Friday, June 29, 2012

Mexico avian influenza outbreak determined to be highly pathogenic

    An avian influenza outbreak in Mexico initially reported as a low-pathogenic H7 subtype has now been classified as the highly pathogenic H7N3 subtype, according to a follow-up report submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health.
    The strain is responsible for 211,424 bird deaths at three large commercial farms in the Mexican state of Jalisco, and is the first highly pathogenic bird flu outbreak since the mid-1990s, say Mexican veterinary authorities. More than 1 million birds are susceptible, and 587,160 have been sickened. Roughly 60,000 birds have been culled so far in an effort to halt the virus while sampling takes place at 60 poultry farms near the infected area. Quarantine measures are also in place to prevent the virus from spreading. 

Asia poultry farmers may benefit from infectious disease initiative

    Asia’s poultry producers could be among the beneficiaries of a new public-private partnership research program — ALTANT-ASIA — between Pfizer Animal Health, MSD Animal Health and leading scientists in The Netherlands, seeking to develop alternative strategies to protect farm animals from infectious diseases by minimizing the likelihood of inducing antibiotic resistance.
    The approximately US$10 million research program is being co-financed by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation in collaboration with Immuno Valley, a network and technology transfer organization, and Utrecht University, and is one of the largest of its kind.
    The overall project is focused on delivering a platform of new class anti-infectives for livestock that will exhibit antimicrobial and immunomodulatory properties. All partners will closely collaborate to develop innovative anti-infectives based on newly identified small peptides as alternatives to antibiotics for animals. They will contribute to the research program by sharing knowledge, equipment and financial resources.
    “This opportunity recognizes the long-term need for new anti-infectives for the development of effective treatments for infectious animal diseases, while minimizing the impact on resistance in both human and animal pathogens," said Jeffrey L. Watts, director of anti-infectives Pfizer Animal Health. “Moreover, the funding of this initiative by the Dutch government represents an acknowledgement of the necessity of such programs and the need to responsibly partner with the industry to bring new therapies to market.”

British pig producers urge EU to join on sow stall ban

    A failure to fully enforce European pig welfare rules by the 2013 deadline will damage the image of the industry, said National Pig Association Director Stewart Houston at a Copa communications seminar in Brussels, Belgium, on June 25. The UK, he said, enforced a ban on sow stalls in 1999, and the rest of Europe should follow suit by Jan. 1, 2013, or risk tarnishing the reputation of the entire sector.
    "In the UK we have battled poor profitability, high feed costs and difficult planning restrictions which have forced many producers out of the industry," said Houston. "It is very important that the reputation of the sector is intact for those that want to continue producing pork."
    Latest European Commission figures show three member states are already compliant with the ban on sow stalls, including the UK. Fifteen say they will be compliant by 2013, while five more say they will be at least 90 percent compliant by 2013. Another two will be 70 percent to 90 percent compliant, with two more yet to give figures. "I am very concerned that the EU's excellent work on welfare could be damaged by a handful of countries that fail to enforce these welfare regulations," said Houston. "I cannot over-emphasize the need for European decision makers, member state governments, processors, retailers and producers to work together towards compliance as quickly as possible.
    "Further to that, we must ensure any reduction in production as a result of new welfare rules is not filled by imports from countries outside of the EU that produce pork to standards that would be illegal in Europe. By the same token the European market must not be distorted by pork products from non-compliant farms within Europe."

Argentina corn still in consideration for China imports

    China is interested in buying more corn from Argentina, but it's still unclear whether certain genetically modified strains of the grain will be allowed to enter the Chinese market, according to the Argentine Agriculture Ministry.
    Argentina signed an export deal with China in early 2012, but the agreement didn't cover some of the types of corn produced. But traders say that as long as Argentine farmers are growing the same kinds of genetically modified corn as U.S. farmers do, the agreement should hold. China has approved 12 GMO corn strains for import into the country.
    Argentina is forecast to export 13 million metric tons of 2011–2012 corn and 16 million metric tons of the 2012–2013 crop, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Chinese corn imports are forecast to increase to 7 million metric tons in 2012–2013, due largely to rising livestock and industrial consumption.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

China drops antidumping investigation against US distillers grains

    China has decided to drop its antidumping investigation against imports of U.S. distillers dried grains with solubles, DDGS, according to the Asian country's Ministry of Commerce. The investigation was launched in December 2010 at the request of domestic producers Cofco Biochemical (Anhui) Co., Jilin Fuel Alcohol Co., Meihekou Fukang Alcohol Co. and Jilin New Tianlong Wine Industry Co.
    The same four companies requested that the ministry end the probe on May 10. Demand for U.S. DDGS is strong, as it is cheaper than feed grains. In 2011, China's DDGS imports totaled 1.69 million tons, down 47 percent from 2010 numbers, as buyers worried Beijing might impose duties on imports.

US egg production down slightly in May

    U.S. egg production totaled 7.77 billion during May, down slightly from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. Production included 6.69 billion table eggs, and 1.08 billion hatching eggs, of which 1.01 billion were broiler-type and 73 million were egg-type.
    The total number of layers during May averaged 338 million, up slightly from the same time in 2011. May egg production per 100 layers was 2,296 eggs, down slightly from May 2011.
    All layers in the U.S. on June 1 totaled 338 million, up slightly from 2011 numbers. The 338 million layers consisted of 282 million layers producing table- or market-type eggs, 52.9 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs and 2.96 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on June 1 averaged 74.4 eggs per 100 layers, up slightly from June 1, 2011.
    Egg-type chicks hatched during May totaled 43.3 million, up 1 percent from May 2011. Eggs in incubators totaled 40.3 million on June 1, up 8 percent from the same time in 2011. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 302,000 during May, up 54 percent from May 2011.
    Broiler-type chicks hatched during May totaled 778 million, down 3 percent from May 2011 numbers. Eggs in incubators totaled 626 million on June 1, down 2 percent from the same time in 2011. Leading breeders placed 7.48 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during May, down 3 percent from May 2011.
    For more egg and poultry information and statistics, see  

Lallemand studies link between endotoxins, postpartum dysgalaxia syndrome in sows

    Lallemand Animal Nutrition has conducted a study on the potential role of digestive endotoxin on postpartum dysgalaxia syndrome, a mild form of Mastitis Metritis Agalactia (MMA), in sows, finding that a live yeast supplementation in peri-partal sows might be able to reduce the incidence of MMA.
    The study showed a good relationship between endotoxin levels and clinical signs of MMA, and a company yeast product, yeastLEVUCELL SB, had a positive effect on the incidence of MMA on the study group of sows. Overall, the study supports that endotoxin derived from intestinal bacteria could be linked to the development of MMA. However, the low number of sows studied (26 — 11 control, 15 receiving yeastLEVUCELL SB) did not allow drawing firm conclusions about the effect of the live yeast on endotoxin transfer and further studies should be conducted with larger number of animals, according to Lallemand.

First shipment of British pork exported to China

    The first shipment of British pork under the country's new export deal with China made its way from Tulip's cold store in the West Midlands on June 21, according to reports.
    China is the largest market for pork in the world, and negotiations for direct trade between the two countries have been underway for years. "This is an important step, not only for Tulip but also for the British pig industry," said Tulip Sales and Export Manager Martin Sauer. "The Chinese market is huge — the biggest in the world — and there will be scope to expand it in years to come."
    British Pig Executive chairman Stewart Houston, who was involved in the negotiations to open the market, said the new deal is very important to British trade. "[China] is a market that could easily be worth £50 million a year in the not too far distant future,” said Houston.

Europe issues reasoned opinions over laying hen cage ban noncompliance

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More EU countries to comply with sow stall ban

    Eighteen EU member states have announced that they will be fully compliant with the ban on sow stalls by the time the new regulations come in to force on Jan. 1, 2013.
    Sow stalls have been illegal in Britain since 1999, but they will not be outlawed in the rest of the EU until the 2013 deadline. The UK has been pressing the European Commission to make sure that the ban is enforced across the EU, ensuring a fairer environment for British pig farmers to compete in. “I promised to push the Commission to be as robust as possible and I welcome the approach they and other member states are taking to improve and enforce welfare standards across Europe," said Britain’s Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice. “It’s a pity that not everyone is going to be compliant by the deadline, but from the perspective of the UK pig industry, all of our main competitors will be.”
    The 18 countries are: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the UK. In addition, 95 percent of Austrian holdings are expected to be compliant by the deadline, 93 percent of Finnish holdings, 93 percent of Greek holdings, 94 percent of Polish holdings and 95 percent of Slovenian holdings. 

French poultry group Doux in talks with potential buyers

Mexico reports low pathogenic avian influenza outbreak

    Mexico has reported an outbreak of low pathogenic avian influenza on three commercial layer farms in the state of Jalisco, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.
    Over 211,000 birds have died as a result of the disease. An investigation is ongoing to establish the extent of the problem and the source of infection in order to implement additional measures to resolve the outbreak. Additional sampling is underway to identify the possible presence of other pathogens involved in the outbreaks. So far, the farms have been quarantined and 60,000 birds have been culled.

US poultry certified wholesome up slightly in May

    U.S. poultry certified wholesome during May (ready-to-cook weight) totaled 3.86 billion pounds, up 1 percent from the amount certified in May 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    The April revised certified total, at 3.52 billion pounds, was up 1 percent from April 2011. The April revision represented a decrease of 548,000 pounds from the USDA's preliminary pounds certified. The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during May was 5.11 billion pounds, up 1 percent from 5.04 billion pounds in 2011. Young chickens inspected totaled 4.37 billion pounds, up 1 percent from May 2011 numbers. Mature chickens, at 74.8 million pounds, were up 6 percent from 2011. Turkey inspections totaled 651 million pounds, up 5 percent, and ducks totaled 14.3 million pounds, up 2 percent from 2011 numbers.
    Young chickens slaughtered during May averaged 5.83 pounds per bird, up slightly from May 2011. The average live weight of mature chickens was 5.27 pounds per bird, down 6 percent from 2011 numbers. Turkeys slaughtered during May averaged 29.8 pounds per bird, down 1 percent from May 2011.
    For more poultry information and statistics, see  

Europe animal health needs support to improve high standards

    Europe benefits from the highest animal health standards in the world, but animal health needs greater recognition and improved support at the legislative level, according to stakeholders at the annual conferences of the International Federation of Animal Health in Europe, IFAH-Europe.
    Catherine Geslain-Laneele, executive director of the European Food Safety Authority, assured delegates that Europe enjoys one of the best food safety systems in the world, supported by comprehensive scientific advice from farm to fork, including animal health and welfare.
    Many diseases that threatened the production of poultry, pig and other meats have now been brought under control and Alejandro Bernal, chairman of IFAH-Europe said that Europe has been successful in managing animal diseases, such as Salmonella, bluetongue and foot-and-mouth disease, which just years ago posed serious threats. “Europeans are accustomed to very high standards in food safety and sometimes the contribution animal health makes to our wellbeing is overlooked," said Bernal. "We encourage policymakers to support us in building an appropriate climate to continue developing advanced solutions that protect both animal and human health."
    Declan O’Brian, managing director of IFAH-Europe, wrapped up the debate by calling for science-based decisions and rational arguments. “Slaughter or trade bans that result after outbreaks must be carefully examined and based on scientific evidence to avoid weakening the agricultural economies of exporting nations," said O'Brien. "More efficient veterinary legislation can help stimulate innovation and allow for more products to be brought to market. This will not only increase our preparedness for future disease outbreaks from both a health and a trade perspective, but will contribute to the sustainable supply of safe food.” 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Corn down on record US and Brazil crops, weak economy

    Corn for December delivery dropped 1.5 percent on the Chicago Board of Trade, to $5.58 a bushel,  at 12:50 p.m. in Paris on June 21, due to concerns that a record harvest in Brazil's Mato Grosso state might add to already large stockpiles resulting from a strong U.S. harvest and a weak economy.
    Mato Grosso’s second-season corn crop is expected to reach 13.1 million metric tons from 6.9 million metric tons in 2010–2011, and world stockpiles are expected to reach the highest level in more than a decade in 2012–2013 on a record crop in the U.S., according to U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates. At the same time, weaker growth in the U.S. has curbed demand for fuel. Crude oil reached an eight-month low on June 21 after stockpiles climbed to the highest in 22 years. Roughly one-third of the U.S. corn harvest is used to produce ethanol that’s blended into gasoline. 

Brazil challenges South Africa over poultry anti-dumping measures

    Brazil has gone to the World Trade Organization to challenge South Africa's use of anti-dumping measures on shipments of Brazilian poultry meat, requesting consultations with the African country over accusations that Brazilian imports were sold at unfairly low prices that damaged South Africa's own poultry sales.
    South Africa's International Trade Administration Commission imposed anti-dumping duties on frozen chickens and chicken meat imported from Brazil after investigating suspected dumping in 2008–2010. There is a provisional anti-dumping duty of 62.93 percent on whole chickens and 46.59 percent on boneless cuts from Brazil, except for boneless cuts from Aurora Alimentos, which incurs a duty of 6.26 percent.
    This is the first dispute between Brazil and any African country, and the fourth brought against South Africa at the World Trade Organization. If the consultations fail to resolve the issue, in 60 days' time Brazil could ask the World trade Organization to set up a panel to adjudicate.

Virginia poultry processors donate turkey to food bank

    Virginia poultry processors Cargill, the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative and Perdue Farms donated 8,650 pounds of turkey meat to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank in response to a challenge set by the state governor's "Governor's Bowl" Food and Fund Drive and to highlight June as "Virginia Turkey Lovers Month."
    “We’re thrilled to have the support of the poultry industry at a time when food donations from manufacturers have been declining,” said Larry Zippin, CEO of the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. “This protein-rich contribution is vital and much appreciated as it will provide nourishing meals to more than 7,000 people in need.” The donation included 4,700 pounds of frozen whole turkeys from Cargill; 2,000 pounds of frozen bone-in turkey breasts from the Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative; and 1,950 pounds of ready-to-cook turkey breasts and deli turkey breast from Perdue.

Russia poultry, pork output up in May

    Russia's poultry and poultry byproduct production was up 12 percent in May over the same time in 2011, to 282,000 metric tons, according to the country's Federal State Statistics Service Rosstat.
    Production of poultry and cattle in live weight, including meat, bones and byproducts, increased 8.7 percent to 800,000 metric tons. January through May numbers sit at 4.2 million metric tons, according to Rosstat.
    Pork production also rose 12 percent in May, to 73,700 metric tons, and the hog count reached 19 million, an increase of 3.4 percent. Production of all meat and byproducts excluding poultry stood at 103,000 metric tons for May, an increase of 7.6 percent over 2011 numbers.

Scottish pig industry highlights stockmanship training

    A Scottish Pig Academy to encourage stockmanship training in the Scottish pig industry was officially launched on June 21 at the Royal Highland Show in Edinburgh, Scotland.
    The initial cohort of 10 Scottish Pig Academy trainees is currently being recruited with training due to start in August. The Academy has been developed by Barony College with input from Quality Meat Scotland, VION and Scottish Agricultural College. Funding for course development has been provided by the supermarket group ASDA/Walmart, Quality Meat Scotland, the European Union and Skills Development Scotland.
    The inspiration for the Academy came from pig producers, unit managers and staff taking part in the Pig Business Network run by Quality Meat Scotland, who voiced concern about the lack of a structured training program for the industry. “The objective of the Scottish Pig Academy is to implement a recognized vocational training program for basic and advanced pig stockmanship in Scotland," said a spokesman for Quality Meat Scotland. "Crucially, the program can be delivered locally and at low cost to farmers."
    There are currently around 500 people employed on Scottish pig farms and the aim is to develop the technical knowledge and skills required to maximize productivity and efficiency on pig farms. Among the areas to be covered by the course are herd performance, herd health and machinery use and maintenance, along with personal performance. Training will be delivered online on the farms where the apprentices work, making it easy to access from any location and to work in a flexible way to fit round work schedules. A network of experienced mentors will provide support to individual learners working through the modules.
    “We’ve been working hard to support the Scottish pig industry over the past few years and this initiative is another great example of collaboration in the supply chain," said Dr. Chris Brown, ASDA’s head of ethical and sustainable sourcing.

Monday, June 25, 2012

VIV Russia 2013 to highlight latest in animal protein industry

    VNU Exhibitions Europe, together with ASTI Group, will organize VIV Russia 2013, a platform representing all parts of the feed to meat market for pigs and poultry.
    VIV Russia, which will be held May 22–24, 2013, at the International Crocus Exhibition Center in Moscow, will showcase new products and services, state-of-the art technologies and the latest trends in the animal protein industry. In addition to the exhibition, an extensive conference and seminar program is in preparation.
    More than 70 percent of the total exhibition area has already been booked or reserved by suppliers, including a considerable number of leading companies in various parts of the animal production and meat processing supply chain, such as Alltech, Provimi, Andritz Feed&Biofuel, Aviagen, Pas Reform, Big Dutchmen, Poly-Clip and Meyn Poultry Processing solutions. "VIV Russia is offering international expertise to satisfy local needs," said Guus van Ham, VNU Exhibitions' project manager. "The market has enormous opportunities for new investments and by improving the knowledge level  investments will yield even more return."
    One new initiative in for the 2013 show is MeatTech Russia. This theme presents international suppliers active in slaughter technology and the processing of red and white meat. It aims to better serve the growing number of VIV Russia visitors that work for or are linked to integrations. Just as in 2011 during the previous edition, the CropTech-FeedTech Russia Pavilion for the milling, processing, storage and handling of feed and crops will return to VIV Russia.

UK egg producer donates percentage of sales to support ambulances

    UK egg producer James Potter Eggs is helping to support local ambulance services by donating GBP0.01 to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance from every pack of dozen free range eggs sold.
    “We are proud to support the work that the Yorkshire Air Ambulance does and hope that the money raised through the partnership helps make a real difference across the region,” said James Potter, director of James Potter Eggs. The air ambulance service needs GBP7,200 (US$11,283) per day to keep its two helicopters in service. The partnership to support the ambulance service was launched with the attendance of a local Member of Parliament, Potter and one of his 200,000 layers.

Dioxin found in eggs on German farm

    The chemical dioxin has been found above permitted levels in eggs from a German farm in Lower Saxony, according to the state agriculture ministry, the seventh farm to be found contaminated since April.
    The farm and its 12,000 chickens have been quarantined and its eggs recalled from sale. The farm discovered the dioxin during its own safety checks, said the ministry, and there is no acute danger to public health.
    The previous dioxin cases were in eggs at farms in Lower Saxony and the neighboring state of North Rhine Westphalia. In January 2011, a European Union-wide health alert was announced when dioxin-contaminated animal feed in Germany fed to hens and pigs led to contaminated eggs, poultry meat and pork at affected farms. The outbreak led to Germany introducing a series of measures including restrictions on animal feed ingredients and increased inspections of farms and feed.

Moark to add 1 million chickens to Missouri business

    Moark has plans to expand its Missouri business with 12 new layer and pullet houses for up to 1 million birds, according to reports.
    Area residents, who unsuccessfully protested the last expansion, said they will not fight these latest plans. They previously cited a history of pollution by the company and pointed to concerns about odors and water quality, which they said would affect their ability to use their homes and would undermine their property values.
    Moark contacted all residents who live within 4,500 feet (nearly nine-tenths of a mile) of the chicken houses and waste sites it plans to build. All waste generated by the birds will be collected and transported to a manure holding and composting building, where it will be kept dry and outside air will be blown over it to further dry it. The dry manure will be moved to a nearby composting operation or can be hauled off and applied to farm fields, where it is supposed to be spread according to state regulations.

Kurdistan to produce 100,000 metric tons poultry in 2013

    Kurdistan produces 60,000 metric tons of poultry meat annually, and expects to increase that number to 100,000 metric tons by 2013, according to the region's Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.
    Since January, nearly 25,000 metric tons of poultry meat has been produced, said Director of animal resources Ramazan Karim. Egg production in the region is roughly 520 million eggs per year — a number which is supplemented by imports from neighboring countries, said Karim. Kurdistan currently has 1,000 poultry projects.

North America top importer of US broiler, turkey meat

    The North America region is the top export destination in the world for U.S. broiler and turkey meat and number three for egg products for the January–April time frame, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest international report.
    Cumulative January–April U.S. broiler meat exports to North America are up 16 percent over 2011 numbers for the same time frame and are at 10-year highs, while total U.S. world broiler meat exports are up 15 percent and are also at 10-year highs. For the January–April time frame North America consumed 21 percent of total 2012 U.S. broiler meat exports compared to 13 percent for the same time frame in 2002.
    U.S. cumulative turkey meat exports to North America for January through April are up 15 percent over the same time frame in 2011 and are also at 10-year highs. For the same time frame North America imported 59 percent of all U.S. turkey meat exports compared to 54 percent in 2002.
    Total egg product exports from the U.S. to the North America region for January–April are 67 percent higher than the same time frame in 2011; however, it is 32 percent lower than the 10-year high established in 2010 for the same time frame. For the January–April time period the U.S. exported 17 percent of total egg product exports to North America compared to 39 percent in 2002 for the same time period.
    The primary broiler meat, turkey meat and egg product export destinations in North America are Canada and Mexico. Mexico was the number one broiler meat and turkey meat destination, while Canada was the number one egg product destination.

Friday, June 22, 2012

World Pork Expo attracts 20,000 for world's largest pork-specific show

    The 2012 World Pork Expo attracted nearly 20,000 pork producers and industry leaders from 38 countries to Des Moines, Iowa, for the world’s largest pork-specific trade show.
    The three-day (held June 6–8), National Pork Producers Council-sponsored event included industry seminars and a tradeshow with more than 400 exhibitors. “People attending World Pork Expo this year were some of the most analytical and conscientious producers I’ve met, and they are serious about the industry,” said R.C. Hunt, council president. “They appreciated hearing about what’s happening with pork production. And, we all found it exciting to see new innovations, designs and engineering that help us raise our animals responsibly wherever we farm.”
    The expo set records for the number of pigs in the Junior National show and the quantity of meals served at the Big Grill, and featured the creation of the world’s largest pork burger during its well-attended MusicFest.
    The 2013 World Pork Expo, which will celebrate the events 25th anniversary, will take place June 5–7, 2013, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.

Scotland red meat industry makes £2.1 billion in 2011

    Scotland's red meat industry contributed £2.1 billion (US$3.3 billion) to the country's economy in 2011, according to Quality Meat Scotland's Scottish Meat Industry Profile, a 10 percent increase over 2010 numbers.
    While beef and lamb producers benefitted from stronger prices, pig farmers saw production costs rise more than their returns and processors felt increased pressure on their margins, said the report. It may be another year before increased confidence is reflected in breeding stock populations, according to Stuart Ashworth, head of Quality Meat Scotland's economic services. There was further consolidation in the pig sector in 2011 where, although prices improved over 2010, they still averaged below 2009 levels and input costs remained high. The sow herd contracted sharply and returned to its downward trend of the past decade, declining by nearly 14 percent to 32,200 head.
    “In the throes of a weak economy, generally the processing sector struggled to pass on the increased cost of sourcing livestock," said Ashworth. "While strong demand for beef and pork facilitated an upwards movement in retail prices during the summer months, consumption fell back towards the end of the year as prices were perceived by many consumers to have reached prohibitive levels.
    “However, on the upside, the export trade was buoyant and presented some new opportunities to achieve improved carcass balance, while input costs began to ease towards the end of the year."

US Senate rejects Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments

    The U.S. Senate has rejected the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 to the Farm Bill, modeled after H.R. 3798 and S. 3239, which would have required egg producers to double the living space allotted per laying hen and make other animal welfare improvements during a tiered phase-in period that would allow farmers time to make the investments in better housing, with the assurance that all would face the same requirements by the end of the phase-in period.
    The amendments had bipartisan support, and were backed by both the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States. Supporters of the bill called it an opportunity to enact a national standard that would improve the lives of animals and protect family farmers and agricultural jobs. Detractors called the amendment controversial and "a direct assault upon egg laying hens', voters' and states' rights."

Global coarse grain production up for 2012-2013

    Global coarse grain production in 2012–2013 has been projected up 3.6 million tons in June to 1.23 billion tons, mostly based on increased area prospects in some countries, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest international outlook. World corn production has been increased 4.2 million tons to 949.9 million tons, but barley has been cut 0.7 million tons to 134.7 million tons.
    The 2012–2013 corn area forecast for China has been raised 300,000 hectares to 34.3 million hectares as net returns per hectare for corn continue to be more favorable compared with soybeans (soybean area is also forecast lower by 300,000 hectares). This 2 million-ton increase brings China’s total corn production in 2012–2013 to a record 195 million tons, according to the USDA.
    EU 2012–2013 corn production has been increased 1.1 million tons in June to 64.2 million tons, based mostly on increased area reported for Hungary and Poland. Dryness and cold winter temperatures hurt some winter rapeseed and wheat, causing winter-kill that has increased area sown to spring-planted crops. EU barley prospects are nearly the same as predicted in May as a significant area-based increase for Germany, and smaller increases for Poland, Hungary and Italy have been offset by a significant reduction for Spain and a small decline for Bulgaria, countries where reduced area and yield are confirmed by preliminary harvest reports.
    Russia’s corn production has been raised 0.8 million tons to a record 7.8 million as planting reports indicate producers have sown more than 100 percent of planting intentions. The 2011–2012 corn crop was profitable compared to most other crops, and this year, area is forecast up 23 percent. Russia’s barley area has also been raised, but winter barley yields have come in below expectations, offsetting the area increase. Sowing progress reports from Belarus indicate a sharp increase in corn plantings, boosting production prospects 0.3 million tons to a record 1.3 million. 

Ensuring food safety in the poultry production chain

    "Ensuring Food Safety in the Poultry Production Chain" is a one-day forum that will educate professionals on how to create an effective food safety culture and establish standardized policies and inspection systems for poultry production.
    The event, organized by Poultry International China Edition and WATT Publishing, is being supported by the China Animal Agriculture Association, CP Group, Yum! Brands Inc. China Division and VNU Exhibitions. The forum will look at such topics as food safety in China, management systems for food safety and quality in the U.S. and EU, safe feed and feed additives.
    • When: Registration — September 20, 14:00–21:00; Conference — September 21, 8:30-18:00
    • Where: Kuntai Hotel, Beijing
    • Website: 

Illinois soybean farmers document crop progress through website

    Nine Illinois soybean farmers are documenting their farming operations and processes during the current crop year using, funded by the Illinois soybean checkoff, to make it easy for web users to see soybean production in action.
    The site allows visitors to get a glimpse into Illinois' agriculture industry, say the participating farmers. "We believe that it is through efforts like this that farmers best can demonstrate the interrelationship between crops, livestock and the grocery store,” said Kate Hagenbuch, one of the participating soybean farmers and hog producer from Utica, Ill. Sustainable farming is another focus of the project, and the site also provides profiles of each photographer, production tips, crop updates and a variety of statistics related to soybean production in the U.S., Illinois and each of the state's 102 counties.
    The full list of participating farmers is:
    • Bill Wykes, soybean farmer from Yorkville, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Association vice chairman
    • Karl Spencer, soybean farmer from Yale, Ill., and former Illinois Soybean Association soy ambassador
    • Nick Wurl, soybean farmer from Urbana, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Association soy ambassador
    • Rob Shaffer, soybean farmer from El Paso, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Association secretary
    • Ross Prough, soybean farmer from Greenfield, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Association vice chair for yield
    • Sherri Kannmacher, soybean farmer from Martinsville, Ill., and former Illinois Soybean Association soy ambassador
    • Dan Farney, soybean farmer from Morton, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Association production committee chair
    • Ron Moore, soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill., and Illinois Soybean Association vice chair for sustainability
    • Kate Hagenbych, soybean farmer and hog producer from Utica, Ill.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Biomin acquires German feed additive company

    Animal nutrition company Biomin has acquired Germany-based phytogenic feed additive and feed flavorings company Micro-Plus, a move that will add to Biomin's expansion in the growth promotion and feed flavoring markets, according to the company.
    Biomin also hopes to strengthen its access to those markets while allowing for an extended technical support to customers worldwide. "Micro-Plus is an excellent acquisition, which will add to Biomin's extensive competence in phytogenics an additional 27 years of know-how, along with an experienced team of professionals working to provide the best possible solutions for our customers," said Dr. Tobias Steiner, director competence center phytogenics within Biomin.

US broiler production mixed for 2012

    U.S. broiler meat production has been mixed in 2012, with higher production in February and April and lower production in January and March, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Total broiler meat production in April was 2.99 billion pounds, an increase of 0.7 percent from 2011 numbers, though processors reported slaughtering 683 million broilers, a decrease of 0.5 percent. Offsetting this decrease in the number of birds slaughtered was an increase in the average broiler liveweight at slaughter to 5.84 pounds, 1.4 percent higher than in 2011. The average meat yield per bird was 4.38 pounds, up 1.2 percent from 2011 numbers.
    The broiler meat production estimates for both the second and third quarters of 2012 have been revised upward as the decline in eggs set diminishes and weights continue to increase. The estimate for the second quarter has been increased by 200 million pounds to 9.3 billion, and the third-quarter estimate has been increased by 100 million pounds, also to 9.3 billion. With these changes and a small adjustment to the first-quarter production, the estimate for 2012 has been increased to 36.89 billion pounds, down slightly (0.8 percent) from 2011. The increases in broiler meat production in the second and third quarters are expected to come from a combination of a higher number of birds slaughtered than originally expected and higher average weights.
    Broiler stocks at the end of April totaled 577 million pounds, down 18 percent from 2011 but 30 million pounds above March. Lower broiler meat production in the second half of 2011 and through the first quarter of 2012, along with strong exports, resulted in falling stock levels. Broiler stock levels are expected to increase somewhat in the coming months to accommodate increases in production estimates. The forecasts for the second-, third- and fourth-quarter 2012 ending stocks have all increased by 25 million pounds. Even with these increases, ending stocks are expected to be below 2011 numbers until the fourth quarter of 2012.
    For more poultry information and statistics, see  

Poultry genetic markers potential tools in controlling Marek's disease

    A new strategy for controlling Marek's disease in poultry is to develop a line of chickens which are genetically resistant to the effects of the virus, and genetic markers may be a tool in controlling the virus, according to research completed by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory.
    The disease is currently controlled by routine vaccination of commercial broilers, breeders and layer chickens, but because the Marek's disease viruses are constantly evolving, new vaccines need to be continually developed to control bird losses. Research was conducted to: identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (structural units of DNA) in susceptible chicken lines which are associated with Marek's disease susceptibility, and identify alternative units conferring resistance. A total of 57,636 single nucleotide polymorphisms were screened and 172 units located on chromosomes 1, 3, 15 and Z were found to be possibly associated with the disease.
    One of the 172 single nucleotide polymorphisms was identified at the same gene location as the susceptible allele and as the resistant allele. These results suggest eliminating a susceptible gene in breeding programs may be helpful in the control of Marek’s disease. According to researchers, primary breeding companies may use this new research to genetically select commercial chicken lines with enhanced resistance to Marek's disease.

Summer sow management critical to maintaining productivity

    As temperatures rise in the summer months, proper sow management is critical as producers work to achieve 30 pigs per sow per year, as reduced feed intake caused from heat stress directly diminishes sow body condition and rebreeding success.
    Dr. Gawain Willis, director of nutritional services for Land O’Lakes Purina Feed LLC, said that elevated ambient temperatures make achieving high feed intake in lactation a real management challenge. “If sows do not maintain high nutrient intake, they will lose too much weight in lactation and may fail to rebreed quickly,” said Willis. “This can lead to high sow culling rates, which can mean too many sows are culled before they return sufficient income to cover their original investment costs. If sows that lose too much weight do breed back on time, future litter size may be compromised.”
    Added attention to temperature control in facilities can help manage these challenges, and sow feed intake can be also maintained by adjusting the ration. Willis said he recommends decreasing the fiber content of the ration and/or increasing levels of added fat. These two ration changes lower the heat produced by the sow during digestion, thus lowering her body temperature and the amount of heat she has to dissipate and helping to maintain consumption. Heat stress can also be prevented by routinely feeding sows during the coolest parts of the day. “Make sure sows are full-fed and that they have feed available from late evening to early morning,” said Willis, adding that sow movement should be avoided during the day. “Sows are most effective in dissipating heat during overnight hours when the air is cooler.”

Market Access Program cuts may hurt US agriculture's ability to compete in international marketplace

    Eighty members of the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Exports have opposed an amendment by Senator Tom Coburn to S. 3240 (Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2012) to reduce annual funding for the Market Access Program by $40 million and prohibit the use of program funds for certain activities.
    “Reducing funding for MAP would seriously undermine U.S. agriculture’s ability to compete in this highly competitive international marketplace,” said the organizations. “It is a very efficient, cost-effective program.” They also said that under the program, participants must carefully evaluate and adjust all export market development activities every year. The participants submit plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, which reviews every promotional activity to determine their eligibility and ability to help increase demand for U.S. agricultural exports. This analysis, in conjunction with feedback from Foreign Agricultural Service overseas officers, determines whether activities merit funding.
    The program “has been tremendously successful and extremely cost-effective in helping maintain and expand U.S. agricultural exports, protect and create American jobs, strengthen farm income and help to offset the government-supported advantages afforded foreign competitors,” said the organizations. “We strongly urge that MAP continue to be funded in S. 3240 at no less than $200 million annually, which is the same level as in the current Farm Bill.” 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Topigs reaches 28.8 weaned piglets per sow in 2011

    Pig farms with Topigs sows produced an average of 28.8 weaned piglets per sow per year in 2011, according to the company's latest report — the technical results from 678 Dutch farms with a total of almost 332,0000 sows.
    The top 10 percent of farms achieved 31.6 weaned piglets per sow per year. In 2011 the production of Topigs sows rose by 0.7 piglets. This is a bigger increase than in previous years where the average was 0.5 piglets per year, according to company data. Despite the increase in production, piglet mortality remains at roughly the same level as several years ago, and the sow replacement rate has not risen, either.
    A growing number of farms are weaning 30 or more piglets per sow per year. In 2011 a total of 164 farms achieved this and 16 farms achieved a production of 32 or more piglets per sow per year. 

India establishes $26.9 million for poultry improvements

    The Indian government has set aside Rs 1.5 billion (US$26.9 million) to assist poultry estates and backyard poultry development, according to reports. The assistance will focus on one existing government component, Assistance to State Poultry Farms, and two new components, Rural Backyard Poultry Development and Poultry Estates.
    “The Rural Backyard Poultry Development component is expected to cover beneficiaries from below poverty line to mainly enable them to gain supplementary income and nutritional support,” said Union Home Minister P Chidamabaram. It will assist roughly 385,000 beneficiary families by providing higher-potential birds through 1,285 mother units, which will rear the day old chicks up to 4–6 weeks. The Poultry Estates component will encourage taking up poultry farming in a clustered way scientifically, on a pilot basis, and initially only two estates will be set up.

Russia poultry producers mixed over entry into World Trade Organization

    Some Russian poultry producers have expressed concerns over the country's upcoming entry into the World Trade Organization, saying that the resulting slashed customs duties on imported goods will create competition from foreign markets that will cause challenges for domestic businesses.
    In particular, farmers are looking at potential goods coming from the U.S., Brazilian and European markets. Right now, they say, 90 percent of the poultry consumed in Russia is produced domestically, but once the country's entrance into the World Trade Organization is finalized later in the summer, smaller farmers may not be able to compete with the influx of foreign options.
    The government, which over the last years has launched a drive aimed at realizing Russia's under-exploited agricultural potential, also seems to acknowledge potential problems. According to sources, government members are holding meetings every week on the issue.

US turkey poults up in May over 2011 numbers

    U.S. turkey poults hatched during May totaled 25.5 million, up 6 percent from May 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Poults hatched were also up 5 percent from the April total of 24.3 million poults. The 25.1 million net poults placed during May were up 5 percent from the number placed during the same month in 2011, according to the USDA. Net placements were up 2 percent from the April total of 24.7 million. Turkey eggs in incubators on June 1 totaled 28.5 million, up 1 percent from June 1, 2011. Eggs in incubators were down 4 percent, however, from the May 1 total of 29.6 million eggs.
    For more poultry statistics and information, see  

UK food retailers will honor EU sow stall ban

    In the face of the forthcoming EU partial sow stall ban, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, Britain’s major food organizations have told the UK government that they will not sell pork and pork products from noncompliant pig farms.
    The National Pig Association has said it supports the news, which follows months of campaigning by the British pig industry to prevent pork from noncompliant farms appearing on British supermarket shelves, on restaurant menus and in brand-name products. “It is great news that every organization has confirmed its members will use only meat from legal pig farms,” said National Pig Association Chairman Richard Longthorp at an industry stakeholder meeting with food minister Jim Paice. Among the organizations represented at the meeting were the British Retail Consortium, the Food and Drink Federation, the Provision Trade Federation, the British Hospitality Association, the Danish Agriculture and Food Council and the British Meat Processors Association.
    The British Retail Consortium said that it was keen to avoid the sharp price rises that followed the introduction of Europe’s battery cage ban for the poultry industry in January and the National Pig Association said British producers will be ready to prevent unnecessary price rises for consumers by providing any additional pork required — but they will need advance commitment from retailers.
    Meanwhile, it is understood that the European Commission fears as many as a third of Continental pig producers will be unable to meet the January 2013 deadline to get sows out of stalls, except for the first four weeks of pregnancy. In Britain, where pig producers conform to higher welfare standards, stalls have been wholly banned for 13 years.
    Stewart Houston, chairman of the British Pig Executive, said the industry will now discuss the various pledges that have been made in more detail, to ensure they will be honored.

Pig producers could turn fallen stock into improved returns

    A comprehensive report looking at the challenges posed by fallen stock to the British pig industry and other livestock sectors has highlighted opportunities to turn this so-called “waste” into improved returns for producers.
    Written by British Pig Executive chairman Stewart Houston under the auspices of the Royal Agricultural College 100 Club’s annual Fellowship scheme and sponsored by PIC and the National Fallen Stock Company, the report says the UK livestock industry could earn up to £40 million by adding value to fallen stock and animal by-products by improving management systems and the quality of the waste. Houston said coordinated action could help turn this waste into an asset that could help improve returns for the entire supply chain. In his report, he said that this is already being done abroad, where Danish pig producers are using on-farm chillers for storing fallen stock to help preserve raw material freshness and, therefore, yield, perhaps as “fifth quarter” products for countries where they are popular. In the U.S., the Fats and Protein Research Foundation is working on finding uses for animal by-products as feed ingredients and biofuels.
    “The objective to extract value from fallen stock and animal by-products where they are inevitable runs from the farm through collection, processing and into product quality and design," said Houston. There, his recommendations include the setting up of a joint working party involving the whole livestock industry to establish steps to be taken by individual sectors, by species supply chains and by overall collaborative activity — and then draw up an action plan to explore and implement action to extract all possible value from fallen stock.
    Printed copies of the report are available from the Royal Agricultural College, or a copy of the report is available online.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

China makes largest winter wheat purchase since 2004

    China has purchased 110,000 metric tons of soft red winter wheat from the U.S., the Asian country's largest purchase of that type of wheat since January 2004 and likely due to a smaller domestic crop, according to the U.S. government. The wheat will probably be used for food, and is not expected to cut into China's U.S. corn purchases.
    China may see its first year-on-year decline in wheat production in a decade following drought in a key wheat growing area and the spread of yield-cutting disease, say analysts. The current U.S. Department of Agriculture estimate for a 120-million-metric-ton Chinese wheat crop may be overstated by 10 million metric tons or more. Crop losses could spur China to import up to 5 million metric tons of wheat this season from all sources, double the current USDA forecast for the 2012–2013 season and up from 3 million metric tons in 2011–2012, said traders.

Guyana grants chicken import duty waiver

    Guyana's commerce ministry has granted a temporary duty waiver on chicken imports to combat the scarcity of the commodity in local markets and help lower prices, according to Acting Commerce and Industry Minister Irfan Ali.
    Twelve importers have been granted approval to import one million pounds of chicken for a three-month period at a 50 percent duty waiver. The licenses will be good through September 12. According to the Ministry, the markets will be regularly reviewed to ensure consumers can obtain chicken in adequate supply and at affordable prices. “In the next six weeks we will have a further assessment of the sector to ensure that the situation is stabilized [and to see] if we still have a shortage,” said Ali.

Farm Bill amendment introduced to study poultry grower insurance

    U.S. Senators Chris Coons of Delaware and Saxby Chambliss of Georgia have introduced an amendment to the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2012 (the "Farm Bill") to commission two studies on the feasibility of insurance programs to protect U.S. poultry growers from catastrophic loss, such as disease outbreaks, and from bankruptcies of poultry integrators.
    "Poultry growers and integrators play an important role in our local, regional and national economies," said Coons. "Between the recession and the volatile cost of chicken feed, the number of factors that can have a catastrophic impact on local economies but are beyond the control of our local farmers and integrators is rising. The studies we propose in this amendment would explore whether insurance programs make sense as a tool for helping our poultry farmers and integrators continue to thrive during an uncertain economic time."
    The first study would focus on the impact of the growing number of bankruptcies of poultry integrators — companies that hire local farmers to raise their chickens, then process and sell the chicken products in the market. The second study would focus on the cascading economic impacts of catastrophic events, such as disease outbreaks within America's poultry industry.

Swine respiratory disease one topic at International Pig Veterinary Congress

    Swine respiratory disease was one key topic at the 2012 International Pig Veterinary Society Congress, as Boehringer Ingelheim held a symposium on "A Comprehensive Approach to Swine Respiratory Disease" on June 11, the first day of the three-day event.
    Guidance on the potential airborne transmission of key respiratory pathogens within and between farms was provided by PRRS expert Dr. Satoshi Otake of the University of Minnesota and Swine Extension and Consulting. Recently developed diagnostic tests based on sampling the pigs’ saliva offer a practical way of monitoring large groups to detect a respiratory infection as early as possible, was explained by professor Jeff Zimmerman of Iowa State University. Professor Kristien Van Reeth from Ghent University in Belgium discussed the application of new discoveries in immunology to achieve successful vaccination against rapidly changing respiratory viruses. To conclude the symposium, American veterinary consultant Dr. James Lowe discussed fact-based interventions against respiratory disease at farm level from the standpoint of the veterinarian on the front line.
    The congress took place in Jeju, South Korea, June 11 through June 13.

European Feed Manufacturers' Federation releases environmental report

    The European Feed Manufacturers' Federation has released the second edition of its environmental report, expanding upon the initial overview of the environmental benefits and burdens that result from activities under the direct control of the EU compound feed industry, outlined in its 2009 report.
    “The European compound feed industry has to focus on the further increase of resource efficiency and its contribution to safe and healthy feed and food," said Ruud Tijssens, chairman of the federation's task force. "This is the added value that the feed compounder can bring to its customers. The EU feed industry is taking its responsibility towards society: given the global growing demand for animal products and the shrinking availability of natural resources, it is absolutely vital for the feed industry to take care of its social and environmental impact. These are the guiding principles of FEFAC actions in the area of sustainability."
    The first chapter of the report describes the overall feed industry's vision of sustainability and focuses on responsible supply. The second chapter presents the federation's activities in the area of harmonization of methodology, and the final chapter is dedicated to the major political challenges identified by the federation at the EU level. The report also provides examples of national initiatives aiming at improving environmental performances. 

Tyson stops using wheat in poultry feed

    Tyson Foods Inc. has stopped using wheat in its poultry feed due to prices rising above those for corn, according to reports, ending a practice that began in 2011 when wheat prices fell below those of corn for the first time in 15 years.
    The change in current practice, which other companies are also headed towards, could put a strain on U.S. corn supplies, which are set to drop to their lowest level in 16 years during the summer, say analysts. "If the price spread between wheat and corn narrows some more, we may work it back into our feed ingredient formula," said Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has projected feed and residual use of U.S. wheat for the 2012–2013 marketing year that began June 1 at 230 million bushels, a 50 million-bushel rise from 2011–2012 and the highest level in four years.

Monday, June 18, 2012

India poultry feed prices drop slightly in Haryana

    Poultry feed prices in the Indian state of Haryana have dropped as ingredient prices have held steady, according to reports, with 30-kilogram and 50-kilogram bags falling by Rs 10–20 (US$0.18–$0.36) on June 12.
    Prices of almost all feed ingredients have been unchanged since June 1, said Subhash Sharma, financial head of Sarvottam Poultry Feed Centre Pvt. Ltd. Maize is at Rs 1,170 (US$20.98) per quintal, bajra is at Rs 1,080 (US$19.36) per quintal and fish oil is quoting at Rs 68 (US$1.22) per liter.
    Prices of broiler concentrates feed and broiler starter mash have gone down by Rs 20 each and are currently quoting at Rs 1,560 (US$27.97) and Rs 1,240 (US$22.23) for a 50-kilogram bag, respectively. Broiler pre-starter concentrate 30 percent decreased by Rs 20 and is selling at Rs 1,370 (US$24.56) for a 30-kilogram bag, while layer concentrate has decreased by Rs 10 and is running at Rs 1,200 (US$21.51) for a 50-kilogram bag. Prices of pre-lay mash have eased by Rs 15 (US$0.27) and currently sit at Rs 800 (US$14.34), while broiler finisher is selling at Rs 1,220 (US$21.87) for a 50-kilogram bag, down Rs 20 from previous levels, according to reports.

UK poultry industry to benefit from new disease initiative

    A new research club, launched in the UK in mid-June, will help poultry producers and other farmers, breeders and pharmaceutical companies in the fight against animal diseases.
    The Animal Health Research Club will invest around GBP9.5 million (US$14.8 million) of public and private money in research projects which aim to improve animal health and welfare through better understanding, management and control of pests and pathogens.
    The club is being led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, BBSRC, with additional funding from 12 company members and the Scottish government.
    The partners hope that by drawing on the complementary expertise of academia and industry, the club will spark new ideas for keeping animals healthy and free from disease. “The Animal Health Club is a unique chance to take a broad look at fundamentals of disease," said council director of innovation and skills Dr. Celia Caulcott. "We hope that by encouraging collaborations and helping people to share knowledge across normal sector boundaries we will be able to deliver real impacts that could deliver a big boost to food security.”
    As well as funding research, some of the money will be used to train the next generation of animal health researchers and to support the sharing and dissemination of findings and ideas across the species and sector boundaries.
    The company members of the Animal Health Research Club have provided important input to the strategic direction of the club’s research. This ensures that the club is broadly directing its funding to areas where the commercial sector sees scientific bottlenecks and means the funding pot is being used to tackle problems that will have benefits for food producers and wider society.
    The projects funded by the club will focus on four key areas:
    • Understanding the fundamental biology of how farmed animals resist pests and diseases to inform breeding strategies and to help develop better vaccines and medicines;
    • Developing new tools for detecting and monitoring diseases to inform breeding strategies;
    • Research to help understand why vaccines vary in their effectiveness from one individual to another; and
    • Determining the relationship between breeding for production traits and resistance to disease.
    The company members of the Animal Health Research Club are: Aviagen, the British Pig Executive, Cobb, Dairy Co., English Beef and Lamb Executive Ltd., Genus, Holstein UK, Merial, Moredun Scientific, MSD Animal Health, Pfizer Ltd., and the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation.

International Pig Veterinary Society Congress success in Korea

    The 22nd International Pig Veterinary Society Congress held its opening ceremony at 8 a.m. on June 11 in Jeju, Korea — the first time this congress was held in the Asian country — with the theme of "Happy Pigs - Healthy People," focusing on pig diseases, pig health and animal welfare.
    Dr. Dan Tucker, the event's Tom Alexander Memorial Lecture speaker, said that pig health underlies both pig welfare and public health. For better pig health, the industry should apply new technologies into combating diseases, with a trend of future research and development for scientists, veterinarians and producers.
    The keynote lecture was given by Dr. Julio Pinto, the Food and Agriculture Organization's animal health officer, which highlighted swine emerging diseases. Pinto discussed how to see and combat those diseases by using the philosophy of “One Health": consider pig diseases, environment, management and public health as a whole, instead of treating all each issue separately.
    The three-day congress consisted of 12 lead lectures and 277 concurrent oral sessions, covering the topics of diseases, pig production/nutrition/breeding, food safety, animal welfare, public health and other related issues. Satellite symposia were also held simultaneously by sponsors, including Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer, Pfizer, MSD Animal Health and Merial. More than 3,000 visitors from over 60 countries attended the congress. “It is the biggest congress we’ve ever had in IPVS history,” said Dr. Won Hyung Lee, president of International Pig Veterinary Society Congress 2012. “We are glad to see that all the visitors and exhibitors feel satisfied with the congress.”
    The next congress will be held in Cancun, Mexico, and three countries are bidding to host the 2016 event: Brazil, China and Ireland.

USDA studies China soybean types for US use

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and the University of Illinois are researching the potential of exotic Chinese soybean lines to increase yields for U.S. farmers.
    Randall Nelson, USDA-ARS scientist and professor at the University of Illinois, and Brian Diers, professor at the University of Illinois, and their teams are testing genes from old soybean breeding lines from China to look for genes that can increase the yield potential of U.S. varieties. The researchers identified the locations of several genes from the Chinese lines that have a positive impact on yield in U.S. varieties. These genes gave yield increases of one to two bushels per acre and when stacked together yield increases of eight to nine bushels per acre were observed, according to Diers.
    “Our goal in this project was to map the major yield-increasing genes from the exotic Chinese lines with genetic markers so these genes can be used by U.S. soybean breeders," said Diers. "Our data show clear evidence that increased yields can come from exotic germplasm. This type of research helps expand the genetic base of U.S. germplasm, which should lead to better yields and other agronomic characteristics."
    Nearly 80 percent of genes in modern soybean varieties can be traced back to just a dozen ancestral lines and their first-generation offspring, according to Nelson. “Our soybean breeding program to incorporate new genetic diversity is designed to increase the rate of yield improvement," he said. "This is a long-term approach that ultimately helps Illinois farmers stay more competitive. Farmers want to increase yields, and we are attempting to provide the genetics that help reach higher yields and profitability.”
    The project is being funded by the Illinois Soybean Association.

Ag groups lobby for removing prime farmland from conservation reserve program

    Congress should include legislative language as part of the 2012 farm bill that mandates the removal of millions of acres of “prime farmland” from the Conservation Reserve Program, according to a study conducted for the National Grain and Feed Foundation by Strategic Conservation Solutions LLC.
    According to the study, "ReGaining Ground — A Conservation Reserve Program Right-Sized for the Times," as recently as 2007 (the most recent data publicly available) up to 8.7 million acres that the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers to be prime farmland were idled under 10- to 15-year Conservation Reserve Program contracts. The study recognized some prime farmland currently enrolled in the program as part of filter strips, grassed waterways and other highly-sensitive acres eligible for continuous signup in the program, that likely would remain idled. “But with CRP contracts that include more than 70 percent of the acreage enrolled — 21.2 million acres — set to expire over the next five years, there is an urgent need to manage the program so that the most productive land from the reserve is returned to production,” said the study.
    The study suggests reducing the Conservation Reserve Program cap by phasing out existing enrollment and banning new enrollment of most prime farmland. It also includes several other legislative recommendations:
    • Escalate the schedule for drawing down the program cap to coincide with the schedule for program contract expirations.
    • Limit whole-field and whole-farm enrollments in the program by requiring such land to meet a more stringent environmental benefits index scoring threshold than partial-field enrollments.
    • Mandate that the USDA offer program-contract holders a penalty-free early out as a means of reducing enrollments of prime farmland.
    • Allocate sufficient funds to at least triple (to $75 million) the size of the Conservation Reserve Program Transition Incentives Program, which is designed to encourage retired or retiring landowners to transition eligible program land for production to beginning or socially disadvantaged farmers.
    • Consider designating a specific percentage- or acreage-based figure within the program for future enrollment of the most environmentally sensitive land.
    • Restrict the USDA’s discretion to exceed the current 25-percent acreage limit on program enrollments in individual counties because of the adverse economic impacts such enrollments have had on rural communities.

US chicken leg export market strong in South Korea

    The leading market for U.S. chicken leg exports in January through March 2012 was South Korea, holding steady as the top market since 2010, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service. The country imported 15,000 metric tons of chicken legs in the first quarter of 2012, up 20 percent from the same time in 2011.
    Taiwan was the second-largest importer in the first quarter, with 13,000 metric tons of chicken legs — a 95 percent increase over the same quarter in 2011, when the country imported 7,000 metric tons, according to the report. Japan and Hong Kong had the most significant negative differences in imports between the first quarter of 2011 and the same quarter in 2012, dropping 78 percent and 66 percent, respectively. Japan imported 2,000 metric tons of chicken legs in 2011 but none in the first quarter of 2012, while Hong Kong imported 5,000 metric tons in 2011 and only 2,000 in 2012.
    Mexico's chicken leg imports from the U.S. increased 19 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2011 (from 2,000 metric tons to 3,000 metric tons), in spite of an ongoing anti-dumping case between the two countries. The final determination in the case, which involves U.S. fresh, chilled or frozen chicken leg quarters, has not yet been released. However, under Mexican law, a final determination will have to be reached by August 2012.
    For more poultry information and statistics, see  

Friday, June 15, 2012

US poultry groups support permanent normal trade relations with Russia

    The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council have said they support the introduction of a U.S. Senate bill that will establish permanent normal trade relations with Russia by repealing the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
    Members of the World Trade Organization formally approved in late 2011 Russia’s terms for membership in the organization. But for U.S. companies to benefit from Russia’s accession, it will be necessary for the U.S. Congress to permanently remove Russia from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment to the Trade Act of 1974 and authorize the president to extend permanent normal trade relations to Russia. Russia is currently the third-largest export market for U.S. broiler meat and is the tenth-largest export market for U.S. turkey.
    “Continuing to export $300 million of poultry to Russia annually will provide better incomes for more U.S. workers and additional poultry to be produced by a growing number of family farmers across America,” said the poultry groups in a statement. “The Senate will not be voting on Russia’s WTO accession; rather, it will be voting on giving the U.S. equal accession to general tariff reductions, market opening measures and the ability of U.S. interests, such as poultry, to seek trade relief, if necessary, through the WTO.
    “The U.S. poultry industry encourages swift action on this legislation to establish [permanent normal trade relations] before Russia joins the WTO,” said the groups. “This gives the U.S. the best chance of enjoying the full economic benefits that comes with Russia’s WTO membership.”

Canada canola production increasing on high demand

    Vegetable oils are in such high demand that it is driving investment decisions among grain growers in Western Canada, according to Brent Watchorn, senior vice president for marketing at Canadian grain trader Richardson International. The effects can be seen in the significant increase in canola production from land more traditionally associated with growing wheat.
    For feed manufacturers, it has meant more canola meal on the market and an outlook of even greater availability as crush capacities in Canada increase further. Meanwhile, the area for wheat may stabilize, but looks unlikely to recover the reductions of recent years.
    The fundamental shift in the Western Canadian landscape away from cereals and towards oilseeds can be explained by a comparison of returns per crop, said Watchorn at the 2012 annual conference of the International Grains Council. Richardson International calculations show canola offering a return of between C$110-150 per acre compared with just C$30-90 for wheat.
    It is no surprise, therefore, that canola acres have doubled since 2001. Yields have also shown a large increase, reaching about 24 bushels per acre in 2010 and already nearer to 35 bushels in 2012. Furthermore, the traditional idea of growing canola only once every three years as part of a crop rotation has given way to continuous cropping in successive years at a number of farms. As a result, canola production is now outstripping soybean output by a factor of five to one. The latest data from the Canadian Oilseed Processors Association showed 5.4 million metric tons of canola crushed in Canada in the nine months to May 2012, compared with 1.1 million tons of soybeans.

China forecasts increased feed output in 2012

    China’s expanding feed production continues to take more grain supplies, according to Bingzhou Cheng, director general at state-owned grain reserves corporation Sinograin. On the basis of grain use forecasts, China expects at least another 3.75 percent increase in the volume of feed produced in 2012.
    In remarks to a global conference organized by the International Grains Council, Cheng presented figures indicating that feed manufacturing in China utilized 200 million metric tons of grains in 2011, compared with 270 million tons for food. The forecast usage for feeds in 2012 is expected to rise to 207.5 million tons. More of the corn needed will be produced domestically in 2012, said Cheng. The escalation in corn prices on China’s internal market to their highest level in history has persuaded growers to plant an additional 2 percent of land for the crop in 2012, taking the total area to 33.75 million hectares.

Brazil may export corn to China

    Brazil is awaiting final approval to become an exporter of corn to China, adding the Asian country to a list of global customers that already includes the Middle East and various European markets, according to reports.
    Chinese technicians visited Brazil in March to assess the phytosanitary risks of Brazilian corn, a protocol required to open trade channels in a food commodity. Typically, pest and disease risks from imports are documented and some restrictions on origin of the commodity may be imposed.
    Brazil has produced a surplus of corn over the past few years, which has enabled it to export about 8 million to 10 million metric tons per year. Brazil is expected to produce a record 67 million-metric-ton crop in 2012 and export 11 million metric tons, according to the ministry's food supply agency Conab.

FDA must reconsider antibiotics in animal feed

    A federal judge has ordered the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider potential restrictions on antibiotics in animal feed, saying the agency has done very little to address potential threats to human health, according to reports.
    The judge questioned the FDA's arguments that it would be less costly and more efficient to ask the feed industry to voluntarily cut back on the use of such antibiotics, rather than go through the regulatory process of revoking the approval of such drug use on farms and at feed lots. "For over thirty years, the agency has been confronted with evidence of the human health risks associated with the widespread subtherapeutic use of antibiotics in food-producing animals, and, despite a statutory mandate to ensure the safety of animal drugs, the agency has done shockingly little to address these risks," said U.S. Magistrate Judge Theodore Katz.
    Organizations such as the Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Academy of Pediatrics say that the current use of antibiotics endangers people who grow ill from resistant bacteria but cannot be treated with standard antibiotic therapies. Industry officials, citing conflicting scientific research, say such practices pose little risk to public health. According to Katz' ruling, the FDA must make a determination, once and for all, if the drugs are shown to be safe or not safe, and provide reasoning either way.