Monday, August 31, 2015

Iowa testing wild waterfowl for avian influenza

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is participating in a national surveillance effort to test waterfowl for the presence of avian influenza. Testing began this summer as part of IDNR’s annual waterfowl banding work and will continue with hunter harvested ducks this fall and winter.
Avian influenza in 2015 has affected more birds than any other U.S. state. However, most of those confirmed cases were in commercial egg operations and little is known about how widespread the virus has been in wild birds in the state.
The project is coordinated by the USDA Wildlife Services that is targeting watersheds by season. This fall, hunters in the Upper Mississippi, Iowa, Skunk and Wapsipinicon River watershed and the Chariton and Grand River watershed may be asked to have samples collected from their harvested ducks. Later this winter, the focus shifts to the Missouri and Little Sioux River watershed.
“We are targeting dabbling ducks – teal, gadwall, widgeon, mallards are the highest priority and hope to fill our sample quotas on the opening day of regular duck season,” said Orrin Jones, waterfowl biologist with the IDNR.
Watersheds were selected based on the likelihood that dabbling ducks would be intermingling with other ducks and were assigned quotas to determine if avian influenza is present in the watersheds: 60 samples, 80 samples and 140 samples, respectively.
Collection takes only a few minutes and no hunter information is taken. Hunters can be notified of the results if they choose.
While the sample collection is focused on specific watersheds, Jones asked that hunters from all parts of the state call the IDNR if they find five or more dead ducks in an area.
“That is a situation we would like to investigate,” Jones said.
The last case of avian influenza detected in Iowa was confirmed in a commercial egg operation on June 19.

Market Data section expanded and improved

The mobile-friendly relaunch of includes several improved or new features. These include exclusive market-related content and a revamped Market Data section. Here users can view interactive charts covering global poultry, feed and pig markets. Registration is required to view this data, but it is free and simple. If you a registered user of the old site, you will be asked to reset your password when you first log in.
The entire site is now optimized for easy viewing on computers, tablets and smart phones.

Smithfield expanding dry sausage facility in Wisconsin

Smithfield Foods has broken ground on an expansion project at its dry sausage facility in Cudahy, Wisconsin.
The facility produces Smithfield’s Patrick Cudahy brand products, as well as other Smithfield branded products, the company announced in a press release.
When completed, the facility will have 12,500 additional square feet which will include four new smokehouses and two dry rooms. The new space will increase production capacity by three million pounds annually and allow for four additional dry rooms when future sales demand more volume. The expansion is scheduled to be completed in March, 2016.
During the construction process, Smithfield will continue making various salami and pepperoni products at the dry sausage facility.
This marks Smithfield Foods' second major expansion to the Cudahy facility in 2015, as the company also broke ground in April on a new $12 million bacon slicing plant. The 17,000-square-foot plant includes four slicing lines that will increase Smithfield's bacon capacity by approximately 10 million pounds annually. The plant is expected to be fully operational by October.
Smithfield Foods is the largest pig producing and pork processing company in the United States, and is a subsidiary of Chinese company WH Group, which is the largest pig producer and pork processor in the world.

Iowa State students won’t have access to live poultry

Iowa State University students will not have access to live birds on the university’s poultry farm as a precaution to prevent the spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza.
During the fall semester, students will instead be learning about the poultry industry through videos and textbooks. They will also work with egg and poultry companies to learn more about the industry. The university will also teach students about 2015 avian influenza outbreak as one of the current challenges facing poultry farmers and processors. The decision affects about 500 students.
From December 2014 to June 2015, nearly 48.1 million birds have been affected by avian influenza. No state has had more birds impacted by the virus than Iowa, which has had 31.7 million affected.
A recent study commissioned by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation estimated that avian influenza cost Iowa $427 million, and was responsible for the loss of about 8,500 jobs.
There have not been any new cases of avian influenza reported in Iowa – or the United States – since USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed on June 17 that a farm of 1 million layers in Wright County was hit by the virus. However, officials from APHIS are preparing for the return of avian influenza in the fall.

USDA lifts avian flu-related bans on Ontario poultry

The USDA on August 25 lifted its restrictions on the import of poultry and poultry products from Ontario.
The lifting of the trade bans will be effective immediately, according to an AgWeek report.
The agency had previously placed trade restrictions on Ontario poultry after avian influenza had been detected in an Ontario turkey farm in April. The Canadian province had three confirmed cases of avian influenza – all of which were in Oxford County.
All three properties have been depopulated and disinfected. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) on July 29 deemed the area free of avian influenza and lifted all avian influenza-related control zones.
The lifting of trade restrictions on Ontario poultry follows a decision made earlier in August  by CFIA to lift restrictions on poultry and poultry products from the U.S. states of Arkansas and Montana. Since that time, CFIA has also lifted restrictions on poultry from Indiana.
Canada has not had a confirmed case of avian influenza since April, while the U.S. has not had a confirmed case since June. However, USDA officials are preparing for a potential return of the virus in the fall. More than 48 million birds in the United States were affected by avian influenza, while Ontario had an estimated 79,700 birds affected.

NCC identifies top avian flu biosecurity principles

In preparation for the possible re-emergence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the United States in the fall as wild birds begin to migrate south from Canada, the National Chicken Council (NCC) has identified the top biosecurity principles for broiler and broiler-breeder producers.
Biosecurity is the poultry industry's first line of defense to all avian diseases, including HPAI. The following biosecurity measures have been identified by NCC, members of the NCC biosecurity working group, veterinarians and avian health experts as the most important to prevent disease spread and promote flock health:
  • Limiting visitors on the farm and minimizing foot traffic;
  • Avoiding contact with wild and domestic fowl;
  • Avoiding the sharing of farm equipment;
  • Having a clean and functioning footbath at each entrance to the broiler house;
  • Ensuring that all visitors or personnel have disinfected or new footwear before entering a house or facility;
  • Making sure feed and water sources are covered and free of contaminants, limiting the attraction of wild fowl and pests;
  • Having official signage clearly stating the farm is a biosecure zone and any unauthorized entry is strictly prohibited;
  • Employing effective pest and wild bird management practices; and
  • Adequately training farmers, farm and company personal in biosecurity and disease prevention. 
"Rigorous implementation of biosecurity principles will be essential to preventing disease introduction onto broiler chicken operations," said NCC President Mike Brown. "I know each industry has been preparing similarly. By maintaining this strong collaboration and sharing of lessons learned, I am confident we will all be in a much better place this year."
These practices are intended to be applicable to a wide variety of production settings, and to serve as a list of recommendations to farmers and associated personnel.

Kraft Heinz recalls 2 million pounds of turkey bacon

Kraft Heinz Company, Newberry, S.C., is recalling approximately 2,068,467 pounds of turkey bacon products that may be adulterated because it may spoil before the “Best When Used By” date, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced on August 25.
The turkey bacon was produced between May 31, 2015, and August 6, 2015. The following products are subject to recall:
  • 56 ounce cardboard boxes (containing four plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer “Selects Uncured Turkey Bacon” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC 0 4470007633 0, and with “Best When Used By” dates of August 24, 2015, through October 26, 2015.
  • 36 ounce cardboard boxes (containing three plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon “Smoked Cured Turkey Chopped and Formed” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC 0 7187154874 8, and with “Best When Used By” dates of August 28, 2015, through October 20, 2015.
  • 48 ounce cardboard boxes (containing four plastic wrapped packages) marked Oscar Mayer Turkey Bacon “Smoked Cured Turkey Chopped and Formed” bearing the plant number P-9070, the line number RS19 and Product UPC  0 7187154879 3, and with “Best When Used By” dates of September 3, 2015, through October 30, 2015.  
The products subject to recall bear the establishment number “P-9070” inside the USDA mark of inspection, as well as the line number “RS19”. These items were shipped nationwide and exported to the Bahamas and St. Martin.                                
The problem was discovered by the company during an investigation into spoilage-related consumer complaints.
FSIS has not received any confirmed reports of adverse reactions related to the consumption of these products.  However, the company has received reports of illness related to the consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

Premium Porc Group opens new feed mill in Romania

Premium Porc Group, a subsidiary of DCH International in Romania, has opened its new feed mill in Sibioara, Romania.
The feed mill is part of a larger project of Premium Porc Group of modernization and expansion of the farms operated in Constanta district, part of Degaro company. The project took two years to complete and consisted of increasing production capacity of the farms Fantanele and Sibioara and building a new feed mill. Total investment amount for all the steps of the project was approximately EUR23 million (US$26.4 million).
The new feed mill in Sibioara, has four silos of 4,000 tons each and will produce approximately 70,000 tons of feed per year.
“With the completion of this project we feel that we have developed a durable connection between Premium Porc Group and the partners involved,” said Lars V. Drescher, CEO of DCH International. “We trust that in the future everyone will benefit from this relationship.”
 “We have an ambitious strategy to continue the company’s development and production to double Premium Porc Group by 2019,” he said.

Friday, August 28, 2015

5 avian influenza updates for the week ending August 27

Avian influenza remains an area of high concern for those in the poultry industry. Here are 5 news developments concerning avian influenza that you should know:
1. Emergency depopulation by ventilation shutdown considered – As the U.S. poultry industry prepares for the possible return of avian influenza in the fall, government and industry groups are seeking ways to expedite the depopulation process at farms that have been affected by the virus. Ventilation shutdown is one method under consideration, but United Egg Producers President Chad Gregory stresses that if approved, that method will likely only be used when all other possible depopulation options have been exhausted.
2. NCC names top avian flu biosecurity principles – The National Chicken Council has identified what it considers to be the top biosecurity principles to prevent the spread of avian influenza, should it resurface in the United States. Those include but are not limited to minimizing visitors and foot traffic on the farm, avoiding contact with wild and domestic fowl, not sharing farm equipment, and having a clean and functioning footbath at each broiler house entrance.
3. Iowa State University poultry farm off limits to students – To prevent the spread of avian influenza, Iowa State University has cancelled classes held at its poultry farms, and will instead teach using other means including textbooks and videos.
4. U.S. lifts avian flu-related bans on poultry from Ontario – The USDA has lifted its ban on the import of poultry and poultry products from Ontario, citing that the risk of avian influenza’s spread has been minimized.
5. Ghana urging avian influenza biosecurity – Government officials in Ghana are urging those in the poultry industry to step up biosecurity measures to reduce the spread of avian influenza. Since May, an estimated 24,000 birds in Ghana have been affected by avian influenza.

Tyson ends contract with grower accused of abuse

Tyson Foods has terminated its contract with poultry grower T&S Farms after a video circulated by animal rights group Mercy for Animals circulated a video depicting alleged chicken abuse at its farm in Dukedom, Tennessee.
The video shows footage of people clubbing chickens and stabbing them with a pole with a spike attached to the end, as well as breaking birds’ necks by standing on their heads and pulling their bodies. There is no mention of T&S Farms in the video, but Mercy for Animals does identify Tyson Foods and McDonald’s, a restaurant chain that purchases poultry products from Tyson.
“Animal well-being is a priority at our company and we will not tolerate the unacceptable animal treatment shown in this video. We’re especially concerned about the inappropriate methods used to euthanize sick and injured chickens,” Tyson Foods said in a statement.
Tyson Foods’ animal well-being team is investigating the alleged abuse, but the company confirmed it did terminate the farm’s contract based on what is currently known. No chickens are currently on the farm.
Tyson Foods stressed its commitment to animal well-being, and said it does not believe the video accurately depicts the treatment of chickens raised by the thousands of other growers contracted by Tyson Foods.
“Our company has programs and policies in place to protect the health and well-being of all our animals. This includes the Tyson FarmCheck  program that involves third-party auditors who check on the farm for such things as animal access to food and water, human-animal interaction and worker training. We also have veterinary-approved procedures in place for euthanizing sick or injured birds,” the company stated.

Indonesia aims for self-sufficiency in corn

As part of the newly formed ASEAN Economic Community, Indonesian self-sufficiency in corn within the next two to three years has become one of the top priorities of the country’s President, Joko Widodo, according to Indonesia Investments.
Alongside greater freedom to trade between members, one of the Community’s targets is to improve food security in staple crops that include rice, cassava, soybeans and corn.
Indonesia is the leading corn producer in the region, with output in 2013 at more than 18.5 million tons, according to ASEAN statistics, followed by the Philippines with more than 7.3 million tons and Vietnam with almost 5.2 million tons. All three of these top producers, however, consume more corn than they produce; for Indonesia, consumption amounted to more than 20.8 million tons in 2013.
The main user of corn in Indonesia is the animal feed sector, with some also going to biomass power plants.
Key to increasing corn output is to raise the size of corn plantations, according to analysts, but competition with other land uses adds high costs to the challenges, as well as bureaucratic difficulties in land acquisition. Other industries that process corn also need to be established, they say.
Indonesia’s Agriculture Minister, Amran Sulaiman, is optimistic about the prospect of achieving self-sufficiency in corn next year through a number of state efforts, which include adding 1 million hectares of planted corn at an estimated cost of land and seed of IDR3.25 trillion (US$230.4 million). Planting will be encouraged of higher-yielding hybrid varieties and improvements in irrigation systems and mechanization will be financed. Training by experts and fertilizer subsidises are to be offered to farmers. The state logistics agency, Bulog, is to receive additional funding to manage the nation’s corn reserves and keep prices stable.
Despite the initiatives, the corn production target may be hard to achieve. A recent report in Jakarta Globe highlights the challenges of grain production in El Niño years and, learning from the experiences of global shortages and high prices in 2012, Bulog has been warned to increase stocks of rice, soybeans, corn and beef.
The president last week blamed Indonesia’s poor infrastructure for fluctuating prices and food losses for the country’s rural population, reported Asia One.

Vietnam poultry producers must improve productivity

Experts have warned that Vietnamese poultry producers will lose their market to regional and international rivals if they don’t improve their productivity and cut costs.
Nguyen Thanh Son, chairman of the Vietnam Poultry Association, says that local chicken production grew 9.3 percent per year between 2003 and 2012, but Vietnamese productivity is lower.
In 2010, it took local large farms 49 days to raise a 2.2-kilogram chicken, and much longer for small farms. The worldwide average is 37-41 days, and is expected to be shortened by 2020.
It also costs more to raise chickens in Vietnam, because a large part of breeds, veterinary drugs and animal feed are imported. This make Vietnam’s chicken products 1.5 to 2 times higher than the global average.
Vietnam spent US$4 billion to import animal feed and materials for feed production in 2013, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
Vietnam spends the most on animal feed in the world. The country spent US$375 million on feed imports in the first two months of 2014, an increase of 4.7 percent over the same period in 2013. Ninety percent of the imports came from Brazil and Thailand, according to a report.
Vietnam consumes 12.5 million tons of animal feed but must import up to 9 million tons of materials per year, said Le Ba Lich, chairman of the Vietnam Feed Association.

Butterball teams up with American Heart Association

Butterball will sponsor the Triangle American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life. initiative. This sponsorship aligns the American Heart Association’s mission with Butterball’s corporate citizenship program, Traditions with Purpose, which reinforces the importance of nutritious eating and overall well-being, and places Butterball team members at the heart of the business. Butterball’s support of the My Heart. My Life initiative is a further extension of its current relationship with the American Heart Association. For the past several years, nearly two dozen of Butterball’s turkey products have carried the American Heart Association’s Heart Check seal. 
Through Traditions with Purpose, Butterball makes every effort to create a positive influence in key areas of its business – to engage and enhance the lives of team members, deliver the highest quality food to consumers’ plates, provide a safe, clean environment for future generations, and invest in the communities that team members call home. With the My Heart. My Life. sponsorship, Butterball will encourage its team members to participate in healthy activities and give back to the local community, ultimately supporting the American Heart Association in achieving an impact goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent.
“At Butterball, our team members’ well-being is of utmost importance,” said Kerry Doughty, president and CEO. “We are committed to empowering our team members to proactively manage their health, and also support the communities where we live and work. Through our Traditions with Purpose platform and this American Heart Association sponsorship, our team members will have opportunities throughout the year to engage in activities to improve both their personal health and that of our communities.”
Activities through the My Heart. My Life. initiative provide Butterball team members with multiple opportunities to volunteer and engage in the cause, including the upcoming Triangle Heart Walk. All funds raised through Heart Walk will support the American Heart Association’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.
 “Butterball’s support of the My Heart. My Life. initiative will allow us to make an even deeper impact in the communities throughout the Triangle area of North Carolina,” said Debra Lowder, American Heart Association senior director, corporate development. “Butterball’s commitment to giving back through Traditions with Purpose is evident in the sponsorship of the American Heart Association’s work to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. We look forward to working together in the year ahead.”

Sanderson Farms sees drop in revenue, profits for Q3

Sanderson Farms reported a fall in revenue and profits in the third quarter of fiscal 2015.
Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2015 were $739.9 million compared with $768.4 million for the same period a year ago. For the quarter, the company reported net income of $50.9 million, or $2.27 per share, compared with net income of $76.1 million, or $3.30 per share, for the third quarter of fiscal 2014.
Net sales for the first nine months of fiscal 2015 were $2,123.9 million compared with $2,014.0 million for the first nine months of fiscal 2014. Net income for the first nine months of fiscal 2015 totaled $188.6 million, or $8.28 per share, compared with net income of $155.9 million, or $6.76 per share, for the first nine months of last year.
According to Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and CEO of Sanderson Farms, compared with the third fiscal quarter of 2014, the average Georgia dock price for whole chickens was approximately 4.5 percent higher, boneless breast meat prices were lower by approximately 25.4 percent, the average market price for bulk leg quarters decreased approximately 47.8 percent, and jumbo wing prices were higher by 29.5 percent. The company's average feed cost per pound of poultry products processed decreased 8.9 cents per pound, or 24.7 percent, compared with the third quarter of fiscal 2014, and prices paid for corn and soybean meal, the company's primary feed ingredients, decreased 13.2 percent and 34.5 percent, respectively, compared with the third quarter of fiscal 2014.

China’s broiler producers challenged to be transparent

The white feather broiler industry in China is in what Christopher Langholz, president, Cargill Animal Protein China, called “a financial and consumer trust crisis.”
The rapid expansion of the industry has finally outstripped consumer demand, which has decreased somewhat along with consumers' trust in poultry as a result of some high profile food safety issues. As a result, broiler producers are experiencing financial losses while at the same time looking for ways to regain consumer trust in poultry products.
Langholz, speaking at the International Poultry Forum China, in Shanghai, said, “Consumers in China want global standards for food safety.”
He stressed that food safety is not a competitive advantage that one poultry producer can use to advance its business.
“Food safety is a shared responsibility,” he said. “A few bad actors can destroy value for everyone. If one company has a food safety problem with chicken, we all suffer. The entire industry must be brought up to the same standard.”
He went on to explain that the industry must have a commitment to public health. Business as usual won’t provide the change the industry needs.
“We have to think differently,” he said.

Transparency is vital

During the forum, the topic of misinformation spread through social media about poultry and how they are raised was discussed. Langholz said that transparency in how broiler producers conduct their business is the best way to avoid misinformation like “chickens with four or six wings” from gaining traction and going viral on the Internet. In a society where most people have smartphones with cameras, information about things people are concerned about, like how birds are raised and processed, will get on the Internet, right or wrong, eventually.
“In today’s world, you can’t hide anything, so you better have nothing to hide,” Langholz said.
Cargill has worked to be transparent in its broiler operation in China. Langholz said the complex has hosted more than 100 Chinese media people in their two years of operation. He encourages other broiler producers in China to do the same.
“It is something we have to do,” he said.

Global standard for food safety

Langholz said that Cargill has 12,000 locations around the world, but one food safety standard for all locations. The company’s broiler operations in China are Food Safety Certification System 22000 (FSCS 22000) certified and follow the same standards as the rest of the company’s operations. He said they have complete farm-to-table traceability for the company’s chicken products in China available within 2 hours.
“This includes everything the birds were fed,” he said.

Illegal veterinary drug ring tracked down in Vietnam

Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says prohibited substances have been found in animal feed and veterinary medicine sold in some of the country’s southern regions.
Beta-agonist, a class of non-hormonal compounds fed to cattle to make them gain lean weight, was found in samples taken at slaughterhouses in several districts of Ho Chi Minh City.
Pigs also tested positive for prohibited substances in several districts. Of 222 samples from pigs in eight slaughterhouses, 31 were positive for prohibited substances. Of those 31, 22 came from pigs in Dong Nai.
Officials say the inspections traced the production, trade and use of the illegal substances to a trading ring selling salbutamol to the breeding sector. Dozens of workers at a company in Ho Chi Minh City were found producing illegal veterinary medicine in large volumes. The company did not have a certificate from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to produce veterinary medicine.
In May, Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said it wanted to cut the time and cost of animal feed inspections by half. Storage fees at ports during quarantine are one of the biggest issues facing businesses. Raw materials imported for animal feed production must be quarantined and undergo quality inspection. Plant quarantine procedures and quality inspection can take up to 10 days. Some in the industry suggested changes in the rules that require that every order be inspected.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ghana’s government takes action on avian influenza

There may have been no reports of new cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in the country for 10 days but the government is urging those involved in the poultry sector across the country to step up its biosecurity measures, according to the Government of Ghana.
At a press conference recently, Hon. Hanna Bissiw, a deputy minister for food and agriculture responsible for livestock, said that almost 24,000 birds had died of avian influenza in three regions - Ashanti, Volta and the Greater Accra – since May 2015.
Stressing the importance of a high level of biosecurity, she added that more than 1,100 crates of eggs and 37 bags of feed have also been destroyed and there is an investigation regarding the involvement of a feed mill in outbreaks in Greater Accra, the region where most of the outbreaks have occurred.
The Minister announced that the government is making plans to pay 90 percent compensation to farmers whose poultry and products are destroyed by the veterinary services, and working with all those involved in poultry farming and allied sectors as well as schoolchildren to inform them about the disease and measures to control it.
Bissiw added that the government is working with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) over guidance for veterinary authorities to establish zones and regions free from avian influenza so that poultry trade can continue within the country and internationally.
Meanwhile, the Ghana National Poultry Farmers Association (GNPFA) has been assuring the public that it is ready to meet the 40 percent increase in demand for birds at Christmas, reports GhanaWeb. A lack of funding has been hampering efforts to control the outbreaks, according Dr. Alice Attah, regional veterinary officer for Greater Accra.
This month, the government had been criticized for not providing enough information about avian influenza by poultry traders whose business is being adversely affected by the outbreaks.
OIE has received 9 reports so far of HPAI outbreaks from the veterinary authority in Ghana since April 2015. These outline 23 outbreaks in farmed, backyard and village flocks, which have been caused by the H5N1 subtype of the virus and led to the death or destruction of almost 59,000 poultry, mostly in the Greater Accra region.

Report: Canada’s grain transport system unpredictable

A recent report for the Ag Transport Coalition found that Canada’s reputation as a consistent and reliable grain supplier was affected by a lack of timeliness and predictability in delivery.
The 2014-15 Railway Performance Measurement Report said the “weekly supply of railcars is highly variable and timeliness of delivery was an issue.”
Shippers demanded 400,895 train cars, of which the Canadian National Railway and Canadian Pacific Railway supplied 377,448 – 94 percent. Weekly demand averaged 7,710 cars, while the average weekly shortfall was 3,894 cars.
In May 2015, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) called for improvements in Canada’s treatment of U.S. wheat classes, as the U.S. is routinely Canada’s top wheat export market.
And, in April 2015, the government of Canada approved a deal between the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) and G3 Global Grain Group, which ensures CWB becomes a fully private and global competitor in the Canadian grain sector. With this deal, the government has fully delivered on its commitment to marketing freedom by increasing marketing choice for Western Canadian grain farmers.
A study released in January 2014 found that corn is the number one commodity moving north from the United States to Canada at 1.05 million metric tons (MT) per year. Average soybean exports to Canada are 245,000 MT while wheat exports are 69,000 MT.

FAMSUN aquafeed project in China begins production

The turnkey project of the Wuhan Chia Tai Group Aquatic Products Co. Ltd. (CP Group), which broke ground June 6, 2014, began production on April 10, 2015, in Hannan District, Wuhan, China.
The engineering, procurement and construction project by FAMSUN covers more than 92,000 square meters and is worth a total investment of CNY15.49 million (US$2.4 million). The project consists of one extrusion line, two pelleting lines for shrimp and crab feed, two hard pellet fish feed lines and an extra extrusion line. Phase 1 of the project can produce 150,000 tons of aquafeed annually.
With the support of technology and products from FAMSUN, the project features the specialization of aquafeed and automatic production standards including:
  • Central batching system: The WEM4000 computer batching system with its high batching precision, can measure the consumption of power, steam and materials of unit product; record equipment deviation and warn the maintenance staff to conduct preventive maintenance; efficient inventory management also ensures the scheduled production to be carried out for timely delivery.
  • Automatic sampling: There are 19 autosamplers for the production lines. The samples, after automatic packing and coding, are delivered to the master control room by belt conveyor for testing.
  • Products with different specifications can be sampled at one time: For example, the fry feed also can be sampled in the production for crushing feed for fish.
  •  Dedicated returning line for the materials to save space and time, reducing labor and the cost of packaging. 

Agrivida closes $23 million in oversubscribed Series D funding

Agrivida, Inc., an innovative technology company focused on animal nutrition, has completed a $23 million Series D financing to advance the development and commercialization of its proprietary GraINzyme® feed additive enzymes and INergy™ silage technology platforms. Cultivian Sandbox Ventures led the round and was joined in the investment group by an affiliate of Maschhoff Family Foods, ARCH Venture Partners, Middleland Capital and existing investors Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, DAG Ventures, Bright Capital Partners, Gentry Venture Partners, Northgate Capital, Prairie Gold and private investors.

"We are excited to have this group of investors who are committed to our animal nutrition strategy and technology that will deliver unique enzyme solutions," said Dan Meagher, CEO of Agrivida. "By using the corn plant as our factory combined with our proprietary technology, we aim to create a compelling value proposition to the producers of meat, milk and eggs to help address the growing global demand for food."

"Agrivida products offer dramatically improved cost performance while simplifying production, slashing capital expenditure requirements and reducing the carbon footprint of fermentation produced enzymes," added Ron Meeusen, managing director of Cultivian Sandbox. "Agrivida holds the potential to disrupt this lucrative and growing feed enzyme market."
With this financing, Agrivida will further expand its capabilities, expertise and leadership team; advance its regulatory and product development; and focus on developing strategic commercial partnerships based on its proprietary GraINzyme and INergy technology platforms. The funding will further support commercialization of its first products targeted for 2016.

Butterball joins forces with the American Heart Association

Butterball has announced sponsorship of the Triangle American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life. initiative. This sponsorship aligns the American Heart Association’s mission with Butterball’s corporate citizenship program, Traditions with Purpose, which reinforces the importance of nutritious eating and overall well-being, and places Butterball team members at the heart of the business. The company's support of the My Heart. My Life initiative is a further extension of its current relationship with the American Heart Association (AHA). For the past several years, nearly two dozen of Butterball’s turkey products have carried AHA's Check seal.
Through Traditions with Purpose, Butterball makes every effort to create a positive influence in key areas of its business – to engage and enhance the lives of team members, deliver the highest quality food to consumers’ plates, provide a safe, clean environment for future generations and invest in the communities that team members call home. With the My Heart. My Life. sponsorship, Butterball is encouraging its team members to participate in healthy activities and give back to the local community, ultimately supporting the Association in achieving an impact goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent.
“At Butterball, our team members’ well-being is of utmost importance,” said Kerry Doughty, president and CEO. “We are committed to empowering our team members to proactively manage their health, and also support the communities where we live and work. Through ourTraditions with Purpose platform and this American Heart Association sponsorship, our team members will have opportunities throughout the year to engage in activities to improve both their personal health and that of our communities.”
Activities through this initiative provide Butterball team members with multiple opportunities to volunteer and engage in the cause, including the upcoming Triangle Heart Walk. All funds raised through the walk will support the AHA’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke, the leading causes of death and disability in the U.S.
“Butterball’s support of the My Heart. My Life. initiative will allow us to make an even deeper impact in the communities throughout the Triangle area of North Carolina,” said Debra Lowder, Asso Senior Director, Corporate Development. “Butterball’s commitment to giving back through Traditions with Purpose is evident in the sponsorship of the American Heart Association’s work to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. We look forward to working together in the year ahead.”
For more information on Butterball’s corporate citizenship platform, please visit

North America wheat shows some mycotoxin contamination

Before the combines hit the fields this fall for harvest, farmers may want to keep a watchful eye on their crop quality. Preliminary testing over the summer months of the 2015 North America wheat crop, conducted by Alltech’s 37+ mycotoxin analysis, shows an average 3.2 mycotoxins per sample, with Deoxynivalenol (DON) the most predominant toxin.
Produced by Fusarium graminaerum mold, DON is part of the Type B Trichothecene family. At high risk levels, DON can have negative impacts on animal health and productivity, such as a reduction in milk production and weight gain, gut irritation and lower immune response. Critical factors for Fusarium mold growth include heavy rainfall, moderate temperatures, plant immaturity and crop stress or damage from insects, hail and wind.
Summer rainfall levels through Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan and Indiana presented a consistent pattern with areas of high mycotoxin contamination in wheat testing from 2,000 to 12,000 parts per billion (ppb).
“For the past 90 days, we have had above average rainfall. This caused late planting, with some acres not planted at all. This made it difficult to get in to spray or do post planting field work. Wet soil has also created a nitrogen loss situation,” said Dr. Max Hawkins, nutritionist with Alltech’s Mycotoxin Management team. “The next month’s climate will tell us a lot about the severity of any mold and mycotoxin problems. Cool and extended wet weather would not be ideal.”
Hawkins advises farmers to scout fields for any stalk or leaf mold issues, as well as for any damage to plants from insects or weather conditions, such as wind or hail. Also look for any irregularity in the field. Excess rain can create ponds that can drown out or stunt crop growth and generate differences in soil types across a field.
“Crop differences displayed across a field go into the same storage bin or bunker and are mixed, contaminating the entire crop,” Hawkins said. “Once the crop is in the bin, we can get pockets with higher moisture levels, attributing to increased mold growth and spoilage, which in turn can produce mycotoxins and lower the nutrient value of the feed.”
Producers should take the necessary management steps upon harvest to help troubleshoot existing issues with contaminated feedstuffs:
  • Use of a silage inoculant
  • Proper packing and covering of grains
  • Grain drying – dry to 14 percent moisture
  • Use of a proper mycotoxin management program
“The precursors for mold and mycotoxins are in place. Keep an eye on the weather leading up to harvest,” Hawkins said. “It’s still a long time until we have the 2015 crop in the bunker or bin, but we need to be proactive.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Organic poultry sector on the increase in Europe

In absolute terms, the greatest number of farm animals kept under organic conditions in the European Union are poultry, where the number totaled just under 28.5 million in 2014, 3.9 percent fewer than in the previous year, according to the EU statistics agency, Eurostat. Excluding incomplete datasets, however, there was a positive trend in organic poultry numbers in the EU of almost 6 percent.
Leading the league table for organic poultry in 2014 was France with more than 12.75 million birds, an increase of 8.9 percent from the previous year. Next came Germany with 4.93 million (unchanged) and then the U.K. and The Netherlands, each with more than 2.35 million organic poultry; while the latter registered an increase of 8.5 percent from 2013, the U.K. figure was 3.6 percent lower than the previous year.
Other countries registering increases in organic poultry numbers were:
  • Belgium: 2.098 million; +10.5 percent
  • Sweden: 929,601; +3.8 percent
  • Spain: 391,217; +15.6 percent
  • Poland: 257,515; +5.6 percent
  • Finland: 188,203; +15.3 percent
  • Hungary: 122,536; 27.1 percent
  • Slovenia: 71,537; +30.6 percent
  • Czech Republic: 39,330; +7.4 percent
  • Croatia: 2,540; +24.8 percent
The largest percentage drop in organic poultry numbers was registered in Romania, where there was a fall of 22.1 percent between 2013 and 2014 to 57,797 birds. Latvia’s count declined 10.3 percent to 24,706; that of Cyprus by 9.8 percent to 8,616; Estonia’s by 6.0 percent to 21,020; the Slovakian figure was down 5.3 percent to 8,250; and the Lithuanian by 1.2 percent to 6,170. Bulgaria recorded an unchanged figure from the previous year of 500 birds.
Eurostat has only collected this data since 2013 and covers 27 of the 28 EU member states (excluding Luxemburg). Six countries have not yet reported data for both years. In 2013, there were more than 3.063 million organic poultry in Italy and 1.403 million in Austria. For 2014, Denmark registered 1.630 million birds and Greece 203,154.

A thousand ways to prepare eggs

I am a firm believer in poultry proteins. And of these, I believe that eggs should take more of the spotlight than what they currently do. The reasons for this belief are obvious: production efficiency, high nutritional value and long shelf life without the need for preservatives or preservation methods.
Though eggs are good to eat at any time of day, in many countries they tend to be consumed in the morning for breakfast. In a country like Mexico, where on average we eat one egg a day, consumption increases even more during the weekends. People are relaxed and there is more time to get creative and prepare a longer, leisurely breakfast. It’s also very common to go out for breakfast with family and friends.
A few days ago, on a typical Saturday morning, I went out with my family for breakfast to a casual restaurant in Mexico City. Despite being ready to order my usual, I took a look at the breakfast menu and I was amazed to see that in addition to the traditional breakfast offerings, there were at least 30 different ways to prepare eggs.
This made me ponder the Mexican miracle of the 365 eggs (or more) per person per year and how part of consumption this lies greatly on culinary inventiveness. Because of its versatility, the egg is a product that can be combined with many ingredients and can be prepared in many different ways.
In short, the egg industry should seek the expertise of chefs, food technologists, nutritionists and culinary experts in future marketing efforts in to order to boost consumption.

Maple Leaf Farms introduces roasted duck legs

Adding duck to the menu just became easier as Maple Leaf Farms, North America’s leading producer of quality duck products for foodservice and retail markets, recently introduced Roasted Duck Legs for chefs and caterers. The White Pekin duck legs are lightly seasoned and oven roasted until tender and juicy. They are ideal served whole as an entrée with a signature sauce and can be shredded for use in sandwiches, salads, soups and pastas. The fully cooked Maple Leaf Farms Duck Legs bring consistency to a menu with minimal kitchen effort.
Duck is a major culinary trend according to Food Navigators Hottest Trends report and a platform for creativity. Duck’s sophisticated and unique flavor profile brings excitement to a menu and appeals to today’s adventuresome diners.
“The oven roasting process locks in flavor and juices and reduces prep time significantly, allowing chefs to focus on creativity and signature presentations,” said Scott Swaidner, R & D manager about the new roasted duck legs.

Judges announced for America's Pig Farmer of the Year Award

Building on its commitment to grow consumer trust in all aspects of U.S. pork production, the National Pork Board has announced an expert judging panel that brings a new, broad-based and transparent approach to selecting its first-ever America’s Pig Farmer of the YearSM.
Members of the five-member panel include Dr. Robin Ganzert, president and CEO of American Humane Association; Carlos Saviani, vice president of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) U.S. food team; Mitzi Dulan, a registered dietitian and nationally recognized nutrition and wellness expert to the Kansas City Royals; Chris Soules, a farmer from Arlington, Iowa, and television star from The Bachelor and Dancing with the Stars; and Dr. Jodi Sterle, an associate professor of animal science at Iowa State University and nationally known youth advisor in livestock exhibition.
“We are very pleased to have such a diverse and impressive group of experts to judge the finalists in the very first America’s Pig Farmer of the Year Award,” said Derrick Sleezer, National Pork Board president and pig farmer from Cherokee, Iowa. “It was important to our farmer leaders that we create a unique judging panel that was not only objective, but brought a whole new level of diversity of views to the table. And with this group, we think we accomplished that goal.”
Looking forward to the finalist judging slated for Sept. 1, Ganzert said, “As an animal lover and the leader of the country’s first national humane organization, I am honored to have been asked to serve as a judge for America’s Pig Farmer of the Year. American Humane Association celebrates all those, including our nation’s farmers, who care for animals and work hard to ensure they are treated humanely. Today, more than ever it is important not only to point out where progress is needed, but to recognize when we get it right. I look forward to learning about these farmers who are working to give America’s families food that is safe, affordable, abundant and in line with their values.”
Joining Ganzert on the judging panel will be WWF’s Saviani, who said, “I’m really excited for the opportunity to participate in this new award and to learn more about how the pork industry and pig farmers are concerned, dealing with and addressing sustainability.”
 The entire expert panel of judges will gather in Chicago to fulfill their duties. They will judge an on-farm video produced at each of the four finalists’ farms and then conduct an in-person interview with each one. The public can view each finalist’s video and cast its vote for its favorite farmer from Sept. 1 through 10 by going to The final winner will be announced Oct. 7.

Hormel Foods awards Environmental Sustainibility 'Best of the Best'

Hormel Foods Corporation has announced its Beijing HFC Plant was named the 2014 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best winner for its achievements from the Beijing Project Blue Sky, which aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The annual award recognizes internal teams who have identified areas for efficiency and implemented changes in the category of environmental sustainability.
The plant replaced two coal fire boilers with more efficient steam generators and relocated the equipment closer to ovens to reduce energy loss. The team also installed heat recovery technology and thermal solar panels to heat water for sanitation. The result was a 60 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in 2014, compared to 2013.
“The success of Project Blue Sky, and other Best of the Best finalists, demonstrates the impact one team can have at both the local- and corporate-level,” said Thomas E. Raymond, director of environmental sustainability at Hormel Foods. “Streamlining manufacturing processes makes an impact in our plant communities, and helps Hormel Foods meet its global environmental goals. Through this annual challenge, we continue to find ways to reduce our energy use, solid waste, water use and air emissions and exemplify what it means to be leader in sustainability.”
The other Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best finalists included:
  • Atlanta Plant - Tucker, GA. Through educational newsletters, meetings and facility container improvements, reductions decreased to one trash pickup per week and solid waste to landfill was reduced by 42 percent compared to the previous year.
  • Saag’s Products - San Leandro, CA. By engaging employees in recyclable material training, the plant reduced its solid waste to landfill by 89 tons, surpassing its original goal and improving recycling to 53 percent.
  • Dold Foods - Wichita, KS. In an effort to minimize all solid waste streams, the plant realized an annualized savings of 127 tons of solid waste or 330 percent of the 2020 goal in fiscal 2014 alone.
The Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best champion is selected by a panel of judges at the Corporate Office in Austin, MN, based on the criteria of project scope and goal setting, teamwork, problem solving, achievement and savings.
Based on entries from 2014 alone, Hormel Foods documented the following annual savings from the 52 Environmental Sustainability Best of the Best projects:
  • 82 million gallons in water use
  • 8,100 MMBtu of natural gas
  • 2,700,000 kWh of electricity
  • 1,500 tons of solid waste
  •  2,570 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

FSIS proposes change to definition of ‘roasting chicken’

The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is proposing to amend the definition and standard of identity for the “roaster” or “roasting chicken” poultry class to better reflect the characteristics of the current market. The agency is seeking the public’s input on this possible change.
Roasters or roasting chickens are described in terms of the age and ready-to-cook (RTC) carcass weight of the bird. Genetic changes and management techniques have continued to reduce the grow-out period and increased the RTC weight for this poultry class. Therefore, FSIS is proposing to amend the roaster definition to remove the 8-week minimum age criterion and increase the RTC carcass weight from 5 pounds to 5.5 pounds. This action is being taken in response to a petition submitted by the National Chicken Council.
Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be mailed to Docket Clerk, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Patriots Plaza 3, 1400 Independence Avenue SW., Mailstop 3782, Room 8-163A, Washington, DC 20250-3700.
All items submitted by mail must include the Agency name and docket number FSIS-2015-0026.
FSIS stated that comments on the proposed change must be received on or before October 19.

Allen Harim gets $11 million loan from State of Delaware

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control has approved $11 million in state loans to Allen Harim Foods for its poultry processing operations in Harbeson, Delaware.
The state agency awarded the loan to the poultry producer and processor during an August 19 meeting, after giving the loans conditional approval at a meeting held previously, according to an Associated Press report in the Washington Times.
The company wants to draw about $8.3 million from the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to upgrade and expand the wastewater plant at its Harbeson processing facility. Allen Harim also wants a $3.2 million loan for a wastewater reuse project.
The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control stated that a letter was sent to Allen Harim after the approval. The next step in the process is the closing of the loan.
According to the WATTAgNet Top Poultry Companies Database, Allen Harim Foods produced 5.96 million pounds of ready to cook poultry on a weekly basis during 2014 and is the 21st largest broiler company in the United States. It is currently planning to add to its capacity with the addition of a new poultry processing plant in Millsboro, Delaware. The site of the potential plant is a former Vlasic pickle plant.

Konos building 480,000-hen organic egg farm in Michigan

Construction is progressing well at an organic egg farm near Otsego, Michigan. The farm will be operated by Konos Inc., a distributor of Vande Bunte Eggs.
The egg farm will house 480,000 hens and will be located on five parcels of land. The project is valued at $8.2 million.
"Everything is on track," Konos Vice President of Operations Rob Knecht told MLive. "We are in the building and construction process, continuing to partner with the various municipalities that require different permits and want to do everything we can to be a great neighbor to the people of Otsego."
The farm project has had its opponents, with several township residents objecting to the proposed farms at an Otsego Township Planning Commission meeting held in December 2014. However, Knecht has reassured critics that the company intends to do everything possible to minimize odors, insects and wildlife at the organic egg farm and has promised that it will conform to all USDA organic standards as well as any state standards.
According to the company’s website, Vande Bunte Eggs – a subsidiary of Konos --  is a family owned and operated Michigan egg producer that supplies farm-fresh eggs to markets all around the world.

HatchTech to build another hatchery with Al Bayad Farms

HatchTech and Al Bayad Farms have signed a contract for the installation of a turnkey hatchery facility located 150 km south of Riyadh, Saudia Arabia. This facility will be equipped with MicroClimer Setters and Hatchers, as well as support systems for cooling, heating and ventilation. To ensure optimal body temperatures and to prevent dehydration during storage, Al Bayad has chosen to use HatchTech’s unique Chick Storage Room with laminar airflow technology. When operational, the hatchery will have an annual capacity of 52 million incubated eggs.
According to Dr. Ahmad Al Thonayan, President of Al Bayad Farms, “It was a logical decision to select HatchTech as partner for this project. Al Bayad Farms’ mission is to produce superior day-old chick quality in order to reach maximum genetic potential in the field. We are convinced that the unique technology of HatchTech, in combination with their extensive knowledge gained from research, provides the best solution to achieve our goals of excellence”.
HatchTech and Al Bayad Farms have been close partners since 2007, when they first teamed up for the construction of a turnkey layer hatchery.

H.J. Baker to build facility in Emporia, Kansas

Global agriculture company, H.J. Baker, has announced the expansion of its Animal Health and Nutrition division with the ground breaking of a new multi-million facility in Emporia, KS.
H.J. Baker’s new encapsulation facility will be built on 15 acres and will begin production as early as March 2016. The 13,000 square foot facility will include offices, warehouse and processing floor, which will include state-of-the-art equipment that has been designed and built in the USA.
“The new facility will allow H.J. Baker to create new local jobs as well as a strong opportunity for us to continue innovating within our industry,” H.J. Baker President and CEO Christopher Smith said. “We’re very excited to join the growing number of businesses in Emporia. The city has been welcoming and we look forward to working with them in the future.”
“We welcome H.J. Baker to Emporia,” stated Kent Heermann, President of the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas (RDA). “Our conversations with H.J. Baker began in early February 2015 as a direct result of proactive marketing efforts. Another great company joins our growing and diversified animal nutrition cluster.”
“Kansas has become a leader in the animal healthcare and nutrition sector thanks to the investment and expertise of businesses such as H.J. Baker,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. “The company’s facility in Emporia will support the continued growth of this important industry.”
H.J. Baker has been pioneering the Animal Health industry using amino acid feed ingredients since the late 1980s. The company’s METABOLYS® and METABOMET® technologies deliver critical amino acids to dairy cows and give dairymen increased benefits in milk volume and richer milk components.
“H.J. Baker has been expanding globally in recent years, and it’s a pleasure to continue that expansion inside the United States, adding skilled American Jobs,” Smith said. He added, “The encapsulated amino acid market is growing nationally and globally and with our new Emporia facility we anticipate being able to cater to that growth.”

JBS USA joins Field to Market sustainability alliance

Meat and poultry processor JBS USA has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a multi-stakeholder initiative working to unite the agricultural supply chain in defining, measuring and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production.
JBS believes that sustainability simply means responsibly meeting the needs of the present while improving the ability of future generations to responsibly meet their own needs,” said Cameron Bruett, chief sustainability officer and head of corporate affairs for JBS USA. “Field to Market has demonstrated that through collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagement, a more sustainable and efficient future for everyone is not only possible, but within our collective grasp. We are honored to join the effort to boldly address the issues associated with an essential component of the livestock and poultry industry’s sustainability footprint – crops used for animal feed.”
As a member in Field to Market, JBS will work with grower organizations, academia, conservation groups, public sector partners and leading companies to identify opportunities to catalyze continuous improvement in the sustainability of grain used for livestock and poultry feed.
“The consumer as well as the entire agricultural supply chain benefits from a coordinated and comprehensive approach to measuring the sustainability of commodity crops,” said Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market. ”We are pleased to welcome JBS USA as the first livestock and poultry processor in Field to Market and look forward to working with them toward advancing positive environmental outcomes and continuous improvement in feed production.”

Monday, August 24, 2015

China imports more pork during first half of 2015

The decline in China’s breeding herd is the main cause of the continued rising trend in Chinese pork imports during the January to June period of 2015 with almost 320,000 metric tons entering the country, according to the German meat association, VDF.  This represents a 7.6 percent increase from 297,400 tons in the same period of 2014 and 272,300 in 2013. Compared to the same period of 2014, the value of the imports was up just 4 percent at CNY13.6 billion (US$2.13 billion).
The European Union supplied 72 percent of the total (231,900 tons) and top supplier was Germany with 83,400 tons, which was more than double the figure for the first 6 months of 2014. Other leading EU sources were Spain (57,300 tons), Denmark (32,800 tons) and the U.K. (14.7 tons), all increasing their respective volumes from last year. Non-EU suppliers lost share of the Chinese pork market; the U.S. sent 54,000 tons and Canada 19,500 tons over this 6-month period, 25 and 8 percent, respectively, less than in 2014.
Although showing a gradual decline over the last 2 years, China imports a greater tonnage of pig offal than fresh and frozen muscle products at almost 382,000 tons for the first half-year of 2015. Again, European Union states accounted for the majority of this trade (71 percent), and the main sources were Denmark (76,400 tons) and Germany (70,900 tons). Among the non-EU exporters, the U.S. led the field with 79,700 tons.
According to the VDF, market experts attribute the growing share of exports from the EU compared to other countries to low pork prices in Europe and favorable exchange rates.
Shipments of offal from the U.K. to China reached a record 2,900 tons in June, reports the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board  (AHDB). This represents an increase of 80 percent on a year earlier.

High uptake for animal welfare premiums in Germany

Around 250 applications have been received from farmers in Lower Saxony, Germany, for the new premium for rearing pigs without tail docking and hens without beak tipping.
With the applications covering almost 700,000 animals in both organic and standard systems among these applications, the agriculture minister of Lower Saxony says the farmers of the region are setting a very good example of their commitment to improving animal welfare.
According to the Minister, Christian Meyer, around 600,000 laying hens and more than 115,000 finishing pigs will benefit from this engagement by small- and medium-sized producers.
He expressed his surprise at the high level of applications, while confirming that the available funding will be sufficient to cover the premiums, which amount to EUR16.50 (US$18.22)per pig with an undocked tail and better housing conditions, and EUR1.70 (US$1.88) per hen with an intact beak and more space.
Meyer is encouraging new entrants to farming to ensure they are trained in the industry’s best practices, and added that especially the small- and medium-sized businesses are pushing accepted boundaries to improve animal welfare.
Initially, for one year, more than EUR1.9 million are available to pig farmers and almost EUR950,000 for egg producers. The scheme may be offered again in 2016 to increase gradually farm animal welfare over time. As well as the changes to production procedures, those who work with the animals will be expected to participate in sessions offering advice and training.
The chamber of agriculture is now in the process of assessing the applications, and in the second half of this year, approved pig producers will participate in consultation sessions. The first premiums for the higher welfare standards will be paid in December 2015.

WH Group performance falls short in first half of 2015

The turnover of WH Group fell to US$10.205 billion, decreasing 3.2 percent year-on-year as of the end of June, according to a report of Hong Kong Ming Pao. As the largest meat processing company in China, the volume of business of WH Group is influenced by the China’s economic slowdown and the drop of U.S. pig prices. The net profit of the company increased 0.3 percent to US$5.62 million.
Wan Long, president of WH Group, parent company of Smithfield Foods, said the company still faces uncertain conditions in the second half of the year, the goal of securing an earnings growth of 10 percent for 2015 might not be achieved. However, he is confident about the increase in the coming years with the adjustment in 2015.
In the first six months of 2015, pig prices in China have increased dramatically. Wan Long said the company planned to import U.S. pork products to China to take the advantage of price differences. The import might increase from the 110 thousand metric tons in 2014 to between 150,000 and 200,000 metric tons in 2015. He also forecasted that pig prices in China might fall to US$2.35 per 2.5/kg for the third and four quarter of this year.

Hain Celestial achieves record sales in 2015, Q4

Hain Celestial Group, a leading organic products company and parent company of poultry processor Hain Pure Protein, achieved record net sales for fiscal year 2015 and for the fourth quarter.
Hain Celestial, which has operations in North America, Europe and India, also recorded increases in adjusted net income for both periods.
The company’s net sales for the fourth quarter were $691 million, a 20 percent increase when compared to the same period during fiscal year 2014. Net sales for the fiscal year were $2.69 billion, an increase of 25 percent.
For the fourth quarter, Hain Celestial’s adjusted net income was $57.2 million, a 24 percent increase over the same quarter of 2014. It’s yearly adjusted net income for fiscal year 2015 was  $193.9 million, a 22 percent increase for the fiscal year.
The Hain Pure Protein segment in the fourth quarter reported net sales of $118.5 million, which includes the recently acquired Empire brand of kosher foods.
“We ended the year with record net sales and earnings growth fueled by strong worldwide demand for our diverse portfolio of leading organic and natural brands across many product categories, sales channels and geographies,” said Irwin D. Simon, founder, president and CEO of Hain Celestial.

Cargill launches holistic program to battle EMS

Cargill’s animal nutrition division announced the launch of the SmartShield program to help its customers combat the impact of Early Mortality Syndrome (EMS). The program takes a holistic approach to mitigating the risk the disease poses to shrimp producers by combining specialized feed with technical services.
According to the company, in addition to EMS prevention, the system can also improve a shrimp farm’s profitability by increasing production by an average of 30 percent.
EMS, now technically known as Acute Hepatopancreatic Necrosis Disease (AHPND), is caused by strains of the bacteria Vibrio. The disease has caused devastating production losses in China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Mexico, and has recently been suspected in disease outbreaks in other Central American countries. Outbreaks of EMS have caused mortality rates as high as 100 percent.
The SmartShield program “couples farm management best practices with innovative feeds and proper diagnostics,” including on-farm risk assessment; advanced nutrition and functional additives delivered through a complete feeding program; and on-site performance evaluation tools and rapid water quality and disease diagnostics for early detection.
In field trials conducted in Mexico, customers experienced an average of 59 percent higher production yield using the SmartShield program, the company reports.
The program is the result of two years of research at Cargill’s Global Animal Nutrition Innovation Center, located in Elk River, Minnesota.

AFIA adds certifying body for Safe Feed/Safe Food Program

The American Feed Industry Association recently added SGS North America as a certifying body for FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food. SGS is the fourth certifying body recognized by AFIA to complete FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food audits.
"We are excited to add a well-recognized company such as SGS North America as a certifying body for facilities seeking FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certification," said Henry Turlington, AFIA director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs. "This addition to the certifying bodies already offered--Eurofins, NSF International, and Validus--provides our members and the total feed industry with a variety of choices for optimal food and feed safety."
FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food is administered by the Safe Quality Food Institute and is designed primarily for North American feed manufacturers and ingredient suppliers. The program promotes the fundamentals for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act.
"FSC36 is designed to help the industry prepare for the changes accompanied by the Food Safety Modernization Act," Turlington added.
SGS also completes the other Safe Feed/Safe Food certifications: FSC34 Manufacture of Animal Feeds; FSC32 Manufacture of Pet Food; and International Safe Feed/Safe Food. The certifying body is a world-leader with 130 years of experience in food safety audits and certifications around the world and supports audits and certifications in a variety of quality and food safety systems in multiple industries.
AFIA's Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program was launched in 2004 to promote quality and feed safety within the feed industry. The program is beneficial to both feed manufacturers and feed ingredient suppliers.

WATTAgNet relaunches in mobile-friendly format, WATT Global Media’s website covering the world poultry, animal feed and pig industries, has been relaunched in a new, mobile-friendly format. The entire site is now optimized for easy viewing on computer, tablets or smartphones. still contains in-depth stories from the WATT animal agribusiness magazines, daily news updates gathered by our international staff, commentary from our seasoned team of journalists and industry observers and exclusive features such as Market Data and Top Companies listings.
In addition to being mobile-friendly, there are numerous upgrades and new features.  
The revamped Market Data section allows users to view interactive charts covering global poultry, feed and pig markets. Registration is required to view this data, and it is free and simple.
A chart of broiler type chicks placed from market data on wattagnet
The exclusive online Top Poultry Companies database has been expanded and improved. The new database allows users to search for poultry companies worldwide by name, region or product. Poultry industry professionals can login to view these listings, which include historical data such as annual revenue, products manufactured, geographic markets served and headquarters’ location. The new site also includes a table where users can sort and study the capabilities of the companies in the database.
poultry top companies table on wattagnet has a new, easy-to-use commenting engine. To comment or share content, simply log in using Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus. The first time you do this, the site will ask a few questions and connect with your social media account. After that, sharing and commenting is as simple as the click of a button.
Disqus comment tool on wattagnet
This commenting and sharing feature is optimized for easy use from any device, just like the rest of the site. Please feel free to comment, share and discuss with your fellow animal agribusiness industry professionals.
Registration is required to view parts of the site, such as Market Data and Top Companies, and it is free and simple. If you are a registered user of the former site, you will be asked to reset your password when you first log in.

International Poultry Forum China to include gut health talk

Attendees at International Poultry Forum China 2015 will learn how gut health in poultry affects the value producers are able to deliver, as well as the role of feed additives in achieving gut health, when Dr. Gregory Siragusa,  Senior Principal Scientist- Microbiology at DuPont speaks on behalf of Danisco Animal Nutrition, a division of DuPont Industrial Biosciences on August 21.
Siragusa’s work as senior principal scientist in the Antimicrobials and Antioxidants Research Team at DuPont includes research on food microbial ecology and enzymatic antimicrobial enzyme applications for food preservation. His talk at International Poultry Forum China 2015 will cover:
  • Factors contributing to poultry gut health and the role nutrition plays in achieving it.
  • Challenges posed by undigested feed substrates, production stress and the microbial overgrowth they can cause.
  • The challenge of reducing Antibiotic Growth Promoter (AGP) usage, how AGPs work, and how overuse can impact food safety, bird health and human health.
  • How feed additives can radically improve healthy performance in both challenged and unchallenged circumstances.
Liza Fan, Danisco Animal Nutrition’s  Regional Industry Leader for China, commented, “With more and more countries moving away from the use of Antibiotic Growth Promoters, it is important to understand the many factors that affect gut health in poultry and the ways that feed additives can contribute  to healthy animal performance  using mechanisms provided by nature.”
The presentation, which starts at 15:45 China Standard Time, is open to all registered  attendees of International Poultry Forum China.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Ventilation shutdown for avian flu depopulation considered

With a strong possibility that avian influenza might return to the United States in the fall, government and industry groups are considering using ventilation shutdown as a form of emergency depopulation of flocks that have been affected by highly pathogenic avian influenza.
Speaking August 19 during the United Egg Producers (UEP) national briefing webinar, UEP President Chad Gregory explained that much research is being done concerning the feasibility of such a depopulation program.
“The government, the producers, the states and UEP, we all recognize that depopulation is going to have to happen faster and ideally within 24 hours,”  said Gregory.
Quick depopulation of affected flocks is important, Gregory said, because the sooner a flock is depopulated, the risk of the virus going into fans and out into the atmosphere becomes smaller.
Gregory said ventilation shutdown – if approved – would probably only be used in a worst-case scenario or when all other euthanasia options have been exhausted.
UEP’s animal welfare scientific committee, the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP), and other organizations have visited with the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) about the issue, but Gregory said much research still needs to be done, taking into account factors such as temperatures, if any supplemental gas should be used, and how long it would take for the birds to die.
“These things all need to be researched and researched fast so that if [avian influenza] does come in the next couple of months, we can actually employ the emergency depopulation method by ventilation shutdown if it is the option that’s chosen with the government,” said Gregory. “A lot more needs to be done.”

6 avian influenza updates for the week ending August 20

Avian influenza remains a topic of widespread interest in the global poultry industry. Here are 6 avian influenza news developments to know:
  1. USDA seeking avian influenza vaccine stockpile – The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is issuing a request for proposal to vaccine manufacturing companies to have avian influenza vaccines produced to protect poultry from future avian flu outbreaks. The vaccines would be kept on hand in the National Veterinary Stockpile.
  2. Avian influenza hits Iowa economy hardAvian influenza’s economic impact on Iowa has been harsh. The outbreak of 2015 has cost the state $427 million and 8,500 jobs, according to a study commissioned by the Iowa Farm Bureau Federation.
  3. Avian flu hits Hormel profits – Jennie-O Turkey Store, hit by avian influenza infections at its farms, experienced a 45 percent decline in operating profit and a 12 percent drop in sales during the third quarter of fiscal year 2015. Despite that, Jennie-O’s parent company, Hormel Foods, saw its net earnings for the third quarter increase 6 percent.
  4. Canada lifts some avian flu-related trade restrictions – Canada lifted its ban on imports of uncooked poultry and eggs from Arkansas and Montana, as the states appear to now be free of avian influenza.
  5. Layer farm hit by avian flu in Mexico -- A low pathogenic strain of H5N2 avian influenza was detected in a commercial layer operation in El Rosario, in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. An estimated 433,093 chickens were susceptible.
  6. Utility workers advised to be mindful of avian flu -- The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is urging workers and drivers to practice biosecurity measures when operating on or near poultry farms to prevent the spread of avian influenza, should it enter the state.

Utility drivers urged to be mindful of avian influenza

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) is urging utilities and their truck drivers to understand and practice biosecurity measures when operating on or near poultry farms, as part of a cooperative statewide effort to safeguard against the outbreak of avian influenza.
“While highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus does not pose a threat to human health, it can have a devastating impact on the poultry industry, and it is vital for everyone moving around farms to take steps to help prevent the possible spread of this disease,” said PUC Chairman Gladys M. Brown. “The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is requesting that all farm service businesses – including utilities – use heightened biosecurity practices when operating around poultry farms. The PUC urges utilities to take this issue seriously.”
According to agriculture officials, avian influenza has not yet been detected in Pennsylvania, but outbreaks have been moving closer and there is a great concern that it may appear in our state this year. Equipment and people that travel from farm to farm may inadvertently spread the virus.
“While we have not been impacted by HPAI yet, we realize that when birds begin migrating this fall that our chances of the virus entering the state increase,” said state Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “We have to continue to safeguard our state’s $13 billion poultry industry and a large part of that effort means putting strong biosecurity measures in place. Keeping HPAI at bay requires the assistance of all Pennsylvanians and the hard work of each of us involved in the poultry industry.”
As part of enhanced biosecurity efforts, employees and visitors on some farms (including utility workers) may be asked to take certain actions, such as:
  • Avoiding certain areas on the farms;
  • Allowing tires and parts of vehicles to be sprayed with disinfectant when entering and leaving the property; and
  • Wearing protective clothing, such as disposable boots or coveralls while working on the farm. 
Brown noted that it is important for utilities to be able to access their lines and facilities in order to maintain reliable and safe service. She urged all parties to work cooperatively in addressing this unique biosecurity concern, while also ensuring dependable utility service.

Aviagen reports success at VIV Turkey 2015

Aviagen® demonstrated its ongoing commitment to Turkey, the Middle East and Africa (TMEA) region at the recent 7th biannual VIV Turkey exhibition in Istanbul, which built on successful attendances in recent years.
Working together with its local business unit Aviagen Anadolu, the company communicated its ethos of providing a “local touch with a global reach” at the show through its three brands, Arbor Acres®, Indian River® and Ross®. Throughout the show, the Aviagen TMEA and Aviagen Anadolu teams focused on providing first-hand communications between personnel and customers from the local and wider region.
Aviagen Anadolu, which has been the market leader in Turkey for 13 years, used the event to underline its commitment to Turkey in the form of investment, product supply, management advice and understanding of its customers. The company’s recent investments in Turkey include a new hatchery in Elmadag in 2013, a state-of-the-art ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, new parent stock delivery vehicles, a new Grandparent Farm and a new stand-alone feed decontamination unit.
Michael Garden, Aviagen Middle East and Africa Business Manager, said: “Aviagen remains extremely committed to Turkey and the Middle East and African region and our brands hold a high market share in this part of the world. We were therefore delighted to see such a great turnout at VIV Turkey poultry, with a high number of Aviagen grandparent and parent distributors from Asia, the Middle East and Africa in attendance.
“VIV Turkey was the perfect setting to highlight the recent excellent performance of Aviagen brands and their continued growth in the region, which was demonstrated by all customers reporting broiler improvement in feed conversion ratio by up to five points ahead of competitors. It all bodes well for continued success in this territory in the years to come,” added Michael.
Stephen Jones, Aviagen Anadolu General Manager, commented: “The growth of the event has been quite significant in recent times and VIV Turkey has now developed from a local Turkish poultry exhibition into a dynamic Turkey, Middle East and Africa poultry exhibition, which is fantastic to see and be a part of.”
 Previously a local Turkish event, VIV Turkey 2015 had a distinctively international feel over its three days this year, with visitors from six different continents making up almost a quarter of the 16,000 attendees.

USPOULTRY presents PSA Distinguished Career Award

Dr. Igal Pevzner, broiler geneticist with Cobb-Vantress, has been recognized with the 2015 Poultry Science Association Distinguished Poultry Industry Career Award, sponsored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY). The award was presented during the annual Poultry Science Association meeting in Louisville, Ky, by Larry Brown, retired USPOULTRY vice president of education.
The Distinguished Career Award recognizes distinctive, outstanding contributions by an industry leader. In addition to sponsoring the award, USPOULTRY also makes an annual contribution to the Poultry Science Association Foundation on behalf of the award recipient.
“U.S. Poultry & Egg Association is proud to honor industry leaders exemplified by Dr. Pevzner,” said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY. “He is widely recognized for his many years of work and contributions in poultry genetics. It is this kind of service that has helped make the poultry industry the most efficient and productive segment of modern animal agriculture.”
Pevzner received a BS and MS degree in Agriculture from Hebrew University and a PhD in Animal Breeding from Iowa State University under the direction of A.W. Nordskog. Pevzner credits his scientific accomplishments in the area of poultry genetics to Nordskog’s great scientific leadership and brilliant mind. Pevzner’s research at Iowa State University centered on breeding of layer chickens, and his major accomplishment was the identification of IR-GAT, an immune response gene with a powerful effect on general livability. Pevzner joined Cobb-Vantress in 1990, where he is still serving as broiler geneticist. He has been responsible for breeding commercial and experimental meat lines designed to meet the ever-changing needs of the poultry industry.

NPFDA announces scholarship winners

Every year, the NPFDA Scholarship Foundation awards scholarships to four outstanding students who are enrolled full-time pursuing an agriculture, poultry or food science (related) degree. The NPFDA Scholarship Foundation was established in 1979. Since that time, the Foundation has awarded over $206,000.00 in scholarships to outstanding students. The NPFDA Scholarship Foundation, Inc. is entering its 36th year of assistance to help build "People Resources" for the poultry and food industries by providing scholarships to students pursuing an education in all fields relating to the poultry industry. It is our goal not only to help students achieve their degrees, but to help students who may become effective leaders in our industry one day.
All land grant colleges and universities throughout the country, along with other qualified schools, receive full details of the scholarship program for circulation to those students who would qualify for consideration each winter for the upcoming academic year. Each student must complete the application, write a one page narrative on their goals and ambitions, and submit these papers with their transcripts. The Foundation has a very dedicated committee who reviews each applicant’s application, letter(s) of recommendation, and the student’s essay on his/her goals and aspirations. It is a long, tenuous process where each student is graded (individually by each committee member) on their goals and aspirations, their extracurricular activities and industry-related activities. We then compile all the committee member ballots and select the top five students. Cash awards go to the top four ($2000 per student). The fifth student chosen will be the alternate student should one of the award recipients not use all of his/her funds (i.e. early graduation).
The Foundation has announced winners of the 2014-2015 NPFDA Scholarship. They are:
  • Lesleigh Beer - University of Arkansas Fayetteville; Dale Bumpers College of AFLS; Poultry Science-Albin S. Johnson Memorial Scholarship
  • Jake Tench - University of Georgia; Ag Econ/Ag Business- William Manson Family Memorial Scholarship
  • Trevor Lee - Auburn University ; Poultry Production - Alfred Schwartz Memorial Scholarship
  • Haley Harriman - University of Arkansas;  Poultry Science & Agri Business- NPFDA Scholarship
  • Guy Perkins - NCSU; Poultry Science - NPFDA Scholarship
Alternate: Megan Harris - Ohio State University ; Agribusiness and Applied Economics
If you know of someone who is pursuing a degree in Poultry Science, Food Science, Animal Science, Agricultural Economics, etc., please make sure they are made aware of this scholarship program so they may apply for the 2015-2016 scholarship. They may call or write NPFDA for scholarship information at: NPFDA, 2014 Osborne Rd, Saint Marys, GA 31558; PH: 770-535-9901, FAX: 770-535-7385; or e-mail:
The foundation would not exist if not for the financial support of our industry. Members and other industry personnel are encouraged to consider aiding in this worthy project. Donations may be sent to the NPFDA office. You may make your donation in memory of an individual - NPFDA will inform the membership and the family of the donation. The foundation and its activities are approved by the IRSand donations are tax exempt.