Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mountaire Farms seeks $216,757 in grants to expand poultry facility

    Poultry processing company Mountaire Farms is seeking more than $200,000 in grant money from the state of Delaware to expand its processing plant in Millsboro, Del. Mountaire Farms is asking for a state Strategic Fund Performance grant of up to $87,759 and a state Strategic Fund Capital Expenditure grant of up to $129,000.
    Mountaire's request for state funds is one of several being considered by the Delaware Council on Development Finance in Dover, the Associated Press reported.
    To date, Mountaire Farms has been successful in securing state grants to grow its operations. In April, Mountaire Farms was awarded a $255,000 grant from the Delaware Strategic Fund to build a hatchery in Millsboro. The hatchery was expected to increase chick production 1.8 million each week. Also, in 2010, the Delaware Economic Development Office offered Mountaire a $787,500 Strategic Fund grant to assist with the development and construction of a new facility to recover unused protein from processing operations for use in making commercial pet food.

Babcock Genetics launches Breed Select Program

    Babcock Genetics Inc., a worldwide supplier of swine genetics, announces the international launch of the Breed Select Program, a new genetic program available to swine producers.
    "Babcock has focused our research on developing a program that would offer a higher level of profitability to our customers," said James McPeak, President, Babcock Genetics. "We are maximizing genetic improvement by selecting lines that best complement each other."
    The new Breed Select Program will improve key traits that are important profit drivers for swine producers.  Producers will see a substantial improvement in number born while maintaining high individual piglet birth weights. Babcock currently supplies its customers with a robust, disease resistant animal that grows fast and is an efficient feed converter.

Indian River aims for further growth in Asia, Middle East and Africa

    Indian River, an Aviagen brand, is looking for further growth in the Asian and the Middle East and Africa (TMEA) market, following the success of a recent Indian River Technical Association (IRTA) meeting held in Malaysia.
    Indian River has been recognized as one of the fastest growing brands in a market which is still expanding. Now a regular fixture, this was the third IRTA meeting to be held and provide a platform for all Indian River customers to get the latest advice from key staff and share their own experiences.
    It was also a chance to spend time with the members of the growing customer service and the wider Aviagen team.
    Fred Kao, Business Manager, said:
    "Indian River is proving to be a bird that really delivers in the market. We are seeing popularity increase and as a result, have invested heavily in ensuring that our team and support network is able to grow along with our customer base.
    "Our technical association meeting is another demonstration of that. A significant portion of time was given over to hearing from different countries and customers on the latest situations, issues and of course successes they had experienced before we looked at some of the other agenda points."
    The three day event saw customers including Bounty Fresh Foods and ACOLID address the 53 strong audience. This was then followed by a number of technical presentations, including one from Japfa Indonesia, on topics such as the rationale for feeding into lay and the importance of uniformity in breeders.
    The second day looked very much at flock management, including lighting techniques, problem solving and biosecurity. The final day allowed for a bit of fun with a team building exercise and a shopping trip to the Gurney Plaza shopping mall.
    Aziz Haque from Nilsagor of Bangladesh said: "This is the most productive meeting I had attended with good emphasis in both the broiler and breeder topics. It will be great if we can do this on a yearly basis so the exchange of information will continue to flow."
    Other attendees added: "The Indian River technical meeting is very good. I have a lot of good impressions about the program. The approach is very practical and leads to useful application in the field".
    "The team problem solving was very good and interesting and was educational as well as fun. Well done for preparing a good scenario for everyone to get involved."

Danbred North America is now DNA Genetics

    A leading swine genetics company now has a new name and a new focus, while remaining under the same independent U.S. ownership. DNA Genetics - formerly known as Danbred North America, a Danbred distributor - is committed to meeting the genetic needs of U.S. and Canadian pork producers.
    "DNA Genetics will use our Danish genetics as its foundation, but we are now independent of Denmark's genetic program," says Brett Bonwell, CEO of DNA Genetics. "Operating independently of Denmark gives us the ability to focus on the traits and economic value that are most important to the profitability of our North American customers. The result will be providing customers with the best genetic value for greater gains and improved performance."
    The separation from the Danish genetic system is an amicable one. "It came down to the fact that our business approach and how we deliver economic value for our customers no longer matched theirs," he states.
    The company is ready to operate independently. "We have always been set up to run separately in the case of a trade barrier or disease outbreak, so while the circumstances are different, we are ready to provide a seamless transition for our customers," he says.
    The biggest change? Trait selection will now be based solely on a North American economic model instead of a European model of production. The company is investing $5 million to move the current genetics to a new level for the North American market. This includes investments in database development, people, and the new, state-of-the-art InSight Performance Center. InSight, set to be fully operational by 2014, will be fully equipped to measure feed intake, with more than 2,000 boars on-test at any given time, surpassing the capability of the Danish system.
    "Our customers will be working with the same people and the same pigs," Bonwell says. "Our new AccuGain Genetics Program is designed to accelerate trait availability into our customers' herds and provide advantages producers won't find elsewhere."
    AccuGain is based on six principles:
    1. A disciplined culture of team members committed to nothing but genetic improvement and biosecurity
    2. A robust nucleus herd with large numbers of animals in each line
    3. Optimizing the movement of improved genetics into the nucleus, having the lowest generation level in the industry
    4. A commitment to performance testing that involves testing more animals of both sexes per line compared with other genetic companies
    5. An exclusive Helix genetics database that combines nucleus, customer, multiplier and genomic data to improve selection accuracy and enhance genetic progress
    6. Gene Transfer Centers that are company owned or managed, resulting in faster availability of the most advanced genetic potential 
    Selection for maternal lines will focus on productivity, feed efficiency, lean gain, structural soundness and durability. Terminal lines will focus on lean gain and feed efficiency while maintaining and improving the company's lead in producing full-value pigs.
    "Our purebred DNA Genetics Line 200 Yorkshire and Line 400 Landrace grandparent animals produce our DNA Genetics Line 241 F1 females," Bonwell says. "Our F1 females have a proven ability to wean 32 or more uniform, high-quality pigs per sow per year. The foundation of our maternal selection program is Live Pigs at 5 Days™, which more accurately predicts number of pigs weaned compared to total born and simultaneously improves pig quality and livability."
    The company will test for feed efficiency on more than 8,000 boars annually. "Our DNA Genetics Line 600 Duroc is a high-performing, terminal line that is designed to excel in North American production settings and produces exceptionally efficient average daily carcass gain," explains Bonwell. "This line excels in producing robust offspring, which results in more total pounds of full-value carcass per sow."
    DNA Genetics is investing in people and recently added geneticist Dr. Caitlyn Abell to its team. "In addition, we will collaborate with external advisory teams to gain input and insight from some of the sharpest minds in the business. We view our customers as partners and will work to make sure they have the best genetics in the world."

United effort delivers crucial European meat inspection vote

    The long-overdue modernization of European meat inspection remains on track following the approval of visual assessments and Food Chain Information as the core processes for ensuring that meat is produced in the correct way and is safe to eat.
    "We've been working for the last three years to bring sense and reality into Europe's 100-year-old meat inspection structure and are delighted that last-ditch attempts to block changes to EU pig inspection were defeated in the European Parliament earlier this month," said Alan McNaughton, president of the Scottish Association of Meat Wholesalers (SAMW). "If MEPs had voted in favor of the status quo for pig inspections they would have killed inspection reforms across the whole meat industry. That would have been a disaster in relation to the continued growth and development of our own forward-looking and high quality Scottish meat industry.
    "Thankfully, a united effort by industry bodies, the Food Standards Agency and several UK MEPs, blocked the wrecking move, to the enormous benefit of meat production, processing and consumption in the years ahead."
    The way is now clear for pork to be declared fit for human consumption following a detailed visual assessment of the carcass concerned, aligned to the provision of all necessary Food Chain Information (FCI). Exposing carcasses to systematic incision or palpation, which has been around for more than a century, will no longer be the routine inspection answer, almost regardless of what questions were asked. These processes will still be available for use when appropriate, of course, but will not be trotted out purely for historic reasons.
    "It is entirely correct that processes designed to counter the common disease and infection risks of the early 1900s should be removed from modern meat inspection," said McNaughton.  "The new approach we now have for pigs, and can begin looking forward to having for cattle and sheep, is efficient, effective and totally science-based. It addresses the disease and infection risks we face today, and it does it very well indeed."
    The SAMW president also paid tribute to the involvement in the pig vote process of Scottish MEPs George Lyon and Alyn Smith, FSA's Javier Dominguez and the team at UECBV.
    "The combined efforts of George, Alyn and Javier were extremely effective in the run up to this crucial vote," said McNaughton. "The time and effort taken in relation to this issue, by such a broadly-based spread of people and organizations, highlights the importance of the decision which has now been reached.  In fact, while meat inspection and legislation often attracts many differing views and opinions, this was one issue on which all sides came together to the long-term benefit of producers, processors and consumers."

Banff Pork Seminar 2014 targets challenges, opportunities

    There aren't many questions bigger than those today in pork production or agriculture generally, and the upcoming Banff Pork Seminar has set an aggressive program to tackle those issues Jan. 21 to 23, 2014 in Banff, Alberta.
    "Over more than 40 years the Banff Pork Seminar (BPS) has built a reputation as a leading seminar in the pork industry globally by tackling issues directly with the best speakers of the day," says Don Down, chair of the BPS advisory committee. "This coming year, we've picked a theme of 'Today's challenges, tomorrow's opportunities' and offer two plenary sessions and 10 breakout sessions that help producers and industry prepare for their future."
    On the challenge side, social pressure and animal care are major issues facing the industry and the first plenary tackles both. "The impact of social pressure in the marketplace" is addressed by Dallas Hockman, vice-president of industry relations for the National Pork Producers in the U.S.
    "The dignity of raising animals for food" is speaker Dr. Nelson Kloosterman's topic. He is executive director and ethics consultant for Worldview Resources International, a service organization committed to understanding and applying a religious worldview to responsible living in a global culture.
    Thursday's plenary looks at the opportunities side. "We are seeing significant consolidation in the pork industry and we look at that from an opportunities perspective," says Down.  Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics from the U.S. addresses "Global economics driving Canadian production," and Jose Cardenas of Elanco Animal Health speaks on "Technology - The Vital Ingredient for Producing Efficient, Affordable and Abundant Food Globally."
    The 10 breakout sessions allow every delegate to custom design their own program, says Dr. Ruurd Zijlstra, BPS program director. "These sessions offer multiple speakers who bring issues down to a very practical level that producers can use in their operations.
    "Controlling feed costs is always a major factor and we have a session on that and another on mycotoxins which have reared their head again in the industry. There is a session on making the most of labor, a huge issue for producers today.
    "We look at industry structure and finance, the latest on the new national animal care codes being implemented, and how to advocate for pork and production. There's a session on novel research and application, one on sow productivity, a session on swine health and another on getting pigs to slaughter more efficiently."
    The 2014 Seminar closes with a Boar Pit Session and reception, a chance for people to question industry experts in an informal, open and entertaining way. "We had excellent feedback on this event from the past year and we are pleased to continue it again this year," says Zijlstra.
    Early registration is encouraged with a significant discount for registering before Nov. 15, 2013. "We've worked to build in various registration options, including new options for group registrations," says Zijlstra.
    "With strong attendance from across Canada and internationally each year this seminar offers an excellent networking opportunity," he adds.
    The best place to get full registration details, program information and latest news on the 2014 Banff Pork Seminar is the Seminar website.

New human infections of avian influenza signal new wave in China

    Five new human cases of avian influenza in eastern China signal the potential for a new epidemic wave in the upcoming winter months, scientists said. The high-pathogenic H7N9 avian influenza earlier in 2013 first infected around 135 people and killed 45, but until five new cases emerged in October, health officials had thought human infections were on the decline.
    The new cases indicate "a possible risk of a larger outbreak of H7N9 this winter," according to Chinese researchers writing in the online journal Eurosurveillance.
    Ab Osterhaus, a leading virologist based at the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands who has been tracking the virus, told Reuters: "We're bracing for what's going to happen next."
    The new cases also suggest the virus "has apparently continued to circulate in an animal reservoir during the summer," the researchers said.

Mexico bans chicken from Foster Farms plants tied to Salmonella outbreak

    Mexico has banned imports of Foster Farms chicken from the three California plants connected to a recent Salmonella outbreak that caused more than 300 people in the U.S. to become ill. Mexican authorities contacted the U.S. Department of Agriculture on October 22 and asked them to delist the two Fresno facilities and another in Livingston.
    Other Foster Farms plants in California, Oregon and Washington were not delisted.
    USDA officials told news outlets this is the first time Mexico has delisted a facility based on a public health alert issued by the Food Safety and Inspection Service. Foster Farms did not recall any of the chicken, but several retailers, including Kroger and Costco, did.
    It's not clear how much chicken Foster Farms exports to Mexico or how severely the ban will affect Foster Farms sales.

Bachoco profits up for first nine months of 2013, down for third quarter

    Profits for Mexican poultry producer Bachoco dropped nearly 2.2 percent during the third quarter of fiscal year 2013, but its profits for the first nine months of 2013 improved by 17.6 percent when compared to the first nine months of 2012. Bachoco released its financial results for the quarter ending September 30 on October 24.
    "This was a typical third quarter for the company, in terms of seasonality, with chicken prices at their weakest. Nevertheless, we continued to post positive results and margins in all of our main business lines, with chicken volumes fully recovering by the end of the third quarter as we had anticipated," said Bachoco CEO Rodolfo Ramos Arvizu. "As a result, we estimate that our chicken market share has been recovered, thanks to the confidence of our clients in our company and the excellent job of our sales force. Additionally, we faced a tough basis of comparison due to strong results posted in the third quarter of 2012, which was atypically strong, in terms of seasonality for the poultry industry."
    Profits were reported at Ps. 8,155.5 million for the third quarter of 2013, compared to the Ps. 8,342.6 million recorded for the third quarter of 2013. However, its profits for the first nine months of 2013 were measured at Ps. 5,267.1, a 17.6 percent improvement from the Ps. 4.420 million recorded during the first nine months of 2012.
    Bachoco's third quarter net sales totaled Ps. 9,437 million, 4.7 percent below the Ps. 9,901 million reported in the third quarter of 2012. The change mainly resulted from lower chicken prices in the Mexican market and a drop in chicken volume when compared to the third quarter of 2012. Total sales for the first nine months of 2013 increased 4.6 percent when compared to the same period of 2012.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sanderson Farms raises revolving credit to facilitate expansion

    Poultry processor Sanderson Farms' existing revolving credit facility through a consortium of banks has been increased from $500 million to $600 million, the company announced October 24. The new credit agreement will help Sanderson Farms facilitate its expansion plans, which includes a new big bird deboning complex that is being built in Palestine, Texas.
    "We are pleased to make these amendments to our credit facility to support our strategic growth plan for the next five years, including the construction of our new poultry complex in Palestine, Texas," said Joe Sanderson Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms." We appreciate the support of our bank group and we believe the amended terms and covenants reflect their confidence in the future of Sanderson Farms."
    The credit remains unsecured and certain covenants related to the company's financial condition and capital expenditure needs have been amended in anticipation of the company's future growth plans.  In addition, the termination date has been extended to October 24, 2018, unless otherwise extended. As of October 24, the company had no outstanding borrowings under the then existing revolving credit facility, but the company did have about $11.0 million outstanding letters of credit under the credit facility.

Free Butterball turkeys to be given to college football fans

    The Portland State University football team is hosting its first "Turkey Bowl" on October 26. Each of the first 5,000 adult ticket holders at the game, where the Vikings take on the University of North Dakota, will get a voucher for a free Butterball turkey.
    Tickets to the Big Sky Conference game cost $19, and ticket holders will each get a voucher for a 10-pound Butterball turkey, according to news sources. The vouchers are redeemable at any store that sells Butterballs. Two vouchers can be used for a 20-pound turkey.

Broiler eggs set in US up 6 percent for week ending October 19

    Commercial broiler hatcheries in the United States set 188 million eggs in incubators during the week ending October 19, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)'s Broiler Hatchery report released on October 23. That was a 6 percent increase when compared to the corresponding week of 2012.
    The Broiler Hatchery report, the first of its kind released since the partial government shutdown in early October, also showed an increase in broiler chick placements for the same week. An estimated 162 million broiler chicks were placed, for a year-over-year increase of 5 percent. Cumulative placements for the period between December 30, 2012, and October 19 were at 6.91 billion chicks, a 1 percent increase from the comparable period of the previous year.

Keystone Foods to build Indonesia poultry and beef processing facility

    Keystone Foods plans to build its first processing facility in Indonesia in 2014, handling poultry and beef products. Geographic expansion, prioritizing Indonesia and the Middle East, is a key part of Keystone's growth plans, according to the company. The new facility will have an operating capacity of 10,000 metric tons per year, require an initial investment of $6 million and will be principally poultry-focused but will also process beef products.
    The company is also considering whether to build its first pattie and processed foods facility in the Middle East. The Middle East region is currently serviced from Keystone's operations in Malaysia and Thailand.
    Keystone's executive vice president for the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa (APMEA) region, Richard Wong, said the company currently has production facilities in Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, China, Hong Kong and South Korea that serve other APMEA countries.

Danisco explores benefits of feed additives beyond growth performance

    Dr. Ajay Awati, development lead at DuPont subsidiary Danisco Animal Nutrition, presented on the topic "Benefits of Feed Additives Beyond Growth Related Performance for Animal Production" at the Animal Nutrition conference in Brussels, Belgium, on October 23.
    Awati, a qualified veterinarian and doctor of Animal Sciences with over eight years healthy nutrition experience and an extensive back catalogue of peer reviewed publications, argued that while the role that feed additives play in achieving growth performance is extremely important, their use can also contribute to broader animal and consumer welfare. He used specific examples to demonstrate how enzymes, natural betaine, essential oils and Direct Fed Microbials (DFMs) can achieve strong long term profitability for animal producers by improving healthy performance parameters and positively impacting the environment, public health and animal product quality.
    His presentation spanned the role of feed additives in supporting gut health, reducing dependence on antibiotics, achieving compliance with environmental and food safety legislation, and ultimately in achieving both commercial success and food security.
    "The feed additive business has come a long way since the 1980s, when the emphasis was on using feed additives just to improve production performance of animals," said Awati. "We understand a lot more today about the role of feed additives in animal gut health and others factors that can support healthy development. We can use that knowledge to achieve long term success and profitability for our customers in today's challenging scenarios and help them feed the world in years to come."

Asia/Pacific feed and grain shows to be largest ever, say organizers

    The feed and grain exhibitions being held April 2014 in Bangkok will be the largest ever, according to show organizers. FIAAP Asia, VICTAM Asia and GRAPAS Asia 2014 are already bigger than the 2012 shows, and are expected to continue growing.
    Executives attending the events will find the exhibition halls full of products and services that will enable them to conduct their businesses more efficiently. Many of the exhibitors will be displaying products that will reduce energy consumption, increase productivity, enhance products, improve safety in the workplace and in end products while increasing profitability.
    FIAAP, the feed ingredient and additive exhibition, has grown since 2012. Major international companies that supply ingredients will be displaying their latest products, many of which will enable feed formulators and nutritionists to source more cost effective/alternative base ingredients for their feed formulations. CEOs and directors will also be studying the cost benefits offered by the FIAAP exhibitors. They, together with their mill managers, will also be assessing the variety of the latest feed processing equipment and technology that will be on show at the VICTAM stands. At the GRAPAS exhibition, rice millers, flour millers and grain processors will also find solutions, as there will be a wide range of equipment and services applicable for these industry sectors. The latest milling technology will be on show as well as the ancillary systems that are required in mills.
    So far there are roughly 170 exhibitors from 22 different countries signed up, and there is still space for even more exhibitors.
    The shows will take place at the modern, fully air-conditioned purpose-built BITEC exhibition center in Bangkok on April 8-10, 2014.

Lohmann Animal Health honors young researchers with Dissertation Prize 2013

    On October 10, four pre-selected finalists of the competition for the Lohmann Dissertation Prize 2013 presented the topics and contents of their theses in front of a jury of experts as well as an audience of young scientists and students of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover. The event took place on the university campus in the Bayer auditorium of the Richard-Götze-House and gave all participants an excursion into the various research areas, not only into those of the doctoral candidates but also into those of the institutes which had hosted the Ph.D. theses.
    Finalists Dr. Denise Gessner, Dr. Amr Abd El-Wahab, Dr. Behnam Saremi and Dr. Henning Petersen held the presentations of their dissertations in Hanover as young yet renowned researchers in their individual field of expertise. All dissertations presented had been written in English and completed within the last two years. Topics included:
    • Investigations on the effects of nutritional and physiological factors on stress-responsive transcription factors in animal and cell culture models (Dr. Denise Gessner - Doctor of Natural Sciences)
    • Experimental studies on effects of diet composition (electrolyte contents), litter quality (type, moisture) and infection (coccidia) on the development and severity of foot pad dermatitis in young turkeys housed with or without floor heating (Dr. Amr Abd El-Wahab - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)
    • Characterization of insulin sensitivity and inflammation related factors in dairy cows receiving conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) or a control fat supplement during lactation (Dr. Behnam Saremi - Doctor of Agricultural Sciences)
    • Comparative investigations on interspecies adaptation of low-pathogenic avian influenza viruses (AIV) and the impact of NS-reassortment of highly-pathogenic AIV on virus-host interactions in different poultry species (Dr. Henning Petersen - Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)
    The winners' rankings were:
    • First place, including a premium of €2,000 for the doctoral student and €15,000 for the supervising institute: Dr. Henning Petersen and Clinic for Poultry of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (Prof. Dr. Silke Rautenschlein and Dr. Arne Jung)
    • Second place, including a premium of €1,000 for the doctoral student and €8,000 for the supervising institute: Dr. Denise Gessner and Institute of Animal Nutrition and Nutritional Physiology of the Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen (Prof. Dr. Klaus Eder)
    • Third place, a novelty and assigned to the two other finalists, together with a premium of €500 for each of the two doctoral students and €3,000 for each of the two supervising institutes: Dr. Amr Abd El - Wahab and Institute for Animal Nutrition of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover (Prof. Dr. Josef Kamphues); and Dr. Behnam Saremi and Institute for Animal Science, Department of Physiology and Hygiene of the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn (Prof. Dr. Helga Sauerwein and Prof. Dr. Karlheinz Suedekum)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dutch ambassador visits Norfolk BOCM Pauls mill

    BOCM Pauls, a UK-based animal feed company, has hosted a fact-finding visit by Her Excellency Laetitia van den Assum, ambassador of the Kingdom of The Netherlands, at its Tucks Mill in Burston, Norfolk. Producing more than 300,000 metric tons of pig and poultry feed annually for farmers in Norfolk and Suffolk, the mill is the largest operated by BOCM Pauls, which is owned by European livestock feed manufacturer ForFarmers B.V., headquartered at Lochem in The Netherlands.
    The ambassador was at Burston to find out more about the UK agricultural sector and how BOCM Pauls operates as part of a program by The Netherlands Embassy in London. Accompanied by Dr. Henk de Jong, agricultural counsellor and Stella van Bemmelen, agricultural assistant, the ambassador was welcomed by Bert-Jan Ruumpol, CEO, ForFarmers B.V., Iain Gardner, CEO, BOCM Pauls and Nick Major, corporate affairs director, ForFarmers.
    Following an introduction to BOCM Pauls by Gardner, Ruumpol outlined ForFarmers' strategy, objectives and reasons for investing in the UK, while Major discussed the opportunities and challenges for the UK's food and farming sector. Her Excellency was then shown around the mill by Ketill Lord, regional operations manager, BOCM Pauls, providing an opportunity to see the entire production process, from raw materials being delivered to finished feed products being loaded for delivery to farms throughout the region. The visit concluded with a discussion on how the embassy of The Netherlands might assist the company in its future development.

Avian influenza’s spread being prevented in Australia

    An avian influenza outbreak reported at a layer farm in New South Wales, Australia, is being contained, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) reported on October 23. The outbreak was initially reported on October 16.
    As many as 435,000 free range and cage layer hens between 22 and 79 weeks old were initially susceptible to the avian influenza outbreak, with 18,000 hen fatalities. No further infected properties have been found, the OIE reported, and 75 percent of the susceptible birds have been removed.
    A restricted area within a half-kilometer radius of the affected farm has been established. It is surrounded by a control area with a five-kilometer radius, which is under quarantine. Tracing of all movements with birds, eggs, people and vehicles is under way. An epidemiological investigation is being conducted in hopes of determining the source of the avian influenza infection.

Poultry grower Lois Alt prevails in lawsuit against EPA

    A federal judge ruled on October 23 that the Environmental Protection Agency had no legal right to force West Virginia poultry grower Lois Alt to obtain water pollution permits for litter, dust and feathers that rain may wash away and that runoff is not in violation of the Clean Water Act. U.S. District Judge John Preston Bailey said the runoff is not a fixed pollution source and is exempt from the requirement to obtain permits.
    The dispute between Alt and the EPA dates back to 2011, when the agency threatened to fine Alt if she didn't seek a permit for her farm, which it called a "concentrated animal feeding operation." The order said Alt would have to pay $37,500 in fines each time stormwater came into contact with dust, feathers or small amounts of manure outside of her poultry houses.
    Alt responded by filing her own legal challenge to the agency in June 2012. The EPA eventually withdrew the fines, but with the help of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the West Virginia Farm Bureau, Alt kept her case alive.
    The ruling has drawn applause from poultry and agriculture groups.
    "We applaud Judge Bailey's decision to issue a summary judgment. We are pleased that Ms. Alt's legal uncertainty has been resolved in her favor by a common sense ruling that is consistent with a clear understanding of the Clean Water Act," said John Starkey, president of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.

Webinar presents mycotoxin strategies for 2013 corn harvest


    Register for the free webinar, "Mycotoxin strategies for 2013 corn harvest," which will take place November 19, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. Central and feature Dr. Raj Murugesan, technical specialist at BIOMIN, and Christy Swoboda, laboratory director and quality manager at Romer Labs. Murugesan and Swoboda will review several strategies that have been established to reduce mycotoxin exposure, like improved agricultural practices and crop management as well as plant breeding.
    The webinar, moderated by Feed International/Feed Management Editor Jackie Roembke, will cover the following topics:
    • How to take advantage of the mycotoxin analytical service
    • The prevalence of mycotoxins in North American corn
    • The effects of mycotoxicosis in animals 
    This webinar is presented by WATT Global Media and sponsored by BIOMIN/Romer Labs.

Grain Market Outlook Conference highlights growing influence of China

    The growing influence of the Chinese market on international wheat markets was highlighted at the 2013 HGCA Grain Market Outlook Conference held in London on October 15.
    The annual conference, which presents the first overview of the new season, attracted a sell-out audience of industry analysts, economists, growers, processors, traders and retailers.
    AHDB Senior Cereals and Oilseeds Analyst, Jack Watts, began the conference with a paper on the outlook of wheat, maize and barley for 2013/14 season. He questioned whether market dynamics were shifting from the West to the East.
    Chris Gadd of Macquarie Securities presented on oilseeds markets, looking at ways exporters and importers can manage risks, and how infrastructure is a major issue in ensuring markets continually move forward.
    FCStone's Silvia Ren compared grain markets in the UK and China, and considered the need for the East to move to a more transparent and independent market.
    Graham Redman from the Andersons Centre concluded the conference. His paper on resilience looked at how UK cereal growers have responded to two challenging seasons, and how the industry can be better equipped to deal with future change.
    Director of HGCA Rebecca Geraghty said: "The 2012/13 season has again been challenging for the industry, and this year's speakers continue to give the cereals supply chain timely information which is relevant to their businesses."
    Speaker presentations are available online.

Agricultural council presents 2013 Borlaug CAST Communication Award

    The Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST) presented the 2013 Borlaug CAST Communication Award to Jeff Simmons, the president of Elanco, at a morning event in conjunction with the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa, on October 16. Recipients of this annual award are science/agriculture experts who demonstrate an ability to communicate by written material, public presentations, and various forms of media. Simmons is known for his communication skills and praised for his understanding of scientific data, his enthusiasm for agricultural innovations, and his passion about finding solutions for food security.
    Both this year's award and the breakfast presentation event were sponsored by DuPont. A roundtable discussion organized by Elanco followed the CAST program. Simmons previewed his new white paper, Enough: The Fight for a Food Secure Tomorrow. The panel of experts included Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Land O'Lakes CEO Chris Policinski, President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Chuck Conner, and President of the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition Sue Finn. They focused on the protein gaps and sustainability issues of the global food security debate.
    Simmons began developing his passion for food security as an agriculture student and FFA member in New York. Throughout years of study, international experiences, and leadership roles, he has built a reputation for his writing, speaking, and organizing expertise.
    One colleague sums up Simmons' impact this way: "Jeff's affable personality and warmth balance his dynamic energy, intellectualism, and excitement when talking about our food future, so the message is readily received. Jeff can distill data and present it so that it is easily understandable, garnering confidence and trust in the premise conveyed."
    Simmons presented a challenge in his reception speech: "Food security is solvable. Unlike many of our world's challenges, there are clear solutions. There is a window of opportunity to meet the challenge. We have enough time if we act now."

Phytobiotics intensifies knowledge management

    Phytobiotics Feed Additives GmbH, a global leading company in research, development and sales of high-quality feed additives for livestock and companion animals, has appointed Dr. Manfred Andratsch to the position of "Alkaloid Research Manager".
    With Dr. Andratsch in the team, Phytobiotics will present themselves even more efficiently to their in-house and external audience in the field of scientific communication. Dr. Andratsch will work on scientific topics central to the business, bringing them to the network of international colleagues and experts as well as presenting the results at seminars and in publications.
    A key task will be to set up a global alkaloid competence center, in which scientific experts and the development team of Phytobiotics will cooperate on new product ideas as well as on comprehensive feed and health concepts. All parties shall benefit from the latest scientific findings concerning relevant substances through the network. Additionally the results of several current research projects and field trials shall be available more quickly and be up for discussion. This will be supported by an internal digital forum, in which a closed user group can post and comment on articles, communicating more efficiently than before.
    Dr. Andratsch has studied at the Natural Scientific Faculty of the University of Innsbruck, Austria, where he obtained his PhD in microbiology. He then worked in the Department of Physiology and Medicinal Physics of the Medical University of Innsbruck as a microbiologist and molecular biologist, on pain research.

Monday, October 28, 2013

First PEDV cases confirmed in Kentucky

    Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus has now been confirmed in Kentucky. Eighteen states now have had confirmed cases of PEDV.

    Kentucky has had its first two confirmed cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), the National Animal Health Laboratory Network reported. PEDV, which was first discovered in the United States during the spring of 2013, has now been confirmed in 18 states.
    According to the October 24 report from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN), which includes new cases between September 22 and October 19, Kentucky had one confirmed case of PEDV during the week of October 6 and another PEDV case during the week of October 13.
    A total of 828 cases of the virus, which can have a 100 percent mortality rate with piglets and has no known cure, have been confirmed nationwide. Eleven of those confirmed cases have not been linked to any particular state.
    Since NAHLN is a federal agency, it stopped collecting PEDV data during the furlough. However, the University of Minnesota Diagnostic Laboratory collected the data during the interim period.

Singapore’s nine-year ban on chicken products from Thailand ends

    Singapore has ended its nine-year ban on frozen and processed chicken from Thailand. The decision to lift the ban on Thai chicken imports came after a series of meetings under the Singapore-Thailand Enhanced Economic Relationship, which were held in mid-October.
    The ban was initially enacted in 2004 because of an outbreak of avian influenza in Thailand.
    On October 22, Thai Commerce Minister Niwatthumrong Boonsongpaisan said that Thailand should enjoy more opportunities to increase shipments to Singapore, as the city-state is one of the high-potential markets for chicken and many other products, according to news reports.
    "Singapore now has high confidence to import frozen chicken from Thailand as it acknowledges our high sanitary standards. It will help facilitate more imports of frozen chicken from Thailand to increase trade," the commerce minister said.

African swine fever cases in Russia increasing

    Four new outbreaks of African swine fever in Russia, most of them in the wild pig population have been reported by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE).
    According to the OIE, one of the affected wild pigs was near the border with Belarus. The regions affected with African swine fever, include Smolenskaya, Vladimirskaya and Tul'skaya. In total there are 20 susceptible wild pigs and 52 susceptible domestic pigs, and 4 affected wild pigs and 1 affected domestic pig.

Pig production articles highlight maximizing capacity

    Optimizing pig production means evaluating different production and marketing options and choosing the combination to generate the most profit while meeting the expectations of the processor, the consumer and society, according to a series of articles from Hypor.
    A MAX'ing capacity philosophy supports bottom line profits by optimizing multiple factors, rather than focusing on increasing performance in individual traits, and applies throughout the entire pork chain, optimizing weaning- and finishing capacity. In the final article in this series, Hypor focuses on MAX'ing meat capacity.
    "MAX'ing meat capacity means evaluating different production and marketing options and choosing the combination that results in the most profit, while meeting the expectations of the processor, the consumer and Society," said Ernie Meyer, Manager of Production and Technical Services, Hypor USA.
    "Answering society's needs is the third key success factor in optimizing meat capacity. This means using specialized sires, ensuring carcass uniformity and ensuring optimal predictability and consistency of meat and carcass quality," he said.

Former USDA officials challenge Pew report

    The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production report released in 2008 was highly critical of most aspects of modern livestock and poultry production systems. The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming has petitioned Congress to enact legislation significantly restricting the use of antibiotics in food producing animals as a means of reducing the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in bacteria that are human pathogens. Pew recently held a press event in Denmark to highlight the difference between the Danish and the United States' approach to antibiotic use in livestock and poultry. Denmark has banned the use of so-called antibiotic growth promoters.
    "It is disappointing to me that a number of groups like Pew work so hard and use a number of untruths to essentially disparage what is a remarkable system that we have in this country for feeding people with low cost food," said Dr. Scott Hurd, former deputy acting under secretary, food safety, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Dr. Richard Raymond, former undersecretary, food safety, USDA, said that Denmark's experience is actually not a success story. He said that Danish farmers have seen an increase in the number of sick animals and a 110 percent increase in the use of antibiotics to treat these animals, and many of these antibiotics are important for human medicine.
    Not using science
    In a conference call arranged by the Animal Agriculture Alliance, Hurd addressed the assertion in the popular press that there is "a growing body of scientific evidence" that antibiotic use in farm animals plays a major role in the development of antibiotic resistance in human medicine. Hurd suggested that when evaluating phrases like "growing scientific body of evidence," one needs to look at the scientific literature and not the number of repeated news reports. "There has never been a scientifically peer-reviewed risk assessment showing a demonstrable risk from current on farm practices, so I don't see that weight of scientific evidence," he said. "That is one of the concerns that I have with the Pew report, that it doesn't use the appropriate methodology for review of scientific literature to make its suppositions. Therefore, I assume from that that it doesn't really intend to be scientifically based and that it is just pushing a given preset agenda."
    Raymond said, "I believe that the information that is being spread is often wrong, sometimes from the industry standpoint and from the people that don't want us to consume animals. The statement that 80 percent of all antibiotics are used in [farm] animals is inflammatory and doesn't represent the true issue, but also the statement [sometimes made by animal agriculture] that all antibiotics are prescribed under the supervision of veterinarians is equally wrong."
    Raymond went on to explain that 40 percent of all antibiotics used in food producing animals and poultry are compounds like ionophores, which are used as coccidiostats, and these are never used in human medicine. Another 42 percent of antibiotic usage in farm animals are oxy- and chloro-tetracyclines, which are used as growth promoters, according to Raymond. "Oxy- and chloro-tetracycline have not been prescribed by any reputable [human] health care provider in over 30 years," said Raymond, who is a physician. "If they have been, it has been as an extremely poor third or fourth choice for treating Lyme Disease or Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. They are not important in the armory of any health care professional."
    Raymond said that a discussion of the potential impact of antibiotic use in animals on antibiotic resistance in human medicine should focus on the remaining 18 percent of antibiotic usage, not the 82 percent accounted for by ionophores and the tetracyclines.
    Coming changes
    The Pew Campaign on Human Health and Industrial Farming is very critical of Congress for not passing legislation to restrict the use of antibiotics in food producing animals. Raymond said that regulators have not been inactive in this area, and that the FDA has new rules on antibiotic use in farm animals waiting at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). He stated that the rule-making process results in a more science-based end result than does the legislative process.
    Raymond also added that the rule-making procedure is more transparent and science based than Congressional action will ever be. "Congress is not the right tool to use to make changes based on science; Congress is all about politics and getting reelected," Raymond said. "[The] FDA has done their job based on science." Dr. John Glisson, retired department head of population health and avian medicine, University of Georgia, and current vice president, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY), said, "The FDA has taken a much more thoughtful and deliberate route. You have to admire how they have taken the pressure and done the right thing."
    Food affordability
    Raymond talked about going to a conference in Switzerland recently where he had to pay $105 for a hamburger. He said that if the U.S. changes its agricultural practices to what the Pew group and other activists are calling for, we will have those kind of prices here in the U.S. "We have the safest, most economical source of animal protein in the world here in the U.S.," he said.

MSU swine research to focus on management, production efficiency

    Mississippi State University is researching swine management systems to improve production efficiency in the Southeast. The school has installed feeders, a new watering system, a feed auger system to move feed to the pigs as needed and ventilation curtains that open and close automatically to control the temperature in the facility
    The facility in partnership with Prestage Farms, will not only house swine research but also provide students firsthand experience to prepare them for working in the swine industry.
    John Blanton, head of the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences at MSU, said there is a need in the Southeast for science-based information on swine production.
    "We are addressing that need of our stakeholders through our swine research program," Blanton said.
    Shengfa Liao was recently hired in the animal and dairy sciences department as a nonruminant nutritionist with both teaching duties and research responsibilities in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station. His work focuses on maximizing the efficiency of nutrient utilization by swine.
    "With the addition of Dr. Liao to the department, our swine research program will be rejuvenated, and our students will receive the well-rounded education that is necessary for successful employment after graduation," Blanton said.
    "Dr. Liao's area of research investigates the impact of nutritional regulators on growth. In order for Dr. Liao's program to succeed, the department needs to create the facilities to support a nonruminant research program."
    Liao said he will soon begin a two-year project to examine the role of amino acids in muscle growth in pigs. He will be working with about 60-80 young pigs at a time.
    "I want to explore the biological mechanisms by which pigs utilize dietary amino acids so we can find ways of more efficiently producing quality pork products," Liao said. "This involves improving the pigs' ability to use nutrients and examining nutrients from alternative feedstuffs."
    Mark Crenshaw, swine specialist with the MSU Extension Service, said the facility that will house swine research is located at the H.H. Leveck Animal Research Center. While it has housed pigs before, the building has been used as a multipurpose facility in recent years.
    "Several things needed to be done to make it workable for a research project," Crenshaw said."Pigs are used as models for a variety of research projects, and it will be good to have this basic livestock animal species once again in our research facility."
    Although small numbers of pigs will be housed in the facility at any given time, their presence will give MSU students an opportunity to learn how to care for pigs and manage their needs.
    Terry Emerson, general manager of Prestage Farms in West Point, said the partnership will help MSU get back into swine research
    "There is a need for land-grant universities to continue doing research for swine production," Emerson said. "We'd like to see Mississippi State become more engaged in swine production and in the future of our industry."

FDA urged to extend comment period on feed safety rules

    The National Grain and Feed Association has urged the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to extend the comment periods on two sets of proposed rules issued by the agency to implement significant portions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
    The NGFA did so, it said, because the agency still has not issued proposed regulations implementing the animal feed and pet food provisions of the law, whose requirements are expected to be closely linked and interrelated to the other two rulemakings for which the comment period extension was sought. The two proposed rules, both of which were issued on July 26 with a comment deadline of November 26, involve requiring firms to implement foreign verification programs for imported products and accreditation of third-party auditors.
    The NGFA is aiming to extend the comment periods on the two proposed rules for 120 days after publication of the animal feed and pet food proposed rule.
    "The ability of the NGFA and other stakeholders to provide constructive, relevant and well-reasoned comments on these two proposed rules will be enhanced greatly if adequate time and opportunity is provided to review and analyze the still-pending animal food proposed rules, as well as the complex interrelationships between the two," the NGFA wrote in its request to FDA. The NGFA also said that the comment period on the animal feed and pet food rules likely will coincide with the Thanksgiving and winter holidays.

Global poultry industry reps mull common issues at Geneva IPC meeting

    Poultry industry executives from a record 21 countries gathered recently in Geneva to discuss common issues and to hear presentations on trade, the economy, and the environment from a slate of high-level speakers at the International Poultry Council (IPC) Second Semester Conference for 2013. Industry representatives discussed several key issues, including developing a strategy for dispelling the misconception that hormones are used in poultry production, pushing for an end to the term "bird flu" as a euphemism for avian influenza, and finding common ground on electrical stunning procedures.
    "This was one of the best meetings the organization has ever had," said IPC President Jim Sumner. "We had a great cross-section of members, an excellent slate of speakers, and some good discussion of issues that our members consider to be important."
    Sumner, who has presided over the IPC since its inception eight years ago, said that the organization seems to be coming of age. "Our members truly take the IPC seriously and are beginning to develop some solidarity on some of our key issues," he said.
    Members of the IPC, who are concerned that polls showing a majority of consumers believe that chickens and turkeys are given hormones to promote growth, are in favor of mounting a global campaign to dispel the hormone myth.
    Some members also say that continued usage of the generic term "bird flu" in the media and by government agencies during avian influenza outbreaks generates fear among consumers that eating poultry is somehow dangerous. Members agree that the IPC should campaign for an official change in terminology from "avian influenza" to simply "influenza."
    The Chinese poultry industry estimates that the recent occurrence of influenza H7N9 earlier this year cost producers more than $60 million in sales, as continuous reports of "bird flu" caused consumers to forego poultry altogether.
    Four country member representatives took part in a panel discussion on electrical stunning procedures as proscribed by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and as practiced in the European Union. An IPC committee, headed by Dr. Vivien Kite of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation, is calling on the OIE to adopt guidelines in its animal welfare chapter for electrical stunning that are outcomes-based, rather than the prescriptive procedures used by the EU.
    Joining Kite in the panel discussion were Ricardo Santin of the Brazilian Association of Poultry Exporters, Dr. Shelly McKee of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council, and Cees Vermeeren of a.v.e.c., the EU poultry association.
    The IPC Executive Committee also presented a proposal to the membership to hire a consultant to monitor policy issues affecting the poultry industry in global organizations like the OIE, the Codex Alimentarius Commission, the World Health Organization and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN.
    In a keynote address to the IPC, WTO Deputy Director General David Shark said that the upcoming 9th WTO ministerial, set for December in Bali, is critical to the success of the organization and its goals. "Bali is critical. A lot of countries are worried," he said. "Can the organization negotiate?"
    Shark, speaking as a fill-in for WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo, said that the package up for negotiation in Bali "has tremendous potential to help businesses in developed and developing countries," and "will deal with the costly red tape" that hampers effective international trade.
    "It's a small package for Bali, but small doesn't mean insignificant," he said. "But the problem we're facing is that we're running out of time. Can we succeed? Absolutely. Will we succeed? The next two weeks will tell."
    Success in getting an agreement in Bali would "build hope and trust that the WTO moves forward," he said.
    Shark was asked what the numerous multilateral free trade agreements currently under negotiation, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, mean for the future of the WTO.
    "Those are certainly two large agreements, but so was the Common Market for the EU, which didn't put (the WTO) out of business," he said. "I don't think (FTAs) eclipse the WTO, because they don't negotiate things like domestic support in the regional agreements."
    In a well-received presentation on the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture, former USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond told IPC delegates that regulations governing usage should "be based on facts and biological science, not political science."
    As an example, Raymond pointed out that although food-borne illnesses in the U.S. over the last decade are down nearly 30 percent, media hits on food recalls have risen by 250 percent during the same period.
    Raymond said that calls for banning the use of antibiotics in animal agriculture are rising, with blame being cast on agriculture for the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections. But, he said that the vast majority of antibiotics used in animal agriculture are not used in human medicine.
    "There's a lot of misinformation going around on the antibiotics issues," he said.
    The IPC, in fact, adopted a resolution two years ago supporting the continued judicious use of antibiotics in poultry production.
    In a "big-picture outlook" of the poultry and feed situation over the next five years, Rabobank's Nan-Dirk Mulder said that industries should be prepared for volatility in grain markets to continue, along with volatile exchange rates. "The great volatility challenge is the greatest challenge the industry will face in the years ahead," he said. "More difficult trade conditions will push companies to invest abroad."
    Companies must manage volatility "by improving efficiency, managing risk, managing the value chain and improving their standing in the marketplace," Mulder said.
    Meanwhile, growth in poultry markets is driven by emerging markets, and demand is shifting to the emerging world. Internationalization, Mulder said, is a trend - exemplified by the acquisition of Smithfield by the Chinese company Shanghui - that has taken hold over the last five years. "Lots of strategic thinking is going on, and (in five years) the global protein outlook will be much different because of all these factors," he said. "But, poultry is still the winning protein."
    Trade lawyer Gary Horlick said that with the 200 or so FTAs currently in negotiation around the world, it "sets a clear path for tariffs to go down, which means there will be an increase in SPS (sanitary, phyto-sanitary) issues," along with the possibility of more anti-dumping cases.
    The WTO's recent decision against China in its anti-dumping case against U.S. chicken is significant, Horlick said, as it should send a clear message to other countries that bringing anti-dumping cases is ill-advised.
    Horlick said that the trade community generally regards anti-dumping actions to be "thinly disguised protectionism." He advised industries targeted with anti-dumping actions by trading partners to be prepared. "Three things you'll need," Horlick said. "A legal team at home and in the country taking the action; a media team, and a political team."

Nutreco cuts 2013 profit forecast

    Nutreco has dropped its 2013 EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) to €255 million from €262.1 million, after third-quarter animal nutrition results for the company came in down from 2012 numbers. Nutreco saw animal nutrition revenue drop by 7.1 percent, to €794.4 million, mainly due to lower volumes in compound feed and adverse foreign currency impact.
    Fish feed revenue for the third quarter was 11.4 percent higher than in 2012, at €696.1 million.
    "For 2013 we expect to maintain our full year EBITA margin above 7 percent in our growth segment premix and feed specialties, and we expect to improve our results in meat and other which will compensate for lower results in our animal nutrition businesses in Canada and Spain," said CEO Knut Nesse. "In animal nutrition we aim to be the leader in the development and supply of value-added nutritional solutions that are tailored to meet unique on-farm requirements. Over the last 12 months we made significant progress in developing and launching new products that give me a lot of confidence in the near future. We continue to invest in innovation and we are setting the scene for world class shrimp feed R&D. We expect to launch our sustainable MicroBalance concept for shrimp feed, which replaces expensive fishmeal by alternative protein raw materials, within 12 months."
    Revenue in Nutreco's premix and feed specialties division decreased by 3.8 percent to €303.2 million (Q3 2012: €315.3 million). Organic volumes in premix and feed specialties were 0.1 percent higher. Sales prices were on average 0.5 percent lower. The revenue in the third quarter of animal nutrition Canada was €123.5 million compared to €145.7 million in 2012, a decrease of 15.3 percent. The revenue of the compound feed division decreased 17.9 percent compared to the third quarter of 2012, to €130.4 million. Lower raw materials costs had a price effect of -5 percent. Volumes decreased by 11.5 percent compared to the same period in 2012, mostly the result of lower feed volumes to farmers in the free market (not integrated) which were affected by the economic situation in Spain.
    Revenue from meat and other was 0.7 percent higher at €237.3 million, due to 3.2 percent lower volumes and 5.5 percent higher prices. Active account management has resulted in an increase in sales to new customers which partly compensated for lower sales to existing customers. There was a divestment effect of -0.9 percent which related to the sale of a small poultry activity in Canada. The exchange rate effect was -0.7 percent. The operating result was higher than the weak third quarter of 2012, driven by slightly higher prices and lower input costs.

Friday, October 25, 2013

European group pushing to allow insect protein in animal feed

    An EU-funded project, Proteinsect, is working to change European legislation to allow the inclusion of insects in poultry and other animal feeds.
    The group notes that there is growing interest in the use of insects as an alternative source of protein in animal feed; however, current EU legislation represents a barrier to the development of large-scale production processes.
    As well as being a sustainable source of protein, an additional advantage of using insects as a protein source is that they can be reared successfully and quickly on a range of organic waste materials, such as vegetable, domestic and organic waste, thus reducing the volume of that waste in the process by up to 60 percent. The residue can also be recycled as fertilizer.
    At present, EU law prohibits the inclusion of protein derived from insects in animal feed, with the exception of feed intended for fish or shellfish. As research increases, however, it is hoped that insect protein will be allowed in poultry and pig feed, particularly as these animals already consume insects as part of their natural diet. 

Rise in world protein demand proves need for trade policy, senator says

    Sen. Mike Johanns, a former U.S. agriculture secretary, says effective trade policies are more important than ever with the global increase in protein consumption.

    U.S. poultry and livestock producers have plenty of opportunities to export their products to countries that were once third-world countries, which is exactly why the nation needs better trade policies, U.S. Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., said. Johanns, who served as U.S. secretary of agriculture during part of the George W. Bush administration, joined five other former secretaries to discuss agriculture issues at Kansas State University on October 21.
    Related video: Good trade policy important to success in agriculture, former ag secretary says
    "I know how important it is to agriculture to get this done. It's not the only thing that's going to make agriculture successful. If you think about it, 95 percent of the world's population doesn't live here. They live in another part of the world. I just got back from a trip to Africa, and in various parts of Africa we are seeing great success," said Johanns.
    "One thing we see is that as incomes improve, and people have more disposable income, they want to improve the diet for their family. And oftentimes, that means protein. … It means the products that we raise here so well.
    Johanns is currently a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and after previous stints as Nebraska's governor and as the agriculture secretary he has decided not to seek-re-election.
    Johanns was joined at Kansas State University by fellow former U.S. agriculture secretaries John Block, Mike Espy, Dan Glickman, Ann Veneman and Ed Schafer.

Wyndham Jade is official housing agency for IPPE

    Wyndham Jade is the official housing agency for the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) and has been for many years. For the 2014 IPPE, Wyndham Jade has negotiated the best possible hotel rates for attendees.
    "We have been made aware of unauthorized housing groups claiming to offer better rates for IPPE hotels. Many of these groups are unscrupulous, switching reservations to lower quality hotels or taking an attendee's money without making the hotel reservation. Neither IPPE nor the hotel can help in these situations when they occur. Know with whom you are doing business when booking your hotel," said Charlie Olentine, IPPE Show Manager.
    There are a few people who do business with these groups each year, only to learn upon arrival that their hotel reservations are not valid or do not meet expectations. IPPE asks all attendees to be aware that Wyndham Jade is the official housing agency for the Expo and to beware of unscrupulous housing agents. For a complete list of hotels in the IPPE housing block, click here.

NCC president to New York Times: Chicken is safe

    "Chicken producers take very seriously any illness attributed to the consumption of a poultry product," said National Chicken Council President Mike Brown in a letter to the editor of the New York Times, published October 21. "But passing a law or regulation to fight bacteria will not magically make it go away," he added.
    The letter was in response to an October 16 editorial by Mark Bittman, "Should You Eat Chicken?"
    Brown explained that before an egg is even hatched, chicken producers rely upon the best science, microbiology and technology to reduce food-borne pathogens to meet and exceed Agriculture Department standards. These initiatives and tens of millions of dollars in food-safety research can be credited with the significant decrease in Salmonella  in chicken over the last several years.
    "While zero tolerance is always the goal, such a level on any raw agricultural product is simply not feasible," he continued. "Fresh fruit, produce, meat or poultry - organic or not, bought from the grocery store or the farmers' market - could contain naturally occurring bacteria that might make someone sick if improperly handled or cooked.
    "That's why we all play an important role in ensuring food safety for our families. All chicken is safe when properly cooked and handled, and chicken producers are tirelessly working to make them even safer.
    "Because our families eat the same chicken as you and yours," Brown concluded.

Humanitarian work also benefits US agriculture, Espy says

    Former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy says developing skills for farmers in Africa will be good for agriculture both in Africa and the United States.

    The importance of helping people in developing African nations become more efficient as farmers is not lost on former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy. In addition to filling a humanitarian purpose, it also can benefit the agriculture industry in the U.S.
    Espy, who served as U.S. agriculture secretary during the Bill Clinton administration, and John Block, an agriculture secretary during the Ronald Reagan administration, have both become involved in a project to develop agriculture in African nations. Espy and Block joined other fellow former agriculture secretaries Dan Glickman, Ann Veneman, Mike Johanns and Ed Schafer at Kansas State University for a Landon Lecture on October 21.
    "What John and I are trying to do is not just do humanitarian missions to feed African nations, but what we try to do is build a competence and capacity of small scale African farmers. Why are we doing that? We know that in America we are so proficient technologically, that our production will continue to outstretch our demand, so we have to find new markets and emerging markets to sell our farm products to," Espy said.
    And for too long, Africa has been a continent that has been overlooked for agricultural trade, Espy said. But as their competence level as farmers rises, the overall economic picture of African nations improves, and so does their purchasing ability.
    "We can impress them with our technology. As they increase their incomes, they're going to change their personal habits to eat more proteins. When they need tractors, when they need seeds, they're going to look to America first," Espy said.

Egg producer Cal-Maine Foods to pay dividend of $0.068 per share

    Cal-Maine Foods investors of record on October 30 will be paid a dividend of $0.068 per share on November 14, the company announced. This represents a $0.27 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 0.53 percent. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is October 28.
    Shares of Cal-Maine Foods traded down 0.41 percent on October 21, hitting $51.49. The stock had a trading volume of 41,735 shares. Cal-Maine Foods has a 52-week low of $38.51 and a 52-week high of $52.43. The stock's 50-day moving average is $48.37 and its 200-day moving average is $46.58.
    Cal-Maine Foods last released its earnings data on September 30. The company reported $0.36 earnings per share for the quarter. The company had revenue of $319.53 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $272.93 million. During the same quarter in 2012, the company posted $0.39 earnings per share. Cal-Maine Foods' revenue was up 17.1 percent, compared to the same quarter of 2012.

Biomin establishes new business unit in UK

    Biomin is setting up a new UK business unit to be headed up by Neil Spreckley as chief operating officer.
    The structure of the UK feed market calls for Biomin to have its own team in the UK delivering scientific expertise and solutions tailored to the needs of the local market and customers, according to the company.
    Aside from increasing its UK market presence, Biomin aims to be one of the leading feed additive companies in the UK within the next five years. "Biomin is a well-respected brand name in the animal feed additives market, and hence it is right for them to now have their own UK business, with their own employees, based in the UK," said Spreckley. "Personally, I am delighted to be heading up the business, being able to call upon the significant group technical resources from Austria and the rest of the global operation as and when required."
    The move to establish a business unit in the country was motivated by the need to be closer to UK customers, which will allow for a more direct transfer of technical expertise and value-added services. A dedicated technical sales team will also facilitate the development of a full product portfolio of Biomin brands that specifically target the needs of the UK feed and livestock market.

Canadian government commits $2.6 million to poultry industry

    The Canadian federal government is investing $2.6 million to help poultry producers in western Canada develop vaccines and increase production capabilities. The money, from the government's Western Economic Diversification ministry, will be combined with support from the Alberta Livestock and Meat Agency and given to the one-year-old Institute for Applied Poultry Technologies.
    "Our government is committed to ensuring that Western Canada's agricultural sector has the resources and opportunities to succeed in the global economy and continue creating jobs for Canadians," said Michelle Rempel, minister of state for western economic diversification. "We are proud to invest in new technologies that strengthen the productivity and international competitiveness of the western Canadian poultry industry."
    The federal government's money will enable the Institute for Applied Poultry Technologies to purchase and install specialized equipment needed to establish and operate a technology innovation and commercialization center. This center will develop, produce and commercialize vaccines and other health-related products. It will also provide western Canadian poultry producers with enhanced access to advanced diagnostic services, vaccine development and production capabilities, according to news reports.
    The Institute for Applied Poultry Technologies was formed in 2012 by industry stakeholders and is a not-for-profit body. Its purpose is to research new and cost-saving poultry health technologies that will help prepare for disease outbreaks, reduce costs and improve product quality.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Wayne Farms poultry plant celebrates 50 years in business

    The Wayne Farms' Albertville fresh poultry processing facility in Albertville, Ala., celebrated its 50th year in business. To mark the occasion, the company hosted a picnic for more than 2,000 people, including employees, retirees and family members.
    Established in 1963, the Albertville poultry plant was one of the original processing facilities to operate under the Wayne Farms name. Wayne Farms purchased the facility from the North Alabama Poultry Cooperative Inc. to manufacture and sell fresh poultry products.
    Today, the Albertville complex consists of the 42,000-square-foot plant on McDonald Avenue, a feed mill in Guntersville and a 35,000-square-foot hatchery. About 1,000 people are employed at the Albertville plant.
    "We are very proud of the fact that we have been in business and part of the Albertville community for 50 years," said Tim Holmes, Wayne Farms North Alabama complex manager. "We owe our success to the many wonderful employees who have shared in our challenges as well as our successes over the years. With such a hard working team and strong community support, we look forward to the next 50 years."

Global pork industry Q4 2013 outlook

    Global pork prices for the remainder of 2013 are forecast to remain elevated, according to Rabobank. The limited increase of sow herds in almost all regions shows that farmers are cautious to expand production. Despite the positive prospects with regard to the feed prices, farmers first want to regain part of the lost margins of the last few years before expanding production.
    In the report, Rabobank's Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory team says that the global pork industry has experienced a positive Q3:  in line with expectations, the Rabobank five-nation hog price index continued its upward trend, resulting in a peak of 162 percent in August, just below the last peak of 165 percent in August 2008.  The index declined at the end of Q3 due to the recovery of supply after the summer heat. However, the bank says that global pork prices are forecast to remain elevated for the remainder of the year, supported by demand resulting from start of the Chinese festival season.
    Compared with Q2 2013, pork prices in Q3 2013 showed double digit increases in almost all major producing regions. The main drivers were tighter-than-expected supply in the U.S., due in part to the impact of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV); and in the EU, due to the impact of the EU's introduction of group housing of sows in January 2013, and continuing robust import demand.

    2014 global pork outlook

    Into 2014, Rabobank predicts that declining feed costs will continue to support slow herd rebuilding. Combined with productivity increases, this will result in higher supply and, likely, lower prices. However, the price slide will be slow due to the limited growth of sow numbers, the continuing demand growth in Asia and still relatively high feed costs, which will curb supply growth at least until mid-2014.
    The approval of Shuanghui's acquisition of the largest global pork company, Smithfield, has been yet another sign of China's growing dominance in the global pork industry. The country's import demand has been exerting more and more influence on prices in different regions throughout the world in the last few years. The acquisition is but one illustration of China's ongoing search for sufficient pork supply to feed their growing and wealthier population, a situation which will continue for the foreseeable future.

Brazil's 2013 year-to-date poultry export volumes lower, income rises

    Total exports for the Brazilian poultry industry stood at 2.999 million tons for the period January to September 2013, a decrease of 2.6 percent compared to the same period in 2012. By value, however, total exports rose by 5.5 percent to US$6.422 billion.
    For the month of September, the volume of chicken meat exported was 2.4 percent lower in comparison with September 2012, standing at 315,500 tons. By value, exports were also down, by 9.7 percent at US$621 million.
    President of the Brazilian Poultry Association Ubabef Francisco Turra notes that, with the exception of fertile eggs and genetic material, there was a reduction across all poultry exports during September. "Overall, this monthly performance should not affect the expectation that the poultry sector will achieve similar volumes to those of 2012, especially for chicken meat," said Turra. "There has been a notable reduction in egg exports, and this is a situation that Ubabef is working hard to remedy, adopting strategies that include, amongst others, developing new markets and strengthening our international brand."

Poultry and livestock groups collaborate on report highlighting advancements in animal agriculture

    The Animal Agriculture Alliance, in collaboration with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers, National Cattleman's Beef Association, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council and National Milk Producers Federation, has issued a report titled, "Advances in Animal Agriculture: What the Center for a Livable Future, Pew Commission and Others Aren't Telling You About Food Production." This report highlights recent accomplishments sustained by the specific poultry and livestock production sectors and is a stark contrast to an anticipated five-year update by the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Production to be issued by the Center for a Livable Future on October 22.
    Each group provided information for the report and was given the opportunity to emphasize specific accomplishments in five areas: animal care, responsible antibiotics use, food safety, environmental sustainability and industry research initiatives. The report highlights the many, continuous improvements made by the poultry and livestock industry, explains how agriculture has adapted to the changing landscape, including embracing technology to improve animal well-being and food safety, and discusses modern agriculture and the need to feed 9.1 billion people by 2050.
    The Animal Agriculture Alliance will host a teleconference October 22, from 11 a.m. to 12  p.m. EST with various third-party experts to discuss the information presented in the report. The presenters will also be prepared to answer questions about the Center for a Livable Future's re-release of the Pew Commission's 2008 report. Experts participating in the teleconference include:
    • Dr. Richard Raymond, former under secretary, Food Safety Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
    • Dr. Scott Hurd, former deputy acting under secretary, Food Safety, USDA
    • Janeen Salak-Johnson, Ph.D., University of Illinois, associate professor Animal Science
    • Dr. John Glisson, DVM, MAM, Ph.D., retired department head of Population Health and former head of the Department of Avian Medicine, University of Georgia; vice president, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
    • Dr. Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality extension specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of California Davis
    • Dr. Guy Loneragan, Ph.D., Department of Animal Sciences, Texas Tech University
    A full copy of the report is available on the alliance's website. To register for the teleconference, please email Emily Meredith, Alliance communications director, at