Feedstuffs is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Sitemap


Articles from 2020 In April


Livestock & poultry cash market comparisons, 4/29/2020

Livestock and meat ($)

April 29

April 22

6 mos. ago

Year ago

Steers, Choice, carcass, 550-700 lb., cwt., Omaha

357.38

275.75

230.05

233.14

Steers, Choice, 1,050-1,200 lb., cwt. southern Plains

98.625A

99.50A

111.00A

126.00

Feeder steers, 600-700 lb., cwt., Oklahoma City

135.00A

139.00A

 144.00A

 161.75A

Lean hogs, carcass, Iowa-Minn. 167-187 lb.(1)

58.35

47.84

61.87

79.98

Feeder pigs, 40 lb. national direct delivered(2)

17.66

20.17

44.01

96.35

SEW pigs, 10 lb., national direct delivered (per head)

3.97

5.60

28.28

65.19

Choice beef, cutout, cwt.

367.56

284.29

230.05

228.80

Pork loin, 185 lb. 51-52% lean, cutout, cwt.(3)

128.70

88.60

69.80

77.61

Hog corn ratio

10.84

10.27

13.73

22.32

Steer corn ratio

29.15

29.15

30.52

33.75

Poultry and eggs (cents)

 

 

 

 

Chickens, Grade A, fresh lb. Chicago

38.76a

36.40a

70.88a

94.12a

Hen turkeys, Grade A, frozen, lb., Chicago

102.50Aa

102.50Aa

98.00Aa

83.50Aa

Young tom turkeys, Grade A. frozen lb. Chicago

102.50Aa

102.50Aa

98.00Aa

83.50Aa

Eggs, Grade A, large, doz., Chicago

90.50

142.50

65.50

52.50

NA: not available.          A: average.       a: offered          b: sales

(1) Replaces live hogs; live hogs are 0.755 of quote.
(2) Replaces Sioux Falls, 50-60 lb. (2/26/07)
(3) National FOB plant, replaces national daily carlot.
Livestock, meat, poultry and egg prices from USDA.

Grain & ingredient cash market comparisons, 4/29/2020

Major feed ingredients

April 29

April 22

6 mos. ago

Year ago

Corn No. 2, Chicago, bu., processor bid*

3.05A

3.19A

4.15A

3.65A

Corn No. 2, Chicago, bu., terminal bid*

2.86A

2.98A

4.005A

3.36A

Milo, Kansas City, cwt.

NA

NA

NA

NA

Soybeans, Chicago, bu., processor bid

8.17A

8.20A

9.01A

7.97A

Soybean meal, 48% Decatur bid

290.10A

291.90A

303.70A

295.80A

Cottonseed meal, Memphis, ton

245.00

NA

NA

210.00

Canola meal, Minneapolis, ton

248.40

254.50

NA

235.30

Linseed meal, solvent, Minneapolis

285.00

285.00

240.00

225.00

Meat and bone meal, Chicago, ton

365.00

360.00

250.00

280.00

Fish meal, menhaden, Atlanta, ton

NA

NA

NA

NA

Corn gluten meal, 60%, Chicago, ton

575.00

575.00

423.00

405.00

Distillers dried grains, Chicago, ton

170.00

190.00

143.00

125.00

17% dehy. alfalfa pellets, Kansas City, ton

328.00

328.00

287.50

NA

Millfeeds, midds, Minneapolis, ton

NA

NA

NA

NA

Molasses, cane, Houston, ton

165.00

162.50

135.00

135.00

Dried citrus pulp, Atlanta, ton

NA

NA

NA

NA

Whey, whole, Chicago, cwt.

35.25

35.35

32.50

38.38

Rolled oats, Minneapolis, ton

545.00

545.00

530.00

562.00

Barley, Los Angeles, cwt.

11.10

11.15

10.65

10.83

Feeding wheat, Kansas City, bu.

5.00

5.05

4.80

4.38

*Chicago corn and soybean prices for latest and previous week are the middle of the range of to-arrive bids; soybean meal prices are midrange of processor quotes. Chicago corn and soybean prices provided by USDA Market News. Six months, year ago comparisons are all spot cash. Based on prices reported by Feedstuffs' market reporters.

A: average

NA: not available

Ingredient market prices, 4/29/2020

market

The following prices, which include delivery, were obtained April 29 from feed and grain vendors in the U.S. and Canada. The prices represent current trading values but are not guaranteed. Second column shows the amount of change since the previous week. Prices of certain products can vary depending on the processing method used. U.S. short tons, 2,000 lb. N-Nominal. N/A-Price not available. Click to download.

OILSEED PRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Soybean meal

 

 

(high-protein)

 

 

Atlanta

373.00

3.00

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

298.00

-5.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

377.00

3.00

Ft. Worth

332.70

-4.00

Kansas City

294.40

-6.10

Los Angeles

344.00

-1.00

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

299.10

3.20

Okeechobee

368.00

2.00

Portland

353.20

-1.05

San Francisco

344.00

-1.00

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Soybean meal

 

 

(low-protein)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

286.00

-5.00

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

324.00

-1.00

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Okeechobee

N/A

-

Portland

N/A

-

San Francisco

324.00

-1.00

Soybean hulls

 

 

Atlanta

180.00

-

Buffalo*

N/A

-

Chicago

200.00

5.00

Fayetteville, NC

175.00

-

Ft. Worth*

95.00

-5.00

Los Angeles

181.00

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Okeechobee

185.00

-

San Francisco

181.00

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

* unpelleted

 

 

Whole cottonseed

 

 

Atlanta

210.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

253.00

-

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

215.00

40.00

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

330.00

-3.00

Lubbock

N/A

-

Memphis

N/A

-

Okeechobee

230.00

-

Portland

367.50

-

San Francisco

330.00

-3.00

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Cottonseed meal

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Chicago

305.00

-

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

320.00

-3.00

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Lubbock

N/A

-

Memphis

245.00

-

Okeechobee

N/A

-

San Francisco

283.00

3.00

Cottonseed hulls

 

 

Atlanta

245.00

-

Chicago

160.00

-

Fayetteville NC

275.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Okeechobee

255.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Lubbock

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Canola meal

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Minneapolis

248.40

-6.10

Los Angeles

284.00

-1.00

Montreal

N/A

-

Portland

277.70

-4.55

San Francisco

284.00

-1.00

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Vancouver

N/A

-

Sunflower seed meal

 

 

Fargo

180.00

-10.00

Minneapolis

175.00

-

Linseed  meal

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Chicago

310.00

-

Fargo

250.00

-10.00

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

286.00

-10.00

Kansas City

280.00

-

Minneapolis

285.00

-

Safflower meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

ANIMAL BYPRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Meat and bone meal

 

 

(ruminant)

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

365.00

5.00

Delmarva

450.00

15.00

Fayetteville NC

370.00

-

Ft. Worth

350.00

-

Kansas City

335.00

20.00

Los Angeles

220.00

-

Memphis

350.00

-

Minneapolis

400.00

-

Portland

200.00

-

San Francisco

210.00

-10.00

Meat and bone meal

 

 

(porcine)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

500.00

55.00

Los Angeles

258.80

-

Memphis

500.00

50.00

Minneapolis

475.00

-

Flash-dried blood meal

 

 

(ruminant)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

1150.00

-

Los Angeles

1250.00

-

Memphis

1050.00

-

Minneapolis

1000.00

-

Flash-dried blood meal

 

 

(porcine)

 

 

Fayetteville NC

1200.00

-

Memphis

1200.00

-

Minneapolis

1050.00

-

Poultry byproduct meal

 

 

(feed grade)

 

 

Atlanta

280.00

-

Fayetteville NC

280.00

-

Ft. Worth

210.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

280.00

-

Poultry byproduct meal

 

 

(pet food grade)

 

 

Memphis

700.00

25.00

Fayetteville NC

700.00

25.00

Hydrolized feather meal

 

 

Atlanta

360.00

-

Delmarva

340.00

20.00

Fayetteville NC

380.00

-

Ft. Worth

340.00

20.00

Kansas City

400.00

75.00

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

380.00

20.00

Minneapolis

400.00

-

Menhaden fish meal

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

1510.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

1475.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Memphis

1400.00

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Blended tuna meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Anchovy  meal

 

 

Los Angeles

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

ANIMAL FAT, GREASE

 

 

(cents per pound)

 

 

Prime Tallow

 

 

Chicago

29.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

27.75

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Yellow grease

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

21.50

-

Delmarva

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

22.50

-

Ft. Worth

21.00

1.00

Kansas City

28.50

-

Los Angeles

26.75

-

Memphis

22.50

-

Minneapolis

22.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Choice white grease

 

 

Chicago

24.50

-

Minneapolis

25.00

1.00

Bleachable fancy tallow

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

31.50

-

Ft. Worth

34.50

1.00

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

32.00

2.00

San Francisco

N/A

-

Vegetable-animal blend

 

 

Ft. Worth

22.00

0.50

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

22.50

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Poultry grease

 

 

(feed grade)

 

 

Delmarva

25.50

2.00

Fayetteville NC

24.00

0.50

Memphis

24.00

0.50

Poultry grease

 

 

(pet food grade)

 

 

Memphis

28.00

-

Fayetteville NC

28.00

-

GLUTEN, HOMINY

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Corn gluten meal

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

575.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Corn gluten feed

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

158.00

-

Fayetteville NC

195.00

-

Kansas City

201.00

4.50

Okeechobee

205.00

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Wahpeton

N/A

-

Hominy feed

 

 

Atlanta

195.00

-

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

113.00

-

Fayetteville NC

190.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

165.00

-10.00

Okeechobee

205.00

-

San Francisco

165.00

-10.00

Twin Falls

N/A

-

BREWERS, DISTILLERS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Brewers dried grains

 

 

Chicago

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Malt Sprouts

 

 

Chicago

150.00

-

Milwaukee

N/A

-

Winona, Minn

N/A

-

Distillers dried grains

 

 

Atlanta

245.00

-

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

170.00

-

Fayetteville NC

245.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

244.00

-4.00

Minneapolis

155.00

-15.00

Okeechobee

250.00

-

Portland

225.00

-7.50

San Francisco

244.00

-4.00

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Brewers yeast

 

 

(dollars per pound, sacked)

 

 

Chicago

0.70

-

Milwaukee

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

ALFALFA

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Dehydrated pellets

 

 

(17% protein)

 

 

Central Neb.

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

290.00

-

Kansas City

328.00

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

245.00

-

Toledo

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Suncured pellets

 

 

(15% protein)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

237.00

-2.50

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Portland

340.00

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

WHEAT MILLFEEDS

 

 

Shorts

 

 

Chicago

130.00

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

164.00

10.00

Millrun

 

 

Los Angeles

155.00

10.00

Portland

200.00

-

San Francisco

155.00

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

Bran

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

150.00

-

Los Angeles

159.00

10.00

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Middlings

 

 

Buffalo

140.00

-30.00

Chicago

125.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

100.00

-7.50

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

178.00

-22.00

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Okeechobee

N/A

-

DAIRY BYPRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per hundredweight)

 

 

Dried skim milk

 

 

Ft. Worth

107.50

-

Minneapolis

85.50

-2.50

Dried buttermilk

 

 

Ft. Worth

94.50

-

Minneapolis

89.50

-0.50

Whole whey

 

 

Chicago

35.25

-0.10

Ft. Worth

37.00

0.25

Kansas City

28.00

-

Minneapolis

36.25

1.00

Whey protein concentrate

 

 

Ft. Worth

97.75

-2.13

Milwaukee

97.75

-2.13

Lactose

 

 

Ft. Worth

37.50

2.00

Minneapolis

37.50

2.00

OATS, RICE PRODUCTS

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Rolled oats

 

 

Chicago

465.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Minneapolis

545.00

-

Crimped oats

 

 

Chicago

395.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Minneapolis

443.00

-

Pulverized oats

 

 

Chicago

140.00

-

Minneapolis

143.00

-

Reground oat feed

 

 

Chicago

80.00

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Minneapolis

77.00

-

Oats

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Portland*

N/A

-

(*per ton)

 

 

Rice bran

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

175.00

-

Freeport

115.00

-

Kansas City

165.00

-15.00

Memphis

N/A

-

San Francisco

143.00

-

Stuttgart, Ark.

102.50

-

Rice millfeeds

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Freeport

40.00

-

Kansas City

125.00

-5.00

Memphis

N/A

-

Stuttgart, Ark.

40.00

-

Rice hulls

 

 

Ft. Worth

70.00

-

Kansas City

87.00

-

DRIED PULP

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Citrus pulp pellets

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Okeechobee

N/A

-

Los Angeles*

N/A

-

*(sold wet)

 

 

Beet pulp pellets

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Boise

N/A

-

Chicago

225.00

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Portland

229.00

-

Saginaw

N/A

-

Beet pulp shreds

 

 

Mpls (sacked)

N/A

-

Los Angeles*

N/A

-

San Francisco

N/A

-

Twin Falls

N/A

-

*bulk, wet

 

 

GRAINS

 

 

Barley feed

 

 

Kansas City (bu.)

N/A

-

Los Angeles (cwt)

11.10

-0.05

Portland (ton)

198.00

-

San Francisco (cwt)

11.10

-0.05

Feed wheat

 

 

Atlanta (bu.)

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC (bu.)

N/A

-

Kansas City (bu)

5.00

-0.05

Los Angeles (cwt)

N/A

-

San Francisco (cwt)

N/A

-

Corn

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Atlanta

4.00

-0.15

Boston

N/A

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Chicago

3.08

-0.10

Delmarva

3.27

-0.13

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles*

8.47

-0.13

San Fran (rail)*

8.47

-0.13

San Fran (truck)*

N/A

-

Memphis

3.26

-0.06

Minneapolis

2.83

-0.10

Okeechobee

N/A

-

Portland (per ton)

154.38

-1.62

(*per cwt)

 

 

Milo

 

 

(dollars per bushel)

 

 

Atlanta

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles*

9.42

0.77

Memphis

N/A

-

*(per cwt.)

 

 

Ground grain screenings

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Ft.  Worth

N/A

-

Kansas City

N/A

-

OTHER

 

 

(dollars per ton)

 

 

Almond hulls

 

 

Los Angeles

144.00

-3.00

San Francisco

128.00

-

Bakery feed

 

 

Atlanta

145.00

-

Buffalo

N/A

-

Fayetteville NC

145.00

-

Memphis

140.00

-

Minneapolis

160.00

-4.00

Feed urea

 

 

Buffalo

N/A

-

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Minneapolis

N/A

-

Salt

 

 

Kansas City

N/A

-

Los Angeles

50.00

-

Cane molasses

 

 

Ft. Worth

N/A

-

Houston

165.00

2.50

Kansas City

207.00

5.00

Los Angeles

N/A

-

Memphis

N/A

-

Minneapolis

217.00

5.00

New Orleans

160.00

5.00

San Francisco

N/A

-

4-29-2020 Ingredient Market

Click "Download" button for a PDF.

Rabobank: COVID-19 disrupts global pork industry

National Pork Board Hog farm barns pigs FDS operation.JPG

Consumer pork demand has suffered a near-term shock due to global quarantine measures, while the production and packing sectors struggle with supply chain disruption, according to Rabobank’s latest quarterly pork report, "COVID-19 Crisis Disrupts Global Pork Industry."

Rabobank expects continued volatility in pork prices in 2020 as disruption in local markets is combined with product shortfalls in Asia.

“The combined effect of near-term demand destruction and processing interruptions due to labor constraints has weakened producer returns and will slow production growth. Weaker [gross domestic product] growth could further pressure pork demand, compounding an already challenging operating environment,” Rabobank senior animal protein analyst Christine McCracken said.

The report says COVID-19 is currently threatening to overtake African swine fever (ASF) as the main global market driver for pork.

“While ASF continues to pressure pork production in much of Asia and some parts of Europe, COVID-19 is restricting both pork production and consumption,” the report relayed.

Many countries continue to report ASF outbreaks even as producers try to rebuild herds. Rabobank said a number of leading hog farming companies reported a 40-50% year-over-year decline in production during the first quarter of 2020.

While a global protein shortage remains, the report said demand is only slowly recovering after COVID-19 emerged in China, as consumers remain cautious about going out in public. As such, Rabobank said foodservice is still struggling, “with sales in many outlets at two-thirds of pre-coronavirus crisis levels.”

Still, Chinese demand is expected to recover, and this, combined with lower production, will help support hog prices, Rabobank reported.

Data showed that U.S. pork exports to China during the first two months of the year were strong, but the true extent of COVID-19’s impact is still largely unknown.

For Europe, production issues related to ASF and COVID-19 and strong exports have delivered a volatile outlook, the report noted. Still, Asian demand drove a 25% year-over-year increase in exports, helping offset the disruption from COVID-19. Additionally, two cases of ASF at commercial barns in Poland along the border with Germany have raised new concerns.

According to Rabobank, despite the COVID-19 disruption, exports from Brazil continue at a strong pace, driven by demand from China. Weakness in the real and a supply shortfall in Asia will support continued growth, helping to offset weaker domestic markets, the report said. However, producers in Brazil face higher corn costs, which will likely limit production, the bank added.

The U.S. pork industry is currently elbow deep in complications due to COVID-19 as the virus has led to plant closures or reduced capacity in many of the largest U.S. plants. Rabobank explained that capacity was already tight relative to the hog supply. With nowhere for market-ready hogs to go, farmers are faced with having to depopulate.

The supply chain channel shift from almost no foodservice demand to greater retail demand due to stay-at-home orders created inefficiencies for packer/processors as they swiftly had to reprocess, repackage or redistribute product.

“Not all products can be repurposed for food retail, resulting in higher inventory and associated storage costs,” the report explained.

As such, Rabobank expects the effects of the channel shift to remain through 2020, although the first signs or recovery will likely surface in the second quarter.

All of this, along with the devaluation of the Mexican peso, led to rapid deterioration in the U.S. live hog and pork markets, the report relayed.

In fact, it pointed out that composite pork values fell 46% year to date to levels not seen since 2009. Hog markets also fell 33% during March and have the potential to go even lower due to the plant disruptions, the bank said.

Some good news is that Rabobank expects exports to remain strong due to lower product values. However, a weakening global economy, logistical challenges, higher freight rates and a stronger U.S. dollar could hinder export growth.

Overall, Rabobank said COVID-19 has pressured prices in major exporting countries, and that is likely to continue given the uncertainty of the current situation.

Market recap

Rumored meat shortages helped support prices this week as packing plants continued to deal with closures and slowed lined.

June live cattle futures closed higher Monday at $84.050/cwt. and Thursday at $85.95/cwt.

August feeder cattle futures were higher most of the week but saw sharp losses Thursday.  Contracts closed higher Monday and Wednesday at $127.275/cwt. and $128.45/cwt., respectively, but Thursday, closing at $126.50/cwt.

The Choice and Select beef cutouts were sharply higher this week at $367.56/cwt. and $350.16/cwt., respectively, up from $284.29/cwt. and $272.89/cwt., respectively, last week.

June lean hog futures contracts were higher this week, closing Monday at $55.275/cwt. and Thursday at $58.95/cwt.

The pork cutout was sharply higher this week. The wholesale pork cutout closed higher at $100.72, up from $76.37/cwt. the prior week. Loins and hams were higher at $128.70/cwt. and $67.05/cwt., respectively, up from 98.44/cwt. and $48.24/cwt., respectively, the week prior. Bellies continued to rally this week, closing at $133.87/cwt., up from $105.51/cwt. last week.

Hogs delivered to the western Corn Belt rose only slightly from the prior week, closing at $37.18 on Thursday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported the Eastern Region whole broiler/fryer weighted average price at 54.99 cents/lb. on April 25.

According to USDA, egg prices were steady, with a steady to firm undertone. Supplies were moderate to, at times, light. Offerings were light to moderate. Demand was moderate to good.

Large eggs delivered to the Northeast were 96 cents to $1.00/doz. Prices in the Southeast and Midwest were lower at $1.00-1.03 and 88-91 cents/doz., respectively. Large eggs delivered to California were $1.63/doz.

For turkeys, USDA said the market was steady to firm, and demand was light. The price range for hens and toms was higher at 99 cents to $1.06/lb.

Organic soy market expected to remain strong

Organic soy market expected to remain strong

Larger-than-expected beginning stocks and more harvested acres have placed organic corn and wheat on a bearish trend over the 2019-20 market year, according to the new Mercaris "Organic Commodity Outlook." Meanwhile, strong demand and reduced imports have provided support to organic soybeans markets.

Mercaris, the nation’s leading market data service and online trading platform for organic, non-genetically modified organism (GMO) and certified agricultural commodities, released its spring outlook, noting that despite poor planting and harvest conditions in 2019, additional certified corn and wheat farms helped push harvests above previous estimates. In addition, corn imports rose sharply at the end of the 2018-19 market year to 12% above projections.

“Feed-grade organic corn prices have experienced a lot of pressure since last August, as harvest exceeded the industry’s expectation,” Mercaris director of economics Ryan Koory said. “With buyers expecting tighter 2019-20 supplies, a lot of organic corn was imported and stored at the end of 2018-19, putting corn markets in a perpetually long supply position this year.”

For organic soybeans, a collapse in imports from China and a reduction from Canada and the Black Sea region point to supply constraints and higher prices.

“With China and the Black Sea region sending less organic soybean meal to the U.S., domestic organic soybean crush has picked up the slack, tightening the overall U.S. soybean supply situation,” Koory said. “We may see this pressure back off this fall if we experience a good organic soybean harvest, but through the remainder of 2019-20, organic soybean prices look firmly supported.”

Additional findings from the report include:

  • U.S. organic corn production is estimated at 39.7 million bu. for 2019-20, up 9% from the previous outlook but still down 4% year over year.
  • Organic soybean production is estimated at 7.6 million bu., also up 9% from the previous outlook but down 4% year over year.
  • Organic feed demand is projected at 31 million bu., with organic wheat and organic corn silage making up a growing percentage of overall feed.
  • Organic wheat production saw a 15% year-over-year increase in 2019, at 20 million bu., driven mostly by an increase in acres in the High Plains.

For information about COVID-19-related risks to organic markets, a free Mercaris report is also available here.

Its just business, and it is personal... very personal

Riding the entrepreneur’s learning curve to funding

The U.S. threat to cut its funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) poses existential threats to public human health and animal health.

WHO partners with other international organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO); the CODEX Alimentarius Commission (CODEX), and the Organization for Animal Health (OIE) to gather, surveil, analyze, and disseminate clear and accurate information on animal and human diseases across the globe.

These organizations, all of whom receive funding from WHO, work to eradicate zoonotic animal diseases. Zoonotic diseases cross the animal/ human barrier; think Ebola, H1N1, Monkeypox, Brucellosis, Influenza, and, yes, novel corona viruses. If there is anything that we have learned from multiple global pandemics in: 1918 (swine); 1957(avian); 1968 (swine); 1978 (swine); 1981 (chimpanzees); 2002 (bats/civets); 2009 (swine); and more recently SARS, Avian Influenza, H1N1, MERS; and now COVID-19, these diseases CAN and DO have the potential to mutate and transfer between food animals (domesticated and wild) and humans. And when they do, they have deadly global consequences. WHO and OIE estimate that 60% of human pathogens are of animal origin and 75% of emerging animal diseases can be transmitted to humans. Every year there are 5 emerging diseases.

Controlling and eradicating zoonotic disease is critical to maintaining the health of and demand for U.S. animal protein products. Global trade and technology has lifted the poorest of the poor from subsistence into the middle-class. Today, 9% of the world’s population remain in subsistence poverty. By 2050, the world population is estimated to reach 10 billion people. OIE estimates that the demand for animal protein products will increase by 70% reflecting new consumer habits. Increased global demand for animal protein products, has exponentially increased the farming of food animals, placing  more animals on larger farms. Many countries do not have robust or well-funded animal or public health systems. Processing of these animal protein products is also rapidly shifting from smaller traditional distribution channels towards larger and more sanitary channels. These realities illustrate the need for global, well-funded disease surveillance and control systems. They create increased opportunities for zoonotic diseases to cross the animal/human barrier. Add to this the daily global movement of people and goods across international borders and you have the perfect storm for a global pandemic. So, prevention, response, and mitigation of animal diseases IS a global public good.

Eliminating U.S. funding for the WHO, and by extension, its partners during the middle of a global pandemic, believed to have originated in an animal, is potentially deadly in ways we can only imagine. Collectively, these organizations represent over 180+ countries and more than 10,000 public health professionals; veterinarians; researchers; animal scientists; trade and animal feed experts; human nutrition experts; infectious disease experts; emergency preparedness and response personnel; and many others who are responsible for global surveillance of and response to food animal and human diseases as they circulate around the globe.  These organizations were set up as the sentinels to ensure that a 1918 influenza-type epidemic does not occur again.

 You can argue about complex and seemingly overlapping roles and responsibilities, funding, and who said what when about COVID-19. What you cannot argue is that it is good public policy to cut funding to WHO during the middle of a global pandemic. Decisions like this further rattle and destabilize global animal protein markets by signaling that the U.S. is no longer committed to robust systems to protect global animal and human health. Not funding WHO limits access to a key tool that U.S. government officials and U.S. farmers use to protect human and animal health.

If you are a U.S. livestock, dairy, poultry or egg farmer, it is personal, very personal. This ill-conceived, badly timed, and extremely shortsighted policy endangers the health of U.S. herds and flocks and hard-won consumer confidence in U.S. animal protein product exports. It has shaken confidence in U.S. animal agriculture expertise and the U.S. commitment to be a safe and reliable global market leader.

Audrey J. Adamson is the former chief lobbyist for a major livestock advocacy organization. Today, her consulting practice focuses on legislative, regulatory, and financial and investment issues within the animal protein sector. 

Ag welcomes FMC guidance on demurrage

Tryaging-iStock-Thinkstock Cargo ships and planes

The U.S. Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) has issued new guidance about how it will assess the reasonableness of detention and demurrage regulations and practices of ocean carriers and marine terminal operators (MTOs). The move is welcomed by those in the agriculture sector who had called for changes.

The National Grain & Feed Assn. (NGFA) and 79 other associations representing the U.S. food and agriculture supply chain sent a letter April 3 urging federal officials to ensure that FMC adopts a rule that will address “the ongoing unconscionable imposition of millions of dollars of unfair detention and demurrage penalties on U.S. agriculture by ocean carriers and marine terminal operators during the coronavirus crisis.”

Under the new interpretive rule, FMC will consider the extent to which detention and demurrage charges and policies serve their primary purpose of incentivizing the movement of cargo and promoting freight fluidity. The rule also provides guidance on how the commission may apply that principle in the context of cargo availability (and notice thereof) and empty container return.

In assessing the reasonableness of detention and demurrage practices, FMC may also consider factors related to:

  • The content and clarity of carrier and MTO policies addressing detention and demurrage.
  • The clarity of carrier and MTO detention and demurrage terminology.

The final rule adds two provisions that were not included in the proposed rule published in September 2019. The first clarifies that the guidance in the rule is applicable in the context of government inspections. The second clarifies that the rule does not preclude the commission from considering additional factors, arguments and evidence outside those specifically listed.

This final interpretive rule is the culmination of a process initiated by a petition (Petition P4-16) submitted to FMC in December 2016 by a coalition of shipper groups. In the intervening period, FMC held public hearings in January 2018, initiated a fact-finding investigation in March 2018 led by commissioner Rebecca Dye (Fact Finding 28) and issued a proposed rule in September 2019.

A spokesperson for NGFA noted: “NGFA is encouraged that these newly adopted guidelines will help curtail non-incentivizing charges by ocean carriers and terminal operators when shippers and receivers cannot timely pick up or return shipping containers to marine terminals within a short ‘free time’ window, even when the delay is caused by the ocean carriers or terminals themselves.”

Inside Washington

Time to look at packer consolidation

Time to look at packer consolidation

Four companies process 85% of all of the beef in the U.S., and just three companies control 63% of America’s pork processing. As the nation grapples with COVID-19, the harsh reality is that the consolidation and attempts to improve efficiencies could now provide a reason to rethink the onward march toward further consolidation. If not, farmers and consumers stand to lose.

Sens. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) and Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to open an antitrust investigation into the meat packing industry. The industry currently is dominated by just a handful of large, multinational firms that have concentrated meat processing into fewer and fewer facilities, leaving America’s food supply chain vulnerable to disruptions.

On March 19, Sens. Michael Rounds (R., S.D.), Kevin Cramer (R., N.D.), Steve Daines (R., Mont.) and John Hoeven (R., N.D.) urged the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate continued allegations of pricing fixing in the cattle market and also to examine the current structure of the beef meat packing industry for compliance with U.S. antitrust laws.

In the letter to FTC, the duo said market consolidation has led to the increased concentration of meat production in just a handful of plants. For instance, over the last several decades, the number of slaughterhouses processing more than 1 million hogs annually has more than doubled, and among the slaughterhouses processing more than 50,000 hogs every year, 90% are these “mega-slaughterhouses.” Cattle slaughterhouses have also seen increased concentration, with the average number of cattle slaughtered per plant doubling between 1976 and 2006.

In the letter, the senators noted that three pork plants closing because of COVID-19 has resulted "in the shutdown of a staggering 15% of America’s pork production" at a time when stable supply chains have become more critical than ever.

As a result, farmers cannot process their livestock — which are costly to maintain — and consumers risk seeing shortages at grocery stores, exacerbating the food insecurity that all too many Americans are currently experiencing.

“These harms might have been mitigated if the meat packing industry was less concentrated. The current COVID-19 crisis has exposed the vulnerabilities of American supply chains and the importance of ensuring that, when disaster strikes, America’s food supplies are not in the hands of a few mostly foreign-based firms," the letter stated.

Between 1980 and 2009, the price a rancher received per pound of beef declined from $1.97 to 93 cents (adjusted for inflation). Meanwhile, between 1999 and 2008, real consumer prices for ground beef increased by 24% (adjusted for inflation), from a monthly average price of $1.89/lb. in 1999 to $2.34/lb. in 2008.

“And, of course, these numbers assume that all sales took place in good faith -- an assumption which may not be warranted: Mega-meatpacker JBS was fined in 2018 for underpaying family farmers and ranchers by claiming cattle weighed less than they did. Similar dynamics have played out in the hog industry: Between 1992 and 2007, hog prices fell by 30% as producers became increasingly concentrated,” the letter said.

According to R-CALF USA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that during the last two weeks, more than 12,000 live cattle were sourced from Canada to be harvested at U.S. meat packers. In February, USDA announced that it would begin allowing imports of raw beef from Brazil. The agency then welcomed the first shipment of raw beef into the U.S. from Namibia on April 17.

R-CALF USA chief executive officer Bill Bullard said there was a 22% surge in the combined volume of beef and cattle imports from mid-March to early April. Bullard said some members of his group have not been able to get a bid for their cattle for the past five weeks.

"While American ranchers are unable to access their own market, importers and meat packers are increasing the volume of imported beef while simultaneously depriving U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers access to their own markets,” Bullard said.

Hoeven, while speaking to the North American Agricultural Journalists on April 27, said, "We've got to find ways to do more with competitive pricing and transparency for our producers." Hoeven said industry groups need to come together on how to address the situation in a united way, because right now they're doing producers a disservice.

FTC has the power to shed light on these growing competition and security problems in the food supply, the letter said, suggesting that the commission should ask probing questions about major meat packing firms’ conduct, pricing and contracting, as well as how their commitments to overseas interests impact the U.S. market and national security.

Virus spreads by altering honeybee social distancing behavior

Photo by Amy Toth. Iowa State honeybeestoth.jpg
Honeybees on honeycomb, showing two worker bees (center) engaging in trophallaxis to share food.

A new study conducted by researchers at Iowa State University and the University of Illinois suggests that a deadly virus attacking honeybees alters their behavior and physiology in ways that boost the virus’s ability to spread.

The research, reported in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found the Israeli acute paralysis virus (IAPV) seems to change bee behavior in ways that overcome some of bees’ natural defenses against disease pathogens, the announcement said.

“This research expands our understanding of how a disease can evolve rapidly to take advantage of changing conditions. In this case, the high-density placement of hives used in many areas to pollinate agricultural crops appears to make bees more susceptible to infection,” Iowa State professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology Amy Toth said.

Toth was part of the study’s collaborative research team that included University of Illinois entomology professor Adam Dolezal, one of the lead authors who performed the work while a postdoctoral researcher at Iowa State.

“Our research shows the IAPV infection increases the likelihood that infected bees are accepted by foreign colonies,” Dolezal said. “Somehow, it makes the infected bees better able to circumvent the guards of foreign, uninfected colonies.”

To capture the behavior of individual bees, researchers tagged each one with the equivalent of a tiny quick-response (QR) code and continuously monitored their interactions. The scientists were able to simultaneously track the behaviors of as many as 900 bees and used this automated system to study how IAPV infection might affect the bees’ social behavior, including trophallaxis, a process by which honeybees exchange regurgitated food and other liquids.

“Honeybees ‘trophallax,’ or share food with each other by mouth. In the process, they are transferring social signaling molecules that give their trophallaxis partner information about their home colony, social status and health, among other things,” said Amy Geffre, the other lead co-author of the study who conducted much of the direct observation of the bees while a master’s student in ecology, evolution and organismal biology at Iowa State. “Trophallaxis is an important behavior to consider in these studies, as current research indicates that many diseases can be transmitted through saliva, particularly during food sharing.”

Geffre studied the bees in a lab environment and apiary settings. “In both cases, we found the infected bees changed their behavior and social signals dramatically,” she said.

In their own hives, IAPV-infected bees — and bees that had had their immune systems stimulated to mimic infection — engaged in less trophallaxis than their healthy counterparts. This type of “social distancing” response is well known in bees and is thought to protect hive-mates from getting infected with the disease.

Conversely, when the scientists placed honeybee workers in cages with guard bees from foreign colonies, the infected bees engaged in more trophallaxis with the guard bees. Also, when infected bees were placed at the entrance of foreign hives, the guards were twice as likely to admit them than to let in healthy bees or bees whose immune systems had been stimulated. The changed behavior seemed to be specific to the IAPV infection, which meant something about the infected bees must be different.

“The virus seems to change how the bees smell. The infected bees also may be behaving in a way meant to appease the guards from non-infected hives by trophallaxing more,” Dolezal said.

“Our findings suggest that the IAPV virus has been able to manipulate the behavior of its host to increase transmission between hives,” Toth said. “This is happening in ways that may not have been possible without novel, human-created environments in modern agriculture.

“Bee health is a huge challenge right now,” she said. “One practical implication of this research is to suggest that spacing colonies farther apart might help fight spread of the IAPV virus or other diseases within an apiary.”