Thursday, February 28, 2013

Hedegaard Foods sells 1 billion eggs in 2012


    Denmark’s Hedegaard Foods sold 1 billion eggs in 2012, making it the market leader for egg supplies in the Nordic region.
    The company’s latest annual results statement details that turnover at the company increased by 10 percent in 2012 to stand at DKK 933 million (US$163.7 million), while profits reached a new high of DKK 28 million. Sales were boosted by the inclusion of results for Swedish egg packing company Svenska Lantaggg, which was purchased by Hedegaard Foods in 2011. Hedegaard estimates that it now holds 20 percent of the market in Sweden, and a 50 percent market share in Denmark. 

National Chicken Council outlines Food Manufacturers Immigration Coalition principles


    In testimony delivered February 26 to the U.S. House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, National Chicken Council President Mike Brown testified on behalf of a broad food manufacturers coalition about the need for a stable and permanent workforce that can help sustain the rural communities where meat and poultry facilities operate.
    The hearing, "From H-2A to a Workable Agricultural Guestworker Program," was the second in a series of several hearings on immigration issues in the subcommittee. In addition to Brown, also testifying were: Bob Stallman, president, American Farm Bureau Federation; Chalmers Carr, president and CEO, Titan Farms; and Giev Kashkooli, political and legislative director, third vice president, United Farm Workers.
    "To date much of the discussion has focused on the need to retain highly skilled workers such as scientists and engineers, and the need for additional temporary agricultural workers," said Brown. "These are important objectives, but they do not meet the needs of our industry sector. We are manufacturers, wanting a stable and permanent workforce that can help sustain the rural communities where we do business."
    Brown in his testimony highlighted five major themes for immigration reform on which the coalition is focused: border security; a very simple improvement to the E-verify system as an alternative to a national identity card; clarity in anti-discrimination laws; an occupational visa category that the meat and poultry industry can use that could be tied to local or regional employment; and options to effectively address the 11 million undocumented workers in the shadows of our economy. "Some think there is an economic incentive for manufacturing employers to hire illegal immigrants at below-market wages," said Brown. "Nothing could be further from the truth. Our industry needs a stable workforce. We seek workers who will stay on the job long enough to become skilled and efficient, helping us to keep our food products and employees safe."
    In terms of strengthening employment verification, Brown said that the government does not provide employers with a reliable verification method to prevent identity fraud and confirm whether new hires are legally authorized to work in the U.S. "E-Verify is a step in the right direction but does not work adequately in its current form," he said. "If strengthened, this program will serve as an effective and efficient 'virtual border'." Brown said that the current system, however, does not account for the meat and poultry industry's most common issue, identity fraud, e.g., a valid Social Security number that does not relate to the person presenting it. In addition to documents such as a driver's license or social security card which are easily falsified, the coalition believes employers should be allowed to require an E-Verify Self Check. E-Verify Self Check is an online service that allows U.S. employees to check their employment eligibility in the U.S. before beginning a new job.
    In return for participating in these and other aggressive screening programs, Brown said that the coalition supports providing a safe harbor for employers that utilize the E-Verify Self Check and follow the automatic referral process. "An employer that does everything possible to avoid hiring unauthorized aliens should not be exposed to further liability," he contended.
    Continued access to the labor pool is also a key element of the coalition's framework for immigration reform. "An effective occupational visa system may be the most important barrier to illegal immigration," said Brown. "The right visa system with the right screening tools will in effect be a second 'virtual border'." The existing temporary programs for general labor skilled workers are for seasonal labor only, which does not help manufacturers, whose occupational needs are year-round and ongoing. "Congress must create a general labor skilled immigrant visa for the manufacturing industry to recognize that employer needs in industry are permanent in nature, not temporary," said Brown. "Employers should have the ability to recruit outside of the U.S. and sponsor workers for a defined period of time."
    A copy of the full testimony, including the coalition's complete framework of immigration reform concepts, is available online.

Chicken product sales help Maple Leaf Foods increase earnings


    Sales of chicken products helped Maple Leaf Foods experience increased adjusted operating earnings for fiscal year 2012, as well as the fourth quarter, according to the company's latest report. During a quarterly conference call with investors on February 26, Maple Leaf Foods President and CEO Michael H. McCain reported a 58.9 percent increase in adjusted operating earnings to $91.3 million for the quarter, and an 8.1 percent increase to $280 million for the year.
    The company’s meat products group saw a 5.3 percent decline for the final quarter of 2012 from the fourth quarter of 2011. However, the adjusted operating earnings increased 75.2 percent to 48.1 million, compared to $27.5 million a year ago. This was driven by stronger earnings growth in the prepared meats and fresh poultry businesses, which was partly offset by lower earnings in the primary pork processing operations. Sales of higher value products, such as the Maple Leaf Prime chicken brand, combined with an improved sales mix in higher value channels contributed to higher earnings in the fresh poultry operations.
    “We are continuing to enhance our product mix,” said McCain. “Our chicken business has gone extremely well. In fact, the underlying improvements are even better because we had some head winds from our weaker industry margins in pork processing.”
    Maple Leaf is continuing efforts to improve profits from its poultry products. The company is in the midst of a plan for simplification of prepared meats, which focuses on higher volume and more profitable products. The next phase of simplification includes value-added chicken, boxed meats and lunch kits categories, which McCain said will drive further benefits in 2013. Revamped Prime Chicken frozen entrees have so far done well. “Our early results in that initiative indicate a very positive response from our consumers,” said McCain. "They like the packaging. They like the flavor offerings.”
    While the company is moving forward with plans to further improve profitability, they are still cautious of some of the costs involved. “The effects of food inflation driven by the North American drought of 2012 will be felt mostly in the first half of 2013," said McCain. "As a result, we expect some short-term volatility in our earnings as we pass those cost increases on in the marketplace. Beyond this, our strategic initiatives will accelerate in 2013 and contribute to continued margin growth."

Missouri Senate passes bill to allow kids to work on farm


    Children younger than 16 would be able to avoid future federal regulation and keep working on their parents' farms under legislation passed by Missouri's Senate.
    The federal government proposed rules in 2012 that would have prevented children from doing certain farm work, and though that proposal never came into fruition, the Missouri Senate went ahead and passed its own child-labor legislation. The bill, which passed the Senate by a 33–0 vote, is now headed to the state House. The Senate measure would exempt children doing farm work from getting a work certificate and from limits on the number of hours and days they can work. Children would only need the consent of their parents to work on the family's farm.
    Sen. Brian Munzlinger, R-Williamstown, sponsored the bill.

Marel Stork Poultry Processing to highlight products at VIV Asia 2013


    Marel Stork Poultry Processing will highlight several products at VIV Asia 2013, including a harvesting module, an opening machine and a plucker, according to the company.
    The fillet/wing harvesting module of the Stork front half filleting system (FHF-XB) harvests fillets with at least the first poultry joint attached. The module can cut of the wings with a minimum amount of breast meat, according to the company, and positions the fillets to facilitate downstream processes. This is done via several smart fillet handling belts.
    The VO-20 RS opening machine reference series does its job in a way which prevents damage to the intestines and does not bare the tip of the breast bone. The length of the opening cut can be adjusted during production allowing an opening cut to be made irrespective of product weight. A leaf fat retention option adds value to the product and gives extra harvesting options.
    Hygiene-focused design features such as a more open build, sloped horizontal surfaces and no blind spots make the machine easier to clean, said Stork.
    The D203S plucker has two plucking cabinets shaped to suit heavier birds. Each cabinet has three rows of 20 plucking discs with six plucking fingers fitted at an angle. Each row of discs is offset from its neighbor to create a compact plucking/picking field covering the whole bird. Cabinets are adjustable for height and width and can be rotated about their central axis. Settings can be changed quickly, easily and precisely. The cabinet on one side of the machine can be swung out to provide generous access for finger changing and cleaning.
    VIV Asia will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, March 13–15.

Hotraco to introduce poultry computer at VIV Asia 2013


    Hotraco will be presenting the MIRA-P poultry computer during VIV Asia 2013, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, March 13–15.
    The MIRA-P is an expansion of the existing range of poultry computers IRIS, SIRIUS and ORION. In poultry barns for broilers, for example, the MIRA-P can control a wide range of processes, such as ventilation, heating, cooling, feed registration and water, as well as animal weighing. This is because the inputs and outputs of the MIRA-P can be freely allocated. This makes it the ideal computer for simple poultry houses, according to Hotraco.
    The MIRA-P determines ventilation level on the basis of inside/outside temperature measured and humidity in the barn, if appropriate. The MIRA-P is equipped with a day counter and curve settings. Both adjustable and on/off fans can be connected to it.
    The MIRA-P has multiple controls for controlling the air inlet, on the basis of the room temperature, on the basis of underpressure or synchronous with the ventilation setting. The MIRA-P can distinguish between left and right control and a tunnel inlet is also one of the options.
    There are four controls in the MIRA-P for heating and a second temperature control can be controlled by means of a dedicated sensor (floor heating, for example). A cooling system can be switched on and off by the MIRA-P.
    The lighting can be switched with a maximum of 24 on/off moments. A dimming function has also been included in the switching on/off of the lighting. The MIRA-P has two timers.
    By connecting an external CAN-IO-LCA, the MIRA-P can also be used for silo weighing and/or animal weighing. The MIRA-P can also optionally be fitted with an SD card for logging data and updating software, and can be connected via USB to a PC with Rainbow+ management software.

Tyson remains optimistic about 2013 results despite near-term challenges


    Tyson Foods Inc. told investors at the Goldman Sachs 17th Annual Agribusiness Conference on February 26 that its second fiscal quarter has been more challenging than anticipated due to margin compression in its beef and pork segments; however, the company remains optimistic about its results for the full year.
    James Lochner, Tyson's chief operating officer, said, "Margins have been compressed throughout the past month as the value of beef has fallen more than the price of cattle. Historically, adjustments occur that allow for a spread between the revenue and the cattle cost. We run our plants for margin, not market share." Tyson's pork business also experienced some margin compression in the current quarter, although there have been signs of improvement recently, Lochner said. "We expect to continue our strong performance in the back half of the year," he said.
    Meanwhile, Tyson's chicken segment has continued to do well. The company has said it expects a strong performance, particularly in the second half of the fiscal year, leading to continued optimism that the company's full-year results will be better than fiscal 2012. "Demand is strong, and we're seeing signs of consumers trading from beef to chicken," said Lochner. "Even with pricing up substantially year over year, chicken is a good value for consumers, and food service continues to promote chicken heavily."
    Lochner announced that Tyson is launching a new line of all natural chicken under the new NatureRaised Farms brand. The product line will include a variety of fresh products produced from cage-free chickens raised without the use of antibiotics or added hormones and fed a 100 percent vegetarian diet. NatureRaised Farms brand fresh chicken will be available for sale to retailers in April, and is just one example of how the company is growing offerings in higher margin, value-added products.
    Dennis Leatherby, Tyson's executive vice president and chief financial officer, told investors at the conference there is value in the diversity of Tyson's multi-protein, multi-channel, multi-national business. "We're going to grow sales of domestic value-added chicken and prepared foods," said Leatherby. "We're not a commodity protein company. That's not our goal, nor our destiny. Value added is currently about a third of our sales, which includes food service as well as branded retail products. Looking ahead to 2014 and beyond, we expect total company top-line sales to grow 3–4 percent annually, and value-added sales should grow 6–8 percent a year. We expect sales from international production to grow at an annual rate of 12–16 percent. International growth is focused on production and further processing in Brazil, China and India, in addition to our long-standing poultry business in Mexico. We're able to execute this growth strategy because we have a strong capital structure, and that creates opportunities for us."

Cooper Farms co-founder dies


    Cooper Farms was founded by Virginia and her husband Virgil in 1938. Virginia on worked on the turkey farm and in the hatchery during the early years of the company. She married Virgil Homer Cooper on April 21, 1939, and in 1941, they moved to a house north of Oakwood, Ohio, where she lived until her death. Virgil died Sept. 28, 1984.
    What Virgil and Virginia started by raising a few hundred turkeys at a time has grown into a diversified, fully-integrated producer of animal products. On the live production side of the business, Cooper Farms produces swine, table eggs, turkey poults and market turkeys. The company also operates a turkey processing and a further processing plant.

German farms suspected of falsely labeling eggs as organic


    Authorities are investigating the possibility that about 150 farms in northern Germany falsely claimed their eggs were from free-range chickens.
    Prosecutors in the city of Oldenburg suspect the farms sold the eggs as organic or free-range when they didn't truly meet the labeling requirements. Regulations require a minimum of four square meters of space for each animal for a poultry farm to be able to sell its products as "free range." It has now emerged that several farmers kept more animals than permitted, selling the eggs for a higher price than they otherwise could because of the free-range status.
    A spokesman for the country's consumer protection ministry told sources on February 25 that if suspicions are confirmed it would constitute a "large-scale fraud."

KFC launches campaign to improve brand in China


    KFC has launched a campaign to rebuild its brand in China, promising tighter quality control after an incident over misuse of drugs by its suppliers.
    The company, a unit of Yum! Brands Inc., promised to test meat for banned drugs, strengthen oversight of farmers and encourage them to improve their technology. More than 1,000 small producers used by its 25 poultry suppliers have been eliminated from the Yum! Network, the company said.
    KFC, which has more than 4,000 outlets in China, was hit hard when state television reported in December 2012 that some suppliers violated rules on the use of drugs. The company estimates January sales plunged 37 percent. "Starting now, we will stress strict management and the principle of zero tolerance in food safety," said Sam Sun, the chairman of Yum! Restaurants China. "We will immediately drop any supplier that lacks the determination or the ability to manage breeding well."
    Yum, based in Louisville, Ky., said it expects sales in China to fall by up to 25 percent in the current quarter. The company also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. The company plans to maintain its pace of new restaurant openings in China. Another 700 new sites are planned for 2013, with Yum! focusing more on cities outside Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen where it sees greater potential for growth.

Pilgrim's testing for avian influenza in Mexico


    Pilgrim's has identified an increased mortality rate of the breeder flock at the company's complex located in the state of Guanajuato in central Mexico.
    The company stated that its managers are working closely with regulatory authorities to perform blood tests to check for whether the H7N3 avian influenza virus is present, but has already instituted preventative precautions. The identified complex has been isolated with additional biosecurity measures implemented. These measures include seeking and receiving authorization to vaccinate both breeders and grandparent stock in unaffected areas. The Guanajuato complex is responsible for a small amount of Pilgrim's Mexican hatching eggs. The majority of Pilgrim's hatching operations are strategically located in other states throughout Mexico.
    "We recognize the importance of chicken as a protein source to our customers in Mexico. We've taken proactive measures leveraging our U.S. production facilities to supply eggs and processed meat from our U.S. operations, as well as alternative suppliers locally. We expect to be able to source an uninterrupted supply of both hatching eggs and chicken products, allowing us to continue to provide our customers and consumers with high quality products," stated Bill Lovette, Pilgrim's chief executive officer.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ufac-UK appoints Egypt distributor


    Ufac-UK has appointed Unitrade Egypt Company as a new distributor for its dairy and poultry supplements for the whole of Egypt.
    Unitrade, a specialist feed and medicines marketing company, based at Tanta, has a sales team of ten veterinary surgeons who will provide on-farm advice on the use of energy supplements. "Britain has a good reputation and the Unitrade Egypt team were looking for a better product to improve fertility, production and butterfat levels which can be a problem in high-yielding cows under an intensive system coupled with high temperatures," said Vijay Nigdikar, Ufac's export director. "Our Dynalac high-energy supplement can help them with that."

Serbia corn imports up on aflatoxin contamination


    Serbia is anticipating an increase in corn imports due to food safety concerns after an aflatoxin contamination in the country's corn spread to its milk supply.
    Serbia exported 2.3 million metric tons of the grain in 2011–2012, but the country's exports are seen falling 83 percent year-on-year to 400,000 metric tons in 2012–2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Imports are estimated to reach 50,000 metric tons in 2012–2013, up significantly from just 2,000 metric tons in 2011–2012. “The harvest left Serbia short of 250,000 metric tons of corn and it can either turn to imports or wait until wheat and barley harvest in June to mix that with corn for new fodder blends,” said Vukosav Sakovic, head of the corn producer association Zita Srbije. Corn production fell by 45 percent to 3.5 million metric tons due to drought and contamination by aflatoxins, said Sakovic.
    A decision to start corn imports “sooner rather than later” will depend on global prices, according to Sakovic. Serbia needs around 330,000 tons of the grain each month, for human and animal consumption, or 3.96 million metric tons over a calendar year.
    Spot corn traded at 22.20 dinars per kilogram, equivalent to US$260 per metric ton, on February 22, said Zarko Galetin, the head of the Serbian Commodity Exchange. It was 2.9 percent lower than the week of February 11's average of 22.87 dinars.

US corn inventory may hit 26-year high on record output


    U.S. corn inventories are estimated to triple before the 2014 harvest, hitting a record 2.177 billion bushels from the 17-year low of 632 million bushels anticipated in 2013, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report. Yields could average 163.6 bushels per acre after falling to 123.4 bushels per acre in 2012, and corn production will rise 35 percent to a record 14.53 billion bushels as consumption increases 16 percent, said the report.
    Corn prices paid to farmers in the 12 months that begins September 1, will average $4.80 per bushel, down from a record $7.20 forecast in 2013. An increase in exports and use in domestic grain-based ethanol will be countered by declining gasoline consumption and increasing output in Brazil, Argentina, Ukraine and India, said Peter Riley, an economist at the USDA's Farm Serve Agency. “The world market has changed as high U.S. prices have led to increased exports by other suppliers,” said Riley. “Falling U.S. gasoline consumption will restrain ethanol production. Brazil is shipping more to the U.S.”
    Through February 21, corn futures on the Chicago Board of Trade dropped 19 percent from a record $8.49 on August 10. The contract for May delivery rose 0.7 percent to $6.905 per bushel at 10:02 a.m.

US corn, soybean prices may drop in 2013


    U.S. corn and soybean prices may drop significantly in 2013 due to normalizing weather conditions, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture Chief Economist Joe Glauber, who spoke at the annual Agricultural Outlook Conference in Arlington, Va., the week of February 18.
    According to Glauber, corn prices in 2013 will average $4.80 per bushel, down 33 percent, and soybean prices will fall to $10.50 per bushel, down 27 percent. “There’s no reason to believe that we won’t be looking at normal yields this year” because of recent improvements in dry conditions in the eastern corn belt, said Glauber. Lower prices won’t necessary benefit meat and poultry producers, however, until later in the year.
    Planted acreage is expected to remain roughly the same, around 230 million acres. Corn acreage will drop 0.7 percent, while soybean and wheat plantings will increase slightly. Overall, the USDA is forecasting corn production to increase 35 percent to 14.5 billion bushels from the 2012 drought year, while soybean production will rise by 13 percent to 3.4 billion bushels.

USDA economist says broiler production will drop if drought persists


    USDA Chief Economist Joesph Glauber is expecting 2013 to be a near-record year for both corn and soybean production, but he adds that if the drought persists and his projection is wrong, broiler production will likely drop.
    “Another year of below trend yields and high prices would likely result in further liquidation of broiler numbers,” Glauber said during the USDA Agricultural Outlook Forum 2013 on February 21.
    His most recent outlook was nearly identical to the one he gave one year ago, before drought hit most of the grain-producing states and sent prices skyward. While he acknowledged his projections did not pan out in 2012, he has doubts that the feed crops will have two poor years in a row.
    “Historical odds favor a rebound in crop yields, however, which should bring significantly lower prices in 2013,” said Glauber.
    Those lower prices will take the pressure off of feed costs, bringing needed relief to poultry growers.
    High grain and oilseed prices support another year of large plantings for wheat, corn and soybeans, Glauber said. Combined acreage for those crops topped 230 million acres in 2012, the highest since 1982. Glauber said those planted acres will likely approach similar levels for 2013.
    A return to more normal spring weather should result in more soybeans and slightly less corn planted in 2013, he said. Corn planted is projected at 96.5 million acres, down slightly from last year’s 75-year high. Soybean acreage is projected at 77.5 million acres, which, if realized, would equal the record-high level reached in 2009.
    Assuming normal weather conditions for spring planting and summer crop development, the USDA is projecting a return to trend yields, resulting in record crops for corn and soybeans.

Poultry industry to see impact from USDA school food guidelines


    The United States Department of Agriculture’s new school lunch requirements are expected to have a significant impact on the turkey, broiler and beef industries for not only the upcoming year, but for many years beyond.
    “What they are serving in school and how they are serving it is setting the stage for the kids, and setting the stage on how they will be eating in their adult life,” said Rex Barnes of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service.
    Barnes told members of the National Turkey Federation on February 15, that as the new regulations go into place, schools are making choices on what foods to serve, with challenges of staying within budget and being in compliance with the guidelines.
    The biggest part of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s purchase program is its school lunch program, which serves more than 32 billion meals every day in schools.
    According to Barnes, for every $700 million spent on proteins for school lunches, a little more than $300 million is spent on beef, while a little less than $300 million is spent on chicken and about $100 million on turkey. Very little pork is served. And while he doesn’t expect any real changes in the amount of pork served, the other numbers will likely be changing.
    Last year, the Food Nutrition Service came out with new regulations to set the nutritional profiles for school lunches. Under the new rules, schools must serve a one ounce minimum of protein per meal, compared to the previous rule of two ounces of protein per meal. The new rules also have a maximum on proteins. No more than 10 ounces of protein can be served per week to elementary and middle school students, and no more than 12 ounces can be served to high school students.
    Schools have had a very difficult time in meeting those new guidelines, Barnes said, and because of that the USDA has relaxed those rules for the remainder of the school year. However, they will be implemented during the 2013-14 school year.
    “The schools and the industry are really struggling with this right now. Anyone who is selling to the schools is feeling it,” said Barnes. “Schools are trying to figure out what to serve and how to meet this weekly maximum they’ve never had to deal with before.”
    One facet of the new rules does not mean good news for the poultry industry. Several chicken items -- specifically ones with bone-in parts – were removed from list. The Agricultural Marketing Service purchased $46 million worth of bone-in-chicken for schools last year, which Barnes estimated at more than 130 million servings in the school lunch program.
    Schools are now trying to figure out what they are going to order in place of those products, and in what quantities. Barnes said his agency will be watching how they’re going to replace bone-in chicken, and what types of protein they are going to shift to while staying within all other protein requirements.
    While that rule may not bode well for the poultry industry, other factors, such as commodity prices, may improve things. He said as beef prices go up, schools may look at alternatives. If they cannot afford to serve as much beef, they are apt to look at more chicken or turkey, he said.
    “If a school wants to order turkey, they’re going to order more turkey,” Barnes said. “It’s their decision.”

Aviagen launches new parent stock nutrition specifications


    Aviagen recently launched updated parent stock nutrition specifications for its Arbor Acres, Indian River and Ross brands.
    Prepared by Aviagen’s experienced global nutritional team, the new specifications reflect ongoing consistent improvements in performance as well as the latest research.
    Bryan Fancher, group vice president of technical operations, said: “Poultry nutrition technical guidance is essential to our customer base, and we understand the importance of ensuring that our nutritional advice and guidelines keep pace with the genetic potential of our birds.”
    “Our global nutritional team operates throughout all regions of the world and has forged close links with customers worldwide," he continued. "The Aviagen nutritional team members are key contributors to company-sponsored seminars, workshops and educational events designed to share best management practices and help customers realize the genetic potential of their flocks. These collaborative events provide a unique opportunity for the nutritionists to gain valuable insights into customers’ experience. In addition to this, our program of nutritional research is comprehensive and ongoing to help make adjustments as and when they are required.”
    The nutrient requirements of broiler breeders are influenced by feed allocation and dietary nutrient density. Our recommendations are designed to match feed intake with nutrient requirement to promote optimal reproductive performance in a cost-effective manner. The updated parent stock nutrition specifications have a number of differences from previously published specifications, including the addition of a Breeder 2 diet during production to aid late breeder performance, particularly through the control of body weight gain, egg size and egg quality.
    Correct amino acid levels are essential for maintaining fit, well-feathered birds that can achieve good breeder performance. The amino acid levels have been re-evaluated using the latest research data and modelling information in order to accurately link the dietary supply of amino acids to the bird’s requirements during different life stages. The modifications to the micro-nutrient levels in the diets are aimed to support overall bird health, welfare, and reproductive performance.
    The new nutrition specifications can be accessed online by visiting www.aviagen.com.

Regional Salmonella Summit announced


    The Poultry Federation announces plans for a regional Salmonella Summit scheduled for March 26-27, 2013 at Cherokee Casino & Hotel in West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. This summit includes speakers from academia and industry and covers live production through plant Salmonella interventions in the turkey and broiler industry.
    "We believe it's beneficial for the industry to come together to discuss this important topic to help improve all of our food safety systems as it relates to Salmonella," stated Shane Acosta of Cargill and chairman of the summit. "We have exceptional speakers and with such a large concentration of the poultry industry in the northwest Arkansas and western Oklahoma area, we couldn't think of a better place to host such a Summit."
    Advance registration for the conference is $100 through March 22 and on-site registration is $150.00. Attendees are asked to register online at the Poultry Federation's website, where the program for the summit can also be found.
    Hotel arrangements should be made directly with host hotel, Cherokee Casino & Hotel at +1.800.754.4111, before Monday, March 18 to obtain the group rate of $69+ tax per night. The group code is Salmonella Summit.

2012 US poultry and egg exports break records


    Thanks in large part to the poultry and egg industry’s ability to adapt to changing global marketplace dynamics, 2012 was a record-setting year for exports of U.S. poultry meat and eggs.
    Combined export value of U.S. poultry meat and eggs reached $5.722 billion in 2012, 12 percent ahead of 2011, the previous record year, according to year-end trade data released by the Foreign Agricultural Service.
    “The global landscape is in a constant state of transition,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. “While our traditional markets of Mexico and Russia remained at the top of the broiler markets, there were numerous changes, such as Angola and Taiwan moving into the top 10 broiler markets and Mexico growth as a market for eggs. The greatest benefit for our industry is a much greater balance than we’ve ever before realized.”
    Sumner said the U.S. industry, which for years depended on a few behemoths such as Russia and China for a majority of its export sales, is now much less dependent on singular markets as new markets have opened and sales expand to the rest of the world.
    “The only constant in the export marketplace is change,” he said. “And fortunately, our industry is very good at adapting to these changes. In 2008, for example, we exported products to 109 countries. In 2012, we shipped to 121 countries.”
    For 2012, for example, double-digit declines in shipments of U.S. chicken meat to several markets, including Korea and Vietnam, were more than offset by increased sales to markets such as Mexico, Russia, Angola, Congo, Kazakhstan and Ghana.
    The top six markets for U.S. broiler meat exports for 2012 were Mexico, 560,544 tons valued at $641.2 million, up 23 and 42 percent, respectively; Hong Kong, 296,085 tons valued at $396.2 million, down 46 and 47 percent; Russia, 266,995 tons valued at $301.7 million, up 25 and 23 percent; China, 239,897 tons valued at $283 million, up 149 and 137 percent; Angola, 182,027 tons valued at $214.4 million, up 11 and 18 percent; and Canada, 173,037 tons valued at $498.8 million, up 22 and 32 percent.
    Last year was also a record-setting year for total U.S. poultry meat exports in both quantity and value. Export value of U.S. poultry climbed to nearly $5.5 billion, 11 percent over 2011, while quantity hit 4.1 million metric tons, up 5 percent. The quantity record was 0.6 percent higher than in 2008, the previous record year.
    Meanwhile, 2012 U.S. egg exports also reached record levels. Total exports (table eggs plus processed egg products in shell-egg equivalents) were 274.1 million dozen valued at $263.7 million, up 24 and 35 percent from 2011, respectively.
    egg-exports-1302USA2012eggexports
    Broiler meat exports in 2012, excluding chicken paws, set records in both quantity and value, reaching 3.3 million tons valued at $4.2 billion, up respectively 4 and 15 percent from 2011. Compared to the previous record set in 2008, U.S. broiler meat export quantity for 2012 increased by about 1 percent, while value rose by 17 percent.
    Exports of chicken paws in 2012 reached 363,974 tons, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year, while export value was $450.1 million, down 10 percent from 2011. Of those exports, 53 percent went to Hong Kong, and 40 percent went to China.
    U.S. turkey exports last year also reached record highs, with exports in 2012 climbing to 361,597 tons valued at $678.5 million, up 14 and 13 percent, respectively.
    The top U.S. turkey markets are Mexico, 187,201 tons valued at $371.8 million, up 3 and 4 percent, respectively; China, 45,910 tons valued at $70.7 million, up 22 and 32 percent; the Philippines, 14,379 tons valued at $12.9 million, up 167 and 123 percent; Canada, 14,150 tons valued at $31.4 million, up 38 and 29 percent; and Hong Kong, 12,063 tons valued at $20.7 million, down 30 and 17 percent.
    For table eggs, exports in 2012 were 127.6 million dozen valued at $122.6 million, up 54 and 59 percent, respectively, both records, and driven by increased shipments to Mexico, Hong Kong, and the European Union.
    The top five export markets for table eggs are Hong Kong, 46.7 million dozen, up 30 percent; Canada, 26.1 million dozen, up 19 percent; Mexico, 16.6 million dozen vs. 1.3 million dozen in 2011; the U.A.E., 13 million dozen, up 66 percent; and the EU, 8.9 million dozen vs. 0.78 million dozen in 2011.
    For egg products, 2012 was also a record-setting year, as total export value rose by 20 percent to $141 million.
    Export value to Japan, the top export market for U.S. egg products, decreased by 28 percent to $45.1 million, accounting for 32 percent of U.S. total export value worldwide. Export value to the EU rose by 88 percent to $38.3 million, while sales to Mexico increased six-fold to $16.5 million. Exports to Canada increased 18 percent to $9.6 million, while exports to South Korea dipped by 7 percent to $4.1 million.
    Total egg exports (table eggs plus egg products in shell egg equivalent) in 2012 set records in both volume and value. While export quantity hit 274.1 million dozen, an increase of 24 percent from the previous year, export value reached $263.7 million, up 35 percent from 2011.

New testing method could find contaminated meat faster


    With outrage over meat adulteration continuing to dominate the headlines weeks after the story first erupted, the scale of the contamination remains unclear. With food security an ongoing concern in a globalized economy, food retailers wonder how they can regain the confidence of the British public and ensure their meat is as advertised.
    The limitations of current testing methods, combined with the sheer number of samples to be analyzed, means that the European Commission doesn’t expect the results of the 2,500 on-going tests for horsemeat contamination in processed meals to be available until mid-April. However, Dr. Andrew S. Thompson, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering In Vitro Diagnostics, believes that innovative testing processes could make a big difference in how we handle the fight against food fraud in the future.
    Raman spectroscopy, which utilizes a light emission phenomena, can be used to differentiate between several different types of meat without removal of packaging. Dr. Thompson says that, “by incorporating such an approach into the existing compact point-and-shoot devices, there could be a revolution in the food testing market, allowing non-destructive, reagent-free testing of foods at all stages of the supply chain.
    “Rapid detection of adulterated meats means these can be removed faster from the food chain, without unnecessarily delaying delivery of the product to the dinner table, and without the negative connotations of store employees hurriedly removing products from the shelves,”states Dr. Thompson.
    “Raman spectroscopy depends on high-powered lasers, and this has previously confined the technique to the laboratory, but the emergence of cheaper, compact diode-based lasers has seen a few portable devices emerge, such as Delta-Nu’s Rapid-ID or Smiths Detection’s RespondeR RCI– both of which are used in specialist applications, such as law enforcement or at border controls.”
    Of the DNA analysis methods currently available, the Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction is considered the gold-standard approach to checking from which species or breed a particular meat came from. However, there are a number of disadvantages to this procedure: the analysis can only detect the presence of a preselected species (rather than the existence of any unexpected species), is generally a laboratory-only technique, and can be affected by how the meat is prepared.

US poultry groups support US-European trade partnership


    Following the White House announcement that bilateral negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the United States and the European Union will be launched, the National Chicken Council, National Turkey Federation, U.S. Poultry & Egg Export Council and U.S. Poultry & Egg Association jointly expressed strong support for the new international trade initiative.
    "U.S. Trade Ambassador Ron Kirk and the other officials at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have not only worked long and diligently to reach this point, but the U.S. Trade Representative also listened to and accepted recommendations that agriculture and unwarranted non-tariff barriers, especially non-science based sanitary and phytosanitary provisions, be an important part of the negotiations and that any final trade agreement successfully address these issues," the groups said.
    "The EU has many unwarranted non-tariff trade barriers that severely limit or prohibit the export of certain U.S. agricultural products to the EU. Chief among the issues is the EU's prohibition against pathogen-reduction treatments for poultry. The result of this non-science based action is that the U.S. has not been able to export poultry to the EU since 1997. When the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations are successfully concluded, U.S. poultry producers look forward to marketing over $500 million of products to the EU on an annual basis."

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

International pig breeder reorganizes


    TOPIGS, an international pig breeding company, has reorganized its worldwide activities into three regions; Europe, the Americas and Asia/Pacific/Africa. This reorganization will allow TOPIGS to better accommodate the growth of its activities. The new structure also creates more synergy and enables TOPIGS to help its clients more efficiently in terms of service, genetic progress and support. The regions are managed by regional directors Peter van Kemenade (Americas), Glen Illing (Asia/Pacific/Africa) and Arno van de Laar (Europe). They report to CEO Martin Bijl.
    With a production of more than 1,250,000 crossbred gilts and over 7 million doses of semen per year, Dutch-based TOPIGS is one of the largest genetics suppliers in the world. Research, innovation and genetic improvement are the cornerstones of the company.

Speakers for third annual Midwest Soil Impovement Symposium announced


    The third annual Midwest Soil Improvement Symposium: Research and Practical Insights into Using Gypsum is planned for March 7, 2013, in conjunction with Ohio State University's Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference in Ada, Ohio. The conference is scheduled for March 5-6. Both events will be held at the McIntosh Center on the campus of Ohio Northern University.
    Co-sponsors for the Midwest Soil Improvement Symposium are the GYPSOIL division of Beneficial Reuse Management, Chicago, Ilinois; the Conservation Technology Information Center, West Lafayette, Indiana; and Ohio State University.
    Confirmed speakers for the March 7 event include:
    • Keynote by Dr. David R. Montgomery, author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations and a professor of geomorphology in the Department of Earth & Space Sciences at the University of Washington. Dr. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and a two-time winner of the Washington State Book Award.
    • Dr. Warren Dick, professor, Environmental and Natural Resources, Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio
    • Dr. Darrell Norton, soil scientist recently retired from the National Soil Erosion Research Lab, United States Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service, West Lafayette, Indiana
    • Dr. Jerry Bigham, professor (retired), Environmental and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University, Wooster, Ohio
    • Dr. Allen Torbert, research leader, National Soil Dynamics Laboratory, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, Auburn, Alabama
    • Dr. Ray Bryant, research soil scientist, Pasture Management and Watershed Management Research Unit, USDA-Agricultural Research Service, University Park, Pennsylvania
    • John Andersen, president, Greenleaf Advisors, Chicago, Illinois
    • Ron Chamberlain, agronomist and director of gypsum programs for Beneficial Reuse Management, marketer of GYPSOIL brand gypsum
    • Mr. Greg Kneubuhler, owner and consultant for G & K Concepts, Harlan, Indiana
    • Clint Nester, consultant, Nester Ag, Bryan, Ohio
    The event will be moderated by Randall Reeder, agricultural engineer (retired), Ohio State University.
    Background on gypsum use, research highlights, and gypsum impacts to soil and water quality and crop productivity, plus tips for gypsum application, will be discussed. In addition, there will be panel discussions with growers experienced at using agricultural gypsum.
    The Midwest Soil Improvement Symposium is designed for certified crop consultants, university and extension personnel, farm managers, farm producers and others interested in soil science. Last year's symposium was held at Rulon Enterprises in Arcadia, Indiana, and drew nearly 200 people. Continuing Education Unit credits for Certified Crop Advisers will be available.

Glycerol treatment system transforms low-grade fats into biodiesel


      The Alfa Laval Adavanced Glycerol Treatment plant
    Alfa Laval, an engineering solutions provider, announces the Advanced Glycerol Treatment systems. The treatment systems turn low-grade fats, oils or grease byproducts into high-quality biodiesel - allowing processors to pick and choose the lowest byproduct or feedstock market price to increase overall profitability.
    Alfa Laval's Advanced Glycerol Treatment system is a prefabricated, turn-key biodiesel pretreatment solution for virtually any existing transesterification plant - scalable for a capacity of 15 to 1,500 hectoliters per day. The systems allows for source material flexibility as it increases vegetable and animal byproduct value by reducing the free fatty acids content down to 0.8 percent, resulting in a higher quality oil which is then easily processed into biodiesel fuel.
    Knowing that byproduct or feedstock prices represent the bulk of biodiesel production costs, the Alfa Laval Advanced Glycerol Treatment system provides feedstock flexibility to the price-volatile edible oil spot market - where processors now have flexibility to shop the fat and oil market for the lowest possible raw material cost - increasing overall plant profitability.
    The Advanced Glycerol Treatment system also provides flexibility on the plant output side. Processors can tap off the bio-refined oil at different stages of production and upgrading - when biodiesel is traded as an oleochemical for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, forwarded to off-site biodiesel producers, or processed as mono-glycerides and diglycerides treated oil which is then ready for mixing as heavy fuel oil.
    The modular, prefabricated Advanced Glycerol Treatment pretreatment plant is characterized by low operational costs, high yield, heat recovery, low waste and emissions. No catalyst is needed, and it provides optimum use of surplus biodiesel glycerol output. 

USDA announces public meetings on food safety act


    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced two additional public meetings on the Food Safety Modernization Act: Proposed Rules for Produce Safety and for the Preventive Controls for Human Food. These meetings are the second and third in a series of public meetings.
    The first meeting will be held February 28-March 1, 2013, at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, DC. See FSMA Meetings for more information. For more information on the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act, visit the FDA's website.

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative inaugural meeting discusses industry research, future


    More than 200 dairy producers and industry members gathered for the inaugural FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative Annual Meeting held Feb. 8-9 in Stevens Point, Wis. Members of the newly-formed cooperative discussed future plans, shared industry research and recommendations, and laid the framework for the first year of the Midwest’s largest milk marketing cooperative.
    “The first annual meeting of FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative was a triumph for our members as we came together to share insights and plan for the future,” says Dennis Donohue, general manager for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative. “It’s an exciting time for our cooperative and that excitement was shared by our dairy producer members and industry partners in Stevens Point.”
    The two-day event kicked off with an afternoon of educational opportunities through the FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative Producer Discovery Workshops. The three educational workshops were presented by industry experts to help members best plan for profitability and efficiency.
    Randy Greenfield, Vita Plus Corporation dairy specialist, spoke on feedstuffs and provided alternatives to challenges being faced following the 2012 drought. Brant Groen, director of dairy wellness at Form-A-Feed Inc., followed with a discussion on udder care management and a dissection of the udder. The afternoon concluded as Mark Stephenson, director of dairy policy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, discussed the future of the Farm Bill and federal dairy policy.
    During the evening banquet, Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel commended members on the early success of the newly formed cooperative.
    “[This group has] done something very unique,” he said. “Your cooperative had the wisdom to plan for the future, the strength to build a better tomorrow and the foresight to serve your membership with strength, honesty and integrity. That’s pretty unique.”
    FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative President Peter Kleiman began the cooperative’s business meeting on Feb. 9 with an address to the membership.
    “Our Board of Directors and staff look forward to partnering and working directly with our industry friends and producers,” Kleiman said. ”We know that together everyone achieves more and that as a team we have the power to accomplish great things.”
    Throughout the meeting, 39 scholarship recipients were recognized with nearly $30,000 awarded to cooperative members and their children. Katie Martin from Rubicon, Wis. then gave a special presentation on her experiences in an Africa dairy community—an international opportunity that allowed cooperative members a glimpse into dairy production across the globe.
    Members also heard from Steve Etka, coordinator for the Midwest Dairy Coalition, who spoke on the 2012 Farm Bill and the challenges facing Congress. Following the presentations, the delegate members discussed and passed a number of resolutions which form the foundation on policy direction for the organization. Resolutions on federal milk order reform, international trade and standards, consumer awareness, dairy product utilization and promotion, dairy inspections, tax policies, environmental quality, power line siting, farm safety, animal health, right-to-farm laws, guest worker and raw milk were approved by delegate members.
    The annual meeting concluded with Dennis Donohue, general manager for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative.
    “The first annual meeting for FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative was a success for our members and the future of our cooperative,” he said. “As a group, we’re at more tables collectively than we were individually—showing our collective power. Together, we’ve diversified your cooperative with the addition of divisions and increased our marketing, policy and cooperative abilities. Together, FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative is able to provide more security, safety and opportunity to all of our members.”

Mexico officials: Did Bachoco cause avian flu outbreak purposefully?


    The Mexican House of Representatives asked the Secretariat of Agriculture February 21 to investigate whether the avian influenza outbreak in Guanajuato, Mexico, on Bachoco farms was caused by the company to obtain illegal profits through speculation in poultry and egg prices. The House also asked the Ministry of Economy to ban the sale of Bachoco's products that are allegedly contaminated.
    "The outbreak of the A/H7N3 virus, which affects [Bachoco's] farms, occured within a year that bird flu spread in Jalisco farms, leading to an increase of up to 100 percent in the price of eggs in 2012," according to the House.
    The House claims there has been a 1,200 percent increase in profits and speculation with the product, and that according to information from the Mexican Stock Exchange, "[the company] earned huge profits in the chicken and egg crisis."
    During the annual meeting of the Poultry Specialists Association of Central Mexico, AECACEM, poultry industry professionals said the request for Bachoco to suspend activities shows a total ignorance of the market, as a poultry company's activities cannot be suspended overnight. They also noted the issue is being politicized instead of focusing on animal health.

2012 US poultry and egg exports break records


    Thanks in large part to the poultry and egg industry’s ability to adapt to changing global marketplace dynamics, 2012 was a record-setting year for exports of U.S. poultry meat and eggs.
    Combined export value of U.S. poultry meat and eggs reached $5.722 billion in 2012, 12 percent ahead of 2011, the previous record year, according to year-end trade data released by the Foreign Agricultural Service.
    “The global landscape is in a constant state of transition,” said Jim Sumner, president of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council. “While our traditional markets of Mexico and Russia remained at the top of the broiler markets, there were numerous changes, such as Angola and Taiwan moving into the top 10 broiler markets and Mexico growth as a market for eggs. The greatest benefit for our industry is a much greater balance than we’ve ever before realized.”
    Sumner said the U.S. industry, which for years depended on a few behemoths such as Russia and China for a majority of its export sales, is now much less dependent on singular markets as new markets have opened and sales expand to the rest of the world.
    “The only constant in the export marketplace is change,” he said. “And fortunately, our industry is very good at adapting to these changes. In 2008, for example, we exported products to 109 countries. In 2012, we shipped to 121 countries.”
    For 2012, for example, double-digit declines in shipments of U.S. chicken meat to several markets, including Korea and Vietnam, were more than offset by increased sales to markets such as Mexico, Russia, Angola, Congo, Kazakhstan and Ghana.
    The top six markets for U.S. broiler meat exports for 2012 were Mexico, 560,544 tons valued at $641.2 million, up 23 and 42 percent, respectively; Hong Kong, 296,085 tons valued at $396.2 million, down 46 and 47 percent; Russia, 266,995 tons valued at $301.7 million, up 25 and 23 percent; China, 239,897 tons valued at $283 million, up 149 and 137 percent; Angola, 182,027 tons valued at $214.4 million, up 11 and 18 percent; and Canada, 173,037 tons valued at $498.8 million, up 22 and 32 percent.
    Last year was also a record-setting year for total U.S. poultry meat exports in both quantity and value. Export value of U.S. poultry climbed to nearly $5.5 billion, 11 percent over 2011, while quantity hit 4.1 million metric tons, up 5 percent. The quantity record was 0.6 percent higher than in 2008, the previous record year.
    Meanwhile, 2012 U.S. egg exports also reached record levels. Total exports (table eggs plus processed egg products in shell-egg equivalents) were 274.1 million dozen valued at $263.7 million, up 24 and 35 percent from 2011, respectively.
    Broiler meat exports in 2012, excluding chicken paws, set records in both quantity and value, reaching 3.3 million tons valued at $4.2 billion, up respectively 4 and 15 percent from 2011. Compared to the previous record set in 2008, U.S. broiler meat export quantity for 2012 increased by about 1 percent, while value rose by 17 percent.
    Exports of chicken paws in 2012 reached 363,974 tons, an increase of 5 percent from the previous year, while export value was $450.1 million, down 10 percent from 2011. Of those exports, 53 percent went to Hong Kong, and 40 percent went to China.
    U.S. turkey exports last year also reached record highs, with exports in 2012 climbing to 361,597 tons valued at $678.5 million, up 14 and 13 percent, respectively.
    The top U.S. turkey markets are Mexico, 187,201 tons valued at $371.8 million, up 3 and 4 percent, respectively; China, 45,910 tons valued at $70.7 million, up 22 and 32 percent; the Philippines, 14,379 tons valued at $12.9 million, up 167 and 123 percent; Canada, 14,150 tons valued at $31.4 million, up 38 and 29 percent; and Hong Kong, 12,063 tons valued at $20.7 million, down 30 and 17 percent.
    For table eggs, exports in 2012 were 127.6 million dozen valued at $122.6 million, up 54 and 59 percent, respectively, both records, and driven by increased shipments to Mexico, Hong Kong, and the European Union.
    The top five export markets for table eggs are Hong Kong, 46.7 million dozen, up 30 percent; Canada, 26.1 million dozen, up 19 percent; Mexico, 16.6 million dozen vs. 1.3 million dozen in 2011; the U.A.E., 13 million dozen, up 66 percent; and the EU, 8.9 million dozen vs. 0.78 million dozen in 2011.
    For egg products, 2012 was also a record-setting year, as total export value rose by 20 percent to $141 million.
    Export value to Japan, the top export market for U.S. egg products, decreased by 28 percent to $45.1 million, accounting for 32 percent of U.S. total export value worldwide. Export value to the EU rose by 88 percent to $38.3 million, while sales to Mexico increased six-fold to $16.5 million. Exports to Canada increased 18 percent to $9.6 million, while exports to South Korea dipped by 7 percent to $4.1 million.
    Total egg exports (table eggs plus egg products in shell egg equivalent) in 2012 set records in both volume and value. While export quantity hit 274.1 million dozen, an increase of 24 percent from the previous year, export value reached $263.7 million, up 35 percent from 2011.

Loss of poultry inspectors could create animal welfare, environmental issues


    Furloughing federal poultry inspectors could have consequences that go way beyond the financial stability of processors and others in the industry, according to Joe Sanderson Jr., CEO of Sanderson Farms. Sanderson said a lack of inspectors would create an animal welfare issue and an environmental catastrophe.
    “Without proper notice, that would be a terrible situation for us,” Sanderson said during a quarterly call with shareholders on February 21. “When you have birds that are 60 to 62 days old, scheduled to go to the plant, and all of the sudden you don’t have inspectors, and you leave those birds in the house 2 to 5 days longer, they crowd up, and they’re going to die. That’s your animal welfare issue.”
    It becomes an environmental issue, he said, because producers and processors will then have decisions to make about how to get rid of the dead birds. There is also a concern of where the chicks coming out of the hatcheries are going to go, and will eggs have to be destroyed. “Are there enough landfills for all of that?" said Sanderson. "I don’t think they’ve thought about that in Washington."
    The furloughing of inspectors is still a possibility until Congress and the White House come to an agreement to avoid sequestration. Without inspectors, processing plants cannot legally produce meat. Sanderson said on previous occasions when there was a government crisis or even shutdown, inspectors were still deemed essential and plants could still operate. He expressed optimism that even if sequestration occurs, poultry plants can continue to operate with the benefit of on-site federal inspectors. “We’re supposed to have our best and brightest there in Washington," he said. "They’ve been able to work these things out. I’m hopeful they’ll be able to get that done.”

World Ag Expo Forage Challenge announces winners


    A total of $18,000 in cash prizes was awarded on February 12, 2013, to winners of the 2013 World Ag Expo Forage Challenge, presented by Mycogen Seeds. Finalists were chosen from more than 90 entries submitted from the Western U.S. The competition challenged farmers to enter and see who produced the highest-quality forage in the West. Samples of the finalists' entries will be on display in World Ag Expo's Hospitality Center on East Greenbelt and Median Street.
    Lallemand Animal Nutrition North America sponsored $18,000 in contest awards and prizes. First place winners in all three categories received $3,000; second place winners were awarded $2,000; and $1,000 was given to third place winners.
    Farmers and ranchers from 11 Western states were invited to enter the competition. Entries were judged in three categories: alfalfa hay, standard corn silage and brown mid-rib, BMR, corn silage. Cash prizes were awarded based on forage lab analyses, along with a visual evaluation of the entries by experts in dairy nutrition and forage production.
    2013 World Ag Expo Forage Challenge winners:
    Alfalfa Hay
    • 1st Place - David Hinman, Hardrock Farms Inc., Wheatland, Wyo.
    • 2nd Place - Daryl Tiltrum, Dipper Tree Sheep LLC, Wheatland, Wyo.
    • 3rd Place - Rick and Kim Perigo, Valiant Penny Hay Co., Lun, Nev.
    Corn Silage BMR
    • 1st Place - Jake Bosma, Bosma Milk Co. Tipton, Calif.
    • 2nd Place - Mike Barcellos, Monster Dairy, Newman, Calif.
    • 3rd Place - Tony Louters, Tony Louters Dairy, Merced, Calif.
    Corn Silage Non-BMR
    • 1st Place - Dino Giacomazzi, Giocomazzi Dairy/Farms, Hanford, Calif.
    • 2nd Place - Kelly Callahan, Royal Turf Farms, Royal City, Wash.
    • 3rd Place - Bert Weststeyn, Weststeyn Dairy, Linden, Calif. 

Sanderson Farms reports $6.9 million loss for quarter


    Sanderson Farms, Inc. on February 21 reported to shareholders a net loss of $6.9 million for the first fiscal quarter ended January 31.
    That loss equates to a decline of 31 cents per share over the past quarter, compared with a net loss of $8 million, or 36 cents per share for the first quarter of 2012.
    Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were $595.8 million compared with $517.8 million for the same period a year ago.
    "Our results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 reflect improving, but still challenging, conditions for our industry," said Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of Sanderson Farms, Inc. "While we experienced higher poultry market prices than the same period a year ago, our grain costs were also higher. Retail demand for chicken has remained steady, but we continue to see weak food service demand. We believe food service demand will remain under pressure until the national employment environment improves. While grain prices have retreated from the highs they set last August, we experienced higher feed costs during the first quarter, and these higher costs continue to affect our profitability."
    According to Sanderson, market prices for poultry products were higher during the first quarter of fiscal 2013 compared with the same period of fiscal 2012. A simple average of the Georgia dock price for whole chickens was approximately 9.1 percent higher in the Company's first fiscal quarter compared with the same period in 2012, and currently stands at a record $1.0050 per pound.
    Boneless breast meat prices during the quarter were approximately 5.1 percent higher than the prior-year period. The average market price for bulk leg quarters decreased approximately 2.0 percent for the quarter compared with the same period last year. Jumbo wing prices were higher by 24.6 percent compared with last year's first fiscal quarter, and hit a record high of $1.92 per pound the week before the Super Bowl. The Company's average feed cost per pound of poultry products processed increased 12.1 percent compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2012, and prices paid for corn and soybean meal, the Company's primary feed ingredients, increased 16.2 percent and 46.1 percent, respectively, compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2012.
    "Market conditions steadily improved during our first fiscal quarter as our grain costs peaked in November," Sanderson added. "Market prices and sales strengthened in January and, as a result, the Company was profitable for the last month of the quarter." However, we continue to experience high grain prices, and expect a challenging cost environment throughout the fiscal year. Corn supplies are at their tightest level in 15 years, which will likely keep upward pressure on grain costs at least until the market gets some visibility into the quantity and quality of the 2013 crops.
    "Throughout most all of calendar 2012, egg sets and pullet placements remained below previous year levels, but have trended higher over the past few weeks. Despite slightly higher chicken production, market prices have remained the same or moved higher, indicating at least some improvement in demand. We are cautiously optimistic regarding macroeconomic conditions, and believe any further strengthening of the United States economy, coupled with normal seasonal demand improvement this spring and summer, could support higher market prices for our poultry products.
    "We have been running our plants at approximately 94 percent capacity since October, which has adversely affected our costs. In order to meet our customers' demands and improve our cost structure, we will move our plants to full production in June. While grain costs remain relatively high, this move is supported by demand from our customers and our desire to keep our costs competitive," concluded Sanderson.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Poultry system supplier to present new logo, products at Midwest Poultry Federation Convention


    Farmer Automatic will be presenting its new brand design by its longtime distributor, Farmer Automatic of America, at the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention in Saint Paul, Minn., from March 13 to 14. The manufacturer of economic poultry husbandry systems headquartered in Germany has completely redesigned its corporate logo, website and all of its product brochures.
    After a successful attendance the at the International Production & Processing Expo in Atlanta in January, Farmer Automatic will present its new corporate design and an assortment of its intelligent husbandry systems at the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention in St. Paul in March.
    At the Midwest Poultry Federation Convention, all interested parties will have the opportunity to personally get to know the products. Farmer Automatic will be exhibiting some systems for housing and rearing, such as Eco Plus and Combi. Staff members from longtime distributor Farmer Automatic of America Inc. and Steve Lamar from Farmer Automatic Inc. will be attending the trade show.
    The Midwest Poultry Federation Convention is the largest regional poultry show in the U.S. The distributor Farmer Automatic America is a long time contributor and supporter of the show, and it is an ideal venue for Farmer Automatic to present its professional husbandry systems in the Midwest.
    Farmer Automatic will be exhibiting its products in booth 400 and is looking forward to all visitors.

Broiler eggs set for week improves two percent from 2012


    Commercial hatcheries in the United States Department of Agriculture’s 19-state weekly program set 199 million eggs in incubators during the week ending February 16, according to the USDA’s weekly broiler hatchery report. This shows a 2 percent improvement from the eggs set the corresponding week a year earlier.
    Average hatchability for chicks hatched during the week was 84 percent. Average hatchability is calculated by dividing chicks hatched during the week by eggs set three weeks earlier.
    Broiler growers in the weekly program placed 164 million chicks for meat production during the week ending February 16. Placements were up 1 percent from the comparable week a year earlier. Cumulative placements from December 30, 2012, through February 16 for the 19-state total were 1.14 billion, up 1 percent from the same period a year earlier.

Pleurisy costing UK pig producers


    Pleurisy is costing UK pig producers at least 75p per affected pig in processing costs alone and the incidence of the complaint is increasing, according to the BPEX Pig Health Scheme and the Collection and Communication of Inspection Results.
    Abattoirs are reporting up to 15 percent of the kill being severely affected. The cost is incurred when slaughter line speeds are slowed to deal with the additional dressing requirements of affected carcasses. Typically pig processors deduct half a kilo from the dead weight of affected carcases, resulting in a big loss to producers.
    In addition to these losses, pleurisy stunts the growth and performance of pigs: BPEX estimates the total cost could be as high as £2.30 for every single pig slaughtered (where there is 10 percent pleurisy prevalence).
    But these losses are avoidable says Emma Bailey-Beech, BPEX, pork safety and quality manager.
    “As this is a lung infection, pigs may not show any outward signs of the condition such as coughing or pained breathing. If pleurisy is highlighted, in the first instance, talk to your vet about changing your management practice to reduce pleurisy.
    “Vets can help recommend changes to avoid and reduce further cases – such as minimizing moving and mixing pigs, effective cleaning, disinfecting and drying of housing, and extending the down-time between batches.”

Czech Republic’s pig meat production declined 8.9 percent in 2012


    The Czech Republic’s pig meat production declined 8.9 percent to 239,753 tons in 2012. However, producer prices of pigs for slaughter grew 17 percent.
    Producers sold pigs for slaughter in S, E and U quality classes for CZK 33.26 per kg of live weight or CZK 42.78 per kg of carcass weight on average (minimum CZK 39.83 per kg in February, maximum CZK 46.40 per kg in October). A deficit of external trade in live pigs from December 2011 to November 2012 was 9,035 tons. Imports and exports of live pigs were 29,883 tons, an increase of 30.7 percent and 20,848 tons a decline of 11.3 percent, respectively.
    Young pigs up to 50 kg (mainly piglets with average weight 25.6 kg) as well as pigs above 50 kg (predominantly pigs for slaughter with average weight 106.2 kg) contributed to increased imports. Imports accounted for 522.8 thousand piglets and increase of 6.9 percent and 16,346 tons of pigs for slaughter an increase of 63 percent.
    Exports of fattened pigs decreased by 11.2 percent to 19,423 tons, while exports of piglets grew three times (to 33.6 thousand heads). Piglets were imported from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands; pigs for slaughter were exported to Hungary and Slovakia.

New training station teaches sows to use a demand feeding system


    The SowComp training station teaches sows to reach the trough by passing through a narrow passage. The WEDA Dammann & Westerkamp’s new model works with open doors so animals get used to taking up their feed in a demand feeding station in a fast, uncomplicated and stress-free way.
    To simulate real operating conditions of the later demand feeding station, the unit is equipped with a double-flap iron-barred exit gate. This prevents pigs entering in the wrong direction.
    As a rule, the training station is installed far away from the herd of sows, in the quarantine division. It is recommended to split up the gilts to be trained into groups of 15 to 20 animals. After a training period of approximately two weeks, the sows are conditioned and know exactly how a demand feeding station functions.
    After this, they can be transferred into the proper waiting area. As the animals are now used to walking along a passage for taking up their feed, their shying away from automatic demand feeding stations is practically non-existent now.

British pig price set to fall further before recovery


    The British pig price looks set to average around 164p this year, hitting its low point in the next few weeks, and then rising to about 170p at the top of the market, British Pig Executive (BPEX) chief Mick Sloyan told this week's NPA Allied Industry Group conference.
    "I think that is very doable," he said. "It is possible that we might do a bit more, but I wouldn't want to bet on it."
    Looking at key economic indicators for the British pig herd this year, he saw slaughterings soon starting to turn downwards.
    "I would urge some caution though. We can all name people who have gone out of pigs over the last six months, but if we think about it we can probably think of people who are keeping a few more sows as well."
    A far as the European Union herd was concerned there was no new data yet since the downturns reported in the summer surveys of member countries.
    But as long as there was pressure to ensure countries complied with the stalls ban, further reductions would be seen, he predicted.
    "The latest European Union forecast puts the fall in production this year at 3 percent. I think that is overcooking it a bit, but I do think production will be down around 2 percent."
    The implications of a fall in production were improved prices this year and into 2014, he said. "However consumer resistance was very obvious when the European market took off last year and the pig price went up to 180-185 euros.
    "It was too much, and consumer resistance meant they couldn't sustain it. Don't forget that in many countries pig meat is the meat of choice, so it is much more sensitive to price changes, which creates a sort of natural cap."
    Looking at trends for 2013, he said that last year BPEX had forecast there would be less than enthusiastic enforcement of the partial sow stall ban, and it would take all of 2013 and probably into 2014 before the full effect was felt.
    It forecast the European Union breeding herd to be down about 5 per cent and production to drop 2-3 per cent. "And we still say that is the most likely outcome."
    BPEX also predicted a 10 per cent increase in the pig price. "I think that is very do-able," said Mick Sloyan, stressing the importance of maintaining the British premium of around 9p a kilo. 

Poultry companies take advantage of free IPPE bus service


    Several poultry companies took advantage of free bus service to transport their employees and growers to the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo. More than 230 employees and growers from eight poultry complexes attended the expo via the bus service. They included Tyson Foods, Claxton Poultry, Fieldale Farms, Perdue Farms, and Pilgrim’s in Georgia, and Keystone Foods and Pilgrim's in Alabama.
    The attendees were pre-registered through the Members to Atlanta (M2A) Program. In addition, the attendees were provided Chick-fil-A lunch coupons, compliments of the International Poultry Expo.
    The International Production & Processing Expo will offer the bus service again in 2014. For more information, please contact Larry Brown at l.brown@uspoultry.org.

Alltech 2013 symposium to focus on agribusiness challenges


    The 29th Annual Alltech International Symposium, being held in Lexington, Ky., on May 19-22, plans to zero in on the next seven years, posing the question: can agribusiness overcome the myriad challenges facing it and also feed 7.4 billion people by 2020?
    The event will offer a fresh GLIMPSE into the future of agribusiness. In a recently published International Food and Agribusiness Management Review article, interviews with 25 agribusiness experts identified seven key barriers that may impede the world's ability to feed nine billion people by 2050. The challenges and opportunities were organized under the acronym GLIMPSE: Government, Losses in the food and ingredient supply chains, Infrastructure, Markets, Politics and policies, Science and innovation, and the Environment.
    GLIMPSE's findings will be a centerpiece of symposium plenary session discussions, which will also review the state of play in the global feed industry. Given the new information revealed in Alltech's 2013 Global Feed Tonnage Survey, is agriculture's next great frontier possibly Africa?
    In light of recent food crises, the symposium will explore how the industry can maintain or restore consumers' perceptions of food safety and health. It will also seek to answer the question: where does the buck stop with traceability?
    New in 2013, Alltech International Symposium delegates will have the opportunity to select breakout session tracks. These tracks, as opposed to traditional species or subject breakouts, will offer attendees a more holistic experience in which they take part in discussions ranging from algae and agriculture's carbon footprint to nutrition and marketing. Discussions within the track selections may include:
    • The Business of Agriculture
    • Crisis Management
    • Farming Soils for the Future
    • Milk: The Perfect Food
    • Carbon Footprint, Sustainability and Profitability
    • Feeding for Fertility
    • Optimizing Rumen Function
    • Branding Food: A Taste of What Consumers Really Want
    • Reimagining Beef Production
    • Nutrigenomics: A Nutrition Revolution
    • Interfacing Nutrition and Immunity
    • Experiences from the Field: Rethinking Animal Health
    • Farming the Sea
    • The Algae Opportunity
    • Feeding Your Friend: Companion Animal Nutrition
    • Connecting with Consumers through the World's Premier Equestrian Event
    • Profit from the Core
    • Next Generation Foods
    • Celebrating the Farmer
    • Beyond the Brand: Customer Engagement
    • Farm to Fork: Branding All-Natural Omega-3 Pork to the Consumer
    • Communicating Diversity: A Dialogue with the Latin Market
    • The Changing Face of Media
    • Building a Successful Brand Beyond Your Home Market
    • Crops: An Extra Ton per 2.5 Acres?
    Registration for Alltech's 29th Annual International Symposium is open and available for an early discount price of $599 through April 15. Standard registration after April 15 will be $850. Two paid registrations from a single company or organization will receive a third registration free of charge.

Soybean prices skyrocket on dry Argentina weather


    Soybean prices rose sharply after Argentina didn't get rains that had been forecast over the weekend, according to reports.
    March soybeans rose 45.75 cents to $14.7025 per bushel as markets reopened after the U.S. Presidents Day holiday on February 18. The gain of 3.2 percent was the biggest in more than a month. Soybeans are rebounding after slumping since the beginning of February on forecasts for a strong harvest in South America. The crop there is nearing harvest.
    The prices are expected to continue their upward movement, as early calls for commodities on February 20 are showing soybeans 17 to 19 cents higher.
    In other feed grains trading, wheat and corn both fell on forecasts that winter storms would bring snow to the Plains region, giving soil there needed moisture and improving the outlook for this year's feed crops.

South Africa corn futures reach three-week high


    South Africa corn futures have reached their highest level in more than three weeks as the continued lack of rain raises concern about the harvest.
    White corn for delivery in July, the most active contract, rose 1.1 percent to 2,057 rand (US$232) per metric ton, the highest since January 29, by the close on February 19 on the South African Futures Exchange in Johannesburg. The yellow variety for delivery in the same month gained 1 percent to 2,055 rand per metric ton.
    There is no rain predicted until February 25 for Bothaville in the Free State, where 40 percent of the nation’s corn is produced, according to the South African Weather Service’s website. “The lack of rain situation continues to pose a threat,” said Andrew Fletcher, an independent trader. “The market is now looking at production factors and that is taking the price up.”
    A median estimate of six analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News showed that farmers may increase corn output by 5.9 percent to 12.5 million metric tons this season from 2012 numbers.

Fieldale Farms overcomes cost barriers with 100 percent antibiotic-free operations


    After easing its way into the organic movement, Fieldale Farms made the move in 2011 to raising 100 percent of its broilers antibiotic-free. Doing so has presented a few challenges, including increased costs of production and greater risk for certain avian health problems, but the company has met those challenges head-on.
    Dr. David Wicker, vice president of live operations for Fieldale Farms, told of how the corporation has dealt with the ongoing issues involved with delivering poultry raised without the use of antibiotics during the International Production and Processing Expo’s Meat and Poultry Research Conference, held January 31 in Atlanta, Ga. Wicker said Fieldale Farms began looking at the organic movement in the early 1990s. At the time, there was not enough organic grain available for an operation of Fieldale’s size. But as the decade progressed, they began making the switch. In 1998, the company started producing between 100,000 and 150,000 antibiotic-free broilers per week. It was mainly a trial, Wicker said, “to see if we could do it, and do it economically enough that we could supply some of our consumers what they were asking for.”
    The operation went 100 percent antibiotic-free in 2011, and went from raising 100,000 to 200,000 organic broilers a week, to 2.8 million to 3 million a week.

    Economic challenges
    “Raising broilers antibiotic-free has issues," said Wicker. "Especially since the veterinarian tells me every day that antibiotics work." The most significant issue is it costs more money to raise poultry in an environment free of antibiotics. Wicker said the company is still tabulating the added cost for the most recent fiscal year, but he added expenses are more than the public thinks.
    Some consumer reports say it only costs about one cent per pound more to raise antibiotic-free broilers. Others say it is between 3 and 5 cents. “I can’t give you what it costs, but it’s more than that,” he said.
    Poor feed conversions are one problem. When you go to a 100 percent antibiotic-free, feed conversions will become worse. Part of this is due to the ingredients in the feed, but it also is partly because of the birds in the operation, he said.
    In an operation of Fieldale Farms’ size, one lost point of feed conversion can cost beyond $20,000 per week. Broilers in an antibiotic-free environment tend to gain weight more slowly, Wicker said. At certain times of the year, it takes two or three days longer for a chicken to grow to an average weight of 6 ¼ pounds. Growth rates tend to be seasonal, he said, as the period from January to April is when the weight gain is the slowest. During the summer and fall, growth rates are not affected as much.
    Wet litter problems are also increased without the use of antibiotics, and taking corrective measures to prevent this from happening and subjecting the birds to burns and other health issues as a result, also takes away from the grower’s budget. “When you put all of this together, it does cost more to produce,” he said.

    Changes in organic trends
    Ever since Fieldale Farms began its foray into the organic movement in the 1990s, the company has seen new definitions to the phrase “antibiotic-free.” Wicker said those definitions have changed along with consumer demands. Wanting to deliver the type of product the customers want, Fieldale has adapted to all of those industry standards.
    Fourteen years ago, the main concern was that there were no antibiotics in the chickens’ feed. The early focus was on organic grain, but it soon shifted to no animal fat or protein mixed with the grain product. As time progressed, the consumer desire was that the birds’ water supply also had no antibiotics.
    The next step was that the birds or the soon-to-be hatched eggs not be injected with any antibiotics. The biggest obstacle here, Wicker said, was that injecting the eggs on day 19 of incubation had been a good move to vaccinate for Newcastle disease. But Fieldale Farms adapted to that consumer request as well. The company still has incidents when a chicken gets sick from a lack of vaccinations, and those birds are treated and removed from the antibiotic-free flocks, Wicker said.

Friday, February 22, 2013

National Turkey Federation presents Turkey on the Menu awards


    The National Turkey Federation presented its 11th annual “Turkey on the Menu” (TOM) Awards at its national convention February 14. The awards recognize food service providers in the categories of supermarket foodservice, fast food, quick casual, mid-scale and full service dining who best featured innovative turkey dishes on their menus.
    “The TOM awards truly illustrate how diverse food service establishments — from fast food to full service dining — are embracing turkey," said National Turkey Federation president Joel Brandenberger. "Its versatility and great taste have empowered chefs to use turkey in so many interesting and truly creative ways. The TOM awards honors these innovators, and give them industry-wide recognition they so deserve.”
    In alphabetical order by category, the 2013 TOM recipients are:
    • Fast food: Subway, Arby's
    • Full service: Sweetwater Chophouse
    • Mid-scale: The Good Egg
    • Quick casual: Specialty’s CafĂ© and Bakery
    • Supermarket foodservice: Wegman’s Food Markets Inc.
    Federation members nominate the foodservice chains that exemplify the criteria of the TOM award. Entrant applications address questions regarding turkey menu applications, the item’s consumer appeal, how the chain promotes the menu items through marketing and turkey’s food cost percentage. A panel of objective foodservice professionals rates the entries on consumer appeal, versatility, taste, value and how the turkey application benefits the operation.

Big Dutchman celebrates 75th anniversary at IPPE


    At the 2013 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Big Dutchman, one of the most well-known and recognized leaders in the poultry business, presented some exceptional attractions to celebrae 75 years of successful business.
    Beside the newest innovations, it was the unsurpassed 3D movie experience of the poultry house and legendary Al Unser with his famous race car which attracted hundreds of visitors to the booth.
    Big Dutchman’s grand booth reception was opened with a speech from Bernd Meerpohl, chairman of the board, who proudly looked back on Big Dutchman’s 75-year-old history and achievements. He then took pleasure in cutting the official anniversary cake with Clovis Rayzel, president of Big Dutchman USA and Latin America.
    During the three-day-long IPPE, many visitors attended the Big Dutchman booth to learn about the new products being released.
    The unique 3D movie experience was a special treat for guests visiting the Big Dutchman booth. Three separate videos were presented, including one video on Big Dutchman’s popular Avech colony system and the ideal space it provides for hens, a turkey video about the durable Gladiator feed pan, and a broiler video featuring the Fluxx feed pan and straight-line auger system.
    “The 3D experience was designed to give the viewer a better perspective of what goes on inside a poultry house,” said Rayzel. “The viewer is able to see how much room the hens have in the Avech colony system, and this helps to understand in better detail how the products work and how the animals use the products.”
    To top things off, Big Dutchman had legendary race car driver Al Unser on hand to greet visitors and to sign autographs. Al brought his race car Johnny Lightning, which he used to win two of his four Indianapolis 500 races.
    “Having Al and his car at the booth was a great experience for visitors,” said Terry Pollard, vice president of North American sales for Big Dutchman.