Companies
February 24, 2017, Mississauga, Ont – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. recently reported net earnings of $181.7 million for the year ended December 31, 2016.

This is up from $41.6 million in net earnings reported at year-end 2015.

“We finished 2016 with a strong quarter sustained by solid commercial performance,” said Michael H. McCain, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods. “With the combination of our increasingly competitive cost structure, and commercial strategies that intersect with important consumer needs and trends, we are well positioned for future profitable growth.”

The company’s Meat Products Group, which includes value-added fresh poultry products, reported a 1.2 per cent increase in sales, earning $3,316.5 million for 2016. Fourth quarter sales alone were $824.4 million, a decrease of 5.1 per cent from the previous year.
 
Margins in prepared meats improved due to lower operating costs across the network. Earnings in fresh poultry declined slightly as industry processor margins receded from record levels in the fourth quarter of 2015.  

Prepared meats sales declined slightly in response to a price increase in the first quarter but strengthened as the year progressed. Fresh poultry sales increased due to stronger volume and an improved sales mix.
Jan. 26, 2017 - Poultry genetics company Aviagen has reported that its new hatchery in Watertown, N.Y. is now fully operational and began shipping chicks to customers in early November.

Located in upstate New York just south of the Ontario border, the Watertown hatchery is strategically situated to efficiently supply Canadian customers with broiler breeding stock.

“Aviagen continually makes investments that result in better service to customers,” says Kevin McDaniel, president, Aviagen North America. “The new hatchery enables us to keep up with the region’s expanding demand for our products, while at the same time promoting the success of our customers by offering them the highest quality of chicks possible.”

The Watertown facility has become Aviagen’s seventh commercial breeding stock hatchery in the U.S.

With a hatching capacity of up to 135,000 high-quality chicks per week (7 million per year), the new hatchery is able to effectively keep up a growing demand in the region. It is equipped with advanced technology equipment such as Jamesway Platinum incubators and hatchers, which are designed for heightened biosecurity and energy efficiency. Sophisticated environmental controls ensure consistently exceptional hatch results and provide the highest level of care available for our eggs and chicks.

The new hatchery boasts a favorable strategic location. Its nearness to Aviagen customer farms translates to minimal transport times, which safeguards the safety, health and welfare of day-old chicks. And, the close proximity to JFK airport in New York makes it a logical location to safely and securely export choice broiler breeding stock.

The new hatchery also contributes to the economy of the Watertown community, by employing 40 local people.
Hybrid Turkeys, a division of Hendrix Genetics, has built a new breeder facility between Berkeley and Markdale, Ont. The name of the farm, “Berkdale” is a mix of the two.

While construction of a new turkey breeder farm might not seem terribly newsworthy, this one is, firstly because of its location. The site was chosen at a significant distance from the company’s other operations in southern Ontario, mainly for biosecurity reasons.

“Five years ago we wouldn’t have even considered a location so far away from our other farms,” says Hybrid Turkeys’ farm division manager, Marek Mirda. “To ensure secure supply to our customers, especially during disease outbreaks and establishment of quarantine zones, we looked for an area with distance from our own and other poultry farms. During disease outbreaks there can be an impact on healthy farms due to restriction of movement within quarantine zones, so we want to minimize or eliminate this potential risk.”

Hybrid Turkeys began its search for a location by examining a Canadian Food Inspection Agency map of Ontario that pinpoints all types of livestock operations. “We evaluated this area on the map to choose a location with the least amount of poultry operations,” Mirda notes. “After working with real estate firms, we found this property between Berkeley and Markdale.”

New design
Location aside, Berkdale has other important biosecurity aspects, with the most significant being a farm design that connects the barns.

In the past, Hybrid Turkeys would have designed the farm so the egg house and lay barn (for example) were separate buildings, and staff would therefore have to change clothing and boots every time they would go between.

“A system of separate entry and exit not only adds risk of picking up outside organisms, but is also difficult during winter months in Canada,” Mirda explains. “The new system has staff go through biosecurity procedures once and then they have safe access to the entire barn system.” Hendrix Genetics is in the final stages of upgrading a layer breeder facility in Ontario that will have the same design, he adds.

In addition, Berkdale (and a Hybrid Turkeys pedigree facility as well) have a dry shower and other additional measures to keep foreign organisms as far away from the barn as possible - on both the brood/grow side as well as lay barn side. Upon arrival at the farm, staff and any visitors must enter the dry shower facility, which requires individuals to change out of street clothes into farm clothing and footwear. Next, individuals exit the dry shower into a neutral air pressure zone before accessing the completely enclosed wet shower rooms. After using the shower facilities, individuals change again into new farm clothing and boots, ready to enter the clean zone of the farm.

Outside the buildings, there is complete separation of the clean and dirty zones. Dirty zone roads are for external suppliers to deliver fuel and other supplies without entering the farm area. Clean zone roads are only for internal clean vehicles that transfer staff or supplies between barns. All the buildings’ mechanical equipment can be accessed from the dirty zone so that contracted service technicians have quick access in case of urgent need. Hybrid Turkey employees have access to a storage garage in the clean zone with equipment only to be used within the clean zone, and one on the dirty side for use only in the dirty zone.

Additional biosecurity was gained through filling any saw cuts on concrete with caulking to prevent particulates from settling in. “One of the project members suggested we used ‘an entire truckload of caulking’ to ensure no cut was missed!” Mirda reports.

In addition, as part of the ventilation system, the farm features darkout hoods large enough for a person to fit inside, which makes it easier to ensure proper cleaning of these areas. There is also a wash station for vehicles on the ‘lay side’ of the farm.

Berkdale also features an innovative truck-loading dock for the egg cooler, complete with dock-levelling equipment and seal for the truck. This system allows for the use of trolleys to transfer eggs from the storage room into the trucks rather than the traditional moving of eggs by hand.

“Temperature shock is avoided,” explains Mirda, “and there is also no need for an outside connection, in that the delivery driver can stay in the cab while the eggs are loaded by internal staff. It’s a best-practices system that improves worker health and safety and minimize the handling of eggs.”

Results so far
Berkdale began operation in August and all systems are running smoothly with birds doing extremely well. Mirda says the winter season is when staff expects to see the new design of this facility to show its full benefits. This will be in part because use of the barns on the lay side (that are connected between egg house and laybarn) will begin then, and also, from a comfort and efficiency standpoint, workers will not have to go outside as much during the harsh weather.

When asked what factors other poultry operators should consider in building a similar facility isolated from all other farms in the company, the Berkdale staff had good input. They pointed to the decision of whether to try and relocate current employees or search for new employees close to the new facility who may need a lot of training and support. They also pointed out that you have to be ready for staff and equipment from other company facilities to be dispatched as needed for hands-on assistance at the ‘orphan’ facility.

Scott Rowland, general manager, Americas at Hybrid Turkeys says that although this facility came at a significant cost, the company leaders feel that the investment in Berkdale is the next step in biosecurity for both customers and staff.

“The features of this facility were designed to secure the supply to meet our customers’ needs, while ensuring excellent health and safety of our workers,” he says. “This investment signifies our dedication to continuous improvement. By spreading out our operations, we are working towards the next generation of biosecurity.”

Hybrid Turkeys also has production and research facilities in several other locations in Canada, as well as in the U.S., France, Poland and Hungary.
At a conference last month, I ran into a peer who I would dub an “agvocist” – someone very passionate about promoting agriculture to the point that it pours over into her personal Facebook posts.  This woman is, for lack of a more appropriate word, effervescent.

But, when I asked her what she thought of two on-farm animal welfare breaches that made the mainstream news last fall, her shoulders sagged slightly and a small sigh escaped from her lips.  I was taken aback.

“Sorry,” she said as she collected herself.  “It’s just that there’s so much good being done out there that doesn’t make the news but agriculture is a slave to its exceptions.”  We carried on chatting for a little while and by the end of the conversation, she was back to her usual bubbly self, but that one brief moment of resignation startled me – perhaps because it was so out-of-character.  

I think any farmer who strives to do what’s right grimaces when an undercover video surfaces. We cannot deny that Code of Practice violations will occur from time to time on Canadian farms – and yes, poultry operations too.   What we can do, is acknowledge and correct those breaches.  We can train personnel, instil respect for the animals in our care, reprimand and penalize as necessary and learn lessons from what happened.

But let us not forget that there’s another side to the coin.  As well as recognizing when things have gone wrong, it’s equally important to acknowledge things done right, and applaud the many shining examples we own in this industry of sustainable farming.  We congratulate not because they are exceptions, but because they are – happily – instances of the trending norm.  As an industry, it’s essential to remind ourselves of that.

So, on that note, in this issue we are delighted to tip our cap to Farmcrest Foods Ltd. (Farmcrest) of Salmon Arm, B.C., recipients of the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award.  As you read on, you’ll discover how Farmcrest is dedicated to continual learning and improvement, takes responsibility as stewards of a sensitive land area and works to ensure that employees are treated like family.  The operation is a true model of sustainability in all of its forms.

Owners Richard Bell and Alan Bird will receive $2,000, and a farm gate sign as well as the award itself.  We congratulate them on their achievement.

In closing, I would also like to take the time to first acknowledge all of the applicants for the award.  Your dedication and commitment to your own longevity and that of the industry is commendable.

I would be remiss as well, if I didn’t acknowledge our Canadian Poultry Sustainability Award judges this year – former Canadian Poultry editor, Kristy Nudds; Valerie Carney, poultry research scientist and technology transfer coordinator with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry; and Al Dam, provincial poultry specialist with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  The quality of the applicants was exceptional and selecting our winner was no enviable task.  Your thorough review process and willingness to give time to the selection of our winner is appreciated.

Recognition, also, to would-be sponsors of the cancelled Canadian Poultry Sustainability Symposium: Big Dutchman, Clark Ag Systems Ltd., Chicken Farmers of Canada, Cobb-Vantress, Egg Farmers of Canada, Farm Credit Canada and Walbern Agri Ltd. Thank you for your support.
It’s been a year since Synergy Agri Group Ltd. (Synergy) in Port Williams, N.S. installed HatchCare – the first in Canada and the fourth company in the world to do so. And now, the company is currently producing 200,000 HatchCare broiler chicks a week.

HatchTech of the Netherlands developed its ‘HatchCare’ incubation and chick care system to better benefit chicks, the environment and poultry farmers. The company conducted years of testing on HatchCare before rolling it out to market in 2014. The total number of chicks now being reared under the system per year is over 680 million, in Australia, China, Europe, South America, the U.S. and Canada.

With HatchCare, the fertility of eggs is first checked using new lighting methods so that only 100 per cent viable embryos are incubated. Chicks are vaccinated while still in the egg.

In a standard hatchery, chicks are shipped after emergence and receive their first food and water after they settle in on the farm a day later. In the HatchCare system, chicks are immediately able to drink and feed, which  – several research studies have shown – results in higher body weight and breast meat yield. HatchTech also cites research findings showing HatchCare chicks to be 1 cm longer at hatch due to their incubation conditions.

HatchCare involves a unique and advanced handling system called HatchTraveller, where the chicks stay in small individual crates from hatching until delivery to the farm. The crates are then cleaned and disinfected for re-use. HatchTech representatives say this provides every chick with ongoing uniform conditions in terms of temperature, airflow and relative humidity. The highly energy-efficient HatchCare system also includes several features that enhance biosecurity, such as sealed incubators with filtered entry and exit air.

Synergy's Experience
Doug Kaizer, Synergy’s chief financial officer, is very positive about their decision to go with HatchCare. “We were expecting improvements in chick health, mortality, weight gains and feed conversion, but we did not expect the large improvement in early farm brooding,” he notes. “The chicks arrive ready to grow. We use lower initial temperatures, put less feed out on paper and generally treat the chicks as if they are a couple of days older than their age. This has shown to be a tremendous help in the older barns, where it was harder to get the proper conditions for the day-old chicks.”

Kaizer says the system has also helped the company’s less-experienced barn managers. “The chicks aren’t as demanding, arrive with no hatchery infections and already have a built-in pattern for eating, drinking and resting,” he explains. “It has really levelled the playing field among different-aged facilities and experience levels of the farm operator.”

With HatchCare, Synergy has also been able to significantly lower antibiotic use. Before the installation, an average of over 20 per cent of flocks had to be treated due to issues from the breeder flock/hatchery. With HatchCare, to date that’s less than five per cent, and in most cases, Kaizer says, the reason for the treatment has been identified and the issue removed at the hatchery level. He adds that their HatchCare hatchery will be the key component in their move to RWA (raised without antibiotics) broiler production.

Biosecurity
In terms of biosecurity, Kaizer describes the system as “very” biosecure, partially because the entire setup - from egg delivery to chick delivery - takes place in areas isolated from each other, and because every process has built-in biosecurity aspects. “One of the best features is the ability to clean and disinfect after each batch of eggs and chicks are processed,” he says.

With respect to fluff filtering, Kaizer notes that within the HatchCare setup, their processing room (take-off room) is extremely clean and by using a special storage area, they have reduced the size of the hatchery. Kaizer says they are adding to HatchTraveller by designing their own transport trailer, which will enable chicks to have feed throughout delivery, regardless of time or distance to the farm. “All chicks stay in the same box where they are hatched and do not undergo any of the stresses in traditional hatcheries related to handling by humans or machines,” he says. “The goal is to have an almost seamless transition for the chick from hatch to barn under perfect conditions.”

On the energy efficiency front, Kaizer says it’s hard to make comparisons with their previous setup, as HatchCare systems are very automated and also require a lot of fresh air to maintain the perfect environment for the hatchlings. He believes they are just beginning to understand all the benefits of the system.

Continuous improvement
“Every aspect of the hatchery will see continued improvements over the next few months and years,” he notes. “We are working on specific incubation parameters for young and old breeder flocks as well as specific setups to enhance the hatchability and health of eggs kept over longer periods of time. Our hatching egg farms saw an immediate gain of four per cent hatchability, but we know that this can be improved by another two to three per cent with flock-specific incubation.”

“We are continuing to experiment and adjust growing procedures in the barn as well the feed inputs for the broiler rations,” Kaizer adds. “Basically, we are examining every single aspect from the hatching egg farm to live transport to the processing plant to see how things can be improved for the chicks with the HatchCare system. The possibilities are almost endless.”

Besides the initial cost of the system and needing to keep a good inventory of spare parts, the biggest drawback of the system in Kaizer’s view, is digesting the amount of information that’s becoming available and almost being overwhelmed by the number of future trials they want to do.

Facility tours
In the past year, Synergy has hosted a lot of interested people who want to look at HatchCare in action. This has included staff from hatchery companies all over North America, South America, Europe and Australia. “As we say to all who have toured our facility,” Kaizer notes, “This is not an easy or cheap hatchery, but it produces the best chicks for the broiler farmer. If your organization’s goals are focused on health, animal welfare and broiler performance, this system is for you. But if your goal is least-cost hatching, you are better to look at the traditional hatchery systems.” However, he believes anyone thinking of building a new hatchery has to consider animal welfare and be concerned with traditional hatchers that don’t allow newly-hatched chicks access to food and water for many hours or days. He says all personnel at Synergy firmly believe HatchCare is the future of hatching for both animal health and animal welfare reasons. “When this system was unveiled,” concludes Kaizer, “we actually stopped our hatchery construction and redesigned the entire project to allow for the HatchCare system. Looking back, this was the best decision our company has ever made.”

Return on investment
Asked about the return-on-investment timeline, Kaizer says that as an integrated system, when they add the profitability of the hatching egg farms and broiler farms to the hatchery profits, they are very satisfied with the rate of return. “Our customers [farmers and shareholders] not only benefit financially, but take great pride in knowing that the chicks they grow are the healthiest and most humanely-hatched chicks in North America,” he says. “There is no better return as a farmer than when you go home each day and can tell your ten year-old daughter that we hatch the healthiest, happiest chicks in the
entire world.”
Consumers want to know where their food comes from and the vast majority of Canadians believe that it is important that domestic chicken be labelled as such.  

Solid values
Based on that feedback, Chicken Farmers of Canada (CFC) has made it easier for consumers to choose Canadian chicken with its new “Raised by a Canadian Farmer” logo, which will be applied to chicken products at the grocery
store level.

By buying chicken with this brand, not only are consumers getting quality Canadian chicken, but they are also supporting farmers they trust – farmers who effectively manage bird health and raise their birds with welfare top-of-mind, who produce safe chicken for Canadians, who preserve the health of the land and their farms and who provide value to Canada, and affordable food to Canadians through supply management.

These are the key values of CFC’s new sustainability program. The first sustainability report will be published online in early 2017.  

These concepts are what make  the Canadian chicken industry sustainable – the hard work, and the good work, of all chicken farmers.  

The sustainability journey is a process of continual improvement. Chicken farmers have come a long way with the implementation of on-farm programs, responsible antibiotic use and growth in the industry which has contributed to the Canadian economy and helped support rural communities.

There will always be more work to do, however. Chicken farmers are striving to continually evolve and work to improve policies and practices that will deliver on the expectations of Canadian consumers.     Read on for a summary of projects and initiatives.


Protecting bird health and welfare
CFC is implementing a national, mandatory Animal Care Program that is enforced and includes third party audits.

The Canadian chicken industry is implementing a comprehensive “Antimicrobial Use Strategy” which involves surveillance, education, research and reduction.

Innovation is the foundation that provides farmers with the information and tools to be able to effectively  manage bird health and welfare.

CFC is a founding member of the Canadian Poultry Research Council (CPRC), the organization through which the majority of research funds are allocated.

The CPRC is dedicated to supporting and enhancing Canada’s poultry sector through research and related activities.

Producing safe chicken for Canadians
  • CFC is implementing a national, mandatory On-Farm Food Safety Assurance Program which has received full recognition from the federal, provincial, and territorial governments.
  • The Canadian chicken industry has an effective and responsive traceability system in place, as well as well as communication and operational plans for dealing with potential disease outbreaks.
Preserving the health of our land
  • Canadian chicken farmers have adopted practices on the farm to reduce environmental impact. Examples include renewable geothermal heating, high efficiency lighting, and improved manure storage to prevent groundwater contamination.
  • The chicken industry’s environmental footprint has the lowest greenhouse gas intensity among all major livestock and poultry sectors in Canada [1].
  • Canadian chicken farms are healthy and vibrant, welcoming new entrants each year to a strong community of family farms.
Providing value through supply management
Supply management allows for the implementation of on-farm programs, for farmers to invest confidently in their operations and for the industry to contribute positively to the Canadian economy.  It also allows chicken farmers to  give back to local communities and for consumers to be assured of a steady supply of fresh, high-quality chicken at a reasonable price.

J. A. Dyer, X. P. C. Vergé, R. L. Desjardins and D. E. Worth, “The Protein-based GHG Emission Intensity for Livestock Products in Canada,” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, vol. 34, pp. 618-629, 2010.

Note: Adapted from the presentation CFC prepared for the 2016 Canadian Poultry Sustainability Symposium.
Dec. 8, 2016 - Nestlé Canada (Nestlé) has announced that it will move to using only cage-free eggs in all of its Canadian food products by 2025. The company says this is part of its commitment to improving animal welfare throughout its supply chain.

Nestlé purchases almost 500,000 pounds of eggs annually, but says it is dedicated to working with Canadian farmers to make this transition by 2025.

“Canadian farmers are important to us, and in addition to eggs, we also purchase approximately $44 million worth of dairy products every year. Working alongside Canadian farmers is an essential part of our commitment to the health, care and welfare of animals,” Catherine O’Brien, senior vice president, corporate affairs says.

The pledge to use 100 per cent Canadian cage-free eggs is part of Nestlé’s global commitment on farm animal welfare, launched in 2012 and strengthened in 2014. As part of the commitment, the company outlined its plan to eliminate specific farming practices, like tail docking for cattle and pigs, gestation crates for pigs and veal crates. Nestlé works with World Animal Protection, a global animal welfare organization, to assess its suppliers against these commitments.

“[Nestlé's] commitment to move to cage-free eggs will have a huge positive impact on the lives of hundreds of thousands of hens," Josey Kitson, executive director for World Animal Protection Canada says. "Unlike conventional barns, cage-free systems allow hens to move around freely, perch and lay their eggs in a nest box.  World Animal Protection has been pleased to support Nestlé’s work to improve the lives of farm animals. We applaud Nestlé Canada’s commitment to hens today and their ongoing efforts to give other farm animals better lives as well.”

Nestlé is developing pilot projects with its suppliers and World Animal Protection to establish a roadmap for sourcing cage-free eggs in Europe and the rest of the world.
Nov. 28, 2016 - Cara Operations Limited has announced that it has successfully completed the St-Hubert acquisition.  

The company first announced on March 31, 2016, that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 100 per cent of Group St-Hubert, Quebec's leading full-service restaurant operator as well as a fully-integrated food manufacturer for $537 million. 


Jean-Pierre Léger, the outgoing chairman and CEO of St-Hubert commented, "I'm proud of the St-Hubert legacy and confident that this new alliance with Cara will open up opportunities for St-Hubert associates as well as new possibilities, both inside and outside of Quebec, for the St-Hubert business". 


Cara's chief executive officer, Bill Gregson, said, "This acquisition represents a historic alliance and an excellent strategic fit for both companies. It gives St-Hubert the opportunity to expand its restaurant network as well as to drive a national retail food program on behalf of Cara, leveraging St-Hubert's existing management, Quebec manufacturing facilities and supplier network".
October 28, 2016 - Global Egg Corporation has announced that they have entered into an agreement to purchase the Cargill Etobicoke egg processing facility from U.S. based Cargill, Incorporated. The transaction is expected to be completed later this fall. This is Global Egg’s 2nd plant expansion in as many years.
 
Cargill has owned the Etobicoke facility since 2006.  While the terms of the sale are not being disclosed, it has been confirmed that the majority of the facility’s employees will retain employment with Global Egg.
 
“Global Egg is a well established leader in the Canadian egg further processing industry,” says Aaron Kwinter, president of Global Egg Corporation/EggSolutions.  “Integrating this new facility and the expertise of our new employees into our existing business model will allow us to continue to meet our customers’ demands for the highest quality and most innovative value added egg products.”
 
Global Egg Corporation is Canada’s largest further egg processor, servicing food manufacturing and foodservice sectors nationally.   Canadian owned, Global Egg has been supplying processed egg products since 1972.  Today, Global Egg and it’s foodservice division EggSolutions, have production facilities in Elmira, Ontario and now two facilities in Etobicoke, Ont.  Its Etobicoke plant was the first egg processing facility in Canada to receive SQF Level 3 “Excellent-rated” certification from the Safe Quality Food Institute and the Elmira facility followed suit when it was expanded in 2015.
September 28, 2016 - Hendrix Genetics (HG) says it is reinforcing that high health, salmonella-negative flocks and ensuring clean and pathogen-free facilities are a top priority, with an investment in new laboratory facilities and upgrades.

The company is highlighting an expansion to its North American poultry laboratory, based in Kitchener, Ont. This central facility, run by a team of six, processes approximately 200,000 samples per year from all turkey and layer parent stock flocks in North America. They also schedule and prepare all tests required by regulatory and export agencies.

With biosecurity as a key component of the new layout, HG says it was staff that came up with the design of the various zones. The design sought to ensure secure division between zones for preparing test kits as well as receiving, handling and analyzing different sample types.

"The design of this lab was truly a collaborative effort," says laboratory manager, Peter Pozder. "The team worked together to identify opportunities for improvement within the current layout and planned the enhanced work flow; all without any interruption to the testing schedule.”

After inspection for biosecurity standards, the new design was approved and is licensed under Canadian federal public health and food inspection agencies.

On Sep. 9, 2016, HG opened the doors to local customers, government partners and internal teams in order to exhibit the updated facility.

“Investment in the lab benefits our customers and all stakeholders in the value chain," says Scott Rowland, Hybrid Turkeys' general manager for the Americas. "The samples analyzed at this facility, whether it’s directly from the birds or samples from the water residue, litter, transport vehicles, or feed ingredients, have a direct impact on how we can effectively monitor flock health and prevent the spread of disease.”
Sept. 27, 2016 - Cobb-Vantress, Inc. recently welcomed hatchery managers and owner/operators from across Canada for its 2016 Hatchery Roundtable in Toronto, where incubation companies Jamesway and Chickmaster also took part providing insights on their specific equipment and programs.

In addition to Cobb presentations, topics of discussion included vaccination, sanitation, maintenance as well as many other important hatchery procedures and practices.

“These hatchery managers and owner/operators play a key role in the Canadian poultry industry and this type of roundtable meeting provides an ideal opportunity for everyone to visit with Cobb experts in person, share ideas and best practices, and network with other industry professionals that deal with similar issues in their operations,” says Trevor Gies, marketing manager for Cobb North America.

“Instead of focusing on general topics, we covered areas that everyone was interested in and wanted to learn more about,” said Ben Green, hatchery specialist in the Cobb World Technical Support Team. “Each attendee suggested topics of interest before the meeting through our event website and that allowed us to create a meeting agenda addressing everyone’s needs. We had great participation from the group and were able to help answer many of their questions.

April 28, 2016 - Joel Sappenfield, who has more than 25 years of experience in poultry and prepared foods with Tyson Foods, Inc., will become the next president of Cobb-Vantress.

He will succeed Jerry Moye, who has been president since 2007 and announced earlier this year that he would be retiring in 2017.

“We’re excited to have Joel join our team.  He brings more than 20 years of poultry experience to Cobb,” said Moye.  “Since 1990 he has served in numerous poultry leadership roles in Tyson Foods.  His work ethic, commitment and values make him well suited to lead Cobb into our second century.”

On joining Tyson Foods in the Berryville complex in Arkansas in 1990, Sappenfield quickly moved up the management ranks.  After working at poultry operations in Sedalia, Missouri and Dardanelle, Arkansas, he became director of Poultry Sales in 2000 and later promoted to vice president of Poultry and Prepared Foods Sales. 

From 2006 to 2010 he served as vice president of operations for complexes in Arkansas, Missouri and Indiana, and was responsible for the Springdale plants in Northwest Arkansas. Then from 2011 to 2014 he was vice president and general manager of the Cornish business unit and responsible for four complexes in Arkansas, Georgia and Kentucky. 

Sappenfield graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in finance, and spent one year as a commodity broker in Oklahoma City before joining Tyson Foods. 

He will transition from his current position as senior vice president of Bakery in Tyson Foods’ Prepared Foods Unit and join Cobb in June.  

 

 

 

As is the case in so many sectors, egg processing leaves material behind that ends up in the landfill site. But what if the inedible egg leftovers (called slurry or spinnings) could themselves be processed into something valuable? That’s exactly what Perth County Ingredients (PCI) of St. Mary’s, Ont., has accomplished, through upgrading a processing facility and working for a year to work out processing bugs.

Raw materials from local farms, grading stations and egg processors is converted into a high-protein powdered ingredient used in animal feed and pet food manufacturing. “Currently, the demand is very high for this product for the pet food industry and new opportunities are opening up for the future,” says Austin Currah, PCI’s plant and sales manager. “Right now, this product is shipped all over Canada and we have some current interest from Australia and Japan.”

It was 1952 when PCI’s parent company, Vanderpol’s Eggs Limited, decided to get into egg processing. Vanderpol’s established the Perth County plant in St. Mary’s in 1984, where workers use advanced processing and drying technologies to make dried, liquid and frozen egg products. These include standard dried albumen, high-gel albumen, high-whip albumen, standard, dried and free flow yolk, standard, dried and free flow whole egg, spray-dried whole egg and spray-dried high-protein egg product. Plant employees also isolate and extract lysozyme, a natural antimicrobial found in egg white.

PCI ingredients are used in a large range of products in the food, beverage and sports nutrition industries (domestic and international), including baked goods of all kinds, protein drinks, nutrition bars, fish cakes, sausages, pasta, sauces and much more. The company says that its high-quality dried eggs products offer a wide range of
cost-effective advantages in comparison to liquid eggs, related to performance, storage and shelf life.

WASTE TO WONDER
It was in 2011 that Vanderpol Eggs began looking into how inedible spinnings could be converted into a powdered high-protein ingredient (named SD 50% and SD 65%). While staff at Perth County Ingredients re-started a moth-balled facility that had been closed for five years, staff at Vanderpol Eggs did all the research and development on the processing itself. “The St. Mary’s plant is central to several large egg and hatchery operations, so it became a great opportunity, but it took a lot of capital to get the things up and running,” Currah says. “In 2011, we had to get a business plan together and we were able to access some provincial and federal funding to deal with the initial start-up costs. We are always doing testing and continue to work with our current government to get assistance to hopefully help the facility grow.”

The process to make the spinnings product employs high-tech dryers, a pressurized membrane system and modified centrifuge technology. “The main steps include reducing the moisture content and raising the solids of the inedible raw material before the drying process occurs,” Currah explains. “We maximize the dryer performance for maximum throughput.” Challenges in making the process work included fine pits of shell in the finished product and trying to keep the slurry from the different processors at a more constant level. “Overall,” Currah says, “it took about a year of tests and trials to get the protein and fat levels that we are at today.”

The facility started in 2011 with about 15 people and currently employs 31, with plans of an expansion in 2016 that will result in hiring ten more people. Currah says the expansion will involve installing a third dryer capable of drying egg yolk and whole egg for the food industry.

Owners of egg processing and hatchery operations in the area are very pleased about PCI making something out of spinnings. “This material was a big waste for the local egg industry and yes, they are now getting paid for what they use to have to dump or pay to get rid of,” says Currah. “It’s worked out well for everyone.”

For its hard work in developing a new egg industry product and markets PCI won the Premier’s Award for Agri-food Innovation Excellence in late 2015. In Currah’s words, the achievement shows PCI’s commitment to helping the egg industry sustain a great future in southwestern Ontario. “Anytime you can take a waste product and find a use for it,” he says, “is great in the type of economy we have today.”

 

 

They don’t have polar bear insignias stamped on them like Canadian diamonds, but eggs from distributor and marketer, Polar Egg are gaining popularity with Northwest Territories (NWT) residents as a fresh, locally-produced alternative to eggs shipped from the south.

The launch of the egg grading and marketing company in Hay River, NWT in 2012 marked a significant milestone for the region, and brought a smile to many territorial and Egg Farmers of Canada authorities eager to encourage Northerners to consume locally-produced eggs. After the egg grading for human consumption operation in Hay River shut down about 10 years ago, NWT residents could not purchase locally-produced eggs in retail stores despite several local poultry farms producing eggs commercially. The grading station was still functioning, but essentially was only grading eggs for industrial use and shipping them south. Now, many Northerners can consume fresh, locally-produced eggs thanks to a half a million dollar investment by Hay River Poultry Farms Ltd, with financial support from both the NWT and federal governments. The funds were used to purchase equipment, upgrade facilities and train employees in grading eggs for human consumption and understanding the need to maintain a clean facility.

Operating under the Polar Egg brand name, the company is owned by Hay River Poultry Farms. Eggs are supplied to Polar Egg by this company and Choice North Farms, both located near Hay River. They operate a fully modern, Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)-approved, grading station employing seven people in Hay River. Kevin Wallington, Polar Egg sales and marketing manager, joined the company in 2011 to spearhead the project and to obtain CFIA certification, which was no easy task. The facility began selling eggs locally for human consumption in December 2012.

“It’s a commercial venture, but the way the grading station is set up with CFIA and Egg Farmers of Canada, any farmer can sell their eggs to the grading station if they chose to,’” says Wallington.

The project, which was supported with about a $150,000 contribution from the territorial and federal governments, involved removal of all the old grading equipment and installation of state-of-the-art Brazilian grading machines. They also completely renovated the grading station interior. Then came the process of hiring and training employees and obtaining CFIA certification, which took over a year. Today, Polar Egg is grading between 30,000 and 50,000 eggs per day and is a small operation compared to grading businesses further south that typically grade several million eggs per day.

“The grading process is predominantly manual,” says Wallington. “They are loaded by one individual, processed through a machine, candled by a second individual, and then there are two people who offload and package them by hand.”

While the company currently markets about two million eggs to northern retailers from annual production of about 34 million eggs, their goal is to achieve six million eggs per year. However, they have experienced a few roadblocks to expanding their market in NWT.

Northern food retailing is dominated by a couple of companies located in southern Canada, and because of contractual agreements with egg producers in the south, several have so far declined to carry the locally-produced Polar Egg brand in their stores. This is despite what Wallington says is high demand from northern residents for locally-produced eggs. There are exceptions, such as the Loblaws store in Yellowknife, which carries the Polar Egg product. However, other retail outlets tend to be independently-owned, local businesses. Wallington says he hasn’t given up because there is tremendous support being voiced for the Polar Egg product among local store managers and brisk sales have occurred in test market endeavors. He says he will continued to try to crack that distribution egg in the corporate head offices of the major retailers, primarily headquartered further south in places like Winnipeg, to achieve Polar Egg distribution through their stores in the North as well.

He adds that in theory, Polar Egg brand products should be highly competitively priced in local retail stores because the company does not have the same transportation costs as retailers who ship in eggs supplied by southern producers. However, Wallington says Polar Egg can’t control how much local retailers want to mark up their product. To help large egg consumers, such as people who bake a lot of food, Polar Egg has established an alternative purchase option. Customers can buy more competitively priced, loose eggs in bulk directly from the company’s grading facility in Hay River.

While other Canadians take access to fresh food for granted, it’s not common in the North and initiatives like Polar Egg are helping to change that. At present, the eggs are available in several communities, with core distribution in Yellowknife, Hay River, and Fort Smith.

“In the last couple of years, we have seen a resurgence of farmers markets in Hay River, so in the summer time, people can access some fresh produce that’s grown here,” says Wallington, “and obviously we have a lot of fish in Hay River. So you can get a lot of fresh fish. The fresh eggs are a great addition and I have been made aware that people are very excited that they can get farm fresh eggs in Hay River.”

 

 

 

 

Who rents a drag strip, borrows seven-ton fifth-wheel trailers and has five respected automotive journalists race the one-ton trucks head to head?  

We do. The eighth annual Canadian Truck King Challenge did just that (and much more) to clearly show the truck-buying public who is the best of the best for 2015.  

For this challenge, three heavy-duty pickups from Ram, Ford and GMC ran head to head at the MotorPlex drag strip in Grand Bend, Ont., while towing 15,000 lb. trailers as just one part of two intensive days of Truck King testing.

The outcome? The GMC Sierra 3500 beat the Ford and Ram in each heat. It would also go on to win the title.   

But, back to the drag strip: a curious fact emerged during this testing. On paper the GMC boasted the least amount of horsepower and torque among the competitors. Yet it won each race. We ran it several times – with the trailer and without. It pulled away from its competition each time. And, that’s the difference between real-world testing and paper tigers.  

Here are the quickest quarter miles from each truck taken from multiple runs:

GMC: 16.098 seconds when running empty, 21.932 seconds with trailer attached

Ford:     16.542 seconds when running empty, 23.303 seconds with trailer attached.

RAM: 16.927 seconds when running empty, 23.581 seconds with the trailer attached

The trap speed for all three trucks (at the quarter-mile line) was always plus/minus one MPH of 80 MPH. Trap speed with trailer attached, again for all three trucks, was also plus/minus one MPH of 60 MPH.  

 GM’s HDs are not new to the Truck King podium: the Chevy Silverado HD took the title in 2013 but failed to win last year mostly due to its dated interior. This year that’s changed with a significant interior refresh. However, what really put it over the top are new electronic systems for 2015 that can only be felt, not seen. And those can only be really appreciated when towing.

After eight years of reading our truck tests, most readers are familiar with our methods, and while locations sometimes change, the methodology remains the same. We use multiple, qualified automotive journalist judges who drive the trucks back to back in the same conditions on the same day.

We always start with empty loops, then we add payload and finally towing (with the payload removed). Over the years, we have always kept track of our fuel consumption during each of these tests; however, our pencil and paper calculations were replaced last year with electronic data readers that take that information directly from the trucks computer. These readers are plugged into the on-board diagnostics (OBD) port on each truck and record speed, distance, time, and even hard acceleration and braking events. Needless to say this is much more accurate in determining fuel consumption. This was our second year using the readers – they will be standard testing equipment during all Truck King events from now on. (See “Canadian Truck King Challenge fuel consumption analysis,” left.)

Once again we spent two days driving around southwestern Ontario.

The first day we ran the trucks empty from Toronto to London (200 km). Next we loaded up at Patene Building Supplies of London. Supplier IKO has helped us out for several years now by preparing pallets of shingles to use as payload. In this case, each pallet weighed 4,080 lb. exactly. The dimensions of each pallet were 4 ft. wide, 4 ft. high, by 5 ft. long. After loading, we took the shingles for a 200 km ride, switching up trucks every 30 minutes.

The next morning saw us hooking up fifth-wheel travel trailers at our other partner’s place of business – CanAm trailer centre. We hitched them to three similar fifth-wheel RV trailers. These weighed in at around 14,500 lb. each. We then spent the day doing a 300 km tour with the judges that included a three-hour stop at the drag strip in Grand Bend.

As always, each judge (five for this competition) scores each truck independently and the final outcome is an average.

canadian truck king fuel analysis
2015 Canadian Truck King Challenge Fuel Consumption Analysis Data

 

vans also go head to head
Although the Canadian Truck King Challenge has concerned itself with real-world pickup truck testing, a one-of-a-kind metamorphosis has taken place in the commercial van market in Canada: one that simply had to be investigated more closely.  

Once we approached the manufacturers about doing our brand of testing on its products, they wholeheartedly agreed. Now, for those folks who buy and use commercial vans, you already know that the landscape has changed. For almost everyone else, let me just say that what has happened to the traditional low-roof North American box van (think Ford E-series) is a European invasion. Starting with Mercedes Benz, several years ago, we saw the arrival of the Sprinter with its distinctive high-roof and diesel engine. What followed was Ford product, designed and built in Europe – the smaller Transit Connect and now the full-size Transit. Quick on the heels of these two are the ProMaster vans. Now labelled as Rams, they started life as Fiats. They too bring a diesel powertrain as well as gas and a unique front-wheel-drive design.

From the other side of the globe, Nissan brought a built-in North America van: the NV.  Gas powered and with various roof heights, it’s a competitor to all the builders mentioned so far. Now Nissan has also offered up a smaller front-wheel drive van: the NV200.  

Six judges evaluated these vans over two days in the fall of 2014. Each of these judges is an automotive journalist, a member of Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and someone who spends a substantial portion of their working year evaluating trucks, vans and vehicles that work for a living. But, that pedigree alone is not enough (as anyone who follows the Challenge knows). We drove the vans empty to start with; we loaded them with payload; and, finally, we replicated downtown deliveries.

In total we drove over 1,600 km while testing.

For payload we used shingles: 3,070 lb. on a single pallet for the full-size vans and 1,040 lb. for the three smaller ones. These were supplied by IKO and loaded at Roof Mart in Brampton.   

The following day we did something rather new to the Challenge. We ran a very small route through the congested downtown that took in laneways, parking lots and alleys. And, we spent a bit of time with each van backing into narrow docks. This exercise was to determine how well the mirrors were set up, to see what the sightlines on each vehicle were and to sense how well it steered in tight quarters. The judges scored each van based on their own observations.

Although judging how a vehicle drives and handles is a very subjective process when scoring, determining fuel economy isn’t. We engaged a Kitchener company, MyCarma, to install electronic data readers in each of the vans to record fuel consumption over the two-day test period (please see the sidebar “Fuel consumption results”). Please keep in mind that these results are as “real-world” as it gets. The data readers run constantly and the results are a blend of the driving styles of all six judges who circulate through the vans on a rotating basis. We tried to break out the fuel numbers for when the vans were empty, when they were loaded and when they were doing the low-speed simulated downtown delivery segment.    

So, who won? The Ford Transit came out on top for the full-size vans and the Nissan NV200 squeaked out a win in the mid-size category.

And how did that happen? The story is in the details. Please have a look at who our competitors were and how the judges scored them – that’s where the story lies.

Who were our competitors?

Ford Transit 250
The Transit was born and raised in Europe and Asia but is now also being built in Kansas City, Mo. It’s a typical front-engine, rear-wheel drive configuration. Ford says the Transit will average 25 per cent better fuel economy than the current E-series, which is no longer produced. Variations of this include three body lengths; two wheelbases; three roof heights; and bodies that include van, wagon, chassis cab and cutaway variations. Each engine is paired with an automatic six-speed transmission.

Ford Transit Connect
This small van, introduced in 2009, really started the trickle that has become a flood of new van product here in Canada. Late last year the Transit Connect got a nice makeover, taking it into this model year. It got two new engines, a tow package, two wheelbases and new trims. Order it with second-row seating, a rear-view camera, 6.5-inch touch screen display with navigation, and SYNC with MyFord Touch. Ford suggests that the 1.6L EcoBoost I-4 will get in the 7.8 L/100 km range.

We had both an EcoBoost and a naturally aspired engine to test.

Mercedes Benz Sprinter
This year Sprinter has an updated body that features a higher nose, larger grille louvres, and new options such as Bi-Xenon headlamps. Along with the body update, the V6 BlueTec diesel gets a new base engine partner – the 2.1 L I-4 turbodiesel. This engine is said to get a combined fuel rating of 8.9 L/100 km. Mercedes has also added five new assistance systems to the Sprinter to help drivers avoid accidents. Last, but most interesting, a four-wheel-drive option is now available on these vans. While I have driven one after our event (and it worked very well); one was not available to test this time around. Maybe next year.

Ram ProMaster
The new ProMaster will cover consumers’ needs with a variety of body styles and weight categories (1500, 2500 and 3500) in van, chassis cab and cut-away versions. Unlike the Mercedes and Ford, however, it is a front-wheel-drive powertrain that gives it a lower, flat cargo floor.

The two ProMasters we had for testing were both built with the 3.6 L Pentastar V6 gas engine. However, the ProMaster is also offered with a 3L I4 EcoDiesel, which was not available at the time of testing. That falls into the “too bad” category because we were very curious to see how it stacked up to Ford and Mercedes. Again, maybe next year.

Nissan NV200
The NV200 is going up against the Ford Transit Connect and the coming ProMaster City.  Unlike the others, it has already scored a market by being named the preferred taxi of New York City. Its small front-wheel-drive platform lends itself to fleets and individual business functions and its low pricing is certainly an advantage.

These were our competitors. A very nice field; however, there were a couple of vehicles missing for one reason or another. These were the full-size Nissan NV, the diesel-engine  ProMaster and the ProMaster City, a smaller version of the ProMaster meant to do battle with the Transit Connect and NV200.

As for GM, they are offering the NV200 – now relabelled as the Chevrolet City Express for its small van market. This entry would have been redundant. GM still offers its full-size Savana and Express vans. These old-school vans have their market, but I understand why GM didn’t enter them.

 

 

 

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