are expected to average 146.7 bushels per acre, down 1.4 bushels from the October forecast and down 6.1 bushels from 2010 — the lowest average yield since 2003. Area harvested for grain is forecast at 83.9 million acres, unchanged from the October forecast.
Soybean production is forecast at 3.05 billion bushels, down slightly from the October forecast and down 9% from 2010 numbers. Based on November 1 conditions, yields are expected to average 41.3 bushels per acre, down 0.2 bushel from October and down 2.2 bushels from 2010. If realized, the average yield will be the second lowest since 2003. Area for harvest is forecast at 73.7 million acres, unchanged from October but down 4% from 2010.

US broiler eggs, chicks down first week of November

Commercial hatcheries in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 19 State weekly program set 187 million eggs in incubators during the week ending November 5, 2011, down 6% from the same time in 2010, according to the latest report.
Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 85%.
Broiler growers in the program placed 149 million chicks for meat production during the week. Placements were down 8% from the comparable week in 2010. Cumulative placements from January 2, 2011, through November 5, 2011, were 7.3 billion, down 2% from 2010 numbers.

Hong Kong to become Brazil’s main pig meat export destination

By the end of 2011, Hong Kong will become the main market for Brazil's pig meat exports, according to Brazil’s pig meat producers’ and exporters’ association, ABIPECS.
Brazil has been keen to reduce its dependency on trade with Russia and, as well as boosting trade with Hong Kong, it has also succeeded in exporting more to the Ukraine, Angola, Singapore, Uruguay, Albania, Venezuela and Haiti. In 2012, exports to Hong Kong and China should overtake those to Russia, which is still Brazil’s main export market. Exports to Russia in October fell by 83.77% in comparison with October 2010. The first shipments to China are due to occur in November.
Between January and October 2011, Brazil exported 120,730 tons of pig meat to Russia, traditionally its main export market, while exports to Hong Kong reached 105,500 tons.

Canada sow numbers hold steady in 2011

For the first time in six years, the number of breeding sows in Canada seems to have stayed level over the past 12 months rather than decreasing, according to Statistics Canada estimates for the Canadian pig breeding inventory as of October 1, 2011.
The numbers put the national herd at 1.29 million sows, virtually the same as in October 2010. There was a modest 0.9% increase in the total on-farm inventory of all pigs, at 12 million. But this still means that 2010 and 2011 have given the smallest October totals for more than 10 years.
A particular concern for Canadian pork producers remains the approximate 5% price advantage held by the U.S. in export markets due to currency exchange rates. Industry leaders in Canada have expressed the fear that Canadian exports of pork will be hit hard, especially by the new trade agreement announced in October between the U.S. and South Korea, which is thought likely to result in Korean importers choosing U.S. meat over Canadian supplies. 

Pig monitoring key to efficient management, cost savings

Hugh Crabtree, managing director of Farmex.
Monitoring key factors of piggeries, such as temperature, water flow, electricity and feed supply augers, could have a huge impact on management efficiency and costs, according to Hugh Crabtree, managing director of Farmex.
Crabtree, who spoke to UK pig producers in Lincolnshire, said that monitoring should be used as a useful management tool. A drop in feed or water consumption, for example, could predict an outbreak of disease, allowing early intervention. This has been shown to save thousands of pounds on large-scale units, he said. “Monitoring piggeries has exposed much ignorance about the environment in which we keep our pigs, but it has also indicated simple ways to improve it — and save costs at the same time,” said Crabtree.
Crabtree has worked with pig farmers in Europe, the U.S., Australia and England, and said that success in the piggery doesn’t depend upon the equipment, but on the people using that equipment. You can’t control what you don’t measure, and monitoring has shown that the greatest variable on any unit is not the pigs or the equipment, but the human being,” he said.

UK online supermarket Ocado drops foie gras

UK online supermarket Ocado has stopped selling foie gras.
Production of foie gras is banned in the UK, however, it is not illegal to sell it. The decision by Ocado follows in the steps of a number of other high profile retailers in the country and follows an approach from animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. 

US corn harvest to be smallest in three years

US corn stockpiles may drop before the 2012 harvest, contributing to an overall drop in global supplies.
The U.S. is predicting its smallest corn harvest in three years after a drought damaged what was being called a record crop as recently as July. Analysts are expecting production of 314.7 million metric tons, 27.4 million metric tons less than forecast four months ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
U.S. corn stockpiles may drop by 29% before the 2012 harvest in September, causing global stockpiles to reach a five-year low of 122.75 million metric tons, according to analysts. Corn futures have gained 4% to $6.54 a bushel on the Chicago Board of Trade in 2011. Prices rose 14% from 2011's low of $5.7225 on October 3, and futures are indicating rising prices through at least the middle of 2012.

France corn harvest rises 8.6% on higher-than-expected yields

France's corn harvest is expected to rise by 8.6% in 2011, with production reaching 15.02 million metric tons from 13.82 million metric tons in 2010, according to the latest outlook report by FranceAgriMer. This is an increase from previous estimates, which had production at 14.75 million metric tons.
Corn exports all over the EU have been happening at the fastest pace in at least seven years, according to reports, as the bigger crops in France and Romania in particular have hurt prices and made exports attractive to overseas buyers. Corn futures in Paris have dropped 11% in the last two months. EU corn export commitments from July 1 to November 1 came to 1.1 million metric tons, compared with just 362,000 metric tons during the same time in 2010, according to the European Commission.

Ukraine corn exports may reach October record

Ukraine's corn exports may reach 1 million metric tons for October, a record for the month caused by high demand and a removal of the 12% tax, according to researcher UkrAgroConsult.
The tax, which had been put in place on July 1, was removed on October 22. The Ukraine government said it expects 12 million metric tons of corn to be exported in the marketing year (which began July 1) and a record harvest of 20 million metric tons. Corn exports for the country usually peak in November and December, but remain high through March.

US wheat prices drop as stocks hit 10-year high

U.S. wheat prices may drop as low as $5.90 per bushel before the end of December, according to trade analysts, as the second-largest harvest on record grows stockpiles and eases shortages.
Prices have already fallen 21%, reaching $6.24 per bushel in Chicago. Supplies in the 12 months ending June 30 are expected to grow by 5% to 684 million metric tons — the highest in a decade. In 2010, a 47% rise in prices led farmers to plant more grain, while Russia and Ukraine recovered from drought that ruined their crops. Harvests are also rising in Canada and Kazakhstan, which were hard-hit by bad weather. Wheat demand is expected to expand to 22 million tons, compared to a previous 3 million tons, but stockpiles will still grow to 202 million tons, according to the International Grains Council.
In conjunction with the larger stocks is a predicted increase in wheat-feed use, according to the IGC. Farmers will use up to 124.2 million tons of wheat in their animal feed, a 9% gain and the highest level in about 20 years, as corn prices remain high. Rabobank predicts an even higher possibility, 129.5 million tons.

Spain held African swine fever eradication exercise

Spain held a field simulation for African swine fever on November 10 and 11.
The exercise, which will involve the veterinary services of the Ministry of Environment, Rural and Marine Affairs, MARM, as well as those from the autonomous communities of Catalonia, Castile-Leon and Navarre, has been designed to review and verify the National and Autonomous emergency plans, control measures and the eradication of an ASF outbreak with a view to identifying improvements.
The simulation exercise has a number of specific objectives. These include evaluating the coordination between MARM and the autonomous communities when facing an immediate notification of an ASF outbreak in the European Union territory, and evaluating the coordination of some autonomous communities with provincial delegations, regional agricultural offices and the MARM.
In addition, the exercise will seek to evaluate the existence and/or the efficiency of some autonomous communities’ contingency plans for ASF, and evaluate the veterinary services capacity in some autonomous communities to identify the farms that may be affected by an ASF outbreak in the EU.
Some autonomous communities’ veterinary services will have their ability to send potentially ASF infected samples to a laboratory evaluated and the response of the national reference laboratory in case of reception of the potential ASF samples will also come under scrutiny.

Kenya poultry farmers switching to broilers on increased layer costs

Kenya's poultry farmers are scaling down their layer flocks and even switching to broiler businesses instead due to increased egg production costs and low returns.
Chicken feed has seen price increases from Sh1,670 (US$17.22) per 70-kilogram bag in 2010 to the current Sh2,820 (US$29.07) per bag. Layer eggs are also being bought at a lower wholesale price and then turned over at a much higher retail price, making layers an even less profitable business when the rising costs are factored in, say farmers. A tray of eggs (30 eggs in a tray) going for Sh230 (US$2.37) wholesale is selling for Sh425 (US$4.38) retail, according to local producers.
Some producers have switched to broilers, saying they're cheaper to maintain. Currently, a six-week-old broiler is going for between Sh400 (US$4.12) and Sh450 (US$4.64), with numbers expected to increase during festive seasons.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thailand lifts animal feed raw material import quotas

The Thailand government will lift import quotas for animal feed raw materials for up to three years in an effort to help manufacturers make longer-term business plans, according to reports.
In addition, soybean meal and fishmeal import quotas, which have always been reviewed every year, will now be reviewed every three years. Maize quotas will still be reviewed every year. Producers have claimed that the yearly reviews and delays on quota decisions have resulted in shortages of raw materials and have affected food prices.
Fishmeal imports are duty-free from Asean (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the U.S. and Australia under free trade agreements. Imports from Japan will face a 1.67% tariff until March 2012 under the Thailand-Japan free trade agreement, but will be duty-free from April 2012 to December 2014. The normal tariff for fishmeal is 15%.

Pig producers must meet top specifications to improve returns

Pig producers can improve returns by aiming for at least 85% of finished pigs to meet the top grade specifications on their abattoir contract, according to Walk the Line Day, an event designed to help share industry best practices among members of the pig supply chain.
How to most efficiently meet consumer requirements was a central topic of discussion at the event. “Processors want to receive a particular type of pig to best meet the demands of retailers and consumers for particular cuts, sizes and trends, such as the preference for low-fat pork," said BPEX knowledge transfer manager Lis Ravn. “Pigs that do not meet the optimum contract specifications require more processing, which incurs more cost and affects the price received by suppliers. It is essential that producers understand their contract and the product they need to supply. Pigs that grade outside the ‘optimum box’ can lose 10p per kilogram on average." 
According to Ravn, weighing pigs routinely throughout their lifetime helps inform management decisions to improve uniformity, involving nutrition, health and environment, which all play a part.
Held at Vion Food Group’s British processing plant at Malton and jointly hosted by the British Pig Executive, the event is part of a wider program that aims to improve supply chain communications. “The event was a great opportunity to discuss prevailing issues and to promote a greater understanding of challenges facing both farmers and processors,” said Vion's William de Klein.

Poultry, eggs central to Northern Ireland agricultural output

Poultry meat and eggs contribute some 18% to Northern Ireland’s gross agricultural output and consume one-third of the compound feed trade there. With an estimated turnover of GBP 629 million (US$1 billion), the poultry meat industry provides 17% of the gross turnover of the food and drinks processing sector and more than 5,500 full- and part-time jobs.
In 2010, 105 million chickens were processed in Northern Ireland, along with 1.5 million turkeys, according to Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Michelle O'Neill. Current production of hatching eggs stands at 4 million per week, of which 1.2 million are exported. “Primary production of poultry meat and eggs is an important contributor to income on a significant number of farms across the province, nearly all of which are family businesses," said O'Neill at a recent Poultry Industry Education Trust conference. "They form the basis of our efforts to ensure a sustainable and profitable industry.” 

China hits record corn crop, demand still falls short

China's corn production reached 189.2 million metric tons in the harvest that began in September, 6.7% more than in 2010, according to a survey of growers in the seven main producing regions carried out by SGS SA.
But even with these numbers, say experts, China will still need to rely on imports due to ever-increasing animal feed demand that exceeds domestic supplies. Imports in the marketing year that began in October may jump to 5 million metric tons from 1 million metric tons. “It’s an amazing crop, but demand is just too strong,” said Dan Cekander, the director of research at Newedge USA LLC. “Everybody has been projecting a record crop, and yet domestic prices are historically high, and the Chinese government just bought U.S. corn.”
Experts are predicting that China may need to import as much as 7 million metric tons of corn and 4 million metric tons of lower-quality wheat in 2012 to feed its hog, poultry and dairy herds. “China’s record harvest still doesn’t equate to a surplus because the government has to replenish depleted inventories,” said Troy Lust, a senior risk manager for commercial grain at INTL FCStone Inc. “The one thing that could derail the Chinese economy is food insecurity, and they will do whatever is needed.”

Fishmeal, fish oil conference looks at role of aquaculture in feeding the world

Arni Mathieson of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization was one of the featured speakers at the 2011 IFFO conference.
The International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organization held its annual conference October 16-20, 2011, in Lima, Peru, with record-breaking attendance. The title of the conference was “The Role of Marine Ingredients in Feeding the World.”
The conference featured a number of notable speakers, including, among others, Peruvian Prime Minister Salomón Lerner Ghitis, and Arni Mathiesen of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
Key messages from the conference were as follows:
  • If aquaculture is to fulfill its potential to ease world food shortages, then good governance and responsible development are essential.
  • For the small pelagic and fishmeal sector, this includes rights-based management of fisheries that will improve product quality and open up more market opportunities for human consumption.
  • Expansion of aquaculture offers huge opportunities for developing countries which can improve governance and increase responsible practice.
Some facts and figures presented at the conference included:

  • 66% of the world’s middle class will be living in Asia Pacific by 2030
  • Forecast GDP growth rate in China and Vietnam for 2016 is 30%
  • Number of undernourished people in the world in 2010 was 925 million
  • Proportion of the world population with fish-related livelihoods and well-being is 8%
A conference report with an overview of individual presentations is available.
The International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organization represents the fishmeal and fish oil industry worldwide. IFFO’s members come from more than 30 countries and account for about 60% of world production and 80% of fishmeal and fish oil traded worldwide.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spain may export poultry products directly to China

Spanish and Chinese ministers held a meeting in early November to discuss establishing and expanding direct poultry, pig and fruit trade between Spain and China.
Currently, Spanish poultry producers sell via Taiwan; however, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture has said that the country’s producers would like to establish a direct link with mainland China. Currently, 87 Spanish producers export to Asia, said the ministry.
During the meeting, it was also agreed that the two countries need to establish a high-level veterinary group to increase knowledge and facilitate trade in live animals and products of animal origin. 

India egg prices rising on bad weather, production cuts

Egg prices are rising in India as the onset of winter, recent torrential rains and a cut in production has affected numbers across the country, according to reports.
Eggs currently stand at Rs 2.88 (US$0.06) a piece. During the same time in 2010, they climbed only slightly higher, to Rs 2.90 a piece.
Layer prices, on the other hand, have gone down, according to the National Egg Coordination Committee, to Rs 41 (US$0.83) per kilogram. Broiler prices are also expected to drop in coming days. “We want to increase the prices gradually," said an NECC spokesperson. "If we raise the prices, we may face consumer resistance and piling up of stocks."

Ukraine increases African swine fever checks on Russia border

The State Veterinary and Bio-Security Service of Ukraine has increased its checks on the Ukrainian border with Russia after reports of African swine fever in Kursk region.
The recent cases were registered roughly 85 kilometers from the Ukrainian border, and urgent measures have been taken in Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv and Crimea in particular. "Imports of pork from Russia are undergoing special checks," said a report citing Ivan Bisiuk, head of the State Veterinary and Bio-Security Service. "The required equipment for testing for swine fever is being supplied to all regional state veterinary laboratories."
Bisiuk also said that veterinary and sanitary inspectorates on the borders have started withdrawing meat from citizens arriving in Ukraine. Supervision over the issuing of veterinary documents for animals and products of animal origin for traveling across Ukraine has been reinforced.
Since the start of 2011, 44 cases of African swine fever have been registered in Russia