Friday, December 30, 2011

US November egg production up 1%

    U.S. egg production totaled 7.61 billion during November 2011, up 1% from 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Production included 6.62 billion table eggs, and 999 million hatching eggs, of which 932 million were broiler-type and 67 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during November 2011 averaged 338 million, down slightly from 2010. November egg production per 100 layers was 2,253 eggs, up 1% from November 2010. All layers in the U.S. on December 1 totaled 338 million, down 1% from December 2010. The 338 million layers consisted of 286 million layers producing table- or market-type eggs, 50.1 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs and 2.78 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on December 1 averaged 75.4 eggs per 100 layers, up 1% from December 1, 2010. For more information and statistics on U.S. egg and poultry production, see

US consumers paid more for poultry, eggs in 2011

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index Summary, released December 16, U.S. consumers paid more for food, including poultry meat and eggs, overall in 2011. The index for “food at home” rose 5.9% over the past 12 months, with “all six major grocery store food groups up at least 4.4%.” The six major grocery store food groups are: cereal and bakery; meat, poultry, fish and eggs; dairy and related food items; fruits and vegetables; non-alcoholic beverages; and other food at home. The index for “food away from home,” or food purchased from fast-food or full-service restaurants, rose 2.9% in 2011, unadjusted for the seasons, according to the BLS. Ricky Volte, research economist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said that weak economic growth has driven more consumers to purchase food at the grocery store rather than going out to eat, increasing demand and, subsequently, prices for “food at home.” 

Pakistan poultry industry seeks disease assistance

    The Pakistan Poultry Association has asked the University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences to conduct research on poultry diseases, such as Newcastle disease, avian influenza and infectious bursal disease, in an attempt to educate the country's farmers. According to the PPA, Pakistan's poultry farmers lack poultry management skills and proper henhouse infrastructures. Dr. Munir Ahmad Sahi, a member of the PPA, asked the UVAS to conduct refresher poultry courses and training workshops to promote good management practices and technical support to the industry.

US Poultry & Egg Association opposes revised trucking hours rule

    The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released a revised hours of service rule for commercial vehicle drivers, published in the Federal Register on December 27, which the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association says will have a negative impact on the poultry and egg industries. Effective February 27, 2012, the new rule specifies that driving (or allowing a driver to drive) three or more hours beyond the driving-time limit may be considered an egregious violation and subject to maximum civil penalties of $11,000 per offense for the trucking company and up to $2,750 for each offense for the driver, according to the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association. “Since the current hours of service regulations were introduced in 2003, truck related fatalities have dropped 33% to the lowest levels ever recorded," said Paul Pressley, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association executive vice president of industry programs. "The poultry industry remains committed to safely operating its truck fleet and have organized their schedules and routes around the existing regulations. The new rule will restrict the on-duty hours available for many drivers and increase the number of trucks and drivers necessary to deliver our products without any demonstrated improvement in highway safety.” 

US egg, broiler chicks down in November

    U.S. egg-type chicks hatched during November totaled 37.5 million, down 3% from November 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. Eggs in incubators totaled 40.1 million on December 1, up 6% from 2010. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 218,000 during November, down 17% from the same time in 2010. Broiler-type chicks hatched during November totaled 704 million, down 5% from November 2010 numbers. Eggs in incubators totaled 609 million on December 1, down 5% from 2010. Leading breeders placed 6.89 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during November, down 9% from November 2010 numbers. For more information and statistics on U.S. poultry and egg production, see  

USDA approves Monsanto drought-resistant GM corn

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved Monsanto's genetically engineered, drought-resistant corn for sale in the U.S. after reviewing environmental and risk assessments, public comments and research data from the company, according to reports. The variety, known as MON 87460, "is no longer considered a regulated article under our regulations governing the introduction of certain genetically engineered organisms," said the USDA. The major U.S. area for adoption of drought-tolerant corn will be the Plains, which produces one-quarter of the country's corn crop, according to Monsanto estimates.

US corn, soy post gains on increased demand

    U.S. corn continued its longest rally in a year and soybeans jumped the most in 11 weeks on speculation that adverse weather may reduce output in South America, increasing demand for U.S. supplies. Roughly 50% of Argentina crops will be dry through the first week of January 2012 after recent rain stayed north of the main growing regions, said Commodity Weather Group LLC in a report, and as much as a third of Brazil’s crops face a lack of rain. “Current weather trends are raising the odds that the South American crops will be reduced,” said Dave Marshall, a farm- marketing adviser at Toay Commodity Futures Group LLC in Nashville, Illinois. Corn futures for March delivery rose 2.2% on December 27 to close at $6.3325 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. on the Chicago Board of Trade, the seventh straight gain and the longest rally since Dec. 29, 2010. Soybean futures for March delivery rose 3.2% to $12.095 a bushel, the biggest advance since October 11. It was the eighth straight gain, the longest rally since mid-July

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Qatar to invest in Sudan poultry project

    Qatari meat and livestock trading company Mawashi is investing in a Sudanese poultry project that will lead to the annual production of 12 million chickens in the next four years, according to CEO and managing director Ahmed Nasir Saria Al Kaabi. The Al Baraka Poultry Project will initially produce six million chickens. A 21-million-square-meter abattoir will be constructed in Sudan and will include a quarantine area, a slaughterhouse and a poultry processing and freezing section, said Kaabi.

Indiana turkey company to invest in new processing plant

    Indiana turkey company Farbest Foods Inc. plans to invest $69 million on a 220,000-square-foot poultry processing plant, according to reports. The plant, which will sit on 100 acres of land in Vincennes, Ind., is expected to create up to 600 new jobs over the next few years, said the company. Hiring has already begun for engineering, administrative and maintenance employees, and manufacturing workers will be hired in 2013. The plant will begin production with 360 employees, with a second shift added that will boost the work force to 600.

Hong Kong culls chickens infected with avian influenza virus

    Hong Kong health workers recently began culling more than 17,000 chickens after finding a chicken carcass infected with avian influenza at a poultry market, according to reports. The first large-scale cull since 2008 was done as part of precautionary measures officials are taking after finding the carcass infected with "highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus," said York Chow, Hong Kong's secretary for food and health. Hong Kong officials also raised the territory’s avian influenza alert to “serious” and closed the market where the infected bird carcass was found until January 12, 2012. The government also suspended the sale and import of live poultry for 21 days, Chow said, though officials are still determining whether the carcass was imported or came from a local source.

Companies propose poultry litter fueled facility

    Perdue AgriBusiness Inc. and Fibrowatt LLC recently submitted a proposal for Maryland’s Clean Bay Power Project that calls for constructing a boiler operation that runs off of poultry litter, according to a report. The proposed facility at the Perdue AgriBusiness Zion Church Road complex will provide 10 megawatts of electricity to the state as well as up to 70,000 pounds per hour of steam to the Perdue complex. The main fuel sources will be poultry litter and layer hen manure, among other local biomass. Perdue AgriBusiness, a direct exporter of U.S. agricultural commodities, is the largest buyer of poultry litter in Maryland, while Fibrowatt specializes in developing and operating poultry-litter-fueled power plants in the UK and in the U.S. 

China extends anti-dumping probe on US distillers' grains imports

    China's Commerce Ministry has said that it will extend an anti-dumping probe on imports of U.S. distillers' dried grains until June 28, 2012, before making a final ruling, according to reports. The extension is due to the case being "special and complicated," said the Ministry. The anti-dumping investigation was launched in December 2010, causing DDG imports in the first 11 months of 2011 to fall by 48% to 1.5 million metric tons. 2010 imports from the U.S. had previously grown 385% to 3.16 million metric tons, worth more than $753 million.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

US hog prices to remain strong in 2012

    U.S. hog prices should remain strong in 2012 in spite of a predicted 1.7% increase in production, according to Ron Plain, Extension livestock marketing economist at the University of Missouri. The live price for barrows and gilts will average $66.32 per hundredweight in 2011 and somewhere between $63/cwt. and $68/cwt. in 2012, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture numbers. “Given a typical 0.9% increase in the U.S. population, per-capita meat supplies should be tight enough to allow hog prices to hold steady despite an increase in production,” said Plain. Hog prices were down slightly for the week of December 12; cash prices were $57 to $59 in most markets. Hog slaughter was up nearly 4% from the same time in 2010, while carcass weights remain higher than 2010 numbers.

Russia pig meat imports rise 5.8% through October

    Russia’s pig meat imports rose 5.8% in the first 10 months of 2011, to 597,000 metric tons, according to the Federal State Statistics Service. The number was part of the country’s overall rise in fresh and frozen meat imports through October, which increased by 3.2% to 1.2 million metric tons over 2010 numbers. Poultry imports were 1% higher, at 371,000 metric tons, according to reports.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

China to import 1.4 million tons pig meat in 2012

    China will import an estimated 1.4 million tons of pig meat in 2012, according to the latest Rabobank report, up from a projected 1.1 million tons in 2011. In the first nine months of 2011, China imported 870,000 tons of pork – the 1.1-million-ton estimate is equal to 2% of nationwide pork consumption in 2010, according to Wang Jimin, a professor from the Chinese Academy of Agriculture Science.  Outbreaks of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome have reduced China's swine supply in recent years, and since 2007 China's pork imports have increased dramatically. Pork import volume in 2007 was 47,300 tons, up 115% from 2006, while remaining stable at 20,000 tons to 30,000 tons between 2000 and 2006. 2008 saw an increase of 93%, followed by a decline in 2009, and 2010 saw a 70.8% increase from 2009.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sodium butyrate in calf milk replacer shows positive effects

    The addition of encapsulated sodium butyrate in milk replacer and prestarter has been shown to improve the performance and health of suckling calves, according to research published in the Journal of Dairy Science. Sodium butyrate increased the average daily weight gain during the first 21 days of life and avoided weight loss during the first week of life, according to the data. In addition, the sodium butyrate increased the intake of prestarter feed during the first 21 days. Calves fed sodium butyrate had longer ruminal papillae, and the rumen weight compared to the total body weight was also modified. The need for antibiotic or electrolyte therapies were reduced when butyrate was used and the treated animals had improved fecal scores, according to the research.

US crop insurance payouts pass $7 billion in 2011

    U.S. crop insurance companies have paid out more than $7.1 billion in claims in 2011, which makes the year second only to 2008’s $8.6 billion in the total value of indemnities paid out to farmers. A combination of several large-scale floods in the Central U.S., record droughts in the southern plains, a strong tropical storm in the Northeast and a hard freeze in Florida combined to result in widespread agricultural losses, according to National Crop Insurance Services. Land covered under crop insurance has been rising since 1980, when Congress passed legislation designed to increase participation in the country's crop insurance program. By 1998, more than 180 million acres of farmland were insured under the program, representing a three-fold increase over 1988. By 2010, 80% of eligible farm land including all major grain crops and cotton, nursery, citrus, rice, potatoes and livestock, covering more than 256 million acres of farmland and valued at nearly $80 billion, were protected by private crop insurance policies.

Poultry researcher studies broiler antibiotics alternatives

    A recent article in Poultry Science examines several possible alternatives to antibiotics in broiler production, including probiotics and prebiotics, bacteriophages, bacteriocins and phytotherapeutics. “Historic Perspective: Prebiotics, Probiotics, and other Alternatives to Antibiotics," written by Dr. Michael Hume, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research service, also helps explain key differences among the alternatives currently being examined. “Calls for restricting the use of human health-related antibiotics in food animal production are now receiving more attention than ever from the scientific community, food animal producers, consumers and the human healthcare community," said Hume. "However, most of these alternative products are still in the experimental stage and are a long way from commercial availability. But the hard work it will take to get there is essential if we want to help protect the vulnerable inventory of human disease-fighting antimicrobials currently in use." The paper was originally presented by Hume at a Poultry Science Association symposium on the potential impact of reduced antibiotic use and the roles of alternatives to antibiotics in antibiotic-free broiler production.

Sanderson Farms reports net loss for fourth quarter 2011

    Poultry producer Sanderson Farms has reported a net loss of $21.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2011, compared to net income of $47.8 million for the same time in 2010, according to the company's most recent financial report. The net loss for the fiscal year 2011 came in at $127.1 million, compared with 2010's net income of $134.8 million. "The fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 marked the end of a challenging year for Sanderson Farms and the poultry industry," said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms. "We reported record annual sales of $1.978 billion, a 2.7% increase over fiscal 2010. However, we also reported a record net loss of $127.1 million. Our results reflect the combination of weaker poultry markets throughout the year and the significantly higher feed grain costs we experienced during the entire year. For the year, we sold 2.794 billion pounds of dressed poultry, another record, compared with 2.57 billion pounds in fiscal 2010." Sanderson Farms plans to leave 2011 production cuts in place through 2012 due to an expected continued decrease in demand, according to Sanderson.

California State University receives USPOULTRY Foundation grant

    California State University, Fresno, has received a $7,000 student recruiting grant from the USPOULTRY Foundation. The funding provided by USPOULTRY will help support a number of educational programs at Fresno State, according to Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. “The support provides partial funding for supplies and educational materials for the FFA State judging contest including bird cages and egg candlers, as well as lab coats for the poultry inspections we do," said Boyer. "In addition, research supplies for a few student projects will be provided by the gift.”  The USPOULTRY Foundation board approved student recruiting grants totaling more than $180,000 to six U.S. universities with poultry science departments and 14 other institutions with poultry programs. The Foundation provides annual recruiting funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs.   

Total US egg exports fall in October

    Monthly exports of eggs and egg products had been mostly higher in 2011 on a year-over-year basis through September, but fell in October to the equivalent of 22.4 million dozen eggs, 13.3% below 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The exports were down to Canada, Hong Kong, and Germany and a number of smaller markets, but were partially offset by higher shipments to Japan and Mexico. Exports of both shell eggs and egg products declined in October, with shipments of shell eggs at 11.5 million (down 12%) and shipments of egg products at the equivalent of 10.9 million dozen (down 12%). October shipments were likely impacted by strengthening U.S. prices, according to the USDA. Domestic shell egg prices have continued to strengthen in November and into December. Over the first 10 months of 2011, total egg shipments were 232 million dozen, up 6.7% from the same period in 2010.   

US table egg production up slightly in October

    The U.S. table-egg-laying flock in October was estimated at 282 million hens, 0.9% above 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Changes in the table egg flock numbers on a year-over-year basis have generally been lower in 2011. The flock size was higher in only three of the first 10 months, although table egg production has been higher throughout 2011. The table egg flock is expected to remain higher than 2010 through the remainder of 2011, but only slightly. At the beginning of November the estimate of the number of birds in the table egg flock was down, but the decrease was less than 1%. With expected higher feed prices and continuing economic uncertainties, egg producers are not expected to have much of an incentive to expand production in 2012, according to the USDA. Even with table egg production higher throughout the first 10 months of 2011, total production has been 5.5 billion dozen, only marginally higher (0.8%) than the same period in 2010. In October, production was 562 million dozen, an increase of 1.9% from 2010 numbers. Fourth-quarter 2011 table egg production is estimated at 1.69 billion dozen, or about 1.1% higher than 2010. Hatching egg production has been lower than 2010 through the first 10 months of 2011. Over the first half of 2011, hatching egg production was down by relatively small amounts per month, but since July the declines have been much sharper, averaging around 3% per month. Although there have been some declines in the number of egg-type eggs produced, the majority of the decline has come from a lower number of broiler-type eggs. The decrease in the production of broiler-type eggs is expected to continue through the first half of 2012 or until broiler integrators begin to expand production.

US October turkey production even with 2010 numbers

    U.S. turkey meat production in October totaled 525 million pounds, almost identical to production during the same time in 2010, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Although the total meat production was unchanged, the number of turkeys slaughtered rose by 0.5% to 23.3 million. The increase in the number of birds slaughtered was offset by a slight decline in the average weight at slaughter from a year earlier to 28.3 pounds. The fractional growth in turkey meat production in October contrasts to the strong expansion in production over the first half of 2011, when production was up 5.5% compared with the same period in 2010. Over the first 10 months of 2011, turkey meat production has been 3.4% higher. The second half of 2011 is expected to be a sharp contrast as production was only 0.5% higher in the third quarter, and the fourth-quarter production forecast is 1.5 billion, according to the USDA, only 0.3% above 2010. Stocks of all turkey products fell by over 100 million pounds between the end of September and the end of October. Total turkey stocks were 407 million pounds at the end of October, down 0.7% from 2010. This is a significant change from stocks at the end of September which were 7.6% higher than in 2010. Declines in stocks of whole birds accounted for 69% of the decline in total turkey product stocks from September to October. Stocks of whole birds fell by almost 71 million pounds, dropping the level for whole birds to 209 million pounds, almost 14% lower than 2010. Whole bird stocks at the end of September were only 2.6% lower than 2010. The decline in stocks of turkey products was much less (down 32 million pounds), and stocks of turkey products at the end of October were 199 million pounds, 18% higher than in October 2010. The estimate of ending stocks for 2011 was lowered to 205 million pounds, down 10 million pounds from the previous estimate but still 7% higher than 2010. The stock estimate for the first quarter of 2012 was lowered by 15 million pounds to 325 million. However, the estimates for the second and third quarters were both increased to 500 million pounds. Anticipating a strong drawdown in stocks during in the holiday period in 2012, ending stocks for 2012 were reduced by 10 million pounds, to 200 million pounds. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

USDA delays implementation of poultry product labeling regulations

    The Food Safety and Inspection Service is delaying the effective date of the final regulations that require nutrition labeling of the major cuts of single-ingredient, raw meat and poultry products and ground or chopped meat and poultry products that were published in the Federal Register on December 29, 2010. The original effective date of these regulations was January 1, 2012; the new date is March 1, 2012. The FSIS is taking this action in response to a request from eight trade associations, which requested that the FSIS exercise enforcement discretion for a six-month period following the January 1, 2012, effective date of the final rule. However, the FSIS has concluded that a two-month delay in the effective date will allow the industry sufficient time to comply with the requirements of the final rule. 

Russia poultry imports rise 1% through October 2011

    Russia’s poultry imports rose 1% in the first 10 months of 2011, to 371,000 metric tons, according to the Federal State Statistics Service.
    The number was part of the country’s overall rise in fresh and frozen meat imports through October, which increased by 3.2% to 1.2 million metric tons over 2010 numbers. Pork imports were 5.8% higher, at 597,000 metric tons, according to reports. 

Poultry top Mississippi commodity in 2011

    Poultry production was the top commodity in Mississippi in 2011, with a preliminary estimated value of $2.4 billion for 2011, according to reports. While broiler values decreased slightly in 2011, by 2% to $2.2 billion, egg values increased by 24%. “The biggest challenge this year was the cost of feed,” said John Michael Riley, Mississippi State University Extension Service agriculture economist. “We saw a lot of this nationwide, with poultry firms going out of business and filing for bankruptcy. Their costs just got ahead of their revenues.” Overall poultry production is expected to be roughly the same for 2012, according to economists. “There has been a pull-back in supply this year because of the high input costs associated with production,” said Riley. “For 2012, the question is what is demand going to be? We are cautiously optimistic because the economy is still pretty tough.” 

Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan set 2012 poultry import quotas

    The Customs Union Commission of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan has set the countries' poultry import quotas for 2012. Russia's limits are set at 70,000 tons of boneless frozen chicken, 250,000 tons of frozen chicken parts and 10,000 tons of frozen boneless turkey meat. Belarus has a quota of 15,000 tons of poultry and its products. Kazakhstan's 2012 poultry limit has been set at 110,000 tons of poultry and its products, according to the commission. 

October US broiler meat production down 3%

    U.S. broiler meat production totaled 3.1 billion pounds in October, down 3% from 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Total broiler meat production during the first 10 months of 2011 was 31.4 billion pounds, 2.6% higher than in the same period in 2010. In October, the number of birds slaughtered fell to 700 million, down 3.2% from 2010. The lower number of birds slaughtered was partially offset by an increase in the average live weight of birds at slaughter, up fractionally to 5.94 pounds, according to the USDA. Average broiler weights at slaughter are expected to continue higher in November and December, but the rate of growth is expected to be much slower than it was over the first three quarters of 2011. The estimate for fourth-quarter 2011 broiler meat production was decreased 25 million pounds to 8.98 billion pounds, 5.4% below 2010. This lowers the annual forecast for broiler meat production in 2011 to 37.3 billion pounds, an increase of 1% from 2010. The broiler meat production projections for the first and second quarters of 2012 were revised down 5.3% and 4.2% on a year-over-year basis, and the revised total broiler meat production for 2012 is now 36.5 billion pounds, down 2.1% from 2011. For more information on U.S. poultry data, visit  

Friday, December 16, 2011

Poultry surface freezing not a significant reducer of bacteria

Blast surface freezing of poultry meat does not result in a significant reduction in bacteria counts (such as Salmonella or E. coli) when compared to fresh or completely frozen treatments, according to research conducted at Clemson University.
Salmonella and E. coli bacteria were injected into raw chicken breast, allowed to attach, and then live cells were recovered after exposure to surface freezing for comparison with bacteria on meat that was only refrigerated or completely frozen. Since bacteria in processing plants are often exposed to low temperatures, both cold-shocked and normal temperature bacteria were injected into samples. No differences were found between cold-shocked or non-shocked bacteria on products that were surface or completely frozen, and surface freezing did not increase shelf life or affect color and tenderness of raw chicken breast.

Argentina to export extra 2 million tons of corn

Argentina's government has authorized an additional 2 million metric tons of corn for export in response to farmers' requests for an increase in the quota due to a record 30-million-metric-ton 2011-2012 crop.
The additional corn, harvested from the 2010-2011 season, brings the total shipment to 16.6 million metric tons, and an additional 1.5 million metric tons of corn may be exported in January, according to Agriculture Undersecretary Oscar Solis. An additional 2.7 million metric tons of wheat have also been authorized for export, bringing the current season's exports to a record.

Wine dregs boost cow milk production, cut methane emissions

Adding the stems, seeds and skins from wine grapes to a dairy cow's feed boosts milk production by 5% and cuts methane emissions by 20%, according to research conducted by Australian scientists.
"We've managed to utilize what is currently a waste product for the wine industry and turn it into a very valuable feed source," said scientist Peter Moate. The data also showed an increase in healthy fatty acids in the milk, six times higher than with standard autumn feed. "These particular fatty acids are extremely potent in their ability to benefit heart health and are also known to help fight cancer, diabetes and arthritis," said Moate.
The research is part of a wider program looking at the use of feed supplements to reduce methane emissions. Other possibilities have included brewers' grains and cold-pressed canola meal.

Small 2012 corn surplus may keep prices high

An expected small 2012 U.S. corn surplus of 848 million bushels will likely keep food prices high, according to reports. Prices increased by 4.5% in 2011 and are forecast to rise by as much as 3.5% in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The estimated corn surplus will satisfy demand for fewer than 25 days — 30 days is considered a healthy supply. The U.S. soybean surplus is predicted to come in at 230 million bushels, a 28 day supply. 

Brazil pig meat production to end 2011 higher

Brazil’s pig meat production will reach 3.5 million tons by the end of 2011, estimates the country’s producers and exporters association Abipecs, an increase of 4.9% in comparison with 2010 numbers. The increase is attributable to gains in productivity, a higher average slaughter weight in comparison to previous years and the renovation of out-of-date production facilities, the association says.
Brazil’s breeding herd currently stands at 2.48 million head, an increase of 0.6%, while the number of pigs slaughtered under the federal inspection system rose by 4.5% to 30.4 million head. Those pigs slaughtered under other inspection systems fell back to 2008 levels.
Sales to both the home market and overseas have continued strong, with local sales now accounting for 84.7% of production, compared to 83% in 2010. Exports, particularly to Asia, and most notably to Hong Kong, are continuing to grow. To October, exports to Hong Kong reached 107,500 tons, an increase of 32.42% in relation to the same period in 2010. In 2012, Sales to Hong Kong and China are expected to exceed those to Russia, currently Brazil’s number one export market. In October, sales to Russia fell by 83.77% in volume, while the amount sold to Hong Kong rose by 36.77%.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Brazil’s Aurora launches pioneering project with poultry suppliers

Brazil’s Aurora Alimentos, in partnership with the government research body Embrapa Suinos e Aves, is implementing Projeto Frango Aurora — Aurora poultry project — a three-year initiative that provides suppliers with the technical support to improve poultry production practices, sustainability, animal welfare, the production of safe feed, the safety or workers and the health security of farms.
Fifty-five farms were involved in a pilot project, and by 2014, all of Aurora’s 1,800 suppliers will be brought into the project. Aurora’s technical team will implement protocols to guide production and that will cover everything from how documentation is prepared to the removal of dead birds, and which will make national and international audits easier to conduct.
The project, said to be the first of its kind in Brazil, will focus on improvements at farm level, and the areas that need to be addressed have already been identified. Aurora hopes that through providing its poultry suppliers with set procedures to be followed, the profitability of the group as a whole will be improved. 

CME Group executive: we will not cover all MF Global losses

Bryan Durkin, chief operating officer for CME Group, told attendees at a meeting of the National Grain and Feed Association Monday in Chicago that the CME Group will cover a substantial amount of the missing funds from MF Global, but stopped short of saying that all monies lost would be covered by the brokerage.
Durkin indicated that he had personally been proactive in reaching out to the agribusiness community in general and to the NGFA in specific after news of the bankruptcy became public.
“This has been an industry-wide blow to the heart of commodities markets – to its producers, to its processors, and to its distributors, and that blow was dealt by the violations that were committed by MF Global,” Durkin said, speaking to a packed ballroom at NGFA’s annual Country Elevator Conference.

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US Chicken industry operations going through significant changes

A new report from Rabobank's global Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory department examines the challenges faced by the U.S. chicken industry and the implications for necessary change in the industry going forward.
According to "This is not your grandfather's chicken industry — Thoughts from a banker's perspective," written by Rabobank's senior poultry sector experts, the U.S. chicken industry is encountering permanent rather than cyclical changes which will require significant changes in how the industry operates in the future. Those challenges include:
  • Excess supply in the industry, which has been made difficult to remedy given recent court rulings which inhibit companies' ability to eliminate capacity or even reduce production
  • Increasing government regulation which makes it difficult to achieve competitive cost management and efficiency
  • Rapid globalization of the industry, requiring U.S. companies to develop new export products for new export markets
  • Maturation of the U.S. domestic market
  • Structurally higher and more volatile feed input costs
"Rabobank believes the industry will adjust eventually, but those who will survive and thrive in the future will be those who recognize that the operating environment has changed forever, and alter the way they run their business," according to the report.

Europe organic poultry producers win reprieve from tighter feed rules

Europe’s organic poultry producers will not have to change the way they feed birds come January 2012, as had been proposed by the European Commission.
The commission had intended for the organic poultry industry to grow a large proportion of feed from their holding or region and wanted to implement a 100% organic diet for poultry. However, it has now revealed that it will not make any immediate changes and the requirement to use fully organic pullets will also be delayed.
“I am delighted that the EU has listened to the NFU and those in the poultry sector who have made representations to the EU Commission and Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the important matter of organic diets,” said Martin Humphrey, UK National Farmers Union board member and organic feed compounder. “While we await confirmation from the proposed text for the legislation, it looks clear that the EU will not implement 100% organic diets and will allow producers to continue with the current 95% diets for a limited amount of time.”

USPOULTRY Foundation awards recruiting grant to Auburn University

The USPOULTRY Foundation has awarded a $17,580 student recruiting grant to Auburn University’s poultry science department.
The funds will help to promote the education and career opportunities that poultry science majors experience at Auburn, according to Dr. Don Connor, head of the department. "Our graduates are well prepared for and easily placed in a wide range of rewarding careers in the poultry industry,” said Connor.
The USPOULTRY Foundation board recently approved student recruiting grants totaling more than $180,000 to six U.S. universities with poultry science departments and 14 other institutions with poultry programs. The Foundation provides annual recruiting funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs.

US asks WTO to remove China-imposed poultry duties

The U.S. has asked the World Trade Organization to remove duties that China imposed on U.S. broiler products in August and September 2010, after China claimed the products were subsidized and dumped in the Chinese market at less than fair value.
The U.S. claims that the duties, which range from 55% to 135%, are in retaliation for U.S. moves to restrict Chinese tire imports by enacting a 35% tariff on the product and a congressional ban on cooked chicken from China. The U.S. was the largest exporter of broiler products to China before the duties were imposed. Since then, U.S. broiler product exports to China have fallen by roughly 90%, according to the U.S. trade office. "The U.S. government believes the duties to be inconsistent with numerous WTO rules," said U.S. Trade Representative spokeswoman Andrea Mead. "Accordingly, the U.S. government believes the duties should be removed as promptly as possible regardless of why they were imposed."
The U.S. asked China for consultations on the dispute in September and the two sides held talks on October 28, but no resolution was reached.

National Chicken Council concerned over Final Rule costs

The National Chicken Council has said that it appreciates the work of Congress to limit the final regulations to the requirements of the 2008 Farm Bill, but is "disappointed that the final rule still includes provisions estimated to cost the chicken industry as much as $55.5 million annually."
According to Council President Mike Brown, the provisions will be burdensome on the industry, which has struggled financially in the current difficult economic climate and record-high costs of production. "We will work with our members to facilitate compliance with the rule when it takes effect on February 7, 2012," said Brown.

Chicken liver pate 90% of UK catering Campylobacter cases

Figures from the UK’s Health Protection Agency have revealed that over 90% of outbreaks of Campylobacter food poisoning at catering venues in 2011 were linked to chicken liver pate consumption.
Across a total of 18 outbreaks of Campylobacter infection in England in 2011, 443 people became unwell and one person was hospitalized. Fourteen outbreaks occurred in catering venues and 13 of these were linked to chicken or duck liver pate. The outbreaks occurred across England and seven were linked to wedding receptions at hotels, banqueting venues or public houses and six were associated with catering at other functions in hotels, clubs and restaurants.
HPA investigations into these outbreaks revealed that livers used to make the pate were undercooked allowing the liver to remain pink in the center.
The Food Standards Agency issued updated advice to caterers on the safe handling and cooking of livers twice in 2010, but Campylobacter outbreaks associated with the consumption of chicken liver pate have continued to occur. “Unfortunately, levels of Campylobacter in most raw chicken are high so it’s really important that chefs cook livers thoroughly to kill any bacteria, even if recipes call for them to be seared and left pink in the middle,” said Bob Martin, head of food borne disease strategy at the FSA.
Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial food poisoning in Britain and there were estimated to have been more than 600,000 cases in 2010 in England and Wales alone. 

Poultry industry illness, injury rates remain low

The incidence of nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses in the poultry industry remains low, decreasing 76% over the last 16 years, according to the 2010 Injury and Illness Report released by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The total recordable poultry processing illness and injury rate for 2010 was 5.9 cases per 100 full-time workers per year, up slightly from 5.5 in 2009 but down from 6.1 in 2008, according to the report. In terms of injuries per 100 full-time workers, the poultry industry’s rate of 5.9 was below the rate of 6.9 for all animal slaughter and processing and statistically the same as the rate of 5.8 for the entire food manufacturing sector. 
Among the industry's efforts to improve its worker safety record are the sharing of non-competitive practices; working with equipment manufacturers and suppliers to improve machine guarding on new equipment and the provision of adequate disconnects to assist and facilitate proper lock out/tag out procedures; and collaborating with personal protective equipment suppliers.

Monday, December 12, 2011

USDA implements 2008 Farm Bill provisions affecting poultry producers

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published the Final Rule implementing the 2008 Farm Bill provisions aiming to better protect poultry growers and livestock producers under the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The provisions being finalized were required by the 2008 Farm Bill and have been modified from the June 22, 2010 proposed rule. These sections include criteria the Secretary may consider when determining whether a live poultry dealer has provided reasonable notice to poultry growers of any suspension of the delivery of birds; when determining whether a requirement of additional capital investments over the life of a poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract constitutes a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act; and when determining if a packer, swine contractor or live poultry dealer has provided a reasonable period of time for a grower to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to termination of a production contract.
The rule also includes a section requiring contracts that require the use of arbitration to include language on the signature page that allows the producer or grower to decline arbitration and provides criteria the Secretary may consider when determining if the arbitration process provided in a contract provides a meaningful opportunity for growers and producers to participate fully in the arbitration process.

Philippines may begin pig meat exports to Malaysia in 2012

The Philippines may begin exporting pig meat to Malaysia in early 2012, pending the approval of a triple A slaughterhouse facility by Malaysian regulators, according to agriculture officials.
The owners of the slaughterhouse filed for accreditation in October, and a team from Malaysia's Department of Veterinary Services must visit the facility before it can give the approval to begin shipments. “Our target is to start shipping 100 tons of pork per month there,” said Jane C. Bacayo, executive director of the Philippines' National Meat Inspection Service. "[Malaysia's] requirement is 1,000 heads per day." According to Bacayo, Malaysia wants to buy pork from the Philippines so they will have an available supply for tourists.
In December 2009, the Philippines voluntarily suspended a shipment of pork to Singapore after detecting the Ebola Reston virus in a farm in Luzon. In May, the country received certification from the World Organization for Animal Health that it was completely free of foot-and-mouth disease without the need for vaccination.
The Philippines also has plans for expansion, and has earmarked P180 million (US$4.16 million) for the construction of five triple A slaughterhouses in 2012.

CarmOlimp expects pig meat exports to rise in 2012

Romanian cold meats producer CarmOlimp expects EU pig meat exports to account for 9% of its 2012 turnover, contributing to a 20% increase in its overall turnover, after the European Commission lifted the ban on the country's exports to the EU market beginning January 1, 2012.
The ban of meat and processed pork products from Romania to the EU was put in place in 2003 due to the swine flu, and the European Commission extended the block in 2007. The company is predicting an overall turnover of €29 million in 2012.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Irish welfare aid restored to pig, poultry producers

Ireland’s minister of agriculture has announced the re-opening of a grant aid scheme run by the Irish government to encourage investment by pig and poultry producers.
The Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme had been suspended earlier in 2011 because of the uncertain budgetary situation in Ireland. The government will make funds available for grant aid to be offered in 2012 towards projects on farms to improve poultry and pig welfare as well as for bioenergy and job creation. Among the applications of TAMS previously had been financial help where pig units needed to change the accommodation of their sows in gestation towards a loose housing arrangement in line with imminent European Union animal welfare requirements.  

Armenia egg supply expected to meet demand for new year

Armenia's egg supply will more than meet demand for the 2011-2012 New Year holiday, and the 2010-2011 shortage will not be repeated, said expert Manase Yepremyan during a press conference.
The country's current storage stands at 5 million eggs, and another 5 million will be imported, said Yepremyan. Local poultry farms will also produce roughly 35 million eggs in the month of December.
Leading up to the 2010-2011 New Year holiday, an egg shortage caused prices to triple.

USPOULTRY Foundation awards grant to University of Arkansas

The USPOULTRY Foundation has awarded a $19,043 student recruiting grant to the University of Arkansas’ poultry science department.
Such funds from the USPOULTRY Foundation are vital in the university’s outreach to K-12 youth and community college students, according to Dr. Michael Kidd, director of the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the university. “These funds give us the means to develop forums to attract and explain the vast and lucrative career possibilities that a poultry science major can provide," said Kidd. "Moreover, it’s a testament that the U.S. poultry industry wants to help us recruit today’s youth, contribute to their education and develop future leaders in these careers."
The USPOULTRY Foundation board recently approved student recruiting grants totaling more than $180,000 to six U.S. universities with poultry science departments and 14 other institutions with poultry programs. The Foundation provides annual recruiting funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs.   

Corn, soybean futures rise on falling prices

Corn futures for March delivery rose 0.9% on December 6, to $5.965 a bushel, up from a two-month low on speculation that prices that have fallen 20% since September 1 will increase demand from meat, food and fuel processors.
Similarly, soybean futures for January delivery rose 0.3%, to $11.295 a bushel. “Prices have fallen so much since September that there is a little bit of buying beginning to surface” from U.S. fuel and meat producers, said Dave Marshall, a farm marketing adviser for Toay Commodity Futures Group LLC. Corn prices dropped 6% in November, while soybeans dropped 7.1%.

Orange peels in cattle feed may fight E. coli, Salmonella

Adding orange peels to cattle feed may reduce the prevalence pathogenic bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, in cows' gastrointestinal tracts, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.
Researchers found that sheep fed orange peel pellets resulted in a 10-fold reduction in Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 in the animals' intestinal contents.
The ARS study brought together two other, separate studies: one focusing on the anti-microbial properties of citrus oils and another investigating the potential uses of citrus wastes as animal feed. Citrus peels contain a chemical that is toxic to pigs and poultry, but cows, with their four stomachs, have no trouble digesting the peels, according to the study. The researchers' next move is to field-test the orange-peel-infused feed in cattle around the U.S.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ukraine corn farmers may plant record acres in 2012

Ukraine's corn farmers may plant more than 4 million hectares (9.88 million acres) for the 2012 harvest after record 2011 production, according to the country's Agriculture Ministry.
The 2011 harvest is already at 21 million metric tons, and there are still 150,000 hectares left to be collected, said Oleksandr Demidov, head of the Ministry's crop department. Plantings for this crop were 3.57 million hectares.
Ukraine's total grain harvest was 57 million metric tons as of December 1, with wheat making up 22 million metric tons and barley 9.1 million metric tons. Total grain plantings for 2012 will be 15 million hectares, according to Demidov.

UK egg producers disappointed by government cage stance

The UK’s National Farmers Union has expressed its disappointment that the government has not been able to adopt stronger measures to protect egg producers from illegal eggs (laid by caged hens) potentially entering the UK beginning in 2012.
Farming minister Jim Paice has announced that the UK food industry will have to reach a voluntary consensus that it will not use eggs produced by hens in conventional cages, although manufacturers will still be allowed to use the same eggs for their products.
NFU poultry board chairman Charles Bourns said: “We welcome the enforcement measures being taken by the government, but our members will certainly be bitterly disappointed that it has not been possible to take tougher action.
“We are concerned that, although the government has repeatedly pledged its support for the industry, it cannot prohibit the use of illegal egg products and food manufactured from such products. Although we are pleased to see the support of some UK retailers and food manufacturers on this, there are still a number of companies who have yet to make this commitment.
"Further to this, we would like to see retailers and food manufacturers showing their support for the whole of the British egg industry by offering a fair price for all legal eggs and egg products to recognise the investment that has been made in all production systems in readiness for January 1.
“The UK egg industry should not be disadvantaged for embracing new higher welfare systems, and the government’s announcement is not what UK egg producers needed after they have invested so heavily and met the requirements of the law.”
Some 13 European member states are not expected to be compliant with the cage ban come January 1, 2012.

India bans Nepal poultry imports on bird flu concerns

India has banned poultry imports from Nepal after Nepal declared one of its districts an emergency area and put another 26 districts on high alert due to an outbreak of H5N1 avian influenza.
Over 500 chickens and ducks have already been culled in Nepal, and dozens of eggs and several kilos of poultry feed have been destroyed as part of efforts to contain the outbreak, according to officials. “Though there has been no case of bird flu in the region so far, directives have been received from the authorities to take all necessary precautions," said India district veterinary officer Mohammed Ahmed. "The locals have also been asked not to hunt migratory birds." 

Kenya poultry farmers struggling with high production costs

Kenya's poultry farmers are struggling with high production costs, including a 50% increase in chicken feed and erratic electricity and fuel costs, according to the Kenya Broiler Breeders Association. The numbers are leading to a drop in profits that is pushing some farmers out of business.
A shortage in day-old chicks is further complicating issues, as farmers must place orders and wait up to six months for deliveries. “This is a crisis," said Muiruri Mbuthi, KBBA coordinator. "There is an acute shortage and when available, the chicks are going for as much as Sh90 (US$1.00) as opposed to Sh50 (US$0.56) six months ago, forcing farmers to import from Uganda."
According to the Kenyan government, inflation has hit the poultry sector, and the national cost of production is now at Sh4.3 billion (US$48 million), up from a three-year average of Sh1.9 billion (US$21.2 million). The Ministry of Livestock Development said the government is trying to come up with a poultry policy that will address subsidies, standardization mechanisms, treatment and market structures to curb losses and exploitation. In the meantime, the government is urging Kenya to increase domestic poultry consumption to create a ready local market for breeders.

Venezuela, Philippines renew poultry trade with Brazil

Inspectors from Venezuela and the Philippines have been visiting a number of Brazil’s poultry processing and beef and pork processing plants with a view to renewing export licenses and expanding trade.
Venezuela is the largest American importer of Brazilian poultry meat, purchasing 164,400 tons in 2010 with a value of US$282.2 million, and the inspection team has been visiting some 40 establishments in Paraná, Santa Catarina, Mato Grosso do Sul and Goias, Brazil. Brazil’s poultry producers believe that, as well as maintaining current trade levels between the two countries, there is an opportunity to expand exports of poultry meat and fertile eggs to Venezuela.
In 2010, The Philippines imported 18,800 tons of Brazilian poultry meat with a value of US$10.5 million. The Filipino mission visited ports in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and São Paulo, Brazil.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

AFIA to host feed industry Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference

The American Feed Industry Association will hold its annual Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference at Omni ChampionsGate in Orlando, Fla., March 14-16, 2012. More than 450 buyers and sellers of feed and pet food ingredients are expected to attend the event.
The AFIA Nutrition Committee will host a pre-conference nutrition symposium, "Feeding More People with Fewer Resources and Less Impact: Delivering the Message of a Sustainable Future for Animal Agriculture," on March 13, 2012. The program is open to all PISC and Spring Committee meeting attendees, but has an additional fee of $100.
Attendees can also participate in the golf outing at the ChampionsGate Golf Club on the hotel’s property. The golf fee includes breakfast, a boxed lunch, two drink tickets and an awards ceremony. The deadline to request a golf-pairing is Feb. 27, 2012.
The early bird rate for conference registration before Feb. 10, 2012, is $599 for members, $2,025 for non-members and $165 for spouses.

University of Georgia receives $16,334 USPOULTRY Foundation grant

The University of Georgia poultry science department recently received a $16,334 student recruiting grant from the USPOULTRY Foundation.
The department uses funds from the Foundation to attract students to its majors through summer programs, which introduce high school students to the field of poultry science, according to Dr. Mike Lacy, professor and head of the department. "Funds are also used to create recruiting materials to help students who already attending UGA, but are not familiar with the poultry science department, become aware of the tremendous number and diversity of career opportunities available in the poultry industry," said Lacey.
The USPOULTRY Foundation board recently approved student recruiting grants totaling more than $180,000 to six U.S. universities with poultry science departments and 14 other institutions with poultry programs. The Foundation provides annual recruiting funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs.

Tyson donates 20,000 pounds of chicken to Los Angeles veterans

Tyson Foods Inc. donated 20,000 pounds of chicken to the Veterans' Holiday Celebration and Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, contributing 80,000 meals as part of an effort to feed people in need and show its commitment for hiring military veterans, reservists and their family members.
On the first Sunday of every December, the VA of Greater Los Angeles, VA Voluntary Service, more than 100 restaurants, local businesses and the community at large hold an event with the objective of providing a memorable meal, gifts and entertainment for the area's military veterans. In addition, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank distributes more than 62 million pounds of food annually throughout its service area. One million Los Angeles residents, including children and seniors, receive emergency food assistance each year from the food bank and its 900 member agencies. "This is a very generous donation from Tyson," said Michael Flood, president and CEO of the food bank. "High-quality proteins, especially chicken, are an important nutritional component for our inventory and are in high demand by our agencies and clients.

International poultry intestinal health group formed

An independent panel of experts has unified to form the Intestinal Health Scientific Interest Group, and has already held several meetings on the topics of necrotic enteritis and dysbiosis.
The IHSIG meetings serve as a forum where experts can discuss current challenges of intestinal health management, with the goal of a better understanding of intestinal disorders and/or infections. ”Although necrotic enteritis is well studied, many research programs are still ongoing to get a better understanding of the disease,” said Professor Van Immerseel at the first meeting. “One of the activities of the IHSIG group is to establish common guidelines. For example, the IHSIG group has been discussing the utilization of uniform guidelines on how to score an affected gut.” IHSIG is working on forthcoming actions and will continue to meet frequently to work on the topic of intestinal health management and further prevention of necrotic enteritis using alternative solutions to antibiotics.
Members of IHSIG include:
  • Professor Dr. H.M. Hafez (Free University Berlin, Germany) - chairman
  • Professor Dr. Ir. Filip Van Immerseel (Ghent University, Belgium) -chairman
  • Dr. Maria Francesch (IRTA, Spain)
  • Dr. Luca Bano (Istituto Zooprofilattico, Italy)
  • Professor Magne Kaldhusdal (National Veterinary Institute, Norway)
  • Richard Rietema DVM (Pluimveepraktijk Noord-Oost; The Netherlands)
  • Maarten De Gussem DVM (Vetworks BVBA, Belgium)
  • Professor Roberto Marcello La Ragione (Veterinary Laboratories Agency, UK)
  • Dr. Christine BUREL (ANSES Ploufragan, France) 

US poultry industry concerned over release of food safety data

The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and U.S. Poultry and Egg Association have expressed concerns over the public release of establishment-specific food safety data, including the potential for misinterpretation of the data; adverse effects on international trade; the risk that confidential or proprietary information could be deduced; and adverse effects on inspector performance.
The groups believe that their concerns were not completely addressed in the final report released by the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council, “The Potential Consequences of Public Release of Food Safety and Inspection Service Establishment-Specific Data.”  Without proper context, said the groups in a statement, there is concern that the amount of information will be subject to misinterpretation and confusion that could "needlessly alarm consumers and our trading partners.”
FSIS data may already be obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. Such data includes:
  • Microbiological sampling and testing data.
  • Residue sampling and testing data.
  • Facility-specific noncompliance records identified during routine inspection activities.
  • Food-safety assessments, evaluations of the entirety of a facility’s food-safety program, including the nature and source of raw materials, processes, the environment, and all other aspects included under Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points.
  • Facility-specific HACCP verifications.
  • Foodborne-disease outbreak investigation closeout reports.
“A strong food safety system is the number one priority of the poultry industry,” said the groups. “But as the report itself states, ‘It is not possible to make a direct causal link between public data access and specific food-safety improvements.’” 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

China may increase corn and wheat imports, report predicts

The China National Grain and Oils Information Centre published its latest report, which expects China will increase its corn and wheat imports.
According to the report, in the year ending September 30, corn imports reached an estimated 4 million tons, up 3.02 million tons from last year, and wheat imports increased by 700,000 tons to 1.5 million tons in the year ending May 31.
CNGOIC's report predicted wheat consumption of 18 million tons, an 8.8% increase in corn consumption to 177.1 million tons, including 107.8 million tons of corn for feed use, up 7.8% from last year. Consumption of corn for industry use will increase by 5.5 million tons. 

US broiler eggs, chicks down last week of November

U.S. commercial hatcheries in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 19-state weekly program set 194 million eggs in incubators during the week ending November 26, down 6% from the eggs set the corresponding week in 2010.
Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 85%. Broiler growers in the program placed 156 million chicks for meat production during the week ending November 26, down 5% from 2010 numbers. Cumulative placements from January 2 through November 26 were 7.76 billion, down 3% from the same period in 2010.
For more information and statistics on U.S. poultry, visit

Nepal declares bird flu crisis, puts districts on alert

Nepal's government has declared the Bhaktapur district, which has been hit by the H5N1 strain of avian influenza, an "emergency area," closing down two dozen schools and putting in place a high alert program in 26 surrounding districts.
The outbreak originated from a poultry farm near Manohara Khola, which reported an incident involving 35 dead chickens that were found to have died from bird flu. Actions were then taken to prevent the spread of the disease, including culling the birds. "Over 500 chickens and ducks have been slaughtered," said government health official Narayan Prasad Ghimire. "We also destroyed dozens of eggs and several kilos of poultry feed. We've banned the production and consumption of poultry products in the crisis-hit area. Poultry farming will not be allowed for at least one and-a-half months."
Bhaktapur is the second-largest chicken-producing district in Nepal, usually producing 10,000 kilograms of chicken and 150,000 eggs per day.

Mexico corn production cut due to extreme drought

Mexico's worst drought in 70 years has caused the country's government to cut its corn forecast a second time to 20 million metric tons, compared to a previously revised estimate of 23 million metric tons, according to reports.
Tens of thousands of acres of crops have already been lost in the drought that has affected nearly 70% of Mexico, and 450,000 cattle have died. Dams are at 30% to 40% capacity. The Mexican government has so far set aside some 1.6 billion pesos (US$113 million) in aid to cover losses. "It's a troubling situation, and is more worrisome because the rainy season is over," said Felipe Arreguin, deputy director of the National Water Commission. "The hope is that by June it starts to rain."
If the drought continues, analysts say authorities will have to raise food imports to cover lower domestic production.

High amounts of vomitoxin found on Ontario corn crop

The fungal disease vomitoxin is being reported in large amounts in Southwestern Ontario's corn crop, and some field tests are coming back with high levels of the type of vomitoxin that pigs are particularly sensitive to, according to reports.
The disease, which appears in overly wet conditions and can sicken livestock if consumed in high concentrations, is already being monitored by the industry. "We are well aware of the problem and are on top of it,'' said Angelo Ligori, head of GreenField Ethanol Inc's ethanol facility. 2010's corn crop was relatively vomitoxin-free, while 2006 and 2008's crops had high levels of the disease. The industry standard is two parts per million.
The extent of the problem won't be known until after the harvest is completed, according to farmers.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Argentina may see record corn crop in 2011-2012 season

Argentina corn farmers may produce 9.1% more than forecast, bringing their harvest to a record 30 million metric tons of corn in the 2011-2012 season, due to ideal weather conditions, according to the country's corn and sorghum trade group.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Argentina's Agriculture Ministry forecasts list outputs of 27.5 million metric tons and 28 million metric tons, respectively. Very good soil moisture and optimum temperatures are contributing to the potential record, said Martin Fraguio, executive director of the trade group Maizar. “The climate is much better than expected,” said Fraguio. “The expectation was for a very aggressive La Niña this year, and it hasn’t been. This is an ideal year."

EPA notifies West Virginia poultry farmers to cease discharging pollutants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has notified four poultry farmers in West Virginia to cease discharging pollutants from farms to waterways and obtain the necessary permits that are required by the Clean Water Act.
The EPA issued the orders following June inspections of five chicken and turkey operations in West Virginia. The inspections found that four of the five operations were concentrated animal feeding operations as defined by the Clean Water Act and that they had neither applied for nor obtained the required discharge permits. The fifth grower had already applied for the permit. Also, at four of the facilities inspected, man-made ditches draining stormwater away from the poultry houses and sheds containing manure and compost allowed pollutants to discharge to waterways during rain events.
The EPA and national and state poultry industry associations are in discussions on developing a program to educate growers on water quality and compliance issues. “Based on our experience, educating farmers on the requirements of the Clean Water Act goes a long way in helping them to protect and improve local water quality and increase compliance,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “We’ve had good results from working closely with integrators and trade associations, making sure farmers know how they can best reduce runoff and meet their regulatory responsibilities.”

US shell eggs broken down in October from 2010

U.S. shell eggs broken totaled 174 million dozen during October 2011, down 1% from October 2010 and 1% below the 176 million broken in September, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
During calendar year 2011 through October, shell eggs broken totaled 1.74 billion dozen, up 1% from the comparable period in 2010. Cumulative total edible product from eggs broken in January through October 2011 was 2.25 billion pounds, up slightly from 2010. Edible product included 1.38 billion pounds of whole eggs, 577.79 million pounds of egg whites and 294.93 million pounds of egg yolks.

USPOULTRY Foundation awards student recruiting grant to Texas A&M

Texas A&M University has received a $29,499 student recruiting grant from the USPOULTRY Foundation.
Funds from the Foundation will allow the school's poultry science department to invest significant time and resources in undergraduate student recruiting activities, according to Dr. John Carey, professor and head of the department. "Faculty and staff are involved in leadership of over 50 separate events throughout the year that are specifically geared to recruiting of students," said Carey. "Because we have the support of the USPOULTRY Foundation, we are able to reach and recruit high-quality students who will serve the future of the industry well.
The USPOULTRY Foundation board recently approved student recruiting grants totaling more than $180,000 to six U.S. universities with poultry science departments and 14 other institutions with poultry programs. The Foundation provides annual recruiting funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs.   

US hogs slaughtered up in October over 2010 numbers

U.S. hog slaughter totaled 9.91 million head, up 2% from October 2010 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
Iowa led the numbers of hogs slaughtered in October, with 2.64 million head, up from 2.6 million head slaughtered in 2010. Illinois and Minnesota came in second and third, with 946,200 and 945,100 head slaughtered, respectively. Illinois numbers were up significantly, from 863,300 head in October 2010.
Pig meat production totaled 2.03 billion pounds, up 2% from 2010, while the average live weight was down 1%, at 275 pounds

Friday, December 2, 2011

Anhui Poultry net income down over 2010 numbers

Chinese duck breeder and processor Anhui Taiyang Poultry Co. Inc. reported a net income of $1.7 million for the nine months ending September 30, 2011, down 60.5% from 2010's $4.4 million, according to the company's latest financial report.
Part of the drop in income, according to Anhui, can be attributed to one-time gains in the sale of a fertilizer plant and the collection of a previously written-off account receivable in 2010. In addition, bad debt charges and increased income tax expenses affected 2011's net income.
Anhui's breeding unit saw a 57.3% increase in revenue in the first nine months of 2011 over 2010 numbers, bringing in $12.2 million compared to $7.7 million. The feed and food units saw 54% and 50.6% drops in revenue, respectively, coming in at $4.3 million and $6.8 million compared to 2010's $9.4 million and $13.7 million.

UK grants more funding for poultry disease research

The UK’s Institute for Animal Health will receive GBP80 million (US$124.4 million) in government funding towards the GPB100 million+ second phase of development at its Pirbright campus.
This phase will include the development of new high containment laboratories, experimental facilities and supporting infrastructure for studying avian and other animal diseases and to support the development of new vaccines and tests. “This significant investment in Pirbright will drive growth, create highly skilled jobs and improve our understanding of diseases that can have devastating effects on our rural economy, including avian flu,” said Minister for Universities and Science David Willets.
The new facilities will join the high containment laboratory currently under construction at Pirbright that is due to become operational in early 2014. “The new facilities in this next phase of development are urgently required to underpin UK and EU capability in research on virus infections of poultry and livestock," said Professor John Fazakerley, IAH director. "They will provide a single site that has a variety of bio-containment level working environments. In support of the UK’s poultry industry, we can with this investment build on previous research and innovation successes, such as vaccines against coccidiosis and Marek’s disease and the elimination of avian leukosis virus from poultry breeding stock. We will be able to expand our research into these and other important diseases of poultry and diseases that can spread from poultry to humans.”

Japan may purchase less corn, more wheat to cut costs

Japan's livestock producers may purchase less corn as feed-wheat imports quadruple to the highest levels since 2001 on prices $50 per ton cheaper than U.S. corn, according to reports.
Wheat imports may reach 430,000 metric tons, from 112,000 metric tons in the year ended March 31, according to Ikuho Tomita, deputy director at the agriculture ministry's feed supply and demand planning office. Imports were at 473,000 metric tons in 2001. “Increased purchases of feed wheat means Japan’s corn imports will decline, as overall demand for feed grains isn’t growing,” said Tomita. Japan’s feed makers “are taking advantage of an expanded gap in purchasing costs between corn and wheat.”
Japan imported 169,318 metric tons of feed wheat in the nine months ending September 30, according to finance ministry data.

Nepal chicken demand down 20%

Demand for chicken in Kathmandu, Nepal, has dropped by 20% due to reports of bird flu in Bhaktapur and a shortage of supplies in the capital, according to reports.
The price of chicken has increased by Rs 15 (US$0.18) per kilogram, to Rs 185 (US$2.22) per kilogram, as a result. “The number of buyers has dropped by around 20%," said Janga Bahadur BC, president of Kathmandu Valley Chicken Sellers Association. "However, we are not in a position to lower the price because demand for chicken is still higher than the supply.” Daily consumption has dropped from 200,000 kilograms to 180,000 kilograms, according to city data.

JSR Genetics forms German pig breeding company

UK-based JSR Genetics has gained a new franchise contract in the form of a pig breeding company in Germany, JSR Hybrid Deutschland GmbH.
The contract, which includes both breeding stock and JSR technical support services, will see the new Ahaus-based company market JSR stock throughout Germany. “Using the JSR Genepacker and JSR Geneconverter lines we have selected GGP and GP gilts and boars to establish a nucleus and multiplier herd capable of generating up to 20,000 JSR Genepacker purebred GP and Genepacker 90 parent gilts a year,” said Paul Anderson, JSR’s international sales director.
According to JSR Hybrid Deutschland, JSR’s scientific approach to genetics was a key factor in the franchise decision, as was the level of technical support JSR could deliver to help producers improve performance and efficiency.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Efficient feed conversion vital to pig producers

Efficient feed conversion is the most important economic trait in pig production, according to geneticist Ed Sutcliffe, who spoke at a recent Northamptonshire Quality Pig Producers’ Association meeting.
Producers record numbers born and have a reasonable idea of growth rate, while backfat is measured for them when finished pigs are slaughtered, said Sutcliffe, but none of these is as important as feed conversion rate. Pointing out the relative importance of these factors, Sutcliffe, who is technical director of the pig-breeding company ACMC, demonstrated that an improvement of one standard deviation in feed conversion (equivalent to about 0.4 FCR points) could be worth as much as £18.52 per pig, assuming daily feed intake remained the same.
In comparison, one standard deviation in grading was worth £1.51; in daily gain, £9.46; and in numbers born alive, £5.91 per pig.
Sutcliffe said that getting accurate feed conversion figures can be difficult to do, particularly for swine producers with automatically fed pigs in continuous-flow, intensive buildings. “Everyone makes a conscious decision when to market pigs — generally as heavy as possible — but do they know how the FCR of their pigs differ through the growth curve?” said Sutcliffe. “A little effort is required, but measuring some pigs later in the growth curve would allow this to be considered and could surprise those pig producers not using feed efficient genetics about the lack of return at heavier weights." 

Russia poultry production to grow 10% in 2011

Russia's poultry production will grow 10.6% by the end of 2011, reaching 3.2 million metric tons and beating 2010 numbers by 300,000 metric tons, according to the country's Agriculture Ministry.
Poultry is the largest-growing segment of Russia's overall meat production, which is expected to hit 7.5 million metric tons by the end of 2011, 333,000 metric tons (4.7%) more than in 2010, said the Ministry. The country plans to reach its poultry output target in 2011, and its overall meat target within three to five years. It has already met targets for grains, potatoes, sugar and sunflower oil production, said the Ministry.

Turkey feed dietary adjustments may reduce nitrogen emissions

A recent U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded study conducted at Michigan State University has shown that changes to the diets fed to turkey toms may reduce nitrogen emissions from grow-out farms without sacrificing meat yields.
Researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Maryland and Purdue University studied the effect of diets containing different concentrations of crude protein and different amino acid (AA) supplementations on nutrient retention and excretion by turkeys. They observed that decreasing dietary crude protein from 110% to 100% of the amount recommended by the National Research Council, and adding threonine to an AA supplementation of lysine and methionine, resulted in lower nitrogen excretion (by 12%) and a lower cumulative loss of ammonia (by 23%) when compared with diets containing only two supplemental amino acids. There were no differences in tom growth or feed conversion.  
The Environmental Protection Agency monitors emissions of air pollutants, such as particulate matter, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), under the U.S. Clean Air Act of 1990.  In 2005 the EPA announced an air quality compliance agreement to address emissions from certain animal feeding operations or AFOs.
“The goals of the 2005 EPA agreement include ensuring compliance with applicable CERCLA [Clean Air Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act] and EPCRA [Environmental Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act] provisions," said Dr. Zefei Liu, research associate at Michigan State University and one of the authors of the study. "Because some of these provisions carry hefty penalties for non-compliance, it is important for the poultry industry to continue to search for methods to monitor and control nutrient losses and air emissions from their operations. We hope that the findings of our study will contribute to this effort.” 
Details of the study were published in a recent issue of Poultry Science.

Grand River Foods sells fresh poultry processing division

Canadian company Grand River Foods has sold its fresh poultry processing division to poultry processor and supplier Maple Lodge Farms to focus on its ready-to-eat prepared foods business.
The Ontario division, which employs roughly 100 people, is scheduled to close at the end of January 2012. The sale will give Maple Lodge expanded access to fresh chicken for its processing business, and will provide Grand River with the funds it needs to invest further in its Cambridge prepared foods business, according to the companies.
Chicken Farmers of Ontario has provided the regulatory approval for the transfer. The deal is set to close on December 1.