Monday, March 31, 2014

JBS net revenues up for FY 2013, fourth quarter

    Brazilian-based meat and poultry processor JBS SA reported a 22.7 percent jump in net revenues during the JBS fiscal year 2013. Net revenues increased by at least 10 percent during all four quarters during the fiscal year.
    JBS revealed on March 24 that the company's 2013 net revenues reached BRL92.9 billion (US$40.3 billion). For the fourth quarter, JBS recorded a net revenue of BRL27.2 billion (US$11.8), an increase of BRL5.4 billion (US$2.3 billion) or 24.6 percent when compared to the fourth quarter of 2012.
    While the company has benefited from its purchase of Brazilian poultry and pork processor Seara Brasil, an estimated 54 percent of its improved revenues came from organic growth.
    JBS Mercosul, the company's Brazil-based poultry, beef and leather unit, recorded revenues of BRL25.820 million (US$11.2 million) in fiscal year 2013, an improvement of 43.3 percent.
    The U.S. poultry unit of JBS, Pilgrim's, in fiscal year 2013 recorded net revenues of BRL19.4 billion (US$8.4 billion), a 3.6 percent improvement from the revenues recorded during the 2012 fiscal year.

Newcastle disease classification system improved by USDA researchers

    U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists have given the Newcastle disease classification system a much-needed update, making it easier to identify virus types.
    Exotic Newcastle disease, an extremely virulent form of the virus, is not found in poultry in the United States but is widespread in Asia, Africa, Mexico and many countries in South America. It affects chickens and other bird species, and is often fatal, killing about 80 to 100 percent of unvaccinated infected birds.
    At the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory (SEPRL) in Athens, Ga., microbiologist Claudio Afonso, veterinary medical officer Patti Miller and their colleagues examine genetic differences in Newcastle disease viruses from other countries, characterize them, make sure existing tests and vaccines are effective, and work on strategies to develop better vaccines. In addition, they evaluate systems used to classify virus isolates.
    Afonso recently proposed a new classification system to group Newcastle isolates. Traditionally, two systems were being used simultaneously to classify isolates into lineages or genotypes. This caused confusion and sometimes incorrect classification of isolates.
    The new single system, which is detailed in research published in "Infection, Genetics and Evolution," is reliable and consistent and can be used by any laboratory worldwide.
    SEPRL scientists also evaluate the ability of current vaccines to protect against emerging Newcastle viruses and help the poultry industry test improved vaccines.
    In other research, Miller is studying the role a bird's immunity plays in virus transmission, protection against disease and relationships between genotypes. Her recent finding, published in Developmental & Comparative Immunology, suggest that an earlier onset of immunity may be necessary for future vaccines to protect against transmission and spread of Newcastle disease.
    ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

Maximizing feed efficiency in antibiotic-free swine diets and precision feeding

    After the EU banned the use of antibiotic growth promoters in swine feeds, Dr. Piet van der Aar, research coordinator, Schothorst Feed Research, said that careful feed formulation has become more important for pig producers. Speaking at the first installment of the "Total Feed Efficiency for Pigs" webinar series, sponsored by Topigs, van der Aar said that in growing finishing pigs, four-fifths of the negative economic effect of a ban on feed antibiotics can be compensated for with a properly formulated diet.
    Specific recommendations for antibiotic-free swine diets presented by van der Aar include limiting the amount of fermentable fiber and reducing the amount of non-ileal digestible protein in the diet. He said that, particularly under sub-optimal conditions - for example immune system challenge or heat stress - the amount of fermentable carbohydrates and protein should be reduced.
    He said that the amount of fermentable fiber in the diet is an important consideration for producers who are considering the addition of dried distiller's grains with solubles (DDGS) in antibiotic-free swine rations. The strategy of whether to choose for a lower protein, lower fermentable fiber, higher amino acid levels or organic acids will be dependent on the price and availability of feedstuffs, according to van der Aar.
    Precision feeding
    We traditionally look at developing a phase feeding program for the average response from a population of animals; we don't feed each animal to its requirements, according to Dr. Bruno Silva, professor, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. The precision feeding concept recognizes the existence of between-animal variation and involves the use of feeding techniques that allow the right amount of feed with the right composition to be provided at the right time to each pig in the herd.
    Silva explained that, to get the maximum efficiency out of each pig, you really need a tailored feeding program for each pig every day, because their nutrient needs that day will be a function of their genetics, their immune state, temperature and other factors. He gave the example of individual pigs that might be overfed relative to their own nutrient needs and would still gain weight, but will convert the excess nutrients into carcass fat, not muscle. At the herd level, Silva cited research comparing three-phase and five-phase feeding programs. The five-phase program didn't dramatically improve the feed efficiency of the herd, but it did yield pigs with less fat and more muscle.

Poultry, pig groups form Brazil's largest animal protein association

    Companies and bodies working in the poultry, egg and swine sectors from across Brazil met on March 24 to create the Brazilian Association of Animal Protein (ABPA), which has been formed from the merger of the Brazilian Poultry Association (UBABEF), and the Brazilian Pig Meat Producers and Exporters Association (ABIPECS).
    Francisco Turra, ex-president of UBABEF, has been nominated as the executive president of the association. The body will also have two vice presidents, one for poultry and one for pigs.
    With the formation of ABPA, UBABEF and ABIPECS will cease to exist as bodies representing their various industries.
    ABPA is the largest animal protein association in Brazil with 132 existing members. It is hoped that creating the new body will increase membership to 150.
    With total production for the home market worth R$80 billion (US$34.6 billion), together, the two sectors are responsible for 1.756 million direct jobs - 400,000 of which are in processing plants. If direct and indirect employment are considered, the total rises to 4.155 million. Together, exports from the poultry, egg and swine sectors were worth almost US$10 billion in 2013, accounting for 4.1 percent of the country's total exports and 10 percent of its agricultural exports.
    Commenting on the new body, Turra said: "The aim was to establish an association with even broader representation, that would result in synergies and broaden the socio-political role of the two former associations. The two sectors have similar needs, similar production models and equivalent aims.
    "ABPA has been created to give more institutional strength to the animal protein sector in Brazil, be that on the home market or in exports." 

Perdue AgriBusiness recognized as Virginia Agribusiness of the Year

    Perdue AgriBusiness has been presented with the Virginia Agribusiness Council's 2014 Agribusiness of the Year Award.  Council President Katie Frazier presented the award during the Governor's Conference on Agricultural Trade, at the Downtown Richmond Marriott hotel.
    The company was awarded the Agribusiness of the Year recognition, presented annually to a council member organization for outstanding service to the agribusiness industry and the council. As an industry leader in the grain and soybean business, Perdue AgriBusiness, which is headquartered in Salisbury, Md., has steadily grown from a few small grain-receiving facilities to a recognized leader in global exporting and marketing. The company maintains grain receiving and storage facilities throughout the commonwealth, and with its deepwater port in Chesapeake, Perdue ships grain products from Virginia all across the globe.
    According to Virginia Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, 2013 was a record-breaking year for Virginia's agricultural exports, and Perdue has been a leader in the growth the industry has experienced recently. He said, "Perdue AgriBusiness, through its network of first-class producers and storage facilities in Virginia, has long been a recognized leader in grain and soybean production in the Commonwealth.  Now, the company is developing a global reputation as a key supplier of these valuable commodities.  Indeed, with increased exports to the Far East, Europe, Northern Africa, and Latin America from its outstanding export facility in Chesapeake, Perdue has been a key player over the last few years in helping elevate the Commonwealth's position in the global marketplace as a top agricultural producer."
    As an active and effective agribusiness industry supporter throughout the years, Perdue AgriBusiness is a long-time member and outstanding supporter of the Virginia AgriBusiness Council, through leadership involvement in the council's board of directors, sponsorships, and active participation at industry events and activities.
    "Perdue AgriBusiness has consistently demonstrated their commitment to the growth and success of Virginia's agribusiness industry and has risen to become a leader of the Year in the Commonwealth's number one industry of agriculture and forestry. We are pleased to recognize Perdue AgriBusiness for their long-standing contributions to both the Council and Virginia agribusinesses, and look forward to a bright future for the company and their industry partners," said Frazier.
    "Receiving this prestigious award is a tribute to not only our International team, but also the Domestic Grain, Soy, Transportation and Operations teams," said Dick Willey, president of Perdue AgriBusiness. "Together, these groups have worked diligently over the past several years to expand our export business.  They originate grain, produce high quality soy products, and transport and handle those products efficiently.  They gave us access to world customers and have grown the business in Virginia."

Study of Salmonella, Campylobacter in turkeys completed

    A research project at North Carolina State University (NCSU) in Raleigh, N.C., and at the USDA Agricultural Research Service in Athens, Ga., that studied the transmission of Salmonella andCampylobacter in breeder and market turkeys has been completed. The project is part of the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.
    The study, led by Dr. Doug Smith at NCSU, points to poultry house pests (i.e.: flies, beetles, rodents, etc.) as potential vectors of both organisms. Although vertical transmission from breeders to market turkeys was not demonstrated, it was shown that both Salmonella and Campylobacter could be found in semen and in the reproductive tract of hens. Sanitizing of hatching eggs reduced the contamination of eggshells by Salmonella. In this study, use of a probiotic did not reduce the prevalence of either organism.
    Other researchers involved in the project were Dr. Jesse Grimes, Dr. Sophia Kathariou, and Maria Crespo Rodriguez, NCSU; and Dr. Nelson Cox and Dr. Jeff Buhr, USDA Agricultural Research Service.

Sri Lanka’s CIC Feeds expanding broiler breeder business

    Sri Lanka's CIC Feeds has plans to expand its broiler breeder business, increasing production with an additional 400,000 day-old chicks per week. The expansion will help CIC Feeds meet the rising demand in its own broiler farms and for supply to its customers.
    CIC Feeds has chosen to use equipment from leading Dutch hatchery technology company Pas Reform, to attain its fast-track plans for further expansion. CIC Feeds will use the latest SmartSetPro setters and SmartHatchPro hatchers, together with a full suite of ventilation, climate control and hatchery automation systems from Pas Reform.
    As an integrated poultry company the operations of CIC Feeds Group include the manufacturing of compound feeds, breeder farms, hatchery, broiler farms and processing plant.

    Lal Silva, managing director of CIC Feeds Group, said: "For solid, sustained growth, we have looked at the latest modular, single-stage technologies to deliver robust, uniform day-old-chicks that support our plans throughout the integration, as well as increasing efficiencies in our hatchery operations.

    "In choosing Pas Reform, we have an incubation partner that understands our challenges and opportunities for the future, with SmartPro hatchery technologies that meet all of our criteria for quality, increased production and energy savings."
    As an integrated operation, it has become imperative to exploit the full genetic potential of modern chicken breeds, which is made possible by modular, single stage incubation practices, said Silva.

    The company has chosen 12 SmartSetPro setters and 12 SmartHatchPro hatchers, in combination with Pas Reform's SmartTray 162 setter tray with space saving honeycomb design, for improved cost per hatch. The new CIC Feeds hatchery is nearing completion and will be fully operational in the third quarter of 2014.

Friday, March 28, 2014

U.S., Canadian pork, feed industries collaborate to study PED virus

    More than 60 people representing the U.S. and Canadian pork, feed and other allied industries recently participated in a meeting on the porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus hosted by the National Pork Board, and in collaboration with the National Pork Producers Council, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the National Renderers Association and the North American Spray Dried Blood and Plasma Producers, in Des Moines, Iowa. Although the disease does not affect humans or pork safety, it has infected and killed millions of young pigs on farms of all sizes in 27 states since May 2013 and in four Canadian provinces since January.
    "Our main goal was to bring a group of people together to help us agree on research needs related to PEDV and feed systems so that we can get answers to ongoing questions as quickly and efficiently as possible," said Dr. Paul Sundberg, vice president of science and technology at the National Pork Board. "We've been working on PEDV research and collaborating with all pork industry stakeholders since the disease was discovered here, and we'll continue doing that to get practical results for farmers to use to save their pigs."
    The meeting participants, made up of producers, veterinarians, nutritionists, academics and government and association officials, also shared what's currently known about PED virus, including transmission routes, possible vectors and current testing limitations. The group reiterated that PED virus is not a human health or food safety issue and agreed the virus is of Asian origin genetically, but its direct pathway to North America remains unknown.
    During the daylong session, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offered information about the agency's pathways analysis that seeks to identify and describe pathways that exotic viral pathogens of swine may enter the country. The Canadian participants shared their PED virus experiences and actions taken this year, and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians presented its initial survey of early PED virus cases. In addition, participants learned results of veterinary investigations in several states and heard what the feed, feed ingredient and rendering industries are doing to enhance their biosecurity programs and mitigate risk.
    "After taking all of this information into consideration, the group agreed that there are multiple ways for pigs to become infected via a fecal-oral route, including environmental, transportation, feed systems and other vectors," Sundberg said.
    The top research priorities agreed upon by the group are to:
    • Investigate the effectiveness and cost of treatments that could be used to mitigate the survival of PEDV and other viruses in feeds
    • Conduct contamination risk assessments at all steps within the feed processing and delivery chain
    • Develop a substitute for the currently used swine bioassay procedures
    • Continue to investigate the risk of feed and other pathways for pathogen entry into the U.S.
    "If feed is a factor in the transfer of PEDV, based on past research we know that there are specific time and temperature combinations that should inactivate the virus," Sundberg said. "However, there are many variables that can affect feed, including post-processing contamination, which is another area that must be carefully controlled even if inactivation occurs."

FDA announces website to report livestock animal feed problems

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says there is a new website available to the public to report problems related to livestock animal food.
    The Livestock Food Reporting portal will accept reports about foods made for species considered to be livestock, including but not limited to, horses, cattle, swine, poultry and fish. FDA encourages anyone with concerns about animal feed to file a report, including veterinarians and livestock producers. This online portal provides an additional means for consumers to register complaints, and FDA's District Office consumer complaint coordinators will continue to accept reports via phone.
    The Livestock Food Reporting portal is the latest addition to the Safety Reporting Portal, an online system designed to streamline the process of reporting product safety issues to the FDA and the National Institutes of Health. 

Peco Foods expansion prompts real estate boom

    Ever since Peco Foods revealed plans on March 10 to build a new fully-integrated poultry complex in northeastern Arkansas, real estate in the area has been in high demand. The demand for property includes land to build poultry houses to serve the new Peco Foods poultry plant, as well as commercial and residential properties to serve the potential Peco Foods workforce.
    The new Peco Foods poultry complex - to be located in Randolph and Clay counties in Arkansas -- will include a hatchery, feed mill and processing plant. An estimated 1,000 jobs are expected to be added as a result of the Peco Foods expansion.
    "People have been calling for investment property, commercial property and land for chicken houses," Realtor Jana Caldwell told reporters from KAIT. "We're talking about 1,000 new jobs in the Pocahontas area. When that happens we're going to need more of everything."
    Construction of the new Peco Foods complex will begin in two phases. Groundbreaking on the Peco Foods feed mill site is set for April and the first stages of work on the hatchery and processing plant site will begin in July.
    Peco Foods has a presence in Arkansas since 2011 when the company acquired the Townsends poultry complex in Batesville. In addition to the Batesville facility, Peco operates a feed mill in Newark, Ark. Through such acquisitions and expansions, Peco has grown to become the eighth largest poultry producer in the United States, processing about 24 million pounds of poultry each week.

Noble Foods' seasonal marketing sees uplift in white egg sales

    White eggs may be about to make a comeback in the U.K. after a successful trial by Noble Foods.
    Noble launched its Snowy White eggs in December 2013 as a limited festive season trial in 96 Tesco stores. The Snowy White eggs sold well, outperforming similar promotional lines. One store sold 440 egg packs in five days. The response to the eggs was so good that the company is considering extending their presence in the market.
    Snow Whites are a recent example of the company's development of strong recognizable egg brands. Noble has invested heavily in brand development and its most recognizable brand to date, happy egg free range, has an annualized retail value of GBP75 million (US$123.7 million). 

How to mitigate ectoparasites in alternative laying systems

    The key to mitigating bugs and mites in alternative laying systems is recognizing the problem early on in an infestation, according to Dr. Jim Arends, of JABB of the Carolinas, who spoke March 19 at the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention in St. Paul, Minn.
    Arends, who was part of the Poultry Litter Management Workshop at the convention, said there are concerns with ectoparasites in alternative laying systems. Ectoparasites are parasites that live on the surface of a host, such as fleas and ticks.
    "In the last 3 years, with more alternative systems coming online, the list of pests that I have seen in these systems has expanded," Arends said in a report submitted before the convention.
    The recent emergence of bugs in poultry systems include northern fowl mites, lice, flies, red mites, pyomotes, darkling or fungus beetles, bed bugs, and fleas and ticks, Arends said.
    "Most of the pests on the above list have not been commonly seen in 20 or more years," Arends said in the report. "That lack of these pests being common means that few people know what they look like on the birds or in the facility and also do not know how to look for them, where to look for them, or the time interval to evaluate the birds for a problem."
    Ectoparasites can lead to several problems in a layer house, including spread of disease, decreases in egg production, and compromised immune systems.
    In order to catch an infestation early and manage it, Arends said there are three keys:
    • Identification of the pest and understanding of its life cycle and habitat
    • Understanding the management options
    • Understanding the control options
    Catching a problem early will make management and control much easier and less costly than if the infestation has gone on for a longer period of time.
    To monitor a flock for parasites, Arends said at least 10 percent of the birds should be checked at least monthly.
    Arends said treating an infestation in alternative layer systems has become more difficult because the birds cannot be contained for a spray application, which is the simplest treatment. The pests' resistance to treatment products also poses a challenge.
    Providing birds with access to dust boxes containing diatomaceous earth, kaolin or sulfur has been found to reduce lice and northern fowl mites. Insecticidal soaps - or even household degreasing soaps - can reduce pests, but numerous retreatments are required. Bio-pesticides are also a good option, due to low resistance levels.
    Arends stressed that biosecurity in and around poultry houses is extremely important. People, equipment and birds should be closely monitored to prevent a problem from beginning in the first place.

Organic industry is growing, farm bill offers support, says USDA

    There are over 25,000 certified organic operations in more than 120 different countries around the world, according to new figures released by the USDA.
    The organic agriculture industry is growing at a record pace both domestically and globally, according to new figures released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on March 20. A number of new and expanded efforts from the USDA, supported by the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, will connect organic farmers and businesses with the resources they need to ensure continued growth.
    "Consumer demand for organic products has grown exponentially over the past decade. With retail sales valued at $35 billion last year, the organic industry represents a tremendous economic opportunity for farmers, ranchers and rural communities," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "New support in the 2014 Farm Bill will enhance USDA's efforts to help producers and small businesses tap into this market and support organic agriculture as it continues to grow and thrive."
    According to the USDA, there are over 25,000 certified organic operations in more than 120 different countries around the world. The industry today encompasses a record-breaking 18,513 certified organic farms and businesses in the U.S. alone, representing a 245 percent increase since 2002.
    The recently-signed 2014 U.S. Farm Bill, the Agricultural Act of 2014, includes provisions to support the organic community, including:
    • $20 million annually for dedicated organic research, agricultural extension programs and education
    • $5 million to fund data collection on organic agriculture that will give policymakers, organic farmers and organic businesses data needed to make sound policy, business and marketing decisions
    • Expanded options for organic crop insurance to protect farmers
    • Expanded exemptions for organic producers who are paying into commodity "check off" programs, and authority for the USDA to consider an application for the organic sector to establish its own check off
    • Improved enforcement authority for the National Organic Program to conduct investigations
    • $5 million for a technology upgrade of the National Organic Program to provide up-to-date information about certified organic operations across the supply chain
    • $11.5 million annually for certification cost-share assistance, which reimburses the costs of annual certification for organic farmers and livestock producers by covering 75 percent of certification costs, up to $750 per year
    The USDA is helping organic stakeholders access programs that support conservation, provide access to loans and grants, fund organic research and education, and mitigate pest emergencies. Information about USDA resources and support for the organic sector is available on the USDA Organics Resource page.

Kemin offers new testing service to evaluate oils, fats

    Kemin is launching a new customer service tool to better assess the oxidative quality and nutritional value of oils and fats in feed. The Lipid Evaluation Test provides nutritionists with accurate lipid profiles containing the apparent metabolizable energy (AME) values and oxidative status and potential in order to improve applications and combat unwanted variations of oils and fats in animal nutrition.
    Oils and fats are critical ingredients in feed formulations due to their high energy-yielding potential. However, like many raw materials, these lipids come from a wide variety of sources and are prone to large variations in their nutritive value.
    "Until now, the tools to effectively evaluate the nutritional and quality profile of lipids were not readily available to the industry," said Dr. Liong Kah Heng, marketing director of the company's animal nutrition and health division in Asia Pacific. "Traditionally, nutritionists analyzed oils and fats using the standard energy value, which our researchers have found to be quite different from the actual values. With the Lipid Evaluation Test, nutritionists can work with their Kemin representative to ensure they have accurate, reliable numbers."
    Numerous analyses performed by Kemin scientists have resulted in up to 30 percent variations in AME values for a single oil type. The nutritional value of oils and fats are characterized by the ratio of unsaturated/saturated fatty acids, the level of free fatty acids, as well as the level of moisture and various impurities.
    In addition to differences in energy levels, Kemin researchers also found large variations in the oxidative status of oils and fats. Measuring the oxidative status and oxidative potential provides an understanding of the lipid rancidity and overall quality of oils and fats.
    Along with accurate and informed testing services, Kemin offers solutions, such as Lysoforte, which has been shown to reduce nutritional energy differences and enhance the utilization of energy from oils and fats in combination with an antioxidant program. This can lead to improved feed conversion ratios and lower production costs.
    "The Lipid Evaluation Test is a testament to the continued commitment of Kemin to deliver advanced technologies and services to keep animals safe, healthy and efficient," said Dr. C. Sugumar, product manager at Kemin. "With this new service, nutritionists can have a clear, accurate understanding of the nutritional and quality status of oils and fats in order to make informed decisions on their use, and ultimately, to optimize feed formulations and profitability."

New study looks at concerns, attitudes of US farmers and ranchers

    A new study conducted by Purdue University can help agribusiness leaders better understand their farmer customers. The Large Commercial Producer (LCP) survey, conducted every five years by the Center for Food and Agricultural Business, explores the current concerns, preferences, behaviors and attitudes of U.S. farmers and ranchers. The 2014 survey features results from nearly 1,700 producers.
    "Our goal is to help agricultural producers and agribusinesses reach higher levels of success," says Mike Gunderson, Purdue professor and associate director of research at the center. "Armed with information and insights about their farmer customers, agribusinesses can create new business strategies based on what their customers value. That approach results in more effective partnerships with key clients."
    Started in 1998, the LCP survey focuses on corn/soybean, wheat/barley, cotton, fruit/nut/vegetables, dairy, hog and cattle producers from across the United States. The 2014 survey generated more than 400,000 data points, which the center research team, led by Gunderson, condensed into four themes - producer strategy, loyalty, buying preferences, and information and the salesperson.
    Gunderson says the research team, consisting of Purdue agricultural economists, modified the survey tool for this iteration to include questions about "how producers think about the strategies that make them successful, what amount of time it takes to implement those strategies and what worries them at night." Farmers answered questions about five different strategies: managing their production, managing people, controlling their costs, spending time marketing their output, and controlling land, equipment and facilities.
    "We found it interesting that what farmers think makes them successful and what they actually spend their time focusing on are not always the same," Gunderson explains.
    The team also studied farmer loyalty across different products - seed, crop protection, feed and nutrition, animal health, fertilizer and capital - at the brand and local dealer/retailer level. They used the same products to evaluate buying preference based on three attributes: price, performance and relationship.
    The role of information and salespeople has been included in each iteration of the LCP survey. This version reflected changes in Internet-based technologies, including the addition of questions about social media, emails and text messaging. The team looked at how the importance of different media sources, information sources, salesperson activities and salesperson attributes affected producer decision making.
    Results from the LCP survey are now available online. For questions about survey methods, contact David Widmar, research associate, at

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Huvepharma to acquire subsidiary from Novus

    Huvepharma Inc. announced an agreement to acquire Viridus Animal Health (a subsidiary of Novus International Inc.) which manufactures and sells Advent Coccidiosis Vaccine. Huvepharma expects the transaction to close in early April 2014.
    Advent is a market leading coccidiosis vaccine that was introduced by Novus International to the U.S. poultry market in 2003. The Advent vaccine's proven performance for controlling coccidiosis in broiler chickens can be attributed to its differentiated and patented VIACYST assay. This unique feature accurately quantifies the number of live, sporulated coccidial oocysts in Advent. Only viable, sporulated oocysts are capable of imparting immunity and generating resistance to a coccidiosis challenge. Advent is a versatile anticoccidial product that can be used in all broiler production systems while delivering excellent control of this important and economically impactful disease.
    "We are extremely excited about Viridus Animal Health and Advent joining the Huvepharma family as the addition complements our solutions approach strategy and builds on our leadership position in coccidiosis control. Novus successfully developed and launched a uniquely innovative product with Advent and it's our desire to expand on their success and innovation. Also, with Huvepharma's international presence, we feel there is a great opportunity to introduce Advent to applicable new markets worldwide. Huvepharma and Novus are committed to providing a seamless transition for all customers over the next several weeks." - Glen Wilkinson, president of Huvepharma Inc.
    "I am pleased to see our Advent business join the Huvepharma family. I am confident that Huvepharma's animal health capabilities and portfolio synergies will lead to accelerated growth for Advent for years to come, " said Francois Fraudeau, COO of Novus International Inc.

Sanderson Farms awarded for water conservation in Texas

    From left: Jason Barfknecht, Bryan Water Utilities Director; Tom McDonald, BVGCD Board member; Jason Bienski, Mayor-City of Bryan; Brenda Flick, Manager of Environmental Services for Sanderson Farms; Ross Harbison, Brazos Processing Division Manager for Sanderson Farms; Stephanie Shoemaker, Environmental Coordinator for Sanderson Farms; and Alan Day, General Manager for the Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District.
    Sanderson Farms has been recognized for its water conservation efforts at the company's poultry complex located in Bryan, Texas. The Brazos Valley Groundwater Conservation District, which protects and conserves the groundwater resources of Brazos and Robertson counties, awarded the poultry producer the Industrial Groundwater Conservationist of the Year award for the company's efforts to reduce their operation's impact on district aquifers.
    The award was presented to Sanderson Farms' Brazos county processing facility during a Bryan City Council meeting in March.
    As the third largest poultry producer in the nation, Sanderson Farms has stated that it is committed to managing their operations efficiently while protecting local communities' vital resources and minimizing the company's impact on the environment. In 2010, Sanderson Farms formally launched a Corporate Responsibility Program deliberately focused on environmental and cost efficiency goals.
    Between 2008 and 2013, Sanderson Farms reduced their groundwater usage by 42 percent by installing new equipment designed to conserve water usage and incorporate reuse wherever possible. The company reduced their environmental footprint by nearly 273 million gallons last year.

Access exclusive information on top Latin American poultry companies

    The March edition of Industria Avícola contains data in Spanish about the top poultry companies in Latin America
    Poultry production in Latin America had an inglorious 2013 because, among other things, the high cost of raw materials, avian influenza outbreaks and limited growth in the two largest economies - Brazil and Mexico - where chicken production had decreased from 300 million birds, while the egg-laying industry recorded an increase of about 1.9 percent in the hen population.
    The March edition of Industria Avícola contains data in Spanish showing this information by country, as well as up-to-date charts of the 10 leading producers of chickens and eggs in Latin America.
    Each country has its peculiarities, as in the case of Venezuela and the shortage of foodstuffs in general, the impact of avian influenza in Mexico, the beginning of the consolidation of Colombian poultry or mergers that have occurred in the Brazilian industry.
    But how many chickens did Ariztía produce in Chile or Avícola Salvadoreña in El Salvador? How does the laying hen population compare between Brazil and Mexico? Is Ovobrand still the leading producer of eggs in Argentina? These and other questions can be answered by consulting our data-rich March edition of Industria Avícola.

Animal feed event to address non-genetically modified product concerns

    Leading organizations involved in the supply of non-genetically modified (GM) soy from Brazil are to host a one day industry event in Germany this April specifically for European animal feed producers and users at which they will present the facts about current supply and logistics of non-GM products from Brazil.
    The event follows the recent announcement by the German Poultry Association (ZDG) and others including the German Egg Association (BDE) that they would no longer be using non-genetically modified soybean material due to alleged shrinking supply of GM-free material from Brazil.
    The forum will be held in Münster/W., Germany - the southern gateway to the highest feed and poultry industry concentration in Germany - on April 8, 2014. The event is being supported by three industry organizations involved in the supply chain of certified non-GM soy food products with the soy component carrying the biggest focus - The German Association of Food without Genetic Engineering (VLOG); The ProTerra Foundation and The Brazilian Association of Non-GMO Grain Producers (ABRANGE).
    Delegates will be able to find out more about the current reality of commodity supply from Brazil.  Delegates will also be able to learn more about the legalities of EU and national GM labeling regulations and be able to hear directly from growers and processors based in Brazil's largest supply  regions the truth about the availability of oilseeds - what growers can deliver, why they can deliver, and the logistics of getting the products to market.
    The conference is aimed decision makers of European trading companies, feed compounders, poultry, pig and dairy producers, as well as retailers.

2 Sisters Food Group reports second quarter loss, sales higher

    2 Sisters Food Group reported a loss for the 13 weeks ended January 25 of GBP27.5 million (USD45.41 million).
    The company's like-for-like sales over the period grew by 3 percent, and total sales, including from the Vion acquisition, were up by 35.3 percent. Like-for-like operating profits at the company before exceptional items stood at GBP15.3 million (USD25.2 million) compared to GBP26.2 million (USD43.2 million) in 2012-13, with improvements in its protein and branded divisions offset by lower profitability in its chilled division.
    The company notes that it is investing in growth and in lowering its cost base. Amongst areas of focus in the U.K. are investing in added value capacity in Cambulsang; the closure of its loss-making Haughley Park operations; addressing the higher poultry cost base in Scotland through the exit from its Letham site; and improving efficiency at the Coupar Angus, Scotland, facility; and initiating consultation on the future of its Corby and Avana sites.
    Ranjit Singh, 2 Sisters' CEO, commented: "This has been a very challenging quarter, but we delivered a credible performance in Q2, despite the tough and competitive market conditions.
    "We delivered to our customers over the key Christmas trading period, but in line with expectations, this impacted profitability in chilled due to the significant investment we made in product launches and disruption costs of new ranges. Protein made good progress with the integration of Vion on plan," Singh said. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

National Ag Day observed March 25

    National Ag Day is being observed in the United States on March 25. The day, dedicated to increasing the public's awareness of agriculture's vital role in society, has been recognized since the Agriculture Council of America and the National Ag Day program was started in 1973.
    U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in a radio address, said it is important for people to acknowledge the agriculture industry and its huge social and economic impact on the nation.
    "We have the most productive agriculture in the world, which has provided us access to an extraordinary diversity and wide range of food products in this country, which allows us to be food secure," Vilsack said.
    Agriculture also serves as a large job creator, with nearly a million jobs supported through ag exports, according to the agriculture secretary.
    "With food processing, it represents one of the major manufacturing aspects of our economy.  Nearly 5 percent of our economy is attributed to agriculture and food processing, so we are economically secure because of agriculture," he said.

Australian chicken meat production, consumption to carry on growing

    Chicken meat will account for 28 percent of the meat consumed in Australia within the next five years. The prediction comes from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), which also forecasts that Australia's poultry production will continue growing.
    The industry has expanded by 4 percent a year over the past decade and now makes up one-quarter of meat production, up from 18 percent 10 years ago.
    ABARES points to the competitive pricing of chicken meat as the main factor for this growth. Over the five years to 2012-13, chicken was on average 21 percent cheaper than pork, 22 percent cheaper than beef and 45 percent cheaper than lamb.
    The bureau believes that this price advantage will persist in the medium term and notes that the price differential reflects "strong productivity growth achieved in the Australian chicken meat industry over successive decades."
    Dr. Andreas Dubs, executive director of the Australian Chicken Meat Federation commented, "Consumers appreciate the good value that chicken represents but also appreciate the convenience, versatility and nutritional qualities of chicken meat."

MSU, Repreve Renewables developing alternative broiler litter

    In recent years, broiler producers have found it increasingly difficult and expensive to find consistent litter materials. According to Dr. Jeremiah Davis of Mississippi State University (MSU), speaking March 19 at the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention (MPF) in St. Paul, Minn., there is great potential in the Southeastern United States to grow large volumes of grass materials from which to source alternative bedding materials.
    In the past, studies have been conducted on alternatives to pine bedding, such as rice hulls, peanut hulls, corn stover and bagasse. Other alternatives have included chopped cereal straws such as barley and wheat; paper products, such as newspaper; and sand and gypsum. But, Davis said, there are caking problems with barley and wheat straws and gypsum. Supplies of newspapers are dwindling as more newspapers abandon their print products, and sand litter makes it more difficult to heat the poultry house.
    "Our gold standard has been pine shavings over the years," Davis said. But other options may be viable alternatives, studies have found.
    In exploring other alternative litter materials, the focus has been on Bermuda grass, switchgrass and giant miscanthus. The latter has offered great promise, Davis said, and MSU has collaborated with Repreve Renewables LLC to grow and study Repreve's Freedom giant miscanthus feedstock for use as poultry litter.
    For the Repreve project, growers contract with the company to custom plant the crop - which at full production can yield 14 tons per acre - and manage it based on the company's recommendations. The crop is evaluated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and several universities. Davis said invasiveness is not a risk because the crop is sterile, there is not live plant in the bedding material, and all the chopped material is dead. Davis said the potential for large volume production of Freedom is higher than the other materials tested.
    Freedom giant miscanthus is being grown and tested in Alabama, and Davis believes the plant is almost ready for commercial sale and use.
    "This stuff is really at the state of full commercial utilization here," Davis said during the Poultry Litter Management Workshop at MPF.
    The floor pen trials compared live production and processing characteristics of large broilers using chopped switchgrass, chopped Bermuda grass and pine shavings. The chopped grasses worked the best when they were kept to one inch in length. Litter was spread in floor pens 3.5 inches deep. Day-old chicks were placed on the litter and were processed at 49 days.
    The studies measured the birds' body weight, feed conversion, carcass weight and foot pad condition scores. Birds in each trial performed similarly in each measurement, however, ammonia levels were noticeably lower in houses that used Freedom giant miscanthus, Davis said. He also noted there were fewer footpad downgrades with birds raised on chopped grass litter.
    Another benefit of the chopped grass litter includes cost savings associated with transport and drying of litter materials because the chopped grasses have a lower moisture content than green pine shavings.

Confirmed PED virus cases in Canada total 37

    The Manitoba Pork Council (MPC) has reported 37 confirmed cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in Canada in a report published Wednesday.
    The following are confirmed PED virus outbreaks:
    • Manitoba: one confirmed case
    • Quebec: one confirmed case
    • Prince Edward Island: one confirmed case
    • Ontario: 34 confirmed cases
    The three latest outbreaks, identified in Ontario in Huron, Perth and an unidentified county, were announced on March 17. Sampling has been ongoing at assembly yards, trucking yards and processing plants since January 25, reports the MPC. Some positive samples have been found; many negative samples have been found.
    On Feb. 3, the Manitoba government and the MPC launched a rapid-detection monitoring program for the PED virus where facilities that move or handle large numbers of pigs can determine if they have been exposed.
    Canada's first positive PED virus case was confirmed in Manitoba on January 22, 2014. The PED virus was diagnosed in the US in May 2013, and has since spread to 23 states. The virus has killed between 1 million and 4 million pigs in the U.S. since April 2013. The PED virus is already established in Europe and more recently in Asia.

TreeHouse Foods joins list of potential buyers for Michael Foods

    Food manufacturer TreeHouse Foods is weighing a bid for Michael Foods, joining a list of potential buyers that includes larger rival Tyson Foods, according to a Reuters report on Wednesday. Michael Foods, the egg and dairy products producer owned by Goldman Sachs Group's private equity unit, GS Capital Partners, is in the advanced stage of finding a buyer.
    The deal could be between $2 billion and $2.5 billion. It is not clear how serious TreeHouse might be about acquiring Michael Foods, however, the company said in a press release earlier this year that it is looking at expanding.
    Other parties in talks with Michael Foods include private equity firms Golden Gate Capital and Oaktree Capital Management. Second-round bids for Michael Foods are due in early April.
    GS Captial Partners purchased Michael Foods in 2013 for $1.7 billion from Thomas H. Lee Partners. Michael Foods' operation includes 10.9 million laying hens and has an annual revenue of $1.5 million.

Agricultural sciences need more scientists, study says

    Too few scientists are being trained in the agricultural fields of science, according to a study released by the Coalition for a Sustainable Agriculture Workforce (CSAW). The study, which surveyed CSAW member companies, shows that the agricultural industry anticipates hiring more than 1,000 scientists through 2015, but there is growing concern among the companies that they will not be able to find quality applicants with the education and experience they seek.
    The largest numbers of agricultural scientists are needed in the disciplines of plant sciences, plant breeding/genetics and plant protection. Nearly half of those hired will need doctoral degrees, according to the report.
    The data suggest there may be both a long-term and near-term issue in finding the skill and talent needed to ensure a sustainable agricultural enterprise.

AFIA hosts record-setting Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) hosted a record setting Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference in Las Vegas, Nev., March 11-13. There were more than 625 industry representatives in attendance, up from last year's 535 conference participants.
    The two-day conference represents one of the best opportunities to learn about the current state of the animal feed industry, providing market analyses, perspectives, hot topics and a host of other valuable tools and information. This year's topics focused on feeding the world's growing population by 2050, the importance of engaging in sustainable practices, biosecurity measures to protect feed ingredients and also highlighted the timely issue of porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus.
    "AFIA is proud to offer a conference to industry representatives that not only provides an outlet for networking but provides attendees with up-to-date information on topics at the forefront of the agriculture industry," said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman. "This year's attendance was not only record breaking, but conference goers were also an engaged crowd eager to learn more from the speakers and each other."
    The conference opened with Elanco's Animal Health's Rob Aukerman, who addressed the serious issue of feeding the growing population, which is predicted to rise to 9 billion people by 2050. He presented three solutions to solving global hunger-choice, innovation and trade-stating that 95 percent of consumers make their food choices based on taste, cost and nutrition and only 4 percent shop with local or organic foods in mind.
    Dr. Marty Vanier, Kansas State University, discussed "Biosecurity: Protecting the Feed Ingredient Supply Chain." She advised the audience to develop a crisis management plan, encouraging them to meet with local emergency response personnel in case a disaster should strike. Vanier also led into the "the hot topic of the week," PED virus, in preparation for National Pork Producers Council's Dr. Liz Wagstrom's presentation on the virus. Wagstrom explained the difference about this PED virus strain "is we have an entire pig population who's never seen this virus before," which, in turn, means there is no immunity built up.
    Dr. Ronald Plain, University of Missouri, Richard Brock, Brock Associates and Dr. Jay Lehr all presented outlooks and reports relevant to the industry-animal economics report, grain outlook and world food supply outlook, respectively.
    There was reiteration of the importance of producing enough food by 2050. Lehr said after studying biotechnology issues for three decades "there are no downsides" to their use.
    The audience was entertained by comedian Damian Mason in his "Human for the Heart of Agriculture" presentation and the speaker sessions concluded with a talk about "The Truth About Sustainability" by Dr. Frank Mitloehner, University of California, Davis. Mitloehner stressed the importance of emissions control not only on a local or regional level, but also globally by our industry. He said all production methods have an environmental footprint, and the more efficient companies and individuals are, the lower their footprint becomes.
    During the conference, the Institute for Feed Education and Research, or IFEEDER, hosted its fourth annual silent auction. The auction raised $21,260 (up from last year's total) for the foundation, which aims to address the future of food and feed production through education and research.
    The event attracts livestock, feed and pet food purchasers and suppliers on an international level and offers informational and networking sessions as well as an annual golf tournament Friday, March 14. New to the agenda this year, the AFIA PISC Committee organized a clay shooting event following the conference. Attendees also enjoyed the annual Welcome Reception and Grand Reception, and new members attended an additional reception for networking.
    The Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference has been approved for five continuing education units by the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists. The 2015 Spring Committee Meetings, Nutrition Symposium and Purchasing and Ingredient Suppliers Conference will be hosted March 9-13 in Orlando, Fla.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

GfK and Silverado Business Systems announce partnership

    GfK and Silverado Business Systems have announced a new partnership that greatly expands point-of-sale (POS) data coverage in the farm store channel. Through GfK's rich market information on purchases in specialty retail, veterinary, and farm feed outlets, manufacturers and retailers alike can make smarter decisions about trends driving the market, products available for sale, and marketing.
    Silverado provides POS and retail management software to hundreds of feed, ranch, and agricultural retailers across the U.S. - primarily independent shops across the channel. Silverado clients who elect to share their purchase data with GfK will receive detailed reports showing sales trends for specific categories, regional variations, and top performing brands.
    "Our partnership with GfK will create a better informed marketplace, expanding the market-level data that every stakeholder can access," said David Glass, president of Silverado Business Systems. "We are anxious to share this opportunity with our retail partners, who stand to benefit immensely through GfK's thorough and insightful reports on the industry. By bringing together rich data on the pet retail, veterinary and farm feed channels, GfK is empowering a holistic approach to product planning and marketing."
    "We are thrilled to be partnering with a smart and well respected force in the farm feed channel," said Neil Portnoy, managing director of GfK's retail and technology team. "Silverado's strong relationships with retail partners, and focus on enabling a savvier approach to retail performance, make them an ideal addition to our family of panel contributors."

Poultry watering management video shows fallacy of using flow rate

    As part of an educational campaign started last fall, Ziggity Systems Inc. has posted on its Poultry Watering U website an uncut video of a test the company conducted to assess how useful the concept of flow rate is in helping poultry farmers effectively manage bird water intake.
    The tests, performed by Ziggity, demonstrated how "flow rate" is not a good guide for achieving optimum bird performance.
    "We believe 'drinker flow rate' is an artificial concept that doesn't relate to the actual way birds drink," said the company in a press release. "Using flow rates can encourage producers to oversupply water and create wet litter that adversely effects bird health, or, in some cases, provide too little water, resulting in depressed weight. The video of this experiment vividly makes that clear and provides compelling evidence to show that flow rate tests are meaningless and should not be used."

Feed life cycle guidelines released by international feed groups

    Global feed life cycle assessment (LCA) guidelines, developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP) are now available for public review, the International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) announced. LEAP aims to improve how the environmental impacts of the livestock industry are measured and assessed to reduce the impact of livestock products on the environment.
    LEAP was founded by IFIF together with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and the European Compound Feed Manufacturers' Federation (FEFAC). FEFAC and AFIA jointly developed Feed LCA recommendations as part of their LEAP contributions, and these form a significant part of the LEAP draft guidelines.
    In less than two years, the LEAP partners were thus able develop a methodology that will introduce a harmonized, science-based, practical and international approach to the assessment of the environmental performance of feed supply chains, while taking into account the specificity of the diverse production systems that exist globally.
    "The sustainable development of global livestock production is one of the key priorities for IFIF," said Mario Cutait, IFIF's chairman. "The LEAP guidelines are the first feed-specific LCA guidelines that reflect a consensus among partners in the multi-stakeholder process, including the FAO, national governments, private sector organizations as well as NGOs. IFIF welcomes these efforts, which represent an important step towards a globally harmonized industry standard for Feed LCA."
    "With global supply chains, it is important to rely on globally harmonized metrics," added AFIA's President and CEO Joel G. Newman. "The LEAP guidelines are a significant step forward to help feed companies to develop consistent and credible environmental assessments and therefore to reduce the environmental footprint of livestock products."
    "Common methodology for environmental footprinting is a pre-competitive issue and is part of our customer's expectations," said FEFAC President Ruud Tijssens. "The main recommendations of the Product Environmental Footprint Guide developed by the European Commission were taken into account in the LEAP process. From a European perspective, this means the LEAP guidelines are the logical and relevant starting point to develop a standard aligned with the recommendations of the European Commission."
    Comments on the feed guidelines will be accepted until July 31.

Brazil to start chicken meat exports to Pakistan

    Pakistan has approved the import of chicken meat from Brazil - currently the largest exporter of halal chicken in the world.
    Commenting on the authorization, Francisco Turra, president of the Brazilian Poultry Association, Ubabef, said: "Over the decades we have gained a lot of experience in halal production. Brazil's leadership in this segment of the international market attests to our competence and the quality of our products developed for the Islamic public. Our credibility was fundamental to the success of the negotiations to open up this market."
    He continued that while Pakistan produces 700,000 metric tons of poultry meat each year, per capita consumption remains relatively low at 4.5 kilograms. Because of this, Brazil would be working with local companies to raise consumption and exchange information.
    "The opening of the Pakistani market to Brazilian poultry meat was one of our main aims for 2014. It is an important market with a lot of potential for growth. Our strategy will focus on complementing local demand, bringing know how and technology to local producers," Turra added.

Thailand lifts state of emergency prior to VICTAM

    Thailand lifted its state of emergency on Wednesday, March 19 as tensions ease following weeks of anti-government protests, just in time for the approaching VICTAM, FIAAP & GRAPAS Asia exhibitions and conferences.
    Officials say the emergency decree will be replaced by the Internal Security Act. The 60-day emergency decree, imposed on January 22 in Bangkok and surrounding provinces, gave the government wide-ranging powers to deal with disorder.
    The protesters, who began their campaign in November, accused the government of being run by ousted former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck's brother. At the height of the demonstrations, protesters shut down key road junctions in Bangkok and blockaded government ministries.
    "Numbers have fallen in recent weeks, however, and the protesters are now mainly occupying a city-center park," according to a report. 

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica launches two PED virus initiatives

    In an effort to help swine veterinarians and producers find effective measures for managing porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. (BIVI), launched two PED-focused initiatives. At the recent American Association of Swine Veterinarians annual meeting in Dallas, BIVI announced a commitment to PED virus applied research and sponsorship of a PED virus information-sharing service called "PED News."
    PED News is a collaboration with the Center of Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance (CADMS) to aggregate PED virus information from around the world.
    For 2014, the applied research commitment includes up to $50,000 in research funds supporting the development of knowledge and tools targeting the practical management of the PED virus.
    These two initiatives are designed to help discover, coordinate and share information related to the PED virus that may help veterinarians and producers better prevent, manage and control this disease.

Poultry farmers still on strike in Bahrain

    Poultry farmers in Bahrain are are still on strike, despite reports that the dispute could have come to an end, the Gulf Daily News reports. Farmers want a better deal and signed guarantees from Delmon Poultry Company that their demands are being met.
    Farmers have reportedly been assured a higher price per kilo of chicken, which is not expected to be passed on to consumers, and have already had demands relating to deliveries met. However, 31 of the 33 farms taking part in the strike in Bahrain want written assurances that their demands are being met before returning to work.
    "The strike is still on," said farmers' union spokesman, Jameel Salman.
    The poultry farmers went on strike on March 4 in protest of the high mortality rate of chicks they receive from the Delmon Poultry Company, which they claim are often sick, weak and die within days. The company, which is Bahrain's main supplier of fresh chicken, sells hatchlings to the farmers and then buys back fully grown birds when they are ready for the market.
    "They said that they will increase our profit from 100 fils to 200 fils (USD0.27 to USD0.53) per kilo, and they agreed that our vets have the right to oversee the vaccinations of the chicks," said Salman. "This is great, but it's just talk for now until we get something on paper."
    Salman said the average cost of rearing a chick to adulthood is around 800 fils (USD02.12), which is the price it is sold back to the Delmon Poultry Company at. Farmers say they get an average of 100 fils (USD0.27) in profit for each animal, but this is expected to double under a new deal.
    The farmers are obliged to receive chicks earmarked for them for the next two weeks to avoid breaching their contracts, but after that can stop receiving hatchlings, meaning nobody will be there to raise them, leading to a shortage of fresh chicken in the market.
    Delmon Poultry Company did not comment.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Maple Leaf Foods issues notice of repayment

    Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has issued notice of repayment to be made on April 14 for all of its outstanding senior notes in aggregate principal amounts of CAD706 million (USD631.8 million), including USD318 million notes converted at 1.106 USD/CAD, and original maturity dates ranging from December 2014 to January 2021. The estimated redemption amount based on current foreign exchange rates, U.S. Treasury yields and Government of Canada bond yields, including make-whole premiums and accrued interest, is $800 million.
    The repayment will be paid from available and committed bank credit facilities and will provide greater financial flexibility. Following repayment of the notes, the meat processing company's remaining debt will consist largely of short term bank facilities that the company plans to repay with proceeds from the previously announced $1.65 billion sale of its interest in Canada Bread Company Ltd. to Grupo Bimbo, S.A.B. de C.V.
    The Canadian Competition Bureau has recently given clearance for the transaction to proceed. Subject to remaining regulatory and shareholder approvals, the sale is expected to close in the second quarter of 2014.

New global feed acidifiers market report available

    A new report on the global feed acidifiers market estimates it was worth nearly $2.0263 billion in 2013 and is projected to reach $2.6167 billion by 2018, at a compound annual growth rate of 5.2 percent.
    The report from Markets and Markets, titled "Feed Acidifiers Market by Type (Propionic Acid, Fumaric Acid, Lactic Acid, Formic Acid & Others), by Livestock (Swine, Cattle, Poultry, Aquatic Animals & Others), by Geography - Global Trends & Forecasts to 2018," defines and segments the global feed acidifiers market with analysis and projection of the global volume and revenue for feed acidifiers. It also identifies the driving and restraining factors for the global market with analysis of trends, opportunities, burning issues, winning imperatives, and challenges.
    The report includes more than 77 market data tables with 21 figures spread through 168 pages and table of contents. The market is segmented and revenue is projected on the basis of regions such as North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific and "Rest of the World." Key countries in each region are covered. Further, the market is segmented and the revenue is projected on the basis of types, livestock and geography.
    According to the report, demand-driving factors of the feed acidifiers market are the ban on the use of antibiotics as animal growth promoters and the increasing use of acidifiers in treating animal diseases. The main restraints of the industry are the emergence of substitute products such as metabolic peptites, microflora enhancers and herbal products.

Pig transport process a source of PED virus transmission

    Environmental samples from trailers in which pigs had been transported uncovered porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus in 5.2 percent of trailers not contaminated at arrival, suggesting that the transport process is a source of transmission if adequate hygiene measures are not implemented, according to a recent university study.
    The objective of the study was to assess the risks that harvest facilities and transport vehicles engendered in promoting the initial outbreak of a novel disease organism by estimating the incidence of trailer contamination with the PED virus during the unloading process at harvest facilities. Environmental samples were collected from 575 livestock trailers before and after the pigs were unloaded into holding pens at six harvest facilities (83-102 trailers per facility) located in the central U.S. Samples were collected during a period of 2-3 days at each facility.
    Contamination during unloading
    According to the study, before unloading, 38 (6.6 percent) of the 575 trailers were contaminated with the PED virus. The proportion of contaminated trailers ranged from 2 percent to 14.6 percent among the 6 harvest facilities; the facility level median was 5.0 percent. Of the remaining 537, 28 (5.2 percent) that were not contaminated at arrival were contaminated in the unloading process. Of the 38 trailers that were contaminated on arrival, environmental samples from 13 (34.2 percent) were negative for the PED virus after unloading.
    Contamination during unloading occurred at a higher rate if harvest facility staff entered the trailer or if unloading occurred immediately after unloading another trailer that was found to be contaminated.
    Control measures
    The results of this study suggest that proactive disease control measures should include improved sanitation, hygiene and segregation practices at collection points to limit the spread of the agent early in the outbreak. Simple measures such as limiting contact between drivers and the collection point and requiring drivers to remain on trucks and out of the collection point during the unloading process may have a dramatic effect on limiting the transmission of novel agents.

Consumer trust and poultry: Bridging the gap between where we are and need to be

    Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown
    Five experts on poultry production, marketing and food safety will tackle the issue of how to build consumer trust in poultry. Watch and listen in a webcast as they discuss ways to bridge the gap between where the poultry industry is today in consumer trust and where it needs to be in the future.
    These poultry industry stakeholders will examine consumer attitudes about poultry and the challenge of building consumer trust. Where does poultry stand with consumers, and what must be done to strengthen their trust in poultry and the companies that produce it?
    Presented by WATT Global Media and sponsored by Zoetis, the webcast is scheduled for Thursday, April 10, 2014, 9 a.m. CDT / 10 a.m. EDT. Register to attend this free webcast.
    Panelists will address issues involving:
    • Corporate social responsibility
    • Food safety
    • Animal well-being
    • Transparency in processes and products
    • Food labeling
    • Antibiotics
    • Third-party inspection
    • The role of brands and consumer education
    The panelists
    Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, Senior Vice President, Food Safety, Quality and Live Operations, Perdue Farms, is responsible for the food safety, quality and live operations for Perdue Farms and the Perdue and other Perdue company brands.
    Dr. Michael Doyle, Director, Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia, is Regents Professor of Food Microbiology at the College of Agricultural Sciences, University of Georgia.
    Mr. Alan Sterling, Director of Marketing, Wayne Farms, is responsible for marketing at the nation's sixth largest broiler producer.
    Dr. Carl Heeder, Senior Technical Service Veterinarian, Zoetis, has veterinary experience at Jennie-O Turkey Store and Michael Foods in the turkey and commercial layer businesses.
    Mr. Rich Kottmeyer, Managing Director, Strategic, a food, agricultural and retail consultancy, consults for Accenture in global agriculture and food production with an emphasis on customer experiences and interaction.

New case of IBD virus confirmed in Washington

    A new case of infectious bursal disease (IBD) virus, which is not known to infect humans or other animals, has now been confirmed in one flock of birds in the state of Washington, according to a report from Washington State University (WSU).
    The viral poultry disease can result in high death losses in flocks, affecting young birds significantly. The disease can also suppress the birds' immune system, making them more vulnerable to secondary disease resulting in birds that do not die quickly.
    Other forms of the virus are present throughout the U.S., but this new version has been reported only prior in California, and now, the state of Washington. The disease is not a regulated, reportable one, and is usually managed by poultry veterinarians and flock owners through biosecurity and disinfection.
    Wild birds, such as healthy ducks, guinea fowl, quail and pheasants, have been found to be naturally infected with IBD virus, but they do not appear to be significant in the spread of disease to domestic poultry, according to WSU.
    Diagnosis is based on clinical signs including death losses, depression and ruffling of feathers, poor appetite, huddling, an unsteady gate, reluctance to rise and diarrhea. As a result, the disease can be confused with other poultry diseases.
    Experts advise that definitive diagnosis is made through post-mortem examination and virus testing. WSU says the Washington State University-Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratories in Pullman, Wash., and the WSU Avian Health and Food Safety Laboratory in Puyallup, Wash., can provide assistance and testing of recently deceased birds.

Lawmakers urge USDA not to speed up poultry processing lines

    On March 17, 68 U.S. Congress members signed a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to abandon plans to implement a new set of regulations that would increase the speed of lines in poultry processing plants.
    "While we strongly support modernizing our food safety system and making it more efficient, modernization should not occur at the expense of public health, worker safety, or animal welfare," the letter said. "We therefore harbor serious concerns over what we believe are the [agency's] inadequate considerations to date of these issues in promulgating this rule."
    The lawmakers argue that plans to remove some Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) inspectors who examine chickens for defects off the production line in poultry plants would leave much of the inspection duties to companies themselves, while also allowing the industry to speed up production lines, would threaten the safety of workers and the food supply.
    The proposal, supported by industry groups including National Chicken Council (NCC), is intended to modernize the inspection process by allowing the remaining inspectors to focus instead on unseen dangers such as bacteria. To do so, a pilot program already in place would be expanded, phasing out an estimated 800 inspection jobs at a savings of nearly $95 million over three years, according to the department.
    "So there's been an aggressive effort focused on this," Vilsack said. "The savings that's in this budget is a result of a proposal to modernize poultry inspection, which has not really changed much in the last 60 years. I think we know a lot more about where pathogens attach, what pathogens are most of concern, and how we might be able to improve the inspection process, while at the same time ... saving money."
    Current rules require a federal inspector for every 35 birds that cross the slaughter line each minute; the total number of birds allowed to pass through is capped at 140 per minute, requiring four federal inspectors. The draft regulations would require one federal inspector on the line, with other inspection responsibilities falling to plant employees, while speeds would increase to allow 175 birds to pass by every minute, according to the letter.
    "FSIS's proposal thus hobbles what should be a fundamental goal of modernization - to create a system that tracks rates of contamination and facilitates continuous improvement in the poultry industry to decrease those rates throughout the system," lawmakers wrote to Vilsack.

HKScan reports difficult 2013, but strategy progressing

    Finland's HKScan recorded 2013 sales of EUR2.4782 billion (USD3.4461 billion), down from the EUR2.5031 billion (USD3.480 billion) recorded in 2012. Earnings before interest and taxes stood at EUR30.5 million (USD42.4 million), down from 2012's EUR43.1 million (USD59.9 million).
    The company notes that its performance was hit by low export prices and an increase in consumption of volume products, rather than more expensive, high-end cuts.
    HKScan is active across pork, beef, processed meat and convenience foods, as well as poultry. It notes that in 2013 group broiler meat production reached 53 million pounds.
    Poultry investment
    The company has registered growing demand for poultry meat over recent years and has been instigating an investment program across Finland, Denmark and the Baltics in response.
    The year 2013 saw the company rebuild its Vinderup plant in Denmark following a fire and inaugurate a renewed and expanded poultry production facility in Tabasalu, Estonia. Since then, the Tabasalu facility is now responsible for the slaughter, deboning and processing of poutlry for the group throughout the Baltic region.
    The company also launched new poultry products in Sweden under the Parsons brand in 2013. Denmark became the group's main producer of organic chicken, in response to strong consumer demand, and also witnessed a number of product launches, the most important being fresh poultry meat products. Additionally, Denmark was the focus for new sustainable packaging, particularly more convenient packing for fresh white meat.
    According to Hannu Kottonen, president and CEO of HKScan Corporation: "HKScan's past year was one of regeneration. Implementation of the strategy and operating model progressed as planned, despite a challenging business environment. We are now focusing on building a long-term, sustainable foundation for the future." 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Canada's poultry processing industry gains research boost

    The Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC) is to benefit from an additional CA$4 million (US$3.6 million) in funding.
    The additional money will be used to help fund research into helping the poultry processing industry remain competitive, while addressing consumer concerns about poultry welfare and environmental preservation. This will include developing new vaccines, reducing the environmental footprint of poultry farms, and providing poultry farmers with access to high-caliber training opportunities.
    The Canadian Poultry Research Council was formed in 2001 to provide research funding on behalf of its five members: Chicken Farms of Canada, Canadian Hatching Egg Producers, Canadian Poultry and Egg Processors Council, Egg Farmers of Canada, and Turkey Farmers of Canada.
    This latest investment builds on research funding previously received through Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
    Chair of the Canadian Poultry Research Council Roelef Meijer commented: "Canada's poultry industry has made embracing innovation part of the industry's vision in recognition of the need to be dynamic and to foster efficiency for farmers and our industry partners.
    "This announcement of funding for a second Poultry Science Cluster is a substantial contribution to the sector's future. It will enable researchers to find more immediate answers to industry issues and to provide important information to farmers, stakeholders and consumers." 

American Egg Board elects new executive committee

    New American Egg Board chairman Paul Sauder, left, accepts the gavel from outgoing chairman Roger Deffner.
    The American Egg Board (AEB) elected the 2014 executive committee at its March 13 board meeting. Paul Sauder of R.W. Sauder Inc., based in Lititz, Pa., was chosen as the newly elected chairman of American Egg Board.
    "Every decision, every action, we take as a board should be made through the lens of whether the effort will help drive egg consumption during my term as chairman," said Sauder, who has served on the board during varying years since 1990 with more than 20 years of total service. "Immediate Past Chair Roger Deffner and his predecessor, Chris Pierce, left big shoes to fill, and I charge this group of board members and alternates with the task of earning the confidence of every egg farmer in America. We'll be looking at all AEB's expenditures and programs to make sure our return-on-investment continues to increase while driving egg consumption."
    Others elected to the American Egg Board executive committee included:
    • Blair Van Zetten, vice chairman, Oskaloosa Food Products, Oskaloosa, Iowa
    • Scott Ramsdell, secretary, Dakota Layers, Flandreau, S.D.
    • Clint Hickman, treasurer, Hickman's Egg Ranch, Buckeye, Ariz.
    • Andrew Reichman, Parker & Reichman, Andrews, N.C.
    • Tom Hertzfeld II, Hertzfeld Poultry Farms, Grand Rapids, Ohio
    This meeting also was the first for Tim E. Floyd, L&R Farms, Hartwell, Ga., as an alternate representing the South Atlantic states and Richard A. Patmos, Sunrise Acres, Hudsonville, Mich., as a member representing the East North Central states.
    Larry Thomason of Larry Thomason Egg Farm, Calhoun, Ga., and Greg Herbruck, Herbruck Poultry Ranch, Saranac, Mich., rotated off AEB's board and were thanked for their service to the industry.
    Immediate Past Chairman Roger Deffner, National Food Corp., Everett, Wash., expressed his appreciation to the board for the opportunity to serve since 2008 and to AEB's committee chairs  who provide their leadership throughout the year, and to all those who have shared input and feedback on AEB's programs.
    "Stay focused, and don't lose sight of the big picture and its supporting details," said Deffner. "The details are where success is often found. If all our efforts answer the questions 'Are we wisely spending our investment? Will this result in more egg sales?' and answers are yes, then we'll exceed our mission to drive sales of eggs and egg products."
    The board meeting included updates from each of AEB's Committees including details on the 2013 measureable objectives, 2014 Easter outreach, research, Dunkin' Donuts partnership, Good Egg Project and more. AEB's July board meeting will take place July 9-10 in Rosemont, Ill.