Thursday, January 31, 2013

Poultry, egg industry suppliers reporting positive outlook

    At the end of 2012, business in the poultry industry started to pick up and this has continued into 2013. This view was expressed repeatedly by suppliers to poultry industry at the International Production and Processing Expo, held in Atlanta, Ga., in late January.
    While the global economic outlook remains tough, and evidence is purely anecdotal, the consensus from the show floor was that things are on the up.
    While we are only one month into 2013, and any recovery will almost certainly be fragile, the general expectation is that the difficulties of the last few years are beginning, at least, to come to an end and that there are brighter times on the horizon.

New approach for bacterial control in pre-slaughter broilers

    Taking away food does not take away hunger. In the case of broilers, even when food is not available – during preslaughter, for example - they will continue to peck, and in the absence of hygienic food, they will peck at whatever they can, be it litter, droppings or feathers. Clearly, this activity increases the risk of ingesting bacteria.
    At the International Poultry Science Forum, held in conjunction with the International Production and Processing Expo, details were given of how USDA-ARS, Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, has been looking at the use of the organic salt Calcium formate to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter infection. Calcium chlorate is able to affect bacteria with nitrate reductase, which allows them to grow in anaerobic conditions.
    J Allen Byrd explained that the effect of calcium formate was evaluated on broilers obtained from a commercial processing plant and challenged by crop gavage with Salmonella typhimurium. Four days later, broilers were killed for Salmonella typhimurium cfu cecal enumeration.
    The birds were given calcium formate in drinking water prior to slaughter and it was found that they consumed no more water than a control group provided with distilled water, so avoiding the problem of wet litter often associated with similar sodium chlorate products which can be used to reduce Salmonella.
    The treatment was found to cause a significant decrease in the incidence of Salmonella typhimurium in cecal contents compared to the control.
    Although the results were positive, Byrd noted that calcium formate did not result in the dramatic reductions that had been hoped, perhaps, for example, because it will not work in those areas of the intestine where there is oxygen.
    Nevertheless, it could be considered as part of control programs for the control of foodborne pathogens, and work will be carried to see how it will work in combination with other products.

Ethanol's impact on broiler industry: $34 billion in 6 years

    Mike Donohue, vice president of Agri Stats, told a crowd January 30 at the 2013 International Production and Processing Expo the ethanol industry, according to his figures, has cost the broiler industry more than $34 billion over the past six years.
    Donohue said he took the average live pounds expense, and compared it to the difference in pricing for feed ingredients to get that figure.
    Donohue did not figure ethanol’s impact on the turkey, layer, beef, pork or other animal protein industries, but he estimated it would be between $110 billion and $120 billion in damage to the overall livestock industy. He also added you could take that figure and multiply it by about $3.5 to get its impact on overall world animal agriculture during that six year time span.
    ”It’s been a wonderful thing for farmers in the Midwest in that category, but there are consequences for those of us who are end users, from the decision to feed our cars instead of feed our people,” Donohue said.

Producers should examine core poultry business to expand

    Poultry producers need to be focused on innovation for growth, but they also need to examine their core business and how it relates to those opportunities as they develop those strategies. That advice was given by Professor Damien McLoughlin, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Ireland, to a group of poultry producers from around the world at the annual Alltech breakfast during the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta.
    McLoughlin used the example of a poultry producer in Pakistan that is innovating ahead of the curve. "I visited a company in 2011 that had best slaughter facility in any industry in anywhere in the world." he said. "It was the cleanest, most automated, most effective plant I've ever seen to produce processed chicken." What is notable is that in Pakistan, processed chicken is only 2 percent of the market, while the rest is wet. No one knows for sure when the Pakistan market will move from wet to processed chicken, but McLoughlin is confident that will happen. "Those guys are ready when it happens. They are ready to take advantage of that opportunity before it has even happened. That is strategic waiting. If you are innovating for an existing opportunity, you are too late."
    A member of the audience asked how companies producing eggs can innovate, since the questioner saw eggs as a commodity product. McLoughlin said eggs don't need to be differentiated but defended. "The biggest problem with eggs is people believe they are unhealthy," he said. While that is a problem for the industry overall, companies can use that to their advantage by telling the story that their brand offers health benefits. Egg brands that are promoting their increased health benefits are commanding premium prices in many markets.
    McLoughlin challenged the audience to change their thinking about their core businesses. "You aren't in the poultry business; you are in the food business. Poultry production is your core, but food is your business, if you define your business that way as you move ahead."
    McLoughlin told the audience there are four key things they have to pay attention to expand their businesses:
    1. You have to have a strong, well-disciplined core business with leadership in that core market.
    2. You need to pursue the right growth opportunities and avoid the wrong ones.
    3. You must be the best at following your customer.
    4. You have to develop repeatable business models.
    He gave examples of how world-leading consumer companies have effectively followed those four rules and succeeded. He encouraged the audience to apply them to their own growth plans.

Poor economic outlook to continue, hindering global expansion of poultry production

    Drought, debt and politics drive economics and poultry according to the theme of the Milton L. Dendy keynote address at the 2013 International Poultry Science Forum.
    Dr. Terry Barr, senior director of industry research, Knowledge Exchange Division, CoBank, examined the general economic outlook over the next couple of years, and how the difficulties that lie ahead will impact on the poultry industry.
    In relation to commodity prices, he started by asking: “What is the new normal?” He noted that, up until 2002, there had been relative stability, but that this had been followed by ramping up in prices reflecting global growth. Since 2008, there has been economic turmoil, sovereign debt and crop shortfalls, and so there has been no opportunity to see how things will settle.
    The last five years have been characterized by recession, rising fiscal deficits, massive liquidity infusions and low-interest rates, rapid growth in emerging markets and their middle classes, rising energy prices, a rapid growth in biofuels, multi-year crop shortfalls and low grain stocks.
    So what of the next five years? The sovereign debt crisis in Europe is likely to continue, accompanied by subdued growth/fiscal austerity and interest rates are expected to remain low until late 2014. Overall, European growth is expected to remain weak until at least 2015.
    Growth in emerging markets will be tempered, yet China will remain the driver of global growth, with its economy forecast to achieve a growth rate of 8 percent. Despite this role, the new government in China could introduce some policy changes, and what these will be remains unclear.
    Weather-permitting, there should be a rebuilding of grain stocks, which is positive. While the global economy is expected to stay in positive territory -- expanding by 3 percent -- it is ill-prepared for further shocks.
    There will be a shift in purchasing power, with China and India accounting for 70 percent of the growth in middle classes between 2000 and 2030. Yet this is unlikely a smooth upward curve, and fluctuations in their ability to pay will dictate the market.
    In the U.S., virtually every sector of the economy is expected to witness change, and investment strategies will remain subdued while risk remains. The economy is expected to grow by only 2 percent. Employment in the U.S. is expected to remain an issue.
    Gains in U.S. meat production will be focused on poultry and pork, yet will be dependent on export markets. The growth in U.S. poultry exports has been dramatic since the early 1990s, yet now there is far greater competition in the international arena. Nevertheless, U.S. producers have responded well to this by diversifying the geographic spread of the export destinations.
    While the outlook for growth remains positive, albeit low, for the next couple of years, Barr pointed out that we are dependent on Mother Nature to “give us a break” if feed costs are to come down, and even so, it will take some time for things to even out. 

Global pork prices to fall on limited growth in consumption

    While global pork prices began 2013 at historically strong levels, some weakness in prices late in the first quarter and into the second quarter are estimated due to pressures on production and limited growth in global consumption levels, according to Rabobank's latest report.
    2013 pork prices will be impacted by swing factors, including how much European production will decline due to sow pen regulations; China’s appetite for import; and whether U.S. production will continue to expand, despite the spike in feed costs. The pace of pork demand growth is the key unknown for industry margins in 2013, and is highly dependent upon economic growth in the developing world, according to Rabobank.
    Global pork prices started 2013 supported by strong Chinese demand ahead of the Chinese New Year in February. However, price movements in China will be a key indicator for 2013 going into the second quarter as Rabobank expects global pork prices to come under slight pressure due to production growth in China, the U.S., Brazil and Russia being higher than the growth in global consumption.
    Higher prices for pork are expected overall for 2013, as the 2012 drought in the U.S. and Black Sea regions has led to low inventories of feed crops and adverse weather in pork-producing countries continues to limit production expansion. There is also uncertainty regarding the pace and magnitude of EU enforcement of the ban on sow crates, which Rabobank forecasts will reduce the sow herd, keeping EU pork prices high.
    However, Rabobank predicts that global prices will be at a lower average level than previously forecast, as the expected consequence of higher feed costs — herd liquidation — has not occurred, as producers in the U.S. have managed their risk by using futures contracts. “Despite the higher feed input costs, the U.S. swine breeding herd has modestly expanded and large scale farming continues to develop at a rapid pace in China, Russia and Brazil," said Rabobank analyst David Nelson said. "There seems to be limited opportunity for a significant increase in pork prices, given this expansion. Chinese hog supplies appear to be sufficient but their economy is recovering, which could stimulate demand growth.”
    In developed pork markets, the challenge will come from managing soft demand and often excess capacity, according to Rabobank. As such, supply discipline will remain the key success factor for the pork industry’s performance in 2013 and beyond.

US fiscal debate may lead to farm bill changes

    Although the U.S. Congress extended the farm bill until September 30, the director of the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute at the University of Missouri, Pat Westhoff, said agricultural programs may be cut as part of three related budget debates that will occur through February and into March.
    “There’s a very good chance there could be changes in this legislation long before we get to September,” said Westhoff. “Not because we’ll necessarily pass a new five-year farm bill right away, but because upcoming negotiations on fiscal issues may cause us to make further cuts in programs to try to meet budgetary targets. That can mean changes in farm bill provisions even for the crop we harvest this fall. On March 1, across-the-board cuts in defense and many non-defense programs are scheduled to take effect. Many members of Congress would like to head off at least some of those cuts,” said Westhoff. “But they also want to try to find offsetting cuts to pay for not letting those cuts happen."
    In 2012 there were some proposals to make cuts to crop insurance, which according to Westhoff had very little support in the agriculture committees. In fact, both of the bills passed by the House and Senate agriculture committees would actually increase crop insurance programs. “However, there will be very severe budgetary pressure this year and there have been proposals to reduce the premium subsidy that farmers receive,” said Westhoff. “If there are very, very severe budget targets that have to be met, one could imagine those proposals resurfacing and some cuts being made.”
    Westhoff said many things could happen in the next several months that might affect farm program spending. “In addition to the across-the-board sequestration, there are also annual appropriation bills that have to be passed in the next couple of months, and there is also the debt limit,” he said. Both of those debates could also lead to proposals to cut farm program spending as part of broader efforts to limit government spending. “I think a lot of people have assumed that we’ve got our farm bill in place for 2013, and it’s true as long as Congress doesn’t pass any new legislation,” said Westhoff. “I think it would be a mistake to assume these things are written in stone. Some in Congress may want to come back and at least reexamine if not actually make changes in the bill they approved a month ago.”

Synthetic amino acids can reduce chicken, hog producers' carbon footprints

    One of the best ways for producers of non-ruminant animals to reduce their carbon and nitrogen footprints is through use of amino acids, Dr. Jonathan Goodson told attendees at day one of the Animal Ag Sustainability Summit, held January 28 in conjunction with the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Ga.
    Close to 50 percent of all soybean meal produced is used for chicken feed, while another 25 percent is used to feed hogs, said Goodson, Evonik’s manager of consulting services. But soybeans have a significant global warming potential, he said, when a person looks at the amount of carbon dioxide produced. Citing various literature sources, Goodson said the global warming potential for corn is about a 0.017 CO2 equivalent per kilogram, while it is a 0.721 equivalent per kilogram with soybeans.
    Keeping that in mind, Goodson said it is clear that choosing a corn ration over a soybean-based ration would reduce the global warming potential. However, grain supplies may affect the type of commodities a feeder chooses.
    But using a mix of synthetic amino acids can help feeders be more efficient and more environmentally friendly. “Swine, poultry and you do not require protein," said Goodson. "A lot of people think they do, but they don’t. They require amino acids."
    When dietary protein is digested, it is mostly broken down into amino acids, he said. But the problem is that amino acids have to be present in exactly the right amount, at the right time for animals to make protein. If the correct amount of amino acid is not present at the right time, Goodson said, protein synthesis stops.
    Feed ingredients do not typically provide the correct amounts of amino acids required for protein synthesis, so in order to meet the animal’s needs for muscle growth, without synthetic amino acids, producers have to overfeed.
    When you overfeed protein to get those other amino acids, and they are broken down, that takes a lot of energy. Also, a major breakdown product of amino acid is nitrogen. Excessive nitrogen is particularly bad for chickens, he said, as it ends up forming ammonia. High levels of ammonia and wet litter can be very bad for the birds, especially if the nitrogen is up to 0.10 parts per million. Consequences of high nitrogen levels include causing the birds to become blind and develop lesions on their feet.
    But adding synthetic amino acids such as methionine, threonine and valine can significantly improve feed efficiency, he said. Studies show that over a 50-day period, a bird weighing 7.3 pounds ate on average 14 pounds of feed.
    He also showed, that with the proper mix of amino acids, a poultry processing plant that processes a million plants a week could see a net reduction of 185,000 kg of carbon dioxide global warming potential per week. “If you can reduce the global warming potential at one complex, that dramatically reduces your carbon footprint, and it really enhances sustainability,” said Goodson.

US, Japan further open Japanese market to US beef

    U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack have announced that the U.S. and Japan have agreed on new terms and conditions which pave the way for expanded exports of U.S. beef and beef products to Japan.
    Under these new terms, which enter into effect on February 1, Japan will now permit the import of beef from cattle less than 30 months of age, compared to the previous limit of 20 months, among other steps. It is estimated that these changes will result in hundreds of millions of dollars in exports of U.S. beef to Japan in the coming years. This agreement also goes a long way toward normalizing trade with Japan by addressing long-standing restrictions that Japan introduced in response to bovine spongiform encephalopathy.
    “This is great news for American ranchers and beef companies, who can now — as a result of this agreement — increase their exports of U.S. beef to their largest market for beef in Asia,” said Kirk. “This represents a significant and historic step in expanding U.S. beef trade with Japan and growing American exports and jobs here at home. We welcome Japan’s action.”
    Vilsack said the move will boost the bottom line for America's agriculture. "We are in the most successful period in history for America’s agriculture sector, with agricultural exports this year expected to set yet another record,” said Vilsack. “We will continue our efforts to break down barriers and expand access for high-quality, safe and wholesome U.S. food and agricultural products to Japan and around the world.”
    The two governments also agreed to regular and ad hoc consultations to review progress under the agreement and address any issues that may arise.

US corn stockpiles estimated up on lowered feed use

    U.S. corn stockpiles before the 2013 harvest will be 45 percent bigger than forecast by the government as high prices lower use by cattle producers and ethanol makers, according to broker Allendale Inc.
    Inventories on August 31 will total 873 million bushels, more than the 602 million bushels forecast by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on January 11. Feed use will drop to 4.3 billion bushels, less than the 4.45 billion bushels estimated by the USDA. Demand from ethanol plants, the biggest users of corn, will be 4.45 billion bushels, compared with the USDA forecast of 4.5 billion bushels, according to Allendale.
    While corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade are down since reaching an all-time high of $8.49 a bushel on August 10, closing January 25 at $7.2075, prices still are higher than 2012's record average of $6.89 and more than twice the average of 2009. “How are you going to continue to feed $7 or $7.50 corn” to livestock, especially if meat prices aren’t rising as fast, said Allendale broker Steve Georgy. Beef, pork and poultry producers have no incentive to buy higher-cost animals if it means losing money on meat sales, “so the demand keeps getting less for corn,” said Georgy.
    Production of corn will total 14.033 billion bushels in 2013, up 30 percent from 2012's drought-reduced crop of 10.78 billion bushels, according to Allendale estimates. Farmers will seed 97.6 million acres of the grain in 2013, up from 97.2 million acres in 2012, and yields will total 157.1 bushels an acre, compared with 123.4 bushels an acre in 2012. Output will rise 30 percent from 2012 on increased yields and harvested acres, faster than the 21 percent increase in usage, boosting stockpiles on August 31, 2014, to 1.645 billion bushels, according to the Allendale report. Planted acres will rise 0.4 percent to 97.6 million while harvested area will increase 2.2 percent.

FDA approves Bayer antimicrobial for swine respiratory disease control

    Baytril 100 (enrofloxacin) Injectable, manufactured by Bayer HealthCare LLC, Animal Health division recently received Food and Drug Administration approval for the treatment and control of swine respiratory disease associated with bacterial pathogens Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. Hyo) and Bordetella bronchiseptica (B. bronchiseptica).
    Baytril 100 is an effective treatment tool in pigs which are eight to 12 weeks along in the  finishing stage to help knock down the "10-week wall" of respiratory disease, according to Bayer. In addition, producers may use Baytril 100 as a health management tool to control swine respiratory disease in the nursery and the farrowing barn.
    Baytril 100 is the only approved fluoroquinolone class of products labeled for use in swine. It is bactericidal, which is a term used to describe classes of drugs that reduce bacterial populations. Due to the mode of action of Baytril 100, it kills six major swine respiratory disease-causing bacteria in both the resting and growth phases of bacteria development by essentially killing the "heart" of the bacteria. Baytril 100 is approved for treating and controlling swine respiratory disease associated with Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae (M. hyo), Bordetella bronchiseptica (B. bronchiseptica), Actinobacillus pleuropneumoniae (APP), Pasteurella multocida, Haemophilus parasuis and Streptococcus suis.

Alltech releases 2012 global feed survey numbers

    Aidan Connolly, vice president of Alltech, released the results of Alltech’s global animal feed survey in a webinar January 28 during IPPE week. The survey is Alltech’s second global animal feed survey, with the first having been released in early 2012 for the previous year. In the 2012 report, global feed production was listed as being at 873 million metric tons.

    Marked increase
    The 2013 survey was conducted in December of 2012 and included information collected from 134 countries. The report showed an increase of 10 percent over the previous year’s report. However, Connolly noted that the real underlying growth was probably four to five percent over 2011 because this survey contained new data, including 1) New sources of information, globally; 2) New numbers not included in 2011; and 3) More specific categories to further break down species share.
    According to the report, global animal feed production for 2012 was 959 million metric tons. Connolly noted that information for the survey came from Alltech’s information and information from local animal feed industry associations. Alltech employs 520 salespeople who visit more than 26,000 animal feed mills globally.
    He also noted that numbers may not be as accurate for less developed countries, but that this fact had little impact on the overall data. He also noted that the there was some variance between the definition of feed, feed mills and species among countries.

    Tonnage by species, region
    Global feed tonnage by species in 2012 came out as follows:
    -Poultry 411 million metric tons
    -Ruminant 254 million metric tons
    -Pig 218 million metric tons
    -Aqua 45 million metric tons
    -Pet 20 million metric tons
    -Equine 11 million metric tons
    Global feed tonnage broken out by region was as follows:
    -Asia 350 million metric tons
    -Europe 208 million metric tons
    -North America 199 million metric tons
    -Latin America 137 million metric tons
    -Middle East/Africa 54 million metric tons
    -Other 11 million metric tons

    Number of animal feed mills, globally
    The report also gave the top ten countries by number of feed mills reported. In order, they are China, with 10,000; USA, with 5,251; Brazil, with 1,237; India, with 862; Argentina, with 800; Spain, with 700; Russia, with 500; Mexico, with 430; Hungary, with 370; and the UK, with 340. The average tonnage per feed mill was calculated to be 36,555 metric tons.

    Main findings
    Connolly noted that nearly half of manufactured feed is for poultry, at 43 percent, with 60 percent of poultry feed dedicated to broilers.
    Aquaculture feed was calculated to be at 44 million metric tons, up from 29 million metric tons that was reported last year. Pet food was reported at 20 million metric tons. Connolly noted that 40 percent of pet food production is currently in the U.S., but that Brazil is growing fast in this area.
    A summary of the presentation, including graphs, may be downloaded from

Japanese scientists map barley genome

    A Japanese team, led by Kazuhiro Sato of Okayama University, participated in the International Barley Sequencing Consortium to produce a high-resolution assembly of the majority of barley's 26,000 genes.
    By developing and applying a series of strategies that allowed them to circumvent the difficulties of mapping the complex barley genome, which is nearly twice the size of the human genome, the consortium described the location of dynamic regions of the genome that carry genes conferring resistance to diseases. This achievement also highlighted the detail in the differences (15 million positions) between a range of different barley cultivars. The resulting report provides a detailed overview of the functional portions of the barley genome, revealing the order and structure of its genes.
    Access to the assembled catalogue of gene sequences will streamline efforts to improve barley production, according to the scientists, by breeding varieties that are better able to withstand disease and deal with adverse environmental conditions such as drought and heat stress.

EU cereals harvest down in 2012

    The 2012 EU cereal harvest is expected to be about 3 percent lower than in 2011 with a usable production of 276.2 million metric tons, according to the European Commission's latest report.
    The sharpest drop would be for maize, with the usable production declining by 15.5 percent to 57.5 million metric tons, due to much lower yields caused in particular by the drought in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. Also, common wheat usable production is estimated to decline compared to 2011 numbers by 2.4 percent to 125.6 million metric tons, mainly due to lower yields.
    On the other hand, barley usable production is expected to increase to 54.4 million metric tons. During the current marketing year, imports are expected to stay below 2011's level, as those from the Black Sea area are considerably curbed. The expected decline of EU pork production, combined with expected high feed prices, is seen to reduce feed demand leading to a lower total domestic demand for cereals. Overall, the combination of a slightly lower crop production and stagnant demand is expected to keep the cereal balance tight, with stocks declining leading to a stock-to-use ratio of 12 percent.
    The medium-term prospects for the EU cereals markets are characterized by relatively tight market conditions, low stocks and prices which are above the long-term averages, according to the Commission's report. The EU remains a net exporter of cereals but due to domestic demand growing faster than production this gap narrows. On the demand side, the most dynamic section is the demand for cereals as ethanol feedstock. The demand for food or feed use is stable throughout the baseline horizon. On the production side, a steady growth based on slightly increasing yields is expected.
    In terms of single cereals, the concentration on common wheat and maize is expected to continue during the coming decade. The smaller cereals and barley continue to lose their share. Regarding the use and the trade pattern, common wheat and maize are the best examples to describe the EU cereals market. In the case of common wheat the EU is a considerable net exporter and will remain so. The use of common wheat includes a strong food component.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

James Adams named USPOULTRY chairman

    James Adams, Wenger Feeds, was elected chairman of the board of directors USPOULTRY. The board meeting was held during the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo. He previously served as vice chairman. Adams was presented with the gavel by 2012 chairman, Mark Waller.
    A native of Pennsylvania, he received his bachelor’s degree in poultry technology and management and a master's in business administration, both from Penn State University. Adams joined Wenger Feeds in 1980 and has worked in a variety of responsibilities in egg production, feed manufacturing, transportation, purchasing, and sales and marketing. He is currently president and CEO of Wenger Feeds. He has served on the USPOULTRY board of directors since 2002.

Prospects good for increased meat consumption abroad

    While meat and poultry consumption appears to be on the decline in the U.S., the global prospects for growth in meat consumption are good, said John Anderson, American Farm Bureau Federation livestock economist.
    Anderson, presenting at the International Production and Processing Expo, explained that broiler production had steadily increased by about 3.5 percent annually, but that growth has leveled off. Pork production has also remained steady, while beef production has dropped.
    While production has dropped some due to the drought and high feed costs, decreased demand has also contributed. Eating habits have changed in the U.S., Anderson said, not only due to more ethnic diversity, but also because of economics.
    Anderson noted that while U.S. consumers have been resistant to accept rising prices, foreign consumers have not. He expects exports to continue to climb, and that can have an impact on the overall price that U.S. shoppers pay at the grocery store.
    “U.S. consumers are being outbid by foreign customers,” said Anderson.

Forecast shows retail food price hike of 3 to 4 percent

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s forecast for retail food prices indicated an inflation rate from three to four percent, according to a report released January 25.
    “We’re still on track for a year of above average food inflation,” said Ricky Volpe, USDA food price economist.
    Volpe said the increase in supermarket prices is mostly because of the 2012 drought and its impact on the cost of livestock feed. Volpe said it did little to drive up food costs during the actual year of the drought, but it will carry over to this year.
    “Now here we are in 2013 and that’s where we’re going to see the impacts of these higher commodity prices because of the nature and the complexity of the food supply chain,” he said, indicating that the price of poultry, red meat, eggs and dairy products are all included in the projected increase. “These are all categories that rely heavily on feed corn as an input, and they feature minimal processing. Most of these foods are not very storable when they get to the level of the supermarkets, so we’re seeing these price impacts now.”

US inspection of Chinese poultry plants could signal opening of trade

    The export of poultry from China to the United States is currently banned, but reports indicate officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture are scheduled to inspect Chinese poultry processing plants in late January or early February in an apparent step toward lifting the ban.
    Past food safety concerns, avian flu outbreaks, and the frequent turnover of Chinese officials involved in negotiations, are cited as reasons for the continued ban, according to DVM Newsmagazine. But politically, the planned inspections could relax tense trade relations between the countries embattled in negotiations for the past seven years. China is anxious to import poultry, as the United States is interested in reversing China’s 2003 ban on American beef. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, representing U.S. ranchers and beef producers, estimated last year the U.S. could be exporting $200 million of beef to China per year if the ban was lifted. However, it seems there won’t be one ban lifted without the other.
    Although banned from exporting chicken for human consumption in the United States, China is allowed to export chicken for pet food. Since 2007, the Food and Drug Administration has conducted extensive testing on chicken jerky treats consumers claim are harming pets. According to the agency, as of December 17, 2012, it has received 2,674 reports involving 3,243 dogs, including 501 deaths, and nine cats, including one death. Since the end of summer 2012, 201 more dogs have reportedly died in relation to the products.

Senate agriculture committee member won't seek re-election`

    Senate Agriculture Committee member Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, has announced that he won’t seek re-election when his term ends in 2014.
    Harkin has served in the United States Congress since being elected to a House of Representatives seat in 1974. He has been a member of the Senate since 1985.
    “I have been thinking hard about the decision whether to run for a sixth term in the United States Senate for a number of months - even more these last few weeks. I’ve reached a decision, and what I’ve decided really boils down to two things,” said Harkin. “First, I’m going to fulfill a promise that I made to my wife Ruth, and that I also made to myself. It's a promise that we’re going to do certain things together - and that we’re going to live together in a way we’ve often talked about - before it gets too late.”
    As for potential successors, both parties have several prospects, according to the Washington Post. Republicans named include Iowa Lieutenant Gov. Kim Reynolds, Rep. Tom Latham and Rep. Steve King. Democrats whose names have entered the discussion include Rep. Bruce Braley, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and his wife, Christie Vilsack, who unsuccessfully challenged King in 2012.

AdvancePierre Foods recalls poultry products

    AdvancePierre Foods, in Enid, Okla., is recalling approximately 1,200 pounds of chicken fried chicken breasts that may contain small pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service announced.
    The following products are subject to recall: 22.75-oz. pouches of Fast Classics Chicken Fried Chicken Breasts and cases containing 6, 22.75-oz pouches Fast Classics Chicken Fried Chicken Breasts.
    The recalled product bears the establishment number "P-2260Y" inside the USDA mark of inspection, and a "best by" date of Jan. 22, 2014, the lot number 1522960202, and a UPC number 75901-33100. The products were distributed in Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
    The problem was discovered after the company received two consumer complaints. The problem occurred when a small metal hand tool fell into a grinder, which was discovered by the company's metal detectors. Although the company began diverting product, the product being recalled was packaged and shipped before all corrective actions could be taken. The USDA and the company have received no reports of injury associated with consumption of these products.

Iowa State receives Campylobacter research grant from USDA

    A team of researchers led by veterinary medicine faculty at Iowa State University has received a $2.5 million grant to study food-borne bacteria responsible for thousands of hospitalizations in the United States every year.
    The grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will help the researchers develop new methods to manage Campylobacter, a pathogen carried primarily by poultry that has proven difficult to contain.
    Campylobacter is a leading cause of food-borne illness in the United States, said Qijing Zhang, an associate dean in the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Zhang, the lead researcher on the team, said the bacteria are difficult to track and contain because infected poultry show no signs of illness. Campylobacter doesn’t actually make the bird sick,” he said. “This makes it very difficult to know where the pathogen is.”
    The research team aims to identify risk factors that affect the likelihood of Campylobacter infection among live birds and contamination among poultry carcasses. The team also will work with the poultry industry to reduce the prevalence of infection.
    Zhang said the team will look at a wide range of strategies including improved management practices, vaccines, litter treatment and ways to process poultry meat at processing plants.
    “There’s no silver bullet, so we have to take an integrated approach,” he said. “There are multiple ways that the pathogen can get into the poultry.”
    Orhan Sahin, an Iowa State University research assistant professor in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine, said Campylobacter causes an estimated 800,000 illnesses a year in the United States, including around 8,000 hospitalizations.
    Eight of the 11 research team members are from Iowa State. The Iowa State University personnel represent both the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Other institutions contributing to the project are the University of Tennessee and The Ohio State University. Tennessee personnel will focus on vaccines, while Ohio State personnel will look at how management of poultry litter on farms contributes to Campylobacter reduction.
    Darrell Trampel, an Iowa State University professor of veterinary diagnostic and production animal medicine and Extension poultry veterinarian, will oversee the extension and outreach portion of the grant. Trampel said the project will include a website keeping poultry producers, processors, and consumers up to date on the project.
    “The goal is to take an integrated approach and work with the industry so they can start to adopt new strategies to reduce infections,” Trampel said.

Corn shortage prompts ethanol plant to suspend production

    An ethanol plant in Macon, Mo., is suspending production February 1 because the extended drought has made it almost impossible to get enough corn to make the fuel, a plant spokesman said January 25.
    POET Biorefining plans to keep its Macon facility open and all 44 employees will keep working, spokesman Matt Merritt said. The company plans to move ahead with $14.5 million in plant upgrades, and workers will use the down time to help with some of the upgrades.
    "There's just really no corn in the immediate [Macon] area available," Merritt told the Associated Press. Shipping in corn from elsewhere wasn't an option because of the cost. Merritt added that POET will continue to purchase corn for future use when it becomes available. There is no timetable for when production will resume.
    POET operates 27 plants in seven states and is based in Sioux Falls, S.D. The Macon plant has been in operation since 2000.

Reyn Capital formed to manage feed subsidiaries

      Texas-based Reyn Capital LLC was formed in 2012 to manage a diverse portfolio of national and international subsidiaries, including Frederick Sales LLC, which supplies non-medicated micro and macro ingredients used in the feed industry; AGD Nutrition LLC, which develops and markets nutritional ingredients and is one of the largest global marketers of vitamin D; LaCour-Dalton Company LLC, a "boutique" supplier serving the specialized needs of the pet food industry; and Curtis & Clark Energy Services LLC, an independent energy agent that aggregates electricity service for residential and commercial customers in Texas.
      Reyn Capital was formed by brother-and-sister team J. Bradley Reynolds and Bridget (Reynolds) Arrant. Reynolds concentrates on negotiating contracts and marketing Reyn’s brands to a worldwide audience. Arrant focuses primarily on the financial aspects of the company, overseeing insurance, banking, financial forecasting and analysis, as well as the rules and regulations surrounding their international business relations.

Maryland agrees to buy poultry litter power

    Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley announced January 25 that the state and the University of Maryland have agreed to buy up to 10 megawatts of electricity from a proposed Federalsburg, Md., power plant that uses poultry litter as its primary fuel.
    The deal is expected to save the state up to $80 million over the life of the 15-year agreement. State officials say the proposed plant will also help reduce farm runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.
    O'Malley announced in October 2012 that the state was seeking proposals for the purchase of electricity as part of the Clean Bay Power project to promote the use of renewable energy, to reduce runoff and to encourage job creation.
    "Maryland is leading the nation's efforts in clean energy and sustainability, and our state's growing green jobs sector is vital to our ability to create jobs and compete globally in the new economy," said O'Malley. "It's only through a diverse, renewable fuel mix that we will be able to reach our aggressive goal of generating 20 percent renewable energy by 2022, create jobs through innovation and protect our precious environment."

Three people in Cambodia stricken by avian flu

    Cambodia on January 25 reported three new human cases of avian influenza, two of them fatal, in the first three weeks of 2013.
    The World Health Organization and Cambodia's health ministry announced that a 15-year-old girl in a village in southeastern Takeo province and a 35-year-old man in central Kampong Speu province died after being hospitalized with avian flu, according to the Associated Press. An 8-month-old boy in the capital, Phnom Penh, was treated and survived.
    Cambodia reported three cases last year, all of them fatal. Since 2005, it has recorded 21 cases, 19 of them fatal.
    The disease remains hard for people to catch, but experts fear it could mutate into a more deadly form that spreads easily from person to person. So far, most human cases have been linked to contact with infected poultry.

Poultry slaughter report shows ready-to-cook weight down from 2011

    Poultry certified wholesome’s ready-to-cook weight during December 2012 totaled 3.34 billion pounds, down 1 percent from the amount certified in December 2011, according to the Poultry Slaughter report released January 23 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and National Agricultural Statistics Service.
    The November 2012 revised certified total at 3.57 billion pounds was up 3 percent from November 2011. The November revision represented an increase of 1.96 million pounds from last month’s preliminary pounds certified.
    The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during December 2012 was 4.42 billion pounds, down 1 percent from 4.46 billion pounds a year ago. Young chickens inspected totaled 3.80 billion pounds, down slightly from December 2011. Mature chickens, at 59.1 million pounds, were down 9 percent from the previous year.
    Young chickens slaughtered during December 2012 averaged 5.91 pounds per bird, up 2 percent from December from a year ago. The average live weight for mature chickens was 5.07 pounds per bird, down 9 percent from a year ago.
    Ante-mortem condemnations during December 2012 totaled 0.35 million pounds. Condemnations were 0.21 percent of the live-weight inspected, equal to that of last year. Post-mortem condemnations, at 32.1 million pounds were 0.95 percent of quantities inspected, again equal to that of last year.
    Turkey inspections totaled 550 million pounds, down 4 percent from a year ago. Ducks totaled 14.4 million pounds, down 5 percent from last year.
    Turkeys slaughtered during December 2012 averaged 30.8 pounds per bird, up 2 percent from December 2011.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DuPont to showcase nutrition, food safety solutions at IPPE

    With the full integration of Danisco, Solae and Qualicon into a single business, DuPont Nutrition & Health will showcase an extensive selection of products and services at the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo.
    In addition to advanced food diagnostics, DuPont now offers Solae soy-based solutions and a wide range of DuPont Danisco food ingredients for the meat and poultry industries. Beyond products for improved nutrition and better health, DuPont also is addressing food protection, with a wide range of cultures, antimicrobial and antioxidant ingredients to prevent spoilage and extend shelf life, and molecular diagnostic systems for pathogen detection.
    DuPont Nutrition & Health will be at IPPE in Atlanta, Ga., January 29–31, in Hall B, Booth #7283.

USPOULTRY presents Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award

    USPOULTRY presented its Family Farm Environmental Excellence Award to six farms during the Animal Agriculture Sustainability Summit at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta, Ga.
    The award recognizes poultry and egg farmers taking a leadership position in environmental stewardship. Applicants were rated in several categories, including dry litter, liquid manure management, nutrient management planning, community involvement, wildlife enhancement techniques, and participation and education outreach programs.
    The winners are as follows:
    • North Central Region Winner: Bill and Janet Kanapke, Meiring Poultry Farm
    • Northeast Region Winner: Craig and Nancy Miller, Miller Farm
    • South Central Region Winner: David and Jo Warnke, Warnke Farm
    • Southeast Region Winner: Gary and Denise Staple, White Acres Farms
    • Southwest Region Winner: Ramiro and Ruth Rosales, Texas Pride Poultry
    • West Region Winner: Jeff, Cindy, Mark, Derek and Kyle Cederlind, Cederlind Farms

Charles Olentine named USPOULTRY Workhorse of the Year during IPPE 2013

    Dr. Charles Olentine, executive vice president, USPOULTRY, was named USPOULTRY’s Workhorse of the Year during the International Poultry Expo, part of the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo. The poultry industry esteemed honor is given annually by USPOULTRY in recognition of dedicated service and valuable leadership given to the association and poultry industry.
    Olentine was collared with the long-established horse collar by 2012 Workhorse of the Year recipient, Bill Bradley. He was also presented with a commemorative plaque by 2012 USPOULTRY chairman, Mark Waller, Ingram Farms, Cullman, Ala.
    “We are honored to recognize Charlie with this special award and acknowledge his many contributions to the association and the poultry industry. Charlie has committed a great deal of time and energy into expanding the expo into what it is today. We are deeply appreciative of his efforts and commitment,” said Waller.
    “Charlie has brought an amazing synergy and creativity to the show. But, he also stays abreast of the million little details that make such a difference for a successful trade show. There is no doubt his efforts have allowed our show to continue to grow and prosper,” said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY.
    After earning his bachelor's of science in animal science at Cornell University, master's of science in animal science at the University of Kentucky, and doctorate in animal physiology from Clemson University, Olentine worked with the National Feed Ingredients Association and with Watt Publishing for over 24 years before joining USPOULTRY in 2004. Olentine is in charge of all aspects of the International Poultry Expo for USPOULTRY.

Egg producers, HSUS propose Egg Bill revisions

    Chad Gregory, president and CEO, United Egg Producers, reported at the cooperative's board meeting held in conjunction with IPPE in Atlanta, that representatives from United Egg Producers, California egg producers and the Humane Society of the United States met in mid-January to look at the language of the 2012 Egg Bill and update it for 2013. He said that an agreement in principle was reached on a couple of items.
    Gregory said that the requirement that ammonia levels in the layer house be kept at 25 parts per million or less was retained, but the overall language of the Egg Bill was changed so that "temporary excesses of ammonia will not constitute a violation of the act." This new agreement between United Egg Producers and HSUS will be in effect until September 30, 2013.
    The United Egg Producers and HSUS worked together in an effort to secure passage of H.R. 3798, the Egg Bill, as an amendment to the Farm Bill in 2012. This effort failed, partly because the Farm Bill was never voted on by the U.S. House of Representatives.
    The agreement between United Egg Producers and HSUS to seek passage of the Egg Bill was signed in July of 2011. The original expiration date for the agreement has come and gone and the agreement has already been extended a couple of times.
    Researchers and primary breeders have raised the need for more exemptions from the Egg Bill. In the 2012 version of the Egg Bill, the only exemption included was for farms with fewer than 3,000 layers. In the 2013 version, Gregory said that exemptions would be added for primary breeders and research facilities.
    Unfortunately, Gregory said the HSUS would not consider revising any of the dates pertaining to implementation in California, where Proposition 2 has a January 1, 2015, compliance date.

USPOULTRY announced Harold E. Ford Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award at IPPE

    Fred Adams Jr., chairman emeritus of Cal-Maine Foods, was honored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association during the 2013 International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo. Adams received the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award, and accepting the prestigious award in his honor was Dolph Baker, president and chief executive officer for Cal-Maine Foods.
    The Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose dedication and leadership over the years have far exceeded the ordinary and impacted both the poultry industry and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association in an exemplary manner. The award is presented non-annually and when the Awards and Recognition Committee unanimously recognizes and endorses the need for occasional, unique recognition for exceptional contributions.
    “Fred is highly regarded and respected within the poultry and egg industry, and his legacy will be acknowledged for many years to come,” said James Adams, Wenger Feeds, Rheems, Pa., and newly elected chairman of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.
    An Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi, Adams was employed with Ralston Purina Company in Feed Sales until 1957 when he left to start his own business involving animal feed sales and chicken and egg production. In 1969, Adams merged his business with an egg company in California and another in Maine. The new company was named Cal-Maine Foods Inc., a publicly owned company listed on the NASDAQ Exchange (CALM) and headquartered in Jackson, Miss.
    Adams served as Cal-Maine Food’s chief executive officer from the formation of the company in 1969 until October 2010. He has also served as the chairman of the National Egg Company, United Egg Producers, Mississippi Poultry Association, U.S. Egg Marketers Inc. and Egg Clearinghouse Inc.

IPPE highlights natural bacteria control for poultry production, processing

    Work on natural approaches to poultry bacterial control, be it on farm or at processing, was much in evidence at the International Poultry Scientific Forum, held in conjunction with the International Production and Processing Expo.
    The work reflected the growing trend towards limiting use of antibiotics in animal production and a growing consumer preference for natural, as opposed to chemical interventions to ensure the safety of food products.
    Various universities presented their work and, while in most cases more studies need to be conducted, the findings presented offered some encouraging results.
    Work discussed included the use of essential oils in the control of Salmonella and Campylobacter. Some concerns were raised over the unwanted effect of essential oils influencing the taste of finished product, however, in the studies presented, this was found not to be an issue.
    It was noted that each year, in the U.S. alone, there are 9.4 million cases of foodborne illnesses. By way of example, in 2011, 30 percent of ground chicken samples were found to be contaminated with Salmonella. As greater restrictions are placed on current methods of controlling bacteria, figures such as these will likely grow and take on a greater significance.
    Lauric arginate and a blend of orange and thyme essential oils were among approaches examined. Work on the former was presented by Mississippi State University, which looked at reducing Salmonella on fresh, skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets. The results of the study indicated that surface application of lauric arginate was effective in reducing Salmonella in breast fillets during refrigerated aerobic storage without negatively affecting meat color.
    In the latter study looking at orange and thyme essential oils, it was found that the combination had a synergistic effect, greater than when the two oils were used separately. The oils result in cell death, so lowering Salmonella and Campylobacter numbers. The work at North Carolina State University showed a reduction in bacteria count on breast meat and wings and the approach could be used to enhance food safety of raw chicken products.
    Plans are afoot to add the combination to marinade solutions and conduct sensory work.

VIV Russia 2013 to highlight industry, science, finance

    VIV has plans to strengthen its intermediary role to help bring about the desired strong growth in Russian livestock farming, and the organization has presented an implementation plan in which international companies in the livestock farming supply chain, governments, scientists and financiers will work together to provide Russian producers with knowledge and technology. This need for knowledge is being met with three themes — MeatMeetings, CropTech-FeedTech and animal health — which will take place during or around VIV Russia 2013.
    The event, which is being held May 21–23, at the Crocus Exhibition Centre, Moscow, Russia, typically focuses on the poultry industry. “But given the demand in this country, we are also aiming to help boost the pork supply chain," said Guus van Ham, VIV project manager. "The National Union of Pig Breeders will be holding its annual meeting during VIV, for example. Together with Rabobank we will be presenting the results of the survey of intensive livestock farming in Russia. In a series of economic sessions following directly, we want to help top Russian managers make their organizations more profitable. Another example of events designed to help decision-makers are the MeatMeetings. Meat marketing will play a central role in these sessions. VIV Russia will be providing resources on all levels to help achieve higher quality production and more added value for the consumer. In addition to the sectors mentioned above, VIV Russia will also feature a wide range of turkey meat exhibitors."
    According to van Gus, Russia is more receptive to the integral approach than most other countries. “With their history of nationalized industries, the Russians are used to working with an integral supply chain approach," he said. "They have strong production umbrella organizations for pig and poultry farming. With the knowledge and technologies that our exhibitors and partners have at their disposal, we can help boost the position of modern intensive livestock farming in Russia even further. Our aim is to offer the elite of the Russian business community everything we have at our disposal to achieve this.”

DDGS supply could tighten as ethanol industry adjusts

    A potential decline in ethanol production could impact the animal feed industry in 2013 in more ways than just freeing up an already tight corn supply.
    According toTim Brusnahan, it could also affect the amount of Distillers Dried Grain and Solubles. Brusnahan, Brock Associates, shared his insights during the 2013 Feed Grains, Wheat and Oilseeds Commodity Outlook webinar, hosted by WATTAgNet on January 22 (watch the webinar on demand).
    “The U.S. consumer of gasoline has made an adjustment, going back to 2008 when gasoline touched $4 a gallon. Since that time, we’ve used less gas,” said Brusnahan. “The bottom line is gasoline use is less, thus decreasing the ethanol blend demand.”
    He adds that since there is also a short supply of corn available, “economics will prevail,” and regardless of whether the government ethanol mandate is modified, less ethanol will be produced this year. He added there are 20 plants sitting idle, and others could possibly run under capacity or with an early season slowdown. That slowdown of ethanol production can signal a smaller supply of DDGS, which are a co-product of the ethanol-making process.
    “This is an issue I suggest you take a pretty close look at. DDGS supplies will tighten up at some point,” he said.
    Brusnahan also discussed animal feed buying strategies. While he said that not all feed buying strategies fit everyone’s needs, he has a set of guidelines that could be considered regardless of the operation.
    One thing that should be universal for animal feed buyers, he said, is having 60 days of ownership amid the tight supply market. When the supplies are as tight as they are now, the futures and options contract doesn’t always work effectively, he said, because of the tight supply and logistical challenges.
    He also advises keeping an eye on wheat futures, as they will play a major role this year. When wheat futures move into a supply-driven rally, Brusnahan said corn will probably be not far behind. And if drought conditions extend into late April, it could ignite another supply driven rally for wheat that can influence the price of corn.
    Brusnahan also touched on how the amount of available corn has prompted a shift in the commodities used for animal feed. While corn usage has dropped 2.2 percent in 2013, other grains gained part of the share. Wheat saw the biggest growth, going up 113.4 percent, while milo use went up 76.1 percent. Barley went up 57.9 percent, and even soybeans saw growth, as usage went up 9.8 percent.
    Brusnahan said that the outlook for the animal feed industry is good, and livestock and poultry producers’ good management is a key factor in that. He notes that though cattle production is down, the pork industry has done well financially and the broiler industry has also admirably sustained itself amid tough times. Other minor livestock industries have also met the challenges well, he said.
    “This is the reason why feed use is as strong as it is. Everyone has managed themselves well,” he said. Growers found the right time to purchase feed, which enabled them to keep producing and move their products to the consumers."
    Other topics covered during the webinar included financial factors in the animal feed market for 2013, market fundamentals for the United States and South America, and a 2013 crop outlook.
    Brock Associates and Brusnahan provide commodity price forecasting, research analysis, hedging and marketing strategies for farm producers and dairy producers and procurement and risk management strategies for feed manufacturers and corn processors.

International Paper launches sustainability campaign

    International Paper has launched its Brown Box, Green Globe campaign, promoting sustainable packaging. The sustainability campaign answers tough questions often asked about the environment. It also addresses several widespread myths on what is truly best from a sustainability standpoint.
    “Brown Box, Green Globe materials help customers make the best choices for their packaging needs from a performance and sustainability perspective,” said Jay Royalty, International Paper vice president. “Choosing boxes helps keep our forestlands vibrant and growing, supports the use of carbon-neutral renewable energy and helps mitigate the effects of climate change.”
    The sustainability campaign goes on to state that boxes are a natural choice for protecting products and the planet. Based on its commitment to sustainability and in support of the poultry industry, International Paper is showcasing the latest in its ClimaSeries wax alternatives at the International Poultry Expo being held January 29-31 in Atlanta, Ga, Booth 6025.
    The ClimaSeries family of products enables boxes to be recycled, using specially formulated papers, coatings and technologies for moisture barriers, rather than using petroleum-based wax. These innovative advancements help customers achieve success in sustainability and profitability by reducing landfill waste, reusing products to make new products and getting paid for recyclable material.
    International Paper has been a pioneer of recyclable packaging since the late 1990s and continues to innovate and grow, adding new offerings to its wax alternative product line. Since 2001, IP has produced and sold more than 1 billion wax alternative boxes to be packed, shipped and recycled across the globe. The company provides 75 percent of the wax alternative boxes used by the poultry industry each year.

Ractopamine safe for use in Brazil pork

    Animal scientists in Brazil have found that a small dose of the feed additive ractopamine can boost pork production without changing how pork looks or tastes.
    In the latest issue of the Journal of Animal Science, researchers said that a 5 mg/kg dose of ractopamine increased muscle mass and feed efficiency, and had no noticeable effect on pork marbling, fat content, toughness or color. The researchers came to this conclusion by testing pork from 340 pigs raised under commercial conditions. "We found that if [pork producers] use 5 mg/kg of ractopamine in the finishing diet of swine that should result in no detrimental effects on fresh pork quality and cooked pork palatability," said Natália Bortoleto Athayde, an animal scientist at Sao Paulo State University in Brazil.
    However, some scientists have reported reduced pork quality with higher doses of ractopamine. The researchers found that pork from the 10 mg/kg pigs was lighter and less tender than pork from control group pigs. Athayde said this confirms previous studies showing that 5 mg/kg is an appropriate dose in Brazilian commercial pork production. "Pork is the most animal protein consumed in the world, and Brazil is currently the fourth-largest producer of this meat," said Athayde. "We export about 15 percent of pork we produce and we believe it is extremely important to know the quality of the meat that we offer to the world."
    Athayde said she recommends further studies of how ractopamine affects animal behavior, consumer health and the environment.

Novus Mintrex trace minerals may improve dairy cow immune response

    A recent University of Delaware study of early lactation dairy cows revealed improved immune response when treated with Novus International Inc.'s Mintrex chelated trace minerals. Cows fed Mintrex were able to generate an elevated antibody response to a pathogen, which better enabled them to fight infection, according to the study, which was published in the August edition of Journal of Dairy Science.
    The trial was conducted at the university with the objective to compare performance, plasma and milk mineral levels, and to measure innate and adaptive immune function in early lactation cows fed copper, manganese and zinc by either inorganic trace minerals or Mintrex. Cows supplemented with the Novus product showed a more robust antibody response to the model vaccination, according to the study. They also showed numerically increased neutrophil phagocytosis, which means the animals' white blood cells were better able to ingest bacterial pathogens. Additionally, increased levels of copper were seen in milk concentrations of cows fed Mintrex, demonstrating a higher bioavailability than inorganic minerals.

Farmers trying hydroponic sprouts as traditional animal feed alternatives

    Grain and hay prices are rising, but a new technology that grows grain sprouts hydroponically may provide an alternative method for feeding livestock at a significant cost savings, according to scientists and the companies selling the sprouts.
    The technology was invented in Australia, and there are two companies in the U.S. licensed to manufacture and sell the hydroponic growing rooms designed to sprout grain and legume seeds in trays. Simply Country Inc. is one of those companies, and owner Curt Chittock said he was dubious about the technology, until his own animals began putting on weight and showing healthier coats as a result of eating the sprouts. His company became a licensed dealer in 2010.
    A hydroponic unit that produces 4.5 tons of fodder a day - enough to feed 300 dairy cows or 800 horses - is 3,000 square feet. "It would take 160 acres of farmland to conventionally grow that much," said Chittock. Customers can buy their cereal-grain seeds, including barley, wheat, corn and oats, from him, or wherever is convenient. No fertilizer or chemicals are required. The seeds are grown hydroponically in trays, meaning no soil is used, just water. Chittock said fodder production uses roughly 3 percent of the water that it takes to grow hay in a field.
    So far, Chittock said, his customers are reporting reductions in feed costs anywhere from $12,000 to $40,000 a month, depending on the size of the operation. Some have completely eliminated feeding grain to their animals, while others are supplementing the fodder with corn or barley. It's still necessary to include rations of hay for roughage.
    It takes two pounds of fodder to replace one pound of grain to maintain a cow's milk production, but at 27 cents for a pound of grain, compared with 8 cents for a pound of fodder, it's still a significant savings, said Cindy Daley, an agriculture professor at Chico State University who specializes in organic dairy production. Overall, the method is still unproven. "But it holds promise," said Daley.

USPOULTRY environmental management seminar to highlight sustainability strategies

    The 2013 environmental management seminar, sponsored by the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, will focus on emerging developments in environmental management and sustainability initiatives, as well as strategies and alternatives for ensuring federal and local compliance. The conference will be held March 12–13, at the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans.
    “Small and large companies alike face similar challenges in keeping up with changing environmental regulatory guidelines," said program committee chairman James Faison. "It is imperative that managers stay abreast of emerging technology and current industry trends. The speaker line-up consists of experts who will provide useful information on ways managers can address plant challenges.”
    The program will include a regulatory/legal update: Washington review and legal cases; strategies to address new stormwater permits; NESHAP summary and greenhouse gas compliance; pretreatment alternatives; RMP compliance; composting essentials; an NGO’s perspective of poultry environmental management; nutrient standards development: Florida overview; environmental sustainability initiatives; sanitation chemicals toxicity impact; emerging technology: aeration systems and wastewater nutrient removal; and Clean Water Award winner plant tours.
    Members of the program committee include Art Riddick, Hazen and Sawyer P.C.; Brenda Flick, Sanderson Farms Inc.; James Faison, Marshall Durbin Food Corporation; Shane Reid, Reid Engineering Company; Russell Dickson, Wayne Farms LLC; Dr. Jim Britton, OK Foods Inc.; William Knapke, Cooper Farms; Dr. Claudia Dunkley, University of Georgia; Warren Howe, Woodruff & Howe Environmental Engineering; Roger Smith, American Proteins Inc.; Joseph Miller, Rose Acre Farms; Dr. Brian Kiepper, University of Georgia; Stephen James, Pilgrim’s Corp.; Jeff Carroll, Perdue Farms Inc.; and Eric Lindemann, Fieldale Farms Corporation.

Americans to eat 1.23 billion chicken wings over Super Bowl weekend

    Chicken wings have become a staple food of Super Bowl parties in the U.S., and demand for them on menus is now at an all-time high leading up to the second biggest eating day of the year — Super Bowl Sunday.
    Super Bowl weekend is unquestionably the biggest time of the year for wings. According to the National Chicken Council's 2013 Wing Report, more than 1.23 billion wing portions will be consumed during Super Bowl weekend in 2013, as fans watch the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens battle for the Lombardi Trophy.
    Super Bowl wing consumption is down about one percent, or 12.3 million wings, compared to 2012 numbers, but not because demand for them is declining. Quite the opposite, said Bill Roenigk, chief economist and market analyst at the Washington, D.C.-based National Chicken Council. "Chicken companies produced about one percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record-high corn and feed prices," said Roenigk. "Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons: last summer's drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol. Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced."

    Ranch dressing versus bleu cheese dressing
    Almost six in 10 (57 percent) of U.S. adults who eat chicken wings said they typically like to eat their wings with ranch dressing, according to a new National Chicken Council poll conducted by Harris Interactive. Only about three in 10 (35 percent) prefer bleu cheese dressing.
    Adults who eat chicken wings who live in the Northeast, though, are significantly more likely to prefer bleu cheese dressing (47 percent Northeast vs. 32 percent Midwest, 30 percent South and 32 percent West), while those in other parts of the country are more likely to prefer ranch dressing (65 percent Midwest, 56 percent South and 64 percent West vs. 44 percent Northeast). The data also show that nearly four in five U.S. adults (79 percent) eat chicken wings and that consumption does not vary significantly by region or gender. Women (77 percent) are just as likely as men (82 percent) to roll up their sleeves, break out the wet naps and eat a few wings.
    Among adults who eat wings, women are more likely than men to say they like to eat their wings with celery (39 percent women vs. 28 percent men). After ranch dressing at the top: 43 percent of wing lovers chose barbecue sauce as their typical snack or dipping sauce; 38 percent said hot sauce; 35 percent said bleu cheese; and 34 percent chose celery. Fewer than one in five wing lovers (8 percent) described themselves as purists who eat nothing with their wings.

    The vast majority of wings, especially those destined for restaurants, are disjointed, with the third joint (the thin part known as the flapper) being exported to Asian countries and the meatier first and second joints being sold domestically. The wing is usually split into two parts — or portions or segments — known as the "drumette" and the mid-section or "flat" and sold to restaurants or retail grocery outlets.
    A chicken has two wings, and chicken companies are not able to produce wings without the rest of the chicken. Therefore, the supply of wings is limited by the total number of chickens produced. When the demand for wings is stronger than the demand for other chicken parts, the price of wings will go up, as it has since the beginning of 2012.
    The wholesale price of wings will be the most expensive ever during Super Bowl XLVII as demand rises and the supply has shrunk. Wings are also currently the highest priced part of the chicken. Wholesale wings are currently at about $2.11 a pound (Northeast), the highest on record at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, up 22 cents or 12 percent from the same time in 2012. Wing prices always go up in the fourth quarter of the year as restaurants stock up for the Super Bowl and prices usually peak in January during the run-up to the big game. But many analysts expect that demand will hold steady even after the NFL season ends.
    "Demand for wings is proving more and more to be inelastic," said Roenigk. "With the rising number of restaurants with menus dedicated to wings, the return of the NHL hockey season, the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament and then the start of grilling season, wing demand should remain hot."
    But Roenigk also said that consumers shouldn't worry about any shortage of wings on Super Bowl Sunday or any time soon. "The good news for consumers is that restaurants plan well in advance to ensure they have plenty of wings for the big game," he said. "And some restaurants are promoting boneless wings and some are offering flexible serving sizes. But if you're planning to cook your own wings, I wouldn't advise being in line at the supermarket two hours before kickoff."

    Retail grocery and supermarkets
    According to Nielsen Perishables Group FreshFacts data, both fresh and prepared wings totaled $1.6 billion in sales for the 52 weeks ending November 24, 2012, an increase of 5.4 percent compared to 2011 numbers. Wing sales at grocery stores and supermarkets spike dramatically the week of the Super Bowl, but the data show that consumers also stock up the week before, too.

    Food service/restaurants
    Originally on and off various fast-food menus, chicken wings have become a staple of casual dining and pizza places. Virtually every casual dining chain offers chicken wings as an appetizer, if not also as an entrée. Increasingly, ready-to-eat or heat-and-eat wings are showing up in the delicatessen and prepared foods section of supermarkets, a growing trend. "Orders at carry-outs and restaurants for chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday will increase more on that day than any other winter Sunday — a 156 percent increase," said Harry Balzer, vice president of the NPD Group, a market research firm.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Senate leader commits to passing farm bill

      One year ago, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the farm bill, but, House leaders never brought the measure up for a vote.
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is promising to enact a new farm bill in 2013.
    Speaking on the Senate floor on January 22, Reid cited several bills that never were completed because of the deep partisan divisions between the Democratic-run Senate and Republican-controlled House. Reid said he was "cautiously optimistic" that the new Congress will be characterized by cooperation and compromise.
    One year ago, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the farm bill, which contained further disaster relief and reforms to agriculture programs, while boosting exports. However, House leaders never brought the measure up for a vote.
    Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., speaking recently to producers in her home state, said she also hoped partisan squabbling would not get in the way of passing a new farm bill.
    "The leadership of the agriculture committees came together last year in a bipartisan fashion to make sure agriculture did its part to reduce the deficit and protect American jobs. Building off last year's progress, now it is time to pass a full five-year farm bill that works for American farmers, growers and small businesses while cutting the deficit and strengthening disaster relief," said Stabenow.
    Reid's commitment to passing farm legislation was welcome news to industry organizations.
    "We are encouraged to hear that Sen. Reid is making the farm bill one of several privileged, top priority legislative actions this year. This represents real hope for farmers and ranchers that the Senate, like last session, will aggressively move forward on a long-term farm bill to give farmers the risk management certainty we need," said American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman. "It will ultimately take real bipartisan cooperation to get the farm bill to the finish line, and we are confident the House Agriculture Committee will craft a compatible bill."
    Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee met January 23 to formally organize and to adopt the committee's rules, which maintain the enhanced transparency and accountability standards that were used in the last Congress under House Republican leadership. This includes posting the text of bills online for the public no fewer than 24 hours prior to a business meeting; and providing both live and archived webcasts of all hearings and business meetings.
    The Committee also announced membership for the five Subcommittees. Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla, and Ranking Minority Member Collin C. Peterson, D-Minn. serve as ex officio members of all subcommittees.

Common bacteria could help piglets fight disease during weaning

    In a study of 36 weaning piglets, researchers found that a dose of lipid-producing Rhodococcus opacus bacteria increased circulating triglycerides, a crucial source of energy for the immune system.
    “We could potentially strengthen the immune system by providing this bacterium to animals at a stage when they are in need of additional energy,” said Janet Donaldson, assistant professor in Biological Sciences Mississippi State University. “By providing an alternative energy source, the pigs are most likely going to be able to fight off infections more efficiently.”
    Donaldson and other researchers tested R. opacus because the bacterium naturally makes large amounts of triglycerides. Normally, R. opacus would use the triglycerides for its own energy, but a pig can use the triglycerides too.
    Jeff Carroll, research leader for the USDA Agricultural Research Service Livestock Issues Research Unit in Lubbock, Texas, said “R. opacus could be used sort of like an energy producing probiotic. Weanling pigs are more susceptible to pathogens and stress because they have to adjust to a new diet and environment. To add to the risk, weaning comes at a time when a pig’s immune system is immature. The stress of weaning can lead to reduced feed intake, less available energy and an increased risk of infection.”
    With an oral supplement of live R. opacus, weanling pigs would have an alternative source of energy. Even if pigs ate less feed, they would still have access to the triglycerides produced by these bacteria. The triglycerides could be used as an energy source during this critical stage of development.
    Throughout the experiment, the researchers kept watch for any potential side effects. Donaldson said they saw no negative side effects in the pigs given R. opacus. Because of this success, Donaldson said pig producers might someday use R. opacus on their own farms. She said the bacteria could be provided to pigs through existing watering systems.
    The next step in the experiment is to test how pigs given R. opacus react to an immune challenge such as Salmonella. Carroll said he is also curious to see if R. opacus can help calves stay healthy during transport.
    “This could potentially be carried over to human health as well,” Donaldson said.
    This study was a collaboration between Janet Donaldson at Mississippi State University; Jeff Carroll at USDA-ARS’ Livestock Issues Research Unit; Ty Schmidt at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Todd Callaway at USDA-ARS’ Food and Feed Safety Research Unit; Jessica Grissett at Mississippi State University; and Nicole Burdick Sanchez at USDA-ARS’ Livestock Issues Research Unit.
    The abstract from this project, titled “Novel Use of Lipid-Producing Bacteria to Increase Circulating Triglycerides in Swine,” is the 2013 recipient of the National Pork Board Swine Industry Award for Innovation. The award will be presented at the 2013 American Society of Animal Science Southern Section Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

EU launches survey on the future of organic production

    The European Commission has launched an online survey on organic production in Europe for producers and citizens. Survey results will help provide a framework for new organic regulations.
    European organic production rules cover the production chain from farm to fork. Farmers who follow these rules have the right to label their products organic. The survey covers possible simplifications to be brought to the existing scheme as well as the control and international trade.
    The survey will run from January 15 to April 10, 2013.

Brazilian pig meat exports increased 12 percent in 2012

    Brazil’s largest pork market in 2012 was the Ukraine at 138,666 tons and Russia at 127,071 tons.
    Brazilian pig meat exports increased 12.60 percent in terms of volume and 4.21 percent in terms of value in 2012, according to the Brazilian Swine Producing and Exporting Industry Association (ABIPECS).
    In 2012, the main pig meat market for Brazil was the Ukraine at 138,666 tons, an increase of 124.71 percent compared to 2011. The second largest was Russia at 127,071 tons, an increase by 0.5%. The third buyer was Hong Kong, at 124,702 tons, an increase by 3.88 percent as compared to 2011. In the fourth place was Angola at 45,535 tons, a growth of 20.65 percent; followed by Argentina at 23,387 tons, an increase of 44.36 percent compared to 2011. China imported 3,019 tons in 2012 and 25 tons in 2011.
    The Brazilian states that exported the most pork during 2012 were Santa Catarina (207,772 tons), Rio Grande do Sul (174,245 tons), Goias (71,477 tons), Paraná (54,469 tons), Minas Gerais (41,527 tons), Mato Grosso do Sul (17,470 tons), Mato Grosso (11,787 tons) and Sao Paulo (2,730 tons).

UK pig farmers unite against illegal pork imports

    UK pig farmers are challenging all companies selling imported pork and pork products to publically commit that they are not selling illegally-produced meat from farms that are not compliant with European welfare legislation outlawing the prolonged confinement of sow stalls.
    The National Pig Association has launched a website Wall-of-Fame-and-Shame which lists companies that have pledged to source imported pork products only from farms that are operating legally.
    Most European Union countries have failed to comply with the European Union’s animal welfare directive which from January 1, 2013 bans the prolonged confinement of sows in stalls. Individual sow stalls have been outlawed on British pig units for 14 years. They are so narrow, pigs cannot turn around — all they can do is sit, stand, and lie down. To promote animal welfare, BPEX has launched a Compliant Pork website to provide regular updates on the progress of European countries towards compliance of the partial sow stall ban.
    As many as 40,000 pigs an hour are being delivered to continental processing plants from illegally-operated pig farms, according to the National Pig Association’s calculations. “As Britain imports around 60 percent of its processed pork it is inevitable that many consumers are unwittingly supporting this unacceptable European trade in illegally-farmed pigs,” said Dr. Zoe Davies general manager of the National Pig Association. “Shoppers must be told which British retailers and food companies they can trust not to take part in this trade.”
    Yorkshire pig farmer John Rowbottom, a member of National Pig Association’s policy-making Producer Group, said, "If Brussels cannot police its own rules, then British pig farmers will have to do the job for them. British consumers are being sold pork products from continental farms that are operating illegally. It’s a gross breach of animal welfare, it is unfair on consumers and it is unfair on British farmers, because it distorts fair trade.”

Alchemy Systems acquired by global private equity firm

    Alchemy Systems, the market leader in food and workplace safety for production workers, has been acquired by The Riverside Company, a global private equity firm. The investment will enable the firm to expand its training platform and enter new markets.
    "Alchemy provides an exceptional service for a field in which we anticipate sustained growth," said Loren Schlachet, Riverside Managing Partner. "Laws and regulations around food safety are becoming increasingly stringent, and Alchemy's cost-effective and proven training solutions are ideal for meeting those growing needs."
    The Alchemy platform provides an interactive learning experience that ensures comprehension and simplifies regulatory documentation. In 2012, Alchemy's innovative SISTEM platform generated nearly six million training records at over 1,400 facilities of such leading companies as ConAgra Foods, JBS and Kellogg's.
    "We are focused on helping our customers build a food and workplace safety culture that makes food safe for consumers across the globe," said Jeff Eastman, Alchemy's Chief Executive Officer. "Alchemy will continue its support of food companies to deliver training required for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act."
    "Riverside will help us to further invest in developing innovative solutions that meet the growing needs of our customers and the industry as a whole," Eastman said. "Together, we are working on strategic, long-term solutions to further enhance the food safety culture essential for all segments of the food industry."
    Studies show that most food safety issues are due to improper food handling by workers. For companies that process food - from the farm to the table - a single incident can damage the brand or even destroy the company. The Alchemy solution helps food companies effectively train employees to reduce safety incidents, increase productivity and comply with government and industry regulations.
    "Consumers and governments around the world are concerned with the safety of their food supply as well as the safety of workers throughout the food chain," said David Acheson, M.D., former FDA Associate Commissioner for Food, and now Partner at Leavitt Partners. "Alchemy understands this urgent need and has provided the food industry with a valuable platform for improving food and workplace safety."