Friday, November 30, 2012

FAO to invest in Equatorial Guinea poultry farming

    The government of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations have signed an agreement that calls for the FAO to invest US$3 million over three years to develop poultry farming in rural Equatorial Guinea.
    This investment is part of the government's efforts to develop the country's agricultural sector and create income-generating activities in rural and urban areas. The goal of the government and the FAO is to develop a family-based poultry industry that employs modern practices. The program will provide training and resources for feeding and care of poultry stock, vaccination against diseases and general veterinary care.
    Miguel Oyono Ndong Mifumu, agriculture minister of Equatorial Guinea, and Athman Mravili, Malabo representative of the FAO, signed the agreement. "The goal of this government program is to develop the agricultural regions of the country," said Ndong. "This agreement will have a positive impact in rural areas by supporting the work of its people."
    The agreement provides training in the provinces and extension and implementation of a system to deliver critical pharmaceuticals.

US turkey production continues up in third quarter

    U.S. turkey meat production in the third quarter of 2012 was 1.48 billion pounds, up 4 percent from 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    The increase was due in almost equal parts to an increase in the number of turkeys slaughtered and to gains in the average weight at slaughter, said the USDA. The number of turkeys slaughtered in the third quarter was 63.5 million, an increase of less than 3 percent from 2011; the average weight at slaughter was 29.2 pounds, a gain of just under 1 percent from third-quarter 2011.
    Turkey meat production in the fourth quarter of 2012 is forecast at 1.55 billion pounds, which again would be a substantial increase from the same period a year earlier, up 3.7 percent, according to the USDA. Most of this increase is expected to come from a higher number of turkeys slaughtered, with only small gains in average weights. Turkey production in 2013 is forecast at 5.79 billion pounds, which would be a decrease of 3 percent from 2012 numbers. The decline in turkey production is expected to come from the combination of high feed prices, larger beginning stocks and lower year-over-year prices for whole birds in fourth-quarter 2012 and in the first half of 2013.

    Turkey cold storage
    Relatively strong turkey meat production increases in the second and third quarters (up 2 and 4 percent) boosted cold storage holdings of turkey to 521 million pounds at the end of September, up 2 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the USDA report. The growth in overall stocks of turkey products hides a disparity in the direction of stocks level changes for whole birds compared with turkey products.
    Stocks of turkey products totaled 217 million pounds at the end of the third quarter, a decrease of 6 percent from the same time in 2011. This stock decrease has been partly due to strong exports of turkey products, especially in the third quarter of 2012. Stocks of whole birds have been moving in the opposite direction — at the end of September, stocks of whole birds were estimated at 305 million pounds, up 9 percent from 2011.
    Overall turkey cold storage holdings at the end of 2012 are forecast at 250 million pounds, about 18 percent higher than in 2011. As with third-quarter 2012, almost all the increase is expected to come from larger holdings of whole turkeys, with little or no increase in stocks of turkey products, said the USDA.

US net farm income forecast to decline in 2012

    U.S. net farm income in 2012 is forecast to decline almost $4 billion from its all-time high in 2011, and net cash income is expected to decline almost $2 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service's 2012 farm income forecast.
    The value of agricultural sector production is expected to increase with gains anticipated for crops, livestock and especially revenues from services and forestry sales. Larger gains are predicted for oil crops and other farm income. However, solid gains in the projected annual value of U.S. agricultural production will be more than offset by increases in purchased inputs and payments to stakeholders, according to the report. In particular, feed expenses are forecast to increase almost $10 billion in 2012.
    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he is optimistic in spite of some of the numbers. "Today's forecast is heartening," said Vilsack. "It confirms that American farmers and ranchers remained impressively resilient in 2012, even with tough odds due to one of the worst droughts in more than a generation. Thanks to its ability to remain competitive through thick and thin, U.S. agriculture is stronger today than at any time in our nation's history, supporting and creating good-paying American jobs for millions.
    "While down slightly from the August forecast, today's estimates for net farm income are the second-highest since the 1970s, while total farm household income is expected to rise," said Vilsack. "At the same time, the positive trend of falling debt ratios continue. The forecast suggests that strong farm income should remain a positive factor in carrying farmers and ranchers into the 2013 growing season."
    He said the industry must continue to stand with America's farming families and rural communities, providing help and assistance to those who need it. "This year, the farm safety net showed its mettle and merit, helping to deliver peace of mind to thousands of farmers and ranchers dealing with losses caused by natural disasters," said Vilsack. "It's a reminder that Congress must do the same, and pass a comprehensive, multi-year Food, Farm and Jobs Bill that provides greater certainty for farmers and ranchers in the season ahead. Providing the tools and certainty they need is the least we can do for those who grow our food, fiber, feed and fuel, even through the most challenging of times."

China feed wheat use to grow 6 percent in 2013

    China's use of wheat in animal feed is predicted to grow 6 percent in 2013, to 12.4 million metric tons, with imports increasing to meet the needs domestic production alone can't fulfill, according to agricultural researchers.
    The country's wheat production is expected to rise slightly in 2013, to 118.3 million metric tons from 118.1 million metric tons in 2012, said Bi Jieying, assistant professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Consumption is expected to increase to 119.6 million metric tons from 119.1 million metric tons. "Our consumption will increase and there is a decrease in the sowed area, so there is not much potential for an increase in production," said Jieying. "There is already a gap of around 1 million metric tons in production and consumption. Imports will continue to increase in the coming years."
    China's wheat imports are estimated to hit 3 million metric tons in 2013.

Alltech launches research alliance with top Chinese universities

    Global animal health company Alltech has launched a $2.5-million Alltech–Chinese University/Institute Research Alliance with leading Chinese universities and academic research institutes. Agreements were signed in October at a press conference in Beijing and at ceremonies at the Institute of Quality Standard and Testing Technology for Agri-Products – Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Zhejiang University, South China Agricultural University, Northwest A&F University and Jiangnan University.
    As part of a 2011 Global Feed Tonnage Survey conducted and released by Alltech, it was shown that China is now the largest feed market in the world. As such, Alltech is putting significant resources into China, including transferring Dr. Mark Lyons, one of its senior vice presidents, to China in January 2012. Another senior vice president, Aidan Connolly, visits China approximately once a month to support Alltech’s operations in the country.
    “Issues such as mycotoxins, feed and food safety and the environmental impact of our industry are strongly present in China," said Lyons. "Also, in times of the highest ever raw material prices in history, Chinese animal producers still need to be profitable by reducing feed costs and increasing animal performance. One of the biggest questions for China is how the country can improve the feed conversion rate and, at the same time, decrease the dependence on crop imports. Alltech’s investment of more than $2.5 million to the Chinese Research Alliances over the next five years clearly indicates our commitment to find sustainable solutions to these challenges together with some of the world’s best universities."
    The research alliances at each university will focus on specific key areas that address emerging challenges to animal agriculture in China, including:
    • Alltech – IQSTAP Feed Toxicology Research Alliance: Mycotoxin testing methodology development and application
    • Alltech – ZJU Animal Nutrition and Feed Science Research Alliance: New feed additive evaluation and solution development
    • Alltech – NWAFU Animal Science Research Alliance: Application of animal metabolic chamber in the control of greenhouse gas emission
    • Alltech – SCAU Animal Nutrition Control Research Alliance: Nutrigenomics in yellow feather chicken
    • Alltech – JNU Food Research Alliance: Programmed Nutrition on the regulation of meat quality

    The research alliances will be run by the joint Alltech/University/Institute Management Committee, responsible for the programs’ preparation, justification, monitoring and outcome review. This strategic, long-term partnership will be critical for the consistency of future scientific studies and will be the basis for successful breakthrough in scientific research. These alliances are expected to be the catalyst for future advances in agricultural technologies.

National grain, feed association calls for challenge to freight rail rates

    The National Grain and Feed Association has called on the federal Surface Transportation Board to improve its rules and policies to improve the ability of agricultural shippers to challenge unreasonable rail freight rates.
    In a statement submitted to the agency, the association commended the board for proposing changes and soliciting public comments on the current methods available to shippers to challenge unreasonable rates. But the association also called for the board to undertake a more comprehensive, in-depth review of its simplified standards for rail rate regulation, with a goal of proposing further and more significant modifications. The association said if the Surface Transportation Board finds that its current methods for challenging unreasonable freight rates are inadequate, the agency should ask Congress for additional statutory authority “designed to provide genuinely simplified and expedited standards for resolving rail rate disputes.”
    In its statement, the National Grain and Feed Association also commented on the following things:
    • It urged the board to increase to at least $3 million the amount that could recovered over a five-year period using the most streamlined mechanism currently available for challenging freight rail rates — known as the three-benchmark method. Under this method, the board proposed to increase the recovery limit to $2 million, up from the current $1 million.
    • It supported the board's proposal to eliminate the current $5 million limit that shippers potentially can recover using a second “simplified” agency mechanism for challenging unreasonable rail rates. But it urged the agency to delete a concurrent proposal that would undermine use of this method for challenging rates by imposing a new burden that would require shippers to calculate the full replacement cost of rail system facilities used to serve the shipper filing the rate complaint.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Zimbabwe government supports small poultry farmers to grow industry

    Zimbabwe's government has said that it will continue to support small poultry farmers in an effort to grow the poultry sector and boost the overall agriculture industry, according to government officials.
    The country's poultry industry is one of the fastest-growing agro sectors, according to Ngoni Masoka, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development. It's targeted to produce 72 million day-old chicks by the end of 2012, compared to 52 million in 2011, and the government is prepared to intensify its efforts towards helping small-holder farmers achieve high production levels.
    "The government is aware of the problems of small-scale producers when it comes to exploitative tendencies under contract farming arrangements," said Masoka. "With the establishment of the Agricultural Marketing Authority, the government will ensure that contractual agreements are balanced to avoid exploitation. As a ministry, we believe that the development of small-scale producers can result in increased productivity, improved incomes and employment creation, as well as food and nutrition security."
    The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union is pushing for funds to assist with activities in the poultry sector, and farmers recently appealed to the Zimbabwe government for assistance in securing processing facilities and markets for local chicken to compete with imports.

Consumer group supports USDA decision to reject food labeling system

    The National Consumers League has expressed its support for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's decision to reject efforts by NuVal LLC to place its rating system on the label of meat products.
    NuVal is a nutrition rating system, placed in 1,600 grocery stores in 31 states, which rates the health of products on a scale of 1 to 100 using a proprietary algorithm. The league has raised concerns about the system's use of the algorithm, which it says produces inconsistent and illogical scores, and has instead called on the agency to develop an improved, universal front-of-package labeling scheme that would be more helpful to consumers.
    "It's a wild west out there currently," said Sally Greenberg, the National Consumers League's executive director. "There are many competing rating systems, a state of play that can leave consumers feeling even more confused than they were in the first place. It is important that the federal government step up and develop a consistent system of front-of-package labeling.
    "We applaud the USDA for taking a leadership role on labeling," said Greenberg. "We would urge the FDA, which has jurisdiction over around 80 percent of food products in this country, to follow the lead of its sister agency. If it's not good enough for the USDA, it shouldn't be good enough for the FDA. Consumers must have access to an objective, government-run front-of-package labeling scheme to get the clear and consistent information they need to make healthy dietary choices for their families."

Brazil poultry output may fall for first time in 20 years

    Brazil's poultry output may drop 4.1. percent by the end of 2012, to 12.3 million metric tons, from 12.9 million metric tons in 2011 due to rising feed costs, according to oilseed industry researcher Oil World. The decline will be the first in 20 years, and is coupled with a drop in exports, from 3.95 million metric tons to 3.91 million metric tons.
    “Producers have cut back in response to high feed prices and unattractive margins,” said Oil World. “This is the first year-on-year reduction in 20 years. A slight reduction occurred in exports, but most of the decline is going to occur in the domestic market, reducing average consumption per person.” The country's consumption is expected to drop, as well, to 8.42 million metric tons from 8.92 million metric tons in 2011, with per-capita consumption dropping to 43.41 kilograms from 46.34 kilograms.
    The majority of Brazil's poultry meat is produced in the southern part of the country, where the corn harvest at the beginning of the year was significantly reduced by drought, according to Oil World. “Domestic poultry prices increased and were up by about 25 percent from a year earlier in October and early November, but the increase in feed costs was considerably higher,” said Oil World.

Argentina corn harvest delayed by flooding

    Argentina is now expected to harvest the bulk of its corn crop in May and June due to excessive flooding, delaying a season that farmers say will already produce 20 percent less product than initially forecast, according to reports. The combination of a late harvest and less product will contribute to the ongoing high global food prices carrying over from the U.S. drought that left supplies down in the summer.
    "May and June will be the peak harvesting months this season," said Martin Fraguio, executive director of Argentine corn industry chamber Maizar. "The total 2012–2013 harvest looks like it will be somewhere between 25 and 28 million metric tons." Genetically modified seeds will help offset the late planting some, say farmers, who are hoping for the ground to dry out enough for December planting. Only half of the 3.4 million hectares expected to be sown with the 2012–2013 corn in Argentina has been seeded so far, down 12 percent from the previous season.
    When bad weather hits, farmers tend to switch from corn to soy, which is cheap to plant and more resistant to adverse weather conditions. However, the extent to which the soy crop will rise in the coming year won't be known for another month, say growers. "A lot of acreage will just stay flooded this year, so it won't go to corn or soybeans," said farmer Santiago del Solar.

US October egg production up 2 percent

    U.S. egg production totaled 7.9 billion during October, up 2 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Production included 6.88 billion table eggs, and 1.02 billion hatching eggs, of which 952 million were broiler-type and 69 million were egg-type. The total number of layers during October averaged 340 million, up 1 percent from 2011. October egg production per 100 layers was 2,321 eggs, up slightly from October 2011.
    All layers in the U.S. on November 1 totaled 342 million, up 2 percent from 2011 numbers. The 342 million layers consisted of 291 million layers producing table- or market-type eggs, 49.1 million layers producing broiler-type hatching eggs and 2.82 million layers producing egg-type hatching eggs. Rate of lay per day on November 1, averaged 75.4 eggs per 100 layers, up 1 percent from November 1, 2011, according to the USDA report.
    Egg-type chicks hatched during October totaled 39.1 million, up 4 percent from October 2011. Eggs in incubators totaled 35 million on November 1, down 7 percent from 2011 numbers. Domestic placements of egg-type pullet chicks for future hatchery supply flocks by leading breeders totaled 196,000 during October, down 26 percent from October 2011.
    Broiler-type chicks hatched during October totaled 727 million, up 2 percent from October 2011. Eggs in incubators totaled 569 million on November 1, down 1 percent from 2011, according to the USDA. Leading breeders placed 6.22 million broiler-type pullet chicks for future domestic hatchery supply flocks during October, down 1 percent from October 2011.
    For more information and statistics on U.S. egg production, see

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Victam Foundation to sponsor ASEAN Feed Summit during 2014 shows

    With the anticipated creation of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Economic Bloc in 2015, the Victam Foundation has decided to sponsor an ASEAN Feed Summit every two years during FIAAP, VICTAM and GRAPAS Asia, which will next be held in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2014.
    The aim of the summit, according to organizers, is to bring together an international forum of feed associations and related associations in Asia to discuss and determine future policies and objectives for the industry. The first summit is planned for April 8–10, 2014, during FIAAP, VICTAM and GRAPAS Asia, and will be hosted by the Thai Feed Mill Association with the assistance and support of the Thai Ministry of Agriculture and the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
    The Victam Foundation plans to invite the president and secretary general or equivalent from each association within the region to attend the summit. Victam will pay for their return flights to Bangkok and 4/5 star accommodation during the period of the summit. The members of each association will also be invited to attend the exhibitions at FIAAP, VICTAM and GRAPAS Asia, according to organizers.

Future of UK farming relies on united government, researchers, industry

    The future of farming in the UK needs a united approach from government, researchers and the industry to developing new knowledge and technologies if it is to meet the challenges of the next two decades, according to Professor Chris Pollock CBE, who led a study for four UK farming industry organizations. Pollock has recommended seven crucial research priorities for the future of food production in the UK based on the recently published study, entitled "Feeding the Future: Innovation Priorities for Primary Food Production in the UK to 2030."
    “Ever since Malthus, concern has been expressed regarding the capacity of agriculture to feed an ever-increasing population,” said Pollock. “In the first half of this century we will be part of a global food network that has to produce 50 percent more food with less available land. This work has been about what the industry said it needed, and how it could play its part in this global challenge.” The report, which was commissioned by the National Farmers' Union, the Royal Agricultural Society of England, the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board and the Agricultural Industries Confederation, and supported by the Technology Strategy Board, recommends:
    • a program of long-term strategic and applied research
    • using modern technologies to improve precision and efficiency of agricultural management practices, like genetic and breeding programs to increase productivity
    • a united approach from government, research councils and producer groups to research and development, where primary producers are involved at a high level
    • work to maintain major scientific research while identifying missing skills and knowledge — and taking steps to replace them
    • government departments working together on issues which affect land use
    “We need to fund programs for longer-term, applied research that links different sectors of industry," said Pollock. “Food producers have tended in recent years to deal with today’s problems. If we want to shift the research agenda to deliver for 2030, we need to make sure that primary producers work together and with the funders of more basic research.”

Mexico delays approval of genetically modified corn fields

    Approval for commercial-scale genetically modified corn fields will carry into 2013 and under the government of incoming president Enrique Pena Nieto, according to Mariano Ruiz, deputy agriculture secretary. Permits will take four to five months to be approved, but as the incoming president is like-minded to outgoing President Felipe Calderon, they are still expected to go through eventually.
    "I think we are in agreement generally over the importance of having this instrument, and that farmers have the tool of genetically modified organisms," said Ruiz. The government must still designate "centers of origin" where genetically modified corn cultivation will be banned, as well as set other safety regulations. The delay will prevent five applications for commercial-scale genetically modified corn fields, totaling 2.5 million hectares, from going through.
    Mexico plants 7.2 million hectares of corn per year, mostly white corn for human consumption, and domestic corn production in 2012 will total nearly 22 million metric tons, according to agriculture ministry data. It imported 9 million metric tons of yellow corn for animal feed in 2012.

USPOULTRY Foundation awards $15,491 to University of Arkansas

    The USPOULTRY Foundation has awarded a $15,491 student recruiting grant to the poultry science department at the University of Arkansas.
    Charles George, senior vice president for George’s Inc. and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association board member, presented the check to Dr. Michael Kidd, department head for the poultry science department and director for the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas. Marvin Childers, president of The Poultry Federation, assisted in the presentation.
    “The Center of Excellence for Poultry Science at the University of Arkansas is committed to recruiting and retaining students to become future leaders of the poultry industry," said Kidd. "The USPOULTRY Foundation’s support is instrumental in our ability to get our message out to prospect students. We thank the USPOULTRY Foundation for this vital support and continued dedication to poultry science."
    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.

India poultry farmers facing losses in Andhra Pradesh

    Poultry farmers in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh have reported significant losses in the wake of decreased prices due to low demand, according to reports, mirroring a countrywide trend.
    While the cost of production stands at Rs 60 (US$1.09) per kilogram, farmers are selling live chickens at Rs 43–45 (US$0.43–0.82) per kilogram. “In fact, the prices had fallen to Rs 27 (US$0.49) per kilogram at the farm level some weeks ago," said D. Sudhakar, president of the Andhra Pradesh Poultry Federation. "We expect the demand to pick up in the coming weeks, nudging up prices.’’ At the retail level, prices of dressed chickens are currently at Rs 80 (US$1.46), down from Rs 120 (US$2.19) two months ago.
    Andhra Pradesh produces 35 million live birds per month, one-third of India's total production. The poultry industry in the state is estimated at Rs 200 billion (US$3.64 billion).

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Kelly Turkeys breaks into US market for Thanksgiving 2012

    Kelly Turkeys has entered the U.S. market in time for Thanksgiving, introducing its KellyBronze bird to Washington, D.C., consumers as a trial marketing exercise.
    The KellyBronze product is being launched into a market where U.S. supermarkets sell turkeys as a loss leader at Thanksgiving, so the turkeys Kelly is producing in the U.S. are bound to look expensive, said Kelly's Paul Kelly. In addition, the black feather stubs in the bronze turkey may be an issue with U.S. consumers used to a "bleached-looking" white turkey.
    “We are actually taking New York dressed turkey — as it’s known in the trade — back to the U.S., where the tradition started when birds were sent plucked but with guts intact from the Midwest to the East Coast," said Kelly. "It was the safest way to make the long journey. Due to cost of hand plucking and hanging, the practice gradually stopped. For many years now there has been no dry plucking in the U.S., so the skills needed are no longer in the country. I forgot just how hard it is to teach people to pluck!" 

Iowa drought expected to continue through winter

    The U.S. drought that ruined crops over the summer and has caused significant problems for farmers is expected to continue in Iowa through the winter and into 2013, according to government weather reports.
    Currently, 69 percent of Iowa is in severe to exceptional drought, an improvement over the 100 percent reported in August. During the winter months, conditions are expected to improve in the eastern part of Iowa but persist or intensify in the western two-thirds of the state, where conditions already are the worst, according to reports. “We’re expecting persistence of that drought through the winter months and through early spring, and with the climate signals being relatively weak ... it’s very difficult to really say how the spring will materialize with regard to the drought outlook,” said Jon Gottschalck, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
    Since farmers plant the majority of their corn between mid-April and mid-May, and their soybeans between mid-May and early June, they are concerned that a poor winter could affect their sowing. “We are still very short of subsoil moisture or reserve moisture that our crop will be able to tap into unless we get normal or above-normal snowfall during the winter,” said Justin Dammann, a southwest Iowa corn and cattle farmer. “I’m concerned also as far as next year because we seem to be in a pattern of weather extremes, and they are hard to manage from a crop production standpoint.”

US broiler stocks down in third quarter 2012

    With lower broiler meat production in the third quarter of 2012 and continued strong exports, cold storage holdings of broiler products at the end of the third quarter of 2012 totaled 624 million pounds, down 2 percent from 2011 numbers but up 18 million pounds from the end of second-quarter 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Cold storage holdings of many broilers parts was significantly different from 2011, with some moving sharply lower while a few had strong gains. The cold storage holdings of whole birds, breast meat (down 31 percent), thighs (down 23 percent) and thigh meat (down 28 percent) all declined sharply from 2011 numbers. Partially offsetting these declines were increases in the holdings for legs (up 39 percent) and wings (up 32 percent), according to the USDA. Stocks of broiler meat products are expected to decline to 600 million pounds by the end of 2012 and in 2013 are expected to be roughly similar to their 2012 levels throughout the year.
    The impacts of somewhat lower overall broiler production and falling stocks of whole birds and breast meat were seen in higher prices for these products. In October, prices for whole birds were just over $0.84 per pound, 14 percent higher than in 2011. Weekly prices in early November have moved even higher, to around $0.89 per pound. Prices for breast meat products were all stronger in October compared with 2011. Prices in the Northeast market for boneless/skinless breast meat averaged $1.31 per pound, up over 8 percent from October 2011. Prices for breast meat with ribs and line run breast meat were both over 23 percent higher than 2011 numbers, according to the USDA.
    Leg quarter prices at $0.52 per pound were down slightly from 2011, but a strong export market has led to relatively steady leg quarter prices so far in 2012. Monthly leg quarter prices in 2012 have remained between $0.49 and $0.53 per pound.
    For more U.S. poultry information and statistics, see

Canada corn belt growing as demand increases

    Global corn demand has outstripped supplies in three of the last four years, and hospitable growing weather and corn varieties that mature faster from Monsanto and DuPont have led Canadian farmers to switch to corn as a viable crop, according to reports.
    Canadian planters sowed a record 121,400 hectares of corn in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2012, compared with an estimated 96.9 million acres sown in the U.S. Farmland values nationwide increased 27 percent from 2007 to 2011, to C$1,610 (US$1,616) per acre. U.S. farmland prices rose 19 percent in the same period, to $2,390 per acre. This new, expanded corn belt is turning Canadian farmland into a long-term investment play on global warming, said Tom Eisenhauer, president of Ottawa-based farmland investment firm Bonnefield Inc. “You can do a lot of different things here with a longer growing season,” he said.
    The growth in Canadian corn is also encouraging Cargill Inc. to invest in grain storage in Canada, according to CEO Gregory Page, and the prospect of new demand is pushing DuPont Pioneer, a seed division of DuPont, to improve its short-season crop varieties.

Auburn University $7.1 million poultry, animal nutrition center opens

    Auburn University’s $7.1 million Poultry and Animal Nutrition Center, a state-of-the-art academic and research feed production facility located on a 50-acre site north of the main campus, officially opened on November 16, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony led by university administrators and representatives of the poultry and feed mill industries.
    The feed mill has had strong industry support since plans began taking shape in early 2008, when a technical advisory committee that included poultry nutritionists and feed mill personnel was formed to provide input on the facility’s design and equipment. More than 40 corporations have donated to the facility, including $750,000 in equipment.
    Housed inside a 12,500-square-foot steel building, the new feed mill is comprised of nine prefabricated modules, each 40 feet long by 8 feet wide by 9 feet and 6 inches high. The modular design is “a small-scale adaptation of a commercial mega-facility” and is ideal for teaching, said Don Conner, head of the Department of Poultry Science at Auburn. “Students can come in here and stand in one place and see every step of the milling process and how all the pieces work together,” said Conner. “Students want and need hands-on, real-world experience, and they’re going to get that here.
    “One of our department’s key missions is to serve the industry, and producing outstanding employees is one of the ways we do that,” said Conner. “The experience students get working and learning at the feed mill will equip them with the knowledge and skills the industry is demanding.” The feed mill, in fact, will be operated primarily by students, as part of the poultry science curriculum.
    Research is where the new facility will be especially vital. Patterned after California Polytechnic State University’s Animal Nutrition Center, Auburn’s Poultry and Animal Nutrition Center is built to scale and is scalable by factors of five, 10, 12 and 15. That will allow research conducted at the feed mill to be translated for any size commercial feed mill. Auburn research will focus on getting as much nutritional value out of feed as possible, not only for poultry but other agriculturally important animals. And feed produced at the facility will be used as food for the university’s 20,000-bird research flock and livestock research animals. In addition to Auburn scientists, researchers from private corporations will be allowed to contract use of the feed mill for some projects.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Vion to sell UK food businesses

    Dutch food producer Vion NV will sell its UK businesses, including 38 different sites employing 38,000 people, according to Vion. The company has said it wants to focus on core markets in the Netherlands and Germany, as well as develop its global ingredients business.
    The units include poultry, pork and red meat businesses. "We have already started detailed discussions with a number of interested parties, including management, regarding the acquisition of the various parts of the UK business and these are progressing well," said Peter Barr, chairman of Vion UK. “The level of interest in the businesses has been strong and we hope to be in a position in the near future to give further details about the progress which has been made. The sale process will be completed in a smooth and orderly fashion to ensure business continuity for our employees, agricultural and other suppliers and our customers.” 

International Poultry Expo, University of Georgia partner on poultry education

    The International Poultry Expo, a component of the International Production & Processing Expo, is partnering with the University of Georgia to promote the International Poultry Short Course 2013 to be held February 1–5, 2013, in Athens, Ga. Registrants who sign up for the International Poultry Short Course will also receive registration to the 2013 International Poultry Expo, which will take place January 29–31, 2013, in Atlanta, Ga.
    The International Poultry Course is a 3.5-day conference created by the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia. It will cover a broad range of topics for individuals new to the poultry industry, as well as for experienced professionals. In addition to formal instruction, demonstrations in various areas of poultry science will be conducted at the university research facility in Athens. During this program, participants will have the opportunity to interact with experts in many areas. The course will be held in Athens immediately following the International Poultry Expo.
    Topics span from genetics and breeding to processing and food safety and will cover essentially all the important areas in between. This year’s program will focus on the challenges in producing and processing the modern broiler chicken.
    Registration for the course is $795 and includes all luncheons, dinners and basic materials for the course. Space is limited, and registration closes on January 18, 2013. 

Vitamin D essential for sow and piglet health, milk production

    The changing of seasons may result in seasonal Vitamin D deficiency in sows, according to research, which shows that supplementation of the “sunshine vitamin” becomes especially important in sow performance as the hours of natural sunlight dwindle into winter.
    According to Dennis Short, Ph.D., swine nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition LLC, Vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins in sow rations year-round. Though the typical requirement for this micronutrient is only 0.004 pound of a vitamin D 500,000 International Units (IU) per gram premix per ton of swine finishing feed, adequate levels are necessary to promote herd health. As natural sunlight becomes less prevalent, ration supplementation of Vitamin D becomes even more important.
    “From October through February, we don’t see as much Vitamin D available to the sow because of reduced photochemical conversion from the sun,” said Short. In addition, UVB (ultraviolet B, which converts 7-dehydrocholesterol in the animal’s skin to Vitamin D3) does not readily pass through glass for sows housed indoors even if windows are present.
    As a result, sows are more prone to Vitamin D deficiencies in the winter months. Without proper levels of Vitamin D, sows can experience osteomalacia, higher levels of lameness, decreased feed intake, reduced nutrient absorption and produce lower quality colostrum. Meanwhile, pigs raised by Vitamin D-deficient sows may have more significant levels of lameness and locomotive disorders and a greater potential for hypocalcemia, rickets and mortality.
    When it comes to locomotion issues, Short said he has seen numbers increase steadily within the industry. In fact, the Iowa State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory saw 10 cases of metabolic bone disease in 2003. The number grew to 40 in 2011. Mineral deficiencies may be a contributing factor to increased levels of sow lameness.
    “Many cases of metabolic bone disease are caused by low dietary mineral levels,” said Short. “To prevent metabolic bone disease, sows must be fed a mineral mix that provides the proper levels of calcium, phosphorous and Vitamin D.”
    Vitamin D is also a key driver of colostrum quality. Because pigs are born with relatively low levels of the vitamin, high quality colostrum produced by the sow can help the pigs better reach their full potential. “Colostrum is a fairly rich source of Vitamin D,” said Short. “When we have larger litters, each pig receives less colostrum and may experience lameness and/or health issues later in life. Supplementing sows with Vitamin D can improve nutrient levels provided to the pigs through colostrum and through lactation.”
    Many industry groups and researchers have recognized the need for additional attention to Vitamin D. The National Research Council of The National Academies recently increased their Vitamin D requirement fourfold for gestating and lactating sows to 800 international units per kilogram (IU/kg) (90 percent dry matter). When selecting vitamin and trace mineral supplementation, Short said he encourages producers to work with a nutritionist to create the proper combination and mixture of Vitamin D and other essential vitamins.

US broiler production forecast up for fourth quarter 2012

    U.S. broiler meat production is forecast at 9.05 billion pounds for the fourth quarter of 2012, 2 percent higher than 2011 numbers and slightly above previous estimates, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    The fourth-quarter production increase is expected to be driven by a higher number of birds slaughtered, since average live weights are not expected to be much different from 2011. Over the last several weeks, preliminary data have shown a higher overall number of broilers slaughtered. The estimate for production in first-quarter 2013 was also increased, by 30 million pounds to 9 billion pounds, but is still 1 percent lower than in first-quarter 2012.
    Broiler meat production in the third quarter of 2012 was 9.37 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the same period in 2011. The decrease was the result of a 1.9-percent decline in the number of birds slaughtered, to 2.15 billion, according to the USDA. This was slightly offset by a fractional increase of 0.1 percent in the average live weight at slaughter to 5.82 pounds, compared with the third quarter 2011.
    Broiler meat production in 2013 is forecast at 36.4 billion pounds, a decrease of 1 percent from 2012, but a slight increase from October's forecast. In 2013, the decline in broiler meat production is expected to come mainly from fewer birds being slaughtered, as the birds’ weights are expected to be close to or slightly higher than in 2012. Broiler integrators are expected to have a slight contraction in production due to the combination of continued high prices for corn and soybean meal and expected relatively modest growth in broiler prices.
    The most recent weekly broiler hatchery report indicates a strong divide between the number of chicks recently placed for growout and the level of chicks that may be available through the end of 2012. Over the last five weeks (October 6 through November 3), the number of chicks placed for growout averaged 154.4 million, 2 percent higher than in the same period in 2011. Over the last several months this five-week moving average has changed from being significantly lower than in 2011 to becoming higher. However, according to the USDA, recent changes in the number of eggs placed in incubators point to a future trend of chick placements being lower than year-earlier levels. Over the last five weeks, the number of eggs placed in incubators was 1 percent below the same period in 2011.
    For more information and statistics on U.S. poultry, see

UK pig producers support direct supply contracts

    International supermarket group Tesco’s planned Sustainable Farming Group for Pigs could mark a watershed in the fortunes of the British pig industry, according to the National Pig Association.
    “British pig keepers have been plagued by short-term supply chains and volatile costs, which have prevented them from investing for the future,” said general manager Dr. Zoe Davies. “The new direct supply contracts announced by Tesco recently should be available for around 140 pig keepers early next year, and in the NPA’s view could help transform British pig production.”
    The National Pig Association has worked closely with Tesco on the new supply contracts and sees them introducing an unprecedented level of transparency in the supply chain for high-welfare, independently audited British pork. It has commended the supermarket group’s vision in introducing radical new supply policies at a challenging time in the British High Street, and plans to continue working closely with the nation’s largest retailer on the initiative.
    The new whole-carcass supply group will be administered by a farmer-led committee which will review prices every month, taking into account the impact of feed costs on cost of production. “This transparency and the direct linking of pig price to increasingly volatile costs should bring benefits to the whole chain through fairer sharing of risk and reward,” said association Chairman Richard Longthorp.

Syngenta genetically modified corn showing rootworm vulnerability

    Syngenta AG's genetically modified Agrisure corn may have "cross resistance" with Monsanto's YieldGard corn, making the crop vulnerable to the same rootworm no longer killed by Monsanto's toxin, according to researchers.
    Cross-resistance may already be showing up in Nebraska cornfields, said Lance Meinke, an entomology professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Research there showed that rootworms have a low resistance to Monsanto corn, and Syngenta corn had similarly poor performance.
    “This has been the most difficult insect to control in the Corn Belt in my lifetime,” said Dirk Benson, Syngenta’s head of trait projects. “We are very concerned about trait performance.” In a recent study, rootworms known to be resistant to the incecticidal protein Cry3Bb1, similar to the mCry3a protein produced by Syngenta corn, survived feeding on Syngenta’s corn and caused root damage at higher-than-expected rates. But the study is preliminary and some of it doesn’t support the possibility of cross-resistance, said Benson. “They have an indication of concern,” said Benson. “More study is needed.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tyson Foods net income down for 2012

    Tyson Foods Inc. reported a net income of $576 million for 2012, down from 2011's $733 million, according to the company's latest financial report. Tyson's net income for the fourth quarter was up from 2011 numbers, however — $181 million compared to $95 million.
    "Our earnings for the fourth quarter and fiscal year indicate that Tyson Foods is rising above the noise of commodity markets to produce solid, more consistent results," said Donnie Smith, Tyson's president and CEO. "It has taken us several years and a lot of work to get to this point, and although there is much more to be done, I believe we have reached a new level of sustainable performance.
    "While fiscal 2012 wasn't a record EPS year, I think it was our best year — certainly our best effort to date," said Smith. "Our team members didn't make excuses; they made a difference, and they made money. This allowed us to buy back stock throughout the year, including $50 million in the fourth quarter, and to reinvest in our business at a record level while strengthening our balance sheet. Our strong balance sheet, liquidity position and a desire to return cash to shareholders led the board of directors to declare a special dividend and to increase the regular dividend by 25 percent. The board's action is reflective of our increased profitability and the investments we've made in the company.
    According to the company, fiscal 2013 is likely to be a challenging one. Current U.S. Department of Agriculture data shows U.S. chicken production will be down slightly in fiscal 2013. Due to the reduced crop supply, Tyson expects higher grain costs in fiscal 2013 compared to fiscal 2012 of approximately $600 million. However, the capital investment and significant operational, mix and pricing improvements the company has made in its chicken segment have better positioned it to adapt to rising grain prices, according to Tyson. For fiscal 2013, the company anticipates its chicken segment will remain profitable, but could be below the normalized range of 5 percent to 7 percent.
    "It's our job to accelerate growth by focusing on innovation, serving our customers and developing our team members, whatever the market conditions may be," said Smith. "While we're proud of what we've accomplished, we now have higher expectations, and maintaining the status quo is not an option. We will adapt, we will evolve and we will grow."

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Geothermal energy could lower turkey producers' heating, cooling costs

    Geothermal energy could reduce utilities costs for turkey producers, as well as being environmentally and economically friendly, according to Yun-Sheng Xu, a University of Missouri engineer.
    A prototype geothermal system is currently at work in a test facility, with positive results. “This is the first application of geothermal energy in a commercial livestock operation,” said Xu. “Our first set of performance data suggests that farmers could halve their heating and cooling costs. We have five units installed at the test farm. Other farmers could begin installing units on their turkey farms as soon as next year, for use next winter.”
    Heating and cooling is important in turkey operations because the temperature in their enclosure must be kept at 90 degrees Fahrenheit while the birds are young, but lowered to 70 degrees Fahrenheit for older birds. Propane fuel for temperature control units can cost farmers tens of thousands of dollars per year. Propane burners in livestock barns produce humidity and carbon dioxide, which can smother the birds. Humidity in the bird barns moistens the foul waste from the fowl and leads to ammonia contamination of the air the birds breathe.
    “Similar systems could be installed in other livestock operations,” said Xu. “It may work even better in a chicken coop, since they use solid walls as opposed to the curtains used to enclose turkey barns. Pig and cattle rearing facilities could benefit from the inexpensive hot water produced using a geothermal system. The system could even be scaled down to keep a doghouse comfortable in the backyard.”
    Once a geothermal unit is installed, the operation and maintenance are much lower than operating a fossil fuel powered system. Geothermal systems use the constant 55 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit of the soil a few feet beneath the surface to regulate the temperature of a liquid flowing through buried tubing. Xu said his design is cheaper to install than other geothermal units. In his system, the tubing is buried horizontally, as opposed to other systems that rely on vertically placed tubes, which require expensive deep digging.
    Using Xu’s system, a turkey farm can be both more economical and better for the environment than a farm run on fossil fuels, he said. Geothermal energy produces no greenhouse gases and isn’t dependent on wind or sunlight.

Turkeys safe from airborne transmission of mycoplasmosis

    Government and academic researchers at Mississippi State University have found that, even within a single tunnel-ventilated poultry house, the agent Mycoplasma gallisepticum was unable to be transmitted even a short distance down-airstream to spread infection.
    The research should help settle the worries of turkey producers in particular, who worry about the possibility of the airborne transmission of the common bacterial agent for infectious sinusitis to their flocks from nearby poultry operations. “Because turkeys are more susceptible to MG infection than chickens, this has led to some concern among turkey growers that their birds could become infected by strains of the disease that might be carried from broiler and layer farms in their vicinity,” said Dr. Joseph Purswell, the article’s lead author and a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service at Mississippi State. “Our work strongly suggests that this is a highly unlikely possibility.”
    The researchers’ objective was to compare transmission of uncharacterized layer complex-derived Mycoplasma gallisepticum strains with commercially available, live F-strain Mycoplasma gallisepticum vaccine among poultry species in tunnel-ventilated housing. At the end of the 106-day trial period, the researchers found that neither the commercial FMG vaccine strain nor the LCD-MG strains were transmitted beyond the pens containing the inoculated turkeys. According to Purswell, the results of the study “support the notion that the F strain of MG is no more transmissible than other endemic field strains of MG.”

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

EuroTier 2012 hits record attendance numbers

    With 2,445 exhibitors and around 160,000 visitors, including 38,000 international visitors, EuroTier 2012 reached new record levels, according to Dr. Reinhard Grandke, CEO of show organizer DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft – German Agricultural Society). The show ran November 13–16, in Hanover, Germany.
    "With this result EuroTier has impressively demonstrated its great pulling power for animal husbandry farmers and experts from all over the world, and further consolidated its leading position as the world’s top event for professional animal husbandry," said Grandke. The number of exhibitors at the 2012 show increased by 25 percent compared with 2010. Altogether, 2,445 direct exhibitors and 41 additionally represented firms from a total of 51 countries presented their goods and services. Around half of the exhibitors (1,151) came from outside Germany, representing a 40 percent increase over 2010.
    "EuroTier is more international than ever before," said DLG. "38,000 farmers, investors and expert visitors came to the Exhibition Grounds in Hanover to gather information. This corresponds to an increase of over 50 percent by comparison with the previous maximum level. The largest contingents of international visitors came from the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, France, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom. Nearly 3,000 investors and persons in charge of large-scale farms from Eastern Europe came to Hanover to see what is available on the market. The high numbers of visitors from the Near, Middle and Far East, as well as from Central and South America, also deserve mention. Over 7,000 visitors from these regions were registered." The numbers from Germany remained steady at 122,000.
    The programs at the show were well-attended, said show organizers. The technical program was of particular interest to attendees, and the international events for the dairy and pig farmers, as well as the International Poultry Day immediately preceding EuroTier, have become established highlights for farmers and related specialists from all over Europe. All in all, they attracted around 1,300 international experts. The "Young Farmers Day" brought over 5,000 young farmers and students from Germany and abroad attended the various events offered at EuroTier. BioEnergy Decentral reported a constant number of around 42,000 visitors, and the share of international visitors increased by twelve percent compared with 2010, said DLG.
    The next EuroTier, including BioEnergy Decentral, will be held in Hanover, Germany, November 11–14, 2014.

US poultry industry supports Russia trade bill passage

    The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012, which repeals legislation that creates challenges to the U.S. taking full advantage of Russia’s ascension to the World Trade Organization. The vote of 365 to 43 would establish permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with Russia if a similar bill is passed by the Senate and signed by the president, according to the U.S. poultry industry, which has said it supports the move.
    The National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and USA Poultry & Egg Export Council said they commend the House for their quick action in passing the legislation, and encourage the Senate to act similarly. “The U.S. poultry industry applauds the House of Representatives for an overwhelming, bipartisan vote to grant PNTR status to Russia, a move that will spur job creation, boost economic growth and be budget neutral at the same time,” said the groups. “We urge the Senate to follow suit after (U.S.) Thanksgiving and get a bill to the president’s desk by the end of the year.”
    Granting permanent normal trade relations to Russia will assure that the U.S. has 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 World Trade Organization, according to the groups. “Since Russia already officially entered into the WTO last summer, PNTR will ensure that poultry companies can take full advantage of new business opportunities, that Russia’s commitments in the WTO are enforced and that American businesses are on an equal playing field in the Russian market,” said the organizations.
    “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.”

China cultivates Z-type Beijing duck

    The Chinese Academy of Agriculture Sciences has successfully cultivated a Z-type Beijing duck that possesses a high feed-turnover efficiency rate, low skin fat, good meat quality (including low meat fat) and a strong immune system, according to reports.
    China is the world’s largest breeder of meat ducks; the stock of meat ducks in China was 1.525 billion in 2011, with 3.94 billion slaughtered, making up 80 percent of the global number of ducks sent to the slaughter. In addition, China’s duck market is significant; more than 3.5 billion ducks are consumed every year. However, because the local ducks are mostly high-fat type and have a low feed conversion ratio, none of them are suitable for processing food products. This causes many of China’s markets to turn to foreign companies for the fulfillment of their needs. For example, the British Cherry Valley Ducks Company produces 80 percent of ducks used in the Chinese market.
    According to researcher Shui-sheng Hou, the Z-type duck’s birth may allow Chinese companies to more effectively compete with their foreign counterparts.

Environmental Protection Agency denies ethanol waiver requests

    The Environmental Protection Agency has denied requests from some U.S. state governors and associations for a waiver of the current production requirements for corn-based ethanol, according to reports.
    Sources that requested the waiver said the 2012 U.S. drought made the Renewable Fuel Standard untenable. "The worst drought in half a century has made a bad situation worse," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown in October. "Record high and extremely volatile grain prices have been the norm since the introduction of the Renewable Fuel Standard and have greatly impacted our cost of production, severely harming our economic well-being."
    The National Corn Growers Association has said that it supports the Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to deny the Renewable Fuel Standard waiver request. "We believe Administrator [Lisa P.] Jackson appropriately recognized petitioners did not properly prove severe nationwide economic harm had occurred thereby creating no justification for a waiver of the RFS," said association President Pam Johnson. “The ethanol industry plays a pivotal role in job creation throughout the country, supporting over 400,000 jobs nationwide. This includes many in ethanol plants in rural America. The RFS advances the use of domestically produced renewable fuels, encourages new technologies and enhances U.S. energy independence.”
    A coalition of livestock, poultry and dairy organizations, however, expressed disappointment with the decision. “We are extremely frustrated and discouraged that the EPA chose to ignore the clear economic argument from tens of thousands of family farmers and livestock and poultry producers that the food-to-fuel policy is causing and will cause severe harm to regions in which those farmers and producers operate,” said the coalition. “How many more jobs and family farms have to be lost before we change this misguided policy and create a level playing field on the free market for the end users of corn? It is now abundantly clear that this law is broken, and we will explore remedies to fix it.”
    The American Feed Industry Association has also called for further action in the wake of the Environmental Protection Agency's denial of the waiver. “AFIA will call on Congress and the Administration to not let this issue be ignored," said President and CEO Joel G. Newman. "Congress must pass and implement an RFS temporary trigger mechanism based on the USDA-calculated corn stocks-to-use ratio. This solution is recommended in H.R. 3097, the Renewable Fuel Standard Flexibility Act, introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R, Va.) and Jim Costa (D, Calif.) with bipartisan support from more than 30 members of the House."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

USPOULTRY Foundation awards $24,910 grant to Texas A&M

    Texas A&M University's department of poultry science has received a $24,910 student recruiting grant from the USPOULTRY Foundation.
    “The generous support provided by the USPOULTRY Foundation enables the department of poultry science to recruit and retain exceptional students through programs and activities that are student focused, promote all facets of the poultry industry and provide learning opportunities over a broad spectrum of topics," said Dr. Jimmy Keeton, interim head of the department. "It is our goal to prepare students in such a manner that they not only succeed, but also become leaders in this global industry."
    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 turkey poults up in October

    U.S. turkey poults hatched during October totaled 23.3 million, up 4 percent from October 2011 numbers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Poults hatched were also up 9 percent from the September 2012 total of 21.4 million poults. The 22.7 million net poults placed during October were up 6 percent from the number placed during the same month in 2011, according to the report. Net placements were up 9 percent from the September total of 20.8 million.
    Turkey eggs in incubators on November 1 in the U.S. totaled 27.3 million, down 1 percent from November 1, 2011. Eggs in incubators were up 1 percent from the October 1 total of 27.0 million eggs, according to the USDA.
    For more U.S. poultry information and statistics, see

Oils in chickens' drinking water may reduce Salmonella contamination

    University of Georgia researchers have tested an essential-oil blend of thyme, eucalyptol and oregano that, when fed to chickens in their water source, may help prevent Salmonella contamination, according to their study.
    The product, Mix-Oil, is a highly concentrated blend developed by the Italian company Animal Wellness Products. Mix-Oil has been on the market since 2004 and is used for all animal species, including commercially raised fish. The University of Georgia study found the chickens fed Mix-Oil in their water had higher weight gains, lower feed conversion rates and lower mortality rates than chickens protected via the traditional methods. They also drank as much water as they did before the Mix-Oil regimen and more water than chickens that were given lactic acid to prevent Salmonella, according to the researchers.
    "Chickens consume less water when one of the organic acids, lactic acid, is used because they don't like the taste of it," said Walid Alali, a food safety scientist with the university's Center for Food Saferty. "It can also inflame the chicken's intestines and, over time, it can damage the farm's water pipes." He said that Mix-Oil reduced Salmonella contamination in the chickens just "as well as lactic acid, and it improved the performance of the chickens."
    Mix-Oil costs around $500 per 20,000-bird chicken flock to control Salmonella in chickens and improve performance. The researchers' next step will be to test Mix-Oil on a commercial poultry farm. "We have proven the concept," said Alali. "Now we have to take this to the commercial level and see how it performs on an actual farm. We are trying to control Salmonella in the poultry industry both at the pre-harvest level, on the farm and at the processing plants. This is what we call farm-to-fork control. The industry does its job, and grocers and consumers control what happens after that."

Poultry product innovation receives recognition at EuroTier

      Amongst winners for use in poultry production were: Aeroscalder from Marel Stork Processing, Galli-Luxmeter from Hato BV Lighting, Automatic Dung Belt Control from Big Dutchman International, and Anta Phyt BLT from Dr. Eckel.
    More than 300 submissions across sectors were made for this year’s EuroTier innovation awards, originating from 182 exhibitors from 23 countries — an all-time high for the event. The winning entries were judged by an independent panel, which awarded five gold medals and 19 silver medals. Among winners for use in poultry production were:
    • Gold. Aeroscalder, from Marel Stork Processing. The Aeroscalder bypasses the problem of high water and power use associated with traditional methods of scalding. The Aeroscalder passes water enriched with hot air at high speed over carcasses. This results in savings of up to 75 percent for water and 40 percent for power. The air/water mixture is generated directly next to the spray chamber so that the overall system requires less space than previous equipment and machinery. Scalding conditions are monitored by sensors, and as the carcasses have no direct contact each other via the water, cross contamination is eliminated.
    • Silver. Galli-Luxmeter, from Hato BV Lighting. Poultry’s vision is different to that of humans, notably perception of light intensity at various wavelengths. This is particularly important given the new light sources that are being adopted. Traditional bulbs have emitted light primarily in the red to infrared range; however, the main spectrum for new light sources is largely in the green to ultraviolet range. The setting and checking of light intensity in poultry houses using normal lux meters does not correspond to birds’ light sensitivity. The Galli-Luxmeter measures according to the sensitivity of poultry, contributing substantially to achieving the correct lighting in line with welfare requirements.
    • Silver. Automatic Dung Belt Control, Big Dutchman International. Dung belts run inconsistently when loaded unevenly, making correction of pre-tension necessary to stop the belts from tearing as a result of rubbing against the guides. In modern systems, belt repair or replacement is labor-intensive, and so in practice it is common to adjust them manually via a set screw when running is inconsistent. However, this is often forgotten, and the result is damage to the belt. Moreover, inconsistent running has tended to increase with newer ways of keeping layers, and so automatic correction via the dung belt control should help to keep this problem to a minimum.
    • Silver. Anta Phyt BLT, from Dr. Eckel, is a feed additive based on phytogenic substances and carriers with prebiotic action, which has been developed with scientific research. The product has been subjected to a rigorous licensing procedure and offers the promise of action against pathogens, so lessening the need for antibiotics. Not only does it improve animal health, but helps to protect the environment. Although developed for poultry, with modification, it can be used in other species.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Jules Tournut Probiotics Prize awarded at EuroTier 2012

    Peter de Schryver is this year’s recipient of the Jules Tournut Probiotics Prize. Awarded at the trade show EuroTier, the prize recognized his work in evaluating a new microbial-based approach to improve aquaculture practices.
    His study looked at applying poly-B-hydroxybutyrate, or PHB, as a feed supplement in aquaculture. At levels of 2 percent and 5 percent in the diet, PHB seemed to significantly enhance the growth performance of juvenile European sea bass with a factor of 2.4 and 2.7, respectively. The richness and genetic diversity of the intestinal microbial community in terms of the range-weighted richness seemed to be closely correlated with the growth performance of the fish, suggesting a host-microbial interaction that was steered by the presence of PHB.
    Supplementation with PHB had a steering effect in juvenile sea bass, resulting in converging microbial community similarities between treated fish. PHB induced more equal abundances between the various bacterial species, and higher PHB levels resulted in a higher degree of evenness.
    To increase the efficiency of PHB treatment, PHB depolymerising probiotics were isolated for the first time from the intestinal environment of juvenile sea bass, sturgeon and giant river prawns. These were combined with PHB in a symbiotic strategy. This approach increased the survival of Artemia franciscana nauplii with a factor of 2 to 3 when challenged with a pathogenic Vibrio strain, compared to an approach with PHB or the isolates alone.

Pig house of the future main attraction at EuroTier

      The Big Dutchman-designed concept details how pig farms could look and operate in the future.
    A new concept detailing how pig farms could look and operate in the future is attracting more than 20,000 visitors a day at the 2012 EuroTier livestock production show in Hanover, Germany.
    Designed and staged by Big Dutchman, the fully automated futuristic display includes a revolving system that checks if the sows are pregnant and separates those that are not, leading them directly to a special insemination area. There are also special waiting areas, meeting areas, farrowing pens, exercise areas and rearing-finishing areas in a system that is designed to meet future environmental and health regulations, as well as consumer demands for pig welfare.
    “The main idea behind this vision for the future is that the animals are free all the time from farrowing through to finishing, and it allows people to see how the animals are treated through all the production stages,” said Project Manager Daniel Holling. The concept includes a number of revolutionary ideas, some of which are already on their way to the market, some of which are still going through trials and even some that might never actually meet market requirements. Some of those ideas include a dry feeding system, an automatic manure scraper and special systems to collect a range of different statistics and other data.
    “We wanted to show people that Big Dutchman is thinking ahead and provide them with an idea of what the future might look like,” said Holling. He said that the system had already been through a series of promising practical trials on a small pig farm (with 60 sows) in north Germany, which showed that everything worked properly, although he said he expected it would be some time before it was all commercially available. “The ultimate goal is a professional and profitable pig management system, without restriction for the pigs,” he said. “We hope this pig house of the future will provide people with a practical basis for discussion and encourage producers to get more actively involved in the further development of livestock farming.”
    Holling said he was sure the company would get a lot of feedback from many of the people who had been through the huge, walk-in working display at EuroTier.

China feed output up 4 percent in 2011–2012

    The total feed output in China rose 4 percent year over year to 169 million tons, accounting for around 20 percent of the global total and ranking number one in the world, according to the latest report from Research and Markets.
    The output of pig feed topped the list at 62.1 million tons, up 4 percent year over year. The poultry feed output enjoyed the fastest growth, with output increasing 5 percent year over year to 49.8 million tons in 2011. The aquatic feed and ruminant feed saw low output, but aquatic feed witnessed larger growth space, said the report.
    Currently, China has around 13,000 feed companies, most small, and over 20 percent of medium-sized feed companies have been acquired by large players. The top 10 feed manufacturers such as CP Group, New Hope Group, Wens, Zhenghong and TRS Group together occupy more than 30 percent market share by sales. In recent years, given that the large companies continually increase their production capacity to expand the market, the concentration degree of the feed industry in China will be enhanced, as well, according to Research and Markets. For instance, New Hope Group brought Liuhe into the listed company through asset integration in November 2011. After the reorganization, Liuhe contributes feed capacity of 9.45 million tons to the Group.
    Additionally, Chinese enterprises are carrying out expansion in the overseas market. The third feed mill invested by Tongwei Co. Ltd. in Vietnam went into operation in June 2012. Haid Group, engaging in the production and sales of aquatic feed and aquaculture preparations, subscribed equities in Vietnam-based Panasia in December 2011, with shareholding ratio reaching 80 percent after the capital increase. New Hope Group plans to set up eight feed plants overseas annually after 2011, which will boast a capacity of 100,000–200,000 tons, and to double its overseas investment each year. Currently, 20 enterprises like New Hope, Tongwei Co. Ltd., Haid Group and Ningbo Tech-bank which have established plants in Vietnam make up 10 percent to 15 percent of the market share in the Vietnamese feed industry.