Friday, March 29, 2013

Nearly 9 million eggs donated to food banks nationwide

    To help in the fight against food insecurity across the country, U.S. egg farmers are donating nearly nine million fresh eggs to food assistance organizations coast-to-coast during the month of March.
    Families continue to struggle to put food on their tables, leading more and more to turn to food assistance organizations nationwide for help. In fact, more than 48 million Americans live in food insecure homes.
    Among the most needed items at food assistance organizations are sources of high quality protein, such as fresh eggs. According to the USDA, one large egg delivers six grams of protein and 13 essential nutrients such as choline, folate, iron and zinc. Additionally, the USDA concluded in 2011 that the average amount of cholesterol was 14 percent lower and vitamin D content was 64 percent higher than previously thought.
    "We come together during the Easter season to make fresh eggs available to food insecure families across the country," stated Chad Gregory, president and CEO of United Egg Producers. "Because eggs are so important to hungry American families, we want Congress to act this year to amend the Egg Products Inspection Act as part of the 2013 Farm Bill to help ensure eggs will continue to be available without interruption nationwide."
    For the sixth consecutive Easter season, the United Egg Producers have organized a nationwide effort to give food insecure families a helping hand, bringing the total number of fresh eggs donated by U.S. egg farmers since 2008 to 69 million.

Poultry processor receives Worker Safety Recongition Award

      Case Farms employees display the Worker Safety Recongition Award, presented to them by the American Meat Institute
    Case Farms, a poultry processor, has earned a Worker Safety Recognition Award from the American Meat Institute for its Goldsboro, N.C., plant. This award distinguishes companies who demonstrate a strong commitment to creating a safer workplace for all meat and poultry industry employees. The award was presented March 20, as part of the American Meat Institute's Conference on Worker Safety, Health, Human Resources and the Environment in Kansas City, Mo.
    Through this awards program, AMI works to increase awareness about the importance of worker safety and encouraging processors to develop safety programs that meet or exceed industry standards. Honored with an Award of Merit, the Case Farms Goldsboro facility received high regards throughout the evaluation process.
    "We are proud to receive recognition from such an esteemed industry organization for our continuous efforts to reduce occupational injuries and illnesses," said Bobby Barragan, Case Farms' human resources director. "At Case Farms, we proactively work to maintain the highest level of worker safety standards within each of our facilities, and this recognition serves to further motivate us to excel in our worker safety programs."
    Adopting standards developed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Voluntary Protection Program, Case Farms has designed reputable safety programs throughout its four complexes.

EU may lift byproduct ban for poultry, pig feed

    The EU may lift its animal byproduct ban for poultry and pig feed in the hopes of lowering costs, according to reports. The ban was initially imposed during a mad cow disease outbreak over ten years ago; its retraction would come with stricter safety rules imposed to prevent things such as cannibalism through the feed given to animals.
    The cost to industry of implementing the new rules as well as consumer wariness of the risk of another mad cow-type outbreak are two factors still being considered. "We are currently discussing with member states the potential re-authorization of processed animal proteins in feed for poultry and pigs from 2014," said a spokesman for Tonio Borg, the EU's health and consumer policy commissioner.
    In Europe, processed animal proteins can currently be used in pet food. As of June they will also be allowed in EU fish feed. The next planned step would be to allow them in poultry and pig feed, which would bring Europe back in line with many other countries, including the U.S., China, Thailand and Australia. The proteins would stay banned in the EU's ruminant sector, which includes cattle and sheep and was most closely linked to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease).
    The EU hopes lifting the ban would ease a shortage of cheaper domestically produced protein. In 2011, the EU used around 49.9 million metric tons of protein source in feed but only half of it came from Europe. The rest was imported, with soymeal accounting for 80 percent of those imports, and soymeal prices doubled over a few months in 2012 due to the significant U.S. drought.

Alltech crop science products approved by Canadian Food Inspection Agency

    Four of Alltech’s crop science products have received approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
    Agri-Mos, Soil-Set, Crop-Set and Grain-Set are now registered as micronutrient fertilizers in the Canadian agronomic market. While each product has a different source of micronutrients, all of the products are used to treat micronutrient deficiencies, according to Alltech.
    “Successful agronomic practices are now a balancing act between meeting the consumer demand for fewer chemicals and trying weather conditions, all while attempting to increase yields with less land,” said Geoff Frank, CEO of Alltech Crop Science. “It all starts in the fields and field health. It starts with nutrition. It starts with protection, and it starts with performance.” 

Ready-to-cook poultry weight drops from February 2012

    Ready-to-cook poultry weight during February totaled 3.39 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the amount certified in February 2012, according to the March 25 Poultry Slaughter report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.
    The January revised certified total climbed 6 percent to 3.85 billion pounds, an increase of 1.46 million pounds from December 2012's preliminary pounds certified.
    The preliminary total live weight of all federally inspected poultry during February eased 2 percent to 4.49 billion pounds from 4.59 billion pounds in 2012. Young chickens inspected totaled 3.84 billion pounds, down 2 percent from the year-ago period. Mature chickens declined 2 percent from 2012 to 59.6 million pounds. Turkey inspections totaled 578 million pounds, down 1 percent from 2012 numbers. Ducks slipped a percent to 13.3 million pounds.
    Young chickens slaughtered during February averaged 5.91 pounds per bird, up 1 percent from 2012, according to the report. The average live weight of mature chickens declined 3 percent to 5.38 pounds per bird. Turkeys slaughtered during February averaged 31.2 pounds per bird, up 1 percent from 2012 numbers.
    Ante-mortem condemnations during February totaled 9.95 million pounds. Condemnations were 0.22 percent of the live weight inspected, compared to 0.21 percent in 2012. Post-mortem condemnations, at 36.5 million pounds, were 1.07 percent of quantities inspected compared to 0.98 percent in 2012.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Avian influenza outbreaks prompt Philippine government to issue bans

    The Philippine Department of Agriculture on March 26 banned the importation of poultry products from Italy and the Netherlands after they experienced an outbreak of the low pathogenic avian influenza.
    In separate memoranda, Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala ordered a freeze on imports of domestic and wild birds, poultry meat, day-old chicks, eggs and semen from the Romagna region in Italy and Gelderland province in the Netherlands.
    According to reports, outbreaks of H5 and H7 avian influenza were discovered in a small rural poultry farm in Medena village in Romagna, and H5 avian influenza was detected at a laying hen-holding yard in Gerderland's Lochem town.
    In line with the ban, Alcala ordered the immediate suspension of the processing and evaluation of the application and issuance of veterinary quarantine clearance on the importation of poultry products from Italy and Germany. He also ordered the DA's veterinary quarantine officers and inspectors in all major ports to halt and confiscate all shipments of poultry products, with the exception of heat-treated items­, from the two countries.

Consumer poultry prices experience temporary drop

    The consumer price for poultry meats dropped slightly from January to February, in direct contrast to pork and beef, which both edged up.
    The estimated consumer price for poultry products — including broiler chicken and turkey — backed off by 0.2 percent, while the price of pork saw a 0.8 percent increase, and beef and veal saw a 0.4 percent increase during February, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Price Outlook released on March 25.
    However, it was the price of fish and seafood that saw the biggest decline in consumer price for the month, dropping by 1.2 percent. Since seafood is less reliant on crop-based feeds, its prices have not been impacted as harshly by the past year's drought.
    "We're keeping our eyes closest on all prices for foods that are animal based, so of course meats, your beef and pork and poultry, but also eggs and dairy products are going to be affected," said USDA economist Ricky Volpe during an agency broadcast. "These are the foods that are based on corn-based animal feeds, and that's where we expect to see the biggest impacts."
    Eggs jumped in price by 1.1 percent, while dairy products dropped by 0.4 percent.
    Year-over-year estimates
    When compared to the price estimates from February 2012, only pork and products categorized as "other meats" saw a drop. Pork was down 1.5 percent, while other meats dropped by 0.2 percent.
    Eggs and poultry saw the highest year-over-year increase, jumping by 5.8 and 5 percent, respectively. Beef prices went up by 3.4 percent, while fish and seafood went up by 0.5 percent.
    Forecast for 2013 and beyond
    While many meat prices have jumped as feed prices have risen among tight supplies, Volpe said he still anticipates "most of the impact of the drought is yet to come."
    Nearly all proteins are forecast to increase by 3 to 4 percent for 2013, including poultry, pork, beef and veal, and other meats. Dairy products, meanwhile, are projected to increase from 3.5 to 4.5 percent, but fish and seafood are only forecast to jump 2.5 to 3.5 percent.
    Those projections are consistent with the ones released in last month's Food Price report, and are higher than the historical average, according to Volpe.
    Contributing to the price pressures are low long-term inflation, and low meat inventories relative to demand.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

February egg production down 1 percent from 2012

    February egg production in the United States dropped by one percent from the same month a year ago, with broiler-type chicks hatched down two percent, but egg-type chicks hatched up by four percent.
    According to the most recent USDA Chickens and Eggs report, total egg production amounted to 7.19 billion for the month, which included 6.23 billion table eggs and 962 million hatching eggs. Of the hatching eggs, 893 million were broiler-type, and 69 million were egg-type.
    Egg-type chicks hatched in February amounted to 40.8 million, up four percent from February, 2012, while eggs in incubators totaled 41.8 million on March 1, up six percent from a year ago.
    Broiler-type chicks hatched during February totaled 690 million, down two percent from February 2012. Eggs in incubators totaled 622 million on March 1, up 2 percent from a year earlier.

    Layer supply, rate of lay both increase
    All layer hens in the U.S. on March 1 totaled 345 million, up 2 percent from last year. Of those, 291 million were producing table or market-type eggs, 51.7 million produced broiler-type eggs and 2.98 million layers were producing egg-type hatching eggs.
    The rate of lay per day on March 1 averaged 74.3 eggs per 100 layers, which is up slightly from the same day a year ago.

Aviagen releases 'How To' hatchery tutorial on egg turning

    Poultry breeder Aviagen has released the 8th publication in its "How To" series of hatchery tutorials, aimed at providing practical advice for hatchery managers and supervisors. The latest "How To" document focuses on egg turning in the hatchery, which impacts embryo development and hatchability.
    According to Dinah Nicholson, Aviagen global manager - Hatchery Development and Support:
    “Egg turning problems are a frequent observation when members of the hatchery specialist team make customer visits. While complete failures are still rare, it is surprisingly common to see some trollies which have not been properly attached to the turning mechanism or have less than optimal turning angles.
    “Turning angles can be very badly adrift, especially in older units or very large incubators, which may struggle when fully loaded. Turning angles need to be between 38 and 45 degrees, otherwise you can have raised embryo mortality with knock on damage to hatchability.”
    The "How To" document contains a check list for setters and advice on the possible causes of failure to turn properly. A turning angle template, part of the range of Aviagen technical tools, demonstrating the optimum angle for incubating eggs, is also part of the publication.
    Nicholson added: “Our unique 'How To' series provides an essential reference source for hatchery personnel. We identified a real need within the industry for clear, easy to follow advice and have produced the series as a result. We are delighted how well this publication has been received by our customers worldwide.”
    Other titles in the "How To" hatchery series are:
    Measure Egg Water Loss
    Measure Chick Yield
    Measure Eggshell Temperature
    Identify Infertile Eggs & Early Deads
    Break Out and Analyze Hatch Debris
    Monitor Setter Temperature Variation
    Check Your Chicks Are Comfortable

Proper sow body condition score key for profitability

    A sow’s reproductive success and longevity potential are often measured through her body condition score. Proper body condition can impact short-term production and long-term profitability potential, so feeding sows to maintain adequate BCS through all production stages is an important part of an operation’s success. To aid producers, Purina Animal Nutrition offers its Feeding for 30 program.
    “A sow’s body condition score is an indicator of her current productivity potential and a forecast of her future,” says Gawain Willis, director of nutrition services for Purina Animal Nutrition LLC. “Gestating sows should be fed to maintain a BCS of three on a five-point scale. Maintaining this BCS through all production stages is ideal.”
    According to Purina, the sow should be fed so she is at a BCS of 3.0 at farrowing. Sows that farrow with adequate body condition have a greater potential to produce larger birth weights in the litter, greater milk production and a shorter return to estrus post-weaning.
    An ideal BCS at farrowing begins during gestation. Producers can help sows to regain body condition from the last litter early in gestation and then provide nutrients to keep BCS steady through farrowing. If sows are bump-fed in late gestation, producers are encouraged to allow for extra weight gain and condition prior to farrowing by feeding for less condition in early gestation.
    Temperature also plays a role in BCS. During the winter, additional feed may be needed to support the sow’s extra nutrient demand for body heat. Industry recommendations show that up to an additional 2,500 kilocalories of metabolizable energy per head per day may be needed to promote consistent BCS through winter.
    On the flip side, less energy may be required during warmer periods. Overfeeding sows during gestation may result in over-conditioned sows entering the farrowing facility. These sows have a higher probability for farrowing difficulties and excessive weight loss in lactation.
    To ensure that sows are in the proper condition, producers are encouraged to body condition score sows on a regular basis.
    “Sows should be scored at least quarterly,” Willis recommends. “If sows are under- or over-conditioned, ration and management changes can be made to keep condition consistent. To promote consistency, employees should be trained and a standardized scoring practice should be followed.”
    Another indicator of condition during gestation is weight gain. Research from North Carolina State University states that a sow should ideally gain 75 to 100 pounds and a gilt should gain 100 to 125 pounds during gestation.
    This condition is required by the female after farrowing – helping her to not quickly lose body condition when nutrient requirements increase. Because lactating sows produce 15 to 25 pounds of milk per day, daily nutrient requirements are nearly three times higher in lactation than during gestation.
    “Nutrient demands on lactating sows grow as sows in the U.S. continue to produce historically large litters,” Willis says. “If sows are not fed properly in gestation and lactation to support these litters, nutrients will be drawn from the sow’s body reserves and her body condition will be sacrificed. Over-conditioned sows may lose extra weight quickly and under-conditioned sows can fall to an even lower BCS.”
    Research from the University of Minnesota shows that excessive body weight loss during lactation can lead to future problems including an extended weaning-to-estrus interval, smaller subsequent litter sizes and lower conception rates. The researchers also found greater probability for bone and spine issues as minerals are mobilized from bones during lactation of over- or under-conditioned sows.
    According to Willis: “Well-conditioned sows are our best bet for reaching 30 pigs per sow per year. To meet the industry goal, we need to provide the nutrients that our sows require. Without adequate nutrients to care for larger litters, parity levels could suffer.
    “On the other hand, the proper level of nutrients during each maternal stage can position the litter and the sow to reach their full potential. Success with sows often begins with a proper ration and a consistent body condition scoring program,” he says. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Aller Aqua Group Egypt to build new aquafeed mill

    Danish fish feed producer Aller Aqua Group has confirmed that its Egyptian joint venture operation, Aller Aqua Egypt, will build a second feed mill in Egypt to expand its local production of fish feeds.
    The new mill will triple the production capacity of the joint venture, which will become Egypt’s largest manufacturer of extruded fish feeds. It is being built on 6,000-square-meter plot of land adjacent to the first production plant.
    Aller Aqua Egypt was formed in 2011 when the Denmark-based group bought a majority shareholding of an enterprise owned previously by an Egyptian family. Besides in Denmark and Egypt, Aller Aqua Group also has aquafeed manufacturing facilities in Poland and Germany.

Novus awarded for animal feed ingredients product differentiation

    Novus International was presented the Animal Feed Ingredients Product Differentiation Excellence Award for its trace minerals product line, Mintrex. The animal health and nutrition company was honored at a gala hosted by Frost & Sullivan, a global research organization, on March 12 in San Diego, Calif.
    "Frost & Sullivan analyzes how companies worldwide manage growth, innovation and leadership, and recognizes those that exceed in these critical areas," said Jim Geradot, executive director, GANS Global Strategic Marketing for Novus, who attended the awards ceremony on behalf of the company. "The fact that Novus's business practices and the resulting products are at a level comparable to those of companies that are leaders in their respective industries is gratifying. We take animal health and nutrition very seriously. I can't imagine a more meaningful compliment and validation of the work we do."

Landmark Services Coop. plans new grain shuttle loading facility

    Landmark Services Cooperative recently announced plans for a new grain shuttle loading facility in Fall River, Wis.
    If approved, the new state-of-the-art grain facility will be the second of its kind to be built in Wisconsin. Grain shuttle loading facilities are created so producers can store and market grain at the best economic time. Rail systems are built into the grain facility so railcars can enter the bin infrastructure and be loaded directly, saving on shipping and loading costs and reducing carbon emissions associated with traditional shipping – providing a local solution to feed a growing population worldwide.
    The first grain shuttle loading facility in Wisconsin is in Evansville, Wis., also owned by Landmark Services Cooperative. The Evansville facility was completed in 2002. It has since benefited community members and agricultural producers through increased marketing opportunities and shipping speed, greater community employment, added economic activity and fewer carbon emissions.
    As proposed, the Fall River facility will sit on 150 to 250 acres, having the capacity to hold 2.5 to 3.5 million bushels of grain, and to market 15 to 25 million bushels of grain annually. The proposed facility would provide local economic benefits including an increased property tax base.
    “This exciting project is an opportunity for Landmark to further partner with our communities and to have an even greater global impact through local solutions,” says Bob Carlson, CEO of Landmark Services Cooperative.
    “Being locally owned by our members, our mission is to help the communities we work with to thrive and our producers to remain profitable,” Carlson adds. “The proposed grain shuttle loading facility in Fall River will be helpful in both of those goals – benefiting producers, members and our communities.”
    Landmark Services Cooperative has taken preliminary steps in planning for the Fall River facility. For the past 18 months, Landmark’s leadership team has been discussing how the cooperative can provide a local solution with a global reach. After much discussion and due diligence, the leadership team is excited about the possibility of this grain shuttle loading facility.
    The cooperative is currently applying for a conditional use permit for building in Fall River. Additional preliminary steps include discussions with community and board members to explore a facility that best meets the local needs of agricultural producers and community members.
    “The Landmark team is eager to speak with the community about this new and exciting project,” Carlson says. “Our goal is to be a partner to our members and our communities and to provide opportunities for overall community success.”

Global dairy market tightened by Chinese buying, supply contraction

    The global dairy market tightened considerably in mid-March and is predicted to remain tight over the next six months, according to Rabobank’s latest dairy quarterly report.
    While dairy market demand remained weak in the EU and U.S., importers continued to seek increased quantities, led by a surge in Chinese buying. Strong buying from China and a sharp drop in New Zealand created a large premium for whole milk powder over other product prices and for international market prices over domestic U.S. wholesale prices. The end of the season in the Southern Hemisphere has been poor, exacerbated by extreme weather in several regions, particularly New Zealand.
    The weak end of the Southern Hemisphere season is expected to overlap with a weak supply peak in May in the Northern Hemisphere, which will cause total milk production in export regions to fall below prior-year levels in 1H 2013. According to Rabobank's projections, lower milk production will not be much of a problem in surplus regions with weak demand; but, it will reduce supply availability for the international market, even after accounting for stock sales from the U.S. Moreover, Chinese buying will slow somewhat in coming months, while buyers in other import regions will look for additional supply to meet local market requirements.
    “The quest for additional supply should ensure a tight global market environment through Q2 and Q3, before a new Southern Hemisphere season and an easing of global feed prices enables the market to balance at somewhat lower prices in Q4,” said Tim Hunt, Rabobank global strategist. “The sharp divergences in prices evident between different product lines and regional markets should slowly abate as 2013 progresses. In particular, U.S. wholesale market prices, significantly discounted in early 2013, should move back to lower discounts by mid-year as the global market tightens and U.S. stocks are cleared. But, regional market rigidities will likely ensure that normal relativities are not fully restored until late in the year.”
    Rabobank remains pessimistic on EU and U.S. consumption prospects, factoring in net growth of zero in consumption from these two markets in the first half of 2013. If either outperforms expectations, less product will be available for export, contributing to more market upside. The bank also assumes a better Northern Hemisphere crop year will allow for the potential of widespread planting of grains and oilseeds, driving down global feed costs in Q4. Another poor crop would generate further market upside, the report says. 

Feed producers may benefit from phytate analysis service

    Animal and feed producers can now make more precise predictions of phytate levels in feed, thanks to AB Vista’s phytate analysis service.
    In partnership with Aunir, a developer and supplier of software for near infrared reflectance spectroscopy, this service enables AB Vista’s customers to have the phytate content of feed samples analyzed. Aunir has also recently updated the equations that underpin this analysis with data from 3,000 samples.
    NIR spectroscopy uses light waves to analyze nutritional, chemical and physical properties at a molecular level, including the presence of phytate. Found in many plant-based feedstuffs, the anti-nutritional effects of phytate cost animal producers up to $2 billion every year in lost performance. When excreted, it can also harm the environment, but it can be eliminated from the diet by applying the enzyme phytase to feed.
    According to AB Vista research director, Mike Bedford: “To keep NIR analysis as precise as possible, Aunir needs to continually update its calibrations: the baseline standards against which samples are predicted. Now, with an even more accurate picture of phytate content and overall nutritional make-up, AB Vista’s customers will be in a stronger position to maximise the potential of their feed and the use of phytase to reduce costs.”

Poultry groups refute recent claims on worker safety

    In a white paper released on March22, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the National Chicken Council refute claims made in a recent report released by the Southern Poverty Law Center and Alabama Appleseed Center for Law & Justice and provide facts about the poultry industry and its approach to worker safety.
    The report, Unsafe At These Speeds, begins by stating that injuries in the poultry industry are much more frequent than for the private workforce as a whole, citing 2010 OSHA data. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the injury and illness rate for poultry processing workers is 5.9 percent compared to 3.5 percent for all workers in the private sector. Recently released 2011 numbers place poultry processing workers at 5.8 percent compared to 3.5 percent for all workers in the private sector.
    The white paper provides more accurate approaches that should be taken to put the OSHA data in proper perspective. First, a more accurate comparison would be to compare poultry workers to all manufacturing workers, who incurred injuries and illnesses at a 4.4 percent rate in 2011. It is also noteworthy to compare poultry processing's 5.8 percent rate to other industries and professions. For 2011, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported injury/illness rate for automobile manufacturing workers was 7.5 percent; for office furniture manufacturing, 5.2 percent; for passenger airline workers, 7.9 percent; and for state and local government workers, 5.7 percent. The poultry industry's injury and illness rates are in line with many other manufacturing industries.
    USPOULTRY and the NCC go on in the paper to refute the specific claims about worker health and safety, line speeds, unionization, workers' compensation, anaerobic manure lagoons and the proposal to modernize poultry inspection. The steady and impressive reduction in injuries and illnesses in the poultry industry, 74.5 percent since 1994, is highlighted.
    The poultry industry is proud of the advancements it has made in worker safety over the last 30+ years and the ongoing efforts for continuous improvement.

Antibiotic resistance – would poultry density reduction help?

    Reducing poultry density can result in fewer infections in humans with antibiotic resistant bacteria, the former director of the department for risk assessment of the Dutch Food Authority of the Ministry of Agriculture said.
    Dr. Ir. Wim De Wit told attendees at VIV Asia 2013 that there is a link between antibiotic use in poultry and antibiotic resistance in humans.
    "It's a growing problem, and we have to be very reluctant in the use of antibiotics," said De Wit. "We have to reserve the better ones for men, and there's a strong need for new medicines to treat resistant strains. That's why I say the microbes fight back, and the system is overloaded. What can we do? One of the possibilities is to limit the density of farm animals."
    De Wit showed an example of where a monitoring program was done in the Netherlands during a 2003 outbreak of avian influenza, and areas where poultry was culled matched up with reductions of infections in humans with antibiotic resistant bacteria.
    And while The Netherlands has been active in fighting problems with antibiotic resistance, De Wit urged others to get involved.
    "It has no use if the only the Netherlands, which is a small place, is working very hard on it and others don't," he said. "The feed and food producers, the farmers, the vets, the retailers, the consumers — the whole production chain is responsible." 

US House advances measure to prevent meat inspector furloughs

    Front-line meat and poultry inspectors came one step closer to avoiding furloughs, as the U.S. House voted on March 21 on a continuing resolution that shifts $55 million to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow the inspectors to keep working.
    The House approved the bipartisan measure by a 318-109 vote.
    "The rarity of coming together as we are a week or so before the ending of the (continuing resolution) to pass a new continuing resolution by agreement of the Senate, with the myriad of details involved in these bills, is remarkable," said House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky.
    The continuing resolution contained an amendment, which provides flexibility to the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service to prevent furloughs of front-line food safety inspectors at federally inspected meat and poultry plants. The $55 million in funding provided in the bill will not exempt the Food Safety and Inspection Service from sequester cuts, but it will put additional funding back into the account in order to try to prevent furloughs of front-line food safety inspectors, who are deemed "essential" federal employees.
    The Senate approved the measure one day earlier. The bill now moves on for President Barack Obama's approval, which is expected.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Arkansas Senate declares Springdale Poultry Capital of the World

    The Arkansas Senate has unanimously approved a bill that would dub Springdale, the home of Tyson Foods, the "Poultry Capital of the World."
    The name would be written into a section of state law that names Arkansas' official flower, motto and bird, among other matters. Republican Sen. Jon Woods of Springdale told the Associated Press a city council member had approached him about the idea as a way to market the northwest Arkansas city.
    The bill, approved March 21 by the Senate, now heads to the state House for consideration.

Nebraska egg farmer voted Midwest Poultry Federation president

      The Midwest Poultry Federation recently elected its officers. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Darrin Karcher, Secretary-Treasurer; Kim Reis, 1st Vice President; Allen Behl, Past President; and William Claybaugh, President. (Not pictured: Ben Thompson, 2nd Vice President).
    William Claybaugh, an egg farmer from Carroll, Neb., has been named the 2013-14 President of Midwest Poultry Federation. Claybaugh represents the Nebraska Egg Council on the federation's Board of Directors.
    Claybaugh, owner/operator of TWJ Farms/Nebraska Eggs Ltd., replaces outgoing president Allen Behl of Behl Turkeys Farms, Watertown, Wisc. Behl represents the Wisconsin Poultry and Egg Industries Association on the board; he will assume the post of past president.
    "I am honored to lead Midwest Poultry Federation into the coming year," said Claybaugh. "Our 2013 convention featured increased attendance and a continued expansion of our exhibit space so I am excited to capitalize on the enthusiasm and momentum we felt this year and build upon our successes for the 2014 convention."
    Board elections were held during the 2013 MPF Convention, March 12-14, in Saint Paul, Minn. Other officers were elected during this same time.
    Kim Reis, Ellsworth Turkeys of Ellsworth, Iowa, was elected First Vice President of the board. Reis represents the Iowa Turkey Federation on the Board.
    Ben Thompson, Pearl Valley Eggs of Pearl City, Ill., was elected Second Vice President of the board. Thompson represents the Illinois Poultry Industries on the board.
    Dr. Darrin Karcher, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., was elected Secretary-Treasurer of the board. Karcher represents Michigan Allied Poultry Industries on the board.
    Also at the March 12 MPF Board meeting, Bruce Eastlund of ILC Resources was re-elected to his second term as an Allied Director on the Board. ILC Resources is a long-time exhibitor at the convention; Eastlund is one of three Allied Directors who represent all exhibitors on the board.
    Attendance at the 2013 Midwest Poultry Federation Convention topped out at 2,150 this year - and increase over last year and the highest it's been in over two decades. The show continued its expansion into two exhibit halls with 393 booths (226 exhibiting companies) as well as educational workshops with over 40 speakers from across the world.
    This steady increase in exhibitors and booth space over the past 5 years has merited the distinction for the federation as one of the "50 Fastest Growing Trade Shows" in the U.S. by Trade Show Magazine. This award will be presented at a special ceremony in May in Chicago.
    The 43rd annual Midwest Poultry Federation Convention will be held March 18-20, 2014 at Saint Paul RiverCentre in Saint Paul, Minn. The show will feature a Pre-Show Nutrition Symposium and Welcome Reception on March 18 and exhibits and educational sessions on March 19-20.
    As a nonprofit organization, all of MPF's revenue generated (after expenses are paid) from the convention goes back to its member organizations and to support poultry programs.

Poultry groups see strong support for political action committees

    Political action committees representing the poultry industry have seen substantial growth over the past decade, at times raising more funds than the groups going to bat for the larger beef and pork industries.
    Spokesmen for the National Turkey Federation, National Chicken Council and United Egg Producers have a common insight when explaining the growth: Industry members realize there are benefits to getting politically involved.
    "The members are increasingly aware of how important the outcomes of elections are," said Joel Brandenberger, president of the National Turkey Federation, whose political action committee, TURPAC, grew substantially during the 2012 election cycle. "Elections cost money. Our members understand that if they individually, or collectively through TURPAC, aren't out there vigorously supporting people who understand the industry and would act accordingly in Congress, they could end up with those who might wish to do us harm."

    Contributions on a continued upward trend
    According to figures released by the Federal Election Commission, political action committees of the National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers and the National Chicken Council have all been on an upward trend in terms of money raised since the 2000 federal election.
    TURPAC's funds during the 2012 election cycle reached $376,373, up nearly $90,000 from the previous election cycle in 2010. The group had less than $100,000 in its coffers in 2000, making it the fastest-growing animal agriculture PAC. And Brandenberger thinks there is still room for more growth.
    "The mid-term elections in 2014 will be very important. I would not be surprised to see a very strong level of contributions in 2014. I think it would be our hope that TURPAC would continue to grow, maybe not quite as rapid a rate as it grew in the previous decade, but I think we still expect it to grow," Brandenberger said.
    United Egg Producers' political action committee has seen a small downtrend in contributions since the 2008 election, when it was at its highest at just a little more than $300,000 - more than any other animal agriculture PAC raised that year. But the $237,539 for the 2012 election cycle is still up dramatically from the estimated $150,000 raised in 2000.
    "It may have slipped a little, but people are giving more than they did 10 or 12 years ago. That shows the level of our industry commitment continues to grow, and they see value in getting involved," said Mitch Head, United Egg Producers spokesman.
    Head indicated the numbers could have been higher during the last election year, but company consolidations and the overall profitability of the industry may have held it back.
    The National Chicken Council's political action committee in 2012 raised $277,032. Its funds have remained rather steady since the 2006 election cycle, when it saw a sizeable jump from just over $200,000. Its funds were comparable to those raised for United Egg Producers in 2000. Council spokesman Tom Super said the group is always looking at ways for its PAC to grow.

    Measuring up to other animal PACs
    While the poultry industry PACs have done well in raising money when compared to organizations representing other animal proteins, it was the National Cattlemen's Beef Organization that raised the most money for 2012, and saw the biggest increase after being stagnant for 12 years. In 2012, the beef PAC's coffers jumped up to $797,566, well more than doubling its 2010 funds, which were less than TURPAC had raised that year. The beef PAC's previous 12-year high of around $425,000 it raised in 2000.
    The National Pork Producers Council raised $388,782 in 2012, a similar two-year growth pattern as TURPAC. Its funds dropped in 2002, but they have inched up every election cycle since that election year, when its funds were around $70,000. After being the second-lowest funded PAC in 2008, it has a small advantage over TURPAC to become the second-highest PAC in funds raised.
    The American Meat Institute's funds in 2012 backed down to $227,032, after experiencing its 12-year high around $300,000 in 2008. Its contributions were around $210,000 in 2000.

    Following the funds
    TURPAC, according to Brandenberger, focuses its energy on federal House and Senate races. They have not got involved in presidential races, or state gubernatorial and legislative races. As for Congressional issues, TURPAC does not focus on any one issue, but rather a collective of those that will help the industry.
    "TURPAC will never be a single-issue political action committee," Brandenberger said. "What we look for is does a candidate fundamentally understand the challenges facing the turkey industry first, the meat and poultry industry next, and then food and agriculture production in general."
    An interest in legislation that affects egg product inspections has helped the United Egg Producers PAC gather support, according to Head. That bill takes a look at phasing out the conventional battery cages for colony cages as a standard for the housing of hens.
    "We have a few other issues we follow, but that's our No. 1 legislative priority at the federal level," said Head.
    Like TURPAC, United Egg Producers does not typically get involved in state issues and legislative races.
    Tom Super, National Chicken Council spokesman, did not indicate any specific issues where their PAC focuses. Rather, they look for the greater good of the industry.
    "Our members recognize the importance of being politically engaged in order to assure that the needs of the poultry industry, as well as the needs of our allied and distributor members, are heard, recognized and understood in Congress," Super said. "We will continue to support and promote pro-growth, pro-business ideology to all industries, especially the food sector."

Record year for meat, poultry exports bolsters US soy demand

    Despite challenging issues, such as the struggling global economy and trade barriers, U.S. poultry and livestock farmers enjoyed a record year for meat exports, which helps keep domestic demand for U.S. soy strong.
    U.S. poultry, egg and pork shipments exceeded previous highs for value and volume set in 2011. International beef sales dipped slightly in volume but broke the previous value record.
    Growing U.S. meat and poultry exports reinforce demand for U.S. soy since soy meal constitutes a significant portion of animal feeds. Domestic animal agriculture uses about 98 percent of the domestic supply of U.S. soy meal, making it the U.S. soy industry's No. 1 customer.
    "Exporting meat and poultry is a big issue for U.S. soybean farmers," says John Butler, a farmer-leader from Dyersburg, Tenn. "If we can feed animals soybeans here and sell them abroad, we're creating a value-added product. Adding that value here has a tremendous positive impact on not only the U.S. soy industry but the national economy as well."
    Poultry and hogs remain the biggest users of U.S. soy meal. According to the most recent statistics, poultry consume roughly 12.9 million metric tons annually. That's the meal from 601 million bushels of soybeans. And hogs account for 6.8 million metric tons of U.S. soy meal, or the meal from 318 million bushels of soybeans.
    To support U.S. soy meal's largest customer, the soy checkoff partners with organizations like the U.S. Meat Export Federation and USA Poultry and Egg Export Council to market U.S. meat and poultry abroad. A recent checkoff and U.S. Meat Export Federation effort helped increase consumption of pork back ribs in Japan from zero to 4.5 million pounds over the last three years.
    The U.S. meat and poultry export figures for 2012 include:
    • Pork exports nearly reached 2.3 million metric tons, valued at over $6.3 billion.
    • Broiler meat exports, excluding chicken paws, reached 3.3 million metric tons, valued at nearly $4.2 billion.
    • Beef exports reached 1.1 million metric tons, valued at $5.5 billion.
    • Turkey exports reached 361,597 metric tons, valued at $678 million.
    • Chicken paw exports reached 363,974 metric tons, valued at $450.1 million.
    • Egg exports, table eggs and processed egg products in shell equivalents reached 274.1 million dozen, valued at $263.7 million.
    The 69 farmer-directors of the United Soybean Board oversee the investments of the soy checkoff to maximize profit opportunities for all U.S. soybean farmers. These volunteers invest and leverage checkoff funds to increase the value of U.S. soy meal and oil, to ensure U.S. soybean farmers and their customers have the freedom and infrastructure to operate, and to meet the needs of U.S. soy's customers. As stipulated in the federal Soybean Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act, the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service has oversight responsibilities for the United Soybean Board and the soy checkoff.

Broiler eggs set, chicks placed up 1 percent

    Commercial hatcheries in the United States Department of Agriculture's 19-state weekly program set 200 million eggs in incubators during the week ending March 16, according to the agency's weekly broiler hatchery report. This was up 1 percent from the eggs set the corresponding week a year earlier.
    Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 84 percent. Average hatchability is calculated by dividing chicks hatched during the week by eggs set three weeks earlier.
    Broiler growers in the 19-state weekly program, meanwhile, placed 165 million chicks for meat production during the same week. Placements were up 1 percent from the comparable week a year earlier. Cumulative placements from December 30, 2012 through March 16 for the 19-state total were 1.80 billion, up 1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Senate moves to avoid USDA meat inspector furloughs

    Senators agreed to shift $55 million in funds within the U.S. Department of Agriculture on March 20 to avert the layoff of all U.S. meat inspectors this summer due to federal budget cuts.
    On a voice vote, the Senate adopted the amendment as part of a government-wide funding bill. Leaders then sent the bill for passage in the House, which is expected to vote on March 22.
    "If it gets passed, we will apply it," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Otherwise, he said, there was no way to avoid furloughs of all inspectors for a total of 11 days.

Poultry industry needs, consumer demand topics at Alltech symposium

    From problems with mycotoxins and coccidiosis, to opportunities with epigenetics and antibiotic-free programs, Alltech plans to address a plate full of topics that affect the poultry industry, from the hatchery to the dining room, at GLIMPSE 2020: the 29th Annual Alltech International Symposium in Lexington, Ky., May 19-22.
    New in 2013, Alltech International Symposium delegates will have the opportunity to select breakout session tracks. These tracks, as opposed to traditional species or subject breakouts, will offer attendees a more holistic experience in which they take part in discussions ranging from algae and agriculture's carbon footprint to nutrition and marketing.
    "With daily blogs, tweets and posts demanding cage free, farm fresh and organic products, we need to listen to what consumers are saying, determine the best route to market and meet their expectations. At this year's Symposium, we will look at opportunities to improve meat quality and the customer experience by further investigating parameters such as tenderness, drip loss, cooking loss and shelf life," said Paulo Rigolin, chairperson for the poultry antibiotic-free track at Symposium. "It is more critical than ever to shift from the mindset of 'just being in the poultry business' to recognizing our role in a food industry that must feed an additional billion people by 2020."
    Poultry-focused breakout session tracks include:
    • Epigenetics: The Role of Parental Nutrition in Shaping Offspring Health
    • Eggs: The Perfect Nutrient in the Perfect Nutrient Delivery System
    • Reimagining Nutrition Part 1: The Role of Solid State Fermentation to Reduce Diet Costs
    • Coccidiosis Control: Confronting the Reality in an Era of Fewer Viable Options
    • Gut Immunity and Homeostatis: How Intestinal Microflora Interacts with the Immune System and Disease
    • Unlocking Genetic Potential with Natural Nutrition
    • Mycotoxins: The Global Picture
    Poultry industry members will also get the opportunity to network in the discussion forum and explore questions such as:
    • Crisis Management- How Will Your Firm Handle a Crisis?
    • Branding Food: Is it Niche or Mainstream?
    • Reimagining Nutrition: How Nutrigenomics is Revolutionizing How We Feed
    • Is Truly Antibiotic-Free Animal Production Possible?
    Registration for Alltech's 29th Annual International Symposium is open now and available for an early discount price of $599 until April 15 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Standard registration after April 15 will be $850. Two paid registrations from a single company or organization will receive a third registration free of charge. Delegates who are members of ARPAS and AAVSB can also earn CEUs.
    Attendees are encouraged to register early as space is limited. Of the nearly 3,000 international delegates who attended the 2012 Alltech International Symposium, 97 percent indicated that they plan to attend again.
    For more information, or to request an invitation, contact a local Alltech representative, visit or email

UN lays foundations for more drought resilience

    A top-level United Nations conference has, for the first time, laid the foundations for practical and proactive national drought policies to increase resilience to the world's most destructive natural hazard.
    The high-level Meeting on National Drought Policy marked the first globally-coordinated attempt to move towards science-based drought disaster risk reduction. The meeting issued a declaration encouraging governments to develop and implement national drought management policies consistent with their development objectives. It also provided detailed scientific and policy guidance on how to achieve this.
    The meeting on March 11-15 was organized by the World Meteorological Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification and other partners. It brought together more than 300 government decision-makers, development agencies, and leading scientists and researchers.
    Brigi Rafini , Prime Minister of Niger, chaired the high-level segment, which was addressed by more than 20 ministers.
    "The nature of drought and its effects on key sectors such as water, agriculture, meteorology, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, etc. call for close collaboration between these sectors and beyond in order for drought management to achieve its goals. Such collaboration has, unfortunately, been lacking. It is our hope that the collaboration between a large number of partners in the context of this high-level meeting will constitute the starting point for lifting this constraint at all levels," said Ann Tutwiler, Special Representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization to the UN organizations in Geneva.
    It has been estimated that droughts are the world's costliest natural disaster, accounting for $6-8 billion dollars annually, and impacting more people than any other form of natural disaster. Since 1900, over 11 million people have died as a result of droughts, and 2 billion people have been affected. The frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts are expected to rise as a result of climate change, with an increasing human and economic toll.
    Since the 1970s, the land area affected by drought has doubled, undermining livelihoods, reversing development gains and entrenching poverty among millions of people who depend directly on the land. Women, children and the aged often pay the heaviest price.
    Recurrent drought waves in vulnerable regions of Africa have attracted global attention because of the famines and massive social and economic disruptions. But drought affects other regions as well, as witnessed in recent years in the United States, Russia, Europe, India, Brazil and Australia, wreaking havoc on food supplies worldwide.
    Presentations at the meeting showed that proactive drought management planning is now possible following major advances in science and technology, and knowledge about sustainable land management. Varied innovations also exist for national and regional drought monitoring, early warning systems, risk-based responses as well as mitigation and coping strategies.
    The meeting issued a consensus declaration stressing the need for national drought management policies. Specifically, it encouraged governments to:
    • Develop proactive drought impact mitigation, preventive and planning measures, risk management, fostering of science, appropriate technology and innovation, public outreach and resource management as key elements of effective national drought policy.
    • Promote greater collaboration to enhance the quality of local/national/regional/global observation networks and delivery systems.
    • Improve public awareness of drought risk and preparedness for drought.
    • Consider, where possible within the legal framework of each country, economic instruments, and financial strategies, including risk reduction, risk sharing and risk transfer tools in drought management plans.
    • Establish emergency relief plans based on sound management of natural resources and self-help at appropriate governance levels.
    • Link drought management plans to local/national development policies.
    Better drought management is one of the priorities of the Gloval Framework for Climate Services, now being implemented by governments with support from the United Nations. Climate services aim to increase drought resilience by improving climate information and services, especially for the most vulnerable. They will build on fast improving climate prediction capabilities.
    The new group aims to give global access to improved services for four initial priority sectors - food security and agriculture, water, health and disaster risk reduction - by the end of 2017.
    Outcomes of the high-level meeting will also be transmitted to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification Conference of Parties to be held in September 2013. Its last Conference in 2011 took a decision to formulate an advocacy policy framework on drought.

Friday, March 22, 2013

World Pork Expo offering two pre-show pig farm tours

    The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is offering two tours for visitors who want a first-hand look at Midwest agriculture before World Pork Expo gets underway on June 5-7. A two-day tour on June 3-4 is underwritten by the Illinois Soybean Association, and will display the diversity of U.S. agriculture, from crops to livestock and shipping to agribusiness.
    The one-day tour, on June 4, will feature the rich agricultural areas in and around Des Moines. Both include meals on tour days, and free admission to World Pork Expo where visitors can enjoy the world’s largest pork-specific trade show, seminars, swine shows and sales, and more.
    “While there’s no shortage of things to see at World Pork Expo, these tours offer an opportunity to gain a more intimate look at Iowa and U.S. agriculture, which is particularly valuable for guests from other countries,” says Greg Thornton, NPPC director of producer services. “Tour attendees will be able to visit with farmers and agribusiness experts face to face, and gain real-world perspectives to take back home.”
    The chance to expand global interaction is what makes both World Pork Expo and these tours unique.
    “U.S. pork producers have directly experienced the impact of an expanding and interconnected global market,” says Randy Spronk, NPPC president and pork producer from Pipestone, Minn. “It’s to everyone’s benefit to exchange ideas and learn from each other.”

    Spotlight on Midwestern agriculture
    On June 3-4, the Midwest Agriculture Tour will take guests to the ever-popular Cinnamon Ridge Farm near Donahue, Iowa, where they will see 4,000 acres of corn and soybeans, wean-to-finish swine facilities, as well as a beef operation and a dairy. A visit to the United States’ major shipping artery — the Mississippi River—will include lunch and a barge trip down the river, along with a grain-terminal tour. Other highlights will include tours of the Kinze Manufacturing plant and the John Deere Harvester Works manufacturing plant, as well as a dinner with area farmers and pork producers.
    For those with limited schedules, the one-day Agribusiness Tour on June 4 will feature Iowa-based agribusinesses, such as DuPont Pioneer, a developer and supplier of advanced plant genetics. A visit to Swine Genetics International will provide insight into U.S. swine genetics and reproductive technologies. Participants will gain an understanding of the U.S. food distribution channel with a walking tour of a major U.S. grocery chain. The John Deere Manufacturing facility in Ankeny, Iowa, will round out the tour with a look at the type of modern equipment that helps livestock and crop farmers work more efficiently.
    The National Pork Board (NPB) will host both tour groups for dinner at its headquarters on June 4. Attendees can visit with NPB representatives and learn about the group’s promotional, research and international programs.

    Discounts for early registration
    Register early to receive a discounted tour rate. For the one-day Agribusiness Tour, the cost is $125 per person if registered by May 1, and $150 after that date. The registration fee for the two-day, Midwest Agriculture Tour, which includes hotel accommodations on Monday evening, is $300 per person by May 1, and $350 thereafter.
    Both tours will begin and end at the Holiday Inn Des Moines-Airport. Included in the package is bus transportation, three meals during each day of the tours and a three-day pass to World Pork Expo. As an added bonus, tour attendees will have access to free transportation from the Holiday Inn Des Moines-Airport to World Pork Expo and back, June 5-7.

Exercising sows during gestation could affect future fertility

    Swine fetuses showed significant ovarian development after their mothers exercised and may improve future fertility, according to research presented by Samantha Kaminski, a graduate student at North Dakota State University.
    Kaminski and fellow researchers already knew that uterine blood flow could affect blood flow to the ovaries of developing fetuses. To further study the relationship between uterine blood flow and ovary development, researchers designed an experiment to increase blood flow through exercise.
    The team selected 15 female pigs and bred them to a boar. They then exercised the pregnant sows between days 40 and 105 of gestation. For exercise, the sows were walked for 30 minutes a day, three times a week. The researchers used this exercise regimen with two generations of pigs.
    With the first generation, researchers studied ovaries from neonate piglets, adolescent piglets and gilts at six months of age. They looked at ovarian weight, cell proliferation and types of developing cells to compare how exercise might affect ovarian development.
    They found that the effects of exercise seemed to decrease as the female pigs grew. In an analysis of heavier weight neonates, Kaminski saw more cell proliferation in the group from the exercised sows.
    The adolescent pigs showed no differences in ovarian weight or overall cell proliferation. Kaminski did find a difference in the types of cells in the ovaries between treatment groups. The pigs from exercised sows had a greater proliferation of cells in the antral healthy follicles. The proliferation of antral healthy follicles has been used in previous studies as an indicator of healthy ooyctes and follicles.
    With the second generation, the researchers studied the ovaries from developing fetuses on day 94 of gestation. Though she found no difference in fetal ovarian weight, Kaminiski did see more cell proliferation in the ovaries of fetuses from the exercised sows.
    Kaminski acknowledged that it would be impractical to walk individual sows in a production setting. She said the exercise regimen of 30 minutes of exercise three times a week could be compared with any “moderate” amount of movement.
    “This would be very similar to what a group house setting would be like for sows,” said Kaminski.
    Kaminski recommended future studies to determine if cell proliferation is a good indicator of future fertility. She would also like to know why there were not significant differences in ovarian weight or cell proliferation in neonatal and adolescent pigs.
    Kaminski’s abstract was titled “Impact of maternal exercise on ovarian development in the pig.” 

Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors PCV2 research projects

    Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health has funded 17 independent European pig research projects related to Porcine Circovirus Type 2 (PCV2) infection and associated diseases.
    In the past five years, 50 research projects were submitted to the European PCV2 research award, demonstrating the continuous interest and need for applied PCV2 research.
    The 2012 European PCV2 research awards were recently presented to the successful investigators by the head of the review board, Prof. Maurice Pensaert, former head of the Laboratory of Virology of Ghent University in Belgium, and George Heidgerken, Senior Vice President Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health.
    In the 6th edition the independent review board selected the following projects to be awarded:
    • Effect of maternal derived immunity on PCV2 infection dynamics and production parameters in PCV2 vaccinated pigs (Prof. Joaquim Segalés and Dr. Marina Sibila, CReSA and Universitat Autònoma, Barcelona, Spain)
    • Are amino acids 169 and 173 of PCV capsid protein determinant for virulence? (Dr. Beatrice Grasland, Anses – LERAPP laboratory, Ploufragan, France)
    • Does prophylactic treatment with Iscom-Matrix adjuvant affect a subsequent PCV2 infection in pigs? (Prof. Caroline Fossum, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden)
    More than 40 European scientists participated in the award ceremony in Hanover, Germany, where the company recently opened a new international research site. More than 50 employees are already working on researching innovative vaccines for livestock at the Boehringer Ingelheim Veterinary Research Center. The company has invested more than 40 million euro in this state-of-the-art research facility.
    European Porcine Circovirus (PCV2) Research Award
    Boehringer Ingelheim intends to continuously support independent applied research in the field of PCV2 immunity, pathogenesis, epidemiology and interaction with other (potential) pathogens. The European Porcine Circovirus (PCV2) Research Award is an annual award that recognizes research proposals in this area of applied immunological PCV2 research.
    The award has an independent review board with leading European scientists in applied porcine research reviewing the entries and deciding upon the winning proposals. A maximum of three prizes, worth 25,000 euros each, are granted to European researchers every year, to advance scientific knowledge in these areas.
    How to apply
    Applications for the next European PCV2 Research Award can be submitted by September 10, 2013. For more details please contact or

14,000 pig carcasses found in river near Shanghai

    Since the first pig carcasses were spotted floating in the Hangpu River, upstream from Shanghai nearly two weeks ago, the number of dead pigs retrieved has jumped from 6,000 to nearly 14,000.
    According to pig industry insiders, the pigs probably died of circovirus and were then dumped into the river. Chinese pig units are said to be full of disease and farmers usually bury or burn dead livestock to save costs. However, burial pits are said to be full and this could be why the pigs were dumped in the river.
    The Chinese government has released a statement that the water is safe to drink. The investigation is ongoing. 

EU pig prices remain stable in 2013

    The average EU pig price remained relatively stable between mid-December and the end of February 2013, fluctuating around €170 per 100kg, according to BPEX.
    This contrasts with the normal seasonal pattern when prices fall sharply after Christmas before recovering during February. In 2013, prices fell only marginally in January but increases in February were also modest.
    Ongoing tight supplies helped to prevent a sharper decline in prices but reports of subdued demand, particularly from export markets, are keeping a lid on prices for the time being.
    Nevertheless, prices have remained above 2012 levels, although the gap has narrowed from over €20 per 100kg in mid-January to around €10 at the end of February.
    Although the average price across Europe has remained stable, some Member States have recorded increases in recent weeks. Over the four weeks of February, prices increased by over €8 in Spain and €6 in France and Poland.
    In contrast, Danish prices were flat during the month while Italy joined the UK in recording falling prices. In euro terms, the fall in the UK reference price was exacerbated by the weakening pound so the gap between the UK price and the EU average fell from around €20 per 100kg at the turn of the year to just €2 at the end of February. When the prices get as close as this, UK prices usually start increasing.

Avian influenza found on farm in The Netherlands

    Avian influenza has been detected on an organic poultry farm with 24,000 hens near the Netherlands town of Zeewolde, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs reported on March 19.
    A transport ban of poultry, eggs and poultry manure was imposed in an area of over .6 miles around the farm in Zeewolde. Within this area, there are no other poultry farms, NZWeek reported.
    A week ago, The Netherlands had another mild version of avian influenza, found on a poultry farm in Lochem. It is not yet clear whether both farms suffered from the same virus.

Poultry hatchery leaders honored for agriculture contributions

    Ted Huisinga and Ray Norling of the Willmar Poultry Co., a poultry hatchery specializing in turkey eggs and poults, have been chosen as recipients of the University of Minnesota’s Siehl Prize in Agriculture.
    The two are credited with building the company into a multi-faceted firm with a dozen affiliated companies, all related to the turkey industry. Two of those affiliate companies recently purchased a former state hospital and repurposed it to a high-technology campus aimed at expanding biotechnology, genetics, engineering and agriculture in west-central Minnesota. Huisinga and Norling are also well-known in the industry for their active work in food safety and animal health.
    The prize is awarded annually by the university’s College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences. It was created by a gift from Minnesota businessman Eldon Siehl to recognize living individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the production of food and alleviation of hunger in three separate categories: production, agribusiness, and knowledge.
    They will be honored at a May 23 ceremony.

Biomin founder Erich Erber wins Asian Personality Award

      Erich Erber, center, accepts the Asian Personality Award from Ruwan Berculo, left, and Nigel Horrox.
    Erich Erber, chairman of the Executive Board of Erber Group and founder of Biomin, was awarded the Asian Personality award at VIV Asia 2013 in recognition of his 30 years of contributions to the field of animal nutrition.
    Erber's dedication and foresight has led to numerous innovative and trend-setting solutions for animal production, with a successful business spanning over 100 countries worldwide and more than 1100 employees.
    This award adds to a series of important events that mark the year 2013 for the company as Biomin celebrates its 30th anniversary and introduces to the market a completely new approach to counteracting fumonisins in animal production.
    FUMzyme - the first purified enzyme that biotransforms fumonisins into non-toxic metabolites - was launched at VIV Asia 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand last week. This represents a great step forward in mycotoxin risk management, closing the gaps of adsorption amid increasing contamination levels and unidentified losses in animal performance.
    The Asian Poultry Personality of 2013 Award was handed out during the opening ceremony of VIV Asia 2013 by Nigel Horrox of Positive Action Publications Ltd and Ruwan Berculo of VIV Asia.
    "The recipient of this award was told that if you decide to do business in Asia, always come again and again to become a friend to your distributors and customers. He did exactly this and moved to live in Malaysia in 1994. He then successfully marketed his company's products in the region and soon his company's name became synonymous with mycotoxin control. He has always coupled quality service to quality products and now Asia is, primarily through his efforts a key region for his company" said Nigel Horrox.

USDA deputy secretary Merrigan resigns

    U.S. Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan has announced her resignation.
    "It has been an honor to play a small part in history," Merrigan stated. "I hope that during my tenure, I was able to help open USDA's doors a little wider, inviting new and discouraged constituencies to participate in USDA programs."
    Merrigan said highlights of her term included implementing the 2008 farm bill, improving school meals, expanding opportunities for American farmers, spending hours in the White House situation room, and shepherding USDA budgets through challenging times.
    "USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan has helped USDA achieve record results over the past four years," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "She has played a vital role in the department-wide focus on the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food initiative, as well as our efforts to achieve budget efficiencies and savings during an uncertain budget time. Deputy Secretary Merrigan has led USDA's efforts to implement important regulations, and she has been an important advocate for a strong National Organic Program. I deeply appreciate her service, and I wish her all the best in her future endeavors."

Moy Park considers moving poultry production in England

    Moy Park Ltd. has begun a consultation to move jobs from its Wisbech, England, factory to its Grantham, England, site "to make the business more competitive," the European food and poultry meat company says.
    The Wisbech factory makes poultry products and cooked, sliced meats.
    In the future, the plant could focus on only producing cooked, sliced meats, substantially reducing the workforce, but keeping the factory open. As many as 300 jobs at the poultry plant could be eliminated.
    A spokesperson from the firm said all those affected by job losses will be offered transfers to other Moy Park sites, BBC News reported.
    Northern Ireland-based Moy Park has owned the Wisbech plant for about 10 years. It employs about 10,000 people across 13 sites in Northern Ireland, England and France.
    The company said it had not set a deadline for when its consultation over the future of the Wisbech factory would end.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Alltech, Harper Adams University sign agricultural research alliance

    Animal health and nutrition company Alltech signed a research alliance with Harper Adams University, United Kingdom, on March 12. The alliance will span three years and oversee the steering committee, comprising staff members from Harper Adams and three Alltech staff on agricultural research partnerships.
    “We are really excited to work with Harper Adams University. They are a well-established institution with a long tradition of working in the rural sector, and their vision for the future is an excellent fit with Alltech’s,” said Dr. Jules Taylor-Pickard, Alltech’s solutions deployment team manager. “This research alliance will help Alltech to bring further solutions to our markets and to solve real problems, benefitting society, and the agriculture and food industries.”
    Alltech has successfully collaborated with a number of top academic institutions in the past, including 12 research alliances across the globe, in order to find sustainable solutions to the key issues facing the agricultural industry. This alliance represents one of three European connections and will advance the interest of all parties involved through educating the next generation of scientists.
    “Europe as a region is one of the fastest to adopt new technologies and one of the best in terms of investment in agriculture. Harper Adams University is an ideal partner for Alltech in our mission to revolutionize the agriculture industry, through novel technologies, working in synergy with the animal, while remaining safe and traceable for the consumer, without harming the environment. We are very excited to see where this research alliance will take us,” said Dr. Karl Dawson, chief scientific officer at Alltech.
    “Harper Adams University are delighted that a formal alliance has been put in place with Alltech and have every confidence that it will be beneficial to both parties. It really is an excellent model of how universities and industry should be working together for the benefit of agriculture,” said Professor Peter Mills, deputy vice-chancellor of Harper Adams University.

Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act resurfaces

    New York Congresswoman Louise Slaughter has once again introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act.
    The legislation is designed to stop the overuse of antibiotics on the farm — a practice Slaughter said is accelerating the growth of antibiotic-resistance disease. The act is being introduced just two weeks after Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, warned that their strongest antibiotics don't work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.
    "Since 1977, when the FDA acknowledged the threat of antibiotic-resistant disease and called for a reduction in the use of antibiotics in animals, we have been waiting for meaningful action to protect public health," said Slaughter. "Instead, we've gotten delays and half measure, and as a result, even common illnesses like strep throat could soon prove fatal. I've introduced this legislation because Congress must act immediately to protect the public health."
    Slaughter has introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act four times since 2007. In 2013, the legislation is updated to reflect what she refers to as the "severity of the growing crisis."
    According the recently-released 2011 NARMS Retail Meat Survey, antibiotic resistance among cephalosporins found on chicken and turkey has increased by 23.5 percent and 14.1 percent, respectively. As a result, Slaughter has explicitly named cephalosporins as an eighth class of antibiotics that would be prohibited from non-therapeutic use on animals (previous versions of the legislation explicitly named seven classes.) The new text also clarifies the term "non-therapeutic use" to ensure that any use of medically important antibiotics outside of treatment of a sick animal is not permitted.

Lack of approved drugs rated turkey industry’s top health issue

    The lack of approved efficacious drugs continues to be the top disease issue facing the turkey industry, according to a report by three industry experts presented at the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, held March 11–12, in St. Paul, Minnesota.
    Dr. Steven Clark, senior technical services veterinarian, Zoetis; Dr. Michelle Kromm, president of the Association of Veterinarians in Turkey Production; and Andrew Bailey, scientific and regulatory affairs manager for the National Turkey Federation, prepared the report after surveying turkey industry professionals and veterinarians regarding the health status of turkeys produced in August 2011 through August 2012. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most severe, the survey showed the lack of approved drugs ranking at a 4.8.
    Highlighting the severity of the problem is the withdrawal of the New Animal Drug Application for enrofloxacin in 2005 for use in poultry, leaving the industry with no adequate therapeutic response to colibacillosis or fowl cholera.
    The lack of approved drugs was also rated the most severe disease issue during the previous year.
    Ranking second among major disease issues is cholstridial dermatitis, previously known as cellulitis. Seventy-six percent of survey respondents ranked it either as a 4 or a 5, giving it a cumulative rating of 3.8.
    Colibacillosis was ranked as the third-greatest health problem for the second straight year. Respondents rated it at a 3.6, with heat stress ranked just slightly lower for its second consecutive year as the fourth-biggest health problem.
    Late mortality and leg problems followed as the next most severe health issues, with both earning a cumulative rating of 3.

Cow standing, laying behavior can predict heat stress

    The standing and laying behavior of cows can predict their heat stress, according to a study conducted by the University of Arizona and Northwest Missouri State University.
    Predicting heat stress is vital for keeping cows healthy and productive, said Dr. Jamison Allen during a presentation at the 2013 American Dairy Science Association Midwest Branch/American Society of Animal Science Midwestern Section Meeting. Cows will pant, eat less and produce less milk when their core body temperature increases. The researchers used two tools to study the relationship between behavior and temperature. They fitted each cow with an intra-vaginal sensor to measure core body temperature, and fitted each cow with a special leg sensor to measure the angle of the leg and track whether the cow was standing or lying. After comparing data from cows in Arizona, California and Minnesota, the researchers concluded that standing behavior and core body temperature are strongly correlated. Allen said cows stood for longer bouts of time as their core body temperatures rose from 101 degrees Fahrenheit to above 102 degrees.
    According to Allen, dairy producers could use standing behavior to improve well being and efficiency in their herds. He said producers could use coolers and misters to target a specific core body temperature. By encouraging cows to lie down, producers will also help their cows conserve energy. Allen recommended future studies to see how cows respond to different cooling systems.

MSD Animal Health receives Europpean approval for swine vaccine

    MSD Animal Health, known as Merck Animal Health in the U.S. and Canada, announced the European approval of a new indication for PANACUR AquaSol (fenbendazole 200 mg/mL) to effectively treat swine infected with Trichuris suis, a whipworm found worldwide that causes multifocal inflammation. Heavy infections often cause diarrhea and emaciation in swine.
    PANACUR AquaSol is a dewormer for swine administered through drinking water that stays in suspension without re-stirring, ensuring more uniform intake and proper dosing of the field-proven anthelmintic. In a single-site, dose confirmation study conducted at a German University, PANACUR AquaSol was found to be efficacious (93 percent worm count reduction) in the treatment of swine naturally infected with T. suis when compared to an untreated control group.
    “The infestation of T. suis in swine can have a significant economic impact for swine producers, if not treated quickly and effectively,” said Dr. Alex Eggen, director, MSD Animal Health. “The innovative wet-milling process for PANACUR AquaSol produces very fine particles that mix easily in water and stay suspended for 24 hours without agitation, making treatment for T. suis easy and effective and that is highly desirable for especially those producers that use outdoor production facilities.”
    PANACUR AquaSol, which can be used in weaners, growers, gestating sows and boars, is also indicated for the treatment and control of infections with Ascaris suum (adult, intestinal and migrating larval stages) and Oesophagostomum spp. (adult stages). The applied dose regimen is a daily dose of 2.5 mg fenbendazole (FBZ)/kg bodyweight for 2 consecutive days for a total dose of 5 mg FBZ/kg BW. For T. suis infections, the applied dose regimen is a daily dose of 2.5 mg FBZ/kg BW for 3 consecutive days, for a total dose of 7.5 mg FBZ/kg BW.

US corn, soy planting estimates up

    U.S. corn and soybean planting estimates are up from previous forecasts, according to an Allendale Inc. survey, and wheat plantings will increase for the third consecutive year.
    The corn forecast is now at 96.956 million acres, down from 2012’s 97.155 million acres and above the 96.5 million that the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecast on February 22. Soybean plantings will rise to 78.324 million acres from 77.198 million in 2012, according to Allendale’s survey. The USDA February estimate said that 77.5 million acres would be sown in 2013.
    The combined area planted with all wheat varieties is expected to rise to 56.261 million acres from 55.736 million in 2012. In February, the USDA said farmers would sow 56 million acres.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Animal feed specialist acquires M E Waterhouse with Barclays support

    Cheshire, England-based animal feed specialist Oakes Millers Ltd. has acquired M E Waterhouse Ltd. for an undisclosed sum with the assistance of Barclays Corporate Banking.
    A new term loan was arranged by Barclays Relationship Director Shaun Cross to assist Oakes Millers with the acquisition of a long-established mill operation based in Malpas, Cheshire. This is in addition to current term debt and working capital facilities provided to the Oakes Millers group of companies. “This acquisition will enable us to expand our production capacity and bring increased manufacturing flexibility to the Oakes Millers Group in line with the significant increase in sales volumes we have experienced in recent years," said John Lea, chairman of Oakes Millers. "Bringing this asset into the Oakes Millers business will provide the group with the opportunity to further develop our product range to meet the changing demands of our customer base.”

Hubbard Grand Parent Distributor Meeting held in Bangkok

    Hubbard organized a special Grand Parent Distributor Meeting, for which the attendees came from all over the world on March 11. This special event was held in the Banyan Tree Hotel in Bangkok and focused on “Less Feed, More Meat," the new theme of Hubbard that was introduced at VIV Asia.

    Focus on 'Less Feed, More Meat'
    Hubbard’s focus on “less Feed, More Meat” is totally in line with the “Natural Concept” of Groupe Grimaud which was officially launched end of 2012, embracing the Groupe’s philosophy on how to feed the world in the decades to follow in a sustainable way. It outlines the ways in which Groupe Grimaud and its companies develop and implement best practices in the genetic selection and production of animal protein to feed a growing world population.
    Feed costs represent more than 70 percent of live production cost of a broiler, the highest levels in history and will remain to be at a high level in the years to come. Hubbard’s special focus in its genetic selection program on feed efficiency and total meat output has led to a product range offering the best answers to the poultry industry to save feed costs on breeder and broiler level.
    The “Feedsaver” concept of the JV and F15 breeders saves about 15 percent of feed to produce a broiler day-old-chick compared to conventional breeders.
    All Hubbard broilers have an excellent feed cost ratio compared to other breeds.
    This allows customers to use less kilograms of feed to produce 1 kilogram of live broiler, 1 kilogram of carcass or 1 kilogram of total meat.

    Recent successes shared
    Recent successes of Hubbard around the world were shared with the many distributors being present, as Hubbard keeps gaining market share in different parts of the world:
    • Hubbard LLC in the USA reconfirms its on-going success with the Hubbard M99 breeder male in the largest broiler market of the world. The Hubbard M99 breeder male represents now more than 50 percent of the broiler industry, supplying almost every poultry company in the USA.
    • Hubbard do Brazil has been created just a few years ago from scratch and is currently experiencing an increasing success with the Hubbard Flex, which is now seen as the most feed efficient broiler in the second largest market in the world. Hubbard is now supplying more than 15 percent of the “free” Brazilian breeder market and the outlook for this year is already confirming a higher share in 2013.
    • The Feedsaver concept using the “mini” (or dwarf) breeder females, such as the Hubbard JV and F15, has been accepted in many countries as a real economic alternative to conventional breeder females and now keeps gaining ground in some new markets in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and even the USA.
    • Especially in hotter climate regions the Hubbard Classic is gaining market share because of its excellent breeder performances, fast broiler growth and good feed cost ratio.
    • The Hubbard H1 is also being recognized now as a very good product for the heavier broiler markets and for the total de-bone markets focusing on the highest total meat yield per broiler, including breast meat, legs and wings.
    • The Hubbard Color Range covers the needs for what is still considered being a niche market. On top of fulfilling the need for high-end quality chicken meat markets, it could also very well be a response to the consumers' demand to reduce the use of antibiotics in poultry.
    Besides the growth of breeder sales from its own subsidiaries, Hubbard also confirms increased interest in its products through recently signed Grand Parent agreements in various parts of the world. For many years Hubbard is market leader in the Middle East, Africa and Russia with more than 50 percent market share and Hubbard’s presence in Asia is also growing as next to the existing business several new Grand Parent agreements have been signed recently.