Friday, March 30, 2012

Cagle's seeks to sell assets at bankruptcy auction

    Poultry producer Cagle's Inc. is seeking court permission to sell nearly all its assets at a bankruptcy auction after accepting a bid of $72.3 million from JCG Foods LLC, an affiliate of Koch Foods Inc.
    Cagle’s wants to hold an auction on May 10 followed by a May 11 hearing to seek approval of the sale. Rival bidders would have until May 4 to submit offers under the proposed timetable. “It’s a nice strategic fit,” said Joe Grendys, owner of Koch Foods, and JCG Foods. The deal would give Grendys a broader customer base and more supply, he said. Cagle’s assets include two processing plants, a feed mill and a hatchery.
    JCG Foods agreed to pay $37 million plus the value of inventory and accounts receivables, which stood at about $43 million as of January 28, and minus post-bankruptcy payables and accrued expenses that totaled about $7.7 million, according to court documents. About $55 million would be paid in cash and the remainder would be paid with a promissory note guaranteed by Grendys.

US pig meat production up 6 percent in February

    U.S. pig meat production totaled 1.88 billion pounds, up 6 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. The number was down from January, which came in at 1.99 billion pounds.
    Hog slaughter totaled 9.04 million head, up 6 percent from February 2011, and the average live weight was up 1 pound, at 278 pounds. So far, Iowa has slaughtered the largest number of hogs, at 2.37 million head. North Carolina (942,900 head), Minnesota (878,000 head), Illinois (858,400 head) and Indiana (686,200 head) round out the top five producers.  
    Overall, commercial meat production (which includes pig meat, beef, veal, lamb and mutton) came in at 3.91 billion pounds for February, up from February 2011's 3.81 billion pounds but down from January's 4.12 billion pounds. Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas make up the top three producing states, at 572.4 million pounds, 532.1 million pounds and 398.1 million pounds, respectively. 

More chickens kept as pets in UK

    With National Pet Month fast approaching in the UK, feed manufacturer Dodson and Horrell has revealed that it is not only cats and dogs that are getting all the attention — more people than ever before are turning to hens.
    The company notes that it has recorded a 25 percent increase in chicken feed sales across the UK over the last two years, and a surge in demand for chicken feeders and accessories. An estimated 3 million hens are now being kept in people’s back yards. “We used to find that chickens were limited to farms of smallholdings in the gardens of those living in the country," said Chris Gordon, Dodson and Horrell technical director. "But now it’s increasingly common for chickens to reside in backyards in our towns and cities.”

Attorneys attempt settlement in Maryland poultry pollution case

    Attorneys in a poultry pollution case filed by a University of Maryland environmental law clinic, representing plaintiffs suing Hudson Farm and Perdue Farms Inc., will try to settle the dispute during a conference in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, according to reports. The lawsuit claims that Hudson and Perdue are polluting a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay.
    Farm groups and the governor of Maryland have criticized the lawsuit, saying that the suit could bankrupt Hudson Farm and set a harmful precedent for other family farms. The settlement conference is closed to the public.

Germany poultry production up 2.5 percent in 2011

    Germany's poultry production increased by 2.5 percent in 2011, to 1.66 million metric tons, according to the country's Food and Agriculture Ministry.
    Poultry output included 1.19 million metric tons of chicken, 401,000 metric tons of turkey meat, 63,000 metric tons of duck and 4,500 metric tons of geese. Germany's poultry imports rose 26 percent to 98,300 metric tons, and exports increased 5.4 percent to 312,700 tons, according to the ministry. National per-capita poultry consumption rose 0.2 kilogram (0.4 pound) to 18.9 kilograms as eating of chicken meat on average climbed 0.4 kilogram to 11.8 kilograms.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

US farmers planting early in warmest March ever

    Many farmers in the U.S. Midwest are seeding their corn crops early, betting on the warmest March on record against the odds of a potential damaging late-spring frost, according to reports.
    The early-planted corn, which some analysts say could be a record crop, may miss the peak summer heat in July and result in an extra 60 cents per bushel in September, say the growers, who are banking on high demand and low stocks to place a premium on end-of-summer deliveries. The possible setbacks of early planting include forsaking certain types of crop insurance and the unpredictability of the weather. "It's going in good but we have fear that it might come too quick and a frost will come and kill it," said Ethan Cox, an Illinois corn farmer.
    Farmers are hoping to get a premium for their early crops before the height of the harvest. Tight supplies in summer 2011 pushed cash corn prices to record highs across the region as grain buyers rushed for the grain to supply the first purchases of U.S. corn by China in four years. Increasing demand from ethanol refineries, which now use 40 percent of the domestic crop, also has increased demand. "This early planting means harvest will likely be early as well," said Karl Setzer, analyst at MaxYield Cooperative. "A result of this will be the ability to pick up the (price) increase in the market between old and new crop. In many cases this will add $1.50 of revenue to a bushel of corn."

South Africa corn stocks reach nine-month lows

    South Africa's corn stocks reached nine-month lows in February on increased exports and a smaller-than-expected harvest, falling to 1.88 million metric tons from 2.56 million metric tons during the same time in 2011, according to the South African Grain Information Service.
    The stocks, which include 1.27 million metric tons of white corn and 608,000 metric tons of yellow corn, are the lowest since May 2011. “The harvest for the marketing year that ends in April has been about 400,000 tons smaller than we expected,” said Theo Venter, market analyst at Senwes Ltd. “Exports have been higher than predicted, and this has lowered stocks.” The country began importing yellow corn in December 2011, the first such shipments since the season through April 2010.

New China regulations provide opportunities for yeast bio-feed products

    China's management regulations for feed and feed additives, which aim to strengthen the management for the quality and safety of feed and feed additives in the country, are scheduled to be implemented on May 1, according to reports.
    The implementation of the new regulations will bring greater market development opportunities to safe, nutritional and healthy feed products, such as yeast source bio-feeds, said Yu Xuefeng, executive director of the China Feed Industry Association and president of Angel Yeast Co. As a natural functional animal feed, yeast can improve the balance of animal gastrointestinal tract microflora/microenvironment and increase digestibility. The selenium enriched yeast produced by bio-fermentation can work as a safe and efficient organic selenium resource and reduce environment pollution of inorganic selenium. The yeast cell wall can also help to enhance immunity and decrease the animal diseases and antibiotic applications.
    As it is nutrient-rich, the demand of yeast products is growing rapidly in the industry of animal breeding and food health. In recent years, more products originating from yeast, such as fubon autolyzed yeast, selenium yeast and yeast polysaccharide, have been chosen by international users and domestic enterprises to reduce antibiotic applications. Angel Yeast is setting up a new manufacturing line for the production of feed yeast products in Yichang, China, expected to begin operation in May, with an annual production capacity of 25,000 tons. "We should push ahead with the application of yeast source bio-feeds vigorously to improve the technological development and satisfy consumers' demand of safety, nutrition and health products," said Yu.

FDA to withdraw approval for antibiotics in animal feed

    A U.S. federal judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to begin proceedings to withdraw approval for the use of common antibiotics in animal feed, citing concerns that overuse is endangering human health by creating antibiotic-resistant superbugs, according to reports.
    The FDA began such proceedings in 1977, prompted by concerns of the widespread use of certain antibiotics, such as tetracyclines and penicillin, in livestock feed, but the approval remained in place. "In the intervening years, the scientific evidence of the risks to human health from the widespread use of antibiotics in livestock has grown, and there is no evidence that the FDA has changed its position that such uses are not shown to be safe," said U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz. The FDA must now withdraw approval for non-therapeutic use of antibiotics unless makers of the drugs can produce evidence that their use is safe.
    The FDA has said it is studying the judge's opinion and is considering appropriate next steps. It is expected to draft rules within days that ask drug makers to voluntarily end use of antibiotics in animals without the oversight of a veterinarian. The order does not extend to disease prevention uses.

Environmental Protection Agency, poultry industry must collaborate on nutrient pollution

    The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. poultry industry need to think about how to do better in terms of addressing the issues surrounding water quality, according to Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for water for the EPA, at the 2012 Environmental Management Seminar.
    Stoner's presentation, EPA and the Poultry Industry Working Together to Protect Water Quality, encouraged a collaborative approach between federal partners, states and stakeholders. The goal of this approach would be to accelerate adoption of the most effective conservation practices where they are most needed. Stoner also addressed various ways in which the EPA can collaborate with the poultry industry and ended with an open discussion on the possible roles and opportunities the EPA can provide to the industry.
    Other discussions at the seminar included a presentation by Russ Dickson, manager of environmental compliance and engineering at Wayne Farms, titled Georgia Storm Water Permit…Lessons Learned; and a presentation by Dr. Charles Starkey, director of technical services for American Proteins, on DAF…What Does Rendering Want?
    The event was sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Nepal launches month-long caution program against bird flu

    The district of Lalitpur, Nepal, has launched a month-long caution program against avian influenza after the virus was confirmed in a poultry farm at Sainbu, according to the District Public Health Office.
    The office has begun conducting a public awareness campaign for those living in a three-kilometer radius of the infected area, making door-to-door visits to inform residents about H5N1 protection and prevention. Residents are also being told how to properly dispose of infected birds.
    So far, 8,574 chicks have been culled and 1,600 eggs have been destroyed at two Sainbu poultry farms.

Tanzania to launch indigenous poultry farming education program

    Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda is launching the Research into Use Programme knowledge outputs, lessons and recommendations gathered from implementing the initial program between June 2008 and June 2011. The knowledge outputs focus on developing indigenous poultry farming with an eye towards increased poultry productivity and competitiveness.
    The main objective of the program in Tanzania is to explore and facilitate ways of improving local innovation capacity for increased use of research, new knowledge and technologies in developing profitable agribusiness enterprises. The program works towards improved communication and harmonization for effective sharing and influencing local, national and international policy agendas. It ensures that activities at country level are aligned with ongoing agricultural and natural resources development initiatives as well as relevant national and sectoral strategies in the country.
    According to Vera Florida Mugittu, Research into Use Tanzania country coordinator, the available knowledge can create employment, reduce poverty and improve living standards as well as enhance nutrition. “We will present policy briefs that can potentially change the outlook of the poultry industry by promoting a wide-scale application of new knowledge for development of farms, hatcheries and input supplies,” said Mugittu.

US poultry ready-to-cook weight up in February

    U.S. poultry certified wholesome during February (ready-to-cook weight) totaled 3.47 billion pounds, up 4 percent from the amount certified in February 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    The January revised certified total at 3.62 billion pounds, was down 1 percent from January 2011. The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during February was 4.6 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 4.42 billion pounds in 2011. Young chickens inspected totaled 3.93 billion pounds, up 4 percent from February 2011 numbers. Mature chickens, at 61 million pounds, were down slightly from 2011. Turkey inspections totaled 586 million pounds, up 7 percent from 2011 numbers, while ducks totaled 13.5 million pounds, up 7 percent.
    Young chickens slaughtered during February averaged 5.82 pounds per bird, up 1 percent from February 2011. The average live weight of mature chickens was 5.52 pounds per bird, down 1 percent from the same time in 2011, and turkeys slaughtered during February averaged 30.8 pounds per bird, up 1 percent from February 2011.
    For more poultry information and statistics, see  

Argentina early corn crop hit by December-January drought

    Argentina's early-planted corn crop was hit by a December 2011–January 2012 drought that cut yields by 40 percent in the key agricultural province of Buenos Aires, according to the country's Agriculture Ministry.
    As a result, average yields are expected to range from 3,000 to 6,000 kilos per hectare in the areas that are still economically viable to harvest. Late-seeded fields have benefitted from regular rains, and Argentina's government is predicting total corn output at 21 to 22 million metric tons.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

US February egg production up 3 percent

    U.S. egg production totaled 7.24 billion during February, up 3 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Production included 6.25 billion table eggs, and 987 million hatching eggs, of which 914 million were broiler-type and 73 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during February averaged 338 million, down slightly from the same time in 2011. February egg production per 100 layers was 2,140 eggs, up 4 percent from February 2011.
    All layers in the U.S. on March 1 totaled 339 million, down slightly from 2011 numbers. The 339 million layers consisted of 285 million layers producing table- or market-type eggs, 50.8 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs and 3.1 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on March 1 averaged 74 eggs per 100 layers, up slightly from March 1, 2011.
    Egg-type chicks hatched during February totaled 39.3 million, up 5 percent from February 2011. Eggs in incubators totaled 39.3 million on March 1, down 2 percent from 2011 numbers. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 238,000 during February, down 2 percent from February 2011.
    Broiler-type chicks hatched during February totaled 705 million, down 1 percent from February 2011. Eggs in incubators totaled 611 million on March 1, down 5 percent from the same time in 2011. Leading breeders placed 7.03 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during February, down 1 percent from February 2011 numbers.
    For more egg information and statistics, see  

ADM, China Agricultural University research grain replacements in feed

    Archer Daniel Midlands Company and China Agricultural University have launched a research program to study the possibility of replacing a portion of the corn in cattle feed with a mix of corn processing co-products and corn stover.
    China's livestock currently consume about 112 million metric tons of corn per year, and cattle producers may be able to reduce their animals' consumption by more than half by using such a mix. In more than 20 cattle-feeding trials, which ADM has conducted in partnership with three U.S. agricultural research universities, researchers have been able to replace more than 60 percent of the grain in ruminants' diets with a mixture of stover treated with hydrated lime — a common food ingredient — and high-protein distillers' grains without negatively impacting the animals' growth and development.
    ADM will fund the two-year research program, and ADM researchers will work with Dr. Shengli Li, a professor of dairy science at China Agricultural University, to conduct a series of feeding trials at the university as well as cooperative trials with large dairy farms in China.

South Africa feed company breeding maggots for protein

    South Africa-based AgriProtein Technologies is breeding maggots as a sustainable alternative protein source for animal feed and looking for ways to expand their business to meet industry needs.
    The company is part of a new industry called nutrient recycling, which uses organic waste to create protein. It began out of a need to find sustainable alternatives to fishmeal, which has become almost half of the fish removed from the sea, according to David Drew, one of the company's founders. Research and development on Magmeal with the University of Stellenbosch Animal Nutritional Department started over three years ago.
    The challenge now is that AgriProtein Technologies can't make Magmeal in the volumes that are needed to meet the industry needs, according to the company. The potential big users would need vast quantities of the product — an estimated 1,000 tons per month. "We can make 100 kilos here and there but to be a serious business, we need to be making much more per day," said Drew. "This is what we are busy finalizing — a production process that will allow us to make about 100 tons of larvae per day. This is scheduled to start at the end of 2012. We are currently raising money for our first big factory; a $10-million asking. This is a real step up in terms of financing for us, and we have very interested partners."

US 2011 egg exports expand by 6.6 percent

    U.S. egg exports in 2011 rose to 275.4 million dozen, up 6.6 percent from 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Much of the growth was due to higher shipments to a number of Asian markets. Exports to Canada declined by 11 percent, and Japan became the largest overall market for U.S. eggs and egg products. Although shipments to Canada fell, strong gains to Japan and Mexico more than offset the decline, according to the USDA. Exports to Mexico totaled 19.1 million dozen, 29 percent higher than the previous year.
    In Asia, the biggest gains were from larger shipments to South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. Together, these three countries accounted for 104 million dozen of U.S. egg and egg-product exports, 47 percent higher than the amount they imported in 2010. The value of egg exports increased even faster, with shipments totaling $408 million, an increase of 14 percent from 2010 numbers.
    For more egg information and statistics, see  

Perdue Farms' truck driver performance improves with onboard video

      Onboard video event recorders, once installed, are minimally intrusive and can provide a wealth of information to assist management in educating drivers.
    In the two fiscal years after video event recorders were installed in a test group of Perdue Farms’trucks, accidents dropped by 60 percent, according to Tommy Pollard, corporate fleet safety manager for Perdue Farms. In addition, there was clearly a financial gain as well. “The ROI after installation for those two fiscal years was 406 percent,” Pollard said, speaking to animal feed attendees at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Feed Mill Management seminar in Nashville.

    Video as a tool
    While video event recorders can help improve driving performance and minimize accidents, Pollard emphasized that they are just a tool and should not be considered as a replacement for solid management practices. A balance of hiring, safety processes and technologies is necessary to control and maintain driving risk.
    Terminology and acronyms used in discussing onboard systems is vast, and Pollard gave a list of many that are used:

    • LDWS: Lane Departure Warning Systems 
    • Eye Alert: A system that senses eye movement and alerts the driver 
    • Crash Avoidance Systems
    • VORAD: Vehicle On Board Radar detection System 
    • Safety Vision: A system that uses radar, GPS and video 
    • BSWS: Blind Side Warning Systems 
    • OER: Onboard Event Recorders (for data such as speed and quick stops) 
    • GPS: Quail COM, Network Car 
    • OBVER: On Board Video Event Recorder 
    • EOBR: Electronic logs 
    • EVIR: Electronic Vehicle Inspection Systems

    Commitment needed
    Tommy Pollard, corporate fleet safety manager for Perdue Farms, speaks to attendees at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Feed Mill Management seminar in Nashville.

    However, having technology is not enough, according to Pollard. There must be a commitment by management, as resistance to the technology by drivers is inevitable. In addition, having technology can raise legal issues. If there is an incident, did management use the information the technology provided? If so, what was done with the information? These things can come out in legal proceedings, so it is important for management to work with its legal counsel in this area.
    Pollard also noted that it is important to remember that management needs to use the technology to change behavior. “The technology by itself doesn’t do it,” he said.

    Positive aspects
    The positive aspects of the technology are many and varied, according to Pollard. It connects the driver and management and makes it possible to educate drivers on making good, conscious driving decisions. It also can assist with in-house statistics and can assist facilities in promoting an image of safety to the public.
    In addition, Pollard noted that the technology truly works for management. There is very little IT footprint and minimal intrusion for the driver. There is instant driver feedback which helps in numerous ways, and event reporting is extensive, as is crash data.

    New level of efficiency
    Pollard said prior to installing onboard video event recorders, management had used 80% of their energy on reaching an agreement on what happened and 20% on preventing re-occurrence. Now that equation is inverted.
    “Ultimately, you will see things that drivers would never admit to on their own. You will also see some good things that deserve recognition,” he said. “And when an accident occurs you will gain quicker closure, which reduces business interruption time. And if management sees something before an accident, it is a leading indicator. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

US turkey eggs, poults down slightly from 2011 numbers

    U.S. turkey eggs in incubators on March 1 totaled 28.3 million, down slightly from March 1, 2011, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
    The numbers were up 1 percent, however, from the February 1 total of 28 million eggs. Turkey poults hatched during February totaled 22.9 million, down 1 percent from February 2011 numbers, and were down 6 percent from the January 2012 total of 24.5 million poults.
    The 22.3 million net poults placed during February were up 1 percent from the number placed during the same month in 2011. Net placements were down 6 percent from the January total of 23.6 million, according to USDA data.
    For more poultry information and statistics, see  

Hog futures decline on waning demand for US pig meat

    Hog futures have dropped for the fifth straight session, approaching the longest slump since October 2011, on decreased demand for U.S. pig meat, according to reports.
    Wholesale pig meat fell to 82.29 cents per pound on March 19, the lowest since January 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Stockpiles totaled 584.4 million pounds at the end of January, 8.5 percent more than the same time in 2011.
    Hog futures for June dropped 0.7 percent to 92.775 cents per pound at 10:04 a.m. on March 20 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange — the last time prices posted a five-session slide was on Oct. 27, 2011.

The importance of feed mill boiler safety

      The main boiler at the Perdue Farms feed mill. Regular maintenance and checks have kept it running for years with no problems.
    Speaking at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s 2012 Feed Mill Management Seminar in Nashville, Tenn., Marc Shockley, feed mill manager for Perdue Farms, noted that “When a boiler accident occurs, it is usually not minor.”
    Shockley added that most feed mills do not have a dedicated boiler operator. As a result, it is usually a maintenance person that does basic maintenance on boilers. Often this maintenance consists simply of a water analysis, a bottom blow-down and a check of the primary and secondary low water cut off switches. After that, the employee then returns to their normal duties, leaving the boiler to operate on its own. While it may not be necessary to have a dedicated boiler operator, Shockley advised that boilers need more than minimal attention.
    Water is most important
    “A correctly sized and installed boiler will generally do fine on a day-to-day basis,” Shockley said. However, he emphasized that the most important thing about boilers is water, noting that if a mill’s boiler has water problems they need to be fixed right away. Water problems can make a boiler less efficient and can lead to complete boiler failure if left unchecked.
    Shockley added that boiler inspectors are there to help mill managers and should be viewed as a resource. “If your boiler is in good shape, then ask what you can do to make it safer,” he said.
    Shockley offered a list of operational tests and checks that should help keep a mill’s boiler running correctly.

    Marc Shockley, speaking to attendees at the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s Feed Mill Management Seminar in Nashville, Tenn.
    • Water analysis: know your water and select the best program for your plant’s needs.
    • Feed water pumps: if you have more than one pump, check to make certain they are all working and alternate them daily.
    • Deaerator tank water column blow-down test: this test should be done daily for the purpose of prolonging sensor life and to reduce pump cavitations.
    • Primary and secondary low water cut-off test: this test should also be done daily to make certain that the burner doesn’t run when the water level is low.
    • Feed water cut-off test: this test should be done once a month to simulate a real low water event through pump failure.
    • Bottom drain test: this is a test that should be done once per quarter. The purpose is to simulate a real low water event through valve failure.
    Keeping track of checks and tests is extremely important, according to Shockley. “Document, document, document,” he said. “If you don’t document it, then you haven’t been doing it.”

    Maximum burner restarts
    Shockley also spoke about the importance of maximum burner restart attempts as they can be a potential cause for burner/furnace explosions. There are a number of things that can cause these explosions, including fuel source issues, fuel metering devices, improper control system purging and faulty igniters, among others.
    “Each plant needs to develop a plan that regulates the maximum number of restarts,” he said. “Man made it, and it can fail.”

Food, agriculture organizations want comprehensive US-EU free trade agreement

    An ad hoc coalition of 40 food and agricultural organizations has sent a letter to the Obama administration and Congress expressing concern that a proposed free trade agreement between the U.S. and the EU might fall short of long-established U.S. objectives for trade pacts.
    It has been suggested that a U.S.-EU free trade agreement negotiation should not be pursued as a “single undertaking” with success in one area dependent on success in all the others, according to National Pork Producers Council President R.C. Hunt. “The agriculture community, however, believes that, rather than creating a high-standard 21st century trade agreement that is central to the administration’s trade policy efforts, approaches other than a single undertaking would assure the perpetuation of trade barriers to many U.S. products and sectors, including agriculture,” said Hunt.
    Had it embarked on any of its existing free trade agreements using the approach being suggested by some for an agreement with the EU, the U.S. would not have in place the comprehensive agreements it has today, according to the coalition letter, and the administration would not be pointing to the ongoing Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks as the model for all future agreements. “The EU’s free trade deals with other countries do not meet the high standards of U.S. trade agreements,” said Nicholas Giordano, the National Pork Producers Council’s vice president and counsel for international affairs, “and we doubt that the EU would ever agree to open its market to agricultural commodities unless it was obliged to do so as part of a comprehensive trade agreement.”
    The coalition letter says that the removal of unjustifiable EU sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions on U.S. food and agricultural products would have to be an important part of the overall goal of improving the bilateral U.S.-EU relationship. The letter also points out that keeping agriculture in trade deals is a way for governments around the world to help keep the price of food affordable. “We need to see this as the critical national security issue that it surely is,” said the coalition. 

Poultry industry calls for increased National Poultry Improvement Plan resources

    The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers, U.S. Poultry and Egg Association and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council have said they strongly encourage moving past maintaining present levels of funding and support for the National Poultry Improvement Plan, and would like to secure increased resources in both staffing and funding.
    In a letter sent to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the organizations said that the National Poultry Improvement Plan has historically been, and remains, a crucial program for ensuring the continued viability of U.S. poultry and egg production for both the domestic and export markets. "We believe it is important to not only fund the [plan], but to ensure it receives an appropriate level of support from the USDA," they said.
    “Every year, [the plan] faces tremendous challenges posed by limited staffing and funding,” said the groups.  “On a state level, [the National Poultry Improvement Plan] operates with significant industry support, but the office located in Conyers, Georgia requires, and should receive, adequate federal funding to maintain efficiencies and the ability to deal directly with state, federal and global constituents. As programs grow in importance, it is imperative that said growth be matched by federal support.”

US table egg production up in January

    U.S. table egg production in January was 565 million dozen, up 0.7 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Table egg production has been higher since November 2011, although in January and February the number of hens in the table egg flock has been even with or slightly lower than 2011. The table egg flock numbered 284.2 million birds in January, marginally higher than in January 2011 but slightly lower than December 2011 numbers. The table egg flock is expected to continue about even with or slightly higher than 2011 for most of 2012, which is expected to result in a small increase in table egg production in 2012.
    Table egg production is forecast at 1.635 billion dozen in the first quarter of 2012, 0.7 percent higher than 2011 numbers. Overall production for 2012 was revised downward to 6.62 billion dozen, which would be a small increase (0.4 percent) from 2011.
    While table egg production was rising slightly in January, hatching egg production continued to be sharply lower, with production falling to 87 million dozen, down 4.8 percent from 2011 numbers. The declines in hatching egg production over the last seven months was the result of lower production of meat-type hatching eggs as production of egg-type hatching eggs has been higher, especially since the beginning of 2012. Hatching egg production during the first three quarters of 2012 is expected to be down from 2011 numbers, but it is expected to expand slightly as broiler production increases in the fourth quarter.
    For more egg information and statistics, see  

Friday, March 23, 2012

UK pig producers urge EU to stand firm on stall ban

    British pig producers have called on members of the European Parliament to hold the European Commission to account over the implementation of the partial stall ban that takes effect across the whole region on January 1, 2013.
    Producers are also calling for “robust and rapid” action against non-compliant countries. A March 19 stakeholder summit, organized by the UK’s National Pig Association and supported by the British Pig Executive, was held to brief European Commission officials, as well as representatives from the European farmers’ union, Copa Cogeca and animal welfare groups, on the current state of the pig industry in the EU.
    Stewart Houston, of the National Pig Association, urged the Commission to resist any calls by member states for a derogation and called on the whole industry to work together to enforce the ban and “protect the reputation and credibility of the EU pig industry."
    The association won immediate support from several EU countries, including The Netherlands and Denmark, as well as Copa Cogeca. “This is the moment of truth when consumers, retailers, processors and so forth will realize that they have to contribute towards animal welfare," said Copa Cogeca's secretary general Pekka Pesonen to Pig International. “The European Commission cannot afford to compromise now, even if this ban causes market disturbances. If it did, all the talk about animal welfare would be seen as empty words. Everybody has to stick to the rules.”
    Pesonen said it is important to get the major retailers and supermarket groups, as well as pig producers, “on side” to ensure the ban succeeds.
    Several members of the European Parliament, including Vicky Ford (East of England) and George Lyon (Scotland), promised their support and urged their fellow members to make sure the Commission did the right thing.
    Another meeting is planned in Brussels in the autumn of 2012 to check on the progress producers in all the EU member states are making towards converting to new systems to meet the 2013 legislation. 

US corn, wheat forecast up, soybeans down

    U.S. farmers will plant 95.012 million acres of corn in the current crop year, up from the previous year's 91.921 million acres and above the 94 million acres forecast on February 24, according to a survey conducted by Allendale Inc.
    Wheat planting is expected to rise to 56.609 million acres, but soybeans are forecast to drop to 74.495 million acres from 74.976 million acres. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's February 24 forecast set soybeans at 75 million acres sown.

Canada makes first commercial alfalfa hay shipment to China

    Canada has made its first commercial shipment of alfalfa hay to China, through Green Prairie International, since Canada gained market access for the crop in March 2011, according to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz
    Twenty containers of the hay have been shipped to China and 40 more containers have been ordered; the total is estimated at $600,000. "This is the first of many shipments as China's growing demand translates into new sales opportunities for Canadian producers, and jobs and growth for our economy," said Ritz. "This is solid evidence that Canadian exporters are taking advantage of new market access secured by this government."
    China's hay and forage product imports have increased significantly in the last five years, going from $119,000 in 2006 to over $103 million in 2011. Alfalfa hay is a high-quality forage used in livestock feed, in particular for dairy cattle. China is expanding its dairy industry — aiming to double its milk production by 2015 — and the growing demand for alfalfa hay on the Chinese market is offering sales opportunities for Canadian producers. "We are extremely excited by this new marketing opportunity between Canada and China," said John Van Hierden, president and CEO of Green Prairie International. "This will create unprecedented opportunities for the Canadian forage industry. We believe this will create important economic and cultural benefits to both Canada and China."

British Egg Industry Council revises educational website

    The British Egg Industry Council has updated its educational website,, to offer increased resources for students and teachers.
    The council says that the change has been made in response to the approach of Easter and offers Easter exercises, such as egg decorating, along with activities covering nutrition, food safety and recipes, focusing on curriculum areas including science and food technology. Additionally, pupils are encouraged to keep a diary, learn about the structure of hens’ eggs and find out about egg customs throughout the world.  

Japan buys feed wheat, barley via buy and sell tender

    Japan's Ministry of Agriculture has purchased 59,690 metric tons of feed wheat and 93,640 metric tons of feed barley in a tender under the simultaneous buy and sell system.
    Under the system, end-users can negotiate the origins, price and quantity of grain with trading companies prior to jointly submitting bids to the government. In October 2011, the ministry revised up its imports of feed wheat in the fiscal year to March 31 to 430,000 metric tons to reflect users' need for an alternative to costly corn in compound feed. It initially planned to buy 300,000 metric tons during the same period, according to reports. Its purchase plan for feed barley remains at 1.41 million metric tons for the fiscal year.

Vietnam animal feed surplus leads to reduced imports

    Vietnam's animal feed distributors have reduced their imports in the first two months of 2012 due to high domestic supply, according to Vietnam Animal Feed Association vice chairman Pham Duc Binh.
    Import values of animal feed fell to US$359 million in January and February, 17.5 percent lower than the same time in 2011. Imports from India dropped 18.2 percent.
    Foreign-invested feed companies continue to meet most of the domestic demand, such as Thailand's CP Group and U.S.-based Cargill, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The ministry is urging greater domestic investment in the feed industry and suggesting the development of a long-term strategy to promote domestic investment in the industry, particularly in the production of raw materials such as corn and soybeans.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

France bans growing of Monsanto genetically modified corn

    France has temporarily banned the growing of Monsanto Co.'s genetically modified corn MON810 ahead of guidance by European regulators on the crop's safety and after the European Commission told France it doesn't plan any urgent measures ahead of the opinion, according to France's agriculture and environment ministries.
    In February, France asked the EU to suspend approval for MON810, citing scientific studies that show growing the corn variety may pose "important risks" to the environment. “Because of the proximity of the planting period, the Agriculture Ministry has decided today to take a precautionary measure that means to temporarily prohibit the cultivation of the corn MON810 on the national territory in order to protect the environment,” said a ministry statement.
    Monsanto has said it does not market MON810 in France because the company seeks planting where it has a broad farmer and government support.

Russia poultry, pig meat output up in February

    Russia's poultry and poultry byproduct output increased by 25 percent in February compared to 2011 numbers, reaching 268,000 metric tons, according to the country's Federal State Statistics Service.
    Poultry and cattle in live weight increased by 9.8 percent, to 800,000 metric tons. Pig meat production also rose significantly, by 21 percent, to 70,700 metric tons. This number contributed to an overall meat production, excluding poultry, of 97,900 metric tons, an increase of 13 percent over February 2011 numbers.

US turkey stocks up 17 percent in January

    The estimate of U.S. turkey stocks at the end of January was 298 million pounds, up 17 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    At the end of January, whole birds stocks were estimated at 109 million pounds, up 30 percent from the same period in 2011. Stock levels also were higher for legs, increasing to 22 million pounds, up 122 percent from 2011 numbers. Stocks of “other” turkey parts increased to 38.5 million pounds at the end of January, 45 percent higher than in 2011.
    One exception to these increases was in the stocks of breast meat, which were down 8 percent to 51 million pounds. There were also some small upward revisions to ending turkey stocks for 2011, now estimated at 211 million pounds, up 5 million pounds from the original estimate and 10 percent higher than 2011 numbers.
    In January, U.S. turkey product exports totaled 54.7 million pounds, up 15 percent from 2011. Higher shipments to Mexico were a main factor in the increase, totaling 34 million pounds, 17 percent higher than January 2011. Exports were also stronger to both Hong Kong and Canada.
    In 2011, total turkey exports were 703 million pounds, up almost 21 percent from 2010, driven by sharp increases to Mexico. In 2011, U.S. turkey exports to Mexico totaled 399 million pounds, up 24 percent from 2010 and equaling 57 percent of all U.S. turkey exports. China and Hong Kong were the second- and third-largest markets for U.S. turkey exports, totaling 83 and 38 million pounds, respectively. Shipments to China were 11 percent higher than in 2010, while shipments to Hong Kong rose by 53 percent. Shipments to both these markets were likely influenced by high duties imposed by China on imports of U.S. broiler products.
    For more poultry information and statistics, see  

McDonald’s to source chicken locally at London Olympics

    McDonald’s, which will run the biggest restaurant in the world at this year’s Olympic Games in London, UK, has said it will source its chicken requirements from British poultry farmers in response to negative reaction towards its original plan to source only 10 percent of its needs and import the rest, largely from farms in Brazil and Thailand.
    McDonald's had been exempted from a rule in the Games' Food Vision that required all poultry being served to come from the UK — a move that caused the London Olympic and Paralympic Organising Committee to face significant criticism. The change "is a real success for British farmers and the people of London,” said Green Party London Assembly Member Jenny Jones. 

China province to expand corn acreage, cut soy

    China's top corn and soy grower, the northeast province of Heilongjiang, plans to raise total grains output by 8 percent in 2012 through an expansion of its corn acreage and a paring back of its soy land, according to local agriculture officials.
    Heilongjiang produced 15 percent, 26.76 million metric tons, of China's total corn output in 2011 — equal to the total harvest in Argentina. The province cut its soy acreage by 10 percent in 2011, reducing output by 7.5 percent, or 5.4 million metric tons.
    Companies are looking instead to invest in overseas land for food security purposes, according to reports. The province's Beidahuang State Farm Group has started planting soybeans on 13,000 hectares of farmland in Argentina and may ship the soy back to China, and the company plans to cultivate 234,000 hectares in coming years to grow corn and other crops. It has also invested in overseas farming in Cuba, Russia and Venezuela.

Bird flu found at Dutch turkey farm

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

US poultry industry supports US-Korea free trade agreement

    The USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and United Egg Producers have announced their support for the U.S.-Korea free trade agreement, which became effective on March 15, saying that it will greatly improve market access for U.S. poultry and egg exports to South Korea, mostly by reducing and eliminating import duties.
    In 2011, Korea imported nearly $143 million in U.S. poultry and egg products. Under the agreement, annual U.S. poultry meat exports to Korea could more than double, while annual egg exports could triple. Over the first 10 years of the agreement, the increase in exports to Korea could easily make the U.S. one of the top international markets for U.S. poultry and eggs.
    Under terms of the free trade agreement, Korea’s 20-percent import duty on frozen chicken leg quarters will be phased out in 10 equal annual reductions, while the duty on breasts and wings will be reduced in 12 equal annual installments. Korea’s 18-percent duty on frozen turkey cuts will be reduced to zero in seven equal annual installments, and its 27-percent duty on processed egg products, including egg yolks, will be phased out over 12 years.
    The future of the U.S. poultry and egg industry depends on the continued expansion of exports, according to the organizations. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture calculations, the industry’s current annual exports of nearly $4.4 billion support more than 50,400 U.S. jobs, and each billion dollars in U.S. poultry and egg exports equates to about 11,525 American jobs throughout the economy

US turkey production forecast up for 2012

    U.S. turkey hatchery data showed that the number of poults being placed during the second half of 2011 was higher in four out of five of the last months and that it was again higher (4.6 percent) in January, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
    Poult placements are expected to remain above 2011 numbers as the number of turkey eggs placed in incubators has been higher than 2011 at the beginning of both January and February. With expected increases in poult placements, the turkey meat production estimates for 2012 was increased somewhat in all four quarters with the total for 2012 rising to 5.92 billion pounds, up 2 percent from 2011.
    First-quarter 2012 turkey meat production is now forecast at 1.4 billion pounds, up slightly from 2011, with stronger increases expected later in 2012 as turkey producers raise production in response to the strong prices for whole birds that existed throughout 2011 and into 2012. The higher production is expected to come primarily from more birds being slaughtered, but a small increase in average liveweight at slaughter is also expected.
    Turkey meat production in January totaled 477 million pounds, an increase of 3 percent from the same time in 2011 and January 2011 was over 9 percent higher than January 2010. The increase in production was the result of both a higher number of turkeys being slaughtered (up 2.9 percent) and a small increase in the average weight of birds at slaughter to 30.9 pounds (0.3 percent higher).
    Year-over-year increases in production are expected to continue in both February and March, with production during first-quarter 2012 expected to be about 1 percent higher than 2011 numbers. Growth in turkey meat production is expected to continue throughout the remainder of 2012 as higher prices provide the incentive for higher production. 

Brasil Foods poultry welfare projects seek to reduce heat stress, footpad lesions

    Two initiatives implemented by Brasil Foods to improve the welfare of poultry have been recognized in McDonald's Best of Sustainable Supply 2012. The changes seek to reduce heat stress and improve litter quality.
    To improve conditions during reproduction, a change in litter has resulted in increased comfort and a reduction in footpad lesions. This has not only resulted in greater mobility for birds, but also made the cleaning of poultry housed easier. Brasil Foods has also installed new, modern ventilation systems in its poultry houses, and evaporative panels have been introduced to reduce the penetration of heat. Birds now benefit from lower temperatures and an increased supply of oxygen.
    Of the 400 projects considered by McDonalds for inclusion in the 2012 edition of Best of Sustainable Supply, only 176 suppliers were recognized.

Animal feed to overtake fuel as biggest use for corn

    Animal feed is projected to overtake fuel as the biggest use for corn because ethanol demand is slowing as farmers produce a record crop, according to reports.
    The BGOV Barometer, which shows the proportion of the corn harvest going into ethanol in the year ending Aug. 31, 2013, is forecast to fall to 35 percent of the crop from 40 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Animal feed was overtaken by ethanol in 2011 and 2012. “Ethanol growth should slow down, so if we get increased production, then this will lower the food-versus-fuel debate for awhile,” said Bruce Babcock, an energy economist at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.
    A 45-cent-per-gallon tax credit given to ethanol blenders and a 54-cent-per-gallon tariff on ethanol imports expired at the end of 2011, while ethanol stockpiles are at record levels. Federal requirements for ethanol use are increasing at a slower pace and are set to peak at 15 billion gallons in 2015, according to the Renewable Fuels Association in Washington. Production in 2011 was 13.9 billion gallons.

British Pig Executive meat and health campaign yields positive results

    A meat and health campaign launched 18 months ago by the British Pig Executive, in conjunction with the English and Welsh beef and lamb organizations, has turned “very negative” press coverage on red meat to a positive.
    Before launching the campaign, an audit of press coverage showed five negatives to every one positive, but now there are 5.5 positive to every 3.5 negative. “This is a fantastic result and will help to change perceptions of red meat generally," said health and education manager Nicola Wilde, who is coordinating the campaign. "Far too often red meat was being demonized unfairly, and there was a danger consumers would be swayed by it."
    Over the last 18 months the campaign spoke to 90 key opinion-forming journalists and scientists. "Some of the change can also be attributed to sending out Meat Advisory Panel fact sheets to those journalists who are identified as being 'off beam' in terms of giving the correct scientific facts," said Wilde. "It’s just been a case of never giving up.” The Meat Advisory Panel is a new group of healthcare professionals, scientists and researchers who provide independent and objective information about red meat and its role as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
    A meat and health website also contains a section on a healthy diet and lifestyle aimed at the general public.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Argentina to delay corn export permits until April

    Argentina will delay issuing more corn export permits until April 19 while it studies crop damage caused by drought, according to Agriculture Minister Norberto Yauhar.
    An allocation of 7.5 million metric tons has already been granted, of a total 21 to 22-million-metric-ton total harvest expected. Argentina is expected to need 8 million metric tons of the corn crop for domestic use, said Yauhar.  

American Soybean Association supports permanent trade relations with Russia

    The American Soybean Association is urging the Senate Finance Committee to establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia as the committee holds hearings on the implications of Russia's accession into the World Trade Organization for the U.S.
    The U.S. has maintained normal trade relations with Russia since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1992. Growth in the Russian animal protein industry has led to a significant increase in demand for soybeans over the past decade. Russia’s main import partners, however, are Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, leaving room for growth within the market for U.S. soybean exports. “The pork and poultry industries, which use soybean meal in animal feed, are poised to see great success in Russia as income levels rise and the demand for meat increases," said American Soybean Association First Vice President Danny Murphy. "What benefits these industries benefits soybean farmers. Those potential positives, however, hinge on further expansion of trade to Russia. The establishment of [permanent normal trade relations] with Russia is critical to our ability to increase soybean exports into Europe’s largest consumer market and the world’s 11th largest economy.
    “Russia is an important part of U.S. business’ global strategy to create and sustain jobs at home by enhancing our long-term competitiveness abroad," said Murphy. "Many U.S. companies have developed vibrant, profitable and rapidly-growing business and trade with Russia, with clear strategic benefits to parent companies, exports from, and employment in the United States. Without [permanent normal trade relations], U.S. companies and their employees will be left behind our competitors in this growing and profitable market.” 

International Pig Veterinary Society Congress to highlight key industry topics

    More than 3,000 delegates from some 70 countries are expected to attend the 2012 International Pig Veterinary Society Congress in Jeju, Korea, from June 10 to June 13.
    It will be the first IPVS congress to be held in Asia since 1994 when it was held in Bangkok, Thailand, and will consist of keynote lectures, satellite symposia, oral presentations, poster sessions, social programs and a variety of tour programs. “Pork consumption in the Asian region is expected to increase, and in order to meet the growing needs of pork consumers, we must strive to grow our industry while at the same time improve pig health and produce safe pork."
    The event will cover every aspect of the pig industry, including economically important diseases, new and exotic diseases, production management, feed and nutrition, genetics, welfare and pork safety. It will also include a keynote lecture by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' chief veterinary officer, Dr. Juan Lubroth, which will highlight factors affecting the emergence of new diseases in swine. Lubroth previously served at the FAO as the head of the infectious diseases group/emergency prevention system.
    This year’s Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture will be delivered by UK-based Dr. Dan Tucker, who is senior lecturer in veterinary public health and pig medicine at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Veterinary Medicine, a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, and is actively involved in public health and infectious disease-related research pertaining to pigs. The theme of his presentation will be “Happy pigs and healthy people: Exploiting technologies for mutual benefit.”
    See for more details on the congress and to register. 

Russia poultry output may rise 7 percent in 2012

    Russia’s poultry output may rise 7.2 percent to 3.4 million metric tons in 2012 as more than 50 percent of leading domestic producers are planning to operate at full capacity, according to Interfax via the country’s Union of Poultry Producers.
    Poultry production will reach 816,800 metric tons in the first quarter, from 717,100 metric tons during the same time in 2011, said Interfax. Output was 3.17 million metric tons in 2011. By 2020, production could reach 4.5 million metric tons, and consumption is expected to increase to 30 kilograms (66 pounds) per person from 24.6 kilograms in 2011.

Novogen predicts steady growth for egg industry

    Novogen, part of Groupe Grimaud, held a press conference mid-March at the Vivalis facilities in Nantes, France, where it traced the company’s development and offered perspectives for production.
    Frederic Grimaud, Groupe Grimaud president and CEO, detailed the company’s evolution, tracing its history back to the late 1960s with a duck breeding program. The group’s layer breeding division was established in 2008, and has gradually been gaining market share worldwide, now selling to 40 countries worldwide.
    With the world population growing at a rate of 220,000 people each day, animal protein consumption is growing. Eggs are a relatively cheap protein source with a high nutritional value. The global egg market has been growing steadily at 3–4 percent per annum, and global production now stands at some 63.5 million metric tons. Along with growing production, there is an increase in alternative housing systems for egg production, particularly in the EU.
    Globally, the highest demand is for brown eggs, which have a market share of 50 percent, followed by white eggs, at 46 percent. The remaining 4 percent is accounted for by tinted eggs, which are primarily consumed in China and Japan.
    Novogen offers the NOVOgenovogen Brown, Tinted and White layer, and Mickael Le Helloco, general manager Novogen, explained that Novogen was supporting the egg industry through providing new efficient genetic solutions for the various market segments. He continued that the Groupe Grimaud is the second-largest multispecies animal breeding group in the world, offering an alternative source of supply and consequently more competition.
    Novogen has been focusing on high production potential and efficiency, and ensuring that birds can adapt to various production environments. Selection criteria focus on high standards of egg quality, productivity, efficiency and the ability to produce in a variety of systems.
    Thierry Burlot, R&D manager, added that the company monitors birds during the whole laying period, in all types of production systems to assure that they can adapt to different environments. He also focused on the highest shell quality (coloration, shell strength, uniformity) and internal egg quality, which naturally decreases during the life of the bird.

Monday, March 19, 2012

US broiler meat production estimate up first quarter 2012

    The U.S. broiler meat production estimate for the first quarter of 2012 was increased by 150 million pounds to 8.85 billion pounds, a decrease of 5 percent from a year earlier, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
    The revision is the result of January’s stronger-than-expected broiler meat production and an assumption that the slaughter trend will carry into February and March. Some of the production decrease is expected to come from a smaller number of birds slaughtered, but part of that decrease is expected to be offset by small gains in average weights at slaughter throughout the remainder of the first quarter and into the second. Based on the expectation of slightly higher weights, the meat production estimate for the second quarter was also increased and now is expected to total 9.05 billion pounds, according to the USDA.
    Broiler meat production for January was reported at 3.09 billion pounds, down only 1 percent from 2011 numbers. The decrease was the result of small decline in the number of birds slaughtered and the average live weight at slaughter. The decline in the number of birds slaughtered was less than expected. The total number of birds slaughtered was 706 million, down 1 percent from January 2011, and the total liveweight of broilers at slaughter declined by 1 percent. The average liveweight at slaughter was 5.84 pounds, a decline of .01 pounds per bird (0.3 percent) from 2011.
    For more information and statistics on poultry, see  

US maintains solid pig meat demand in early March

    Through early March, production and most price data suggest that solid pig meat demand continues, even in the face of increases in hog slaughter and pig meat production in January and February, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Solid domestic pig meat demand is further reflected in quarterly disappearance estimates. USDA supply forecasts for the first quarter of 2012 point to a 2-percent increase in total pig meat supply. Accounting for estimates of first-quarter exports and ending stocks leaves total domestic pig meat disappearance 1.4 percent ahead of the first quarter of 2011. So far in the first quarter of 2012, U.S. consumers appear to be paying more for larger quantities of pig meat. First-quarter per capita pig meat disappearance is forecast at 11.5 pounds per capita, 0.49 percent larger than in 2011.
    As a counterbalance to higher hog prices and indications of continued strong domestic pig meat demand, USDA data shows that pig meat stocks are building ahead of 2011 levels and that wholesale values of most pig meat cuts have traded at below 2011 levels since late January. Stocks of pig meat at the end of January were 584 million pounds. While significantly higher than in December 2011, the year-over-year increase in total pig meat stocks was about the same as in January 2011.
    The February wholesale value of the pig meat carcass — $84.44 per cwt — was almost 5 percent below 2011 numbers. However, good availability of pig meat cuts and relatively low prices are expected to attract buyers’ attention, given that both beef and broiler production and domestic disappearance are expected to be year-over-year lower for most of 2012.

UK pig producers facing swine dysentery challenge

    British pig producers are being urged to be extra vigilant for symptoms of swine dysentery and step up defenses after further cases of the disease have been reported across the UK’s North Yorkshire region.
    “The disease spreads rapidly, particularly in the current cold weather conditions,” said British Pig Executive veterinary projects manager Helen Clarke. She said swine dysentery is a highly economically damaging infection and it is imperative that producers report suspected symptoms as soon as possible. “Swine dysentery causes a rapid loss of condition in affected pigs and, eventually, loss of stock," said Clarke. "Clinical signs affecting growing and finishing pigs include bloody diarrhea.”
    All producers are urged to tighten up on biosecurity measures. “The bacterium Brachyspira hyodysenteriae live in the large intestine and are passed out in dung," said Clarke. "This is why it is so easily spread on boots, vehicles and implements, as well as by rodents and birds, and why hygiene is so important.” 

Research challenges existing data on egg consumption

      Dr. Mitch Kanter
    Eggs are experiencing a “rebirth” among many health and nutrition experts due to recent research challenging existing dogmas about nutrition and health, stated Dr. Mitch Kanter, executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center, in a presentation during the Simmering Issues Workshop at the 2012 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention in St. Paul, Minn. Previously considered unhealthy, eggs are now being extolled for their nutrient density, high-quality protein, and relatively low cost in comparison to other protein sources.
    Much of this rebirth is being driven by data indicating that egg intake does not promote cardiovascular disease in the majority of the population, according to Kanter. Recent studies are indicating the positive impact of a higher protein diet for modulating serum glucose and insulin levels, both of which can ultimately impact obesity rates and cardiovascular disease risk.
    Further driving this resurgence are studies suggesting that breakfast might be the most important meal of the day for consuming protein.  Coupled with data demonstrating that higher protein intakes can increase satiety, enhance muscle tissue growth and re-synthesis, and minimize muscle loss in the elderly, the future for egg consumption in the U.S appears bright.

Alternative litter material research continues for poultry industry

      Dr. Jesse Grimes
    Cost and availability will ultimately determine the adoption of a new or alternative litter material by poultry growers and the poultry industry, according to Dr. Jesse Grimes, North Carolina University, presenting at the Poultry Litter Management Workshop at the 2012 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention in St. Paul, Minn.
    As the poultry industry in the United States has grown and expanded, the availability of litter materials has been challenged. Grimes examined all available research completed on poultry litter and bedding since 2002.
    Results from twelve different studies were reviewed to determine if a material is a good bedding source. Several factors help determine if a material is a good bedding source, including: absorbency, drying time, whether the material is contaminant-free, its purpose after use as a bedding material, and whether or not it is cost competitive with current materials utilized.
    Alternative litter materials for poultry will continue to be researched and evaluated.  Local materials and suppliers are going to play a crucial role in the search for alternative bedding materials for the poultry industry. While bird performance will always be a threshold criterion, if the litter is difficult to obtain or not cost competitive with current materials utilized, it will not be used at litter material.

World Pork Expo early registration opens March 15

    Early registration for the 2012 World Pork Expo, scheduled for June 6–8 at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa, opens on March 15.
    The National Pork Producers Council-sponsored event will highlight the industry's latest technologies, offer business seminars and show breeding stock to the expected 20,000 attendees. “The World Pork Expo has become a must-see event for pork producers and allied industry throughout the world,” said Doug Fricke, director of trade show marketing for the National Pork Producers Council. “Interest in this year’s expo is high, with some of the official World Pork Expo hotels already sold out. It’s never too early to make travel plans and register to attend so you don’t miss out on everything World Pork Expo has to offer.”
    The expo tradeshow is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, and Thursday, June 7, as well as from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Friday, June 8. The breeding stock sales will continue on Saturday, June 9, from 8 a.m. until they’re completed (at approximately noon). By registering in advance, attendees can receive a $10 World Pork Expo early registration discount and free expo alerts via e-mail. Online registration can be completed at

Friday, March 16, 2012

Boehringer Ingelheim expands with Shanghai research and development center

      Executives open the new Boehringer Ingelheim Asian Veterinary Research & Development Center in Zhangjiang, Shanghai. 
    Pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim is expanding its animal health business with its first research and development center in China, opening the Asian Veterinary Research & Development Center in Zhangjiang, Shanghai.
    Boehringer has invested €12 million into the 1,900-square-meter center, which creates 70 new scientific workplaces in the area and will bring new bio-research technologies to the country. “Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term focus is to further strengthen its very strong global position in the animal health business, particularly in the vaccine segment," said Hubertus von Baumbach, responsible for the corporate board divisions of finance and animal health.
    The center is positioned to identify and develop vaccines against livestock diseases focusing on China and the Asian markets.

ExtruAfrica 2012 to address extrusion as food, feed processing instrument

      Participants experiencing food and feed extrusion by seeing how the technology works, as well as touching and tasting the end-products, during one of ExtruAfrica’s previous training events.
    ExtruAfrica 2012, an international conference and practical training seminar on extrusion technology applied in food and feed manufacturing, will focus on the topic "a global perspective on food and feed extrusion for Africa."
    The event, which will be presented by the Centre of Excellence in Advanced Manufacturing of the North-West University’s Potchefstroom Campus at the Protea Hotel Kruger Gate in Mpumalanga, South Africa from July 31 to August 3, will include a two-day practical training seminar on food, feed and pet food extrusion and a two-day international conference on food and feed extrusion. Keynote speakers will be:
    • World-renowned extrusion expert Dr. Mian Riaz from Texas A & M University
    • Mr. Norman Mokoena, member of the Executive Council responsible for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mpumalanga Provincial Government
    • Professor Herman van Schalkwyk, well-known agricultural economist and rector at the NWU’s Potchefstroom Campus 

Study compares range, cage-free, conventional egg production

      Dr. Kenneth Anderson
    There are no overall performance advantages associated with range production, said Dr. Kenneth Anderson, Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, during the Egg Production Workshop at the 2012 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention in St. Paul, Minn. The workshop presented study results conducted at the Piedmont Research Station comparing range, cage-free and conventional egg production.
    The study observed the performance, egg quality and component percentages of eggs from hatch mates of two commercial brown egg strains and a heritage strain among the three housing environments. Man-hour requirements and beak trimming were also examined. The birds within all three environments were raised with the same rearing program.
    Eggs produced by the hens with full range access had no quality advantage, but there were differences associated with the yolk color and shell strength, with the range hens producing eggs with darker pigmentation of the yolk material. The cage-free hens produced eggs with the lowest percentage of blood spots. Other quality factors were similar between all three environments.
    Beak trimming appears to positively impact production characteristics, according to Anderson, which favors the continued use of beak trimming to control cannibalism mortality and feather pecking in egg layers. Mortality was the highest among the range hens at 22 percent.
    Moving from intensive to extensive production systems requires significant increases in time commitments: a 45 percent increase in man-hours from conventional to cage-free, a 279 percent increase in man-hours from conventional to range, and 161 percent increase in man-hours from cage-free to range.

Global wheat, soy, corn reserves declining

    Global inventories of wheat, soybeans and corn are dropping more than forecast as farmers find themselves unable to keep up with rising demand for food, livestock feed and biofuel, according to reports.
    Wheat stockpile forecasts for May have been cut by 1.7 percent to 209.6 million metric tons, while soybean reserves for August are now estimated to reach a three-year low of 57.3 million metric tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Corn is expected to reach a 16-year low of 801 million bushels.
    Soybean production in Brazil and Argentina, the two biggest growers after the U.S., will drop to 115 million metric tons from 124.5 million metric tons in 2011 and the 127 million metric tons forecast in December 2011, according to the USDA. The latest number is now lower than three years ago, when the harvest was damaged by weather. Global soybean production, at 245.07 million metric tons, is also expected to be about 19 million metric tons lower than 2011, the biggest drop since 1965.
    Global use of wheat in livestock feed will reach a record 131.06 million metric tons, up from the 130.66 million metric tons estimated in February, said the USDA.