Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Vice president of Diamond V to chair FAO Feed Consortium Steering Committee

    Mike Goble, vice president and chief operating officer of Diamond V, has been selected to chair the Feed Consortium Steering Committee of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.
    Mike Goble, vice president and chief operating officer of Diamond V, has been selected to chair the Feed Consortium Steering Committee of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).  Diamond V is the world's leading supplier of nutritional fermentation products used to optimize digestive function and nutrition key to animal and aqua health.
    During Goble's upcoming, 18-month chairmanship, he will be primarily focused on support of the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP) project. The international initiative represents a collaboration between the FAO and the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF). Other private sector participants include the International Dairy Federation (IDF), the International Egg Commission (IEC), the International Poultry Council (IPC) and the International Meat Secretariat (IMS).
    The overarching goal of LEAP is to contribute to improved environmental performance of the livestock sector while considering social and economic viability. The partnership will contribute to the achievement of this goal as it supports decision making by providing guidance on environmental assessments and their application. LEAP promotes an exchange of data and information, technical expertise and research geared toward harmonizing the way in which livestock food chains are assessed and monitored globally in an effort to provide sustainable feed to support sustainable food.
    "Mike brings extensive global industry experience to this position," said Joel G. Newman, president and CEO of the American Feed Industry Association. "He oversees the EU, China and Asia business units of Diamond V and their research and new product development functions, as well as provides overall operation leadership for Diamond V. I am confident that his diverse experience and his vision for the future of our global industry will be an asset in his leadership role of the Consortium."
    "We are proud to have Mike chair the FAO Feed Consortium Steering Committee," said John Bloomhall, President and CEO of Diamond V.  "Mike epitomizes the spirit and leadership that has established Diamond V as the trusted experts in nutrition and health.
    "Mike plays an integral role in helping Diamond V connect its unique competencies in microbial-based fermentation technologies with our specie-specific expertise and world-class research to create profitable solutions for customers worldwide. He has also helped us develop our human business segment which focuses fermentation technologies on supporting human health."

Changes in the sales organization of Haarslev Industries

    Henning Haugaard, left, and Tony Johnson are assuming new roles within the sales organization of Haarslev Industries.
    At the end of January 2014, Tissa Fernando will end his long career with Flo-Dry and Haarslev Industries. Fernando started his career at the New Zealand Meat Research Institute "MIRINZ," where he was responsible for leading major projects in the rendering area. This led to the invention of the Low Temperature Rendering Process (MLTR) and the development of the process within the processing industry. In 1983, he founded Flo-Dry, where he developed the Flo-Dry Rotary Dryer.
    Fernando has also led the development of Flo-Dry's involvement into the sludge drying area being involved in the process design and trial work. He has formed a number of alliances throughout the world to promote the company's entry into the worldwide sludge drying market before merging the company into Haarslev Industries in 2011.
    Fernando is a well-known worldwide icon within the by-product industry, and his involvement has produced some significant developments within the meat industry in Australia and New Zealand as well as in India.
    Henning Haugaard new general manager for Haarslev Industries, New Zealand
    In January 2014, Henning Haugaard will relocate to New Zealand to succeed Tissa Fernando as General Manager for Haarslev Industries in New Zealand. Haugaard graduated as a mechanical engineer and started his career in Haarslev in 1988. Haugaard has worked in the rendering industry throughout his entire career including a period with the Danish rendering company Daka before he returned to Haarslev Industries in 2000, first as sales manager and from 2006 as sales director. Haugaard has played a crucial role in Haarslev Industries' success and will use his experience and great interpersonal skills to strengthen Haarslev Industries' position on the markets in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.
    "I look forward to help developing the company's market presence in Australia and New Zealand" said Haugaard. "In particular, we will focus on developing a local service and spare part distribution center".
    Tony Johnson new sales manager for Haarslev Industries, Denmark
    In December 2013, Tony Johnson will join the Haarslev Industries sales and management team. Johnson will take up the position as sales director in Denmark succeeding Henning Haugaard, who has held the position since 2006. Tony Johnson comes from a position as general manager of business development and marketing with Milmeq in Brisbane, Australia. Milmeq custom designs, engineers and manufactures systems for primary food processing, materials handling and chilling and freezing within the protein industry. Systems are developed, designed and delivered for primary food industries, including red meat, poultry, dairy, seafood and horticulture.
    Before joining Milmeq in 2002, Johnson spent 16 years with different companies in the food and protein industry in New Zealand, Australia and China.

Novus prepares presentations for 2014 IPPE

    Novus is moving forward with its "Understanding the Connections" theme, and will be presenting at the 2014 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), scheduled for January 28-30 in Atlanta. The Novus program at IPPE focuses on understanding the connections and issues facing the animal agriculture industry, such as food safety, meat quality, tissue and bone integrity, as well as egg shell strength and the impact these issues have on the end consumer.
    Furthermore, Novus researchers and experts will be showcasing the power and importance of poultry nutrition and its impact on the entire value chain through a series of posters and abstracts presentations during the International Poultry Scientific Forum.
    In addition to these events, Novus executives and experts will be available on-site and will be eager to discuss the importance of animal nutrition in the food supply chain.

Beware of cold temperatures affecting feed intake and layer performance

    With cold weather conditions threatening to inhibit the ability of free range hens to self-regulate their body temperature, nutritional experts at ABN warn that feed programs may need to be revised to take into consideration the hen's additional energy requirement in winter.
    Within the hen's thermoneutral zone - approximately 20C to 25C, which can vary depending on several factors such as bodyweight - hens are able to maintain a constant body temperature with the help of physical heat regulation, comments Lucy Gallant, ABNs' poultry technical specialist.
    "The energy required by the hen for maintenance is provided in the feed and in colder temperatures, the hen will need to find extra energy to stay warm by dipping into the energy from their feed that's needed for production, which can cause feed intake to rise," said Gallant.
    Gallant warns that in colder weather feed intake per hen can go up by as much as 1.0 to 1.1 grams per degree Celsius change in temperature, which has associated cost implications. "And this comes with no added returns or improvements in performance; just a bigger feed bill," Gallant said.
    The energy within the hens' diet is used across a variety of activities, encompassing maintenance and the hens' ability to regulate their temperature, and other key factors, such as growth and egg production.
    Gallant notes that when something challenges this status quo such as a drop in temperature, the birds' natural reaction is to prioritise for maintenance and reduce the amount of energy going into growth and egg production.
    "This is why it is so important farmers work with their advisors to ensure birds are fed the correct specification ration," she said. "By feeding the right spec ration to suit the hens' energy requirements, any drop in performance can be avoided.
    "It's important to consider the time of year and at what stage in the flocks' production cycle they are at when selecting a ration."
    John Round, ABN's poultry nutritionist notes that a comprehensive range of layer rations are supplied by ABN with this in mind to be able to suit birds at all stages of lay.
    "There are six different specifications varying from the top spec ration, down to the base ration. As the specification of the rations increases so too do the protein and energy levels," he said
    The rations are designed to have optimum levels of digestible amino acids, such as digestible methionine, which is a key amino acid in layer feed. High levels of metabolizable energy are also included, with the aim of supporting a high level of egg production with low feed intake and high feed efficiency.
    "Across the range of layer rations these vital components are the variables that determine the nutrient specifications of the diets," he concluded.
    Gallant goes on to add why it is also essential to consider the life of the flock. "In early lay, high feed energy levels are vital to ensure peak productivity is reached as the flock is coming into production whilst also continuing to grow.
    "This is a demanding time and if colder temperatures are also causing a drain on energy levels, it is more important than ever to ensure the birds are being fed the correct ration to meet their requirements," she said.
    Monitoring the hens' performance and the bigger production picture is central to successful management, she advised. "Farmers should be regularly recording and monitoring performance indicators such as egg production, egg weight, liveability, bird uniformity, body weight and feed intake.
    "A weekly analysis of these indicators will enable benchmarking, and thus help farmers and their technical advisors determine the correct ration specification needed to meet their requirements at any particular time in the production cycle," she added. "We have access to a range of tools and services to enable us to help our customers monitor and analyze hen performance and financial returns."
    Gallant concluded that if the basics are done well, it will go a long way towards managing free range layers performance, even during periods of cold weather when there is an increased strain on the energy provided through the feed. "High energy diets should be considered to counteract this effect."

First poultry course at new CPF Sikhiu learning center in Thailand

Foster Farms recognized for environmental stewardship

    Poultry producer Foster Farms was one of 45 agricultural operations in California recognized by the American Farmland Trust in a report called Profiles in Stewardship. The group, headquartered in Washington D.C., highlighted Foster Farms and others for their efforts to protect animals and the environment.
    Foster Farms, based in Livingston, Calif., was cited for having its chicken barns certified by the American Humane Association and sending its waste to be turned into energy by the East Bay Municipal Utilities District.
    "The conservation practices highlighted in the Profiles conserve water, reduce greenhouse gases, improve air and water quality, restore wildlife habitat, generate renewable energy and achieve other environmental benefits," said Edward Thompson Jr., state director for the group, told the Modesto Bee.
    Funding for the report was provided by the Adams Legacy Foundation.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Early indications show swine influenza, PRRS cases on the rise in UK

    The UK's Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratory Agency (AHVLA) has reported early indications show an upward trend in swine influenza and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus (PRRS). The agency noted there are more diagnostic submissions to investigate PRRS since the end of summer 2013.
    PRRS survival is favored in cooler conditions. The survival of the PRRS virus on contaminated vehicles and pig accommodations is also more likely as effective cleaning, disinfection and drying of surfaces are harder to achieve in wet or cool conditions. Maintaining ideal ventilation and temperatures in pig buildings is also challenging as the weather becomes colder, especially when day and night temperatures fluctuate widely and these factors can also predispose to respiratory disease outbreaks. Where respiratory disease or increased mortality or poor growth is seen, it is worth discussing whether to submit pigs or plucks to an AHVLA post-mortem facility to investigate the causes and assist in making decisions on disease control measures and treatment.
    Outbreaks of swine influenza are traditionally associated with autumn and winter months and this is attributed to the climatic conditions favoring survival of the virus and promoting transmission. If swine influenza infection is suspected, free testing for the virus is available through AHVLA.

Immunological castration shown to reduce stress in pigs

    A recent study published in the Journal of Animal Science suggests immunologically castrated pigs are less susceptible to stress than physically castrated pigs.  This became evident as the immunologically castrated pigs were less vocal when workers entered their pens than pigs that were physically castrated.  Dr. Kimberly Guay, who co-authored the study, said high levels of vocalization in hogs are an accepted indicator of elevated stress.
    Immunologically castrated pigs also showed more interest in their handlers. "They spent more time interacting with the humans - licking their boots, less shying away, and approaching handlers more quickly," said Guay. "They were certainly less shy."
    The amount of time spent on pig-human contact did not differ between immunologically castrated pigs and physically castrated pigs, but the behavior of immunologically castrated pigs was more intense.  "That could indicate that they were less stressed about being handled," said Guay.
    During transport to market, no immunologically castrated pigs were found "dead or down."  Among the pigs that were physically castrated, the dead and down rate was about 1 percent.

CDC updates figures, citing 416 Salmonella cases linked to Foster Farms

    The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on December 19 released an updated report, stating 416 persons were infected with seven outbreak strains of Salmonella Heidelberg. The cases of Salmonella Heidelberg were linked in October to three Foster Farms poultry plants in California.
    The illnesses were reported from 23 states and Puerto Rico, but 74 percent of those people infected were in California, according to the CDC. Additionally, the CDC reported 39 percent of those who became ill were hospitalized, but there were no fatalities.
    The connection between Foster Farms and Salmonella outbreaks initially came to light on October 7, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a public health alert for raw chicken packaged the three Foster Farms' facilities in California. At the time, 278 people had fallen ill due to Salmonella.
    Foster Farms did not issue a recall of its products from those three facilities. However, several grocery chains -- including Kroger and Costco -- did. FSIS later reviewed Foster Farms' food safety controls, and found them to be adequate.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Gemperle Farms makes holiday egg donation

    Gemperle Farms -- known for practicing stewardship with an emphasis on selfless giving -- is donating 30,000 eggs for local Christmas baskets to help the needy.
    "At Gemperle Farms, our foundation is based on coming together as a community and helping those in need," said Gemperle Family Farms President Steve Gemperle. "These are challenging times with a difficult economy and increased food costs; we feel it's our duty to take care of our own."
    Philanthropy is at the heart of the Gemperle Enterprises. California's Central Valley suffers from one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. Keeping with the belief that the holiday season is about helping those in need, Gemperle Family Farms' employees and families are also assisting with filling the Turlock Together Food Baskets.
    The Gemperle family believes in supporting the local community throughout the year. Gemperle Family Farms donates over half a million eggs to free lunch programs, food banks, and a variety of service organizations to ensure individuals have healthy eggs in their diets.

Russian pig producer leading the way alongside JSR Genetics

    Russia's largest pork producer, ABH Miratorg, is helping to boost its country's thriving pig production industry by working alongside JSR Genetics, utilizing its expert genetics services.
    Owned by Viktor and Alexander Linnik, ABH Miratorg has 25 farms across Russia housing around 125,000 sows, as well as its own slaughter facilities and feedstuff production. The business also has three boar studs, which are designed to keep 700 boars at a time, and are independent of the pig farms. These provide the sow farms with semen from the boar line according to the breeding programs.
    In 2010, JSR started working with ABH Miratorg to audit their genetic programs. Following a large-scale expansion -- which saw the construction of 12 new automated pig farms -- a restructure of the ABH Miratorg breeding program was needed to provide a more sustainable design, as some aspects of the pig production pyramid were no longer appropriate for the size of the Miratorg production business. This was due to the increased number of farms, subsequent demands for replacement stock and supply from the studs that was needed to drive forward Miratorg's pig production business.
    As part of the audit, JSR proposed making some changes to the design of the pyramid, including the installation of a nucleus genetic improvement program, which would also assist with sustainable growth going forward. This was done instead of expanding using suboptimal animals in some areas of the production pyramid, which had supported the growth of the business in previous years.
    At the top of ABH Miratorg's genetic production pyramid is now a nucleus for 680 Danish Yorkshire maternal-line sows. The nucleus goal is to supply high-quality purebred Danish Yorkshire gilts to 10 sow farms and purebred Danish Yorkshire boars to sustain the nucleus breeding program.
    Dr. Grant Walling, director of science and technology at JSR Genetics, is responsible for the contract with Miratorg.
    "Following the findings of the audit we worked closely with the production team at ABH Miratorg to optimize the design of the breeding program. This meant establishing a dedicated nucleus production to deliver genetic progress and a supply of grandparental animals to the other farms," said Walling.
    "JSR advised on the design and overall structure of the nucleus and the source populations and after working with the Miratorg team we now provide software, technical input and advice on the running of a genetic improvement program on the nucleus."
    ABH Miratorg sought advice from JSR to improve boar stud operations and semen processing, pig production and installed JSR Select - a custom-designed software management program and database - which solves more than 4.75 million equations per week, to help improve performance and efficiency for its users.
    More recently, a team from ABH Miratorg visited JSR's headquarters in East Yorkshire and various farms across the UK, to learn more about genetic programs and the running of a terminal sire line nucleus, as well as meat science and meat-eating quality.
    "As we were planning to build a new sire line nucleus, we thought it would be beneficial to pay a visit to JSR to see how they run their sire line nucleus genetic improvement program, as well as taking the opportunity to visit the main boar stud and visit a commercial farm seeing pigs right through to slaughter weights," explained Andrey Pavlov, chief geneticist at ABH Miratorg.
    "We found there were opportunities to improve our semen quality assessment, and it was interesting to see products made from premium-class pork, using JSR's Hampshire boars, at their in-house Food Quality Centre."
    In 2012, Miratorg sold 281,000 metric tons of live weight and increased its market share to 11.4 percent, making ABH Miratorg the largest pork-producing agroholding in the country. This is a 65 percent increase on 2011's figures, which saw 170,000 metric tons of live weight sold, and a significant rise since 2010, when 138,000 metric tons were sold.
    Grant added: "It is so satisfying to see ABH Miratorg leading the way in Russian pork production, and we are delighted that we could offer them guidance, knowledge and skills to enhance their operations."

New research reveals insights on consumer demands for transparency on food

    Transparency in the food industry is a growing topic of conversation and, in order to continue to effectively communicate with consumers about the food they grow and raise, the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) conducted research to hone in on the topic of food transparency, specifically how important it is to American consumers.
    According to the survey, food transparency is very important. Fifty-nine percent of respondents report it is extremely important (rated it as an 8-10 on a 10 point scale) for grocery stores and restaurants to provide information about the way the food they sell is grown and raised. And more than 50 percent say they want more information than they are currently getting.
    The good news is that farmers and ranchers across the country have the information consumers are asking for. However, it needs to be shared.
    "The call for transparency from the American consumer is real," said Katie Pratt, an Illinois farmer and one of USFRA's Faces of Farming and Ranching. "However, as an agriculture community, we have the tools, the real-life experiences and the stories to share with those who purchase the food we grow and raise.  And we can continue to increase consumer confidence in our great systems of American agriculture."
    "Information about how a food product was grown and raised is important for consumers. It's almost as important as the price," said Bob Stallman, president of American Farm Bureau Federation and USFRA chairman. "The research found that when asked which is more important when making purchasing decisions, how much a food item costs or how much information is available about how it was grown or raised, 45 percent of total survey respondents chose information and 55 percent chose cost. That is significant."
    Not only is the statistic significant, but it is not going away any time soon. In fact, the research found that younger shoppers (ages 21-29) are more likely to purchase one food item over another based on which item includes more information about its origin. And, the findings show that most consumers do not believe they are currently provided enough information about food when making purchasing
    The research findings encourage a shift in how the agriculture community can think about transparency; this can happen through a transition to "Transparency 2.0." For the American consumer, trust in the agriculture community is based in truth and all farmers and ranchers have a narrative to share. There is a truthful and transparent story to tell in how all farmers and ranchers grow and raise food.
    More information on "Transparency 2.0" and the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance can be online, and people are welcomed to join in the conversation of how food is grown and raised in the U.S. today.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Experts convene to discuss mycotoxin challenges

    Mycotoxins continue to remain a complex and challenging topic for the feed industry. To shed light on this important topic, Kemin hosted a meeting with leading industry experts in the field of mycotoxin research and regulation to discuss emerging mycotoxins, analytical challenges and the negative effects of mycotoxins.
    According to the experts, one of the key challenges is to understand the effects of several different mycotoxins acting collectively. Professor Siska Croubels, from the faculty of veterinary medicine with Ghent University in Belgium, explained that research needs to focus on the effects of mycotoxins at low levels, both individually and together.
    Furthermore, the current levels of mycotoxins are severely underestimated because traditional detection methods cannot identify masked mycotoxins (mycotoxins linked to a sugar compound), which can account for 40-80 percent of mycotoxin levels, according to Dr. Marthe de Boevre from the Laboratory of Food Analysis with Ghent University. In the animal's digestive tract, masked mycotoxins are cleaved and then release the active mycotoxin.
    To improve mycotoxin control, coming from both free and cleaved masked mycotoxins, Kemin vice president of research and development, Dr. Stefaan Van Dyck, reviewed Toxfin, a broad spectrum mycotoxin binder that uses carefully selected activated clays. Toxfin works by absorbing mycotoxins in the digestive tract and then excreting them into the feces, creating both a health safeguard for animals and consumers.
    "Scientific studies have shown that Toxfin successfully eliminates the negative effects of mycotoxins," said Van Dyck. "Kemin is committed to providing effective solutions to help meet the increasing demand for quality, safe feed."
    In addition, Dr. Frans Verstraete from the European Commission (DG Sanco) discussed European regulation, in which some myocotoxins are regulated with a maximum value and some with a guidance or an indicative value. Looking to the future, the professionals expect to see additional mycotoxins, such as alternaria, citrinin and phomposins, appearing on the EU focus list.
    The experts agreed that only through combined action from regulators, industry analysts, and business leaders can solutions be provided to curb the ever increasing mycotoxin challenges.

Annual Ross association meeting addresses challenges to future growth

    Aviagen customers and distributors take part in the annual Ross Asia Association Meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
    A well-attended Ross Asia Association Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, brought
    Aviagen distributors and customers in the region together to hear several international and senior Aviagen managers address key future industry opportunities and challenges. For the past ten years, the association meeting has provided value to both the customers and the company while monitoring market developments in Asia and the global poultry industry.
    Orapan Chansawat, vice president of Ross Asia, said:  "We look forward to this annual event which brings in all Ross customers from the Asian region.  They are the heart of our business and their response to this meeting enables us to share information and spend quality time with them all."
    The current meeting was no exception and offered a varied program including a look into the structure and long term commitment of the EW Group, a second generation, privately held research and development organization with several fully-owned companies in animal genetics, health and nutrition markets. An Aviagen business update reviewed the progress in several major markets and was then followed by a presentation on the Indonesian market by the Livestock and Animal Health Ministry of Agriculture.
    An interesting analysis of the competitive environment of the growth markets in the East versus the low-cost markets in the West set the stage for a review of process improvements in the Asian further processing industry.  A motivational presentation on 'Being a Runaway Success' completed the first day of the meeting.
    The presentation "A Partnership in Technical Service" and a commentary on emerging and re-emerging disease across Asia started the subsequent day's agenda.  A China update, giving a detailed review of the current difficulties being experienced in the world's second largest market, was laid out in detail in a customer presentation before a critical review of key performance indicators in the slaughter house was delivered to the group.  The last presentation addressed genetic and research and development product development, leaving attendees with an in-depth view of what to expect from the
    Ross 308 as they move forward with their business plans for the future.
    Attendee Tian Fu, Beijing Dafaun Poultry Breeding Co ., commented: "It was encouraging to get a review and update of Aviagen's strategy and an indication of what the genetic improvements will be in the medium to long term. It helps us manage the business and our people as we become more cost-effective and increase our output in the future."
    Margaret MacKenzie, Inghams Enterprises in Australia, added: "Genetic improvement is most important, particularly the feed conversion impact on performance and maintaining the lead over competition.  What you are doing for me tomorrow on product improvements has our interest."

Prodo and Agromerkur join Ross 400 Club

    Agromerkur staff members celebrate their membership into the Ross 400 Club.
    Russia's Prodo and Agromerkur of Slovenia have become the latest companies to join the Ross 400 Club. Following the success of the UK Ross 400 Club, the initiative has now been launched for Aviagen customers in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in order to help drive quality and performance.
    The club mirrors those for Ross customers in Western Europe with an emphasis on not just celebrating success, but also sharing the secrets of such high-performance figures. The name derives from the entry criteria, namely achieving a European Production Efficiency Factor (EPEF) of 400 or more, a formula that uses daily weight gain, mortality and feed conversion to provide a figure that can indicate a flock's overall performance.
    Prodo was the first recipient of honors in the Ross 400 club in the Russian Federation. Prodo's Kaluga complex joined the Ross 400 club with an EPEF of average 410 in one cycle.
    In the Russian Ross 400 Club award ceremony, Kaluga Poultry Farm, part of the Prodo Group, was represented by General Director Sergey Gorodnich, Production Director Roman Isichenko and farm workers who were involved in achieving this significant result.
    "We are very happy to see the name of our farm in the list of Ross 400 Club members. We analyzed our list of results in depth and found our best EPEF is 438. It is our new target now to beat this incredible result and we are sure that the progress of the Ross broiler will help us make this happen," said Isichenko.
    Eduard Taktarov, sales director of Aviagen in Russia, added: "It is always rewarding to see our farmers achieve their targets through dedication and hard work. Membership of the Ross 400 Club is now an important goal for many breeders and who knows what will happen in 3, 5, 10 years' time? Maybe a 500 EPEF will not be enough for the name of our club. … I would like to add that the best EPEF figures always correlate with lowest cost of broiler meat produced so make a recipe of success for our growers."
    Slovenia's Agromerkur achieved an EPEF of 403 at 35 days. Although the targets are possible they are exceptionally hard to reach and need the utmost attention to detail from poultry managers to get past the magic 400 mark. The results highlight the genetic potential and cost efficiency of the Ross broiler in the growing Eastern European markets.
    Jurij Bertalanič, Agromerkur primary production manager, said: "We were happy to achieve this result and become a member of the Ross 400 Club. We always had good results with Ross but now they are amazing; low FCR, high liveability, combined with a good daily gain give us a huge potential to maximize profit in a tough market. Our average results are still above 370 EPEF and I am sure we can improve it in the future with the help of Aviagen and the excellent Ross 308 genetics."

Smithfield subsidiary taking part in project to deliver renewable energy

    Murphy-Brown's Circle 4 Farms and Alpental Energy Partners are producing electricity via two methane digesters that Alpental put into operation in November 2012 at the Circle 4 facility just outside Milford. Murphy-Brown is the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc.
    The two methane digesters are operational and are producing renewable energy.
    In 2012 Circle 4 Farms and Alpental Energy Partners entered into a strategic partnership to take hog manure from Circle 4 Farms and convert it into electrical energy, which will be placed on the power grid to provide electricity for residential and commercial customers in Utah.
    "Murphy-Brown is excited to be the engine driving this latest form of renewable energy that will allow citizens to turn on the lights in their Utah homes, while at the same time protecting the environment from greenhouse gases such as methane," said Jim Webb, director of environmental and public affairs for Circle 4 Farms.
    "On a personal level, our Milford project is very gratifying for all of us at Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown and Circle 4 Farms. Anyone who has observed our actions during the past decade is familiar with our commitment to sustainability," Webb said.
    "We are committed to reducing our impact on the land, water and air resources that we use in our operations," he added.
    "All of us at Smithfield Foods are tremendously proud of all the people at Murphy-Brown, Circle 4 Farms and Alpental Energy Partners, who have worked very hard to provide renewable energy for Utah's residents," said Dennis H. Treacy, Smithfield's chief sustainability officer.
    Webb explained that the two methane digesters installed at Milford convert some of Circle 4's hog manure to energy, providing enough electricity to power about 3,000 homes and businesses. The manure-to-energy project has had a significant impact on Circle 4's lagoons. That's because converting manure to energy means that solid waste will be reduced, which is stored in lagoons at the farms, which greatly changes the dynamics of lagoons for the hog operations involved in this project.
    "It's a pleasure to be part of this special project. We are thrilled about our partnership with Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown and Circle 4 Farms, and we are looking forward to getting this project fully ramped up and to provide another source of electricity for the citizens of Utah," said Brady Olson, vice president of Alpental Energy Partners.
    "We're proud to be working with an organization like Smithfield Foods that is making good on its commitment to renewable energy and effective waste management," said Paul Stephan, managing partner of Alpental Energy Partners.
    Alpental is the principal funder of this project. Funding for these projects is not being provided by Smithfield Foods, Murphy-Brown or Circle 4 Farms.

Poultry is Mississippi's top commodity for 19th straight year

    Poultry ranked first among Mississippi's commodities in 2013 for the 19th straight year, with a preliminary estimated value of $2.7 billion. The total estimated value of poultry increased by about 10 percent from 2012. Broilers gained about 10 percent in value. Eggs saw a gain of 4.5 percent.
    John Michael Riley, agricultural economist with Mississippi State University Extension Service, said the rise in values is largely attributed to higher bird prices because production is mostly steady with 2012.
    "High feed costs dampened placements of eggs and chicks in the beginning of the year, which had overall broiler production falling," Riley said. "But from July forward, corn production was good, allowing producers to increase their placements a little and offset the declines from early in the year."
    Tom Tabler, Extension professor in the Department of Poultry Science at MSU, said feed prices fell by about half throughout 2013, giving producers a little relief.
    "In 2012, producers were paying about $8 per bushel for corn," he said. "Now the price has fallen to $4.50 per bushel. That has helped a lot."
    Producers have had a good year overall with few external pressures.
    "This summer was not terribly hot, which was less stressful on the birds and kept down the cost of cooling the chicken houses," Tabler said. "This winter could be a different situation, though. It is somewhat colder than it usually is this time of year. If we experience a colder-than-normal winter, that will mean higher heating costs for producers."
    Tabler said the industry has experienced overall growth during 2013. He sees signs that the industry is confident going into 2014.
    "There has been a slight expansion of the industry, not just in Mississippi, but across the country," Tabler said. "Producers have seen fairly good market prices and feed prices that are in line with profitability.
    Sanderson Farms (based in Laurel, Miss.) is building a brand new facility in Texas. They are putting in an entire operation, including a feed mill, hatchery, growing houses and a processing plant. Other companies aren't that ambitious, but some have added 10, maybe 12 houses," he said.
    Poultry producers also may see an increase in demand at the grocery store, Riley said, as beef and pork producers face challenges that will likely decrease production.
    Nationally, Mississippi ranks fifth behind Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama and North Carolina in poultry production.
    According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Mississippi poultry producers placed approximately 548.9 million chicks through mid-September. That is a 2 percent decrease from one year ago. Table egg production rose to about 255 million through July, a 4 percent increase since 2012.
    Forestry, with a total estimated value of $1.17 billion, ranked No. 2 in the state. The current total estimated 2013 year-end value of all commodities is $7.35 billion. Final figures will be determined in February.

Consumer study on bacteria in chicken only tells part of story, says NCC

    U.S. consumer group Consumer Reports has called for stricter limits on the use of antibiotics in poultry and livestock, saying about half of the raw chicken breasts in a nationwide sampling carried antibiotic-resistant superbug bacteria. The National Chicken Council (NCC), however, points out that the results of the sampling do not mention that Americans eat about 160 million servings of chicken every day, and 99.99 percent of those servings are consumed safely.
    Consumer Reports tested for six types of bacteria in 316 raw chicken breasts purchased from retailers nationwide during July. About 49.7 percent of the chicken sampled carried a bacterium resistant to three or more antibiotics, and 11 percent had two types of bacteria resistant to multiple drugs, according to Consumer Reports.
    NCC President Mike Brown said the NCC and Consumer Reports agree that it is vital to ensure a safe food supply, but added that Consumer Reports only has part of the story. U.S. chicken producers rely upon the best science, microbiology and technology to reduce food-borne pathogens, and spend tens of millions of dollars every year in the name of food-safety research which can be credited with the significant decrease in foodborne pathogens present in chicken in recent years.
    "The belief that affordable food means it is lower in quality or compromised in some way stands in stark contrast to the hard work and efforts of American agriculture, USDA and the hundreds of thousands of U.S. farmers and food producers who work tirelessly to produce a quality protein that is the envy of the world and enjoyed by millions of Americans," said Brown in a statement.
    From 2001 to 2010-the latest 10-year period for which data are available-outbreaks related to E. coli, Salmonella and other pathogens decreased by more than 40 percent. In the past five years, Salmonella in chickens has decreased by 55 percent.
    "Eliminating bacteria entirely is always the goal," Brown said.  "But in reality, it's simply not feasible.
    "No legislation or regulation can keep bacteria from existing. The only way to ensure our food is safe 100 percent of the time is by following science-based procedures when raising/growing, handling and cooking it.  Right now, we're at 99.9 percent, but we're going to keep working to reach 100."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

H10N8 avian influenza linked to woman’s death in China

    A 73-year-old woman from China's Jiangxi province died in December after becoming stricken with H10N8 avian influenza. This marks the first known human case of H10N8 avian influenza in China.
    Chinese health authorities said the woman went to a live poultry market before becoming ill, news sources reported. She had later been hospitalized with a case of severe pneumonia, and her immune system was already compromised because of the H10N8 avian influenza.
    Health officials have since quarantined people who had contact with the woman. However, they have not yet seen any symptoms of avian influenza in anyone else.
    The H10N8 strain marks the third strand of avian influenza to infect humans in China in 2013. The H7N9 bird flu first emerged in China in April with more than 140 people hospitalized and 45 fatalities. In November, China also had its first reported case of H6N1.

Egg producer Michael Foods seeks to be sold

    Michael Foods, a food and egg processor based in Minnetonka, Minn., could be up for sale with a price tag of more than $2 billion. Michael Foods is owned by GS Capital Partners, a private equity affiliate of the Goldman Sachs Group.
    Michael Foods, whose egg product brands include All Whites, Better'n Eggs, Papetti's and Abbotsford Farms, has asked Goldman Sachs' banking unit and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to help prepare for an auction of Michael Foods, according to Reuters.
    GS Captial Partners purchased Michael Foods in 2013 for $1.7 billion from Thomas H. Lee Partners. Michael Foods' operation includes 10.9 million laying hens and has an annual revenue of $1.5 million.

Coccidiosis can play a role in Salmonella control

    Coccidiosis control continues to be a top concern for broiler veterinarians in the U.S., in spite of the estimated $90 million per year spent on prevention, according to Dr. Greg Mathis, president and researcher, Southern Poultry Research, Inc. Mathis, speaking at WATT Global Media's "Coccidiosis vaccination: A new approach to Salmonella control" webinar, said that broilers vaccinated for coccidiosis have lower lesion scores than do birds treated with either chemical coccidiostats or ionophores.
    Mathis said that there are nine species of coccidia that impact broilers, with E. acervulina, E. tenella and E. maxima being the most prevalent. E. tenella is primarily found in the ceca and it is the species of coccidia that seems to affect Salmonella levels in broilers the most. Mathis said that better control of E. tenella may lower Salmonella incidence in a flock at time of market.
    Impact of vaccination
    Dr. Charles Hofacre, researcher, poultry diagnostic research center, University of Georgia, said that coccidiosis vaccination is regaining popularity with broiler companies for a number of factors. Resistance of coccidia populations in broiler houses to both chemical coccidiostats and ionophores continues to be a growing problem with no new drugs introduced in the last few decades. Hofacre said that vaccinating for coccidiosis reestablishes populations of susceptible strains of coccidia on broiler farms. Finally, he said that the growth of the antibiotic-free movement among some consumers has also increased use of coccidiosis vaccines.
    Research has shown that coccidiosis breaks in broilers associated with E. necatrix and E. tenella are associated with increases in Salmonella colonization in the bird. Hofacre said the E. necatrix control in breeders plays a role in helping to keeps Salmonella loads on chicks low, but that E. tenella control is of more importance for controlling Salmonella colonization in the broiler house.
    Coccidiosis control and Salmonella
    Hofacre reported on a challenge study where birds were raised on built up litter and where either vaccinated for coccidiosis or treated with an ionophore coccidiostat, Salinomycin. In addition to being raised on built-up litter, half of the birds in this study were challenged with Salmonella Heidelberg. Salmonella Heidelberg levels were numerically lower in the drag swabs of the pens with vaccinated birds. The vaccinated broilers had lower cecal Salmonella counts than did the Salinomycin treated birds.
    "Coccidia vaccine in this study numerically reduced environmental load, prevalence and cecal number of Salmonella Heidelberg," said Hofacre. Coccidiosis control alone won't solve Salmonella problems for a broiler producer, but it can contribute to the solution. "We reduce Salmonella not by silver bullets but by multiple methods that build to success."

Optimistic outlook for global poultry production in 2014

    The outlook for the global poultry industry in 2014 is generally bullish, driven by the tailwind of sharply lower feed costs and tight supplies of pork and beef, says the latest report from Rabobank.
    Rabobank analyst Nan-Dirk Mulder comments: "Global poultry fundamentals for 2014 look positive, with cost relief coming from lower feed costs, high prices of competing proteins and recently improved export volumes, but supply growth discipline will be the key element between profitable and non-profitable industries under these bullish market fundamentals."
    Bucking a five year trend, producers in the Western Hemisphere outperformed their counterparts in the East during the third quarter and through most of 2013.
    Regional variation
    The robust profitability in the Americans of the last few quarters is expected to continue in 2014, with poultry pricing benefitting from tight supplies of pork and beef, although the recent slowdown of Asian demand may cause a new challenge for the industry.
    For Europe, the latest projections for 2014 indicate growth of 0.6 percent, which is estimated to be in line with EU demand. Under such circumstances, the industry should be able to benefit from favorable market conditions with tight pork and beef markets and lower feed prices.
    Conditions in Russia are improving after a tough year, and the country will benefit from price support from the local government.
    In South Africa, the outlook is mixed. While the poultry industry will enjoy new safeguards from Brazilian imports, the country will experience large and growing imports from the EU.
    Mulder comments: "Despite the broadly positive global outlook, the challenge remains to keep markets balanced. Key Asian markets of China and India are in the midst of a supply glut because of weak demand following food safety and animal disease issues in the former and slower economic growth in the latter. Early indicators for 2014 reflect better conditions for both markets as supply levels tighten but, in the case of Thailand, a big concern will once again be oversupply."
    In Mexico, the industry is rebuilding domestic supply but there is a lingering risk that bird flu will reappear this winter as temperatures fall.

Nebraska reports first case of PEDV

    Nebraska has reported its first case of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), making it the 20th U.S. state where the virus has spread. The first Nebraska PEDV case was confirmed by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) during the week of December 1.
    According AASV, the 140 PEDV cases reported in the U.S. during the week of Dec. 1 is the highest weekly number since the virus was first discovered in the U.S. during the spring of 2013. Iowa, which borders Nebraska, had the most new cases reported for the week with 67.
    The virus causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe dehydration in pigs, and can have up to a 100 percent mortality rate with piglets.

Keep chicken from China out of school meals, House members say

    Fourteen members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter urging their colleagues in Congress to ensure chicken processed in China will not be included in the U.S. school lunch program or other national nutrition programs. Members of both political parties signed the letter, which was addressed to leaders of the House and Senate appropriations committees and subcommittees on agriculture.
    The letter specifically addresses a decision made earlier in 2013, where the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) made a move to allow China to process chicken produced in the United States, Canada or Chile and be able to ship the processed products back to the United States. The House members stated their concerns of food safety with poultry processed in China, including outbreaks of H7N9 avian influenza that were fatal to more than 40 people. The Representatives urged that the 2014 agriculture appropriations bill contain language that prevents poultry processed in China to be included in the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, the child and adult care food program and the summer food service program.
    "Children are our most vulnerable population with respect to foodborne illnesses and sensitivity to potentially dangerous chemicals," the letter stated. "Given China's demonstrably poor food safety record, we believe it is unacceptable to take unnecessary risks with the health of American school children."
    Representatives signing the letter were Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn.; Chellie Pingree, D-Maine; Louise Slaughter, D-NY;  Carol Shea-Porter, D-NH; Aclee Hastings, D-Fla; Charles Rangel, D-NY; Mark Pocan, D-Wis.; Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.; Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio; John Dingell, D-Mich.; Janice Schakowsky, D-Ill.; Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif.; and Tony Cardenas, D-Calif.

Registration open for AFIA's Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers Conference

    Registration is now open for the American Feed Industry Association's annual Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers Conference at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nev., March 12-14, 2014.
    More than 450 buyers and sellers of feed and pet food ingredients are expected to attend the event, according to organizers. PISC offers industry experts the chance to exchange knowledge and learn about issues affecting the industry.
    The early bird rate for registering online before February 7, 2014, is $599 for members, $2,050 for non-members and $105 for spouses. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

VIV to host animal protein summit for Nigeria

    Nigeria's agribusiness leaders, organizations and authorities have the opportunity in January 2014 to take part free of charge in a one-day international summit on the further development of the country's poultry, aquaculture and feed production.
    The VIV International Nigeria Summit will run from 13:00 until 18:00 on January 15, 2014, at Sheraton Hotel Abuja, Nigeria. Farmers and integrators from throughout the country are registering to attend, as well as processors, retailers, government officials and representatives of the feed business.
    International experts in poultry and aquaculture will present the Abuja meeting with examples of technical best practices as the foundation for an efficient and effective expansion of animal protein supplies from the nation's farms. There will also be a focus on investment opportunities in Nigeria and on encouraging young people and women to explore the potential for employment in the agricultural sector nationally.

Alltech continues algae division expansion in Kentucky

    Alltech is continuing to expand its algal DHA plant in Winchester, Ky., one of only two plants in the world commercially producing a high-DHA heterotrophic microalgae, according to the company. The facility, which is capable of producing approximately 15,000 tons of algae, has already been updated since its opening in early 2011.
    "The response of the food industry to commercially available algal DHA has been very positive," said Steve Bourne, global director of Alltech Algae. "It is seen as a form of natural enrichment with additional benefits, such as improving the visual and sensory experience of food, thereby offering food producers additional means to market to and please the consumer."
    In particular, Alltech is examining algae applications within aquaculture. A global survey of feed producers in 134 countries, carried out by Alltech, found that aquaculture feed production rose 17 percent in 2012, making it the fastest-growing species sector. Survey information also suggested that aquaculture feed may account for 10 percent of global feed tonnage in the next few years. As such, a primary focus of the research occurring within Alltech's Ky.-based aquaculture research facility is the replacement of fish oil in aquaculture feeding programs and the enrichment of fillets with high DHA omega-3.
    "As we look ahead, we see algae as fundamental to Alltech's future growth," said Bourne. "The bottom line is that algae improve returns for the farmer with better environmental sustainability, while also creating a healthier population of both humans and animals. We will be increasing our investment in this division of Alltech and furthering our algae production footprint throughout the world to meet the demand for a sustainable source of DHA Omega-3."

Marek’s disease control still a challenge for poultry industry

    The development of the first Marek's disease vaccine in the late 1960's was a major accomplishment in the history of animal health, according to Dr. Isabel Gimeno, associate professor, College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University. She told the audience at the "Managing Marek's disease for your most valued birds" webinar, sponsored by Zoetis and presented by WATT Global Media on December 18, 2013, that the original Marek's vaccine was the first successful vaccine for a tumor-causing disease.
    Gimeno, whose primary research interest is Marek's disease, said that the Marek's disease virus has evolved over time, and it will continue to present a challenge for poultry producers. She said that the original HVT vaccine for Marek's disease was effective from its introduction in 1969 until the 1980s, when it was replaced with bivalent vaccines, which were replaced themselves in the 1990s with the Rispens vaccines. The Maerek's disease viruses in the field continue to evolve and become more virulent, she said.
    Vaccination tips
    Management and correct use of vaccines are critical for protecting against the Marek's disease virus, according to Gimeno. She said that in ovo vaccination provides better protection against the Marek's virus for the bird than does subcutaneous vaccination. For farms that have a severe Marek's challenge, she recommended in ovo vaccination with HVT followed by day-of-age vaccination with a Rispens vaccine. She cautioned that, in all cases, it is important to administer the full dose of vaccine to all birds.
    High challenge situations
    Dr. Kalen Cookson, director of clinical research,  Zoetis, said that Marek's disease related mortality is just the "tip of the iceberg" when evaluating the true cost of the disease. He said that the immune suppression that non-fatal Marek's infections can cause is a major threat for flocks.
    Cookson said that on farms with a strong Marek's disease virus challenge from a particularly virulent strain, using a Rispens vaccine gives significantly better protection than do conventional bivalent vaccines in both broilers and breeders and table egg layers. He said that Low-passaged "European" Rispens CVI-988 gives the greatest margin of efficacy in high challenge situations.
    View the on-demand webinar here. 

Feed additive associations comment on updated Bacillus safety guidance

    FEFANA (the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures) and the Association of Manufacturers and Formulators of Enzyme Products (AMFEP) have responded to the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)'s public consultation on the updated safety guidance on the assessment of the toxigenic potential of Bacillus species used in animal nutrition.
    The Bacillus species have been widely used for decades as microbial feed additives (probiotics and silage inoculant) and as production organisms for enzymes and other fermentation products for feed and food use. The feed additive and enzyme industry welcome EFSA's wish to secure safety and harmonize the safety assessment criteria, based on scientific sound methods. However, FEFANA and AMFEP said they have strong concerns about the approach used by EFSA in their new draft Bacillus guidance document.
    EFSA questions the safety of Bacillus strains with an established, long history of safe use, based on their potential to produce lipopeptides, according to the organizations. Recent literature shows that the traditional Japanese food and health product natto contains strong lipopeptide-producing Bacillus spp.
    Natto has been consumed without any adverse effects upon daily intake for centuries in Asia. It is also known from the scientific literature cited by EFSA that toxic effects seen in in vitro cell tests is not related to an in vivo toxicity. Therefore EFSA's concern about lipopeptides is most likely unfounded.
    As there is no international recognized in vitro assay developed for measurement of lipopeptides, EFSA suggests using assays developed for other purposes. The organizations said they believe that these assays may lead to wrong conclusions on the potential risk of Bacillus strains and the present test may leave some uncertainties on how they should be performed and interpreted.
    This could have impact for already authorized additives with a known effect and already tested in animals, as well as limiting the development of new products based on Bacillus strains.

Cargill gains stake in Black Sea port terminal

    Cargill has acquired a minority shareholding in a deep sea port terminal in Novorossiysk on the Black Sea in south west Russia. The company has purchased a 25 percent plus one share indirect interest from DeloPorts Limited in its subsidiary, OAO Kombinat Stroykomplekt (KSK).
    "We are pleased to announce this partnership with DeloPorts Limited," said Andreas Rickmers, head of Cargill's grain and oilseeds operations in Europe. "This strategic investment is in line with our intention to grow our operations in Russia. It is our first investment in a Russian port on the Black Sea and will strengthen our offering to the market, providing a channel to connect our Russian grain operations to the rest of the world.
    "Securing this vital step in their supply chain will also benefit Russian farmers, providing them with reliable access to global markets for their crops," said Rickmers. "It forms part of our growing focus to offer our farmer customers a range of services, advice and financial tools."
    The KSK facility has the capacity to handle 3.5 million metric tons of grain per year. Cargill will use a portion of the volume capacity and the remaining volume will be available in the market. Cargill will also continue to use various port facilities throughout the Black Sea region to serve its customers around the world.
    This latest investment follows Cargill's announcement in September 2013 that it has begun constructing a new sunflower oil crush plant in the Volgograd region of southern Russia. The port will add to Cargill's global network of grain and port facilities, including a joint venture in the Romanian port of Constantza on the Black Sea. It will allow the company to better leverage its global operations in order to feed a growing global population, supporting the movement of staple crops to areas around the world where they are most needed.
    "This investment is mutually beneficial for the parties involved," said Natalia Orlova, Cargill's country representative and head of its food business in Russia. "It is an important element of our growing footprint in Russia, where we have been operating since 1991. We have invested more than US$900 million across our portfolio of businesses in the country, making Cargill a leading investor in the agricultural sector."

EU energy ministers unable to reach agreement on food-based biofuel limits

    EU energy ministers have so far been unable to agree on a compromise deal to limit the use of transport fuels made from food crops, which critics say pushes up food prices and can do more harm than good to the environment, according to reports.
    EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said the delay would only damage the European Union in its efforts to reduce dependence on imported oil and gas and curb greenhouse gas emissions. In 2012, in response to warnings about food price inflation and unintended consequences on the environment, the European Commission proposed to cap the bloc's use of crop-based biofuels at 5 percent. This number compares with a goal to get 10 percent of transport fuel from renewable sources by 2020.
    Lawmakers in the European Parliament backed a slightly higher cap than the Commission proposed of 6 percent, which led to opposition from the biofuels industry. The industry has invested on the basis of the original 10 percent goal and has accused the Commission of a U-turn that it says will force plant closures and cost jobs.
    EU energy ministers debated a new compromise of 7 percent put forward by Lithuania, holder of the EU presidency. Some Member States, such as Poland and Hungary, argued a 7 percent cap was too low, while others, such as Denmark and Belgium, said it was too high. Still others said the compromise should be accepted on pragmatic grounds. "There are some good victories for the environment compared to the current directive," said Ed Davey, Britain's energy and climate change secretary.

ADM to establish global headquarters in Chicago

    Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) has selected Chicago, Ill., as the location for its global headquarters and customer center.
    "While we considered other global hubs, Chicago emerged as the best location to provide efficient access to global markets while maintaining our close connections with U.S. farmers, customers and operations," said ADM Chairman and CEO Patricia Woertz. "Chicago also provides an environment where we can attract and retain employees with diverse skills, and where their family members can find ample career opportunities.
    "In keeping with our intention to establish our global center in a cost-effective manner, we expect to locate a small corporate team of about 50 to 75 employees in the new center," said Woertz. In addition, Woertz said that the company will now evaluate alternative sites for its new information technology and support center, where it expects to locate about 100 new IT jobs. The company said it will continue to consider potential locations for the IT center in several states and expects to make a decision by mid-year 2014.
    Woertz said that one of the options the company considered was a comprehensive plan that would have established both a larger global headquarters and the information technology center in one location and included state government support and multi-year commitments to stakeholders. However, that plan could not be realized within ADM's timeframe. "We decided to move forward in the way that best meets our organizational objectives," said Woertz.
    ADM expects that it will continue to have a significant presence in Decatur, Ill., which will be designated the company's North American headquarters. The company does not plan any layoffs in connection with the move to a new global center.
    "We appreciate the interest and support expressed by many civic and governmental leaders as we have considered a variety of options for our new global center," said Woertz. "We look forward to finalizing the selection of a site in Chicago soon, and to accelerating the selection of a suitable location for our IT center."

Friday, December 20, 2013

Brazil remains lowest-cost pig producer in 2012

    Brazil remained the lowest-cost pig producer in 2012, breeding hogs more cheaply than in the U.S. and the European Union due to lower spending for feed and labor, according to the annual Interpig cost comparison.
    Raising pigs in Brazil's Mato Grosso state cost 0.93 pound a kilogram (US$0.67 a pound) in 2012 from 1.02 pounds in 2011, the study published by U.K. pig breeders group BPEX showed. That compares with 1.12 pounds for the U.S., from 1.09 pounds in 2011.
    Pork is the world's most-consumed meat, with the U.S. the biggest pork exporter, followed by the EU, Canada and Brazil, according to data from the United Nations' Food & Agriculture Organization. Feed is the biggest component of pig-production costs, the Interpig comparison showed. "With continued high prices for raw materials, on average pig feed remained higher in 2012 than in 2011," said BPEX.
    Average production costs were 1.46 pounds for the EU in 2012, from 1.48 pounds in 2011, according to the report. The comparison didn't include China, the world's biggest pig producer.
    Brazil's Mato Grosso state had the lowest feed costs per kilogram of pig at 0.64 pound, compared with 0.79 pound in the U.S. and 0.95 pound in Spain, the lowest-cost EU producer. Production costs were 1.17 pounds in Santa Catarina, Brazil's traditional pork-breeding state in the southeast, the price comparison showed. That was at a similar level as Canada.

ProHealth awarded the largest animal health grant in EU history

    ProHealth, a consortium of 22 research partners from 11 European countries coordinated by Newcastle University, has been awarded the largest ever grant given by the European Union (EU) in the Animal Health field to identify new solutions to reconcile modern animal production systems and sustainability.  The grant amounts to EUR11.9 million (US$16.4 million).
    The project focuses on exploring ways to increase production quality, limiting environmental impact and preserving profitability for the farmers, and those who live from animal food production. The ProHealth project was launched December 17 at a meeting of the partners in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
    The ProHealth (Production Health - Sustainable intensive pig and poultry production) consortium is a healthy blend of 10 academic partners, 1 European association, 4 industry partners, and 7 Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) with expertise in veterinary science and epidemiology, animal physiology and immunology, socioeconomics, genetics and nutrition, as well as the welfare and production science of pigs and poultry. It draws its members from United Kingdom, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, The Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Switzerland. With broad expertise and geographic representation, it is ideally positioned to address the scientific challenges involved, derive meaningful epidemiological data, evaluate test interventions across diverse real-world systems, and propagate outcomes.
    "Launching in December 2013, the overarching aim of the five-year ProHealth project is to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of intensive pig and poultry farming in Europe. The key point of difference is a holistic approach focusing on understanding the multifactorial dimension of animal diseases linked to the intensification of production, and using this knowledge to develop, evaluate, and disseminate effective control and improvement strategies for reducing impact throughout the EU," said the Pro-Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University Steve Homans.
    To that end, ProHealth will address production diseases of pigs and poultry (broiler and egg-laying chickens and turkeys) raised in a wide range of intensive systems across the EU. The complexity, causality, extent and risks of different disease states and their interactions will be examined under field conditions. Epidemiological and experimental approaches will be applied to investigate links between genetic predisposition (animal) and environmental stressors (housing, nutrition, management), in addition to the dynamic influence of environment on disease.
    "This is a very synergistic partnership," said Alejandro Bernal, executive vice president Zoetis Inc. and area president Europe, Africa and Middle East region, the exclusive animal health company partner of the consortium. "All parties can benefit from the combined expertise and resource of what is probably the biggest poultry and pigs research network in the world at the moment. This is a great example of a private/public initiative to advance our scientific knowledge, respond to the challenges of the future for our world and improve animal health and welfare."
    ProHealth will deliver novel diagnostics to predict the propensity of production-disease development in animals, communication tools for increasing awareness and sharing knowledge (such as e-learning), in addition to spearheading technological advances. Putting the multifactorial improvement strategies into practice will yield better quality products in an animal-welfare friendly manner, in line with economic and environmental sustainability, thereby improving modern pig and poultry farming systems across the EU, and also raising the bar for animal production worldwide.
    Over the next 40 years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) projects that the global requirement for animal derived protein will increase by 50 percent. Sustainability will be essential to meet this global demand for safe and quality food, at an affordable price, while making the best possible use of natural resources. According to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 30 percent of food production is already lost due to infectious and non-infectious diseases occurring at farm level and at both a European and Global level. ProHealth will take aim at this loss, which if not addressed, will limit the ability to respond to demand for animal protein, as well as compromising animal health and welfare.

Global grain use, production estimated up for 2013/2014

    Projected global 2013/2014 corn use has been increased 100 million bushels in December, split evenly between fuel ethanol and exports, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture feed outlook.
    Margins have been very favorable for ethanol mills, with higher ethanol and distillers' dried grains prices on the revenue side combined with lower corn prices on the input side. Exports have benefited from lower corn prices and increased global consumption. Increases in use have been offset slightly by a 5-million-bushel increase in projected imports.
    Production and feed and residual are unchanged. Projected carryout is tighter by 95 million bushels, at 1.8 billion bushels, but still double last season's estimate of 824 million bushels, according to the USDA. The 2013/2014 season-average farm price for corn is projected 10 cents lower at the midpoint of $4.40 per bushel, with the range narrowed to $4.05 to $4.75 per bushel based on prices reported to date.
    World coarse grain production for 2013/2014 has been projected higher in December, led by increases for Canadian corn and barley, Australian barley, and Ukrainian corn. Global coarse grain use prospects increase slightly more than production increases, trimming expected global ending stocks.
    U.S. feed grain supply estimates for 2013/2014 changed little in December, as projected corn imports were bumped up 5 million bushels, largely due to increased Canadian production forecasts, said the USDA. U.S. feed grain production is unchanged at 371.5 million metric tons, 30 percent higher than 2012/2013. Projected supplies are 398.1 million metric tons, up 24 percent from 2012/2013.
    Forecast U.S. feed grain use is up 2.5 million metric tons at 349.4 million metric tons, on higher corn use for ethanol and exports. This pushes total use up 18 percent from 2012/2013. The higher projected use leaves December's carryout down 2.4 million metric tons at 48.6 million metric tons, but still more than twice the 23.6-million-metric-ton ending stocks level estimated for 2012/2013.

Renewable Energy Group intends to acquire Syntroleum

    The Iowa-based Renewable Energy Group Inc. (REGI) plans to acquire Syntroleum, an Oklahoma-based energy company, pending shareholder approval. Syntroleum is a-50 percent partner with Tyson Foods in a large diesel fuel production plant in Louisiana.
    Renewable Energy Group has agreed to buy nearly all of Syntroleum's assets and assume all the material debt as well. The terms call for Syntroleum to receive 3.976 million shares of REGI common stock worth an estimated $42 million, The City Wire reported.
    Syntroleum and Tyson jointly own 50 percent in Dynamic Fuels, a 75-million gallon renewable diesel production facility that has been inactive throughout 2013. It is estimated that each partner has lost about $1 million per month the plant has been idle, in addition to the loss of about $20 million in potential sales.
    REGI owns and operates eight active biodiesel refineries in four states with a combined production capacity of 257 million gallons. It also distributes biodiesel through a national network.

Novus International launches customized version of its global corporate website

    Novus on December 9 launched a tailored version of its website that will cater to the specific needs of customers in local markets. The website includes localized versions for Europe, Eastern Europe, Turkey and the Middle East.
    "Thinking globally and acting locally is one of the pillars of our approach to customer service," notes Samson Li, director of global sales at Novus. "We care about our customers around the world and want to help them in any way we can. Our experience in these key European and Middle-Eastern markets is reflected in the content of this customized website, which includes information on the solutions and services our customers need to address their unique challenges."
    The website is available in English and Russian with plans to expand into other languages as well. Additional websites tailored to other world areas also are planned. More information on launch dates for these websites will be provided at a later date.

IPPE to offer programs and services for international attendees

    The International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) is offering a wide range of services for international attendees. IPPE will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Ga, from January 28 through January 30, 2014.
    With 20 percent of attendees coming from outside of the United States, IPPE is a proud partner with the U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce) as a participant in the International Buyer Program, which recruits thousands of qualified foreign buyers, sales representatives and business partners to U.S. trade shows each year. The Commerce's Commercial Service will be ready to help attendees enhance their international trade efforts while at IPPE.
    IPPE will also offer simultaneous translation of select education sessions. The "Changing Food Safety Landscape" program will be translated in Spanish and Portuguese. The "How to Export Feed & Feed Ingredients to the U.S." program will be translated in Spanish and Chinese, and the "Biosecurity - Revisiting the Basics and Implementing New Strategies" program will be translated in Spanish.
    The Changing Food Safety Landscape program will cover pressing export and international issues and food safety issues, including non O-157 E.coli and Salmonella. The export and international sessions feature an overview of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FMSA) and its impact on businesses, presented by Brian Eyink of Hogan Lovells US LLP, while an International Finance Corporation representative will address the challenges for equipment financing in emerging markets. The food safety sessions include STEC interventions for beef and pork presented by Chad Martin of Tyson Foods, Inc., while Harshavardhan Thippareddi, Ph.D., University of Nebraska, will identify challenges and solutions involving STEC and veal. Reid Harvey, epidemic intelligence service officer, U.S. Centers for Disease Control, will present an epidemiology of Salmonella, while Caleb Lilley of Butterball, LLC, will provide a summary of Salmonella interventions for turkey processing.
    The How to Export Feed & Feed Ingredients to the U.S. program includes presentations from both the Agriculture Department's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Topics include U.S. Feed/Feed Ingredient Import Trends, APHIS: Exporting Animal and Plant Products to the U.S. and Customs Brokers: Representing Companies not Located in the U.S. Dr. Daniel McChesney from FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine will also present at the event, addressing the timely topic of the FMSA-What Exporters to the U.S. Need to Know.
    The Biosecurity - Revisiting the Basics and Implementing New Strategies program will revisit the well-established basics of successful biosecurity plans and explore new strategies for today's global challenges. The program will feature industry specialists, a panel discussion and a Practical Biosecurity Workshop. Dr. David Shapiro, Perdue, will discuss Real-World Biosecurity Strategies to Minimize or Eliminate Animal Health and Food Safety Risks, and Carl Heeder, Zoetis, will present on Biosecurity Implementation Management: A Real Life Perspective of the Challenges Even the Most Well Written, Comprehensive Programs Face. The panel discussion will address biosecurity perspectives from different regions of the world, and the workshop will look at various scenarios from different countries and develop a model taking into consideration different regions, cultures, etc.
    Furthermore, IPPE will offer buyer matching, conference rooms, translation services, import-export counseling and export directories.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Michael Foods expanding egg plant in Wakefield, Neb.

    Michael Foods has begun construction of a $33 million two-phase expansion project at the company's Wakefield, Neb., farm and egg processing plant. The project includes expansion of the facilities, as well as the installation of new equipment.
    The project's first phase involves an increase in total square footage at the plant by about 75,000 square feet, including additions in production, refrigerated space, finished goods space and egg storage. Two new food production equipment lines also will be installed.
    The second phase includes renovation of existing spaces and relocation of two food production equipment lines. Michael Foods also will prepare the site for a potential building addition in the future.
    "This investment will address existing needs for additional space, expand our production capacities at the Wakefield location, provide enhanced service for our customers, and position the plant for future growth," said Joe Clevenger, plant manager. "Michael Foods is committed to the Wakefield community and greatly values our partnership with local officials, who were instrumental in helping get the project underway."
    Because of anticipated efficiencies in the new production operations, the expansion is not expected to provide additional jobs. "However, the expansion will build our overall production capacity and we expect it to generate additional revenues for the company and by extension will increase Michael Foods' economic contribution in Wakefield," said Clevenger. "We look forward to working with community leaders as the project progresses."

House approves extension of farm bill

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed an extension of the farm bill until the end of January to allow more time to negotiate the differences between the House and Senate versions of the farm bill, both of which were approved during the summer of 2013. The proposed bills are currently being negotiated by a conference committee.
    Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has told the Associated Press he thinks a farm bill extension is unnecessary and the Senate will not pass a farm bill extension.
    The House and Senate versions of the farm bill differ on how much to cut the nation's food stamp program and how to restructure farm subsidies. The House version of the farm bill also contains the King amendment, proposed by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. The King amendment  has the potential to nullify more than 150 state laws affecting agriculture, including  California's Proposition 2, which aims at ending the use of battery cages for laying hens. The Senate farm bill does not contain the King amendment.
    The current farm bill is an extension of the 2008 farm bill.