Monday, September 30, 2013

EU may authorize first feed additives with mycotoxin counteracting properties

    The EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health has positively voted on the authorization of two Biomin feed additives from the company's Mycofix product line as "substances for reduction of the contamination of feed by mycotoxins."
    The products, Mycofix Secure (bentonite/dioctahedral montmorillonite) and Biomin BBSH 797 (Gen. nov. sp. nov., formerly Eubacterium), are slated to become the first-ever products authorized by the EU as substances with proven mycotoxin-counteracting properties, according to Biomin. Following the positive committee votes, the publication of the respective EU regulations would be the next and final stage towards confirming the scientific efficacy of Mycofix Secure and Biomin BBSH 797 as mycotoxin-deactivating products.
    The process towards the authorization of the two additives in the EU began when, on the initiative of Biomin, the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures (FEFANA) established the task force "Mycotoxins" in 2005. In 2009, the task force succeeded in opening a new functional group for mycotoxin counteracting products, signifying a landmark development in the official approval of mycotoxin-deactivating products within the EU. This led subsequently to the publication of stringent European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) guidance for anti-mycotoxin product registration - including proofs for mycotoxin and species specificity, efficacy and safety - which have generally deterred the industry from submitting dossiers for EU authorization of anti-mycotoxin feed additives.
    In 2010, Biomin became the first feed additive company to submit a dossier to legalize the claim of "aflatoxin-binding" properties (Mycofix Secure), according to the company. This was followed in 2012 with a dossier for the "biodegradation of trichothecenes" (Biomin BBSH 797) for EU approval. After a thorough scientific evaluation process, Biomin became the first feed additive company to obtain positive opinions from the EFSA on these technological feed additives capable of reducing the negative impacts of mycotoxins in animals.

China feed producer Yongye International to be taken private

    Chinese plant and animal feed maker Yongye International Inc. is being taken private by a group that includes its CEO in a deal worth approximately US$339.2 million, according to reports.
    In October 2012 the company announced an offer by a group including Chairman and CEO Zishen Wu, Full Alliance International Ltd., MSPEA Agriculture Holding Ltd. and Abax Global Capital Ltd. The group initially offered $6.60 per share for the shares they don't already own, but Yongye said that it accepted a higher bid of $6.69 per share - a 12 percent premium to the company's September 20 closing price of $5.98.
    Yongye currently has approximately 50.7 million outstanding shares, according to FactSet.
    The company's board approved the transaction, which is targeted to close before the end of fiscal 2014's first quarter. It still needs approval from at least a majority of those holding its outstanding shares.

US corn and soybean acreages not final, says economist

    Conflicting reports of U.S. planted corn and soybean acreage, even as the current harvest is underway, have left room for the fluctuation of the final number, according to University of Illinois Agricultural Economist Darrel Good.
    "For corn, acreage that had been reported to FSA (the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency) as planted totaled 91.428 million, 2.657 million more than reported the previous month," said Good. "Based on survey data, the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) has estimated planted acreage at 97.379 million acres. Acreage reported to FSA is expected to be less than the NASS estimate because not all producers are enrolled in programs that require reporting of planted acreage to the FSA.
    "Planted acreage reported to FSA as of the September report accounted for 93.9 percent of the total estimated by NASS and the difference was 5.951 million acres," said Good. "Over the previous six years, the final total corn acreage reported to FSA averaged 96.9 percent of the final NASS estimate, in a range of 96.4 to 97.5 percent. The difference between the FSA and NASS acreage estimates averaged 2.785 million acres, in a range of 2.381 in 2007 to 3.295 million in 2011.
    The difference between the corn acreage reported to FSA and acreage estimated by NASS in 2013 may be smaller when final estimates are available, according to Good. "If the final difference is equal to the largest difference of the past six years (2011), the gap will narrow by 2.5 to 2.6 million acres," he said. "Planted acreage of corn reported to FSA increased from September to the final estimate by only 228,000 acres in 2011 and 213,000 in 2012. The increase may be larger this year due to the lateness of planting and the extension of the FSA deadline for reporting planted acreage. It would be a surprise if the increase totaled 2.5 to 2.6 million acres, leading to the expectation that the NASS estimate of planted acreage may be reduced in future Crop Production reports."
    Good said that for soybeans, acreage that had been reported to FSA as planted totaled 74.659 million, 2.598 million more than reported in August. Based on survey data, NASS has estimated planted acreage at 77.178 million acres. Planted acreage reported to FSA as of the September report accounted for 96.7 percent of the total estimated by NASS and the difference was 2.519 million acres.
    Over the previous six years, the final total soybean acreage reported to FSA averaged 98.2 percent of the final NASS estimate of planted acreage, in a range of 97.1 to 98.8 percent. The difference between the FSA and NASS acreage estimates averaged 1.304 million acres, in a range of 0.917 million in 2008 to 1.884 million in 2007. "History suggests that the current gap between FSA and NASS acreage numbers will narrow by about one million acres," said Good.
    Planted acreage of soybeans reported to FSA increased from September to the final estimate by only 190,000 acres in 2011 and 161,000 in 2012, suggesting that the NASS estimate in 2013 could be reduced by as much as 800,000 acres, according to Good. "That is not a large decline and is well within the experience of the past 10 years," he said. "With an average yield of 41.2 bushels, an 800,000-acre reduction in the estimate of harvested acreage would reduce the soybean production estimate by 33 million bushels and result in year-ending stocks of about 120 million bushels, based on current consumption forecasts."

Zoetis Global Poultry, Ishii celebrate 20-year egg partnership

    The partnership between Zoetis Global Poultry and Japanese distributor and chick producer Ishii Co., which has seen more than 5 billion eggs vaccinated over 20 years, is to be extended.
    In addition to distributing the current portfolio of Zoetis' Embrex Biodevices in Japan, Ishii Co. will now offer the range of vaccine manufacturing devices used for egg-based vaccine production for humans and animals. "We are very pleased that we have continued the business and personal relationship for 20 years," said Ishii Co.'s Masahiro Takeuchi. "From the research and development agreement in the first decade, to the more recent agreement for leasing and maintaining devices, we are very proud of our partnership with Zoetis."
    Jorge Perez-Martinez, Animal Health Division director, Zoetis Japan, added that the success of the partnership has been driven by the commitment from both companies to deliver the best solutions to the Japanese poultry industry.

International egg conference begins in Cape Town

    Egg industry leaders came to Cape Town, Africa for the annual Marketing and Production Conference.

    Four hundred of the egg industry's leaders will visit Cape Town, South Africa, during the International Egg Commission's (IEC) annual Marketing and Production Conference. The conference runs September 22-26, 2013.
    During the IEC conference, delegates will discuss the latest opportunities and developments within the egg processing sector, the challenges and opportunities facing egg producers, including costs, feed and regulations, and how to maximize marketing strategies to increase egg consumption.
    Joanne Ivy, chairman of the IEC, officially opened the conference September 22. "The IEC's role is to represent organizations across all parts of the egg industry internationally and help to maximize business opportunities. This IEC Cape Town conference agenda has been designed to really get to the heart of the issues that you, our members, are facing," she said.
    The key topics that will be discussed in Cape Town include: 
    • How to produce more eggs in the most efficient and effective way 
    • How to increase egg consumption in both developed and developing countries
    • Analysis of egg production costs across the globe
    • Challenges that volatile feed prices are bringing to the egg industry
    • Egg promotion -- how to make a big impact with a small budget 

Swine producers share strategies at Purina’s wean-to-finish VIP event

    Purina Animal Nutrition hosted its annual Swine VIP event in August in St. Louis, Mo. More than 70 producers, representing over 1.25 million pigs from eight states, attended the meeting to hear the latest research in wean-to-finish swine production.
    "The goal of our VIP events is to provide research and information to producers so they can take that information back to their farms and improve efficiencies and profit potential," said Dari Brown, Ph.D., director livestock young animal marketing with Purina Animal Nutrition. "The combination of industry experts and producer conversations helped attendees bring home valuable information from this Swine Wean-to-Finish VIP."
    The two-day event included presentations on pig nutrition, facility management, nutrient management and the economics of managing feed efficiency through times of high feed costs. Presentations were provided from Purina Animal Nutrition, AgStar Financial Services, Elanco and DSM Nutritional Products.
    A panel discussion gave producers the opportunity to hear from their peers who had tightened market windows by feeding younger pigs correctly, seen the benefits of increasing weaning age, and seen improvements in air quality and pig performance after adding EcoCare feed.
    Producers also had the opportunity to see industry-leading research firsthand at the 1,188-acre Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit, Mo. Attendees had a chance to tour the 200-sow farrow to finish swine research facility and discussed several of the 35 current swine research trials that are conducted yearly at the farm, many of which are focusing on improving feed efficiency and performance in the nursery and grow/finish stages.
    One study of interest is a recent trial with the line of UltraCare feed products and recent enhancements to the product. Feeding trials comparing the original UltraCare feed products to the new UltraCare pig starter feed products show significant benefits in the nursery and growing stages, that demonstrated up to: 15 percent greater early feed intake; 24.3 percent greater early gain; 11.8 percent enhanced early feed efficiency; 4.6 percent improvement in late nursery feed efficiency; and a 2.7 pound greater nursery exit weight at 50 days of age.
    Producers in attendance praised the event for its variety of "practical and useful topics," saying that information was "applicable to today's production systems."

Poultry cooperative chooses Petersime to supply hatchery

    Poultry cooperative Cooperativa Agroindustrial Consolata (Copacol) has selected hatchery equipment provider Petersime to supply incubators for its new hatchery in the state of Paraná, Brazil.
    After the opening of its new chicken slaughter facility, Copacol decided to increase hatching capacity. The company has chosen Petersime's single-stage Embryo-Response Incubation controlled technology. The first stage of the project involves an incubation capacity of approximately two million eggs per week. A combination of BioStreamer 24S and BioStreamer 12S incubators was chosen to reach this production capacity. The second stage of the project will increase the total capacity by more than 50 percent of the initial two million eggs.
    "We have visited other hatcheries and seen the potential of the technology Petersime is offering. We look forward to applying single-stage technology in our hatchery operations and experiencing the benefit throughout our entire poultry operation," said Francismar Sanches, hatcheries and breeder manager at Copacol.
    "We appreciate the strong local presence of Petersime in Brazil and we count on them to make this project a success. It is an important step in the further growth of our company," added Irineu Dantes Peron, production manager of Copacol.
     "We are proud to have a company like Copacol amongst our customers," said Antonio Geraldo da Silva, sales manager of Petersime do Brasil. "We will do our utmost best to meet and exceed their expectations within this hatchery project."

Yeast company invests in Serbia distribution site

    Leiber GmbH is expanding its global presence and investing in the area of animal feed at a second Serbian distribution site. Venos d.o.o is now starting as an official Leiber distribution partner parallel to Hemiferm Zekovic, already a successful Leiber partner.
    The company been able to gain yet another well-established distributor for the development of Leiber products with Venos. This investment comes as a result of markedly increasing demand for its products by Eastern European customers says Nikolaus Jungbluth, Leiber GmbH's animal feed business unit manager. Additionally, Leiber GmbH plans to expand its sales activities for local customer support into neighboring growth regions from this site.
    For almost 60 years the company Leiber, based in Bramsche, Lower Saxony, Germany, has been one of the leading manufacturers of specialty yeast products. Using innovative biotechnological processing techniques, the natural raw material, brewer's yeast, is converted into high-quality products that are then used in the animal nutrition, foodstuffs, food supplements and biotechnology sectors. With two locations in Lower Saxony, Germany, as well as further production facilities in Poland and Russia, Leiber's over 160 dedicated staff manufactures brewer's yeast products and yeast extracts of the highest quality.

Annual Poultry Processors Workshop features industry experts

    The 2013 Annual Poultry Processors Workshop, co-hosted by The Poultry Federation and the Center of Excellence for Poultry Science, will be held October 2-3. The two-day educational event addresses current issues for the poultry processor including HACCP, QA, human resources, and environmental maintenance. The Supplier Showcase portion of the workshop is the largest local tradeshow for poultry processors and purchasing personnel to attend.
    The first day of the conference will be held at the Holiday Inn in Springdale, located at 1500 South 48th St. The second day of the conference will be held at the University of Arkansas, Center of Excellence for Poultry Science in Fayetteville, beginning with an omelet breakfast hosted by the Poultry Science Club.
    The conference continues its long-standing tradition of bringing together poultry processors and industry experts to discuss everyday issues of the poultry industry. Campylobacter, Salmonella, and water sustainability are just a few of the topics to be addressed at the educational conference. In follow-up to a recent conference hosted by The Poultry Federation, Campylobacter and Salmonella continues to be an important topic for the poultry industry and this will be addressed at the workshop by Dr. Peggy Cook of MCA Services and Dr. Scott Stillwell of Tyson Foods.
    Other activities include a reception with door prizes during the Supplier Showcase, a networking event on Wednesday evening, and a golf tournament on Thursday afternoon.

    Paul Fox -- Keynote Speaker, Wednesday: The Poultry Industry -- Looking Around Corners

    Paul Fox is president and chief executive officer of O.K. Foods Inc., Bachoco USA LLC. Prior to his current position Fox was managing director of The Marfrig Group, a multinational protein company based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Fox spent 17 years at Tyson Foods, Inc., as vice president of domestic and international operations and was a private equity CEO for the leading vegetable ingredient company.
    Fox received his Masters of Science in Leadership and Ethics from John Brown University and his Bachelors of Science in Animal Science from Missouri State University, where he was a member of Kappa Alpha Order and hosted a radio talk show, "The Noon Farm Show." Fox currently resides in Fort Smith, Arkansas with his wife, Perla of 17 years, and their four daughters. He enjoys managing a six-generation family farm. He is a board member of the Fort Smith Regional Council, Union Christian Academy, and National Chicken Council.

    Michael Gooch -- Keynote Speaker, Wednesday: The Value of Human Resources

    Michael L. Gooch, author and retired executive consultant, specializes in providing practical, take-home information delivered in high-energy, high-impact presentations. He has shown numerous organizations how to make the best possible human resources decisions. Using a "folksy" humorous delivery, he defines true human resources management as more art than science. Gooch is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources.
    Gooch is the former corporate director of human resources for Pilgrim's Pride Corporation. He recently retired from Perdue Farms as a complex HR manager. Prior to this, he worked in a variety of human resources positions at several locations for ConAgra Foods. Through the years, Gooch has won numerous eminent industry and governmental awards in leadership, teamwork, and safety. He has authored newsletter articles on a variety of management topics and is the author of the book Wingtips with Spurs and Lessons from the Ranch. 

    Roddy Rogers -- Keynote Speaker, Thursday: Drinking Water Supply for the Future: A Regional Issue

    Roddy Rogers is a native of Springfield, Missouri, and attended the University of Missouri-Rolla. He received his BS, in Civil Engineering in 1981, a Master's Degree in Geotechnical Engineering in 1983, and a second Master's Degree in Engineering Management in 1990. He is currently manager of water treatment and supply for City Utilities of Springfield, Missouri.
    Rogers is a past president of two engineering societies, past chair of the Missouri Section of the American Water Works Association, and a Leadership Springfield alumnus. Rogers is a four-time Governor appointee to the Missouri Dam and Reservoir Safety Council and has served a total of nine years, four as chair. He is a past president of the Tri-States Water Resource coalition seeking to establish a water supply source for the region and has participated in volunteer engineering/mission projects in several impoverished countries.
    Conference pre-registration fee is US$60 for TPF members; US$75 for non-members; US$25 for university personnel; students are free of charge. On-site registration is US$15 extra. The registration fee covers all session presentations, receptions, showcase, and accompanying meals. Exhibitor table top space fee is US$100 for TPF members; $200 for non-members. The workshop golf tournament will be held at Springdale Country Club on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 1:00 p.m. Individual entry is US$100 per person or US$400 per team; box lunch provided.
    Hotel registrations are available by calling Holiday Inn in Springdale: +1.479.751.8300.
    For more information on the workshop, visit The Poultry Federation's website.

FAO, IEC Egg Capacity Building seminar a success

    The Egg Capacity Building seminar hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the International Egg Commission (IEC), in Lusaka, Zambia, came to a close September 19. The seminar has been deemed a great success, with 30 delegates attending from nine countries in Southern Africa.
    Makhotoso Mahali Malibeng from the Department of Livestock Services of the Kingdom of Lesotho commented that the seminar addressed successfully the issues encountered in Lesotho and that she will use the information received to ensure that the local egg producers' association is more effective to address the needs of both large and small producers.
    Ishmael Mosinyi, Chairman of the Botswana Poultry Association, commented: "The two day seminar has been incredibly useful. We have had the opportunity to discuss in detail the issues affecting egg production and consumption in our own countries, but we have also learnt a great deal about how other countries around the world are tackling similar issues. Working together in this way, sharing information and best practice examples, will undoubtedly help us to increase people's knowledge and understanding about the important role eggs play in human nutrition. I am confident that as a result of the discussions that have taken place, and the connections we have made with people from other countries, we are now better prepared to implement a plan of action to boost egg production in our countries, and to make more eggs available for people."
    Government representatives, veterinarians and egg producers from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe gathered in Lusaka, for the seminar organized by the FAO and IEC.
    Dr. Vincent Guyonnet from the IEC commented: "This was the first seminar of its kind organized by the IEC and FAO. I am incredibly pleased with how well it has been received. Eggs are an excellent source of accessible, high-quality protein, with an important role to play in providing a sustainable food supply for Southern Africa's growing population." Dr. Olaf Thieme from the FAO added: "If, by holding seminars like these, we are able to help all producers, large and small stockholders, increase their egg supply and provide more highly nutritious food, this will be a great success. We were also able to raise the awareness of the links between animal health and human heath, which is highlighted by the 'One Health' concept".
    Following on from the seminar, IEC members and FAO staff will continue to provide support to delegates and build on the relationships that have been established.
    The response to the seminar has been extremely positive. The FAO and IEC are now hoping to build on this support to roll out a program of similar seminars in other regions of the world.

Friday, September 27, 2013

SPACE 2013: A record-beating show

    The 27th SPACE, held September, 10-13, 2013, in Rennes beat all attendance records for the number of visitors, in particular foreign visitors, number of exhibitors, size of the exhibition area and number of new products presented.
    There were 114,591 visitors (6 percent more than in 2012, beating the 2003 record) including 12,298 foreign visitors (+12 percent) from 110 countries. This increase in the number of visitors and the large area covered by stands (67,000 m² net exhibition area) helped to promote ideal conditions for trade and business discussions.
    The significant increase in the number of foreign visitors illustrates the position of SPACE as one of the leading animal production shows in the world. This increase, marked by a large number of visitors from Asia (China, Vietnam, etc.) and West Africa, met the expectations of exhibitors for whom exports are the key to increasing sales and long-term stability. The large number of countries who sent representatives, the large number of foreign journalists (73) and the number of policy makers within these visiting delegations demonstrate that SPACE is representative of the animal production sector and a world-wide crossroads.
    The official visit by the Prime Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, accompanied by Stéphane Le Foll and Guillaume Garot, was the occasion for them to address the agricultural world. There were around 50 conferences and forums (a third of which dealt with subjects of international import) which were well attended. The high level of these discussions between experts and farmers helped to establish SPACE as an exceptional driver for discussion and progress in the agricultural sector.
    Innovation was also a feature of the 27th SPACE with 63 Innov'SPACE awards, five of which received a special prize. The Research and Development Village featured pig and poultry buildings of the future. Farmers were able to find the latest solutions in ergonomics, information technologies, energy management and environmental management.
    SPACE was also a unique occasion for showing breeds to buyers from all over the world. More than 400 farmers presented 12 different breeds of animal. The Open Space, organized for the first time by the Evolution group as part of the animal classes, demonstrated the progress made in genomics for genetic selection. Auction prices reached high levels (€8,400, a record for the Prim'Holstein breed) and several animals were sold to foreign buyers.
    This year's show was overshadowed by the absence of its President, Jean-Michel Lemetayer, who died suddenly this summer. The tributes paid to him enabled everyone -- family, friends, the organizing team, VIPs, exhibitors, farmers and visitors -- to honor his memory and confirm their determination to continue to expand this Show as he would have wished: an enjoyable event for professionals from all over the world.

Smithfield-Shuanghui merger expected to close September 26

    Shuanghui International Holdings is expected to close on the purchase of U.S. pork processor Smithfield Foods on September 26. The transaction is to be completed after Smithfield shareholders overwhelmingly passed a strategic combination of the two companies during a special meeting on September 24.
    Shareholders of Smithfield, the world's largest pig producer and pork processor, agreed to sell the company to Chinese meat processor Shuanghui International, with more than 96 percent of the votes cast in favor, which represents about 76 percent of Smithfield's total outstanding shares of common stock. The transaction was valued at about $7.1 billion, including debt.
    Under the agreement, Shuanghui International, China's largest meat processor, would assume ownership of Smithfield, the world's largest pig producer and pork processor, headquartered in Smithfield, Va. The deal was initially announced on May 29.
    "We are pleased with the outcome of the vote and thank all of our shareholders for their support," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield. "This is a great transaction for all Smithfield stakeholders, as well as for American farmers and U.S. agriculture. The partnership is all about growth, and about doing more business at home and abroad. It will remain business as usual - only better - at Smithfield, and we look forward to embarking on this new chapter."
    According to the agreement, Smithfield shareholders will receive $34 per share in cash for each share of Smithfield common stock that they own. Upon closing of the transaction, Smithfield's common stock will cease to be publicly traded and the company will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shuanghui International Holdings Limited, operating as Smithfield Foods. Subject to customary closing conditions, the company expects to complete the combination by September 26.
    The deal did not come without opposition, as Starboard Value, owner of 5.7 percent of Smithfield's stock, advocated a breakup of Smithfield and claimed it could find other buyers that would bring more profit to Smithfield shareholders. However, an alternative bid never materialized.
    Starboard Value, the activist investor that has advocated a breakup of Smithfield since June, was unable to offer an alternative to Shuanghui's offer, according to a Sept. 20 filing. In the absence of another bid, Starboard planned to vote in favor of Shuanghui's offer.

Sanderson Farms announces increase in quarterly dividend

    Sanderson Farms Inc. announced that its board of directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of US$0.20 per share payable October 15, 2013, to stockholders of record on October 1, 2013. This represents a new annual dividend rate of US$0.80 per share. Payment of the regular quarterly dividend will remain subject to board approval each quarter.
    In other action, the board of directors approved the commencement of construction of Sanderson Farms' new poultry complex in Palestine, Texas, to start on October 1, 2013. The company previously announced the selection of this location on February 14, 2013, but plans for construction had been on hold due to uncertainty surrounding grain prices, as well as other contingencies including obtaining Board approval to move forward with the project.
    The new complex will consist of a feed mill, hatchery, poultry processing plant and waste water facility. At full capacity, the Palestine facility will process 1.250 million head of chickens per week for the big bird deboning market.
    "We are very pleased the board has authorized an increase in our dividend rate and granted final approval to commence construction of our next poultry complex," commented Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms. "Our solid financial and operating performance, consistent growth and strong balance sheet have allowed us to move forward on both of these actions and further demonstrate our confidence in Sanderson Farms' future and our commitment to building shareholder value."
    Sanderson added, "We are excited about the new opportunities ahead for Sanderson Farms as we expand our production capacity and presence in Texas. We sincerely appreciate the support, encouragement and welcome we have received from the public officials and communities in Palestine, Anderson County, Freestone County and Austin, and we look forward to this next stage of growth for our shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders."

Pas Reform, Occhiodoro Hatchery partner on poultry farming

    Italy's Occhiodoro Hatchery is looking to expand its position as a supplier of premium eggs, layers and high-quality day-old chicks with a renewed investment in Smart hatchery technologies from Pas Reform.
    The hatchery's recent investments include SmartSet Setters with Pas Reform's SmartTray 150 setter tray incorporating Microban antimicrobial technology; a web-based SmartCenter hatchery information system; and the upgrade of the existing hatchers with CO2-level controllers, also integrated to deliver real-time data through SmartCenter.
    "We are finding already that automated incubation programs and the careful monitoring of CO2 levels in our setters is producing significant benefits in terms of chick quality," said hatchery manager Achille Cristiani. "SmartCenter makes it very simple to create ideal conditions for every breed-type, while at the same time simplifying and improving hatchery and incubation management processes, thanks to the remote monitoring and intervention that is possible using SmartCenter via a Smartphone or iPad, from any location."
    Occhiodoro Hatchery said it plans to further increase production with additional SmartSet and SmartHatch incubators in the future.

Aviagen hosts Central and Eastern European Seminar

    Attendees at the Aviagen Central and Eastern European Seminar

    The latest Aviagen Central and Eastern European Seminar for Ross Parent Stock (PS) customers took place recently in Budapest.
    A bi-annual event, the CEE Seminar has always proven popular, and this September's event was no different with 160 attendees from 20 countries present. Several speakers addressed the event including Richard Bailey, Aviagen's poultry health scientist specializing in gut health.
    Other speakers included Neil Clark, Aviagen's Regional Technical Service Manager for Eastern Europe and the CIS region, who talked about the tools available to the technical teams and the importance of customer support in getting the best results. Otto Van Tuijl, Technical Director at Aviagen EPI, also covered some of the developments Aviagen is making in terms of R&D with new products.
    Balázs Takács, General Manager Aviagen KFT, said: "This event is important to us because although the flow of information has become much faster in the world, meeting in person and sharing our thoughts and experiences are simply irreplaceable.
    "At previous conferences, aside from the discussions of the presentations, new business relations/friendships were established; and we are confident of similar results at this event as well. The market is continually developing, which makes it all the more important for all of us to stay up to date concerning new technologies, sales trends and consumer habits."
    Pavel Víšek who attended from XAVERgen, Czech Republic, said: "The presentations were extremely interesting and there was something in there for everyone. They gave us a wider view of the whole poultry industry as well as key issues such as explaining changes to nutrient requirements.
    "It was also a great opportunity to meet key Aviagen personnel and network with other delegates too, where we could share experience and learn something from each other."

Tegel Foods opens new broiler hatchery in New Zealand

    New Zealand poultry integrator, Tegel Foods Ltd., has constructed a new broiler hatchery in Christchurch, New Zealand.
    Petersime was selected as the supplier of incubators and HVAC equipment via distributor UPEC.
    The hatchery has a total yearly setting capacity of 30 million chicken eggs, obtained with 30 BioStreamer™ 12S incubators and 15 BioStreamer™ 4H hatchers. On top of that, some setters and hatchers for turkeys have also been installed.
    Tegel Foods is working to bring the average feed conversion ratios of its birds further down from 1.5. One of the methods to achieve this, according to Petersime, is good hatchery management.

Chia Tai Group opens China feed mill

    Chia Tai Group has opened its new, US$25 million feed mill in Jingchuan, China. The facility has an operating capacity of 300,000 metric tons and features a large production workshop, according to the company.
    The feed mill will also implement Chia Tai's scientific nutritional formula, computer-controlled production process and quality control methods for the processing and production of aquatic animal feed. The mill will employ 200 people.

New and better approaches needed for responding to avian influenza in Mexico

    Consulting poultry veterinarian Armando Mirande spoke about avian influenza in Mexico during the 2013 Poultry Production and Health Seminar, saying that a new approach to the control of poultry diseases in Mexico is overdue.
    Mirande, whose international clientele reaches into Mexico and other parts of Latin America, spoke September 17 at the Poultry Production and Health Seminar, held in Memphis, Tenn. A separate video interview with Mirande is also available on WATTAgNet: US implications of avian influenza in Mexico.
    Following are highlights from a text document that Mirande made available at the meeting:
    "Last summer México witnessed what is considered one of the world's costliest poultry outbreaks ever recorded when highly pathogenic Avian Influenza virus H7N3 was confirmed in commercial table egg layers in the Western Central State of Jalisco. Government and industry worked together to decisively activate and implement a series of pre-established control measures. Both, monetary and human assets were made available to enforce strict vigilance to contain, and eventually eradicate, such epizootic. Unfortunately, they simply failed. The cost of this outbreak from June to the end of 2012 was $750 MUSD; half a billion dollars in direct costs alone from mortality of somewhere between 22 and 27 million layers and from loss of egg production.
    "Low path AI is seldom discussed in open forums, but its impact on live production parameters is well recognized amongst Mexican production veterinarians and company owners alike. Low path AI H5N2 in Mexico has demonstrated a predictable pattern from its consistent behavior in sickening flocks, varied in severity only by season, altitude, confounding infections or vaccination status. During the last meeting of the AAAP (American Association of Avian Pathologists) in Chicago in July, 2013, it was presented how the cost of this prevalent low path AI breaks down. Altogether and using conservative estimates, low path AI in México has represented an average direct cost to the local poultry industry of $246 MUSD annually over the last 18 years, or a cumulative $4.4 billion dollars. Maintaining proportions to the U.S. industry, this would equate to a $15.5 billion dollar loss, not including any losses in turkeys.
    "Fifteen months after the first announced H7N3 outbreak at least 8 more episodes have been reported and many more have remained unstated. The virus is practically endemic in Central México now and given the striking similarities between the two different AI episodes, it is likely AI H7N3 will end up being also a common acquaintance of chickens throughout México in its low path form.
    "There are a series of flaws and systematic inconsistencies in the policies affecting animal health that will be discussed to illustrate why the eradication of this, and other diseases, is practically impossible. For example, since 1998 and in an action without precedent, it became illegal in México for an individual, private institution or university to extract any type of biological material without a special permit; a permit that is never granted. Only the government in the office of the director of animal health has that ability. Of course our knowledge on the genetic make-up, pathogenesis, evolution, etc., of Mexican avian influenza viruses stopped 15 years ago.
    "This presentation is a call for cautiousness to the U.S. industry. The lines of candid communication between the two commercial partners, whether at the government or private sectors, must be much improved. There are multiple ways for any of these aforementioned viruses to enter the American poultry supply chain and they must be properly identified and effectively avoided. A new approach to the control of poultry diseases in our most important trade partner is long overdue and must be demanded at the appropriate platforms."

US wheat up on increased China demand

    U.S. wheat rose on September 23, rebounding from losses of more than 1.5 percent in the previous session, as forecasts for increased Chinese demand underpinned gains.
    Chicago Board of Trade December wheat futures rose 0.3 percent to $6.48-1/4 per bushel by 0252 GMT, having lost 1.6 percent on September 20. "The support for wheat prices can be attributed to the forecast for China 2013-2014 wheat imports at 7.5 million metric tons after weather ruined China's domestic crops," said Joyce Liu, investment analyst with Phillip Futures Singapore.
    The China National Grain and Oils Information Center on September 23 increased its projections for Chinese import demand to 7.5 million metric tons, having previously pegged imports at 6.5 million metric tons. The revised figure would be the highest imports for China in a decade. The bad weather that damaged the Chinese harvest in May and June has boosted demand for U.S. wheat.
    U.S. exporters shipped more wheat to global buyers in the week ended September 12 than in any week for more than two decades, with most of the wheat going to Brazil and China, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

Minnesota Soybean launches soybean research website

    The Minnesota Soybean Research & Promotion Council (MSR&PC), a national leader in farmer-directed soybean research, has launched a new soybean research website -- The site features the latest in checkoff-funded research in order to provide Minnesota farmers with new, more efficient and profitable ways to improve soybean yields, soybean quality and environmental performance.
    "We feel the investment in research at the University of Minnesota is very important for soybean farmers because we are able to set the direction of the research. The research is targeted towards current farmer needs, making it very timely for us," commented Keith Schrader, farmer from Nerstrand, Minn. and Chairman of the Production Action Team.
    The website consists of a downloadable 2013 annual report, videos and research summaries. This will be a resource for farmers looking for the latest information focused on growing soybeans as well as pest management. Issues ranging from iron deficiency chlorosis, aphids and soybean cyst nematode are some of the research content covered.
    The investment is made on behalf of Minnesota's soybean farmers; however, research is only the first step in helping soybean farmers improve yields and soybean quality. Just as important as the research itself is the transfer of the technology from the researcher's lab or plot to the farmer's field. The website seeks to provide farmers with the knowledge and implementable tools to help increase yields and profitability.
    "For more than 36 years, the soybean farmers of Minnesota, working through check-off dollars, have invested in research that allows them to remain profitable, sustainable and environmentally sound in production agriculture. Their continued investment in the science of agriculture will ensure soybean production is part of Minnesota's farming future," stated Paul Meints, MSR&PC Research Program Manager.
    The website contains relevant and easily digestible research information. Videos displaying research on aphids, soybean cyst nematode, breeding and genetics, production research, production hazards, water quality and future research are included. University of Minnesota researchers are featured in the videos, presenting their research findings and making recommendations to growers. These videos were developed to provide farmers with the research and information that can be applied on their farms.
    The interactive nature of the website allows farmers to directly connect with researchers at the U of M to get answers to questions on everything from pest and weed control to basic soybean agronomy. It also allows the MSR&PC to continue to stay on top of the latest research results and communicate those results with farmers in real time. Visit to check it out.

Adisseo receives IT Innovation Award

    Adisseo has been named the winner of the 2013 Information Technology Innovation Award for its web-based platform, Precise Nutrition Evaluation (PNE). The award, sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association, Feed & Grain magazine and AgGateway, acknowledges technological advancements in the feed and food industry to meet the demand of a growing population.
    PNE, launched in September 2012, combines an internet-accessible database with near infrared spectroscopy technology, in vivo (animal feeding studies) analysis of ingredients for the determination of apparent metabolizable energy (AME) and digestible amino acids (DAA), and ISO-certified wet chemistry methods that are both stringent and high quality. The service delivers an accurate, highly-efficient nutritional analysis for three of the most expensive nutrients in feed-AME, DAA and both total and phytate phosphorus (TPP).
    "When we first made Adisseo's NIR service available to its customers, pre-PNE, it took two to four hours to turn sample spectra around into actual data," said Rob Shirley, Adisseo's poultry technical manager. "Today, PNE's calibrations are encrypted in the cloud, analyses are returned within two to three minutes, and data are always available to the customer in case they want to track the nutritional content of ingredients for purchasing and/or nutrition-related activities."
    The platform provides industry specialists with dynamic information about the nutrient content of 25 common feed ingredients, giving nutritionists, livestock producers and feed manufacturers more control over the nutritional composition of their feeds. It also allows purchasing decisions to be adjusted based on ingredient quality, giving buyers and purchasing groups the ability to shop for the best value and to verify (in a timely manner) that the quality of products they receive is what they paid for.
    "If you look at the purchasing side of the equation, an integrator may have a number of suppliers to choose from," said Shirley. "For example, if a buyer is evaluating three distiller suppliers, the buyer has the option of ranking them according to the amount of digestible lysine within each product. In addition to digestible lysine, the amount of TPP, AME and/or other DAAs in different ingredient sources can be criteria by which to compare suppliers. At this point, buyers can start to rank the value of each supplier based on the product they traditionally deliver."
    The runner-up for the award is the Kentucky Equine Research, Inc. for its MicroSteed Online Ration Wizard. The web-based application integrates with PC-based ration evaluation software, forming continuous communication between the end users, nutrition specialists and industry sales representatives.
    The ongoing conversation generated by the application allows nutrition specialists to evaluate and edit the feed ration provided by the end user. They can also answer questions and give recommendations. The wizard allows industry salesmen to enter the conversation by allowing them to follow up on high-quality leads, offer further support and facilitate sales.
    The application provides benefits to its triangle of users. It provides feed companies with an electronic interaction method with clients and also refers purchasers to dealer locations and online vendors to buy recommended products, increasing overall efficiency of consultation, improving customer service.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Smithfield Foods shareholders approve merger with Shuanghui International

    The shareholders of Smithfield Foods voted overwhelmingly on September 24 to approve the proposed strategic combination with Shuanghui International Holdings Limited. At a special meeting of Smithfield shareholders, more than 96 percent of the votes cast were voted in favor of the transaction, which represents about 76 percent of Smithfield's total outstanding shares of common stock as of the record date.
    Under the agreement, Shuanghui International, China's largest meat processor, would assume ownership of Smithfield, the world's largest pig producer and pork processor, headquartered in Smithfield, Va. The deal was initially announced on May 29.
    "We are pleased with the outcome of today's vote and thank all of our shareholders for their support," said C. Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer of Smithfield. "This is a great transaction for all Smithfield stakeholders, as well as for American farmers and U.S. agriculture. The partnership is all about growth, and about doing more business at home and abroad. It will remain business as usual - only better - at Smithfield, and we look forward to embarking on this new chapter."
    According to the agreement, Smithfield shareholders will receive $34 per share in cash for each share of Smithfield common stock that they own. Upon closing of the transaction, Smithfield's common stock will cease to be publicly traded and the company will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Shuanghui International Holdings Limited, operating as Smithfield Foods. Subject to customary closing conditions, the company expects to complete the combination by September 26.

Cargill inaugurates integrated poultry operation in China

    Cargill on September 23 held the inauguration ceremony of its world-class integrated poultry operation in Lai'an, Anhui, China. Gary Locke, ambassador of the United States of America to China; Chris Langholz, president of Cargill Animal Protein China; Stan Ryan, corporate vice president of Cargill; and representatives from Chinese government agencies participated in the ceremony.
    The fully-integrated project covers each stage of the poultry supply chain, including chicken breeding, raising, feed production, hatching, slaughtering and processing. Cargill incorporated its state-of-the-art technologies and innovations in food safety, poultry breeding, animal nutrition, disease prevention, environmental protection and energy saving into the project. The facility has the capacity to process approximately 65 million chickens per year, as well as 176,000 metric tons poultry products per year. Total investment for the project is approximately $250 million.
    The project, initiated in 2009, is a part of Cargill's effort to support the modernization of agriculture and food safety in China. In this project, Cargill utilized its global expertise to build an integrated supply chain and food safety management system.
    Cargill also will apply environmental and energy efficiency management systems that meet all applicable environment regulations in waste water treatment, waste disposal and emission control.
    "Cargill's investment here in Anhui Province is a shining example of how U.S.-China agricultural cooperation can help China ensure that its people have a safe and reliable source of poultry, while simultaneously strengthening our bilateral economic and agricultural ties," said Locke. "I firmly believe that when our two countries are able to deepen our commercial partnerships, we can bring positive, long-term benefits to the consumers of both our countries."
    Langholz said Cargill is committed to being a valuable partner with the local poultry industry. "We will utilize our global safety standards in food, employee safety and environmental management in China at the same levels we operate our business anywhere else in the world," he said. "We believe that applying our global expertise to local circumstances will help the industry and provide more confidence for Chinese consumers. We wish to thrive together with China and help ensure the sustainable growth of China's poultry industry."
    The project will provide employment to around 4,000 people in the coming few years, which will boost farmer incomes. During the past two years, Cargill has already donated two Cargill Cares Libraries and a water purification system to local Anhui schools. Cargill also has established Cargill classes to train local citizens in modern farming and agricultural management systems in three universities in Anhui province.

HKScan opens new poultry facility in Estonia

    HKScan Corporation is centralizing its Baltic poultry production at its renovated Tabasalu, Estonia, facility. The unit was officially inaugurated in late September and, from the start of 2014, will be responsible for the slaughtering, cutting, deboning and processing of HKScan's poultry meat for the entire Baltic region.
    The plant will take over the production of poultry products previously manufactured at the Loo facility near Tallinn, which retains certain activities such as poultry feed production. The site's hatchery, chicken farm and egg production units will also remain operational.
    The Tabasalu facility has been modernized and expanded over recent years, and the last new lines are to be installed at the end of 2013. The expansion of the facility has increased its combined floor area by 5,000 m2 to a total of 13,000 m2. The €13.5 million (US$18.2 million) investment will enable Tallegg to double its Baltic production capacity and respond to growing demand for poultry products in Estonia and export markets.
    "Bringing added capacity, this investment also enhances our technological capabilities, supporting the development of the Tallegg brand and improving the quality and shelf life or our products," said Teet Stoorm, general manager of HKScan Baltics. "The modernized facilities offer better working conditions for our employees, as process automation has eliminated the need for heavy manually handling."

Meat, poultry inspectors won’t be affected if government shuts down

    While the possibility of a government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year on September 30 looms, all federally inspected meat and poultry plants will continue to receive inspection. According to existing law, USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors are among those employees designed as providing essential functions and they will continue to be paid.
    Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation, in an email to federation members, reassured that inspections will continue and plants will continue to operate with inspectors onsite, he did caution that in the possible event of a government shutdown, the workload with other support functions at FSIS could be impacted, such as administrative appeals and labeling. 

US frozen chicken wing supply still building in August

    Frozen stocks of chicken wings in the United States has continued an upward climb, with August 31 levels increasing 13 percent from the previous month and 83 percent from August 31, 2012. This is the second month in a row frozen wing supplies have jumped 13 percent on a month-over-month basis, according to the USDA's Cold Storage report, released on September 23.
    Many analysts had been speculating that wing supplies were building in anticipation of McDonald's nationwide launch of Mighty Wings. The quick service restaurant giant introduced the wing product on September 9.
    U.S. wings in cold storage on August 31 were at 102.8 million pounds, up 13 percent from the 94 million pounds recorded at the end of July. The August tally was 83 percent higher than the August 2012 totals of 56 million pounds. 

Perdue establishes graduate fellowship program at University of Delaware

    Perdue Farms has awarded a three-year, $125,000 endowment funded by the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation to the University of Delaware to establish the Arthur W. Perdue Graduate Fellowship Program in the university's Department of Animal and Food Sciences. As an Arthur W. Perdue Fellow, the selected student will focus on possible research through the university's Avian Biosciences Center in the areas of broiler growth and efficiency, muscle biology and physiology, and emerging infectious avian diseases and their control.
    Another area of possible research may focus on intestinal microbiology, physiology and impact on microbial populations, including those that present foodbourne disease challenges.
    "The college is grateful to Perdue for providing funding for one of our greatest needs, graduate education," said Mark Rieger, dean of the University of Delaware's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. "Beyond the funding per se, the gift allows for a closer relationship between UD and Perdue, and we will learn much from each other as we collaborate." 

Farbest Foods turkey plant in Vincennes, Ind. expected to open in December

    Construction of a Farbest Foods turkey plant in Vincennes, Ind., is ahead of schedule, with production expected to begin in December. In preparation for the opening, Farbest Foods is interviewing candidates for jobs at the plant.
    The first of a series of job fairs has been conducted, according to news reports. The Farbest Foods plant will initially employ about 300 people.
    The company in 2011 announced its plans to invest $69 million on a 220,000 square-foot building that will sit on 100 acres of land. 

Research aims to prepare world for avian influenza pandemic

    The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is sponsoring a vaccine research project aimed at protecting humans from the H7N9 avian influenza virus and helping prepare the world for a global pandemic. Research will be done at eight sites across the U.S.
    Participating institutions include the University of Maryland, Baylor College of Medicine, Children's Hospital Medical Center of Cincinnati, Group Health Cooperative of Seattle, St. Louis University, University of Iowa, Emory University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.
    While no H7N9 bird flu cases have been reported in the U.S., the virus is susceptible to change and could lead to a global H7N9 pandemic, according to the University of Maryland's co-principal investigator, Dr. James D. Campbell. "There's genetic evidence this virus is mutating toward the possibility of sustained human-to-human transmission," Campbell said.
    The clinical trial is designed to gather critical information about the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and immune system responses it induces at different dosages, with and without adjuvants - substances designed to boost the body's immune response to vaccination.
    Two concurrent Phase II clinical trials will enroll healthy adults, ages 19 to 64 years old, to evaluate an investigational H7N9 vaccine. The candidate vaccine is made from the inactivated H7N9 virus isolated in Shanghai, China, in 2013. Adjuvants are being tested with the investigational vaccine because previous vaccine research involving other H7 influenza viruses has suggested that a vaccine without an adjuvant may not induce an adequate protective immune response.
    A panel of independent experts will closely monitor participant safety data at regular intervals throughout the study. 

Chickens and eggs win in UK Soil Association Organic Food Awards

    An organic chicken producer is the winner in the meat category of 2013's Soil Association Organic Food Awards. The awards showcase the UK's best organic food, says the Soil Association, which campaigns for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use.
    Beating beef, pork and lamb producers, The Story Group won the organic meat category with its Story Organic Chicken. Story Organic Chicken is a traditional breed that ranges well and is particularly suited to organic production, grown from organic chicks, and produced in a dedicated organic hatchery.
    The breed was selected for slow growth, complying with the Soil Association's requirement for a maximum growth rate of 35kg/day. With the slow growth for welfare reasons also comes excellent eating quality with the flesh being firm and with a mild gamey taste.
    The birds are brooded in the field, in small houses up to a maximum of 500 birds, and let out onto a red clover or ryegrass range around day 21, were they are given a mix of artificial and natural cover. The Story Group has its own slaughtering facilities, allowing for the period between catching and slaughtering to be minimized.
    Birds are either sold fresh with no hanging or they are hung for up to one week depending on the customer's requirements. Birds are either sold whole or in parts.
    Organic eggs
    The winner within the organic egg category was Nantclyd Farm. The eggs at Nantclyd Farm are laid by free-range organic hens living in small groups in mobile sheds with year-round access to pasture and hedgerows from dawn until dusk.
    They are fed a home mixed ration based on Welsh grown oats milled on the farm, and are part of the farm rotation, which also includes fruit, vegetables, cereals and sheep. Chicks are reared from a day old on the farm, and poultry is part of a 6-8 year rotation, working with other small organic local farms to maintain year-round supply. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Agriculture journalists learn how agribusiness can feed 9 million people by 2050

    Kim Waalderbos was awarded one of the Alltech-IFAJ Young Leader awards.
    Nine agricultural journalists attended the International Federation of Agricultural Journalists (IFAJ) boot camp, sponsored by Alltech. The event focused on how agribusiness can feed an additional three billion people by 2050 and their role in helping to save the planet.
    Held prior to the IFAJ congress in Argentina, the journalistic, boot camp-style workshop focused on the theme of climate change. Recipients of the Alltech-IFAJ Young Leaders Award discussed agribusiness issues from around the world and further developed their skills through discussion and analysis on agricultural journalism trends, social media applications and a news conference.
    This year's news conference was hosted by Gabriel Gualdoni, sales manager for Alltech Latin America and president of the Argentine Chamber of Animal Nutrition Companies. He presented the paper "Can Agribusiness Feed Three Billion New People… and Save the Planet? A Glimpse into the Future" written by Aidan J. Connolly, vice president of Alltech, and his wife, Kate Phillips-Connolly. The article, featured in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, interviews 25 industry experts and identified seven key barriers that are impeding the ability of agribusiness to feed nine billion people by 2050.
    "We in agriculture must think differently from how we have in the past, by adopting new technology at a faster pace and communicating in a way we never have before," said Gualdoni.
    Winners of this year's Alltech-IFAJ Young Leaders Award from North America are Jennifer Latzke, United States, and Kim Waalderbos, Canada.
    Latzke is an associate editor for High Plains/Midwest Ag Journal, a weekly farm and ranch publication based in Dodge City, Kan. She covers a range of topics such as wheat, canola, cotton, and livestock in a region from the southern counties of Kansas to the west Texas plains. A fifth generation farmer, raising wheat and black Angus cattle on her family's farm in central Kansas, Latzke holds a bachelor's degree in agricultural communications with a minor in animal science. She started work at the journal later that same year. In 2001, she started writing her bi-monthly column, "Common Ground," which has earned her several awards.
    Waalderbos is a freelance writer and dairy farmer living in New Brunswick, Canada. She was raised on a farm in the Maritimes, studied agriculture at the University of Guelph and now owns a dairy farm with her partner, David. Waalderbos has been writing about agricultural stories and working with farm organizations for more than 10 years.
    Other 2013 Alltech-IFAJ Young Leaders are Frida Johnson, ATL, Sweden; Carla Wiese-Smith, The Land, Australia; Darren Carty, Irish Farmers Journal, Ireland; Annette Weber, Austria; Tienke Wouda, Niuewe Oogst, Netherlands; Denene Erasmus, Farmers Weekly, South Africa; Alona Novichkova, broadcast, Ukraine and Rouven Zietz, Germany. Jyotika Sood, Down to Earth, India, was also chosen for the award, but was unable to attend the congress.
    Candidates were nominated by their respective agricultural journalism guilds. The selection process consisted of points for a written submission, judges' impression of the candidates' leadership potential, their proven leadership abilities and a narrative explaining their interest in the young leaders' program. Almost 70 journalists have strengthened their skills and expanded their global network through this program, now in its eighth year.
    "IFAJ is grateful for Alltech's commitment to leadership, education and global communications in our federation," says Owen Roberts, IFAJ vice president. "Young leaders are vital for the longevity of agricultural journalism guilds throughout IFAJ, and support from Alltech is making a difference in the future of the profession."

Lohmann Animal Health presents at conferences across Europe

    Feed additives and avian vaccine manufacturer Lohmann Animal Health has been presenting its product range at conferences across Europe. The company presented at the Poultry Association Congress in Nantes, France and again at a World Poultry Science Association event in Potsdam, Germany. The company also spoke at the International Livestock Trade Fair SPACE in Rennes, France, the XV European Symposium on the Quality of Eggs and Egg Products and the XXI European Symposium on the Quality of Poultry Meat in Bergamo, Italy.
    During the presentations, Lohmann Animal Health covered topics including Salmonella prevention, Camplyobacter prevalence, biosecurity and hygiene.
    The company's next conference will be at the International Egg Commission Conference in Cape Town, South Africa from September 22-26, 2013. Dr. Barbara Grabkowsky, Solutions Director at Lohmann Animal Health, will present.
    At the World Poultry Science Association meeting at the Univeristy of Lleida, Spain, October 2-4, the company will give way conference briefcases to all attendees. Specialists from Lohmann will present on evaluating immunity duration and Gumboro disease vaccines.
    The final events of the year include the International Poultry Conference in Geneva, Switzerland and the Egg and Poultry Industry Conference in Birmingham, England. 

Cobb holds workshops and seminars for Russian farm group

    More than 200 members of the Russian Resurs group attended the Cobb seminars.

    More than 200 specialists of the Russian Resurs group --  from farms in the Stavropol and Krasnodar regions and the Adigeya republic -- have attended a series of workshops and seminars organized by Cobb Europe.
    During the broiler seminar, Richard Weatherley, Cobb broiler specialist, stressed the importance of water quality. "Water is the most important factor for the birds after feed and their health strongly depends on how clean it is," he said. Achieving a satisfactory level of water consumption would help attain good feed consumption, healthy growth and target body weight, he added.
    Cobb technical manager Lydia Malakheeva spoke about the physiology of birds. Climate control in the poultry houses was covered by Cobb technical manager Bukrineva Galina, who said that farms with proper ventilation achieve better feed efficiency and growth rate, lower mortality, fewer rejects and higher profits.
    During the veterinary seminars, Cobb veterinarian Andre Derkx and Lydia Malakheeva emphasized that close cooperation between managers and veterinarians in an enterprise would help guarantee success. Knowledge of aspects of biosecurity helped in stopping infection spreading on to a unit and so preventing undue bird losses.
    Andre Derkx also gave a post-mortem workshop, where he explained his method of autopsy and the critical points in making a correct disease diagnosis.
    Patrick van Trijp, Cobb technical director for Russia, said, "All the events were well supported with the participants appreciating the knowledge and expertise of the speakers. To achieve the best results requires more than just the best genetics, and we encourage our customers to take advantage of our experienced specialists."

USPOULTRY hosts communication strategies workshop

    The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) will host a Communications Strategies Workshop. The focus of the workshop will be to assist attendees develop effective communications about their company and the industry in areas such as crisis management, the use of social media, community outreach endeavors and more. The workshop will be held November 13 -14 at the Embassy Suites Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Ga.
    "Social media, community outreach, changing demographics and global challenges all play a role in how you communicate your company's message - to the media, to your employees and to your communities. As a result, strategic and effective communications is more important than ever to a company's successful operation. Our goal is to provide the tools you need to successfully communicate your company's goals and vision," said program committee chairman, Juan DeVillena of Wayne Farms.
    The program will have several presentations, including:
    • Best Practices for Employee Communication Across the Entire Organizationb
    • Connecting With and Engaging Employees- Cross Generational and Cross Cultural
    • Crisis Communication Management…A Case Study
    • Media Response Strategy…Why Should Companies Respond?
    • Telling Our Story - Empowering Your Employees
    • The Power of Social Media; Community Outreach
    Members of the program committee included Mike Giles of the Georgia Poultry Federation, Cassie Jo Arend of Cooper Farms, Juan DeVillena of Wayne Farms, Kris Carroll of Marel Stork Poultry Processing, Alan Sterling of Wayne Farms, Michelle Ernisee of Meyn America and Devin Wood of Harrison Poultry.
    To register for the Communications Strategies Workshop, visit the USPOULTRY website.

Ban on Arkansas poultry lifted by Russia

    Russia has lifted its ban on Arkansas poultry, effective September 18. With the ban removed, poultry from Arkansas birds slaughtered after June 19 are not eligible for export to Russia, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
    "We're just thrilled to death to see them take the action and lift the ban," said Marvin Childers, president of the Poultry Federation, which serves Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.
    Russian officials implemented the ban shortly after chickens at a farm in Boles, Ark., showed the presence of a low-pathogen form of H7N7 avian influenza during the week of June 17. About 9,000 chickens were destroyed, the farm was disinfected and poultry within a 6.2-mile radius of the farm was quarantined. The area has since been declared free of avian influenza.
    Similar bans on Arkansas poultry were enacted by Japan and China. Those bans are still in place, Childers said. 

Changes to feed, poultry weighing rules go into effect

    Changes to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) rules for weighing feed and poultry have taken effect as of September 20. Its impact will be felt strongly by the poultry and swine industries, which had little time to prepare for the changes, Clayton Bailey, partner in the Dallas law firm of Bailey Brauer PPLC, said.
    Bailey, who spoke September 17 at the Poultry Production and Health Seminar about the topic, addresses some of his concerns in a video, featured on
    Beginning September 20, GIPSA rules require that poultry be transported promptly after loading and weighed within 30 minutes after arrival at the processing plant. The rule also prohibits splitting loads in the weighing process. Other weighing and scaling provisions taking effect include the requirement that feed picked up from farms must be weighed. Another change is that feed and poultry must be reweighed upon USDA request. Previously, only poultry reweighing was included in the rules. "It's going to require the poultry industry as well as the swine industry to modify the tickets they issue when weighing feed and/or poultry," said Bailey.
    "I believe it's going to have a huge impact because the industry was only notified about 30 days before these rules go into effect. Basically the companies are going to have to run out and speak to the folks who put together the software packages for their scales, to modify the software so they can issue these tickets in compliance with these regulations." 

Avian influenza cases in Italy resolved

    Six outbreaks of H7N7 avian influenza in Italy have been resolved, the World Organisation for Animal Health reported. The outbreaks were initially reported from a layer-hen farm on August 10 and confirmed on August 14.
    Control measures used included stamping out, quarantine, movement control, screening and disinfecting the infected premises.
    At least 584,900 birds either died from avian influenza or were euthanized. There was also one human H7N7 infection case, reported on September 2, which was not fatal. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

UK pig producers must innovate for more profitable operations

    More than 150 delegates participated in the 24th annual JSR Farming Conference. The conference's theme of applying science to develop practical solutions looked at how pig producers and business owners can innovate in the quest for more profitable pork production.
    Conference Chairman Dr. Grant Walling, JSR's director of science and technology, opened the conference with a summary of issues that have affected the industry over the last 12 months - namely 'Horse-gate' and the first lab-reared piece of meat, which was a remarkable scientific achievement, but failed to inspire on taste tests.
    "The consumer is the most important person in any supply chain and the horsemeat scandal shows that some parts of the industry have lost that vital connection with them," says Walling. "Too often time is spent looking to squeeze an extra few pence out of the processor, and this can lead to breakdowns in the complex chain, which then leads to an erosion of trust as with the horsemeat scandal."
    The first speakers of the day were JSR's Stephen Waite, head of technology transfer, and Angus Chambers, feeding herd manager, who together demonstrated the progress JSR is making genetically and commercially.
    "It is important to be an early adopter of innovation rather than being a part of the late majority, as if you are not innovating in this industry you are essentially not progressing. In some areas this industry has been laggards for far too long," says Waite.
    With many pig producers struggling to fund the conversion of old farm buildings into state-of-the-art facilities, Angus touched on how this is hampering the finishing efficiency of UK pig production. "A mismatch of building types and feeding systems has historically meant that accurate data recording has been a difficult task at JSR. But with input from nutritionists and vets, as well as the drive and determination of the JSR team, productivity and efficiency is ever increasing."
    Science City York Chief Executive, Professor, Nicola Spence talked about 'The Innovation Pig' and how a scientific approach can be used within problem solving. Challenges such as those brought about by a growing population will inevitably mean an increased demand for food, land, energy and other resources.
    Businesses need to adapt and use the innovative people and ideas within their organizations. Nicola went on to share with delegates how the 'innovation piggies' within her team are vital to the progression and profitability of Science City York, and creative people should be identified and encouraged in every business.
    Giving an insight into European pig production, Dutch pig farmer, Hennie Smeenk shared the story of his family farm and how it grew and evolved into a 21st century  modern pig production unit.
    Expanding from only 15 pigs, he now houses 1,000 sows and has entered into a partnership with Dutch company, De Heus, carrying out feed trials and offering international visits around his unit. Speaking frankly about the struggles he and his family have faced over the years, Hennie also expressed how pig production has evolved on the continent and his thoughts for the future.
    For the second year running, Ed Garner of Kantar Worldpanel wowed delegates with an impressive presentation of facts and figures, expertly delivered and appreciatively received.
    With pressure on household budgets, delegates saw the evidence in numbers as to how foreign supermarket chains such as Aldi and Lidl, are profiting from consumers that are feeling the pinch.
    Not surprisingly, following the horsemeat scandal, buying habits changed, demonstrating the consumers' quest for traceable, certified meat products. However, months on these trends have slowly reverted back as 'Horse-gate' becomes more of a distant memory.
    An array of figures and graphs, from extensive research demonstrated how household incomes were analyzed to determine where shoppers were most likely to do their weekly shop or in contrast were least likely to make a purchase. In addition, the latest marketing strategies and messages adopted by the supermarket 'Big 4' were shared.
    Closing the conference, Jim Brisby of Cranswick plc., talked about how the UK needs to differentiate and compete in new ways to produce successful products. Emphasis was placed on the need for transparent, sustainable supply chains that give the consumer confidence and encourage stable buying habits.
    Brisby delivered information on consumption trends and coping strategies and how the need for food security is imperative to avoid supply chain failures in the future, even when the consumer is under financial pressure.
    "Given the challenges we have seen in the meat supply industries over the last 12 months, it was important this year, more than ever, that we had speakers to provoke innovative concepts accessible to the pork supply chain and I am satisfied that the conference did exactly that," says Walling.

Biomin probiotic receives EU authorization as feed additive

    Biomin announced that its multi-species, host-specific probiotic has received EU authorization as a feed additive for fattening chickens.
    The feed additive will be marketed in the EU under the umbrella of the PoultryStar brand. The European Food Safety Authority's (EFSA) positive scientific opinion confirms that the probiotic feed additive is safe for animals, humans and the environment and efficacious for use in the target species.
    For the development of PoultryStar intensive research work, supported by the EU Commission, was carried out in Biomin laboratories and in collaboration with several universities and partners from the industry. PoultryStar is the result of a decades-long multinational research and industrial partnership.
    The unique probiotic strains in PoultryStar were isolated from the gut of healthy chickens, making them host-specific, safe and efficacious for use as a feed additive for poultry. More importantly, the PoultryStar strains were selected from different parts of the chicken intestinal tract to ensure their reproduction and colonization throughout most of the gut. The product promotes beneficial gut microflora in day-old chicks and birds of all ages, making them more resistant to pathogens.
    Michaela Mohnl, director of Competence Center Microbials, says, "Several feeding trials worldwide have already confirmed the efficacy of PoultryStar in alleviating a wide range of pathogenic conditions such as coccidiosis, necrotic enteritis, bacterial lameness and salmonellosis, in addition to improving performance parameters."
    PoultryStar is a proven solution for improving the microbial intestinal balance and gut health of poultry. It thereby addresses the demand for a product to help tackle potential problems resulting from ever-tighter restrictions worldwide on in-feed antibiotics, such as a greater occurrence of infectious poultry diseases, performance losses, food-borne diseases in humans and the increased use of therapeutic antibiotics.
    The presentation of PoultryStar at two recent high-profile scientific conferences in Europe -- the 18th World Veterinary Poultry Association Congress in France and the 19th European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition in Germany -- was very well received.
    "Feed additives are viable alternatives to tackle potential health problems in poultry which is a necessity in our industry," says Mickaël Rouault, technical and marketing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. "PoultryStar offers nutritionists and veterinarians confidence as a tried-and-tested product with strong scientific evidence that proves its ability to effectively enhance the health of birds especially in the starter and grower phases. A strong gut helps secure the performance and homogeneity of broiler flocks through to the finishing stages of growth."

Sanderson Farms to begin construction of new complex October 1

    Construction of Sanderson Farms' new poultry complex in Palestine, Texas, is slated to start on October 1. Sanderson Farms previously announced the selection of this location on February 14, but plans for construction had been on hold because of uncertainty surrounding grain prices, as well as other contingencies, including obtaining approval from the Sanderson Farms board of directors to move forward with the project.
    The new complex will consist of a feed mill, hatchery, poultry processing plant and wastewater facility. At full capacity, the Palestine facility will process 1.25 million head of chickens per week for the big bird-deboning market.
    "We are very pleased the board has authorized an increase in our dividend rate and granted final approval to commence construction of our next poultry complex," commented Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms.
    "Our solid financial and operating performance, consistent growth and strong balance sheet have allowed us to move forward on both of these actions and further demonstrate our confidence in Sanderson Farms' future and our commitment to building shareholder value.
    "We are excited about the new opportunities ahead for Sanderson Farms as we expand our production capacity and presence in Texas. We sincerely appreciate the support, encouragement and welcome we have received from the public officials and communities in Palestine, Anderson County, Freestone County and Austin, and we look forward to this next stage of growth for our shareholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders."

New poultry antibiotic products not likely soon, veterinarian says

    Regardless of how the fates of the Veterinary Feed Directive or Guidance 213 affect animal antibiotic use, Zoetis veterinarian Timothy Cummings does not expect any new antibiotic products for poultry to come down the pipeline anytime soon. It's not because pharmaceutical companies don't want to develop new products that could improve poultry health, he said, but because the process of gaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has become too cumbersome.
    "Even though there are processes for new products to come online, FDA approval for new poultry antibiotic products that are classified as medically important is highly unlikely," Cummings said during the Poultry Production and Health Seminar on September 17. "Look at it from a pharmaceutical point of view. There are so many hoops they'll have to jump through, and even then, you might not get the product."
    Cummings said even though it appears a resolution is near for the guidances for industry, regulatory hurdles will still exist. Socio-political challenges will also persist, as poultry processors will still get requests to not use antibiotics.
    "This antibiotic issue is not over. We're coming to some sort of resolution to some degree with these guidances that are being implemented, but we're going to continue to face regulatory and socio-political challenges. Just because some of these guidances are going to pass, you'll still get requests to not use antibiotics."

Poultry science partnership formed by Arkansas universities

    The University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff have entered an agreement in hopes of filling a need for more graduates in the poultry industry. A ceremony was held September 13, where a memorandum of understanding between the two universities was signed.
    The "3+1 course curriculum" collaboration allows agriculture majors with an animal science option at University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to take poultry science classes at the University of Arkansas during their senior year. Those courses will be recognized by the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and will count toward degree requirements there. At the same time, those same students will earn a poultry science undergraduate certificate of excellence from the University of Arkansas. Completion of the certificate requires 26 to 28 hours of poultry science credit.
    "This is something the poultry industry has been asking for and we're happy to be in a position to help make this happen," said Mike Kidd, head of the poultry science department at the University of Arkansas. "There are currently more jobs available in the poultry industry than the poultry science departments across the country can fill. In reality, this is a partnership between the two universities and the poultry industry. In order to meet industry needs, we're going to get creative and do things like this."
    Several representatives from the poultry industry attended the signing ceremony.