Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aviagen honors high-producing poultry breeders

    Petter Aarrestad of Norway was honored by Aviagen for achieving over 140 chicks per hen.

    Three poultry producers from Sweden and Norway are being honored by Aviagen SweChick for achieving over 140 chicks per hen housed from their Ross flocks. Aviagen SweChick is poultry producers' Swedish business unit.
    Aviagen SweChick introduced the Ross 140 Club in January 2012 to help customers in their region motivate producers to reach higher levels of productivity, thereby aiding overall economic results. Three producers, Petter Aarrestad and Tormod Gudmestad from Norway and Lars Olsson from Sweden, have all reached the 140 mark. Members of the club receive a certificate acknowledging their results as well 140 Club merchandise. The rearing farmers of the flocks also receive the same awards.
    Aviagen SweChick provides support and advice, as well as shares the experience of the current club members, to encourage others in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. The 140 Club challenge is also being opened up in Finland and Estonia once Aviagen SweChick commences parent stock supplies there.
    Thomas Carlson, general manager for Aviagen SweChick said, "Congratulations to all our customers and their producers on achieving such good results from their Ross flocks. We started the 140 Club to acknowledge and reward our customers' producers who reach a high level of productivity which impacts directly on the bottom line of the business. It is important to be running at maximum efficiency when feed prices are high and margins are stretched and to realize the full potential of their Ross stock."
    Aarrestad said, "To reach this level is not easy. With the right support and a lot of hard work, however, it is more than possible to not just meet but exceed the performance objectives of the Ross bird, which is exceptional."

Animal health meeting to focus on swine vaccines

    The United States Animal Health Association and American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians have plans underway for their 2013 joint annual meeting, scheduled for October 17-23, 2013 in San Diego, Calif. This year's joint plenary session on Monday, October 21 will feature, "Vaccines: 100 Years of Virus-Serum-Toxin Act and Beyond." The session will provide a historical look at the Virus Serum Toxin over the years, including key disease impacts and economics in the swine industry, as well as address current vaccine technology and what the future may hold.
    "The 2013 United States Animal Health Association/American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians Plenary Session should provide a very comprehensive look at a very important tool for animal health -- vaccines," said Dr. Steve Crawford, U.S. Animal Health Association program chair and New Hampshire State veterinarian. "Our goal is to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of the Virus-Serum-Toxin Act, take a look at lessons learned over that time and how that will shape the future."
    Crawford co-chairs the program with Dr. Catherine Barr, American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians Program Chair and quality assurance and safety manager with the Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory. The two collaborated with colleagues, both in the U.S. and internationally, to develop the program. They have tapped Dr. Ron DeHaven, executive vice president of American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians, to moderate the session, which includes the following presentations:
    • Hog cholera: The need for Virus-Serum-Toxin Act 
      • Dr. Rick Hill, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Veterinary Services
      • Key concepts: History lesson, challenges, implementation
    • The economics of vaccination: Why do we vaccinate?
      • Speaker TBD, International Federation of Animal Health (pending confirmation)
      • Key concepts: disease control, eradication, vaccine development considerations, vaccine deployment and administration considerations, as an alternative to depopulation
    • Current technologies in vaccines
      • Bryan Charleston, Pirbright or Dave Stuart, Oxford
      • Key concepts: Use foot-and-mouth disease vaccine development as example, DIVA technology, speeding up the process, future technologies, public-private collaborations, the use of genome sequencing
    • Autogenous vaccines: Isn't this why Virus-Serum-Toxin Act was established?
      • Dr. John A. Smith, Fieldale Farms
      • Key concepts: Risk/benefit, approval process, development needs, quality control, organism isolation
    • Gap analysis for high-consequence diseases
      • Dr. Luis Rodriguez, USDA, Agricultural Research Service
      • Key concepts: All with a focus on vaccines, African Swine Fever analysis conducted by Agricultural Research Service; current state, new spread, global implications, technology needs and advances
    • Future of vaccines: Beyond existing regulatory diseases
      • Dr. Cyril Gay, USDA, Agricultural Research Service
      • Key concepts: Potential orbivirus gap analysis underway at Agricultural Research Service, possible involvement of regulatory medicine in the future of disease control beyond our current roles, what is the next frontier and/or how do we identify it?
    In addition to the plenary session, the U.S. Animal Health Association hosts 30 committee sessions on a broad range of animal health topics. The meeting also includes several opportunities to hear the latest in disease research through the American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians Scientific Sessions and poster displays. Registration is now available for interested attendees, with early-bird registration and membership discounts available.

KFC most powerful brand for Chinese consumers

    KFC is the most powerful brand with Chinese consumers, according to research conducted by global brand research company Millward Brown, conducted on behalf of the BBC.
    Between 2011 and 2013, Millward Brown carried out almost 60,000 face-to-face and online interviews with consumers in 10 Chinese cites. The company then analyzed its findings, ranking brands on how "meaningful," "different" or "salient" they were and how easily they came into consumers' minds.
    "Our research shows that in the last three years, trust in Chinese brands has eroded quite dramatically," says Millward Brown's Peter Walshe. "This is an opportunity for well-known and well-supported international brands to make their move as consumers start to value quality and experience as much as price."
    KFC, owned by Yum! Brands, however, has a long-established position in China and entered the market in 1987. KFC has 4,400 restaurants in 850 cities and is expected to add another 700 outlets this year.

Pilgrim’s fined $170,000 for poultry plant safety violations

    The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has imposed $170,000 in fines against Pilgrim's for 11 safety violations at its plant in De Queen, Ark.
    The inspection, which began in January, was initiated under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Process Safety Management Covered Chemical Facilities National Emphasis Program. Pilgrim's was fined $70,000 for a willful violation as the company received a citation for failing to document that an emergency shutdown system was activated by an ammonia leak.
    Pilgrim's was also cited with nine serious safety violations, with $61,500 in fines. Those citations were for deficiencies of the relief valves and failing to provide process hazard analysis, operating procedures, testing procedures and management of change procedures.
    The repeat violation, with a fine of $38,500, was for failing to ensure the adequate frequency of self-inspections and tests of ammonia refrigeration equipment and vessels. A similar violation was cited in 2011.
    Pilgrim's has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with the area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. 

National Chicken Council vice president testifies on Renewable Fuel Standard

    National Chicken Council Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Bill Roenigk told the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power that the Renewable Fuel Standard, at least for conventional biofuels, is broken beyond repair, and that it is imperative at this time for Congress to take a critical look at the Renewable Fuel Standard. Roenigk appeared before the subcommittee on July 24.
    Roenigk's testimony follows The National Chicken Council's white paper comments released in April to the Energy and Commerce Committee that argued the federal government's mandate for corn-based ethanol has been the single, most important, major driver impacting the corn market since the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was implemented.
    "Since 2007, all chicken producers, at times, have struggled financially," Roenigk testified. "Some have struggled longer and more severely than others. The business disruptions directly impact the over 25,000 family farmers who grow the chickens, and the more than 300,000 employees directly working for the chicken companies. Since October 2006 through this month, July 2013, poultry and egg producers have had to bear the burden of higher feed costs totaling over $50 billion."
    Roenigk testified on the third of three panels the committee heard as part of their two-day hearing entitled, "Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Stakeholder Perspectives." Other panelists included: Pam Johnson, president of the National Corn Growers Association; Ed Anderson, CEO of Wen-Gap LLC on behalf of the National Council of Chain Restaurants; Chris Hurt, professor of agriculture economics at Perdue University; and Scott Faber, vice president of Government Affairs for the Environmental Working Group.

Animal Agriculture Alliance president to be featured in National Geographic series 'Inside: Secret America'

Animal Agriculture Alliance President and CEO Kay Johnson Smith will be featured in a new National Geographic Channel series, "Inside: Secret America." Johnson Smith will appear in a segment captioned "Animal Undercover" at 10 p.m. EST. on July 31.
The Animal Agriculture Alliance was approached in February by series producers and investigative journalists Mariana van Zeller and Darren Foster about a segment focusing on the animal rights movement, undercover videos and farm protection, or so-termed "ag gag" legislation. The producers indicated they were initially drawn to this topic because of the deceptive and sometimes extreme tactics employed by activist groups. Johnson Smith sat down with van Zeller and discussed the real motivations behind the animal rights movement and the truth about undercover videos.
"The American public has a knowledge gap about farming and ranching; people really don't have any first-hand knowledge about how food is produced, so they're very susceptible to videos presented by activist groups," said Johnson Smith. "Legislators in many states have stepped up and recognized the importance of agriculture and have decided to protect our nation's farm families."
Van Zeller and Foster also interviewed several members of animal rights groups including Mercy for Animals, a group that frequently uses undercover video footage, often in a misleading way, to disparaged animal agriculture. "We were pleased that the alliance would be contacted to appear on a new show airing on a network as prestigious at National Geographic," said Johnson Smith. "It's important to engage with journalists - even on such controversial topics - so that agriculture's story isn't told by detractors."
The series will air every Wednesday. 

Neogen reports record-high revenues, net income in 2013

Neogen reported on July 24 that both revenues and net income for the 2013 fiscal year established new all-time highs for the 31-year-old maker of food and animal safety products. 
Net income for its 2013 fiscal year, which ended May 31, increased 21 percent from the previous year to $27.19 million. Net income in the fiscal year increased to $1.12 per share, compared to 2012's $0.94 per share. Neogen's revenues for its fiscal year 2013 increased 13 percent to $207,528,000, up from $184.046 million in the company's 2012 fiscal year.
Neogen's fourth-quarter revenues were $56.006 million, a 15 percent increase over revenues from FY 2012's final quarter. Net income in the fourth quarter increased 17 percent to $7,032,000 from $6,028,000 in 2012, or to $0.29 per share compared to $0.25 per share in 2012.
"I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of doubling our annual revenues to over $200 million in the five years since we first reached $100 million in our 2008 fiscal year," said James Herbert, Neogen's CEO and chairman. "Not only did the year produce outstanding financial performance, but we also commercialized a number of internally developed products and made a couple of acquisitions that should help enhance future growth. While hitting $200 million is a nice achievement, we view it as a guidepost that we quickly move past, and not as a hitching post."
Neogen's gross margin increased to 52.8 percent of sales in its 2013 fiscal year, compared to 50.2 percent of sales for fiscal year 2012. The increase is the result of a shift in product mix toward higher-margin products, including food safety diagnostics, rodenticides and acquired products. Neogen reported operating income, expressed as a percentage of sales, of 19.6 percent for the 2013 fiscal year, compared to 18.3 percent in its prior fiscal year, largely as a result of the increased gross margin and higher revenues.
"We delivered a strong finish to a terrific fiscal year with a fourth quarter that saw both our Food Safety and Animal Safety divisions reporting revenue increases in excess of 10 percent," said Lon Bohannon,Neogen president and chief operating officer. "For the year, our consolidated revenue growth was broad-based, partially as a result of new products and product improvements from acquisitions, and our research and development team, and partially due to successful implementation of numerous sales and marketing programs. Prior investments in infrastructure and additional personnel paid off in fiscal-year 2013 and enabled us to deliver these strong results."
The fourth quarter was the 85th quarter of the past 90 quarters that Neogen reported revenue increases as compared with the previous year - including all consecutive quarters in the last eight years.
Neogen's revenue increase for fiscal 2013 was led by a more than 30 percent increase in sales of mycotoxin test kits and related laboratory equipment, as the company responded to large mycotoxin outbreaks in the United States and Europe in the 2012 growing season.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

French poultry breeders merge activites

Hendrix Genetics and Maïsadour have signed an agreement to merge their respective broiler and guinea fowl breeding and hatching activities in the southwest of France. The merged activities will be conducted under the name Société Landaise d'Aviculture, which will then be renamed Caringa Sud-Ouest at a later date. Hendrix Genetics will have majority control and manage Caringa. The former joint-venture between Maïsadour and Boyé (Terrena), Accouvage Landais, will be absorbed and merged into Caringa Sud-Ouest. The logistic activities in the region will be fully absorbed by ALS, the logistics company of Hendrix Genetics. The merger is effective August 1, 2013.
Jean-Louis Zwick, director of distribution for Groupe Maïsadour, said, "This merger is the product of negotiations that started more than a year ago. It fits our strategy to create vertical aligned value chains but with specialized partners for the parts in which we have not our main focus. With a blocking minority in Caringa Sud-Ouest we have safeguarded our strategic connection and assured good continuation of these activities in our area of operation while we can benefit from the economies of scale and expertise that Hendrix Genetics and Caringa bring in this field. We have got comfortable, as leading cooperative in the southwest of France, to bundle our forces with the pragmatic and business oriented, privately owned, international Hendrix Genetics and have found in Caringa the dedication and professionalism that this business needs to be successful."
Mathieu Lemarié, general manager of Caringa, said, "We announced end of last year that we would transform our broiler distribution activities, at that time called Grelier Poussins Accouveur sas, to a new fifth division in Hendrix Genetics, called Caringa. This division focuses on specialized breeding and distribution for traditional poultry — traditional layers, label and certified broilers, colored turkeys and guinea fowls — and heavy broilers — Cobb. This step with Maïsadour is an exciting development for our company as it means a significant strengthening of our position in traditional poultry in France. It will create economies of scale and market leadership in the southwest of France that forms a strong base for the local market as well as for exports to Italy, Spain and Portugal. We have the right team and strategy to make Caringa Sud-Ouest successful for all stakeholders involved."

Broiler chicken will compete well against other proteins in upcoming months

The market is looking pretty good for the U.S. broiler industry in the remaining months of 2013 and into 2014, economist Jim Robb said, especially when compared to other proteins that will struggle during that time period. Robb, director and senior agriculture economist at the livestock marketing information center, offered a comparative analysis on July 22 during the Chicken Marketing Seminar, hosted by the National Chicken Council.
The turkey industry is facing what some call the worst year on record. While there is some level of optimism for the future in the turkey industry, Robb is not convinced. At the present time, the demand is not very high for the full holiday bird or for the sliced product, and pulling back production is only doing so much good.
"It's going to be a struggle to get this thing glued back together. For those of you competing with the turkey side, I'd say 'go at it.' For those of you in the turkey business, it's going to be a bit of a struggle," said Robb.
Demand for ground turkey is better, Robb added, but the industry has taken some of the product it doesn't have an avenue for and forced it into the ground market. "That's not necessarily a value-added product," Robb said.
The U.S. broiler industry will also have fewer worries when it compares itself with the beef industry, as recent droughts have caused a shorter domestic supply, which Robb expects to continue to shrink in 2014. With Mexico and Canada also facing drought problems, imports are also affected. The U.S. imports more cattle from those countries than any others, Robb said.
"The Mexicans have mined their beef cow herd to the level that they no longer have a sustainable beef industry. Those cattle are no longer available to the U.S. That means you will probably see a half-million year-to-year decline in the amount of Mexican feeder cattle coming north this year, and a year from now you could it could approach a 1 million head year-to-year decline," Robb said.

Swine, poultry and bovine feed acidifier approved for use in Indonesia

    Bayer Animal Health, a pharmaceutical and animal health company, and feed additive supplier Dr. Eckel announced the completed registration of Latibon Plus ME in Indonesia. The multifunctional acidifier, developed and manufactured by Dr. Eckel and supplied to the feed industry in Southeast Asia by Bayer Animal Health, will be available to customers in Indonesia in 2013. Indonesia is the seventh country in Asia to approve Latibon Plus ME for distribution.
    After two years of work from both companies, the registration license was issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, which approved Latibon Plus ME for pigs, duck, chicken and cattle. Additional claims for shrimp and fish feed were registered with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and are estimated to obtain approval in Indonesia in 2014.
    Latibon Plus ME combines organic and inorganic acids and their salts to reduce the buffering capacity in feed, Dr. Eckel says.
    "Improved hygiene optimized buffering capacity and a better digestibility -- these are key performances factors supporting healthy growth in young animals. Furthermore, Latibon Plus ME improves the intestinal flora and protects the animals against diarrhea," said Dr. Bernhard Eckel, vice president of Dr. Eckel.
    Further registration for the product is currently underway in China and Malaysia.

Survey finds decrease in UK cereals, oilseed harvest area

    The total cereals and oilseeds harvest area in Great Britain fell to 3.68 million acres, a 4 percent decrease from 2012, according to the 2013 Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board/Home Grown Cereals Authority Planting and Variety Survey published July 22. The survey is based on responses from 3,473 growers for May, June and July 2013. As a result of the poor planting and growing conditions this year, farmers were asked to submit their intended harvest area rather than planted area.
    While total area dedicated to barley and oats in Great Britain has increased, wheat and oilseed rape area has decreased, reflecting the poor planting conditions of last autumn and a switch to spring cropping.
    Great Britain wheat area decreased 19 percent from 2012 at 1.61 million hectares, while total barley area is estimated to have increased 26 percent from 2012 figures at 1.23 million hectares.
    Oilseed rape is estimated to be down 9 percent from 2012 levels at 686,000 hectares. Oats have increased by 32 percent to 159,000 hectares, and the Great Britain field bean area has also increased by an estimated 14 percent to 109,000 hectares.
    "This season has been the most severe since 2001 when set-aside was still in place," said Jack Watts, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board senior cereals and oilseeds analyst. "However, 12 years on with no set-aside to fall back on and relatively strong grain prices, the most economic scenario for the majority of growers has been to plant spring crops in place of what would have been winter crops."
    He added, "Yields still remain uncertain however, especially following the recent hot and dry conditions and ongoing concerns about soil compaction. For oilseed rape, there has been a large variation in individual farmer approaches to the decision to abandon crops, so this estimated decrease in oilseed harvest area needs to be treated carefully."

    Wheat - Down 19 percent at 1.61 million hectares

    No region of Great Britain appears to have escaped the effects of the difficult planting conditions of 2012. The reduction in wheat harvest area ranges from a fall of 12 percent in eastern England to an estimated 26 percent drop in the southwest. However, in absolute terms, the largest declines are seen in the east Midlands (a fall of 66,000 hectares), eastern England (63,000 hectares) and Yorkshire (55,000 hectares).
    In Scotland, the intended harvest area is estimated at 86,000 hectares, down 14 percent from 2012 with a comparable level not seen since 2003. However, the wet autumn of 2012 followed a similar wet autumn for 2011, which reduced the Scottish wheat area. The estimated 86,000 hectares for 2013 is therefore a 25 percent drop from the 2011 harvest area (115,000 hectares).
    The low Great Britain wheat area for this year makes it very likely that the UK will remain a net importer of wheat in 2013-2014 as it was in 2012-2013.
    "Although the fall in wheat harvest area is extreme, this is unlikely to come as a huge shock to the industry or the market which has been preparing for such a scenario for some time. Higher levels of carry over stock from the previous season may also partly offset the low level of production," said Watts.
    Wheat variety shares continue to evolve, with an estimated 56 percent of the Great Britain wheat area down to National Association of British and Irish Millers Group 4 varieties - an increase of 3 percent points on 2012. On-farm economics are a key driver of this trend with farmers looking to capitalize on high feed base prices.
    The share of Group 1 varieties fell by 2 percent points to 14 percent (222,000 hectares) of intended harvest area for 2013, reflecting the low milling wheat premiums of late spring/early summer 2012 when variety decisions for 2013 were being made. For National Association of British and Irish Millers Group 2 and Group 3 varieties, their share increased by 3 percent points to 12 percent (192,000 hectares) and decreased by 5 percent points to 15 percent (249,000 hectares), respectively.

    Barley - 26 percent increase to 1.23 million hectares

    Driving the Great Britain barley harvest area is a 54 percent increase in spring barley to an estimated 922,000 hectares for 2013, with plantings in England forming the majority of the increase.
    In Scotland, which accounts for a third of the Great Britain spring barley area, harvest area has increased by 5 percent to 303,000 hectares. Quality and yield depending, this could provide much needed supply for the distilling sector.
    In terms of variety make up, 73 percent of the Great Britain area is estimated to be malting varieties - an increase of 6 percent points. However this may not result in an increase in malting availability at harvest, as pass rates will be heavily influenced by germination and nitrogen content, which are driven by the growing and harvesting conditions.

    Oilseed rape - down 9 percent to 686,000 hectares

    2013 marks the end of a three-year run where records have been set for the Great Britain oilseed rape area. The impact of abandonment, delayed crop development and the current hot and dry conditions is difficult to predict. The survey suggests the Great Britain winter oilseed rape area is down 19 percent from 2012.  To a certain extent, additional spring oilseed rape has offset some of the winter losses.
    DK Cabernet remains the top oilseed rape variety - dominating 16 percent of the estimated harvest area - but this is down from 21 percent last year. PR46W21 was the second most prevalent variety, with 10 percent of the estimated area - an increase from 5 percent last season.

    Oats - increase by 32 percent to 159,000 hectares

    The Winter Planting Survey published in December 2012 suggested a 30 percent drop in the winter oat area compared to 2011. Potential factors driving the subsequent increase in spring plantings are increased oat milling demand, land free for cropping and available varieties. The spring oat variety Canyon was added to the Recommended List in 2011.
    The full Planting and Variety Survey is available online from the Home Grown Cereals Authority website. A full analysis will be published in the July 24 issue of MI Prospects. The Home Grown Cereal Authority and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board Cereal Quality Survey for the 2013 harvest will be published in autumn. 

PRRSV researchers disprove how the pig disease is spread

    Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus (PRRSV) can inhibit pigs from reproducing and slow the growth of young pigs. Once pigs are infected, the only remedy is for hog farmers to cull their herds, which has cost farmers approximately $800 million annually.
    A research team from the University of Missouri and Kansas State University has been working has disproved one way PRRSV spreads, which will help scientists narrow the search for an ultimate cure.
    "Initially, scientists believed that PRRSV bound to a specific molecule, known as CD169, and infected white blood cells in the lungs," says Randall Prather, distinguished professor of reproductive biotechnology in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. "In our study, we've found that this is probably not how the virus is infecting pigs."
    In the study, Prather genetically modified a litter of pigs so they would not generate the CD 169 molecule; therefore, the virus would have nothing to bind to and would be killed by the pigs' natural immune systems. However, after an initial test, the genetically modified pigs did become infected with PRRSV, negating the initial theory.
    "While we didn't find what we were looking for, we did uncover important information about the infection," Prather said. "This information will help us narrow our search as we continue to fight this virus. We'll keep searching for answers until we determine how to stop PRRSV."
    When pigs are infected with the disease, farmers must clean everything, Prather said. That means culling the herd, cleaning the barns and letting the pens sit empty until all viral material is killed. If that doesn't happen, the virus can continue infecting new groups of hogs. Farmers have had access to vaccines for the last two decades, but experts warn they are not the best tool to fight the disease.
    "Vaccines have been shown to lessen the impact of the disease on farms, but they are not a good tool to control or eradicate the virus," said Raymond (Bob) Rowland, co-author of the study and professor of virology at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. "With this new information, we understand more about the mechanisms of this virus and how it acts once inside the pig's body."
    Both Prather and Rowland agree that the study was only possible due to the collaboration of the scientists in their respective laboratories.
    "To go and find these answers to the problems plaguing farmers, I need to find friends that have expertise in areas that I don't know anything about," Rowland said. "Randy Prather knows genes; I know viruses. Together, we can get a lot of work done very quickly."
    The study, "An intact sialoadhesin (Sn/SIGLECI/CD169) is not required for attachment/internalization of the porcine reproductive respiratory syndrome virus (PRRSV)," was recently published in the Journal of Virology. 

World pork market outlook positive into 2014

    The world pork market is set for positive growth in the second half of 2013 to 2014 because of limited supply growth, a likely increase in pork imports from China and high beef and poultry prices, according to a Rabobank quarterly pork report.
    However, high stock levels resulting from the disappointing first half of 2013 across the globe and the continuing effect of the economic crisis on demand, mainly in the developed world, will likely limit the price increase.
    "With declining feed costs resulting from bumper harvests, a subdued price increase will support much needed margin recovery across the globe," says Rabobank analyst Albert Vernooij. "However, due to the slowness of both the increase of pig prices and the decline of feed costs, it is questionable whether this will be enough to fully cover losses endured in the first half of 2013."
    The Rabobank five-nation finished hog price index rebounded in the second half of Q2 2013, supported by improving conditions across the globe with limited impact of exchange rates. In the European Union, the situation is forecast to remain difficult, with continuing pressure on consumer demand hampering market recovery despite lower supply and rising exports.
    However, prices recovered in China, supported by the outbreak of H7N9 avian influenza in poultry, which resulted in a consumer move to pork. In the United States prices have also recovered, following the loss of key export markets, due to an increase in seasonal demand and lower-than-expected supplies.
    The expectations for the second half of 2013 are largely dependent on the prospects for demand as production is forecast to slightly increase. Pork markets are benefiting from relatively high prices for both beef and poultry, but will be negatively influenced by the continuing difficult economic conditions in key markets. Rabobank expects a slight increase in overall global pork consumption in 2H 2013, due in part to the start of the festival season in China. This will support rising prices, but will likely be limited due to the current large stocks across the globe.
    Longer term, Rabobank believes the announced acquisition of US-based Smithfield by Chinese Shuanghui International highlights the increased importance of global trade for the pork industry. The limited number of relevant countries, demand growth, grain deficits in Asia, and continuing volatility mean that the Smithfield takeover may be a trigger for future steps. In order to secure supply, other importers may look to follow suit.

AFIA, Federation of Animal Science Societies present animal nutrition award

    Michael Galyean, Ph.D., an expert in animal science, has been recognized for his professional achievements by the Federation of Animal Science Societies (FASS) and the American Feed Industry Association. Galyean is dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University.
    This is the 66th year AFIA has presented nutrition research awards, and the tenth consecutive year AFIA has sponsored the FASS award. The purpose of the New Frontiers in Animal Nutrition Award is to stimulate, acknowledge and reward pioneering and innovative research relevant to animal nutrition. Among the qualities the award recipient must demonstrate are outstanding and innovative contributions to nutrition research concerning animals that benefit mankind and/or the nutritional value of food from animals.
    Galyean's research has been on the cutting edge of several aspects of ruminant nutrition and animal health. In particular, his contributions in prediction of feed intake by beef cattle have led to practical management approaches that are used throughout the beef feedlot industry.
    Galyean joined the faculty at Texas Tech in 1998, where he chaired the Animal Care and Use Committee and was also named a Paul Whitfield Horn Professor and holds the Thornton Distinguished Chair in Animal Science. Prior to Texas Tech, for 19 years he worked for New Mexico State University as an assistant professor, associate professor and professor in the department of animal and range sciences. He also served as professor and superintendent of the New Mexico State University Clayton Livestock Research Center and was a professor of animal science at West Texas A&M University and the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Amarillo, Texas.
    Galyean has authored 228 journal articles and numerous other scientific publications. He earned a bachelor's degree in agriculture from New Mexico State University, and both a master's in animal science and doctoral degree in animal nutrition from Oklahoma State University.
    He served on the National Research Council's Committee on Animal Nutrition and Beef Cattle Nutrition Subcommittee, and is currently the Chair of the Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Beef Cattle. Mike has served ASAS as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Animal Science and is currently president-elect of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists (ARPAS).
    Galyean has received the AFIA Ruminant Nutrition Research Award, the ASAS Animal Management and Fellow Awards, and most recently, the 2012 ASAS Morrison Award. He is a member of the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, American Dairy Science Association and American Society for Nutritional Sciences.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Feed Management Systems launches enhanced Brill Formulation

    Feed Management Systems Inc. has announced the global availability of Brill Formulation 2.5, which includes 30 new capabilities aimed at improving feed manufacturers' production efficiency and accuracy.
    Highlights of the new Formulation include the abilities to input and use longer nutrient names, increase capacity for stored formula comments, delete a nutrient from all ingredients, and compare new versus stored formulas. "Customers who use our solutions every day are at the very heart of our product development philosophy," said Duey Yliniemi, vice president of product strategy and development. "They provide us with a real-time view of their business challenges, enabling us to leverage our deep formulation and operations expertise and create the best solutions for their business. The Brill 2.5 software solution is a good example of how we work with customers to help address business challenges."
    The Brill 2.5 software solution also delivers more safeguards against input errors, and additional data management capabilities, according to Feed Management Systems. Brill Formulation is sold globally through a network of company resellers.

Australia's Poultry CRC gains positive government review

    Australia's Poultry Cooperative Research Centre has been given a performance review by a government expert panel. Among the panel's findings were that the Poultry CRC is conducting direct and innovative research that offers a comprehensive approach to addressing the sustainability, environmental, economic and ethical production challenges facing the Australian poultry industry.
    The panel noted that the caliber of the Poultry CRC's participants is impressive with 98 percent of the Australian poultry industry represented within the cooperative. It also found that the group is characterized by strong industry end-user engagement.
    The Poultry CRC's education, training and skills programs are exemplary, the reviewers found, and are assisting the training of the next generation of researchers, industry workers and farmers. 

HatchTraveller chosen for Saudi Arabian hatchery transport

      HatchTraveller will be able to transport more than 62,000 chicks per truck.
    HatchTech announced that Saudi Grandparent Poultry Co. selected HatchTraveller to transport its day-old chicks across Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries in the Gulf region. HatchTraveller is the transportation arm of HatchTech, an incubation technology supplier.
    HatchTraveller will ensure chicks maintain their optimal body temperature and body functions independently of outside climate conditions, which is essential given the inability of chicks to regulate their own body temperature during the first days of life. Extreme weather conditions in the Gulf region and long transport distances  up to 48 hours  also threaten the health of day-old chicks. HatchTraveller trucks are equipped with a climate control system based on HatchTech's laminar airflow technology and perforated radiators. The system ensures that the body temperature of every chick in the truck is kept at a constant 104F — the neutral body temperature which enables chicks to make optimum use of their nutrients.
    Saudi Grandparent Poultry Co., a hatchery built by HatchTech, is located near the city of Arar in the northern region of Saudi Arabia. The company produces breeder chicks, and the hatchery has a capacity of more than 16 million eggs a year. The Saudi Grandparent Poultry Co. hatchery has been selected by Cobb, an international poultry breeder, to distribute its breed in the region. The chicks will be transported in two HatchTraveller trucks, which have a capacity of 67,200 day-old chicks each. 

US feed grain supply estimates down on reduced harvest projections

    July's projected 2013-2014 U.S. feed grain supplies are slightly lower, reflecting a reduction in harvested acres for corn and sorghum, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest feed outlook report. U.S. feed grain production is projected at 370.2 million tons, down 2.1 million from June numbers but up 84.4 million tons from the 2012-2013 estimate.
    Corn planted acres for 2013-2014 are forecast to total 97.4 million acres, up slightly from the 2012-2013 estimate of 97.2 million acres, and 97,000 acres larger than March producer intentions. Prolonged wet conditions in parts of the Western Corn Belt reduced plantings, but area increases in the Eastern Corn Belt, Central Plains and across the South more than offset these losses, according to the USDA.
    U.S. corn import forecasts for both 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 are increased in July, and exports for marketing year 2013-2014 are cut 50 million bushels as a late harvest is expected to delay the time when U.S. export prices become competitive. Brazil's corn exports for trade year 2012-2013 are up 0.5 million tons in July to a record 27 million tons. There are no changes in forecast corn prices, according to the report.

International Feed Industry Federation publishes global ingredient management report

    The International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) has published the "Comparison of Regulatory Management of Authorized Ingredients, Approval Processes, and Risk-Assessment Procedures for Feed Ingredients" report that covers Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, South Africa and the U.S. The study was drafted based on input by government feed regulators and feed and feed ingredients associations in the seven regions covered, and was reviewed with global feed regulators at the recent 6th International Feed Regulators Meeting in Sun City, South Africa.
    "The objective of the report is to address similarities and differences among the seven regulatory jurisdictions on the regulatory management of authorized (existing) feed ingredients, the approval process and risk management assessment for feed ingredients," said Alexandra de Athayde, IFIF executive director. "We believe this study can assist in global marketing as well as supporting in the harmonization/convergence efforts by identifying areas of dissimilarity, which ultimately should ease trade of feed and feed ingredients among the regions covered by the study."
    The report is already the second phase of the initial 2011 IFIF study launched at the 2011 4th International Feed Regulators Meeting on the "Comparison of Approval Process and Risk-Assessment procedure for Feed Ingredients," which examined similarities and differences between the legislative systems in the EU, the U.S. and Canada. At the 5th International Feed Regulators Meeting in Atlanta in January 2012, based on interest by global feed regulators, the IFIF decided to undertake this second phase to update the report for the U.S., EU and Canada and expand the scope to other world regions, including Brazil, Japan, China and South Africa.

FDA issues compliance guide for Salmonella in animal feeds, pet food

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a new Compliance Policy Guide (CPG) for its field staff on actions they intend to take when finding Salmonella contamination in food for animals. Under this new guide, the FDA will be able to target its resources more effectively to protect the health of both animals and humans, according to the agency.
    For livestock and horse feeds, the CPG outlines a risk-based enforcement policy for animal feed that is contaminated with Salmonella, focusing on the strains that are capable of causing disease in the animal for which the food is intended. The CPG provides examples of Salmonella strains that have been reported to cause disease in a specific animal species (for example, swine feed contaminated with Salmonella Choleraesuis.)
    Any pet food or pet food ingredient contaminated with Salmonella is considered potentially harmful to health if it isn't intended to undergo a subsequent treatment to kill bacteria. Pet foods include dog and cat foods, aquarium fish foods, treats, chews, nutritional supplements and other pet products. The FDA maintains a zero-tolerance policy for Salmonella in pet food because it can pose risks to human health when people who are "at-risk" (children, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems) come into direct contact with contaminated pet food.
    Because people are much less likely to come into direct contact with animal feeds, the FDA is most concerned about the strains of Salmonella that are capable of causing disease in the animal for which the feed is intended.
    In concert with the new CPG, the FDA also revoked an Advisory Opinion from 1967 that described a zero-tolerance policy for any strain of Salmonella in certain animal feed ingredients, even if it was not capable of causing foodborne illness, in favor of the risk-based policy in the CPG. The FDA also withdrew an earlier Compliance Policy Guide that covered only dry dog food. Dry dog food is now included in the scope of the new CPG. The FDA continues to have a zero-tolerance policy with regard to Salmonella in dry dog food, as well as other pet foods.

Increase in number of consumers eating more chicken breast meat in 2013

    How many consumers are eating more chicken breast meat in 2013? Twenty-eight percent of 1,000 consumers surveyed said they are purchasing more boneless, skinless chicken breast meat in 2013 than a year ago.
    That's according to consumer research presented at the Chicken Marketing Seminar in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, showing 28 percent of consumers eating more white meat chicken in 2013 and only 9 percent eating less.
    Chicken marketers attending the seminar competed in teams to predict the number of consumers eating more chicken in consumer research sponsored by the National Chicken Council and funded by WATT PoultryUSA magazine.
    The Chicken Marketing Seminar is sponsored by the National Chicken Council in cooperation with the National Poultry and Food Distributors Association. 

IDEXX Laboratories sees five percent revenue growth in second quarter 2013

    IDEXX Laboratories on July 23 reported that revenues for the second quarter of 2013 increased 5 percent to $352.6 million, from $335.6 million in the second quarter of 2012. Organic revenue growth was 5.5 percent versus the prior year period. Earnings per diluted share for the quarter ending June 30, 2013 increased 9 percent to $0.99, compared to $0.91 for the same period in the prior year.
    "I am pleased with the Companion Animal Group acceleration in sequential quarter organic revenue growth from 3.6 percent in the first quarter to 6.8 percent in the second quarter, reflecting strong growth in instrument consumables and reference lab services," said Jonathan Ayers, the company's chairman and chief executive officer.
    Companion Animal Group revenues for the second quarter of 2013 were $295.8 million compared to $278.3 million for the second quarter of 2012. Organic revenue growth of 6.8 percent versus the prior year period was due largely to an increase in sales volumes and net sales prices in reference laboratories. Higher sales volumes were driven by the acquisition of new customers and increased testing volumes from existing customers. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates reduced revenue growth by 0.9 percent, which was partly offset by revenue from acquisitions.
    Water revenues for the second quarter of 2013 were $22.4 million compared to $22.0 million for the second quarter of 2012. Organic revenue growth of 2.3 percent resulted from higher average unit sales prices. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates reduced revenue growth by 0.5 percent.
    Livestock, Poultry and Dairy revenues for the second quarter of 2013 were $28.3 million compared to $28.6 million for the second quarter of 2012. The 0.9 percent decline in organic revenue versus the prior year period resulted from lower sales volumes of certain bovine tests resulting from changes in Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy testing requirements in the European Union and lower testing levels from certain government programs. This unfavorable factor was partly offset by higher sales volumes of Dairy SNAP tests used for the detection of antibiotic residues in milk and as well as certain poultry tests. Changes in foreign currency exchange rates did not have a significant impact on reported revenue.
    Additional operating results
    Gross profit for the second quarter of 2013 increased $13.0 million, or 7.0 percent, to $197.7 million from $184.7 million for the second quarter of 2012. As a percentage of total revenue, gross profit increased slightly to 56.1 percent from 55.0 percent in the previous year period. The increase in the gross profit percentage was due primarily to efficiencies realized throughout our reference laboratory operations and as well as price increases in our reference laboratories and, to a lesser extent, for consumables used with our VetLab instruments. These favorable factors were partly offset by the unfavorable impact of currency as hedging losses more than offset the net favorable impact of changes in foreign currency exchange rates.
    Selling, general and administrative expense for the second quarter of 2013 was $96.8 million, or 27.4 percent of revenue, compared to $88.8 million, or 26.5 percent of revenue, for the second quarter of 2012. The increase in SG&A expense was due primarily to increased personnel-related costs. Research and development  expense for the second quarter of 2013 was $22.2 million, or 6.3 percent of revenue, compared to $20.1 million, or 6 percent of revenue for the second quarter of 2012. The increase in research and development expense resulted primarily from higher consulting and external development costs and increased personnel-related costs.
    Income from operations for the second quarter of 2013 increased 3.9 percent to $78.8 million, or 22.3 percent of revenue, compared to $75.8 million, or 22.6 percent of revenue, for same period of the prior year.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Breeding program director suggests diversity essential for broiler pedigree progress

    Jim McAdam, director of the Aviagen United Kingdom Breeding Program, outlined the importance of understanding components of welfare and sustainability in broiler breeding at the World Poultry Science Association meeting. Held in Uppsala, Sweden, the meeting attracted 180 poultry industry experts and producers from around the world June 18-20.
    McAdam told delegates, "Broad breeding goals and genetic diversity are essential to achieve a balanced progress in pedigree broiler lines. This approach has had and will continue to have benefits for the broiler industry globally. Within the Aviagen breeding programs, a large amount of data is gathered on a variety of traits for each individual bird, including information on welfare, health, fitness, reproduction and production efficiency."
    McAdam also highlighted the importance of the interaction between production and environment with regard to selection. "An important aspect to consider is that long-term selection of traits in only one environment will lead to increased productivity under those circumstances. However, Aviagen uses a variety of environments for selection purposes, which ensures improved performance in a wide range of growing environments across the globe. Balanced breeding simultaneously improves productivity, efficiency, environmental impact, animal health and welfare, food quality and safety.
    "Aviagen and the World Poultry Science Association share the same aim of advancing knowledge and understanding of all aspects of poultry science. We are very proud of the practical support we can offer the industry and to have opportunities such as this to share our knowledge with the wider industry. This event was yet again a perfect example of the interaction between academia and industry, creating a platform for attendees to improve their knowledge and share insights for the mutual benefit of our industry," McAdam said. 

In the US poultry industry, transparency equals trust

    To help ensure that a poultry business is successful, all employers and distributors must be on the same team and be guided by the same values. Joe Forsthoffer, Perdue Farms corporate communications manager, says that the consumers also need to be considered part of that team.
    However, in order to make them feel like part of the team, the US poultry industry must be more transparent, Forsthoffer said during the National Chicken Council Chicken Marketing Seminar on July 22.
    "Consumers trust farmers. They love farmers, but they don't necessarily trust farming. They have a sense that modern agriculture doesn't quite qualify as farming anymore. If we're in the food business, and our consumers aren't trusting farming, they're never going to trust our products," said Forsthoffer. "Transparency equals trust. Somewhere along the line we literally shut the barn door, threw away the key and decided consumers don't really need to know where their food comes from."
    However, the poultry industry and other sectors of agriculture producing a safe, healthy food supply. Most are doing so in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly manner while treating the animals with respect, and taking care of their employees and the communities they are located in.
    If the consumers get that message, they will be much more likely to be on the same team, Forsthoffer said.
    Doing so is especially important in today's era when information can spread instantly, Frosthoffer said. The poultry industry needs to not only act responsibly, but work hard to convey that message. Otherwise, others may spread a different message.
    "Anyone with internet access has a printing press and a broadcasting network," he said.
    With fewer people connected to farms, many people's images of agriculture are the ones produced by the industry's adversaries. Being transparent gives poultry producers an avenue to counter the criticism and have consumers on their side.
    "You should have a team that includes your consumers, rather than to have to go back and say we really are good people," said Forsthoffer. "The partnership the whole food network has with the American farmer is unparalleled in the world. We need to start telling that story, be proud of who we are, be proud of what we do, and be proud of the way that we do it."

US consumers eating more white-meat chicken in 2013

    Consumption of white-meat chicken in the U.S. has risen significantly in 2013, while all other types of chicken have been consumed less than in 2012, according to a recent survey. On the average, 19 percent of those surveyed said they are consuming more white-meat chicken in 2013 than they did in 2012. Twenty-eight percent said they were eating more white-meat chicken, while 9 percent reported eating less white meat.
    PKS Research Partners conducted the survey for the National Chicken Council, with funding for the survey provided by PoultryUSA magazine. More than 1,000 households in all geographic areas of the U.S. were surveyed, with 70 percent of the respondents identifying themselves as white, 12 percent as black and 12 percent as Hispanic. Gary Thornton, editor of PoultryUSA, presented the findings of the survey July 23 at the Chicken Marketing Seminar, hosted by the National Chicken Council in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
    White meat was one of six chicken products listed in the survey. Other product categories included rotisserie chicken from supermarkets, bone-in/skin-on wings, dark meat, boneless wings, and rotisserie chicken from carry-out establishments.
    Rotisserie chicken from supermarkets had the next highest percentage of respondents say they have consumed more in 2013, 13 percent. However, 18 percent said they were consuming less for a net difference of a negative 5 percent.
    Eleven percent of respondents said they have consumed more bone-in/skin-on chicken wings, dark meat and boneless wings in 2013, while 15, 16 and 14 percent said they have eaten less, respectively.
    Only 8 percent of those surveyed responded that they consumed 8 percent more rotisserie chicken from carry-out establishments in 2013, while 17 percent said they consumed less for a negative 9 percent net difference.
    One percent of respondents ate more of all six products in 2013, according to the survey.
    The survey also took a look at age and income demographics. The highest age category eating more white meat chicken was people between the ages of 25 and 34. Their estimated household income ranged between $40,000 and $50,000. That same age group also accounted for the biggest increase in consumption of rotisserie chicken from supermarkets and from carry-out establishments.

Cal-Maine settles egg antitrust class action claims

    Cal-Maine Foods Inc. announced that it has reached an agreement in principle to settle all direct purchaser class claims against the company. Pursuant to the agreement, reached in the In re Processed Egg Products Antitrust Litigation matter pending in Pennsylvania federal court, Cal-Maine will settle all direct purchaser class claims with a single $28 million payment.
    “We remain confident that our conduct has at all times been lawful, appropriate and fair to our customers. The largest retailers and egg buyers in the country, including many of our customers, in fact, were fully aware of, and explicitly supported, the industry-wide animal welfare guidelines challenged in this litigation. And, the USDA was fully aware of, and explicitly supported, these animal welfare guidelines as well as all the other conduct the plaintiffs challenged,” said Dolph Baker, chairman, president and CEO of Cal-Maine Foods Inc. “We were able to negotiate a settlement, which would eliminate most of our exposure in the antitrust litigation against the company for an amount that we believe is in the best interest of the shareholders, employees, customers and consumers. It significantly reduces the distraction, expense, exposure and inconvenience of protracted litigation and potentially multiple appeals, and allows us to focus on executing the long-term strategy of our business.”
    The terms of the settlement must be formally documented and are subject to approval by the court following notice to all class members. Cal-Maine will record a pre-tax charge in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013 of approximately $28 million with respect to the settlement, which amounts to $17 million, $0.71 per basic share, after tax. Cal-Maine does not expect other provisions associated with the settlement to have a material impact on its results of operations. While the company expects the settlement will receive the needed approval, there can be no assurance that the court will approve the agreement as proposed by the parties.
    The plaintiffs in the non-class cases that direct purchasers have filed against the company may elect to participate in the settlement or to opt out and pursue their individual claims. The settlement does not affect the class actions filed on behalf of indirect purchasers. These non-class cases and the indirect purchaser class actions also allege that the company and certain other large domestic egg producers conspired to reduce the domestic supply of eggs in an effort to raise egg prices. Cal-Maine announced that it intends to continue to vigorously defend the remaining cases and believes it has strong defenses.

Call for entries to Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards

    Compassion in World Farming is calling on food producers across Europe to enter its sixth Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards.
    The Good Farm Animal Welfare Awards recognize companies that demonstrate their commitment to meeting a set of species-specific welfare criteria, and Compassion in World Farming is still welcoming entries for the Good Egg, Good Chicken, Good Dairy and Good Pig awards.
    2013 will see the animal welfare organization hold one combined awards event in Paris - rather than the usual two, one in London and one in Paris - as part of its initiative to drive farm animal welfare up the agenda across Europe. "By working with the largest food manufacturers, food service businesses and retail chains, we can achieve the greatest impact on farm animal welfare by raising baseline standards," said Director of food business at Compassion in World Farming Dr. Tracey Jones. "These companies make, serve and sell the vast majority of the food we consume and have it in their power to make a real difference to the lives of millions of animals reared for food each year."
    Willem-Jan Laan, director global external affairs for Unilver, which has won the Good Chicken and Good Egg Awards amongst others, said that farm animal welfare has been one of Unilever's sustainable agriculture indicators since 2005. "We recognize that many consumers do have concerns about animal welfare and we take these concerns seriously," said Laan. "We have several ongoing initiatives which include free-range eggs in Hellman's mayonnaise."

Poultry Federation introduces newest board members

    The Poultry Federation, a trade organization representing the poultry and egg industries in Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, introduced three new members to its board of directors: Bill Folk of Butterball, Benny McClure of George's Inc. and Preston Stiles of Conveyor Technology. Each will serve a three-year term ending in 2016.
    "We appreciate their willingness to serve and look forward to their leadership in our mission to protect and promote the poultry and egg industry of Arkansas, Missouri and Oklahoma," said Marvin Childers, president of the Poultry Federation.

    Bill Folk

    Bill Folk is the complex manager at Butterball in Huntsville, Ark. He has worked at Butterball for the past 23 years where he has held the positions of operations manager, human resources manager and controller. Previous to his career at Butterball, he worked for Louis Rich, a division of Oscar Mayer/Kraft Foods for 13 years where he held the positions of live operations controller, general accounting manager and cost accounting manager.
    Folk will serve on this year's Processors Workshop Committee for the Poultry Federation. He attended Newberry College in Newberry, S.C., and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. He and his wife, Judy, reside in Fayetteville, Ark.

    Benny McClure

    Benny McClure is the live production manager, Arkansas and Missouri Division, for George's Inc. He previously worked for Tyson Foods as hatchery manager and broiler manager. He currently serves as vice chairman of the Poultry Improvement Committee for the Poultry Federation and will also serve as the 2014 Spring Symposium chairman. Last year, he served as secretary of the Poultry Improvement Committee.
    McClure attended Arkansas Tech University in Russellville and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in agriculture business. He and his wife, Tara, reside in Springdale, Ark.

    Preston Stiles

    Preston Stiles is the vice president of Conveyor Technology located in Maumelle, Ark. Stiles will serve as one of the allied membership representatives on the board of directors. He was previously self-employed with Access Control and Louisiana Prime as general manager for Louisiana and Texas.
    Stiles serves on the Poultry Federation's Processors Workshop Committee and the Annual Poultry Festival Committee. He has also served as an Allied Industries officer as secretary, vice chairman and chairman.

USPOULTRY develops Environmental Enhancement and Protection Program

    The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association has announced The Poultry and Egg Producers Environmental Enhancement and Protection Program (E2P2) to assist poultry and egg producers in evaluating environmental strategies associated with the management of manure and other byproducts generated on the farm.
    "Module 1- Initial Facility Assessment"    addresses elements and mechanisms that can cause negative environmental impacts and discusses the preventative measures poultry and egg producers can take to remove impacts. Future modules will present tools to determine liability, tools to address deficiencies and methods to remove discharges, and consideration for the establishment of acceptable benchmarks. Future editions will also present the requirements of the Clean Water Act and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System to assist producers with making a decision on whether to obtain an NPDES permit.
    This program is available to USPOULTRY members, free of charge.  For information on this program, contact Paul Bredwell at or Marjorie Maul at

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pig association calls for help keeping porcine epidemic diarrhea out of Britain

    Britain's National Pig Association is asking UK pig farmers to help keep a new strain of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) out of Europe. The virus has been present in Britain in a mild form for more than 40 years, but new strains in China and the United States are wiping out whole generations of newly-born pigs - and there is no effective treatment.
    It is essential the new PEDV strains are kept out of Britain, says National Pig Association. It is calling for everyone involved in farming to adopt a number of extra-precautionary measures.
    • Only absolutely essential visitors from overseas should be allowed onto pig farms and they must have entered Britain at least three days before the visit. Only unit clothing and footwear should be worn on the unit.
    • If you are returning from overseas yourself, allow three days before considering yourself "pig-free".
    • Ensure all your staff and colleagues are aware of the risks posed by the new strains of PEDV and that they comply with all biosecurity measures if visiting British pig units.
    In addition to its general advice to everyone in British agriculture, the National Pig Association is advising all pig-keepers to contact their veterinarian if they see unusual clinical problems with diarrhea, particularly in piglets.
    Producers should also work with their nutritionist, feed supplier and vet to check the provenance of nutritional products used on their farm, and consider whether any might pose an unacceptable risk.
    The association says that as a matter of principle no meat products should ever be allowed onto pig units, because of their potential to introduce serious diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease, classical swine fever, African swine fever, and perhaps the new virulent strains of PEDV.
    NPA is asking all to run a critical eye over all their current biosecurity measures and see where they can be improved. It is also urging genetics companies to think carefully before importing live pigs from the States for the time being, regardless of the high level of biosecurity usually attached to such shipments.
    If the new acute strains of PEDV spread to Britain they could have an impact every bit as bad as postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome, which arrived in Britain from mainland Europe about 13 years ago and contributed to a halving of the national herd, only coming under control in recent years, following the introduction of highly effective vaccines.
    The current outbreak in the US, which is still spreading, is causing losses of up to 100 percent of affected piglets and has been reported on over 200 units in 13 states since May. The virus from the outbreak in the US is said to be 99.4 percent similar to an outbreak in China which has killed more than 1 million piglets since October 2010.

Maple Leaf Foods to sell turkey growing operations

    Maple Leaf Foods has entered into definitive agreements to sell the Company's commercial turkey farms to Ernald Enterprises and its breeder farms and hatchery operation to Cuddy Farms, Maple Leaf Foods announced on July 22. The transactions are expected to close by the end of July.
    Maple Leaf's turkey growing operations employ more than 100 employees in southern Ontario. They include a hatchery and six breeder turkey farms that supply turkey eggs and turkey poults to domestic and international markets and six commercial farms that supply market-ready live birds to Maple Leaf's turkey processing facility in Thamesford, Ont. The terms of the transaction include a long-term supply of live birds to Maple Leaf from Ernald Enterprises. Most employees will transition to Ernald Enterprises and Cuddy Farms once the transactions close.
    "Divesting our turkey growing operations will allow us to focus on, and direct capital to, growth and innovation in our valued-added turkey processing business," said Michael H. McCain, president and CEO, Maple Leaf Foods. "The transaction ensures a long-term supply of high quality turkeys at competitive prices. I'd like to thank our people who work in these operations for their dedication to our business. They are joining two organizations who are leaders in Canada's turkey growing industry." 

Fire breaks out at Rose Acre Farms facility

    A fire occurred at Rose Acre Farms' facility on July 17, but damage was limited thanks to a sprinkler system that was installed after another fire in 2012. The cause of Wednesday's fire, which forced the closure of a soybean processing plant at Rose Acre Farms west of Seymour, Ind., remains under investigation.
    Officials with the company that manufactures the dust-collecting equipment for the plant were at the site trying to determine the cause, Rose Acre Farms chief executive officer, Tony Wesner told news outlets. One possibility, Wesner said, is static electricity. 

World Trade Organization opens panel on USA-India avian influenza dispute

    The World Trade Organization is opening a panel on the dispute between the USA and India over measures concerning the importation of certain agricultural products due to avian influenza concerns.
    India's avian influenza trade measures prohibit the importation of various agricultural products into the country from those countries reporting notifiable avian influenza, both highly pathogenic and low pathogenic.
    The USA is arguing that the measures are inconsistent with the country's commitments and obligations to various provisions of the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, and that they have adversely affected exports of a variety of poultry products from the USA.
    Among reasons stated by the USA for requesting the panel are that India's measures are more restrictive than required and are not based on science. The country also notes that India arbitrarily discriminates between WTO members where similar conditions occur and does not consider disease free areas.

Allen Harim hopes to process ‘ginseng birds’ at proposed facility in Delaware

    As Allen Harim Foods prepares to begin operations in Millsboro, Del., it intends to specialize in poultry products not yet established in the United States. The company plans to process what it refers to as a "ginseng bird," a smaller chicken that gets its name from its use in ginseng stew.
    While not breed-specific, the ginseng bird is a genetic cross between a male broiler and a female layer, said Matt Hamilton, senior manager of sales for Allen Harim Foods. However, it is much smaller than traditional broilers, reaching weights of around 2 pounds during its 45-day growth cycle.
    That variety of chicken is currently unavailable in the U.S., said Hamilton, but the company's pending purchase of a closed Pinnacle Foods pickle plant in Millsboro should give Allen Harim Foods an opportunity to make the specialty chicken product more available.
    Ever since South Korean food company Harim Corp. bought the bankrupt Allen Family Foods in 2011, Allen Harim Foods wanted a cook plant that processes the birds for ginseng stew in the United States. A demand for ginseng birds exists in U.S. cities with a substantial Korean population, as well as in other communities where the Korean influence has spread, Hamilton said.
    "The Korean population will be familiar with this product. The Harim group believes this population is underserved, and they have learned to make do with other items such as the Cornish hen instead of the ginseng birds," Hamilton said.
    Cornish hens are typically only 22-25 days old when processed, Hamilton said, making them less conducive as a stew ingredient. "The bird actually falls apart when you stew it, because it's such a young bird. This ginseng bird is genetically different than other birds. It is a very slow-growing bird. It is a much firmer meat, and it also has a very thick skin, so when you are stewing this bird, it doesn't fall apart," Hamilton said.
    While some of the ginseng birds processed in Delaware will be sold in the states, more are expected to be exported to Korea. A lack of available agricultural land and domestic feed has hindered production increases in Korea, as have trade barriers that prevent Korean commodities from being exported to other nations.
    Allen Harim Foods, which owns 26 company farms in the United States, is expected to grow its own birds at some of those farms.

    Poultry facility will be two plants in one

    Initially, Allen Harim Foods was considering building a cook plant for ginseng birds in Harbeson, Del., next to an existing Allen Harim facility that produces case-ready, tray-pack poultry products. However, it would have required a hefty investment to start a cook plant from scratch. When the State of Delaware contacted Allen Harim to let the poultry company know the Pinnacle facility was available, the company reassessed its plans. With a structure already built, and 107 acres around it, Allen Harim pursued purchasing it.
    "It's a fantastic facility. The Pinnacle folks have done a good job of maintaining it, and it's almost 500,000 square feet. We started thinking about splitting it in half, with one half of it being a cook plant and the other half a regular processing plant."
    With essentially two plants in one building, Hamilton said the company also expects to use the facility to process canned poultry products, which are also popular in Korea. The company is also considering some products for domestic production, including fully cooked poultry products, further-processed foods and antibiotic-free poultry.
    Allen Harim hopes to process up to 2 million birds a week on the processing side of the proposed Millsboro plant, while plans for the further-processed side of the plant are still in the early stages.

    Purchase of plant still pending

    Pinnacle Foods has accepted Allen Harim's offer to buy the plant, but the purchase has not been finalized as both parties are in the due-diligence period. The deal was earlier expected to close in mid-April, but the closing has been pushed back by as much as six months while both companies make sure there are no environmental issues. The property includes a 107-acre parcel of land near a tributary that feeds into the Chesapeake Bay system.
    Once Allen Harim takes ownership, a major transformation of the building will take place. The company's goal is to have the plant in operation between mid-2015 and January 2016.
    Upgrades planned for the plant include installing drains in the floors, adding refrigeration systems, putting the processing equipment on one side of the plant and the further processing equipment on the other side, and updating the facility's wastewater treatment system. The gravel parking lot on the grounds will also be paved in an effort to minimize the dust.

French-Chinese group offers veterinary products to poultry, swine producers

    Veterinary groups Ceva Santé Animale of France, and Sichuan Hengtong Animal Pharmacy Co. of China signed an international partnership agreement to create Ceva Hengtong. The partnership will offer pharmaceutical products and services to poultry and swine producers in China.
    According to the Earth Policy Institute, China consumes more than a quarter of all meat produced worldwide. The demand for meat is estimated to grow as China's population and living standards increase. Ceva Hengtong was created, in part, to meet this demand.
    Faced with a livestock market which remains highly fragmented in China (60 percent of farmers have fewer than 50 head of sows), Ceva Hengtong will focus on the poultry and swine segments, providing businesses with the services they need in order to improve efficiency.
    Ceva Santé Animale will own 55 percent of the shares in Ceva Hengtong and Sichuan Hengtong Animal Pharmacy will own 45 percent. Liang Guo, current CEO and the largest shareholder of Sichuan Hengtong Animal Pharmacy, will be appointed managing director of the joint venture. The company will continue to be based in Neijiang but relocate to a new, purpose-built facility in Sichuan, meeting all international quality standards by 2015. Ceva Santé Animale will import certain products made in France.
    Sichuan Hengtong Animal Pharmacy Co., having experienced significant growth in Sichuan, decided to seek out a partner capable of strengthening industrial and technical support. Meanwhile, Ceva Santé Animale looked for a way to expand its veterinary sector in China after forming partnerships with South China Agricultural University and Jinyu Baoling.
    Marc Prikazsky, chairman and CEO of Ceva Santé Animale, said, "Together is an important word in Ceva's vision, 'Together, Beyond Animal Health.' There can be no bigger challenge than feeding China's rapidly growing urban population; that's why we had to find the right partner locally to help us reach out to country's livestock producers. I have immense confidence in Mr. Guo and his team of 240 people. Together we will be stronger and together we will help bring high-quality animal protein (pork and poultry) to the Chinese people." 

Closed ethanol plant in Indiana to resume operation under new ownership

    An ethanol plant in South Bend, Ind., is on its way to resuming ethanol production after being shut down in November 2012. Connecticut-based Noble Americas Corp. purchased the former New Energy Corp. plant during a bankruptcy auction in January and expects to restart ethanol production by early 2014.
    The ethanol plant was the first one in Indiana when it opened in 1984. The South Bend Tribune reports the new owners expect the plant to have about 50 workers. It had 90 employees when it was owned by New Energy. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Mountaire Farms to acquire former Townsend/Omtron hatchery

    Mountaire Farms has announced its acquisition of the former Townsend/Omtron hatchery in Siler City, N.C. Closing is expected to occur soon, perhaps within 30 days.
    The hatchery became available for sale after owner Oleg Bakhmatyuk, a Ukrainian billionaire, decided in August 2011 to close Townsend's facilities in North Carolina.
    "The acquisition of the Siler City hatchery will provide Mountaire Farms with the additional growth opportunities that are essential for an expanding company," said Bill Massey, vice president of live operations for Mountaire Farms. "The addition of the Siler City hatchery will position us to expand our exceptional customer service to the local farming community and allow us grow our business."
    "Mountaire is a producer of high-quality chicken products with market distribution channels in retail, wholesale, food service and export. Mountaire has a deep rooted commitment to quality service and value, and we look forward to future business growth and strengthening the ties we have with local the community," added Paul Downes, Mountaire Farms president and CEO. 

Hog producer AgFeed Industries files for bankruptcy

    Hog producer AgFeed Industries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on July 15 after agreeing to wind down its supply contract with Hormel Foods, its main U.S. customer. Hormel purchases weanling pigs and hogs from the company.
    AgFeed plans to sell its U.S. operations while under Chapter 11 protection, the Wall Street Journal reported. It's also looking for a buyer for its Chinese units, which aren't included in the U.S. bankruptcy case.
    The company has lined up a $79 million leading bid for most of its U.S. assets from Maschhoffs LLC, a Carlyle, Ill., hog production network, according to papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. The offer, which is subject to court approval, would be tested at a court-supervised auction.
    The company's U.S. operations brought in $244 million in revenue in 2012, court papers stated.
    The company has been involved in a dispute with Hormel that led to an arbitration award of $7.9 million against AgFeed earlier this year. This decision spurred an event of default under the company's $68.5 million credit facility, which matured in February and hasn't yet been repaid.
    AgFeed and Hormel have since reached a settlement and have agreed to wind down their business relationship by the end of 2013.