Sept. 7, 2012 - A mutation of the highly toxic H5N1 bird flu has appeared in Vietnam, and state media reports state that it is spreading fast, resulting in mass culls.
According to Times Live, outbreaks have been reported in six provinces in the past two months and 180,000 birds have been culled to attempt to slow the transmission. The Central Veterinary Diagnsis Centre is also testing current vaccines against the new threat.
For more on the outbreak, please see the entire article at Times Live.
Aug. 28, 2012 - According to the latest Poultry and Egg Statistics document from Statistics Canada, poultry meat value and egg production both increased substantially in 2011.
The value of poultry meat sales totaled $2.6 billion in 2011, up 14.1% from 2010. As well, Canadian farmers produced 1.2 million tonnes of poultry meat in 2011. Chicken, including stewing hens, which accounts for 87% of all poultry meat produced, is up 0.4% from 2010. Turkey meat production stood at 160 thousand tonnes in 2011, an increase of 0.4% from the previous year.
In terms of egg sales, it reached $1024.8 million in 2011, an increase of 9.3% from the previous year. In addition, production was 643.8 million dozen, an increase of 1.0% from 2010. The central region produces over half of the eggs in Canada with Ontario producing 242.1 million dozen eggs and Quebec producing 113.8 million dozen eggs.
For more on the results, see the whole document at Statistics Canada.
Aug. 28, Edmonton, AB - Workers at the Lillydale Poultry processing plant in Edmonton went on strike after talks broke down late last week and have begun picketing outside the plant.
According to CBC News, the employees have been without a contract since May, and the main issue is wages compared to other employees in Calgary and B.C. Employees would also like 72 hours of guaranteed work every 2 weeks, as opposed to 30 hours during five months of the year.
Lillydale has said that its last offer was reasonable, but until talks resume, the plant has shut down.
For more on the story, please see the full article on CBC News.
Aug. 27, 2012 - Research from the Alabama State University identified that Campylobacter bacteria was found in 41 per cent of all the meat tested.
The study, published in the journal BMC Microbiology, examined skinless, boneless chicken breasts, tenderloins and thighs available at consumer stores in Alabama between 2005 and 2011. According to the resuls, there was no statistical difference in year, but different strains of Campylobacter did show various degrees of seasonality.
For mroe information on the study, please see BMC Microbiology.
Aug. 24, 2012 - Canada will soon join negotiations with the Trans Pacific Partnership, but local MPs are insisting that the government will defend supply management.
According to an article in the Wellington Advertiser, farmers are taking their MPs at their word, but are still being cautious. However, the director for Region 6 (Dufferin, Peel, Simcoe and Wellington) of the Dairy Farmers of Ontario (DFO), Ian Harrop, said that the federal government has told dairy farmrs that "supply management is not negotiable."
Which is a good thing, he says, as farmers in Canada get their income from the marketplace, not the government. If supply management goes, then the entire Canadian farm system would have to be re-configured.
For more on this issue, please see the complete article at Wellington Advertiser.
Aug. 21, 2012 - Morrisons, a supermarket group in the UK, has developed information on helping producers deal with the impact of wet litter on bird health and performance.
According to an article in Farmers Weekly, the information packet was produced to address the causes of wet poultry litter and to create a factsheet that can be used as a quick reference for farmers.
"Debate on how to tackle problems associated with wet litter tends to dominate our producer group meetings and it was obvious there was a desire to find out what was happening elsewhere in the world, to see if we could copy best practice," said agriculture manager Louise Welsh.
For more on the information packet, please see the complete article at Farmers Weekly.
Aug. 21, 2012, Berwick, NS - A new poultry processing plant from Eden Valley Poultry has been delayed due to the challenge of tweaking European equipment.
According to an article from The Daily Business Buzz, the next steps are to install proper sanitization and cleaning systems, says Eden Valley Poultry president Greg Gillespie. After that, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points approval must be granted, followed by a plant inspection from the CFIA.
While the plant was expected to open in June, the $40 million plant is now expected to open in July.
“We missed our original target by about a month, but that target was quite aggressive,” Gillespie noted.
For more information on the plant, please visit The Daily Business Buzz.
Aug. 17, 2012 - The Journal of Commerce reports that exports of American poultry meat and eggs in 2012 have set year-over-year records in quantity and value.
According to the article, broilers demand roose in all markets, but especially Russia, Cuba, Kazakhstan and China. For table eggs, 79 per cent of all U.S. egg exports went to the top five export markets (Hong King, China, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, the Bahamas and Angola).
The value of exports is estimated to be $2.6 billion, according to the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service.
For more information on the export boom, please read the complete article at The Journal of Commerce.
Aug. 17, 2012 - A recent research paper has gotten a lot of press lately for saying that people who eat more eggs had more plaque in their arteries, and equated it to as bad for you as smoking cigarettes.
However, according to ABC News, cardiologists are saying that the study is inherently flawed becauses it was a survey that depended on recollection and did not take other dietary factors into consideration.
“This is very poor quality research that should not influence patient’s dietary choices,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, who chairs the department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, in an email. “It is extremely important to understand the differences between ‘association’ and ‘causation’.”
Aug. 15, 2012 - An incidence of low pathogenic avian influenze, of serotype H7N7, has been found on a farm in the Netherlands.
According to a report issued by the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health), the outbreak was first detected in August 9th, 2012 with over 31,000 laying hens being susceptible. According to the report, all birds have been destroyed.
The incident was reported by Dr. Christianne Bruschke, a veterinary officer with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality reported the incidence of H7N7 at the farm located in the city of Utrecht.
There are no other commercial holdings within 1 kilometre of the farm, according to the report, but strickt quarantine measures have been installed.
For more information on the situation as it develops, visit the OIE website http://www.oie.int/.
Aug. 8, 2012 - The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed some new rules for poultry producers: increase the speed of the lines by 25 per cent and decrease the number of inspectors.
According to an article from The Columbus Dispatch, the USDA wants inspectors to focus on issues that pose the greatest risk to consumers, such as from pathogens like salmonella and campylobacter. However, food safety groups contest that it will open the door for an increase of contamination by fecal matter and create a conflict of interest within the plant.
The USDA has not made a decision on the proposal, and the changes are expected to be voluntary (though experts believe most will opt-in in order to stay competative).
For more information on the proposed changes, as well as what it could mean to suppliers, please see The Columbus Dispatch.
Jul. 30, 2012, Fresno, CA - Fresno State has broken ground on the new Foster Farms Poultry Education and Research Facility, set to open in time for the spring semester in 2013.
According to the Fresno State website, the 16,000 square-foot building will be a state-of-the-art educational facility donated by Fresno Farms with a focus on eco-friendly research and poultry production. The building will be used by faculty and students in the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
“Our students and faculty are thrilled about this exciting addition to our college,” said Dr. Charles Boyer, dean of the Jordan College. “The center will allow students to perform in-depth research, participate in hands-on learning and gain job skills in one of the leading agricultural industries.”
For more information on the new building and its construction, please visit the Fresno State website.
Jul. 23, 2012, College Station, TX - The National Association for the Advancement of Animal Science is focused on improving funding for animal agricultural research.
According to an article in AgriLife Today, the association is composed of university department heads from across the U.S. from the animal, dairy and poultry science departments. The new association will work with other groups to advocate for increased funding for animal sciences.
“Federal funding for research, education and extension in the animal sciences has remained stagnant over the last 30 years," said Dr. Russell Cross, president of the association and head of the animal science department at Texas A&M University.
For more information on the association and its goals, see the complete article on AgriLife Today.
Jul. 23, 2012 - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that the Salmonella outbreak that has hit more than 70 people from 20 states stems from Estes Hatchery in Missouri.
The mail-order hatchery, according to an article in the News Leader, has remained open during the outbreak and has continued to ship birds all over the U.S.
For more information on what the CDC is doing to monitor and control the outbreak, you can visit the investigation page here.
Jul. 17, 2012 - Inghams Enterprises, a poultry producer in Australia and New Zealand with 35 per cent of the market, is now up for sale after 94 years of being a family-run company.
According to an article on ABC in Australia, Inghams recorded sales of $2 billion in the year to June and has a 35 per cent share of the poultry market. However, sole shareholder Bob Ingham says that it is time to begin the long process of selling the company. But, he adds that day-to-day operations will not be affected.
For more information, see the article on ABC in Australia.
Jul. 12, 2012, Cheshire, England - At a hearing at Crewe Law Courts in Cheshire, poultry farmer Norman Woodward became ill and increasingly short of breath after his retirement due to a lifetime exposure to chicken droppings.
According to an article in The Daily Mail, Dr. Geoff Roberts, the coroner, said that his work with poultry directly influenced his death by developing allergic alveolitis.
We have heard that over the years Norman was exposed to a number of antigens and as a result, he developed this condition, allergic alveolitis.
"We have heard very clearly that how, after continued exposure, he developed the lung diseases associated with his occupation, and there’s no doubt that these led him to his death ... There’s a very clear association with Mr Woodward’s occupation and the development of his subsequent lung disease. He died of an industrial disease."
For more information on the inquest, see The Daily Mail.
Jul. 11, 2012, Ramsay, AB - Poultry firm Lilydale has been fined $180,000 for an ammonia leak that endangered residents of Calgary's Ramsay neighbourhood, but residents are seeking $250,000 in damages.
According to a report in the Calgary Herald, while Lilydale plead guilty to leak that ocurred on Sept. 13, 2009, the matter was only recently settled in the courts.
Residents of Ramsay are claiming that when the leak ocurred, which was due to employee error at the plant, they were evacuated and suffered sore throats and headaches due to the exposure.
For more information, please the article in the Calgary Herald.
Jul. 5, 2012, Chicago, IL - McDonald's will be emphasizing chicken in their stores, thanks to a push by new CEO Don Thompson.
According to an article on Newsobserver.com, the chain restaurants will be featuring dishes such as bone-in chicken wings and cashew teriyaki salads with chicken to help entice consumers. This push, according to Bryan Elliott, an analyst at Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg, FL stems from the preceived health benefits of chicken and its lower price.
“The consumer is expressing some recent signs of distress” he said, and chicken costs are “cheap relative to beef right now by a lot."
For more information, please see the complete article on Newsobserver.com.
Jul. 5, 2012 - Russia has slashed both financing and farmer support within the poultry industry until at least the year 2020.
According to a report on the RBCDaily (in Russian - translated version can be found here), the Ministry of Finance announced that total farmer support will be reduced to 1.4 trillion from 2.48 trillion roubles from 2013-2020. This will result in the poultry industry financing program having to decrease from 250 billion to 100 billion roubles - a 60 per cent change.
"Due to the new investors, as well as various innovations, Russian manufacturers expected to increase the daily growth of birds to 60 g, to reduce feed conversion to 1.6, and increase egg production to 325 units a year per one layer. With such a sharp reduction in funding we can forget about it," said a member of the Russian Union of Poultry Farmers (Rosptitssoyuz).
These funding cuts have many farmers doubting the overall competitiveness of domestic producers and the subsequent reliance on imports that will arise.
For more, please see the full article on the RBCDaily (English version)
On May 8, 2012, the Poultry Industry Council (PIC) held its Spring Symposium (formerly known as Research Day), celebrating the careers of three distinguished poultry researchers, as well as highlighting research regarding poultry health and disease that it helps fund.
The day began with the presentation of the Poultry Worker of the Year Award to Ian Duncan, who did groundbreaking work on laying hen welfare, and poultry nutrition researcher Steve Leeson. Also honoured was the late Bruce Hunter, a much beloved teacher and researcher from the Ontario Veterinary College. Each award was preceded by a short video featuring colleagues and peers discussing the recipients’ accomplishments and significance to the field. All of the honorees were emotional and extremely thankful, none more so than Bruce Hunter’s widow, who was noticeably touched by the kind words said.
The rest of the day was devoted to researchers discussing various aspects of poultry health and disease, beginning with Jean-Pierre Vaillancourt from the University of Montreal, who discussed putting disease into perspective.
Vaillancourt stated that animal loss due to disease is a continuous and significant problem that claims a large number of animals each and every year. Inside the poultry system, he said, diseases constantly change and adapt, and therefore it is a constant battle between management and prevention.
He also said that as density continues to increase, productivity will continue to decrease because production diseases and infection pressure will rise. “The potential costs are huge if we are unprepared,” he said, “and can have major effects on human health as well.”
The second speaker at the symposium was Cindy-Love Tremblay, a PhD student at the University of Montreal studying antimicrobial resistance in birds and how normal gut flora could acquire resistance. Her results have shown that healthy poultry could be a reservoir for resistance genes, which could quickly spread throughout a population of bacteria.
Although the research is only in its early stages, Tremblay said that future work could be used to help reduce resistance by decreasing the ability of the bacteria to exchange genes.
Shayan Sharif from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph followed with an explanation on the potential uses of probiotics in humans, as well as poultry. According to him, the use of a combination of probiotics in chickens can help modulate the immune response, increase weight gain, improve feed conversion and decrease both mortality and overall parasite/bacteria load.
This was demonstrated in tests using a cocktail of three different probiotic bacteria; the researchers found that the cocktail can help enhance the chickens’ immune response. Research is also being done on the potential antibacterial properties of probiotics using a new cocktail of five different probiotics targeted against a specific strain of Salmonella.
Ben Wood, a geneticist from Hendrix Genetics, then took to the podium to discuss the challenges associated with selecting for specific traits in turkeys. He said that screening for metabolic disorders with a genetic basis are quite effective, but artificially selecting against behaviour and pathogen resistance is more difficult.
The reason for this, Wood said, is that, by selecting for improved resistance, the results visibly decrease the presentation of commercially viable traits, such as growth rate and feed conversion. “And until breeders get the word that consumers are willing to pay for less product,” he added, “things aren’t going to change.”
The final scientific presentation was by Michele Guerin from the University of Guelph on the prevalence of Salmonella serovars in breeder flocks in Ontario. The results showed that there was a seasonal difference between Salmonella’s presence in breeders (more pronounced in the fall) and hatcheries (summer), and that the best way to eliminate an outbreak is constant monitoring at the breeder flock and hatcheries across all poultry types. She noted that if she and her research team could gain a better understanding of why these seasonal patterns occur, they could design studies to show how these infections could be prevented.
Len Jewitt, owner of BLT Farms Inc., a turkey, egg and broiler operation north of Guelph, ended the day with an emotional presentation on the impact of disease at the farm level. Jewitt, who several years ago had one of his layer barns test positive for Salmonella enteritidis (SE), he explained that there are many costs to the producer when disease strikes, and these go beyond dollars and cents.
The biggest challenge was the mental cost. “This is something that as an industry, we don’t want to talk about,” he said.
He said the positive result made him feel “like a loser,” and he asked himself what had gone wrong, as he and his employees had been so clean and had followed all necessary protocols.
He finished his talk with a piece of advice for those who are responsible for going on the farm and beginning the depopulation and disinfection process – to use a gentle hand. “Remember you are walking into someone’s dreams,” he said.