Friday, December 31, 2010

China sells 23.7 million tons state reserve corn in 2010

China sold 23.7 million metric tons of state reserve corn out of a total of 47.5 million metric tons offered in auctions in 2010, according to data released by the China National Grain & Oils Information Center.
From Jan. 5 to Dec. 28, state reserves sold 7.7 million metric tons of corn out of 20.2 million metric tons under the inter-province stock transfer program. Another 16 million metric tons out of 27.3 million metric tons in the northeast regions were sold from April 13 to Dec. 28.
Reserves were sold for an average of 1,882 yuan per ton (through the inter-province stock transfer program) and 1,662 yuan per ton (in the northeast regions).

US prepared duck exports up 16% from 2009


January to October U.S. prepared duck exports increased by 16% compared to 2009 numbers, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
Canada is the leading importer of U.S. prepared duck meat, receiving 45% of exports, with Vietnam, Thailand, Ecuador and Suriname covering the majority of the remainder. Overall duck commodity exports were down 1% for the January-October 2010 period due to a decrease in frozen commodity duck exports that offset the 25% increase in frozen whole duck exports.
Overall U.S imports of duck increased by 96% in 2010, with the majority of products coming from Canada. In particular, imports of frozen cuts have increased 291% since 2009, and made up 72% of all U.S. duck imports for the January-October period.

Nutrition labels to appear on poultry, other meat in 2012


Under a new U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service rule, scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, packages of ground or chopped poultry and meat will feature nutrition facts panels on their labels. Additionally, whole, raw cuts of poultry and meat will have nutrition facts panels either on their package labels or available for consumers at the point-of-purchase.
"More and more, busy American families want nutrition information that they can quickly and easily understand," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "We need to do all we can to provide nutrition labels that will help consumers make informed decisions." The nutrition facts panels will include the number of calories and the grams of total fat and saturated fat a product contains. Additionally, any product that lists a lean percentage statement, such as "76% lean," on its label also will list its fat percentage.
Examples of the major cuts of raw, single-ingredient poultry and meat products include whole or boneless chicken breasts and other pieces or beef whole cuts such as brisket or tenderloin steak. Examples of ground or chopped poultry and meat product include ground turkey and hamburger.

US hog inventory reaches 64.3 million for 2010


The United States' inventory of all hogs and pigs as of Dec. 1, 2010, came in at 64.3 million head, down 1% from the same time last year and down 2% from September, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report.
The breeding inventory was at 5.78 million head, down 1% from last year but up slightly from last quarter. Market hog inventory (58.5 million head) was down 1% from last year and down 2% from the previous quarter. The average pigs saved per litter hit a record high for the September-November 2010 period, at 9.89 compared to last year's 9.70.
U.S. hog producers intend to have 2.86 million sows farrow during the December 2010-February 2011 quarter, down 1% from last year's actual numbers for the same quarter. Intended farrowings for the second quarter of 2011 are estimated at 2.86 million sows, down 2% from the same time period last year.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Cobb laboratory focuses on animal genetics, biosecurity

A new biotechnology laboratory doubling the capacity of work on health diagnostics and animal genetics has been opened at the Cobb worldwide headquarters at Siloam Springs, Ark. The $2 million investment in the 11,000-square-foot complex enhances the range of testing to provide for future product development and continued growth. An assay that took four hours can now be completed in one hour.
New biosecurity features have been incorporated such as wearing company clothing with laboratory specific colored coats, laminar flow sterile hoods, room specific ventilation and new sample flow and showering-out procedures so that staff can visit bird facilities the next day. There is a walk-in refrigerator and freezer housing the diagnostic sample library and retaining DNA from at least two generations of pedigree birds. A viewing hallway enables visitors to see work in progress.

WATT offering daily poultry industry newsletters in 2011

New for 2011, WATT is launching Poultry Update -- breaking news in a mobile-friendly headline format for poultry growers, producers and integrators, sent Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. This newsletter will complement Poultry eNews, sent Monday and Thursday. Now readers can daily receive the latest industry news, trends and exclusive insight, sent directly to their inbox. Poultry Update offers a condensed format to deliver your news in an easy-to-read format, wherever you are. On the go, in the office or at home, stay in step on your mobile device or computer.
We hope you enjoy this new format, and if you haven't done so yet, please subscribe by clicking here. Or copy the following link into your browser to manage your newsletter preferences.
http://www.wattagnet.com/Members/CommunityPreferences.aspx

USDA plans to improve humane handling enforcement

The USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced several measures that will better ensure the humane treatment and slaughter of all cattle presented for processing at FSIS-inspected facilities.
"Under this administration, we have significantly strengthened our ability to enforce the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, but we have more work to do and must continue to look for ways that ensure the safe and humane slaughter of animals," said Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Elisabeth Hagen. "That is why we are taking concrete steps to address outstanding humane handling issues, ranging from enhanced employee training to clearer guidance on existing rules."
The agency is pursuing the following new measures:
  1. Issuing procedures to inspection personnel to clarify that all non-ambulatory mature cattle must be condemned and promptly euthanized to ensure they are humanely handled, regardless of the reason for the animal's non-ambulatory status.
  2. Responding to and soliciting comments on petitions from the Humane Society of the United States and Farm Sanctuary.
  3. Appointing an Ombudsman in the Office of Food Safety, designated specifically for humane handling issues.
  4. Requesting the USDA Office of Inspector General audit industry appeals of noncompliance records and other humane handling enforcement actions by FSIS inspection program personnel.
  5. Delivering enhanced humane handling training to give inspection personnel more practical, situation-based training.
For more information, visit the USDA-FSIS website.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Industria Avícola is now on Facebook

Industria Avícola is now on Facebook – the largest social media website in the world. Log on to Facebook, search for "Industria Avícola," and click on the "Like" button to read and discuss daily news, recent articles and the latest blogs; to watch videos; and to network with fellow poultry industry members.
Other ways to stay up-to-date with the poultry industry is to follow Industria Avícola on Twitter, create a profile on AnimalAgNet or read Industria Avícola on any smartphone.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Aviagen hosts broiler road shows in Scandinavia

Aviagen SweChick, Aviagen’s Swedish business unit, recently held a series of broiler road shows for customers in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. This was the first series of events for Aviagen SweChick and was organized by Aviagen SweChick’s customer focus team and supported by Aviagen specialists. The events updated audiences on the latest developments in the company’s research and development program and gave practical advice on maximizing Ross broiler performance.
Aviagen’s UK Breeding Program Director Jim McAdam gave an overview of Aviagen’s breeding program. Africa Fernandez, one of Aviagen’s company veterinarians, talked about health issues including infectious bronchitis and coccidiosis. Ian Dowsland, a technical services manager who works with customers in Scandinavia, gave a presentation on creating the optimal broiler environment. Finally, Nutrition Service Manager Leonardo Linares looked at feed form and the importance of proper nutrition on achieving true performance potential.
Overall, the events were attended by over 130 representatives from all parts of the Scandinavian broiler industry.

U.S. Poultry & Egg Association supports 2010 National 4-H conference

USPOULTRY’s Paul Pressley with National 4-H Avian Bowl winners from California.
At the recent 2010 National 4-H Poultry & Egg Conference at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition in Louisville, Ky., U.S. Poultry & Egg Association presented awards in five competitive events. This year’s national conference hosted 144 senior 4-H’ers representing 22 states, who participated as teams or individuals in the various events.
The annual conference allows members of 4-H groups from all over the country to compete in educational events that help them learn to formulate and defend decisions, speak publicly and expand their poultry-related skills.
The conference was funded through various individuals, companies and commodity organizations. Thirty-three donors and sponsors contributed to the conference, with USPOULTRY sponsoring the banquet.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

JSR will supply pigs to Xiangfan region of China

Yorkshire, UK-based pig breeding company JSR recently hosted business delegates from the Xiangfan province of China, during which the company and delegates discussed investment opportunities in the province, including a 900-herd nucleus facility. Xiangfan is in central China, with access to airports, railways and highways, and has been called China's national agricultural area, where farming contributes 16.7% of gross domestic product in the region.
Currently, six million pigs are slaughtered in the region each year, and the plan is to increase the figure to 100 million by 2020.
The delegates, who met with Paul Anderson, JSR international sales director, Glenn Dams, JSR managing director and Grant Walling, director of research and genetics, were keen to gain a greater insight into the work that JSR is undertaking in China, including the building and stocking of a 900-herd nucleus facility in the Xiangfan province.

Pig housing concept designed around animal welfare needs

Sanastal will offer a strict separation between clean and dirty pathways.
KWB Boxtel and SPRIKK Architecture based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and Genugten Agri based in Sint Oedenrode, The Netherlands, are developing an animal housing concept integrating air scrubbing, air circulation and the use of passive energy and energy recovery. The housing, called Sanastal, aims to produce a house for fattening pigs that improves living conditions.
The environmental benefits (energy-neutral, minimum emissions) are realized through a multi-phase air scrubber from KWB in Boxtel, UV technology and energy-saving techniques, including a high-yield heat exchanger, solar cells, online data control and the method used to quickly remove manure from the house. Animal welfare benefits can be seen through the housing design, where the pigs are held in a multilevel system with freedom of movement, toys and opportunities for exercise. The housing also allows for optimum penetration of daylight and a strict separation between clean and dirty pathways. KWB Boxtel is aiming for at least a Dutch 1-star certification for the meat produced in the housing.

US Poultry & Egg Association receives Wyndham Jade donation for IPE

From left: John Starkey, president of U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, is presented a check by Randi Benner, Wyndham Jade, and the two are joined by Carol Hanson and Charlie Olentine of USPOULTRY.
The U.S. Poultry and Egg Association recently received a monetary donation from Wyndham Jade, the association’s official housing authority for the International Poultry Expo and International Feed Expo, to offset the association’s transportation expenses incurred during the 2011 show.
“We are grateful for the donation from Wyndham Jade,” said John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY. “We have enjoyed our partnership with Wyndham Jade over the years and are pleased with the consideration and care they have shown to our IPE attendees.”
Randi Benner, vice president of sales, Wyndham Jade, presented the check.

Construction starting on Cobb breeding complex in Tenn.

Cobb will invest $19 million in developing a new pedigree breeding complex in Tennessee, which will be the fifth such pedigree complex in the country. An agreement to purchase a 1,000-acre farm at Deer Lodge, Tenn., is signed and construction work is scheduled to begin immediately, with completion within one year.
The project, which will create around 115 new jobs locally, has begun the process to secure a Fast-track Infra-Structure Development Program grant from the state of Tennessee through the county’s economic development committee.
“We’ve had an extremely positive response from Morgan County and the state of Tennessee officials who welcome the boost this will provide to their local economy,” said Dave Juenger, director of support services for Cobb-Vantress.
The pedigree complex will house a number of Cobb lines including some of the Hybro lines acquired by the company in 2007. The development will include a hatchery as well as the brooding, rearing and production housing and employee center. In November, the company opened its $14 million parent stock hatchery in Lafayette, Tenn.

Lactation key to sow performance

Gilts that suffer a productivity drop in their second litter risk a continued trend of poorer performance in later parities, according to Dutch pig expert Professor Bas Kemp.
Speaking at a British Pig Executive sow productivity seminar in the UK recently, Prof Kemp said: “‘Second litter drop syndrome’ is related to weight loss during a gilt’s first lactation – a situation which arises when the gilt still needs to grow, but at the same time has to produce milk for her litter.”
He highlighted the important factors to improve reproductive performance in the first lactation, pointing out that: “The feeding strategy should aim to prevent drops in feed intake. The best way to do this is to gradually increase feed intake from 2kg on the day of farrowing up to an ad-lib supply by the end of the first week.
“It is very important that gilts are not over fed in early lactation. Feeding levels can also be too high in late pregnancy. There are indications that high feeding levels, resulting in fat sows at the end of pregnancy, can reduce mammary gland development.”
While more highly concentrated diets were also be an option, Prof Kemp warned producers that extra fat in the diet could lead to increased fat content in the milk and fatter piglets, rather than gilt growth and improved condition. 

Poultry processer Townsends files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Townsends Inc., the Georgetown, Del., poultry processer and four wholly owned subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The Company's operations are expected to continue during the bankruptcy process as it explores its options.
"Since 2008, our company has been impacted by record high feed-ingredient costs on the one hand and low chicken pricing on the other," said Frederick B. Beilstein III, Chief Executive Officer. "The Company's management and its Board of Directors determined that a Chapter 11 filing was a necessary part of the Company’s restructuring. We believe that it will allow us to best serve our stakeholders, including our customers, our vendors and our employees."
The company also is seeking approval to enter into a $52 million debtor-in-possession financing facility, to enable normal operation of its business, including the timely payment of employee wages and other obligations.
Townsends was founded in 1891 and sold 683 million pounds of poultry products in 2009. The company also operates facilities in Arkansas, North Carolina and Georgia, and its brands include Chef’s Select, Perfect Breast, Pristine Cuisine, Ruby Dragon, Speedy Bird and Zabiha Halal. 

Estimated 100,000 horses are either abandoned or unwanted

The Journal of Animal Science has published a review article on the magnitude of the problem of unwanted horses in the U.S. The article* authored by Katie Holcomb and colleagues at the School of Veterinary Medicine University of California at Davis estimated that 100,000 horses are either abandoned or unwanted each year.
The capacity of the 326 registered nonprofit equine rescue organizations is 13,400 or approximately 14% of the annual requirement. The problems necessitating relocation of unwanted horses concern health and age since 50% of the relinquished animals show illness, injury, lameness or suboptimal body condition and their median age is 12 years.
The statistics relating to disposal of horses assembled in the JAS article illustrate the Law of Unintended Consequences. HSUS and kindred organizations have pressed for closure of horse abattoirs, precipitating the current problem that will intensify in magnitude and severity unless domestic slaughter facilities are available.
* J.Anim. Sci [2010]88:4142-4150

Possible Sara Lee sale to JBS stalls over price

Sara Lee Corp. has reportedly rejected an offer from JBS SA to takeover the company, according to unnamed sources in a Bloomberg report. The sources, declining identification because of the privacy of the talks, said Sara Lee considered the price offer from JBS too low.
JBS has declined to comment on "recent speculation in the press regarding a possible acquisition in North America," according to a brief statement posted on the company's website Dec. 19, from Jeremiah O'Callaghan, of the Investor Relations Office.
JBS, based in São Paulo, Brazil, "has been in talks with Sara Lee about a deal for several months and many key details have been worked out, the people said," according to the Bloomberg report.
Sara Lee stocks dipped slightly by 0.4% early Monday.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Russia approves 2011 poultry tariff-rate quota of 350K metric tons

Russia’s Customs Union Commission approved a tariff-rate quota of 350,000 metric tons for poultry for 2011, according to published reports. A Bureau of National Affairs report from Moscow was cited, in which there were no country-specific allocations.
TRQ reportedly includes frozen, deboned chicken meat, frozen bone-in chicken halves or quarters, frozen bone-in legs and parts thereof and frozen deboned turkey meat. Whole-carcass poultry was not included, as it has been previously -- a positive note for U.S. exports.
Learn more about the Russia poultry outlook for 2011 in an exclusive WATT interview, in which Russia trade experts talk with WATT PoultryUSA about U.S.-Russia poultry trade and the development of the Russian poultry industry. Watch the video / listen to the podcast.

US farm prices for corn, soybeans increase

The USDA WASDE report for December 10 is little changed from the previous estimates in November. Imports of corn increased by 5 million bushels and exports declined by a similar quantity. The publication of the report has had little impact on the CBT quotations for corn.
With respect to soybeans, yield was decreased slightly impacting production by less than 1%. Ending stocks declined by 48% to 165 million bushels mainly due to an increase in exports.
Soybean meal supply and utilization remained fairly constant from the previous estimate.
Consistent with domestic and international trends, average farm prices for corn, soybeans and for soybean meal increased, as shown in the following tables.

IGC predicts rise in world grains trade through 2016

An average annual rise of 2% in world trade in grains during the crop years 2010/11 to 2015/16 was among five-year supply and demand projections presented to a meeting of the International Grains Council held in Perth, Australia.
World trade in grains in 2010/11 was placed at 241 million metric tons, marginally above the previous year. Wheat trade is set to fall, but this will likely be offset by increased maize shipments.
The meeting also heard expectations that world grain supplies will tighten in 2010/11 as production of wheat, maize and barley fall short of forecast consumption. However, the slowing growth of industrial use, especially of maize used for ethanol in the U.S., will limit the rise in grains consumption to 1.5% compared to 2% in the previous year.
The substantial fall in grain output in the CIS area, especially in Russia, is expected to lead to a shift of around 30 million metric tons in wheat and barley exports to other suppliers, notably the U.S., European Union, Argentina and Australia.
Having risen by 120 million metric tons in the previous three years, global carryover stocks of grain in 2010/11 are expected to decline by some 60 million tons, half of this being due to tightening maize supplies.
The outlook for 2011/12 was said to include a 2% increase in the global wheat area. This would partially be in response to higher prices, but it was also forecast to reflect a recovery after the extreme summer weather conditions of 2010.
Despite recent crop problems, said the IGC, grain availabilities are actually higher than forecast a year ago. However, consumption projections are also lifted, and stocks at the end of 2010/11 are expected to show some further decline from those previously forecast. Maize supplies, in particular, are likely to tighten. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Pas Reform acquires LAN

Pas Reform has acquired Dutch company LAN, accelerating plans for globalization within its automated hatchery division.
According to Pas Reform CEO Bart Aangenendt, LAN will give the hatchery industry access to new applications, especially in complex handling systems, robotics and vision technology. LAN will be operating under a new name, LAN Hatchery Automation.

Duck management, feed technologies discussed at Grimaud Asia seminar

Grimaud Frères Sélection employees discussed the latest duck management and feed technologies at the company's second Asia seminar, held in Vietnam on Dec. 7 and 8.
Roughly 10 Asian companies were represented at the two-day event, providing performance information on the various Grimaud duck breeds of the East Asia region. Presenters and audience members discussed ways to develop high-quality and profitable duck meat production, with particular emphasis on the Vietnamese market.

Corn Yield Contest winners averaged 301.721 bushels per acre

Twenty-four winners in eight production categories averaged more than 301.721 bushels per acre — nearly twice the national average of 154.3 bushels per acre — in the National Corn Growers Association 2010 National Corn Yield Contest.
Winners attributed their success to advanced production techniques, informed growing practices and improved seed varieties. Above-average yields came in spite of challenging weather conditions that plagued the Corn Belt throughout the season. “While this contest provides growers a chance to participate in a good natured competition with their peers, it also advances farming techniques as a whole,” said Steve Ebke, chair of the NCGA’s Production and Stewardship Action Team. “The very techniques and practices contest winners develop provide the basis for more widely used advances that benefit the industry. This contest highlights how innovation, both from growers and technology providers, allows us to meet the growing demand for food, feed, fuel and fiber in a sustainable manner.”
Participation in the 2010 contest was up 2.3% over last year, with 7,119 entries.

Feeding the World in 2050: How agriculture can balance sustainability, consumer demand

Alltech will focus on the long-term challenges of agriculture with its 2011 North American Lecture Tour, "Feeding the World in 2050: Dinner for 9.3 Billion People."
The 21-stop tour, which will take place from Jan. 8 through Jan. 28, will explore how agriculture and the animal health industry can find the balance for sustainable food production, production of energy and protection of resources while satisfying consumer demands. “It is widely accepted that global food demand may double by 2050 as the worldwide population moves towards its expected apex,” said Alltech founder and president Dr. Pearse Lyons. “We in agriculture must think differently by adopting new technology at a faster pace and communicating in a way we never have."
Lecture topics include strategies for improving performance while satisfying the consumer and protecting the environment, the applications of Nutrigenomics, trace mineral nutrition, how the "farm of the future" will look and how agribusiness can sustain itself in the long-term.

Pilgrim's Pride CEO Don Jackson to be president/CEO of JBS USA

Don Jackson is set to become the president and CEO of JBS USA.
Pilgrim's Pride CEO Don Jackson will step down from his position with the company to become the president and CEO of JBS USA, Pilgrim's parent company.
William Lovette, president and COO of Case Foods Inc., has been appointed by the Pilgrim's board of directors to take Jackson's place as president and CEO, effective Jan. 3, 2011.
Jackson became CEO of Pilgrim's Pride in 2008 as the company was going through bankruptcy. “He’s led an incredible turnaround at Pilgrim’s,” said Gary Rhodes, Pilgrim’s spokesman. “He joined us weeks after we filed bankruptcy and…he helped direct the successful reorganization of Pilgrim’s and helped reposition the company as a leaner, stronger competitor in the chicken business.” JBS S.A. bought Pilgrim's in 2009.
Jackson will report to Wesley Batista, the current president and CEO of JBS who will remain on as chairman of both Pilgrim's and JBS USA.

Monday, December 20, 2010

W. Milton Hendrixson inducted into NC Poultry Federation Hall of Fame

Goldsboro Milling Company's W. Milton Hendrixson has been inducted into the North Carolina Poultry Federation's Hall of Fame.
Hendrixson was selected for his achievements and commitment throughout 50 years of poultry industry service. “Milton is an intelligent, dedicated and caring man who is truly invested in the growth and improvement of the poultry industry,” said Walter Pelletier, president of Goldsboro Milling Company. “Goldsboro Milling is extremely proud and honored to have such a hardworking, committed individual like Milton on our team.”
Hendrixson received his award at the 2010 Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony and Luncheon on Nov. 4.

Pfizer launches dysentery awareness campaign, prevention becomes high priority in winter

Pfizer Animal Health has launched a campaign to increase awareness of swine dysentery and has published a guide, "Enteric Disease Management," that details its prevention and treatment.
According to Pfizer, prevention should be a particularly high priority in winter due to the pathogen's ability to survive for up to seven weeks outside a pig in cold, moist conditions. Dysentery is estimated to cost more than £10 per pig finished when higher mortality, increased feed costs and non-marketable animals are taken into consideration.
The guide also covers other pathogens, such as E. coli, salmonella and coronavirus, and discusses the potential causes for each pathogen.

US-China Joint Commission resolutions will increase market access for US farmers, ranchers

The latest session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade resulted in several initiatives and resolutions, including seven new agreements covering agricultural issues.
Agricultural collaboration, soybean exports, statistics and promotion of investment in the United States were among the topics discussed, and the beef market was of particular interest to both countries. “I am pleased with the progress made today towards resolving our differences on beef access," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Technical talks will resume as soon as possible with the goal of re-opening China’s market in early 2011. This is a vital outcome for our farmers and ranchers, underscoring the importance of the JCCT in providing a forum for our stakeholders.”
In addition to agriculture, the JCCT covered intellectual property rights enforcement, neutral technology standards, clean energy and government procurement.

CDC: Foodborne pathogen illnesses down from 1999 numbers

Two papers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the number of foodborne pathogen illnesses is down to 9.4 million annually, as opposed to 14 million illnesses recorded in 1999. Hospitalizations and deaths are also down, to 55,961 hospitalizations and 1,351 deaths per year from 1999's 60,000 hospitalizations and 1,800 deaths. "The new data tell us that our food safety strategies have been working and we need to sustain our research efforts," said American Meat Institute President James H. Hodges. "Even one foodborne illness linked to meat and poultry products is cause for concern and we will not be satisfied until our food supply is even safer."
By far, the pathogen that causes the most illnesses is noro-virus (58%). Beyond that, nontyphoidal Salmonella spp (11%), C. perfringens (10%) and Campylobacter (9%) are all top causes of pathogen-related illness. Nontyphoidal Salmonella spp is still the leading cause of death by pathogen (28%).

Plant to produce natural betaine from bioethanol

Denmark-based Danisco is planning the scale-up of a new extraction process for producing natural betaine that uses vinasse, a byproduct of sugar-beet-derived bioethanol.
Previously, the only method of extracting natural betaine involved sugar-beet molasses, a side stream of sugar production. In addition to increasing the availability of the animal feed ingredient, the new process will allow betaine-extracted bioethanol vinasses to be recycled and sold as crop fertilizer.
A new plant, which will be the first to use the process, will be built in cooperation with manufacturing supplier Novasep Process.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Study focuses on improving pig feed with new Bacillus subtilis strains

Chr. Hansen Animal Health and Denmark's University of Aarhus have partnered to lead a project focusing on nitrogen loss as a result of too much protein in pig feed.
The project's goal is to develop special Bacillus subtilis strains to reduce the protein content in pigs' feed, which in turn could reduce the loss of nitrogen to the environment by 10% annually. "Today pigs’ feed contains large amounts of protein to ensure that the pigs get the essential amino acids," said Benedicte Flambard, director of innovation, human and animal health with Chr. Hansen. "However, high protein content in the feed also involves loss of nitrogen as the pigs cannot utilize all the nitrogen supplied to them. This may result in nitrogen wash out to lakes and streams with subsequent negative effects on animals and groundwater due to oxygen depletion."
As a side benefit, the added bacteria will have a stabilizing effect on the intestinal flora of the pigs, which will strengthen their immune systems. "High protein content in the feed is likely to increase the risk of diarrhea and thus a higher consumption of antibiotics," said Flambard.
The three-year project has received €1 million in public research funds from the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation.

National Pork Board offers biosecurity tips

According to the National Pork Board, effective biosecurity doesn't have to be difficult or expensive.
“There are many simple things you can do to protect your herd’s health,” said Patrick Webb, director of swine health programs for the National Pork Board. He provided the following suggestions:
  • Conduct a biosecurity audit with input from your veterinarian.
  • Use proper signage at your farm, identifying disease control areas, visitor areas and parking.
  • Use a visitor log book to record every non-employee who comes through your doors — even regular service providers.
  • Require appropriate downtimes (these can be established by your veterinarian) for visitors with previous swine contact.
  • Require employees and visitors to wear clean coveralls and boots; provide small, medium and large sizes of each.
  • Limit the sharing of equipment to reduce the potential spread of diseases.
  • Establish a plan for bringing new animals onto your farm that includes a mandatory quarantine period.
  • Change boots and coveralls after visiting animal concentration points, with special care taken after visiting sale barns or buying stations.
  • Maintain animal movement records — both incoming and outgoing — and keep detailed information of buyers, sellers and the animals themselves.
“Preventing the introduction of swine disease is an ongoing challenge, but good biosecurity goes a long ways towards controlling serious animal health problems,” said Webb.

USDA to conduct GIPSA rule cost-benefit analysis

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced that it will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the rule on livestock and poultry production and marketing proposed by the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.
This decision comes on the heels of industry concerns with regards to the perceived lack of an adequate economic analysis of the proposed rule. “A serious and robust analysis of the economic impact of the proposed GIPSA rule is long overdue,” said National Chicken Council Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Bill Roenigk. “The rule will have a profound, far-reaching and costly impact on the poultry and livestock industries, and it should not have been put forth without an appropriate analysis of its impact on farmers and ranchers, the industry and consumers.”
In addition to the analysis, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said teams are being put together within the USDA to study the thousands of comments submitted during the rule's comment period, which ended on Nov. 22. Vilsack would not speculate on the length of time needed to go through the comments, but did say that the rule as it currently stands is a draft and could be extensively changed before being finalized.

Weltec Biopower certified to produce biogas

After a 147-day test conducted by the German Agricultural Association, Weltec Biopower GmbH received the DLG FokusTest certification for its effective production of biogas.http://www.wattagnet.com/
The test checks how effectively a biogas plant degrades organic dry substances and thus total carbon for producing biogas. The calculated biogas yield is then compared with the maximum possible biogas yield. Weltec's dry substance degradation rate was 83.9% and the specific gas yield was 81.5%. The amount of biogas produced for the duration of the test was 736,773 standard cubic meters.

Canadian Young Farmers Program winner to study US hatching egg industry at Aviagen

Hatching egg producer Laurens Van Der Rijt, the recipient of the Canadian Broiler Hatching Egg Producers Association's Young Farmers Program, is headed to Aviagen's Alabama facilities to study the U.S. poultry industry.
The program, which aims to broaden knowledge of the hatching egg industry in other countries and is designed around the recipient's experience, allowed Van Der Rijt the opportunity to look at Aviagen's product performance, nutritional advice, veterinary issues, biosecurity objectives, production planning and shipping/export processes. Van Der Rijt was also able to examine a company hatchery, egg depot, pullet and breeder farms and a commercial customer facility.

Almarai Co., Petersime to build new broiler hatchery in Middle East

Saudi Arabia-based food and beverage manufacturer Almarai Company is expanding further into the Middle East poultry production business with the construction of a new broiler hatchery.
The company acquired poultry integrator Hadco in 2009 and is now looking to become a leader in the poultry industry. Almarai has partnered with Petersime to build the greenfield hatchery, which will have state-of-the-art incubators, automation equipment and climate control systems. "My goal is to build the greenfield hatchery within the budget, time frame and industry-leading quality standards of Almarai," said Almarai Construction Projects Manager John Traynor. "My team is working closely together with Petersime’s project department, since they will not only supply the incubation equipment, but also all additional hatchery equipment such as climate control systems and automation.”

Butterball's 'Celebrate Turkey' competition brings agricultural education to classrooms

Butterball LLC awarded the third-grade winners of its "Celebrate Turkey" art contest while educating students about turkeys, in conjunction with the launch of the company's "Celebrate Agriculture" Weekly Reader program.
Butterball challenged the third-grade classes of Garner, N.C. elementary schools to create turkey-themed artwork to help celebrate Thanksgiving and encourage small-group collaboration. While presenting the winners with their prizes ($20 coupons toward Butterball turkeys and a permanent spot for their artwork in the memorabilia room at Butterball's Garner headquarters), company representatives gave presentations on the care of turkeys. “The contest, like the Weekly Reader program, aims to bring agriculture to the classroom and the community,” said Keith Shoemaker, president and CEO. “Butterball is committed to employing the safest, socially responsible farming practices in the production of its turkeys. We are pleased to celebrate turkey, agriculture and Thanksgiving with students throughout Garner and the nation.”

Corn price to drop if ethanol tax credit expires

According to a release by the National Chicken Council, the price of corn will drop by 50 cents per bushel if the tax credit expires at the end of 2010. This finding was included in a report by Dr. Bruce Babcock of Iowa State University.
Quoting the NCC release, Babcock stated, “although the arguments in support of and against the tax credit extension have changed little since the summer, the economic situation and the corn, livestock and ethanol industries have changed dramatically.”
The current high price of corn attributed jointly to domestic demand, diversion to ethanol and exports have resulted in windfalls for corn producers and increased costs for the livestock industry and ultimately consumers. It is estimated that a rise of 50 cents per bushel for corn represents 2.2 cents per dozen eggs or 1.6 cents per processed pound of broiler meat.

Aviagen hosts poultry best practices training

Aviagen held an international training course at its laboratory in Scotland, focusing on the importance of effective laboratory techniques and improving the care and performance of poultry flocks.
The lab training covered the areas of virology, serology, bacteriology and the molecular departments. “It is our mission to provide as much support as possible to our customers, but also to help grow the poultry industry worldwide," said Dr. Kara Pierce, Aviagen laboratory manager. "All our trainees will take back new techniques and advice to their own labs and pass on tips to their colleagues.”
Aviagen holds two tailor-made courses each year as a way to provide support to its customers. Since the class initiative began in 1997, Aviagen gas completed training for more than 300 people from 30 countries

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

British free range geese logo supports producers standards

A new logo for the British free range goose has been created by the British Goose Producers to highlight producers' methods and strengthen the bird's brand image.
Geese are reared today using the same methods as centuries ago, said Eddie Hegarty, chairman of the British Goose Producers. “Nowadays they are typically reared through the autumn on grass rather than on corn stubble behind the harvest, but they do enjoy a very similar, natural lifestyle," said Hegarty. The new logo will be used on promotional material used by BGP members, including product literature and websites.

VIV Asia to expand, offer new features in 2011

VIV Asia 2011 is shaping up to be the largest show yet, with 22,000 visitors and 650 suppliers expected.
Driven by the positive growth of Southeast Asia's poultry and pig livestock industries, the tenth edition of VIV Asia 2011 is lining up to be the largest ever.
With a target of 22,000 visitors from 95 countries, the exhibition will showcase 650 suppliers, up from 550 in 2009, with more than 120 new exhibitors showing their products and technology at VIV Asia for the first time. The show will be held March 9-11, 2011, in the Bangkok International Trade and Exposition Centre in Bangkok, Thailand. One new grand hall has been added, and will contain the largest presentation of additives and animal health products for the Southeast Asian market.
Several new features for 2011 were announced at a press conference in Thailand in December, including:
  • Co-location with Aquatic Asia 2011, a dedicated event for Asian aquaculture. Two full-day conferences: one sponsored by Novus International, the other by Bayer Health Care.
  • A new conference Lab@VIV Asia, with International Food Hygiene Magazine. Will occur Monday and Tuesday prior to the exhibition, and cover Mycotoxins and many other aspects of food safety and quality control testing.
  • Feedtech/CropTech, held with media partner WATT, focused on feed mill producers and equipment manufacturers (milling, storage and handling). There will be many new exhibitors from this sector, as well. Technical and economic sessions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Equipment suppliers hosting their international distributor network, with poultry equipment exhibitors expanding their booth space by 25%.
  • Smart solutions for mid-capacity egg handling and processing; new technology in the egg sector.
  • China Visions, a trade dinner the first night of the show, discussing special opportunities in China and how to do business in China.
  • Focus 2021: the state of the Asian livestock industry developments in the next 10 years, presented by Rabobank. 
The show will be held in the center of a high-growth region for the livestock industry. The ASEAN 10 countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Brunei) have the goal of creating a single regional economic market, known as the Asean Economic Community, by 2015. These 10 countries would be combined into a single market economy under one free trade agreement, with a combined population of more than 600 million. Livestock production demand will increase, common programs for livestock production will be implemented and certification will be common across all countries.
VIV Asia has easy access through the Bangkok International Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which serves more than 100 airlines and has direct flights between Bangkok and 191 cities around the world.

Corrie Mains Farm wins Scottish Egg Quality Award


Jim and Anne Smallie pose with their son Ross after receiving the Championship shield and certificate.
 Egg producer retailers Jim and Anne Smillie of Corrie Mains Farm in Ayrshire, Scotland, have won top honors in the 2010 Scottish Egg Quality Awards.
The farm beat 21 other entrants with a score of 520 points to take the award for the second year in a row. "The standard of management at Corrie Mains is exceptional and this is reflected in their continuing success in this competition, which they first entered in 1997," said David Beckley of BOCM PAULS. "They are at the top in the UK for production and egg quality and are very bio-secure. They have built up their markets by offering top-quality eggs with a first-class delivery service."
The Scottish Agricultural College, which sponsors the awards, judges entrants on shell color, egg weight, yolk color, albumen quality, shell thickness, freedom from meat and blood spots, external appearance and packaging.

Extension of US ethanol tax credit brings multi-industry response

The U.S. Senate has agreed to a tax policy package that includes a one-year extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit at its current level of $0.45 per gallon.
This move comes shortly after the Senate defeated a similar package that would have extended the VEETC through 2011 but reduced it by 20%, to $0.36 per gallon.
In response to the vote, a multi-industry coalition representing the food industry, animal agriculture, environmental groups and budget watchdogs released a statement expressing their concerns. “The Senate’s decision to accept a deal to extend for another year the outdated and unnecessary subsidies for the corn ethanol industry is outrageous and shortsighted," said the coalition statement. "Now it’s time for the House of Representatives — especially the Leadership and the House negotiators on the tax package — to stand up and say no to extending federal corn ethanol subsidies. The federal government should not waste another $6 billion on this needless subsidy. It is bad for the environment, food producers, farmers and consumers. And at a time when the  budget deficit and national debt have reached a crisis level, bad for the nation’s long-term fiscal health. Enough.”
Members of the coalition are also concerned about sustainability. "Burning a substantial portion of our food and feed as fuel is not a sustainable answer, in the long term, to solving this nation's fuel needs," said J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of the American Meat Institute. "Continuing to divert a significant portion of our corn crop into our fuel tanks will continue to increase costs for the meat and poultry industry and will result in higher food prices for consumers."
The coalition has said that it plans to keep a close eye on further developments regarding the tax credit.

European Commission takes first step in agricultural policy overhaul

The European Commission has proposed a new "Agricultural Product Quality Schemes Regulation" as part of the first step in a planned overhaul of the European Union's agricultural product quality policy.
The effort groups together various EU product quality labeling schemes into a single piece of legislation, targeting the flagship scheme for protected designations of origin and geographical indications, the traditional specialties guaranteed scheme and Optional Quality Terms. The labeling proposal is part of a larger "Quality Package" meant to "support quality agricultural products in the EU," according to the Commission. The package includes a proposal to streamline the adoption of marketing standards by the Commission, new guidelines on best practices for voluntary certification schemes and new guidelines on the labeling of products using geographical indications as ingredients.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

US poultry, pork production to rise slightly in 2011

Contrasting trends for poultry and pig meat production in the United States have been projected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, although expansion in 2011 is forecast for both sectors.
On the USDA’s figures, U.S. broiler production has increased by 3.4% in 2010, but in 2011 its growth rate may slow to 1.3%. Pork production, by contrast, is expected to bounce back from a reduction of 2.9% in 2010 to expand in 2011 by 1.1%.
Total red meat and poultry production in the U.S. in 2010 is now estimated by the USDA as up 0.8% from 2009 at 41.64 million metric tons. The agency projects this level to be maintained in 2011.

Guide to IPE/IFE available on Web or as App for iPhone, iPad

The guide to the International Poultry Expo/International Feed Expo is now available either online or as a fully featured app for the iPhone and iPad. IPE/IFE, the world's premier show for the poultry and feed industries, will take place in Atlanta January 26-28, 2011.
The guide includes full information on the show, a complete list of exhibitors, a listing of exhibitors by product category, show floor maps, seminar schedules and hundreds of listings of what specific exhibitors will be displaying at the event.
The guide can be viewed on computers and digital-enabled smart phones at http://www.digitalexpoguide-digital.com/, and the iPhone/iPad app can be downloaded by searching for IPE Guide at the Apple App Store or at this link.

Labor shortage forces automation on Indian poultry farms

A shortage of trained labor is forcing Indian poultry farmers to turn to automation to keep their businesses running, in spite of increased input costs.
Resistance to higher short-term costs turned to acceptance when calculations showed that automation actually saves farmers money over a five-year span, said Poultry Federation of India spokesman Ricky Thaper. The cost of automation on a typical commercial broiler farm comes in at Rs 80-100 per bird, depending on the exact level of automation adopted. However, said Thaper, the savings in terms of feed waste, labor cost, improved growth and efficiency more than outweigh such cost in the long run.
Many equipment manufacturers are taking advantage of the new trend, said Thaper, providing automation options to layers, broilers and breeder farms.

Do we really have to create issues for PETA?

A recent press release by PETA and consequential national publicity in the print and social media highlighted the practice of disposing of depleted flocks by grinding hens alive. We have faced this issue with cockerel chicks and received criticism as an industry. Following the quarantine on the movement of live poultry from San Bernardino and Riverside counties of California in 2002 as a result of exotic Newcastle disease, producers had to find alternatives to shipping hens northward to a Sacramento processing plant. One producer fed live hens into a wood chipper resulting in a public outcry and condemnation.
Now the industry is faced with the aftermath of a PETA disclosure that the management of TWJ Farms located in Wayne County, Neb., regularly disposes of spent hens by grinding live birds without prior CO2 euthanasia. The owner of the farm Joe Claybaugh defended the action which hopefully is an aberration, by stating without physiological evidence “that the grinding process kills the chickens more quickly than gassing and is therefore more humane.”
Witnesses of the process recount alleged mutilation and partial dismemberment of individual hens during the process. How this Neanderthal can consider the practice of live grinding “humane” defies imagination. Live grinding is heinous and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Cost is the only justification for not gassing hens in “kill carts” or dumpsters prior to grinding or other methods of disposal.
What Claybaugh in his ignorance and self-centered indifference forgets is the effect on the image of the industry. Our loyal consumers can relate to inhumane practices including severe beak trim (read “de-beaking”), starvation molting and now this patently abhorrent method of depletion. The fact that TWJ Farms is a supplier to Michael Foods did not pass unnoticed and this company was forced to respond by banning the practice with immediate effect.
It remains to be seen whether the UEP will issue a statement of condemnation and disassociating the mainstream of the industry from the callous and irresponsible actions of this producer. It does not require a panel of experts to rule on this gross deviation from acceptable management of living animals. It also does not require a consumer survey to establish the public resentment towards live grinding. A rapid response from UEP or their public relations consultants would have been helpful as many consumers may regard silence as endorsement or indifference.
If there are other producers engaging in this practice they should cease grinding live hens immediately and initiate CO2 gassing prior to disposal. We absolutely do not want to hand PETA, HSUS and kindred organizations any issues which reflect adversely on what may be regarded as an industry committed to humane practices. Gross violation of acceptable husbandry inevitably leads to restrictive legislation and increased scrutiny by regulatory agencies. This affects the innocent and those who follow acceptable codes of practice.
The Claybaughs within our industry and others with an evident disregard of their responsibilities as participants in the chain of food production and stewardship of living animals should be condemned and their practices brought into conformity with acceptable standards.

Aviagen hosts North American broiler tour for Japan Chunky Assoc.

Aviagen Inc. hosted 16 members of the Japan Chunky Association on a tour of U.S. and Canadian broiler farms and processing plants.
The tour allowed the members of the JCA to study North American poultry management techniques and practices. “This delegation is an example of Aviagen’s long tradition of forging strong customer relationships by sharing knowledge and collaborating with our customers to continually improve upon their success with our products,” said Bill Souther, senior vice president of Aviagen.
The JCA goes abroad annually to gain knowledge of practices outside of Japan. “This mission has been a great success, and we have been impressed with what we have experienced," said Nippon Chunky Sales Manager Hideaki Kokubo. "It has been practical and applicable for all who participated to observe how best practices from U.S. and Canadian operations can be applied to the benefit of their own businesses"

Monday, December 13, 2010

JSR Genetics signs 1,1000-animal contract with Guangzhou Animal Husbandry

JSR Genetics Ltd. signed a 1,100-animal contract with Guangzhou Animal Husbandry Company as part of the UK and China Business Summit.
JSR hopes to use the animals to accelerate growth in the Asian market. “We have identified Asia as a major target for JSR and have already succeeded in establishing thriving nucleus herds in Japan, Korea and Vietnam," said JSR International Sales Director Paul Anderson. "Now, we are working hard to realize opportunities and develop our presence in both China and Taiwan, working with UK Trade and investment support, which has been hugely beneficial.”
Shipment of the animals is expected in early 2011.

MHP chicken meat sales up 29% for first nine months

MHP S.A.'s revenue is up by 29% for the third quarter of the 2010 fiscal year, while chicken meat sales volume is up 29% for the first nine months, according to published numbers.
Revenue came in at UAH2 billion (compared to Q3 2009's UAH1.55 billion). Demand for chicken meat remained high throughout the first nine months of the fiscal year, according to the company, resulting in sales volume reaching 249,500 metric tons. Net income for the third quarter increased by 330% to UAH441 million (compared to UAH103 million in 2009). “We are pleased with MHP’s third quarter performance, which demonstrates strong year-on-year growth and the continued improvement in our key financial metrics driven by the performance of our poultry business," said MHP CEO Yuriy Kosiuk. "The current market conditions show how beneficial MHP's business model of vertical integration is, as it ensures stable profitability despite the fluctuations in grain prices."

HSUS disclosures on Cal-Maine egg complex

On November 17, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released a video and commentary alleging abuse at a Cal-Maine egg production complex in Texas. The clandestine video was filmed by an HSUS investigator during October 2010. The allegations included: failure to promptly remove dead birds from cages, trapping of individual birds in cages by defects in wire and injury to the feet of some hens.
As an experienced poultry veterinarian, I am aware that it is possible in the best run and operated farms to encounter a dead bird in a cage even with routine daily collection. It is also possible to find localized areas in houses where atmospheric conditions may be less than optimal for a limited period.
Unfortunately, HSUS has the luxury of selectively editing videos and presenting their version of what may or may not be consistently present in the operation. The fact that HSUS investigators make false claims when completing pre-employment forms places in questions their veracity. Their independence and impartiality is obviously not as pronounced as their zealotry and commitment to a cause.
In response, the implicated company issued a press release on November 18 confirming that all their units function in accordance with the United Egg Producers’ Animal Care Guidelines, which are based on recommendations from an independent scientific advisory committee. “The company operates in full compliance with existing environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and permits. Each employee involved in the care and handling of hens is required to review, sign and comply with company codes of conduct regarding the ethical treatment of hens.”
The disclosure by HSUS is in all probability timed to influence Senate deliberations on public health legislation. Consistently, the HSUS has incorrectly correlated cage housing with a high prevalence of SE infection. In their press release they incorrectly implicated the accused company in the recent SE recall. It is a matter of record that the suspect product was produced by other than the company implicated in the press release. They responded rapidly to information that the purchased eggs were potentially infected and a complete and effective recall was completed within a day with full transparency.
The HSUS cites scientific research as the basis for their allegations relating to the relationship between cage housing and SE. Many of the papers and non peer-reviewed reports forming the basis of their contention are defective. Nearly all are derived from Europe, are out of date or do not reflect the realities of protective vaccination, enhanced biosecurity and hygiene which are standards in the U.S. industry.
The prevalence of SE among the various housing systems currently used in the U.S. has not been subjected to a comprehensive structured survey. It is a matter of record that tens of millions of hens in cages maintained at the current 67 in2  have been free of SE infection for over 15 years. By the same token there are barn and free-range flocks infected with SE. Infection is independent of housing system despite the results of some flawed EU studies cited by HSUS which purport to show an association between intensive cage production and SE infection.
What we have learned from this latest episode is that HSUS is ever vigilant and ready to publicize alleged deviations from standard. It is however evident that they probably evaluate more operations than they can find fault, given the relevant infrequency and timing of their releases.
If individual producers are deviating from accepted standards it would be advisable to rectify any deficiencies either in cages, procedures and management. The introduction of the FDA Final Rule prescribes minimum requirements with respect to biosecurity, rodent control and monitoring for SE. Some producers within our industry exceed these requirements and in addition have embarked on an aggressive program of vaccination to provide security.
It is difficult to identify investigators and agents of HSUS and kindred organizations and exclude them from farming enterprises. It is however suggested that greater care should be applied to vetting employees and obtaining written assurances that they are not connected to animal rights organizations or the media before employment. By the same token, producers should ensure that there are no practices or conditions which are below the accepted standards of housing and management.

Hendrix Genetics expanding into aquaculture breeding

Hendrix Genetics B.V. is expanding into aquaculture breeding with the planned acquisitions of Landcatch and Landcatch Natural Selection from Lithgows Limited.
Hendrix and Lithgows have signed a Letter of Intent for the acquisition. “We are excited to be able to enter this significant and growing sector," said Hendrix President Thijs Hendrix. "Aquaculture is a sustainable and valuable protein source all over the world and we are confident we can bring new and innovative ideas to a company with a long and successful track record in aquaculture. Aquaculture breeding is a natural extension to our existing portfolio.” The acquisition is expected to be complete in the first half of 2011.

Marfrig posts highest-ever net revenue of R$3.9 billion

Marfrig has posted its highest-ever net revenue of R$3.9 billion for the third quarter of 2010.
This number is an increase of 60% over last year's third quarter revenue of R$2.4 billion. Gross revenue came in at R$4.2 billion, 63.9% higher than last year and 10% higher than second quarter numbers. "Marfrig is positioning itself closer and closer to its main clients (final consumers and food service chains), while expanding its market share, especially at its units in Brazil, adding new higher value added products and making rapid progress in capturing synergies and creating a common corporate culture based on ethics and sustainability," said Marcos Antonio Molina dos Santos, the company's CEO.

Friday, December 10, 2010

JSR poultry seminar discusses dietary fiber, necrotic enteritis

More than 70 poultry specialists attended a JRS-organized international poultry seminar in Hanover during EuroTier 2010.
Experts gave talks on the benefits of dietary fiber in layer feeding and the risk factors of necrotic enteritis disease. JRS also presented trial results for its raw fiber concentrate product, Arbocel, which contains 65% crude fiber and is used in poultry feed.

New broiler shed features real-time communication, ventilation system

Equipment provider Hydor has partnered with Lower Heath Farm to expand and advance Lower Heath's broiler production.
Lower Heath has expanded its capacity by three sheds, each of which is equipped with one of Hydor's complete ventilation systems. The system includes seven controllers and a communicator that provide owner Charles Simpson with remote access to the sheds' data. "I suppose I am from a younger generation that is more computer orientated and I just want to make use of the available technology to make my life a little easier,” said Simpson. The system can be set to "staged ventilation" for minimal program involvement or "advanced dynamic ventilation" for more involved programming.

American Feed Industry Assoc. comments on proposed USDA-GIPSA rules

The American Feed Industry Association has added its weight to comments submitted to the USDA protesting proposed rules by GIPSA regulating the meat processing industry with respect to contracts between farmers and processors.
It is the contention of the AFIA and industry associations that the proposed rules would distort traditional economic relationships and deviates from the intent of Congress as delineated in the 2008 Farm Bill. AFI president and CEO Joel G. Newman stated: “Most likely economic effects of this change would be a reduction of performance-based competition among growers, which could lead to them not reinvesting in the industry, a reduced rate of capital investment, a reduced rate of efficiency, and higher animal prices.”

How exchange rate volatility affects poultry production

The U.S. dollar is no longer the world’s strong and rising currency, and exchange rate volatility is proving to be an increasingly important factor in poultry production. The poultry industry must cope with increased exchange risk and competitive pressure.
The poultry industry typically faces a market characterized by high volatility both in raw materials, such as grains and oilseed meals, as well as in final product prices. This volatility has been attributed to several factors, including among others the increasing demand for meat in Asian countries, weather-related issues, low stocks, diversion of grains and oilseeds for biofuel production, and a weak U.S. dollar.
Among all of these factors, dollar weakness is the least discussed, and least understood, and the factor which could have a high impact in determining the competitive position of producing countries and on operating margins of poultry producers.

Universal currency weakness
Typically, when analyzing markets and forecasting prices, poultry producers have focused on the basics of supply of raw materials and competitors' production, and on consumer demand. If necessary, adjustments are made for changes in economic conditions.
For decades, the U.S. dollar has been the strong currency, functioning as a universal currency. It was always the benchmark, mainly due to its stability. When Latin American poultry producers thought about exchange rate movements, they were in reference to the position of their own currency against the U.S. dollar and rarely on the relationship of their currency against that of other countries, and never of the U.S. dollar against other currencies.
Until 2002, the U.S. dollar basically had shown a steady strengthening (Figure 1), an element that granted certainty to the market. Viewed from the standpoint of the Latin American poultry producers, their currencies weakened against the U.S. dollar, although this made imports of grains and oilseeds more expensive in local currencies. On the other hand, weakness of their currencies operated as an additional element to improve their competitive position against U.S. products for exporting countries, or as a tariff on chicken and eggs for countries importing poultry products.
The dollar's weakness started in 2002, which was at first gradual. Because it was gradual, and at times unnoticed, dollar weakness had little impact on markets, and did not cause substantial changes in the relative positions of competitiveness either. The loss of the dollar value that accelerated as of 2007 reflected the worsening of the economic situation in the United States. By the end of 2008, faced with the fear that the economic crisis would deepened globally, the dollar temporarily recovered and then weakened again.

Impact on the poultry industry
There are several factors, as noted above, which impact prices of grains and oilseeds in the international market. However, as these grains and oilseeds are quoted in U.S. dollars, their relative price falls against dollar weakness, resulting in increased demand for these products, which in turn leads to an increase in price. Conversely, when the dollar strengthens, grains and oilseeds turn to be more expensive, relatively speaking, which shrinks demand and pushes prices downward. A more pronounced relationship is then developed between the movements of the U.S. dollar value and prices of these commodities.
This relationship is clear in Figure 2, in which the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar against the Euro was used as an example. Given the relationship between the U.S. dollar and these raw materials, which can amount to more than 60 percent of the total poultry production cost, the market will continue to be subject, in addition to other factors, to the uncertainty of the global economic situation, expressed in movements of the U.S. dollar exchange rate.

The case of Brazil's competitiveness
While the U.S. dollar weakness is a contributing factor to the volatility of raw material markets, it has also been used to adjust competitive relations in poultry markets. This can be seen when closely analyzing the case of Brazil against the U.S. poultry industry.
In the last quarter of 2002, when the U.S. dollar begins to weaken, the average exchange rate of the real - the Brazilian currency - was 3.67 per dollar. By November 2010, this ratio fell to 1.68 reals per dollar. In other words, if a kilo of chicken was sold in two reals at the end of 2002, the dollar equivalent was 54 cents. However, if a kilo of chicken was sold in the same two reals in November 2010, the equivalent was $1.18 dollars. In this way, it is clearly seen how the loss of the dollar value reduces competitiveness of the poultry industry in this South American country.
In the case of frozen chicken from Brazil (Figure 3), one can sense how the U.S. dollar weakness not only contributed to a loss of relative competitiveness compared to the American counterpart, but has also resulted in greater volatility of the Brazilian product. The graph shows the price of frozen chicken in Santa Catarina published by the Centro de Socioeconomia e Planejamento Agrícola (Socioeconomics and Agricultural Planning Center) expressed in reals and U.S. dollars at the exchange rate in force in each month during the period in question.
The first observation that sticks out is that the price expressed in U.S. dollars shows greater volatility than the same price in reals. This same volatility, a result of exchange rate movements, entails that as of May 2009 when the real began to recover, the chicken price in U.S. dollars grew faster than the same price in reals, which resulted in a relative loss of competitiveness of Brazilian chicken in front of its American rival.

Competitiveness effects and industry consolidation
The value of the U.S. dollar has two main effects for the industry: firstly, it determines the competitiveness of it against that of other countries, and on the other hand, increases the volatility of raw material prices, as these are priced in dollars. Faced with this situation, poultry producers will have to expand the number of variables analyzed, including the macroeconomic performance of not only their own country but of the global situation.
Fortunately, there are instruments to manage currency exchange risks, some of which poultry producers are already using. What they should do is to envisage the possibility of using them more intensively, in conjunction with other instruments such as options, to cushion volatility in margins of operations coming from movements of the U.S. dollar value in the global context.
Analysts do not expect a future strengthening of the U.S. currency, so producers will be forced to search for greater productivity. Conversely, the less efficient and productive companies can be weakened to make room for consolidation.

UK students gain hands-on egg industry experience

Harper Adams University College is teaming up with Oaklands Farm Eggs Ltd. to give its students hands-on knowledge of the egg industry.
The company turns over nearly 500 million eggs per year; working with them will provide students with access to the latest facilities for both teaching and research, as well as a first-hand look at a commercial operation. “Students will be able to see modern standards in colony egg production that meet the new [European Union] regulations to be introduced in 2012," said Harper Adams Principal Dr. David Llewellyn. "This is a significant development for us and one that will be of benefit to students and the poultry sector in the longer-term."
Oaklands and Harper Adams also hope to use the partnership to expand interest in the industry. “Attracting young people into the industry is a problem," said Oaklands Director Elwyn Griffiths. "We hope to open their eyes to what is involved in running a poultry farm – so understanding efficiencies, economies, welfare and feed conversions – in the hope of getting students interested."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Feed products distinctions guidelines approved by European Commission

The European Commission and the Member States have adopted the final guidelines for distinctions among feed materials, feed additives, biocidal products and veterinary medicinal products.
The guidelines, according to the European Union Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and Their Mixtures, also known as FEFANA, will clarify the decision-making process when determining the proper regulatory classification status of any feed product. The new transparency will allow both operators and control authorities to "manage product classification in a fair and predictable way," according to FEFANA.

Aviagen honors 50-year partnership with Moy Park

Moy Park's David Gibson and Graeme Dear of Aviagen celebrate 50 years of partnership.
Aviagen and Moy Park celebrated 50 years of partnership with a dinner held in Edinburgh.
Special recognition was given to David Gibson, the director of agriculture for Moy Park, and Graeme Dear, general manager at Aviagen, who have been working together for the entire 50 years of their companies' partnership. “Moy Park is delighted to celebrate 50 years of partnership with Aviagen," said Gibson. "Both companies have undergone huge transformations since 1960, including several changes of ownership. However, the Moy Park/Aviagen strategic partnership has continued and only grown stronger over this period of time."
The companies signed their first franchise agreement in 1960, regarding the importation of parent stock from Scotland into Northern Ireland.

Winter storms affect Agromek attendance

Agromek agricultural exhibition in Herning, Denmark, recorded a total attendance of 37,403 people at its 2010 show.
The numbers, which included 3,749 foreign visitors, were affected by travel disruption due to unusually severe early winter weather. The exhibition has made changes to its schedule and will now be held every two years. Dates announced for the next show are Nov. 27 through 30, 2012.

Senate defeats vote on extending the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit

The U.S. Senate recently defeated a vote on a package of tax policy extensions that included a one-year extension of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit.
The extension would have included a 20% reduction of the credit from current levels to $0.36 per gallon. In response to this, a multi-industry coalition representing the food industry, animal agriculture, environmental groups and budget watchdogs released a statement showing their support for the elimination of the credit extension. "The ethanol tax credit should be allowed to expire on schedule at the end of 2010," said George Watts, president of the National Chicken Council. "In this period of huge deficits, there is no justification for the government's losing billions of dollars in tax revenue to prop up an industry that already has a market required by law."
The implied reduction of the credit isn't enough, according to the coalition, though it is a start. "A reduction in the corn ethanol tax credit is a small step in the right direction for animal agriculture and America's taxpayers," said J. Patrick Boyle, president and CEO of the American Meat Institute. "Burning a substantial portion of our food and feed as fuel is not a sustainable answer, in the long term, to solving this nation's fuel needs.  Continuing to divert a significant portion of our corn crop into our fuel tanks will continue to increase costs for the meat and poultry industry and will result in higher food prices for consumers."
The coalition plans to keep a close eye on further developments regarding the tax credit.

Proposed EU legislation requires country-of-origin labeling for poultry, pork

European Union farm ministers have agreed overwhelmingly to support new legislation that would require clear country-of-origin labeling for pork and chicken.
The proposed law will be put before the European Parliament in June 2011. This follows votes in favor this year by the Parliament’s environment and consumer protection committee in March and by members of the European Parliament in June.
British farmers' union NFU has been among those lobbying for country-of-origin labels on meat, dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables and other single-ingredient products. “People buying meat and poultry products want to know where the animal was reared so they know exactly what they are eating," said NFU Deputy President Meurig Raymond. "However, the lack of transparency [in current food in labeling] makes this difficult. Labeling needs to provide accurate, clear and relevant information so consumers can make an informed choice.” 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

CTB founder Howard S. Brembeck dies

CTB Inc. founder Howard S. Brembeck has died at the age of 100.
Brembeck founded Chore-Time in 1952 in Alliance, Ohio, before relocating the business to Milford, Ind., in 1954. In 1957 he and a partner founded Brock and in 1976 Brembeck founded CTB to bring the two companies together.
Brembeck retired from CTB in 1995. “[Brembeck] created a legacy of innovation embodied in poultry products of quality and endurance that lives on,” said Victor A. Mancinelli, president and chief executive officer of CTB. “We are fortunate to have had [Brembeck] as our founder. He combined the rare talent of people development and product excellence with a devotion to innovation that guides us still.”