Wednesday, October 31, 2012

US pork production down 2 percent from 2011

    U.S. pork production totaled 1.91 billion pounds in September, down 2 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Hog slaughter totaled 9.45 million head, down 2 percent from September 2011. The average live weight was up 1 pound from the previous year, at 271 pounds.
    Total commercial red meat production totaled 3.95 billion pounds in September, down 6 percent from the 4.19 billion pounds produced in September 2011. January to September 2012 commercial red meat production was 36.6 billion pounds, up slightly from 2011. Accumulated pork production was up 3 percent from 2011 numbers, beef production was down 2 percent, veal was down 10 percent and lamb and mutton production was up 4 percent, according to the USDA.

American Feed Industry Association to hold international forum at IPPE

    The American Feed Industry Association will host the International Feed Education Forum at the International Production and Processing Expo, addressing issues unique to feed manufacturers in three knowledgeable sessions.
    The event, which will take place on January 30, 2013, will highlight the following:
    • Keith Epperson, American Feed Industry Association: the latest regulations from Environmental Protection Agency and specifically OSHA
    • Richard Sellers, American Feed Industry Association: the continued implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act and other government compliance rules
    • Dr. Adam Fahrenholz, North Carolina State University: training new feed mill managers using web-based tools
    The 2013 International Feed Expo will be co-located with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association's International Poultry Expo and the American Meat Institute’s International Meat Expo into a single, large tradeshow. The International Poultry and Processing Expo will be hosted in Atlanta, Georgia, January 29–31, 2013.

Global meat production, consumption curbed due to drought and disease

    Global meat production rose to 297 million tons in 2011, an increase of 0.8 percent over 2010 levels, and is projected to reach 302 million tons by the end of 2012, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet project for the institute's Vital Signs Online service.
    By comparison, meat production rose 2.6 percent in 2010 and has risen 20 percent since 2001. Record drought in the U.S. Midwest, animal disease outbreaks and rising prices of livestock feed all contributed to 2011 and 2012's lower rise in production, according to report authors Danielle Nierenberg and Laura Reynolds. Meat consumption also decreased slightly worldwide in 2011, from 42.5 kilograms per person in 2010 to 42.3 kilograms. Since 1995, however, per capita meat consumption has increased 15 percent overall; in developing countries, it increased 25 percent during this time, whereas in industrialized countries it increased just 2 percent.
    Although the disparity between meat consumption in developing and industrialized countries is shrinking, it remains high, according to the report: the average person in a developing country ate 32.3 kilograms of meat in 2011, whereas in industrialized countries people ate 78.9 kilograms on average.
    Pork was the most popular meat in 2011, accounting for 37 percent of both meat production and consumption, at 109 million tons. This was followed closely by poultry meat, with 101 million tons produced. Yet pork production decreased 0.8 percent from 2010, whereas poultry meat production rose 3 percent, making it likely that poultry will become the most-produced meat in the next few years, said the report.
    Widespread and intense drought in China, Russia, the U.S. and the Horn of Africa contributed to lower meat production — and higher prices — in 2010 and 2011. The combination of high prices for meat products and outbreaks of new and recurring zoonotic diseases in 2011 curtailed global meat consumption. In 2011 alone, foot-and-mouth disease was detected in Paraguay, African swine fever in Russia, classical swine fever in Mexico and avian influenza (H5N1) throughout Asia.
    According to a 2012 report by the International Livestock Research Institute, zoonoses cause around 2.7 million human deaths each year, and approximately 75 percent of all emerging infectious diseases now originate in animals or animal products. Many zoonotic disease outbreaks can be traced to concentrated animal feeding operations, which now account for 72 percent of poultry production, 43 percent of egg production and 55 percent of pork production worldwide.

US poultry certified wholesome down during September

    U.S. poultry certified wholesome during September (ready-to-cook weight) totaled 3.43 billion pounds, down 7 percent from the amount certified in September 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    The August revised certified total, at 3.91 billion pounds, was up slightly from August 2011. The August revision represented an increase of 1.79 million pounds from September's preliminary pounds certified. The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during September was 4.55 billion pounds, down 8 percent from 4.92 billion pounds in 2011.
    Young chickens inspected totaled 3.9 billion pounds, down 8 percent from September 2011 numbers. Mature chickens, at 69.1 million pounds, were down 6 percent from 2011. Turkey inspections totaled 567 million pounds, down 5 percent, while ducks totaled 12.1 million pounds, down 12 percent, according to the USDA.
    Young chickens slaughtered during September averaged 5.88 pounds per bird, up slightly from September 2011. The average live weight of mature chickens was 5.89 pounds per bird, up 2 percent from 2011 numbers. Turkeys slaughtered during September averaged 29.3 pounds per bird, up 1 percent from September 2011.
    For more U.S. poultry information and statistics, see

Wheat bulb fly threat low, says study

    Results from this season’s Home Grown Cereals Authority's autumn wheat bulb fly survey suggest that the risk from this pest is relatively low; in fact, the overall risk in 2012 is equal to the lowest-level risk recorded since 1984.
    A total of 30 fields were sampled, with sites split across eastern and northern England, where the pest is historically most prevalent. “It is likely that the cold and wet weather had an impact on the number of adult flies and their ability to lay eggs,” said Caroline Nicholls, Home Grown Cereals Authority research and KT manager. “However, late-drilled crops, sown after November, or slow-developing crops may still be at risk if they have only one or two tillers at the time of wheat bulb fly hatch in January/February. For these crops, a lower threshold of 100 eggs/m2 is considered more appropriate."
    In the east of England, 47 percent of the sampled sites and 27 percent of the sampled sites in northern England were above 100 eggs/m2. In these situations, late-sown crops would benefit from an insecticide seed treatment, according to the researchers.

Mexico declares bird flu outbreak under control

    Mexico has declared that the recent avian influenza outbreak in the country's state of Jalisco, which has resulted in the slaughter of 22 million hens since June, is completely under control, according to President Felipe Calderon.
    No new cases of the H7N3 virus have been reported in 68 days. "We can say that the event has been overcome and declare that the outbreak is totally under control," said Calderon. The majority of the culled hens were in Jalisco, and a vaccination drive was implemented to prevent the virus from reaching other regions.
    In the meantime, the outbreak has caused egg prices to rise significantly in Mexico. The country authorized imports to make up for the shortage, bringing in 14,000 metric tons of eggs from other countries, mostly from the U.S.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

US egg production up slightly in September

    U.S. egg production totaled 7.55 billion during September, up 1 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Production included 6.57 billion table eggs, and 987 million hatching eggs, of which 919 million were broiler-type and 68 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during September averaged 337 million, up 1 percent from 2011. September egg production per 100 layers was 2,241 eggs, up slightly from September 2011, according to the USDA.
    All layers in the U.S. on October 1 totaled 338 million, up 1 percent from 2011 numbers. The 338 million layers consisted of 285 million layers producing table- or market-type eggs, 49.3 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs, and 2.96 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on October 1 averaged 74.3 eggs per 100 layers, down 1 percent from October 1, 2011.
    Egg-type chicks hatched during September totaled 37.5 million, down 6 percent from September 2011. Eggs in incubators totaled 37.2 million on October 1, up 1 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the USDA report. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 206,000 during September, down 18 percent from September 2011.
    Broiler-type chicks hatched totaled 718 million, down slightly from September 2011. Eggs in incubators totaled 581 million on October 1, up 2 percent from 2011 numbers. Leading breeders placed 6.68 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during September 2012, up slightly from September 2011.
    For more egg and poultry information and statistics, see

Swine influenza in UK, Ireland may be higher than expected

    The incidence of swine influenza in pig herds in the UK and Ireland could be higher than expected if the results of a recent survey are replicated across the national herds in these countries, according to Brian Rice, veterinary adviser at Merial Animal Health.
    Routine diagnostic blood testing in these countries indicated most herds tested were positive for swine flu. “More than 70 percent of herds tested in Great Britain had one or more pigs that tested positive, while this figure increased to over 90 percent in Ireland," said Rice. "Historically, and with no vaccine available, the industry has tended to be reactive to swine influenza, managing outbreaks as they arose, but more and more producers are now realizing the benefits of vaccinating against the disease."
    Previous research carried out in 2008–2009 by the Royal Veterinary College and the COSI Consortium across a broader sample of around 17 percent of the English herd showed that nearly six in 10 farms (59 percent) had pigs that were positive for one of the strains of swine influenza. “Many people may be surprised by just how widespread the disease is, but the real question is how they plan to mitigate the potential risks posed by swine influenza to the productivity of their herds,” said Rice.
    According to Merial, the optimal route is for producers to investigate their herds' swine influenza status and put in place appropriate preventative measures.

UK pork expands to new Netherlands market

    British pork is now being sold in the largest supermarket chain in the Netherlands.
    The retailer has launched three new lines including shoulder steaks, fillet and loin chops, complete with a high welfare sticker and a prominent description of product origin and rearing methods. The pork is marketed as a product with high welfare and taste in the retailer’s premium range.
    “This is excellent news and recognizes the high standards of the British pork sector," said British Pig Executive Export Manager Jean-Pierre Garnier. “This is a rather prestigious accolade, particularly as it positions our product between the supermarket’s own animal welfare standards and organic pork. There is a good untapped demand from Dutch consumers for high welfare and sustainable meat, and we hope that we will generate good sales from now on.”

Harrisvaccines awarded government contract to develop foot-and-mouth vaccine

    Harrisvaccines has been awarded a $1.114 million contract from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to develop an RNA Particle vaccine to potentially protect the U.S. from foot-and-mouth disease.
    Harrisvaccines will use the contract for research and development over the next 34 months. The company’s RP platform technology allows for the vaccine to be manufactured without handling the infectious virus; only a gene sequence from the virus is needed to prepare the vaccine. This characteristic allows the RP-based vaccine to be produced in Harrisvaccines’ U.S. Department of Agriculture-licensed production facility in Ames, Iowa. Production of foot-and-mouth disease virus vaccines using traditional methods in the U.S. is not allowed due to the significant risk of releasing the virus into disease-free U.S. during production.
    “We are very excited for the opportunity to use our RNA Particle vaccine technology in a project this significant to U.S. agriculture,” said Dr. Kurt Kamrud, vice president of research and chief scientific officer for Harrisvaccines. “Our rapid response technology allows us to produce large amounts of vaccine quickly. And, because only a portion of the FMDV genetic information is required to generate a vaccine, the RP-based approach will allow for the differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals when used with current and next generation FMD serology-based diagnostic assays, which is very important in the event of an outbreak.”

RFS waiver for corn ethanol: Would it benefit poultry producers?

    Whether or not there will be a waiver in 2013 of the Renewable Fuel Standard for ethanol produced from corn is to be decided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by November 13.
    “There is not going to be enough corn to go around in 2013 in terms of prior consumption rates. So there is a lot of rationing that is going to have to go on. That’s what this whole discussion about a waiver is about,” said Dr. Wallace Tyner, professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Purdue University.
    Meantime, the nation’s poultry and livestock producers, the corn producers, ethanol producers, various state governors and others with economic interests press their cases for or against a waiver. Some economists are saying, however, that the decision about a waiver might not matter much to the competing interests.

    Blenders will act in their self interest
    Tyner said that even if a waiver were to be granted in 2013 it might be of little or no economic help to poultry producers who are suffering greater harm than any other food production group from the high corn prices brought on by this summer’s drought.
    In an October 11 presentation at the National Chicken Council, Tyner noted that the price of the gasoline purchased by ethanol blenders was $2.95 a gallon and the price of ethanol was $2.35 a gallon. Tyner’s point: As long as ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, blenders have an incentive to use it in their gasoline formulations – whether or not there is a waiver of the Renewable Fuel Standard.

    Uncertainty about a waiver’s impact
    To be clear, Tyner did not say that there would be no economic relief for corn users if a waiver of the RFS were granted. The results can’t be predicted with certainty. For one thing, the economics that drive blending decisions vary from region to region in the U.S., from blender to blender and even by season of the year. What’s more, the price spread between ethanol and gasoline blending stock is constantly changing. For example, the 60-cent spread between ethanol and Reformulated Gasoline Blendstock for Oxygen Blending has narrowed to 25 cents today due to falling crude oil prices.
    Another variable is the existence of Renewable Identification Numbers. Blenders can use surplus credits from prior-year blending to meet the current year RFS. It is estimated that blenders have about 2.6 billion gallons of such prior-year credits.

    Purdue researchers studied economic scenarios
    It is not clear what impact a waiver would have, according to a recent study by Tyner and fellow researchers at Purdue. At the National Chicken Council meeting, Tyner explained various scenarios.
    “The different scenarios depend on what happens to the crude oil price and the corn price and to what extent the blenders and refiners have technical flexibility and to what extent would they choose to use whatever economic flexibility they have. In some cases, the waiver would do nothing or very little. In other cases a waiver would have a significant impact,” he said.
    Their economic assessment involved different levels of ethanol supply reduction:

    • 13.8 billion gallons of ethanol production in 2013 – with no waiver
    • 11.8 billion gallons production – with no waiver but the use of 2 billion gallons of prior-year blending credits (Renewable Identification Numbers)
    • 10.4 billion gallons – 25 percent reduction due to any combination of waiver and prior-year credits
    • 7.75 billion gallons – waiver of 3.45 billion gallons plus 2.6 billion gallons of Renewable Identification Numbers

    Simulations of three corn production levels
    “I don’t think anybody knows the extent to which oil refiners and blenders have the flexibility to change their production or blending operations or the extent to which they would use the flexibility." -- Dr. Wallace Tyner The following three corn production levels were evaluated in the study:

    • 10.5 billion bushels (120 bushels per acre)
    • 11.0 billion bushels (126 bushels per acre)
    • 11.5 billion bushels (132 bushels per acre)

    Economic simulation of the impact of a waiver
    “I don’t think anybody knows the extent to which oil refiners and blenders have the flexibility to change their production or blending operations or the extent to which they would use the flexibility. However, the following are the estimates from our economic simulation which was conditioned on their having flexibility and using it,” Tyner said.

    • The impact of reduced blending to 11.8 billion gallons, due to use of Renewable Identification Numbers, would be around $0.67 per bushel of corn.
    • Reducing ethanol production from 11.8 to 10.4 billion gallons would reduce the price of corn another $0.44 to $0.47 per bushel.
    • Reducing ethanol production from 11.8 to 7.75 billion gallons would reduce the price of corn by $1.31 to $1.34 per bushel.

    “If refiners and blenders have flexibility and use it, the partial waiver impact could be up to $1.34 per bushel for a large waiver and $0.47 per bushel for a small waiver,” he said.

    Will a waiver be issued for 2013?
    The smart money says the issuance of a waiver by EPA is a long shot at best. Tyner, however, is more circumspect in his assessment.
    “The way the law reads, the waiver could be granted if there’s the determination of economic harm done that can be remedied by the waiver. Then they would be in the condition where a waiver could move around or share the economic harm that has been done by the drought. If EPA makes that determination, it might well issue a waiver,” he said.

    More crucial issues for corn users
    Issues more crucial than a waiver may soon face the poultry and livestock industries. Currently, the RFS mandates that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol up to 13.2 billion gallons. In 2013, the mandate rises to 13.8 billion gallons, and in 2014 it rises to 14.4 billion gallons before reaching 15 billion gallons in 2015. Therein, are potentially more serious challenges for corn users: What changes may occur in the RFS in the future?
    For example, will declining gasoline usage in the face of the RFS mandates lead to the adoption of E15 (or higher) gasoline blends? Currently, U.S. gasoline consumption is 133 billion gallons annually. Ten percent of that consumption is only 13.3 gallons. Would EPA accommodate that by lowering the RFS mandate because it can’t be reached by blending ethanol at a 10 percent rate? Or would higher ethanol blend rates become more prevalent or even mandated?

    Solving the blend wall issue
    Poultry industry economist Dr. Paul Aho has proposed a compromise between food and ethanol producers as they approach a potential impasse over the blend wall.
    “A possible compromise for the next several years between those in favor of increases in corn ethanol production and those opposed to such increases would be to allow the 10 percent blend wall to supersede the RFS mandate.”
    And what about the RFS mandate for cellulosic ethanol? When it isn’t met, will the ethanol industry push for making up the short-fall with corn ethanol?
    Under such scenarios, the percentage of U.S. corn production dedicated to ethanol production might one day be well over the 42 percent that already causes such consternation among food producers. Some analysts are urging food producers to go to work now to try and prevent this from ever happening.

Danish pig industry will be ready for sow stall ban

    The Danish pig industry has said that it will be ready for the EU ban on the use of traditional stalls for keeping sows during pregnancy, which goes into effect on January 1, 2013, according to reports.
    The most recent estimate indicates that around 85 percent of producers are already keeping pregnant sows in group systems, said Asger Krogsgaard, chairman of the Danish Agriculture and Food Council. Of those who have not yet converted, a significant number are already in the final stages of adapting their production and expected to be compliant by the deadline date for the legislation’s introduction.
    "We are almost there,” said Krogsgaard at the Danish Pig Conference. “For many farmers, this has involved considerable investment in updating and modernizing their systems. Undoubtedly, it will add to the costs of production for most of these farmers, but many of us have seen the legislation as part of a much wider process, which is continuously improving welfare standards in our production.
    “The Danish authorities already run a program of ‘unannounced audits’ of pig producers to ensure that they are adhering to all welfare legislation," said Krogsgaard. "In addition, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration wrote to all pig herd owners and pig veterinarians to make it clear that any breach of legislation found during their welfare inspection program would be reported to the police. Furthermore, the Danish authorities have made it clear that any producers found not to be complying with the new rules will forfeit their entitlement to support under the EU Single Farm Payment.
    “I am confident that as a country, we will ensure that all the requirements of the new legislation are fully met,” he said. 

EU pork production may fall on feed prices, stall ban

    Bigger falls in pork production than originally forecast are possible, according to the latest British Pig Executive report looking at the introduction of the partial sow stall ban across Europe on January 1, 2013.
    The revision is largely the result of rising feed costs and could lead to a sharp increase in prices for pork and pork products. The report also shows that 18 EU countries say they will be ready for the new sow stall ban legislation, and extrapolates three possible scenarios as a result of the changes:
    • A fall in pork production of around five percent from 2011 levels by 2014, leading to price increases but with fairly rapid recovery as productivity improves.
    • A sharper fall in production as higher feed prices add to the impact of the stall ban, leading to shortages of pork and substantial price increases, resulting in pressure for political intervention.
    • Realignment of production so that breeding is concentrated in North West Europe and finishing in Eastern and Southern Europe, reducing overall production costs.
    “It is difficult to say which scenario is most likely, because of the impact of huge feed price rises," said report author Stephen Howarth. "Recent pig price rises in Europe have, to some extent, mitigated the feed price rise, which means scenario one remains the most likely. However, if the high level of EU pig prices isn’t sustained, then scenario two could easily become reality.”
    According to BPEX Chairman Stewart Houston, the sow stall ban cannot be taken in isolation. "It is happening at a time when pig producers are under considerable financial pressure due to high feed costs," he said. “Most producers have been left in a loss-making position. The situation is not likely to improve markedly in the immediate future, unless recent pig price rises are sustained, since feed prices are expected to remain high. We are already seeing producers leave the industry, both in the UK and across Europe. This will lead to a fall in production and a consequent rise in prices."

Monday, October 29, 2012

Danish pig producers sign accord to boost slaughter pig production

    Danish pig producers joined together with leaders of the allied industries and processing sector, as well as the Food Trade Union, to sign an agreement to increase the number of slaughter pigs raised and finished Denmark by 2 million within the next two years.
    This new Herning Declaration, which was signed at the Danish Pig Conference in Herning on October 23, calls for support from the government and retailers to help producers achieve this increase and reduce the number of piglets exported to Germany. Nicolaj Norgaard, director of Denmark’s Pig Research Institute, said that the Herning Declaration is needed to retain value in the country’s whole supply chain. “Everybody in the industry here is aware that we cannot export all our piglets and that we need a strong finisher sector and slaughter industry to retain strength in the supply chain," said Norgaard.
    “Danish farmers have a strong sense of cooperation, and we believe there will be general support among producers for this declaration. However, we will need support from politicians and the government as well as banks, and pig industry leaders are already planning to meet with government officials to discuss the next step.”
    Asger Krogsgaard, pig producer and chairman of the pig slaughter forum at the Danish Agriculture & Food Council, said he believes the Herning Declaration is the right way forward to secure the future of pig farming in Denmark. He said when Danish producers sell their piglets to Germany, they are only reaching European markets, whereas if they produce slaughter pigs processed in Denmark, they can reach to world’s markets and maintain more stable prices, as well as have more influence in international trade circles.
    The new plans will need large investments, but the government will see payback in a stronger economy, with more exports and more jobs in the processing and slaughter sectors. Krogsgaard said that the processors will support the move with new funds to provide producers with free on-farm advice to help them improve production systems and finish their pigs more efficiently.
    Asked about his own pig farm, Krogsgaard said he has 1,700 sows and is producing 50,000 piglets. He has been taking 16,000 to slaughter weight and selling the rest to neighbors, but he is now planning to double his slaughter pig production to 32,000 per year. “I have already signed up to the Herning Declaration,” he said.
    This year, the annual pig conference is being attended by a record 2,075 delegates and will include more than 50 workshops where pig farm employees will be able to discuss pig production challenges and learn about new developments in the industry.

USPOULTRY Foundation awards grant to Auburn University

    The USPOULTRY Foundation recently awarded a $13,632 student recruiting grant to Auburn University’s Poultry Science Department. Mark Hickman, president and CEO of Peco Foods and USPOULTRY board member, presented the check to Dr. Don Connor, head of the Poultry Science Department at Auburn University.
    “The Auburn University Poultry Science Department is extremely grateful to the USPOULTRY Foundation for its support in recruiting high quality students into our program. This funding will enable us to effectively publicize the outstanding educational and career opportunities that are available for poultry science majors. Our departmental mission is to develop poultry industry leaders for the future, and these funds are essential in helping us meet this mission,” said Dr. Connor.
    The USPOULTRY Foundation board recently approved student recruiting grants totaling more than $160,000 to the six U.S. universities with poultry science departments and 15 other institutions with industry-related programs. The Foundation provides annual recruiting funds to colleges and universities to attract students to their poultry programs. 

US broiler trade down, turkey trade up in August

    In August 2011, U.S. broiler shipments totaled 693.3 million pounds, the largest shipments on record, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
    August 2012 broiler shipments totaled 648 million pounds, a 6.5-percent decrease from 2011. The decline in broiler shipments is attributed to weak sales in broiler markets like Angola, Hong Kong and Georgia, which were particularly strong in August 2011. These three countries accounted for 24 percent of total U.S. broiler exports in August 2011 and slightly less than 10 percent in August 2012.
    Shipments to Mexico, Cuba, Canada and Taiwan rose in August. Shipments to Mexico reached an all-time high at 114.7 million pounds, while imports of U.S. broilers by Cuba, Canada and Taiwan increased 54, 33 and 77 percent, respectively. These increases, however, were not enough to offset the reduction in U.S. broiler meat exported to other major destinations, according to the USDA.
    U.S. turkey shipments in August set a new record at 77.6 million pounds, up 26 percent from August 2011 and 8 percent higher than the previous record of 71.8 million pounds shipped in October 2008. A total of 77.2 million pounds of turkey meat were exported. Mexico and China are the largest turkey markets, and accounted for 65 percent of all turkey meat exported by the U.S. in August 2012. Canada, Taiwan and the Philippines were also leading importers; shipments to the Philippines and Taiwan increased over 400 percent from 2011 numbers, while exports to Canada rose 62 percent.
    For more information and statistics on U.S. poultry, see

Brazil may become number two global corn exporter

    Brazil could jump ahead of Argentina to become the world's number two corn exporter in the 2011–2012 marketing year, according to government food-supply agency Conab, which raised its estimates for Brazil's corn exports to 17.5 million metric tons.
    That number is up 88 percent from the 9.31 million metric tons exported in 2010–2011, and up from Conab's previous estimate of 16 million metric tons. The country harvested a record crop, bringing production to 72.6 million metric tons, according to Conab. Usually, Brazil keeps most of its corn for domestic use; however, the U.S. drought, which led to high grain prices, has made the export market an attractive one.
    Since the 2011–2012 marketing year began in February, Brazil has exported 8.56 million metric tons, according to the Trade Ministry. Almost 90 percent of that was shipped from July through September, with the country setting back-to-back records for monthly corn exports in August and September. The biggest importers of Brazilian corn so far have been Iran, Egypt and South Korea. Brazil has also exported 106,666 metric tons of corn to the U.S.

US drought may lead to record crop insurance payouts

    The recent U.S. drought may lead to record crop insurance payouts totaling up to $25 billion in 2012, led by top corn-producing states Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
    Corn yields dropped by more than one-third in the top three states, and nationwide yields could top out at 122 bushels per acre — a 17-year low, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prices reached a record $8.49 per bushel in August, increasing insurance payouts, which often cover revenues based on both the magnitude of lost yields and the price of the crop at harvest. As of October 17, December corn futures were trading at $7.455 per bushel.
    Of 96.9 million acres of planted corn, 67.2 million were covered by revenue protection, according to Keith Collins, a former Agriculture Department chief economist who currently works with National Crop Insurance Services. Farmers can protect up to 85 percent of their revenue with insurance. More than $2 billion has been paid out as of October 9, according to National Crop Insurance Services, with corn, wheat, cotton, soybeans and pasture seeing the most damage.
    Among the nation’s top 15 corn-producing states, only Texas and Minnesota saw their productivity increase in the 2012 harvest year compared with their five-year average. Missouri yields fell 44 percent below the average and Illinois fell 42 percent. Indiana, South Dakota and Kansas all dropped more than 30 percent. Iowa, the top corn-grower in the U.S., declined 19 percent.

EU eases import restrictions on Japanese feed post-Fukushima

    The EU has eased feed and food import restrictions on 11 Japanese prefectures originally placed in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident. Yamanashi, Shizuoka, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Miyagi, Saitama, Tokyo, Iwate, Chiba and Kanagawa restrictions have been eased; however, the restrictions on imports coming from the Fukushima prefecture will remain until March 31, 2014.
    The EU originally imposed import restrictions on feed and food products from Japan's radiation-contaminated areas on March 24, 2011. The EU has been relaxing import restrictions from Japanese prefectures based on periodic review since then, regarding any new releases of the hazardous matter to the environment. The European Commission had underlined that for a number of reasons, food safety risks from the nuclear accident in Japan are considerably low in the EU.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Argentina wheat attacked by fungi, rains delay other seeding

    Flooding in Argentina's Pampas grains belt has led to fungi on wheat crops, and continued rains have delayed corn and soy seeding until at least October 28, according to analysts.
    Excessive rainstorms have been a problem since August, leaving questions about grain supplies as dry weather in other parts of the world (Russia, Australia and the U.S. in particular) have added to the issue. Chicago grains futures have shown wheat grow 32 percent since January, while soy and corn have increased 28 percent and 16 percent, respectively.
    Argentina's upcoming wheat harvest is expected to shrink 17 percent from last season to 11.5 million metric tons, according to the country's Agriculture Ministry, as farmers shift to other crops. "In the wheat sector, the appearance of diseases has become a worry, and plants have been lost in many areas since their roots were starved of oxygen," said a Rosario grains exchange report.
    El Niño often brings rain to the Southern Cone. On the positive side, marginal growing regions such as San Luis, La Pampa, Santiago del Estero and Chaco provinces should get tropical-type weather over the months ahead, giving those areas more productivity potential than they usually have, according to analysts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture sees Argentina's 2012–2013 soy output at a record 55 million metric tons, corn at a record 28 million metric tons and wheat at 11.5 million metric tons.

China corn harvest estimates down due to typhoon

    An August typhoon that damaged fields in northeast China has resulted in lower estimates for the country's corn harvest, according to reports, dropping them to 171 million metric tons.
    That number is still a 2.2 increase from 2011's 167 million metric tons, though down from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's 3.7 percent estimate of 200 million metric tons. “Corn supply and demand in China will continue to tighten” even with the increase in output, said Li Qiang, chairman of Shanghai JC Intelligence Co. Rising domestic demand and a gain in South American supplies may narrow the price gap between local and global markets in 2013, making imports more likely, said Qiang.
    Corn imported from the U.S. would cost 2,682 yuan ($424) per metric ton, compared with 2,555 yuan for domestic supplies as of September 28, according to Shanghai JC. A smaller harvest may prompt the Chinese government to sell stockpiles of corn and feed wheat, boosting the need for imports to replenish inventories. “Consumption is increasing: there’s no doubt about it,” said Bryan Lohmar, the China country director for the U.S. Grains Council. The amount of imports will depend on prices, so “if international prices go down, there will be demand for corn” from China to build inventories, he said.

EuroTier 2012 to feature animal welfare information center

    Premiering at EuroTier 2012, the Animal Welfare Information Center widens the scope of animal production issues presented at the world's foremost event for the livestock farming industry.
    Positioned in Hall 26 right across the DLG stand, the center will feature two daily roundtable discussions that will present opposing views of farmers and companies on animal welfare issues, and will be chaired by professionals from the animal welfare sector. These sessions organized by the DLG aim to stimulate discussions as well as provide the most up-to-date information on welfare issues facing livestock enterprises. All sessions are in German; however, information presented on boards will be in English and English-speaking experts will be on hand. Within the center, livestock exhibitors will be presenting their vision for the future, and an information gallery will provide extensive information on the topic of animal welfare.
    The Animal Welfare Information Center will be staffed by experts on animal welfare issues who will be on hand to answer any queries from visitors throughout EuroTier 2012. Visitors to the center are welcome to participate in any of the roundtable discussions and pose questions on welfare issues to the staff on hand. Topics to be discussed include:
    • Using and protecting animals: the future of livestock farming in Germany/Europe
    • Consumer demands versus producer realities: animal welfare, environmental and consumer protection in practice
    • Policy and production: drivers of structural changes in livestock
    • Marketing and morality: labeling requirements for animal welfare
    • Health and legislation: the use of pharmaceuticals in animal husbandry
    • Volume and quality: intensive animal husbandry
    • Food for the world, welfare for the animal: opportunities and issues
    EuroTier 2012 will take place November 13–16, in Hanover, Germany.

DLG awards silver EuroTier innovation medal to AntaPhyt BLT

    The DLG awarded one of EuroTier's 2012 silver innovation medals to Dr. Eckel GmbH for the new product AntaPhyt BLT, a combination of natural polyphenol-rich plant ingredients, essential oils and prebiotic active substances developed specifically for the poultry industry.
    Positive effects can be achieved on the development of unwanted pathogens, which means a reduction in the use of antibiotics, according to the product's developers. Feed conversion in particular is improved by AntaPhyt BLT, meaning resources can be saved. The results in the area of litter quality show that animal welfare was also considered. "Our development team is especially proud of this award," said Antje Eckel. "This prize is highly regarded in our sector, and it is proof that we are on the right path with our innovation strategy.
    EuroTier will take place November 13–16, in Hanover, Germany.

Study insufficient to question safety of genetically modified corn

    A recent study that called into question the safety of Monsanto's NK603 genetically modified corn did not provide sufficient evidence to reconsider existing safety approvals, according to France's government.
    The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Caen, said rats that fed on the corn were at higher risk of suffering tumors, organ damage and premature death. In response, France's government requested the opinion of the National Agency for Sanitary Safety of Food, Environment and Labor, ANSES, and biotechnology advisory council HCB. Both agencies determined that the study did not demonstrate its findings conclusively.
    "On this basis, there is therefore no need to go back on the authorizations issued for the NK603 maize and the Roundup weed killer," they said. The French government has, however, called for an overhaul of EU procedures for approving genetically modified varieties of corn and pesticides, and reaffirmed its ban on growing genetically modified crops.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Pakistan chicken prices drop 23.8 percent

    Pakistan's retail chicken prices have dropped 23.8 percent, to Rs 160 (US$1.67) per kilogram from Rs 210 (US$2.20) per kilogram, due to low demand brought on by upcoming holiday Eidul Azha, according to reports.
    The decline in prices has affected both live broilers and chicken meat, said Maroof Siddiqui, Pakistan Poultry Association chief convener. "The declining purchasing power of an overwhelming number of poultry customers helped to bring the prices down," he said. The live broiler and chicken meat price decline is expected to continue leading up to the holiday, to Rs 140 (US$1.46)–Rs 145 (US$1.52) per kilogram.

US egg exports down slightly in August

    Total U.S. egg exports (shell eggs and egg products) were the equivalent of 23.9 million dozen in August, down 1 percent from 2011, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
    Most of the decline was due to smaller exports to major markets such as Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea and Japan, but the reduction was also partially offset by higher exports to a number of European countries and Mexico. Egg production in Mexico has been heavily affected by an outbreak of avian influenza in Jalisco, its chief egg producing State. A large number of laying hens were destroyed and available supplies were greatly reduced.
    U.S. shipments of shell eggs for consumption to Mexico totaled 760,000 dozen in August, up from only 23,000 dozen in August 2011, according to the USDA. U.S. shell egg exports to Mexico in August also included over 500,000 dozen hatching eggs. Shell egg exports for consumption to Mexico are expected to continue to be well above year-earlier levels for the next several months into 2013, as it will take some time for Mexican producers to rebuild their flocks to previous levels.
    For more information and statistics on U.S. eggs, see

Exports key challenge for US poultry industry

    Expanding export markets will be a key challenge for the U.S. poultry industry going forward, according to panelists at the National Chicken Council's 58th annual conference outlook panel.
    See video of the panel here.
    Companies need to market their exports more effectively, according to panelist Paul Fox, CEO of O.K. Foods. “I think that it used to be that you’d think about commodity industries, and ultimately it was always the company that had the lowest costs that was able to most effectively pass cost increases into pricing and to maintain profits in difficult environments," said Fox. "I think that today it’s a different scenario in that it’s the commodities … that can be exported that you have the opportunity to pass on some cost inflation in your pricing. I think that exports are really fundamental for our industry. I think that we have to divorce ourselves from the notion of thinking that the commodity department and the export department are one and the same.”
    Panelist Michael Popowycz, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Case Foods, said large areas like China and India will be key to market expansion. "We need to have other countries open up their trade borders," he said. "We’re going to need some government help to get that accomplished. We need to continue to work with emerging countries in sub-Sahara Africa and the Middle East. I think exports is one area we all believe the industry can really grow.”
    At the end of the panel, each member was asked what he would take away from the meeting, and each had words of wisdom for the poultry industry. "We’re going to experience bumps in the road," said Fox. "At the end of the day, the market’s always right, even though it may not appear to be the case in the short term."
    Panelist Thomas Hensley, president of Fieldale Farms, said he sees an industry pattern that needs to be kept in check. "Those who don’t pay attention to history are doomed to repeat it," said Hensley. "2010 was a good year for chickens — production increase. In 2011 we were hit with high feed costs. It was bad. 2012 was a good year for chickens. 2013 — high feed costs. I think the industry needs to balance supply with demand."
    Finally, Popowycz spoke about innovation. "We have an industry that's very innovative," he said. "We need to figure out how we can make money at $7 corn and $400 meal."
    See videos of the entire panel here.

Thailand broiler exports expected to grow in 2013

    Despite the outlook of a decline in broiler meat production in 2013, Thailand’s broiler meat exports should grow 7 percent to 580,000 metric tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Most of the growth is expected to take place in markets other than the EU and Japan, including ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries Hong Kong, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. The EU and Japan will remain Thailand’s major markets, accounting for about 75–80 percent of total exports. Thailand could dramatically increase its exports of uncooked chicken meat if Japan and South Korea lift their bans on the import of uncooked Thai broiler meat, according to the USDA. Countries that have already lifted their highly pathogenic avian influenza bans on Thai uncooked frozen chicken meat include the EU, Hong Kong, South Africa, Bahrain and Russia.
    Based on the export performance of the first half of 2012 and the fact that the EU lifted its ban on Thai uncooked broiler meat, total chicken meat exports are unofficially estimated to reach 540,000 metric tons, up 15 percent from the 2011 level. Thailand is expected to export 40,000–50,000 metric tons of uncooked products to the EU in the second half of 2012, thus increasing total exports of uncooked products to 100,000–110,000 metric tons. The remaining exports (430,000–440,000 metric tons) consist of cooked products.
    Since the EU lifted its ban of Thai uncooked broiler meat, Thailand gained about 92,610 metric tons of the EU’s quota for uncooked salted poultry meat and 5,100 metric tons for the uncooked unsalted poultry meat. The in-quota tariff rate is 15.4 percent, while the out of quota rate will be €1,300/ton, according to the USDA.

US table eggs up, hatching eggs down in August

    In August, U.S. table egg production was 563 million dozen, 1.7 percent higher than in 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    The gain was due to increases in both the size of the table egg flock and the number of eggs produced per laying hen. In August, the number of hens in the table egg laying flock was 282 million, up 1 percent from 2011 numbers. During the first 8 months of 2012, table egg production totaled 4.4 billion dozen, an increase of 1.1 percent over that in the same period in 2011.
    Table egg production increased throughout the first 8 months of 2012, a trend that is expected to continue through the remainder of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter and has led to an increase of 45 million dozen in the production forecast for 2012. With relatively high prices expected into the first half of 2013, the decline in production is likely to be more moderate; thus, expected shell egg production for 2013 has increased by 100 million dozen, according to the USDA. This brings the 2013 total to 6.6 billion dozen, 1.1 percent lower than the forecast total in 2012.
    Over the first eight months of 2012, the number of hatching eggs produced totaled 694 million dozen, down 3.8 percent from the same period in 2011. The decline in hatching egg production has been concentrated in lower numbers of broiler-type eggs produced. Production of broiler-type hatching eggs is expected to fall through the rest of third-quarter 2012 but increase slightly in the fourth quarter.
    In September, wholesale prices for a dozen large eggs in the New York market averaged $1.35, up 16 percent from the price in 2011. In early October, weekly prices declined somewhat to approximately $1.17 per dozen. Prices in the fourth quarter of 2012 are expected to strengthen seasonally and average $1.32–$1.38 per dozen.
    For more information on U.S. eggs, see

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ukraine may export poultry products to EU by late 2012

    Ukraine hopes to begin exporting poultry products to the European Union in late 2012, according to Oleksandr Bakumenko, chairman of the Union of Poultry Farmers of Ukraine.
    Due to strict chicken breeding requirements set by the EU, there is a shortage of eggs on EU markets and their prices are increasing, said Bakumenko. In the meantime, Ukraine has been working to gain a permit from the EU to supply poultry products to its markets for several years, and domestic companies have now passed the relevant checks by European specialists. "We expect that the European Union market will be opened for us," said Bakumenko. "All of the procedures required for this have been nearly completed. Soon products will start moving to the European markets, both eggs and poultry."

Poultry demand, exports highlighted at National Chicken Council panel

    The future of poultry demand and exports were key topics as panelists took audience questions at the National Chicken Council's 58th Annual Conference industry outlook panel.
    See video of the audience discussion here.
    One question focused on current per-capita meat consumption in the U.S., asking that since total meat consumption of poultry, pork and beef is less than 200 pounds per person, what are the odds that the industry will see 220 pounds ever again? Panelist Michael Popowycz, vice chairman and chief financial officer of Case Foods, said he doesn't see 220 pounds per person happening again for some time because younger people just don't consume meat the same way previous generations did. “I think we’re going to have to market some new products to increase the per-capita consumption here in the U.S.," said Popowycz. "Exports are definitely going to grow, but in the U.S. I don’t see it going up to the 300 [pound per person] level.”
    According to panelist Thomas Hensley, president of Fieldale Farms, pricing is an additional concern. Meat prices are currently on the rise, and once a certain threshold is hit, he said, consumers will simply decrease their consumption to save money. Therefore, it's going to be a while before the industry sees an increase in per-capita consumption back to those 220-pound levels.
    When asked about food service demand returning to 2006–2007 levels, Popowycz said that growth isn't expected to be significant in 2013. Until the economy recovers, he said, the food service side won't increase.
    The export picture, the panel agreed, is a positive one. “The long-term future of this industry is really good, because the demand is clearly going to be out there and your product is going to be one of the most enticing if not the most enticing of the protein products," said panel moderator Dr. Clayton Yeutter, senior advisor for Hogan Lovells.
    South America was also a topic of conversation, with the audience questioning the implications of a crop shortfall in that region of the world. Right now, analysts are planning on a decent spring harvest based on a robust fall planting season, said panelist Paul Fox, CEO of O.K. Foods. So, if that doesn’t materialize, it will mean higher prices for products, soybeans especially.
    See videos of the entire panel here.

US turkey meat production, stocks up in August

    U.S. turkey meat production in August was 530 million pounds, up 5.7 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    The number of turkeys slaughtered (22.9 million) was 3.8 percent higher than in 2011, and the average liveweight at slaughter (28.9 pounds) was 1.3 percent higher.
    Year–over-year turkey production increased through the first half of 2012, and continued growth is expected in the second half of the year. However, the most recent turkey hatchery data point to a possible change in this pattern, according to the USDA. In August, the number of net poult placements for growout totaled 23.5 million birds, down 1.7 percent from 2011 numbers. This is the first monthly year-over-year decline in 2012. Also, the number of turkey eggs in incubators at the beginning of September totaled 26.3 million, down 6.3 percent from 2011.
    At the end of August, cold storage holdings of turkey products totaled 555 million pounds, 5 percent higher than in 2011. Compared with 2011, strong growth in production during the first eight months of 2012 has led to a buildup of stocks. Overall turkey stocks were above those of the previous year for 14 of the last 15 months. Increases in turkey stocks over the last several months were due primarily to seasonally larger holdings of whole birds, according to the USDA. At the end of August 2012, cold storage holdings of whole birds totaled 327 million pounds, up 12 percent from August 2011, but cold storage holdings of turkey parts totaled 228 million pounds, 3.6 percent lower than in 2011.
    With turkey meat production growth for third-quarter 2012 expected at 3.7 percent and with an additional 3.7-percent increase in production expected for fourth-quarter 2012, ending stocks are expected to be 250 million pounds, up strongly (18 percent) from 2011. However, production is expected to be lower in 2013 and stock levels are expected to decline and remain lower than the previous year through 2013.

US farm bill debate likely to go into 2013

    The U.S. House has not been able to achieve consensus on the farm bill, and a decision could spill over into late spring or summer of 2013, according to Dr. Clayton Yeutter, senior advisor at Hogan Lovells and panel moderator at the National Chicken Council's industry outlook panel held on October 11.
    See video of the panel discussion here.
    The current government climate has made negotiating the bill difficult, said Yeutter. “To put a farm bill together, you have to be able to work out a way to strike a deal between the Executive Branch and the Congress," he said. "And often, they’re not in the same hands politically.
    “Everybody’s going to have to adjust to those uncertainties and the instability that results from that. There’s still a slight possibility the farm bill would pass in the lame duck session, but I believe the chances are well below 50/50 that that’s going to happen.”
    More likely, said Yeutter, nothing will happen until after the new year, which means a new Congress and starting the debate process all over again. “You’re probably talking April (2013)or so at the earliest that this legislation is likely to become law, and that’s only a very calculated guess,” he said.
    See videos of the entire panel here.

Halving global food loss could feed 1 billion, say researchers

    The world's current population is estimated at 7 billion people, and an additional 1 billion could be fed from current resources if food losses could be halved, according to researchers at Aalto University in Finland.
    Their new study is the first to evaluate the impact of food loss and its relationship to resources on a global scale. Annually, 27 m3 of clean water, 0.031 hectares of agricultural land and 4.3 kilos of fertilizers per world inhabitant is wasted in food loss, according to the study. Agriculture uses over 90 percent of the fresh water consumed by humans and most of the raw materials used in fertilizers. More efficient food production and the reduction of food loss are very important matters for the environment as well as future food security, said Matti Kummu, a post-doctoral researcher at Aalto University.
    As a result of food loss in the food production chain, globally 614 kilocalories per person per day are lost. Without this loss, present global food production would yield 2,609 kilocalories of edible food a day for every inhabitant in the world. "Thus, by halving the food losses, we could feed 8 billion people with the currently used resources," said Kummu.
    The study was published in Science of the Total Environment. The researchers of VU University Amsterdam and the University of Bonn also participated in the research. In addition to Aalto University, the research was also funded by Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki ry, Finland, and IWT Flanders and NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Brazil pig producers expanding in 2013, facing high feed costs

    While Brazil’s pig farmers are facing rising feed costs and other international financial challenges along with the rest of the globe, they are better placed to ride out the current international turmoil than producers in many other parts of the world — and they are already planning to expand their markets in 2013.
    “We are fortunate in that our producers are close to some of the best grain-growing regions in the world and we have a large, stable domestic market for the pork we produce,” said Pedro de Camargo Neto, president of Brazil’s Association of Pork Exporters (ABIPECS).
    Speaking exclusively to Pig International, de Camargo Neto said that while Brazil is the world’s fourth-largest producer of pork (around 3,300 million metric tons per year), it only exports 18 percent, as about 2,700 metric tons is consumed locally. “Of course, we are also suffering to some extent from the pressure of higher prices for soya, maize and other grains, because they are part of an international pricing system, but we are currently protected by this large, strong local market for our product," he said. "And we are having a difficult year this year, compared with previous years.
    “However, we are expecting to grow in 2013 and hope to expand our export market, particularly to China, which is the ‘big prize’ for all pig-producing countries in the West. We are also expecting a continued strong domestic market, which has remained relatively stable for several years.”
    A view from a typical Brazilian pig unit.

    The country’s export trade is mainly directed towards Russia, the Ukraine and Hong Kong, where it saw an increase of 45.98 percent in volume and 38.47 percent in revenue in September, compared with the same period in 2011. "Now we have also won approval for the Chinese market, and although we are currently just exporting small quantities directly to the country, we hope that these quantities will increase significantly from next year onwards,” said de Camargo Neto.
    New markets in Europe aren't expecting the same kind of growth. “We are still waiting for sanitary approval for Europe," said de Camargo Neto. "It seems to be taking a long time to get it. But even when we are approved, I imagine our exports there will be limited by quotas, so we do not expect huge growth in that region.”
    Overall, de Camargo Neto said he is confident about the way the sector is developing in Brazil. Producers and breeding companies are “more or less up to date” as far as genetics are concerned, and are also quite advanced in the move towards modern, hi-tech equipment. “We have made a lot of progress in this area, but there is still room for the international companies to introduce the latest systems into the country to help producers to continue to improve production,” he said.

US broiler meat production down in August

    U.S. broiler meat production in August totaled 3.3 billion pounds, down 0.4 percent from August 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report, attributed to a fall in the number of birds slaughtered.
    The August slaughter, at 760 million, was down 0.9 percent from August 2011. However, the average liveweight at slaughter rose to 5.81 pounds, up 0.5 percent, which resulted in total liveweight at slaughter in August at 4.4 billion pounds, a decline of 0.4 percent from 2011 numbers. Total broiler meat production has been boosted by heavier average weights through six of the first eight months of 2012, and the year-to-date average weight has been 5.82 pounds, slightly higher (0.6 percent) than during the same period in 2011.
    Broiler meat production in July and August was slightly lower than expected, and the production forecast for the third quarter was decreased by 25 million pounds to 9.28 billion pounds, a decline of 2.8 percent from the third quarter of 2011.
    The most recent five-week average for the number of chicks being placed for growout is slightly higher (up 0.7 percent) from the average for the same period in 2011, according to the USDA. This small growth led to the broiler meat production forecast for fourth-quarter 2012 being lowered to 8.98 billion pounds, 1.3 percent higher than in fourth-quarter 2011. Average liveweight at slaughter in the fourth quarter is expected to be only slightly higher than that of the same time in 2011. Since approximately the beginning of August, the number of chicks placed had gradually been drawing closer to the level of 2011, and in the last several weeks it has moved higher.
    In fourth-quarter 2012, the number of chicks placed for growout is expected to gradually move higher than in the same period in 2011. Broiler slaughter in the fourth quarter is expected to be based for the most part on the number of chicks placed for growout through the beginning of November.
    U.S. broiler meat production for 2013 is expected to total 36.4 billion pounds, up 60 million pounds from the September estimate and just under 1 percent lower than the revised 2012 estimate. The upward revision for 2013 is the result of a slightly lower forecast for feed prices. While broiler integrators are expected to lower production in 2013, the amount and duration of the decrease will depend on improvements in the domestic economy, competing protein prices, and export demand.
    For more information and statistics on U.S. poultry, see

US pork production expected to drop in 2013

    U.S. hog producers' September–November farrowing intentions have been lowered to 2.85 million, almost 2.7 percent lower than in 2011, and the December–February 2013 farrowing intentions are estimated at 2.821 million, 1.5 percent lower than in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. Both of these revisions reflect the intention of hog farmers to slightly scale back production.
    This reduction in farrowings and breeding stock reflects what most observers have identified already: the effects of the summer 2012 drought on the U.S. feed crop have led to farmers’ intentions to reduce hog production in 2013 and thus to require fewer farrowings. While 2013 feeding margins have recovered somewhat since September, margins still remain narrow relative to expectations earlier in 2012, according to the USDA. Hog farmers have thus decided to farrow fewer sows in 2013 than in 2012.
    While the number of pigs per litter is expected to continue to grow in 2013, the reduction in farrowings will more than offset the efficiency gains in sow litters, and the 2013 pig crop is expected to be lower than the 2012 pig crop. Commercial pork production is expected to be almost 23 billion pounds, which is still 1.3 percent below the annual production level in 2012. This increase is expected despite downward revisions of live hog imports in 2013.

Support grows for British pig farmers' Save Our Bacon campaign

    United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May have pledged their support for British pig farmers’ Save Our Bacon campaign, which has attracted media coverage around the world.
    UK pig farmers are urging shoppers to save British bacon for future generations by looking for the independent Red Tractor logo when shopping, as this proves the meat comes from British farms. "I am delighted to be able to support the Save Our Bacon campaign," said Cameron. "I am keenly aware of the problems currently affecting pig producers largely because of the increase in grain prices over the last few months. I welcome the chance to encourage people to support and buy the high-quality and high-welfare British pork products."
    Britain’s pig farmers are asking for the public’s support because harvest failure around the world has caused the cost of pig feed to soar. Feed wheat, a key ingredient in pig feed, has increased over 30 percent since the beginning of 2012, and soya has increased over 65 percent. As feed accounts for 65 percent of the cost of raising a bacon pig, this has plunged Britain’s pig producers into loss, and it is feared production could be down by as much as 10 percent by Christmas.
    "Pig farmers don’t have the benefit of European subsidies," said pig producer Richard Longthorp, chairman of National Pig Association which is running the Save Our Bacon campaign. "So we can only survive these exceptional costs if the large supermarkets choose to pay us a fair price as a matter of urgency — and for that to happen we need shoppers to make a special effort to demonstrate their support for high-welfare British bacon, sausages and pork."
    Other government figures who have publicly pledged their support for National Pig Association’s Save Our Bacon campaign include Natural Environment Minister Richard Benyon, Health Minister Anna Soubry, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, Scotland Minister David Mundell and Local Government Minister Eric Pickles.

Monday, October 22, 2012

UK virtual pig farm course aims to improve stockmen skills

    Stockman Plus is a new "virtual pig farming" course, held through the British Pig Executive and starting across the English regions, that aims to provide the next challenge for trainees to build on the skills and knowledge gained through previous practical experience and/or the previously attended BPEX Stockman Development course.
    “The more advanced Stockman Plus course will include problem-solving exercises which will be applied to a virtual farm to allow the group to see the outcome of decisions they make," said Samantha Bowsher, BPEX assistant skills manager.
    In addition, the organization's Stockman Development and Institute of Leadership and Management courses are both back for a third year. The Stockman Development course combines training in practical pig husbandry with visits to feed mills and abattoirs. The Institute of Leadership and Management course helps supervisors and managers improve their people management and build their confidence when leading others, according to BPEX. Specially selected modules enable trainees to learn different management techniques and work together to decide on the best ways to handle various situations.
    All three courses are flexible — participants can choose particular sessions to attend, subject to availability, or sign up for the whole course. 

US hog futures up on increased pork demand

    U.S. hog futures showed an upward trend the week ending October 12 on increasing demand for pork, with December futures rising 1.1 percent to 78.375 cents a pound at 1 p.m. on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Prices advanced 2.4 percent overall during the week, the second straight gain.
    “We have been able to move pork,” said Don Roose, the president of U.S. Commodities Inc. “We have been able to make money. We’ve been eating through the large supply.” Wholesale pork rose 1.2 percent to 87.69 cents a pound on October 11, the highest since August 21, and prices are up 16 percent from a 22-month low on Sept. 19, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On October 11, hogs for immediate delivery to slaughterhouses rose 0.4 percent to 79.33 cents a pound, and prices are up 1.3 percent in 2012.

US bill introduced to disclose antibiotics in animal feed

    A bill introduced by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) would create reporting requirements on antibiotics given to U.S. livestock, mandating disclosure from drugmakers and feed mills about the types, purposes and quantities of drugs used, according to reports.
    The bill comes at a time when the Food and Drug Administration is already under pressure to consider restrictions on antibiotics in animal feed. "We need reliable information about the use of antibiotics in agricultural operations," said Waxman. "The more we learn, the graver the threat becomes from overuse of antibiotics by industrial-scale farms. We need this information so scientists and Congress can stop the spread of drug-resistant infections from farm animals to humans."

Federal funding to revitalize New Jersey poultry processing plant

    A $1.46 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will go towards revitalizing a former Meredith Farms chicken processing plant in Franklin Township, New Jersey, according to reports.
    The money will contribute to installation of infrastructure and preparation of the site, which will eventually be a new business park. “We are very pleased to have received this grant which enables us to move forward in a very positive direction regarding the future of this site,” said Mayor Joseph Petsch. “Perhaps more importantly, this funding will lay the foundation for hundreds of new jobs for residents of Franklin Township and the region.”
    Meredith Farms filed for bankruptcy protection in 1999. The township said it has a redeveloper and plans to capitalize on the site's location and nearby infrastructure.

International Feed Industry Federation, FEFANA partner on specialty feed ingredients

    The International Feed Industry Federation and the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures, FEFANA, have launched the Specialty Feed Ingredients Sustainability project, designed to measure and establish the role of specialty feed ingredients on the environmental impact of livestock production.
    The project brings together a consortium of international companies and associations dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of livestock through innovative specialty feed ingredients. It aims to contribute to global activities in the area of the environmental effect of livestock production. The results of the projects will be shared with international stakeholders and with feed chain operators in order to encourage more sustainable livestock production globally.
    “The overall objective of this project is to establish the positive role of the use of specialty feed ingredients on the environmental impact of livestock production” said Dider Jans, secretary general of FEFANA. “By setting up a standard approach to measure this role and delivering a manual of nutritional practice, the project will enable specialty feed ingredients to be included in the evaluation of the mitigation measures to reduce the environmental impact of animal production on a global basis."

Friday, October 19, 2012

Spain reduces 2012 corn crop forecast

    Spain's corn crop is predicted to reach 4.24 million metric tons in 2012, up 2.3 percent from 2011's 4.15 million metric tons but down from the Agriculture Ministry's previous outlook of 4.29 million metric tons.
    Spain had its second-driest summer in 60 years, according to the ministry’s weather service. The period from June through August was the fourth-warmest since 1961.

Crop diversity to become key as global climate shifts

    As weather changes continue to affect crop farmers, producers are making changes to what they plant in order to remain profitable and keep up with the new climate, according to reports.
    U.S. farmers overall in the 2012 season planted the most corn since 1937, but growers in Kansas planted the fewest acres in three years, switching to crops requiring less water such as wheat, sorghum and triticale. Corn acreage in Manitoba, Canada, however, has doubled in the last ten years due to weather changes and high prices. “These changes are happening faster than plants can adapt, so we will see substantial impacts on global growing patterns,” said Axel Schmidt, a former senior scientist for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture and currently with Catholic Relief Services.
    The 2012 drought in the U.S. was the worst since 1954, according to the Palmer Drought Index, and dropped estimates for the country's corn harvest to the lowest levels in six years. At the same time, September was the 331st consecutive month in which worldwide temperatures topped the 20th-century average. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has updated its plant hardiness map, shifting many regions into zones five degrees Fahrenheit warmer than in the late 20th century.
    "We'll see a real mix of crop signals and climate signals," said Wolfram Schlenker, an environmental economist at Columbia University. He said the climate is in transition, and agriculture needs to adapt. Even small changes in average temperature may shift climate patterns, affecting rainfall, evaporation rates and the ability of plants to thrive in certain environments.
    Even the U.S. Corn Belt is seeing changes, according to Tabitha Craig, a crop insurance seller for Young Enterprises Inc. She said that wheat acres will be high in 2013 due to the hotter, dryer weather pattern.
    Overall, biodiversity is going to be the key to sustainability, and demand will be needed to maintain profitability for farmers. “We need to use biodiversity and crop varieties to our advantage,” said Roger Beachy, the first head of the USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture. “Can a farmer make as much money raising chickpeas as corn? You have to create value for the farmer. We need to get the scientists and the economists talking to one another about this.”

US corn harvest 79 percent complete

    The U.S. corn harvest is 79 percent complete, significantly ahead of the average 38 percent for this time of year, due to early planting that stemmed from unusually warm weather in the spring, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    Iowa and Illinois, the two top corn-producing states, are at 87 percent for their harvests. Growers "have been making some excellent progress" in harvesting crops in much of the Midwest, said Joel Karlin, market analyst for Western Milling. "You have had some pretty good harvest conditions."
    Seventy-one percent of the U.S. soybean crop has been harvested, up from the five-year average of 58 percent for this time of year, according to the USDA. In addition, 96 percent of the crop was dropping leaves as of October 14, one percentage point above normal.

Farrowing welfare to be showcased at EuroTier 2012

    Welfare will be at the center of attention in the BFL/DLG special “Wellness in farrowing units,” showcased at EuroTier 2012.
    This will present an opportunity to explore innovations in farrowing housing equipment. In addition to the latest developments in conventional housing, flooring and climate systems, farrowing units with various possibilities of free range for sows will also be presented. A floor area of 540 square meters will showcase various types of housing that allow sows more movement, as well as floor design, feeding equipment and climate control, as well as hygiene and health management of sows and piglets. Also, experts on sow and piglet husbandry will be available to assist visitors and promote the exchange of information.
    In addition, the EuroTier Pig Forum, held in Hall 12, B57, has a daily program which covers all aspects of pig husbandry, nutrition, health and hygiene plus the special sessions on “Wellness in the farrowing house.” These sessions are accompanied by simultaneous translation (German/English).
    EuroTier will take place November 13–16, in Hanover, Germany.

World Poultry Show at EuroTier to feature 280 specialists

    The World Poultry Show at EuroTier 2012 will feature 280 poultry specialists, which represents a marked increase over the previous show, according to organizers.
    All providers of poultry solutions will be represented at the event, including suppliers of breeding, husbandry and processing equipment and technology. Notably, 70 percent of these exhibitors come from outside Germany. “The World Poultry Show attracts exhibitors and visitors from around the world, making it the ideal international meeting place,” said Dr. Karl Schlösser, EuroTier project manager. “This year, we are hosting more poultry specialists than ever before, including all the major names, so visitors are assured of seeing the industry’s very latest innovations.”
    Beyond the World Poultry Show, EuroTier offers relevant information for poultry professionals thanks to its cross-species exhibition segments such as feed components and animal health or bioenergy. The event will take place November 13–16, in Hanover, Germany.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

EuroTier 2012 to feature feed gallery

    Visitors to EuroTier 2012 will, for the first time, be able to see for themselves the variety and range of the raw materials used in the animal feed industry, located in a special focus area called the Feed Gallery.
    The most important 600 feed ingredients listed in the EU feed law and the German positive list will be presented. In addition, selected current questions concerning feed security, feed quality and feed safety of raw materials will be examined in depth. A further segment of the focus area will demonstrate how the nutrient availability of raw materials can be improved by means of hydrothermal treatment to give improved animal performance, and how with the aid of data, information processing and processing technology, tailor-made and customized feed rations and complete diets can be made from the broad-ranging feed ingredients data base.
    Three main topic areas will be presented:
    • Feed materials, listed according to their content.
    • Feed security and supply in Europe, along with strategies and feed alternatives.
    • Processing of feed through hydrothermic treatment and fermentation.
    The Feed Gallery will allow knowledgeable visitors to become acquainted with new and unusual feedstuffs, as well as to find answers to their own questions regarding the quality and suitability of certain feeds and feed ingredients, according to show organizers.
    EuroTier 2012 will be held November 13–16, in Hanover, Germany.

US turkey numbers down in September

    U.S. turkey eggs in incubators on October 1 totaled 26.5 million, down 2 percent from October 1, 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. Eggs in incubators were up 1 percent from the September 1 total of 26.4 million eggs.
    Turkey poults hatched during September totaled 21.5 million, down 7 percent from September 2011 numbers. Poults hatched were down 10 percent from the August total of 23.8 million poults, according to the USDA. The 21.4 million net poults placed during September were down 4 percent from the number placed during the same month in 2011. Net placements were down 9 percent from the August 2012 total of 23.4 million.