Monday, April 30, 2012

Burger King to source eggs from cage-free chickens by 2017

    Burger King has announced that it will source all its eggs and pig meat from cage-free chickens and pigs by 2017, a move that could open a significant new market for the egg and pig meat industries. Nine percent of the corporation's eggs and 20 percent of its pig meat are already cage-free.
    Burger King has been increasing its use of cage-free eggs and pig meat as the industry has become better able to meet demand, said Jonathan Fitzpatrick, chief brand and operations officer. He said the decision is part of the company's social responsibility policy. "We believe this decision will allow us to leverage our purchasing power to ensure the appropriate and proper treatment of animals by our vendors and suppliers," he said. The company uses hundreds of millions of eggs and tens of millions of pounds of pig meat annually.
    Wendy's and McDonald's have asked their pig meat suppliers to outline plans for the elimination of gestation crates without setting a timetable.

US hog slaughter up in 2011

    U.S. commercial hog slaughter totaled 110.9 million head in 2011, 1 percent higher than 2010 with 99.2 percent of the hogs slaughtered under federal inspection, according to data from the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
    The average live weight in 2011 was up 3 pounds from 2010 at 275 pounds. Total pig meat production for 2011 came in at 22.599 billion pounds, compared to 2010's 22.275 billion pounds. Barrows and gilts comprised 96.9 percent of the total federally inspected hog slaughter.
    Pig meat production in March 2012 totaled 1.99 billion pounds, down 3 percent from 2011 numbers, according to the USDA. Hog slaughter totaled 9.52 million head, down 4 percent from March 2011. The average live weight was up 1 pound from 2011 numbers, at 279 pounds.

New system diagnoses pig diseases quickly with oral fluids

    Large numbers of pigs could be screened more quickly and cost-effectively for a range of common diseases, such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV), swine influenza and porcine circovirus type 2 (PCV2), thanks to a new polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based test system developed in the U.S.
    The system uses samples of oral fluids which can be obtained by leaving a cotton rope in each pen for pigs to chew on. After 20 minutes or so, the rope can be retrieved and the saliva and gingival crevicular fluid squeezed into a sample bag, which then represents a pooled sample from the group. Studies have demonstrated that oral fluid samples collected in this way can form the basis of a quick and cost-effective method for screening a range of common viral pathogens.
    In several experiments, samples were tested using a commercially available sample preparation and real-time PCR test system which can isolate and identify viral nucleic acid in a matter of hours. For PRRS, pooled samples of oral fluids were collected from groups of experimentally infected pigs using the rope technique, along with serum samples from each individual pig on the same days. Both serum samples and oral fluids were processed using the same Applied Biosystems preparation system and real-time PCR test, both of which were supplied by Life Technologies. The results showed that PRRSV nucleic acid was detectable in both serum and oral fluid samples from the day of infection through to 40 days after infection.
    For PCV2, 24 pigs that were free of PRRSV and swine influenza were divided into four pens in separate rooms, and challenged with two different virus strains (PCV2a and PVC2b) at different times. One pen acted as a non-challenged control. Oral fluids were collected regularly up to 140 days after initial challenge and tested using real-time PCR. High titres of PCV2 were detected from day 12 to day 28 post-infection and virus was detectable throughout the entire testing period (days two to 98).
    For swine influenza, a total of 180 spiked oral fluid samples were tested using real-time PCR, and subtyping reagents were also used to identify haemagglutinin and neuraminidase subtypes. The results showed that swine influenza nucleic acid was detectable in oral fluid samples spiked with high, medium and low copy numbers of swine influenza, and all positive samples could be successfully sub-typed.
    "Collecting samples in this way is far less invasive for the pigs and so avoids unnecessary stress," said Christina Boss, European professional service veterinarian for Life Technologies. "And because all of the pigs will chew on the rope, it provides a very broad sample from the group, which is the key to assessing overall herd health. In addition, if the pooled sample provides a positive result, then the animals in that pen can be tested individually to identify those that are infected."
    Screening for PRRS using samples of oral fluids has been gaining popularity over recent years because large numbers of pigs can be tested without increased cost or labor. The new research is due to be presented as a poster at the 4th European Symposium of Porcine Health Management in Bruges, Belgium in April. 

EU 2013 sow stall ban already facing challenges

    EU plans for a partial ban on sow stalls that would go into effect on January 1, 2013, are already meeting challenges, with only 10 countries likely to be ready for the new rules and some not even able to provide statistics, according to the UK’s farm animal welfare body Compassion in World Farming.
    The new law will ban the use of sow stalls for the majority of a sow’s pregnancy. Compassion in World Farming said it understood that the UK is expected to be joined in being fully compliant by Sweden, Luxembourg, Lithuania, Ireland, Germany, Estonia, Denmark, The Czech Republic and Bulgaria. The other 17 member states are still in varying stages of readiness, with Poland among the worst in terms of the number of farms (2,029) expected to be non-compliant when the law goes into effect.
    “This should set alarm bells ringing at the [European] Commission and the 17 member states that are not going to comply with the ban," said Peter Stevenson, Compassion in World Farming chief policy advisor. "They need to get hold of the situation very quickly to stop this important step for animal welfare becoming a farce. It’s unacceptable for so many countries to be behind schedule when they have known for a long time that these rules would be coming into force on January 1. They need to take action now, both for the welfare of millions of pigs and to create a fairer market for UK farmers.”
    Stevenson said the Commission needs to make it very clear that there will be significant consequences if the non-compliant countries are still not in line by the time 2013 comes around.

US soybean industry highlights importance of Asia-Pacific trading relationship

    Paul Casper, president of the South Dakota Soybean Association, went before the Senate Finance Committee’s Subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness to highlight the importance of a strong and expanding relationship with trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region, and to advocate for the aggressive pursuit of market-opening initiatives within the area.
    Representing the S.D. Soybean Association and the American Soybean Association, Casper cited the growth and potential of the Asia-Pacific region, which represents close to 60 percent of world gross domestic product, nearly 50 percent of world trade, and is home to more than 2.7 billion people, as a major factor in expanded export opportunities for U.S. soybean producers. He mentioned the recently-implemented free trade agreement between the U.S. and South Korea as evidence of how expanding trade with Asia-Pacific partners benefits American producers. “Nearly two-thirds of U.S. agricultural exports to Korea are now duty-free, including U.S. soybeans for crushing and U.S. soybean meal,” said Casper. “Implementation of the agreement will also trigger the gradual elimination of tariffs on refined soybean oil over five years, and the elimination of tariffs on crude soybean oil over 10 years.
    Soybean farmers support Japan joining the negotiations, said Casper, pointing to increased export opportunities for U.S. dairy, pork, beef and poultry products, which require soybean meal as feed. 

Chipotle responds to FDA plan to reduce antibiotics in animals

    Chipotle Mexican Grill has applauded the Food and Drug Administration’s attention to the overuse of antibiotics in livestock farming, but the company also said there is more the agency and the industrial animal agriculture sector can do. While Chipotle sees the FDA’s voluntary plan as a good first step, the company said it believes more intervention is needed to stop the abuse of antibiotics in farming.
    “We are pleased that the FDA is paying attention to the overuse of antibiotics in farm animals, and are glad to see them taking this first step,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “But there are gaps in the program, particularly that it continues to allow antibiotic use for prevention of disease, and compliance is voluntary. While the FDA has a good track record using guidance to drive change, we hope they will monitor progress closely as producers could have stopped using antibiotics on their own at any time, but few have chosen to do so.”
    The FDA’s proposed plan asks, but does not require, chicken, beef and pork producers to reduce the quantities of antibiotics given to animals to promote growth, while allowing for continued antibiotic use for the treatment, prevention and control of illness. Under the plan, antibiotic use in feed would require a prescription. The FDA has said it hopes its plan will slow the indiscriminant use of antibiotics, which contributes to antibiotic resistance in humans.
    “We started serving meat from animals raised in a humane way and without the use of antibiotics because we believe animals should be raised in ways that emphasize good care rather than chemicals,” said Ells. “These voluntarily guidelines seem unlikely to cause producers to change the practices that necessitate dependence on drugs in the first place. It’s an important first step, but stronger action will be needed to bring about meaningful change in an industry where their practices are so well entrenched.” Under Chipotle’s program, antibiotics may only be used to treat sick animals, but those animals must then be removed from its program.
    “We certainly hope that the industry will follow the recommendations of the FDA’s guidance and see that food can be raised in ways that are better for the animals, the environment and human health,” said Ells. 

Vietnam spent $3.7 billion on animal feed imports in 2011

    Vietnam spent $3.7 billion in 2011 to import 8.9 million tons of materials used in animal feed production, accounting for 62 percent of the total materials used in the country's animal feed production center, according to Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Animal Feeds Association.
    The imports included 4.8 million tons of protein-rich materials like soy-beans and processed animal bone powder; and 3.8 million tons of materials that Le Ba Lich said can be produced or replaced by domestic products, including 870,000 tons of corn, 570,000 tons of rice ban and 2.3 million tons of wheat. Lack of planting land for animal feed farming, such as land for grass planting, land for breeding facilities or land for animal food processing plants, is considered to be the main reason for the high import value and volume of material for feed production.

Friday, April 27, 2012

South Africa corn prices may hit $340 in 2013

    South African corn prices may reach 2,646 rand (US$340) per ton in 2013, according to the agribusiness unit of bank Absa Group Ltd.
    Prices of agricultural land in the country are forecast to grow by 12 percent per year, said Ernst Janovsky, general manager of the agribusiness unit. White corn for July delivery declined 3.1 percent to 2,104 rand (US$270.78) at the April 17 midday close in Johannesburg. Yellow corn for July delivery was also down 3.1 percent at 2,045 rand (US$263.19).

US wheat, corn planting ahead of average on favorable weather

    Roughly 37 percent of the U.S. spring-wheat crop was seeded and 17 percent of the corn crop was planted as of April 15, both well ahead from the previous five-year averages of nine and five percent, respectively, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    Five percent of the spring-wheat crop was planted this time in 2011. The winter-wheat crop is in better condition than the same time in 2011, as above-normal rains in parts of the southern Great Plains and the Midwest during the past month improved yield potential, said Mike Tannura, president of T-Storm Weather LLC. An estimated 64 percent of the crop is in good or excellent condition, up from 61 percent during the second week of April, according to the USDA. During the same week in 2011, 36 percent had the top ratings. The U.S. winter-wheat crop was valued at $10.185 billion in 2011, or about 71 percent of the total wheat harvest.
    The most-active corn contract has dropped 5.7 percent in April on speculation that rapid U.S. planting will boost yields. Farmers are expected to increase corn sowing by 4.3 percent to 95.864 million acres, the most since 1937, said the USDA on March 30.

Iowa corn processor sued over air pollution

    Iowa corn processor Grain Processing Corp. is being sued by 11 residents of Muscatine, Iowa for air pollution. The class-action lawsuit claims, on behalf of 17,000 residents who live within three miles of the company's corn milling plant, that the plant spews harmful chemicals and particulate matter for miles as the wind blows, blanketing homes and cars with soot and causing metals in everything from swing sets to siding and air conditioning systems to corrode.
    Grain Processing announced in 2011 plans to spend $95 million building a grain dryer and upgrading its boilers to reduce emissions by 2015, predicting that "smoke, odor and haze issues that have concerned the Muscatine community will be nearly eliminated." But the plaintiffs say 2015 is too far away.
    "We think they can use existing technologies to make world-class products and pay good wages to workers without polluting the atmosphere and harming people," said Jim Larew, one of the lawyers who is representing local residents. In March, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation alleging the Grain Processing repeatedly violated the limits on the thickness of discharges at its smoke stacks and committed other violations.

Cattle prices drop on US mad-cow disease news

    Cattle futures for June delivery fell by the exchange limit of 3 cents, or 2.6 percent, to settle at $1.11575 a pound at 1 p.m. April 24 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange after news broke of a dairy cow infected with mad-cow disease in California. The price is the lowest level since July 1, 2011 and the biggest percentage drop on a most-active contract since May 23, 2011.
    “It’s all fear,” said Chad Henderson, a market analyst for Prime Agricultural Consultants Inc. “I don’t know if it’s going to affect beef demand much. The problem is the perception will run this market right now.” Prices fell 21 percent in December 2003, when the U.S. government confirmed a case of mad-cow disease had been found. U.S. beef shipments then dropped 82 percent to 460.3 million pounds in 2004 as importers shunned the meat.
    A chain reaction could affect grain prices, as well. Corn futures dropped 0.7 percent to close at $6.08 a bushel at 1:15 p.m. April 24 on the Chicago Board of Trade.

Mycotoxin report studies global prevalence, regional breakdown

    Biomin has released its report on global mycotoxin research for 2011, focusing on global prevalence with a region-by-region breakdown of the various mycotoxins most important to animal and agriculture production.
    Seventy-four percent of the analyzed samples show the presence of at least one mycotoxin. The presence of more than one mycotoxin in 41 percent of the samples raises the attention to the problem of synergistic effects caused by multiple mycotoxins in animal feeds, said Biomin in the company's report.
    The global occurrence of aflatoxins, zearalenone, deoxynivalenol, fumonisins and ochratoxin A were studied, with 4,327 samples taken from North and South America, Asia (South-East, South and North), Oceania and Europe (Northern, Central, Southern and Eastern) and the Middle East and Africa. Samples tested were diverse, according to Biomin, ranging from cereals such as corn, wheat, barley and rice to processing by-products such as soybean meal, corn gluten meal, dried distillers grains with solubles and other fodder such as straw, silage and finished feed.
    Deoxynivalenol was the most common mycotoxin found (59 percent tested positive). Second-most prevalent was fumonisins (51 percent), then zearalenone (40 percent), aflatoxins (27 percent) and ochratoxin A (27 percent).

Cherkizovo poultry sales volumes up 42 percent

    Cherkizovo Group's sales volumes in its poultry division for the first quarter of 2012 increased by 42 percent to approximately 75,860 metric tons of sellable weight, compared to approximately 53,570 metric tons for the first quarter of 2011, according to the company's latest report.
    The numbers reflect the contribution from the newly launched sites at Bryansk and sales by Mosselprom, acquired in May 2011. Prices for poultry decreased by 1 percent from $2.43 per kilogram in the first quarter of 2011 to $2.40 per kilogram in the first quarter of 2012, according to the company. Compared to the price in the fourth quarter of 2011 of $2.36, prices in the first quarter of 2012 were almost flat.
    Cherkizovo's pig meat division also saw an increase in sales volume, by 12 percent to approximately 22,660 metric tons of live weight, compared to approximately 20,220 metric tons in the first quarter of 2011. Prices for pig meat sales increased by 4 percent from $2.57 per kilogram of live weight in the first quarter of 2011 to $2.66 per kilogram of live weight in the first quarter of 2012. Compared to the price in the fourth quarter of 2011 of $2.66 per kilogram, the price in the first quarter of 2012 was flat, said the company.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

US turkey eggs, poults up in March

    U.S. turkey eggs in incubators on April 1 totaled 28.2 million, up 2 percent from April 1, 2011, according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, but down 3 percent from the March 1 total of 29 million eggs.
    Turkey poults hatched during March totaled 25.2 million, up 4 percent from March 2011 numbers. Poults hatched were up 9 percent from the February total of 23.2 million poults. The 24.8 million net poults placed during March were up 5 percent from the number placed during the same month in 2011 and up 9 percent from the February total of 22.9 million. These numbers show 2012 U.S. turkey production on track to beat 2011 production by 3.2 percent, according to the USDA.

EuroTier expands for 2012 show

    The international EuroTier exhibition is expanding for 2012, attracting more suppliers of machinery and equipment, farm inputs and animal breeding from home and abroad than ever before, according to event organizers DLG (Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft).
    The event, to be held in Hanover from November 13 through 16, has already booked 1,800 exhibitors from 46 countries, well above the comparable figures for the last event in 2010. EuroTier Project Manager Dr. Karl Schlösser said there could be as many as 2,200 businesses and organizations overall in Hanover this coming November.
    All sections of the exhibition will be represented, said Schlösser, including the pig and cattle sectors, as well as the poultry sector with the World Poultry Show. Stand bookings are up in all these areas, as well as in the cross-species sectors of climate control installations, feedstuffs, animal health and veterinary medicine, and other inputs. The level of exhibitor interest shown in bioenergy with the “BioEnergy Decentral” exhibition is also excellent, according to Schlösser.

Africa predicts poor spring rains

    Spring rains in the eastern Horn of Africa are projected to begin late and be substantially lower than normal, according to projections from the Famine Early Warning Sytems Network, which monitors high-risk areas of the developing world with the most food insecurity and identifies critical situations in which food aid will be needed.
    From March through May, the rains are expected to total only 60 to 85 percent of the average rainfall in the region, a significant deterioration compared to earlier forecasts, said the U.S. Geological Survey. Lower rain amounts would have significant impacts on crop production, rangeland regeneration for livestock and replenishment of water resources. “The concerning picture that emerged from [the warning system network] climate monitoring services was that despite the good rains of the past winter, the situation east Africa has deteriorated very rapidly, to a point that the water deficits and vegetation health looked as bad as this time last year,” said U.S. Geological Survey scientist Chris Funk, who led the research.
    The resulting strain on resources would put greater stress on the region, particularly Somalia which is still recovering from a 2011 famine, as well as Kenya and Ethiopia which also experienced a severe food crisis, said the U.S. Geological Survey. An increase in food insecurity and in the size of the food insecure population is likely.

UK poultry farmers, consumers recognizing Red Tractor quality mark

    Over six in 10 primary shoppers in the UK say they support the Red Tractor quality mark and are positively influenced by it when choosing which food they buy, according to a survey by YouGov. The number has increased by over 16 percent versus 2011, driving greater demand for the logo to be featured on front of food packs.
    Almost 95 percent of British poultry is produced to Red Tractor standards, which insist on recognized training for stockmen, twice-daily inspection, strict biosecurity and a host of other health, welfare and food safety requirements.
    The research also highlighted a significant increase in consumer understanding of the Red Tractor logo’s core values compared with 2011, with a third of primary shoppers referencing “food safety and traceability….knowing where your food has come from” as important to the logo, an increase of 13 percent.
    “We are really pleased with the findings from the YouGov research," said Richard Cattell, Red Tractor head of marketing. "The results demonstrate that Red Tractor is increasingly being recognized by consumers, with the majority of key shoppers understanding that Red Tractor stands for safe, quality food with a guarantee of origin. With support for the logo at just under two-thirds of UK shoppers, people are increasingly understanding that Red Tractor makes a difference.”

Sri Lanka chicken consumption to grow next five years

    Sri Lanka's per capita chicken consumption is expected to increase to 8 kilograms within the next five years, in line with the increase of purchasing power of the citizens, according to poultry producer Ceylon Grain Elevators.
    According to the company's annual report, Sri Lanka currently consumes 5.7 kilograms of chicken and 54 eggs per person. “We expect this increasing trend to continue in the coming years on par with increasing purchasing power enjoyed in Sri Lanka,” said Cheng Chih Kwong primus, chairman and CEO of Ceylon.

US broiler meat, turkey exports up in February

    U.S. broiler shipments were up from 514 million pounds in February 2011 to 636 million pounds in February 2012, a 24 percent increase, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.
    This increase was primarily due to strong demand for U.S. broiler meat in spite of relative high broiler leg-quarter prices, said the USDA. In February, broiler leg-quarter prices were up 41 percent from February 2011. Although on average broiler leg-quarter prices are higher than they were in 2011, shipments to Mexico, Canada, Cuba, Russia, Angola and United Arab Emirates are all up from last February. Of the six markets, shipments to Mexico far exceed volumes shipped to other markets.
    Turkey shipments also rose in February, up 17 percent from the same time in 2011. A total of 62 million pounds of turkey meat were shipped in February, almost 9 million pounds more than the volume shipped in 2011. Mexico received 36.5 million pounds of turkey meat from the U.S., which accounted for over 59 percent of total U.S. turkey shipments in February. Turkey shipments to Canada and Hong Kong also were up from 2011 numbers, according to the USDA. In February, the U.S. shipped 2.5 million pounds of turkey meat to Canada and 2.2 million pounds to Hong Kong, a 153 percent and a 44 percent increase, respectively, from 2011.
    For more information and statistics on U.S. poultry, see  

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

UK consumer survey details bacterial contamination on supermarket chicken

    The UK’s consumer association, Which?, has carried out an investigation into bacterial contamination of whole chickens and chickens portions. Of the 192 samples tested from nine supermarkets, 18 percent were contaminated with Campylobacter, 17 percent were contaminated with Listeria and 1.5 percent also tested positive for Salmonella.
    In advising consumers, Which? has recommended that consumers cook chicken thoroughly, and make sure that it is properly wrapped and stored at a cold enough temperature. The association also notes that it is important not to wash raw chicken, as this could splash bacteria onto the sink, worktops or nearby dishes.
    “While the situation is improving, it is still unacceptable that one in five chickens we tested were found to be contaminated with Campylobacter," said Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director. "We want to see the risk of contamination minimized at every stage of production, because for far too long consumers have been expected to clean up the mistakes made earlier in the supply chain.”
    The British Poultry Council noted the Which? report which makes clear that chicken is a safe and healthy product when properly cooked. "This new survey shows a big reduction in Campylobacter presence on chicken, demonstrating the effectiveness of the biosecurity measures being taken by producers and processors against this naturally occurring bacteria which is present in all live animals," said Peter Bradnock, chief executive of the British Poultry Council. “The British poultry industry is committed to working with consumer groups, government and retailers to ensure chicken is safe and healthy.”

Russia poultry output up 19 percent in March

    Russia's poultry production grew 19 percent over 2011 numbers in March, reaching 291,000 metric tons, according to the country's Federal State Statistics Service Rosstat.
    This continues a trend from February, when numbers increased 25 percent and reached 268,000 metric tons. Production of poultry and cattle in live weight, which includes meat, bones and byproducts, increased 8.2 percent to 900,000 metric tons.
    Russia's pig meat production also increased over 2011 numbers, rising 16 percent to 72,600 metric tons. Production of all meats and byproducts, excluding poultry, gained 11 percent to 102,500 metric tons, according to Rosstat. The hog count rose 1.3 percent to 18.1 million.

Bangladesh raises concerns over India egg imports, avian influenza

    Bangladesh's poultry industry has raised concerns over egg imports from India, a bird flu-affected country, saying that such imports from a country not free from bird flu widen the risk of the spread of avian influenza locally.
    In November 2011, Bangladesh's commerce ministry allowed Dhaka-based Faria Enterprise Ltd. to import 10 million hatching eggs from India. In October 2010, the ministry allowed the same company to import 10 million day-old chicks from India and other countries with a deadline of June 2011, but recently extended that deadline to June 2012. "Being a bird flu-affected country, we cannot export our poultry products," said Moshiur Rahman, convener of Bangladesh Poultry Industries Coordination Committee. "On the other hand, we are importing poultry products from another bird flu-affected country."
    The industry isn't against poultry imports, according to Rahman, but given the current troubles in Bangladesh with avian influenza, imports should come from places without bird flu troubles of their own — not, for example, the border areas of India, where exports to Bangladesh likely come from, and where avian influenza is a high risk. The country is currently importing half the supply needed to satisfy the local daily demand of 35 million eggs due to challenges caused by bird flu.

US table egg production estimated up for 2012

    The number of hens in the U.S. table egg flock was reported at 285 million in February, 1 percent higher than in February 2011, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
    With this increase in hens and the additional day due to Leap Year, table egg production rose to 521 million dozen in February, an increase of 3.8 percent from 2011 numbers. Table egg production is expected to continue higher through March and is forecast at 1.65 billion dozen for the first quarter, a 0.7 percent increase from 2011. Table egg production in 2012 is expected to be slightly higher than in 2011 through the first three quarters but then to be slightly lower in the fourth quarter. The forecast total for 2012, at 6.62 billion dozen, is 0.4 percent higher than in 2011.
    Hatching egg production is also forecast lower (1.05 billion dozen), down 1.8 percent from 2011 numbers. In February, the number of hens in the broiler hatching flock totaled 50.6 million, down 8.1 percent from February 2011. On a year-over-year basis, the number of hens in the broiler hatching flock has been lower for the last 13 consecutive months. However, even with the large decline in the number of hens, the number of broiler-type eggs produced in February was down only 1 percent from 2011. This is partially due to the extra day in February 2012 (Leap Year). However, another source of the increase was that the number of eggs produced per 100 hens in the broiler hatching flock was 15 percent higher than in 2011.
    In February, egg and egg product exports totaled 19.8 million dozen, down 9 percent from the same time in 2011. Almost all the decrease can be attributed to a very sharp decline in egg shipments to Korea. Shipments to Korea were especially strong in 2011 as pork supplies were lower due to disease problems. In February exports to Korea were down 3.9 million dozen from 2011 numbers, a decline of 92 percent. The lower shipments to Korea were almost totally due to falling exports of eggs products. The declines in egg product exports to Korea more than offset larger exports to Canada, Japan, Hong Kong and Mexico. These countries are normally the top four markets for U.S. egg exports.
    For more egg information and statistics, see  

Women leaders in agriculture aim to empower female veterans

    With the help of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, Annie’s Project and Oxfam America, the Farmer Veteran Coalition is hosting the “Empowering Women Veterans: Success in Agriculture Business and Well-Being” conference, aiming to bring women veterans together in an environment specifically designed to address their unique experiences and needs in agriculture.
    The conference, being held in Davis, Calif. on July 7–8, will be the first of its kind, and women leaders in business and agriculture will speak to participants about the challenges faced by women, the tools to mitigate risk in their agricultural ventures and available programs to help women farmers succeed. Educational topics will include the RMA five areas of risk(production, price (market), financial, legal and personal); business structure and farm contracts; an introduction to Quicken Software (with free software); loans, debt and credit; direct marketing; and farm labor. Most importantly, the event will be a gathering point for women veterans from across the county with the potential to build community and relationships among many who are isolated on rural farms.
    “This conference will raise awareness of the attendees’ national and local benefits and resources, and will address their needs both as veterans and as farmers," said Tia Christopher, Farmer Veteran Coalition fellowship fund director. "These powerful women will have a chance to learn about and take with them valuable resources which will support and ease their transition into civilian careers.”

USDA extends public comment period for poultry slaughter proposal

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced an extension to the public comment period for their proposed rule to modernize the U.S. poultry slaughter inspection system.
    The new plan, which the USDA says would provide the government with the opportunity to protect consumers from unsafe food more effectively, has caused some concern among those who think it might negatively affect health and safety of the American public. "We recognize that this proposal would represent a significant change from the current system and has sparked a debate on how poultry is inspected," said Dr. Elisabeth Hagen, under secretary for food safety. "We also value the different opinions being expressed about the proposal and have extended the public comment period to ensure all sides are presented in this debate."
    The increased emphasis on food safety tasks proposed under the rule is consistent with the agency’s focus on foodborne illness prevention, said Hagen. Instead of focusing on quality assurance, inspectors will be able to ensure plants are maintaining sanitary conditions and that food safety hazards are being reduced throughout the entire production process. "Over the years we have seen — again and again — the need to modernize to keep pace with the latest science and threats," she said. "This poultry slaughter modernization proposal is about protecting public health, plain and simple, and I encourage stakeholders and the public to read the proposal and then let us know what you think."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Chr. Hansen posts €30 million profit for second quarter 2011/2012

    Chr. Hansen posted €30.4 million (US$39.8 million) in net profit in the company's second quarter ending February 29, an increase from the €24.5 million (US$32.1 million) earned in the second quarter of the 2010/2011 fiscal year, according to Chr. Hansen's latest financial report.
    The company saw organic growth in both its cultures and enzymes division (9 percent) and its health and nutrition division (11 percent) in the second quarter, but saw a drop in its natural colors division (3 percent). Revenue growth was greatest in South America, at 21 percent organic growth, while North America saw 14 percent growth; Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East and Africa saw 4 percent growth; and Europe remained fairly flat at 1 percent growth in the second quarter.
    For the first half of the fiscal year, Chr. Hansen posted a net profit of €57 million (US$74.8 million) compared to 2010/2011's €48 million (US$63 million). "Based on the solid performance in the first half we have narrowed our organic growth target from 7–10 percent to 8–10 percent (excluding carmine price effect)," said CEO Lars Frederiksen. "The organic growth target including carmine price effect has been adjusted from 5–8 percent to 5–7 percent to reflect lower raw material prices for carmine. The profitability is still expected to improve compared to last year."

US turkey production revised up for 2012

    U.S. turkey meat production is estimated at 6 billion pounds in 2012, up 3.2 percent from 2011 and 60 million pounds higher than the previous forecast, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture numbers.
    The forecasts for turkey meat production in the first, second and fourth quarters of 2012 were all increased slightly. The 2012 increase in turkey meat production is expected to come chiefly from a higher number of birds slaughtered, as only a slight increase in average weights is expected. Over the first two months of 2012, turkey meat production totaled 943 million pounds, up 5 percent from the same period in 2011. During January and February, the number of turkeys slaughtered rose by 4.4 percent over the same period in 2011, and average live bird weights were 30.9 pounds, 0.6 percent higher.
    At the end of February, cold storage holdings of turkey products totaled 350 million pounds, 21 percent higher than the same time in 2011. On a year-over-year basis, turkey stocks were lower than the previous year throughout 2010 and the first five months of 2011, but have been higher in eight of the last nine months. At the end of February there were increases in cold storage holdings for all of the turkey stocks categories.
    Cold storage holdings of whole birds of 141 million pounds (40 percent of total turkey stocks) were 16 percent higher than in 2011. Stocks of turkey legs increased the most on a percentage basis, rising to 21 million pounds, 62 percent larger than 2011 numbers. Cold storage holdings of turkey meat are expected to remain higher than year-earlier quantities throughout 2012, even with relatively strong exports and higher domestic consumption, due to strong prices for many other competing meats.

EU pig production may drop after 2013 sow stall ban

    Pig production in the EU could fall by between 5 percent and 10 percent after the sow stall ban goes into effect on January 1, 2013, according to a report released by the British Pig Exchange.
    Fewer than half of EU member states are expected to be fully compliant with the directive, and there are reports of "significant numbers" of producers set to quit the industry because they will be unable or unwilling to comply with the new ban. As a result, said the report, processors and retailers may face substantial price increases. “The latest information confirms that there are many producers who still won’t have complied with the rules by the end of the year, while others will have stopped breeding altogether," said Stephen Howarth, senior analyst for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board. “Historically, even small changes in pig production have led to significant shifts in price. With production likely to fall by 5 percent or more, prices could be at least 10 percent higher, possibly more.”
    The British Pig Exchange said it's imperative for retailers and processors to ensure contract arrangements that guarantee the supply of pig meat under terms that allow sensible business decisions to be made and for everyone in the supply chain to work towards a sustainable, profitable sector. “Getting this right will demonstrate the integrity of the EU Commission and member states in enforcing legislation that they have agreed, it will demonstrate the integrity of the whole supply chain that it will protect pig welfare and above all it will benefit consumers through the continued supply of high welfare, high quality pork and pork products," said British Pig Exchange Chairman Stewart Houston.

National Chicken Council: poultry inspection system will protect public

    Proposed changes to the current U.S. poultry inspection system by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will better protect the public from foodborne illnesses by reducing reliance on old-fashioned visual and sensory inspection and moving to prevention-oriented inspection systems based on actual risk to consumers, according to the National Chicken Council. The council released a statement in response to a report by ABC News on April 18 that expressed concerns over the changes.
    Studies by the National Academy of Sciences, the General Accounting Office and the USDA have established the need to modernize the poultry inspection program, and the proposed rule does that, said the council. As part of the changes:
    • The USDA will remain in its oversight role and USDA inspectors will still be in every plant, looking at each chicken carcass to ensure the safety of chicken products and providing them with the USDA seal of approval for wholesomeness.
    • Some USDA inspectors will be repositioned on inspection lines to play a greater role in the prevention of foodborne pathogens on chicken carcasses. These efforts will help better ensure that the vigorous testing and other protocols that companies have in place are working properly to prevent bacterial contamination.
    "It is the goal and primary focus of the chicken industry and the USDA alike to provide consumers with safe, high quality and wholesome chicken," said Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., National Chicken Council vice president of science and technology. "This proposed rule does not change that goal." The council plans to provide detailed comments to the USDA regarding the proposed rule, outlining concerns and seeking clarification in some areas.

US pig breeding inventory, litter rate up first quarter 2012

    The March 1 U.S. inventory of breeding pigs came in at 5.82 million head, 0.55 percent greater than 2011 numbers and the fifth consecutive quarterly increase since March 2011, according to the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    The modest size of the increase may suggest the extent to which expansion optimism in the sector continues to be tempered by risks surrounding feed costs and prices, said the USDA. The report also showed that breeding herd productivity continues to climb. The litter rate for the December 2011–February 2012 quarter was measured at 9.97 pigs per litter, an increase of 1.73 percent over the same period in 2011. Although a bit smaller than the 2011/2010 increase (1.98 percent), the steady string of consecutive litter rate increases since 2003 suggest that producer adoption of innovations in genetics and nutrition, together with enhanced management skills in animal care, can boost hog sector productivity, according to the USDA.
    The data is forecasting a 2.1 percent increase in commercial pig meat production for the second half of 2012. Part of this change in expected production is premised on assumptions of the higher second-half dressed weights that forecast lower feed costs will likely bring about. Total commercial pig meat production for 2012 is expected to be 23.3 billion pounds, an increase of 2.2 percent above 2011.

Ukraine to export more poultry meat to Jordan

    The Ukrainian poultry industry is among the beneficiaries of a number of new trade agreements between the Ukrainian and Jordanian governments.
    The agreements will see increased bilateral cooperation in the agricultural sector. In particular, Jordan has agreed to increase imports of Ukrainian poultry meat and byproducts, and the two countries are to work more closely on research into avian and other animal diseases. As part of the cooperation, new elevator facilities will be built in Jordan, helping to increase the supply of grain to the country and its neighbors, according to reports.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Vaccinating all pigs against porcine circovirus could have benefits

    Veterinarians and producers in the pig industry should consider vaccinating the whole herd for porcine circovirus type 2, PCV2, not just piglets, according to Merial Animal Health’s Veterinary Adviser Brian Rice.
    Research was conducted in France on two groups of gilts — 165 that were not vaccinated against PCV2 and 165 that were vaccinated with Circovac1 — and a number of key measurements demonstrated the benefits of PCV2 vaccination. Return to oestrus was nearly three times as likely among the non-vaccinated gilts compared to the vaccinated ones, at 5.1 percent versus 1.8 percent. Abortions were reduced by roughly half among the vaccinated gilts, at 3.6 percent compared to 7.3 percent, and the percentage farrowing was nearly 7 percent higher among vaccinated gilts (90.5 percent against 83.9 percent).
    “For sows, as well as gilts, PCV2 vaccination has a number of clear economic benefits," said Rice. "Piglets born from vaccinated sows have a higher birthweight and continue to grow quicker, resulting in fewer days to slaughter. Vaccinated sows also have a better reproductive performance. Research carried out in the UK showed that vaccinated sows produced almost one extra piglet per litter. In light of all the current evidence, vets and producers need to consider a strategy for PCV2 vaccination which takes into account the whole herd, including sows and gilts, not just piglets."

Maryland may be first state to ban arsenic in chicken feed

    Maryland is set to become the first U.S. state to ban the use of additives containing arsenic in chicken feed, joining Canada and the EU who already prohibit the practice, according to reports.
    Maryland's House of Delegates and Senate approved the legislation at the beginning of April and placed it before Governor Martin O'Malley on April 9. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration tested 100 chickens by giving them feed containing the additive roxarsone, an arsenic-based drug used to fight animal parasites. Half the chickens later showed trace amounts of inorganic arsenic in their livers. Arsenic is a known carcinogen, and the finding prompted Pfizer to suspend sales of roxarsone. Perdue Farms stopped using the additive years ago, and McDonald's does not allow its suppliers to use it.
    Maryland Delegate Charles J. Otto, who opposes the legislation, said that arsenic occurs naturally and shows up in extremely low amounts in chickens. "It's not an environmental threat or human health threat," said Otto.

US increases soy export forecast

    The U.S. has raised its soy export forecast to 1.29 billion bushels in the 2011–2012 marketing year, a 15-million-bushel increase from its March forecast of 1.275 billion bushels, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
    The new numbers will decrease year-end soybean stocks to 250 million bushels. The larger forecast for U.S. exports partly offsets reduced export prospects for South America resulting from drought-reduced soybean crops, said the USDA in its monthly report. Forecasts for production and exports from both Brazil and Argentina were reduced. Brazil is now expected to produce 66 million metric tons of soybeans, down from March's 68.5-million-metric-ton prediction, and the country's exports have dropped to 35.7 million metric tons from a predicted 36.9 million metric tons.

Russia may export record wheat, corn, legumes in 2011-2012

    Russia may set a record for wheat, corn and legume exports in the 2011–2012 marketing year ending June 30, according to the Institute for Agricultural Markets.
    The previous record for wheat shipments was 18.1 million metric tons, set in 2009–2010, but projections expect the current year to see 20 million metric tons of wheat leave the country. Corn exports have reached 1.2 million metric tons in the current season, only 100,000 metric tons short of the previous record, set in 2008–2009. Exports of legumes reached an all-time high of 600,000 metric tons, according to the institute. Total exports for 2011–2012 are expected to reach 26 million metric tons.
    Carryover-stocks of wheat may reach as much as 11.5 million metric tons by the time the new season starts on July 1, which may allow Russia to export 17 million to 18 million metric tons next season, provided weather conditions let farmers reap a similar crop to the 2011–2012 harvest. Total grains exports in 2012–2013 are seen at between 21 million and 22 million metric tons, according to the institute.

Spain egg processors warn of shortages

    Spain’s egg processing industry is warning that the sector is dealing with a shortage of eggs, but has said members of industry association Inovo are doing all they can to ensure they supply clients with products made using eggs that comply with current rules.
    Inovo said that the Welfare of Laying Hens Directive has resulted in a scarcity of eggs and that processors are facing a shortage of raw materials. The association has expressed its concern at the current situation, and argues it could disrupt the proper functioning of the wider food market. “The members of Inovo are doing all that they can to respond to the needs of their clients as quickly as possible, with egg products that are made using eggs that meet the quality standards of the European Union’s production model," said Oscar Hernandez, president of Inovo.
    Spain has some 57 companies registered as egg processors, with annual production standing at 110,000 tons of liquid product and 5,500 tons of cooked and powdered eggs.

China feed crop set at 227.5 million tons through 2020

    To meet the demand of grain consumption, China will ensure that grain for food and feed use will not fall below 257.5 million tons and 200 million tons, respectively, through 2015, according to China's Development Plan for Grain Processing Industry (2011-2020). Through 2020, the figures will not below 252.5 million tons and 227.5 million tons, respectively.
    Goals set in the Plan for China's grain processing industry in next ten years include that the total value of output should reach RMB 3.9 trillion through 2015, and RMB 6.9 trillion through 2020.

Friday, April 20, 2012

China feed production up 30 percent in January, February

    Output of China's feed companies reached 13.88 million tons in January and 14.6 million tons in February, totaling 28.48 million tons, up 30 percent from same time in 2011, according to China's National Bureau of Statistics.
    At the beginning of 2012, China's poultry and livestock production increased from 2011 numbers, particularly pig production, which was up 5.5 percent. These numbers, in turn, led to the increase of feed output. Another reason for the increase in feed production was significant growth in complete feed production. With this sector gaining more market share than concentrated feed, the product structure of industrial feed changed, which required more feed to be produced.
    Large-scale feed companies continue to expand and feed prices are increasing, both of which contribute to the increase of companies' sales.

Non-agriculture capital entering China pig industry

    Both foreign non-agriculture companies, such as Goldman Sachs, and local large-scale companies, such as and textile manufacturer Dymatic Corp., are investing in China pig production, according to reports.
    The companies are taking advantage of the high profit the industry has brought in recent years, as well as the gradual exit of China's backyard pig farming and small-scale pig farms. But in spite of the capital advantage non-agriculture enterprises may have, they are still challenged by farming land availability and environmental protection issues. They have to face higher disease and market risk, as well.
    China's pig industry, say experts, stands to benefit from this trend in that its scale and the level of machination and automation will be improved.

Canadian Swine Breeders' Association announces 2011 purebred registrations

    The official results for all Canada 2011 purebred swine registrations were announced at the Canadian Swine Breeders' Association's Annual Meeting in Toronto on March 26, 2012.
    Genesus registered the greatest number of swine, with 15,471 boars and 45,379 gilts of Yorkshire, Landrace and Duroc. The full results announced are:

    Genetic Company Males Females Total
    Apple Valley Farm
    Bloomsbury Farm Ltd.
    Bodmin Ltd.
    Design Swine Genetics
    Fast Pigs Inc.
    Fermes Jacques Oullet Inc.
    Genesus Inc.
    JSR Genetics Ltd.

US-Colombia free trade agreement to boost soybean exports

    The American Soybean Association has praised the upcoming implementation of the U.S.–Colombia free trade agreement, which will provide a boost for U.S. soybean exports and other American agricultural products to Central and South America’s third-largest economy.
    The agreement, which goes into effect on May 15, is a significant opportunity for soybean farmers, as it will expand a valuable export market for the industry's products, said American Soybean Association First Vice President Danny Murphy. “We are making steady progress toward regaining lost market share in Colombia, and this agreement will markedly advance that progress."
    As part of the agreement, more than half of all U.S. farm exports to Colombia — including soybeans and soybean meal and flour — will become duty-free, with virtually all of the remaining tariffs to be eliminated over the next 15 years. The agreement also provides duty-free tariff rate quotas on soybean oil, as well as livestock and dairy exports that utilize soybean inputs.
    Soybeans and soybean products are the largest U.S. agricultural export commodity, totaling nearly 1.5 billion bushels in 2011, with a value of more than $22 billion. In 2011, the U.S. exported more than $182 million in soybeans and soybean products to Colombia, as part of $832 million in agricultural products. The International Trade Commission estimates that the agreement will expand overall exports to Colombia by more than $1.1 billion and support thousands of additional American jobs. 

Irish company first to export horse feed to China

    Irish animal feed company Connolly's Red Mills has become the first to gain a license to export horse feed to mainland China, according to reports. The deal, which is potentially worth several million euro, gives first mover advantage to the company.
    "We embarked on the Chinese registration process in 2007 and are delighted to see it come to fruition today," said Connolly's Red Mills managing director Joe Connolly. "Although the Chinese horse market is still emerging, there is considerable potential and advantage for us by being first past the post." The company is already established in six Asian markets, including Japan. China is its 37th export market globally.

Butterball donates 6,400 pounds turkey to No Kid Hungry campaign

    Butterball LLC recently joined The Poultry Federation, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance and the Arkansas Foodbank to donate 6,427 pounds of turkey products to support the No Kid Hungry Arkansas Campaign.
    The campaign, which was launched in 2010 through the efforts of Share Our Strength, the alliance and the state of Arkansas, serves as a national effort to end childhood hunger in America by 2015 by connecting families facing hunger with programs that can help them. “We are so grateful for this generous donation of food which helps the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance in its mission ‘... to reduce hunger through a unified effort to provide hunger relief, education and advocacy,” said Joyce Hardy, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance-No Kid Hungry Arkansas director.
    This latest donation adds to the nearly 300,000 pounds of turkey products Butterball donated to charitable organizations in 2011. “We have seen firsthand that charitable organizations across the country are struggling to feed and house a growing number of people in need,” said Rod Brenneman, president and CEO of Butterball. “Butterball is committed to partnering with charitable groups throughout its plant communities to help provide hunger relief and support the local community as we strive to serve as a strong corporate citizen.”

Thursday, April 19, 2012

European organizations launch online transportation safety database

    Belgium's OVOCOM, The Netherlands' GMP+ International, France's Qualimat and Germany's QS have introduced the International Database Transport for Feed, an online database that facilitates the determination of the minimum cleaning regimen required for transportation vehicles based on their cargo.
    The four companies, which together make up the International Committee for Road Transport, wanted to create a database that would allow transporters to determine the correct combination of transported product and necessary cleaning method to avoid contamination. The database currently has 3,300 products, of which 2,200 are additives, and is available in four languages: English, French, Dutch and German.

Groups claim that new poultry inspections process will negatively impact health, safety

    Consumer watchdogs and federal food inspectors represented by the American Federation of Government Employees plan to deliver more than 150,000 petitions to the U.S. Department of Agriculture opposing proposed changes to the poultry inspections process that they say will impact the health and safety of the American public.
    The groups will gather outside the USDA headquarters at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, April 20, to hand-deliver the petitions, which denounce a regulation proposed by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service that would partially privatize the poultry inspections process and increase the number of birds federal inspectors must examine. "Budget cuts are driving the USDA to take this drastic step, which would reduce our highly trained teams of federal food safety inspectors to a skeleton crew who would have to review three birds every second — a humanly impossible task," said American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage. "This is a recipe for putting diseased chickens right on our kitchen tables, and we are urging the USDA to reconsider this foolish and dangerous proposal."
    The Poultry Science Association has said that it supports the inspection system updates, saying that while details still need to be worked out, technology has allowed for the inspection process to become more efficient, science-based and consumer-safety oriented.
    More information on the petitions is available at

Philippines suspends Taiwan poultry imports on bird flu concerns

    The Philippines has suspended imports of Taiwanese poultry and related products due to recent reports of highly pathogenic avian influenza on at least one chicken farm in Taiwan, according to the Philippines' Department of Agriculture.
    The most recent outbreak was reported on a farm in Liujia, Tainan. The Philippines is one of only a few Asian countries that are avian-flu free, according to Department of Agriculture officials, and they hope to use that status to expand the country's poultry commercial opportunities.

Liberian poultry hatchery, feed mill receives financing from Chevron

    Oil drilling company Chevron and not-for-profit development organization BRAC-Liberia have signed an agreement to contribute US$375,000 to a poultry hatchery and feed mill project that, when developed, will address the growing demand for eggs on the Liberian market by the public and create job opportunities for poultry and livestock farmers, according to reports.
    BRAC-Liberia livestock manager, Dr. Mahmud Hossain, said that Liberia has a lack of poultry feed and day-old chicks in its industry, and that developing a hatchery and feed mill in the country is essential. The project is beneficial in terms of job creation and capacity-building for Liberian employees at the facility level, such as hatchery supervisor, farm supervisor and technicians, as well as opportunities offered for BRAC-supported community livestock and poultry promoters, who are micro-entrepreneurs spreading livestock and poultry-related messages among others. Hossain said special awareness will be created and community residents will be mobilized, informed on income-generating activities, as well as support for rearers through a supply of chicks, feed, medicine and vaccines.
    After receiving training about commercial poultry rearing, farmers will be able to rear commercial layer birds. The 1,000 parent stock from the project are expected to produce about 225,000 hatchable eggs per year, with 50 percent to be commercial layer hens, according to BRAC-Liberia. The hatchery and feed mill should be fully self-sustaining in three years, according to plan estimates.

Argentina drought leads to 40 percent crop losses

    The six-week drought in December 2011 and January 2012 that hit Argentina's crop fields led to losses of up to 40 percent in some areas, according to the country's government.
    In key corn-growing area Bragado, Buenos Aires province, early-planted fields are being harvested with yields coming in at 2,000 to 5,000 kilos per hectare, said Argentina's weekly crop report. Nearly half of Bragado's 2011–2012 corn has been collected at an average yield of 4,500 kilo per hectare. Some early-planted corn fields in Rio Cuarto, Cordoba province, are so thin that farmers have decided not to harvest them. The province's late-planted corn is developing normally, except in western Rio Cuarto, which was affected by frost in early April.
    The current total 2011–2012 corn crop estimate is at 20.8 million metric tons, according to the Buenos Aires Grains Exchange. connects buyers, sellers of bulk feed ingredients

    A new website,, is designed to connect buyers and sellers of bulk feed ingredients quickly and easily, simplifying a process that creator Ryan Cooney said normally involves multiple phone calls, emails and negotiations to complete.
    The free service allows users to see the prices and availability of more than 50 bulk feed ingredients such as fats and oils, animal proteins, grain byproducts and minerals. Anyone who buys or sells bulk feed ingredients, or is involved in the feed industry, can use the site to stay current on bulk feed ingredient costs and make purchasing decisions. “Feedpail helps meet customers’ demands, but it can also open up new customers and markets for buyers and sellers, expanding the network for both groups,” said Cooney.
    Once an account is set up, sellers post available tons and buyers have the option to buy outright or bid on the tons. Users can search by feed ingredient and geography to find prices and availability. Once a quantity and price are agreed to, the contact information of the buyer and seller is shared so they can complete the transaction. All sales are kept confidential and are subject to each party’s terms, conditions and policies. Feedpail has also developed an email newsletter to distribute regular updates on bulk feed ingredient prices.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Aviagen leases poultry research facilities in Netherlands

    Aviagen has entered into a long-term lease of the research facilities of the applied poultry research institute Spelderholt, based in Lelystad, The Netherlands.
    The facilities at Spelderholt, owned and previously run by Wageningen UR Livestock Research, are said to be unrivalled for both broiler and breeder research. The addition of a hatchery will make this a self-contained, fully comprehensive facility covering all aspects of breeder, incubation and commercial broiler research. “This expansion of our global R&D facilities highlights our commitment to providing the best possible products and services to our customers and allows us to address important topics relevant to the international poultry sector and other stakeholders in society,” said an Aviagen spokesman. 

South Korea opens market for Philippines chicken

    South Korea has opened its market for frozen chicken parts from triple-A slaughterhouses in the Philippines after an inspection team certified Manila's compliance with international quarantine standards, according to reports.
    The Philippines, one of the few countries in Asia with no reported incidents of avian influenza, has been taking advantage of that status to seek out new markets for its poultry products. South Korea is considered as large as the Japanese market, which already uses the Philippines for poultry products following the inundation of the avian influenza virus in former top exporter Thailand

Demand for dark poultry meat on the rise in US

    Demand for dark poultry meat is on the rise in the U.S., increasing prices for the product and helping the industry recover from a 2011 slump, according to reports.
    Sales are rising from a combination of rising U.S. immigrant populations, industry innovation that makes it easier for producers to supply boneless dark meat to satisfy domestic consumer demand, and growing exports to foreign markets that favor chicken on the bone. Boneless, skinless thigh meat ten years ago sold for just over half the price of boneless, skinless breasts, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. But since the middle of 2011, prices for both cuts have been holding around $1.30 per pound. The price for chicken legs has doubled over the last decade, to more than 75 cents per pound, while prices for breast meat have fallen, said the USDA.
    "Our percent of dark meat sold domestically has improved dramatically," said Tyson CEO Donnie Smith. The company is responding by increasing purchases from outside suppliers. Pilgrim's Corp. is using Brazil-based conglomerate JBS SA to expand exports of dark meat and whole birds to Asia and the Middle East, and has dedicated one of its U.S. processing plants to filling export orders.

Uzbekistan pays public sector with chickens to boost production

    Uzbekistan has implemented an initiative that distributes Serbian chickens to public sector workers as part of their paychecks in an effort to boost the domestic production of poultry and eggs.
    More than 20,000 of the chicks, which are worth about 5,500 soms (US$3), have already been distributed to public sector workers in the Central Asian country's Vobkent district, in the Bukhara region, and an additional 40,000 will be handed out in the coming months. Workers get ten chicks each under the initiative.
    While the government says the program is voluntary, some workers said they received the birds whether they wanted to or not; a problem for those living in apartment complexes. The government said it is considering expanding the program to other districts, and is also thinking about a cattle-for-cash program.

Nutreco issues 'Sustainability Vision 2020'

    Global animal nutrition and fish feed company Nutreco has issued its Sustainability Vision 2020, which will help the company ensure that it can contribute to the Feeding the Future challenge: feeding nine billion people sustainably in 2050.
    The Sustainability Vision 2020 will be executed during the coming eight years, according to the company. With it, Nutreco also aims to raise sustainability along the value chains in which it operates. The vision is organized into four areas: ingredients (creating a sustainable base for feed), operations (ensuring the company is in order), nutritional solutions (enabling the farmer and animal to perform best) and commitment (involving people in the Feeding the Future challenge).
    A copy of Nutreco's Sustainability Vision 2020 can be downloaded from

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Egypt reports fifth bird flu death in 2012

    A Giza governorate has become the fifth bird flu death in Egypt in 2012, according to the World Health Organization.
    The 26-year-old woman developed symptoms of H5N1 on April 1 and was admitted to the hospital on April 7, dying on the same day, according to reports. She had exposure to backyard poultry.
    Egypt is second in the world in bird flu cases, after Indonesia, and third in the world in H5N1 deaths, well behind Indonesia and just one case behind Vietnam. So far in 2012, Egypt has had the most bird flu cases, with nine.

Brazil pig meat exports continue higher in March

    The volume of pig meat exported by Brazil in March rose by 6.93 percent, while the value of exports was 3.02 percent higher in comparison to March of 2011, according to data released by the country's pig meat and producers association, Abipecs.
    Over the first quarter of 2012, exports rose 3.45 percent by volume and 0.73 percent in value. In March alone, the country exported 47,367 tons, with a value of US$121.01 million. From January to March, figures stand at 122,249 tons and US$313.36 million.
    Hong Kong remains the principal destination for Brazilian pig meat exports, accounting for 30 percent of exports so far in 2012. Ukraine has been the second most important market, followed by Russia, Angola and Singapore. “While Russia may have resumed purchasing from four Brazilian facilities, the country is still performing poorly as an export market," said Pedro de Camargo Neto, president of Abipecs.

India egg prices decreased to raise consumption

    India's National Egg Coordination Committee in the Namakkal zone has effected a 15-paise cut in egg prices, from the already decreased April 2–6 price of Rs 2.30 (US$0.04) per egg, to encourage domestic consumption and to normalize an overflow of stock resulting from an Oman-imposed ban on the import of poultry products from the country.
    Oman imports one-third of India's poultry exports, and the industry has resorted to price slashing to avoid building up inventories over the summer. Namakkal accounts for nearly 95 percent of India's egg exports. A drop in egg prices is not entirely unexpected approaching the summer months, as an increase in temperature usually results in decreased consumption in the country, according to P. Selvaraj, chairman of the National Egg Coordination Committee.

FDA finalizes plan for limiting antibiotics in animal feed

    The Food and Drug Administration has finalized a plan for asking drug companies to voluntarily limit the use of certain antibiotics in animal feed, in the wake of a U.S. federal judge's decision that their overuse is endangering human health by promoting the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.
    The FDA is asking drugmakers to stop using 200 products for growth promotion and instead use them just to treat and prevent diseases. Companies that opt to do so will be required to revise their product labels to reflect the change, and once the antibiotics are relabeled they will no longer be available to farmers over the counter. “It is critical that we take action to protect public health,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “The new strategy will ensure farmers and veterinarians can care for animals while ensuring the medicines people need remain safe and effective. We are also reaching out to animal producers who operate on a smaller scale or in remote locations to help ensure the drugs they need to protect the health of their animals are still available.”
    The FDA has issued three documents to help veterinarians, farmers and animals producers use medically important antibiotics judiciously in food-producing animals by targeting their use to only address diseases and health problems:
    • A final guidance for industry, The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals, that recommends phasing out the agricultural production use of medically important drugs and phasing in veterinary oversight of therapeutic uses of these drugs.
    • A draft guidance, open for public comment, which will assist drug companies in voluntarily removing production uses of antibiotics from their FDA-approved product labels; adding, where appropriate, scientifically-supported disease prevention, control, and treatment uses; and changing the marketing status to include veterinary oversight.
    • A draft proposed Veterinary Feed Directive regulation, open for public comment, that outlines ways that veterinarians can authorize the use of certain animal drugs in feed, which is important to make the needed veterinary oversight feasible and efficient.
    The industry is now turning its attention to the details of how the plan will be put in place, particularly to the role veterinarians will play.

EU allows 5 percent non-organic protein in organic poultry feed

    The EU has published a new regulation that gives producers of monogastric animals, such as poultry, a 5 percent allowance of non-organic protein in their organic feed until the end of 2014.
    There had been concerns that original proposals for a 100 percent organic diet beginning January 1 would leave producers short of the raw ingredients needed to meet the nutritional requirements their birds would need, according to the UK's National Farmers Union, which lobbied for the regulation change. “I am pleased that the EU has come to a decision that gives organic poultry producers the scope to continue with high levels of nutrition that provide birds with good welfare," said Martin Humphrey, NFU organic poultry representative. “In addition, we are able to continue to access the necessary ingredients required to ensure that the bird meets all their requirements."
    Another change to the regulation involves the requirement that producers will now be required to source a percentage of feed on a regional basis. Twenty percent of monogastric feed must be "produced in the same region in cooperation with other organic farms or feed business operators," and 60 percent of feed for herbivores must be sourced from either on-farm or from the region.