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Articles from 2013 In May


USDA investigating glyphosate-resistant wheat

USDA investigating glyphosate-resistant wheat

FOLLOWING a formal investigation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced May 29 that it had detected the presence of genetically engineered (GE) glyphosate-resistant wheat in Oregon.

USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released test results of plant samples from a farm in the state that indicated the presence of a glyphosate-resistant wheat variety Monsanto was authorized to field test in 16 states between 1998 and 2005.

APHIS said it was notified by an Oregon State University researcher on May 3 that initial tests of wheat samples from an Oregon farm indicated the possible presence of the GE variety, despite the fact that no GE wheat varieties are approved for sale in the U.S., nor are any in commercial production at this time. Field testing of the variety in Oregon was last authorized in 2001.

USDA was quick to assure consumers that the situation in no way presented a food safety concern as the Food & Drug Administration completed a voluntary consultation on the safety of food and feed derived from the wheat variety in question in 2004 and determined that the variety is as safe as any non-GE wheat currently on the market.

"We are taking this situation very seriously and have launched a formal investigation," said Michael Firko, acting deputy administrator for APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services. "We are collaborating with state, industry and trading partners on this situation and are committed to providing timely information about our findings."

Responding to the situation, Monsanto said it would work in concert with USDA to "get to the bottom" of the wheat detection but reiterated that there are no food, feed or environmental safety concerns associated with the presence of the Roundup Ready gene if it were to be found in wheat.

The company said it discontinued its Roundup Ready wheat program nine years ago, and the program's closeout was "rigorous, well-documented and audited."

"We understand that USDA's findings are based solely on testing samples from a single 80-acre field on one farm in Oregon, which overwintered from the previous growing season," the company said in a statement. "While USDA's results are unexpected, there is considerable reason to believe that the presence of the Roundup Ready trait in wheat, if determined to be valid, is very limited."

Monsanto said USDA's findings were unusual given that more than 500 million acres of wheat have been grown since the company discontinued its program. The alleged Oregon discovery is the first time Roundup Ready wheat has been found outside authorized field tests.

Furthermore, the company said it would conduct a "vigorous investigation" to validate and address any presence of a Monsanto Roundup Ready event in commercial wheat seed. The company said it was already working with USDA as part of the APHIS investigation to determine if wheat from the field in Oregon could contain the Roundup Ready trait.

However, Monsanto said USDA had not provided any details about the testing performed by APHIS as part of its investigation or provided the company with the necessary samples to verify the findings.

While the finding is not a food safety issue, it could become a concern for U.S. trading partners. According to data from the Oregon Wheat Commission, 90% of the state's wheat production is exported.

Japan became the first major trading partner to react to the news, suspending imports of U.S. white wheat and feed wheat May 30 and cancelling at least one tender already on the books.

Toru Hisadome, an official with Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, told multiple news agencies that the country was in touch with U.S. officials to determine the "safety" of U.S. wheat exports but would refrain from buying U.S.-origin wheat for the time being.

Other Southeast Asian countries, including significant importers South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines, said they were watching the situation but had announced no plans to halt imports.

Wheat industry organizations reiterated USDA's assertion that no evidence exists to indicate that the GE wheat variety had entered commerce. In a joint statement, the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates added that the situation in no way represented a food safety issue.

"We know it is important to understand how this situation occurred, and we have confidence that APHIS will be able to determine that as soon as possible," the two groups said. "Nothing is more important than the trust we've earned with our customers at home and around the world by providing a reliable supply of high-quality wheat."

Editor's Note: U.S. Wheat Associates director of communications Steve Mercer discusses the GE wheat situation and potential export market impact in the "Feedstuffs In Focus" podcast at www.Feedstuffs.com.

Volume:85 Issue:22

OIG audits FSIS swine inspectors

OIG audits FSIS swine inspectors

OIG audits FSIS swine inspectors
MORE can be done at the plant level by inspectors and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety & Inspection Service (FSIS) to ensure that the safety of processed pork complies with food safety and humane handling laws, according to a recent USDA Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit of FSIS inspection and enforcement activities.

The review looked at enforcement actions taken against the more than 600 plants that slaughtered swine between 2008 and 2011 and conducted 30 plant site visits of those that had the highest number of violations.

As shown in the Figure, human interpretation of how to handle violations creates a recipe for inconsistency. The FSIS National Humane Handling Enforcement Coordinator noted that inspectors completed a nationwide humane handling training course in January 2012. However, OIG found that in interviews conducted in March 2012, it was "concerned whether the training was effective."

"To ensure consistency, FSIS needs to provide a plan describing how it will minimize reliance on the inspectors' judgment to ensure consistent application and enforcement of (the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act) and related regulations," OIG said.

American Meat Institute (AMI) senior vice president of regulatory affairs and general counsel Mark Dopp countered that OIG's comments, in several instances, reflect an "apparent lack of familiarity with the practicalities of slaughter and processing."

Dopp explained that while the regulations require that all animals must be stunned with a single blow before processing, animal welfare experts say this requirement is simply unachievable 100% of the time.

 

Deterring violations

OIG found that FSIS enforcement policies do not deter repeat violations. During fiscal years 2008-11, FSIS issued 44,128 noncompliance records (NRs) to 616 plants; only 28 plants were suspended, even though some plants had repeat violations such as fecal matter on previously cleaned carcasses.

OIG noted that this occurred because FSIS does not always take progressively stronger enforcement action against repeat violators when warranted. FSIS also doesn't distinguish between serious violations and minor infractions on its NRs. OIG added that FSIS doesn't provide sufficient guidance on what actions to take in specific circumstances.

"Without more incentive to improve compliance, the 616 plants — which process about 110 million swine per year — run a higher risk of providing pork for human consumption that should not enter the food supply," the report states.

In response to the finding, FSIS said it is "developing a strategy for taking progressively stronger enforcement actions against plants with serious or repetitive violations by using regulatory noncompliance to identify establishments that should be prioritized for 'for cause' food safety assessment. FSIS will complete this work and develop a strategy by Jan. 1, 2014."

AMI spokesperson Janet Riley added that the group tends to take a glass-half-full view of the report as millions of animals are inspected without incidence.

Dopp added, in his written statement, that NRs on the approximately 440 million hogs processed during the four-year time period represent just 1/100th of 1%.

"In any industry, ... that level of compliance with the rules is quite remarkable," he said.

 

Suggested changes

OIG found that in eight of the 30 plants visited, inspectors did not always examine the internal organs of carcasses in accordance with FSIS inspection requirements or did not take enforcement actions against plants that violated food safety regulations.

"As a result, there is reduced assurance of FSIS inspectors effectively identifying pork that should not enter the food supply," the report says.

AMI countered that thousands of people, inspectors and company employees do their jobs remarkably well.

"It's also safe to say that executive tasks in a perfectly flawless manner 'that will minimize reliance on inspectors' judgment,' as OIG recommends, is neither possible, nor is it desirable," Dopp said.

OIG recommended that FSIS modify existing criteria to standardize when suspensions and notices of intended enforcement should be applied, as well as define the frequency and specify the time frames of when violations would lead to such enforcement actions.

FSIS said it plans to hire a new humane handling enforcement coordinator. FSIS will also increase review frequency of NRs, suspensions and notices of intended enforcement and develop a database by Aug. 31 to track these reviews.

In 1997, FSIS began a pilot program called the HACCP-based Inspection Models Project (HIMP) for swine, which allowed five large plants to have faster line speeds with fewer FSIS online inspectors. Although the project's goals were to increase food safety and plant efficiency, FSIS could not determine whether these goals were met because it did not adequately oversee the program.

FSIS committed to evaluating HIMP and determining if a permanent program is warranted by March 31, 2014.

Those who decry the eating of meat and treatment of animals at slaughter facilities have said the OIG report solidifies that "FSIS doesn't meaningfully attempt to stop repeat violations of food safety laws" and that USDA "all but ignores its humane slaughter mandate," according to Farm Sanctuary senior advocacy director Bruce Friedrich.

Volume:85 Issue:22

Novel sites targeted to improve efficiency

Novel sites targeted to improve efficiency

*Dr. Emma Wall holds a doctorate in animal science. She currently is a postdoctoral associate in the department of medicine at the University of Vermont and is a scientific consultant with Full Circle Science.

TO improve the production efficiency of agricultural animals, scientists are focusing on new potential targets of feed additives to improve animal health and nutrient absorption.

In particular, a new emphasis has been placed on the gut of the animal and how the gut communicates with other organs, which can influence animal development, health and susceptibility to disease and nutrient metabolism.

The third annual Pancosma Worldwide Scientific Exchange, held last December in Madrid, Spain, had a theme of "Languages of the Gut" and covered the topic of gut physiology as it relates to other systems of the body, immunity, nutrient metabolism and consequent production efficiency. The two-day program consisted of presentations by both basic and applied scientists, with a small group of invited attendees that included researchers and industry representatives from all over the world.

The major themes discussed were novel findings in gut physiology and how the gut communicates with other organs, as well as new insights into glucose absorption in ruminants.

 

Novel gut functions

The research and development team at Pancosma recently coined the term "gut effects" to describe the mechanism of action for some of its phytonutrient-based feed additives, which have been shown to act at the level of the gut. It was, therefore, not surprising that the main focus of the meeting was novel roles for the gut in regulating the function of other systems — including the endocrine, immune and nervous systems — and how these relationships might relate to changes in animal health and production efficiency.

Dr. John Furness from the University of Melbourne presented on the gut as a sensory organ. Because it is the first organ to be exposed to the ever-changing dietary environment, it is the first site of detection for materials entering the body. This includes food, pathogens and toxins, and the gut must react and adapt to incoming molecules appropriately.

In addition, the gut communicates with other systems of the body to prepare them for what's coming — to adjust ingestion, prime organs and reject toxins — and it does so using immune, endocrine and neural signals. In fact, the gut contains 70-80% of the immune cells in the body, the most extensive nervous system and the largest endocrine system.

The gut expresses nutrient receptors that are known to taste sweet, umami and bitter, as well as those that are known to sense several phytonutrients. For example, members of the transient receptor potential family, all of which are expressed in the gut, are known to sense carvacrol (oregano), thymol (thyme) and eugenol (clove). Depending on the location of transient receptor potentials in the digestive tract, they are stimulated to different degrees, indicating a functional role for these receptors.

Clearly, there is an intimate connection among the endocrine, nervous and immune systems at the level of the gut: It represents a location of integrated physiology among several organ systems. If how the gut reacts to its environment and communicates with other organs can be further understood, new opportunities for manipulating the gut system and improving animal health can surely be found.

How does the gut influence immunity? Dr. Brett Finlay from the University of British Columbia presented data on the role of the gut microbiota in shaping the immune system. The gut microbiota of humans is known to have a marked impact on the incidence and severity of several diseases, including autoimmune disease.

So, what regulates the composition of the microbiota? Environmental factors — such as bacterial infection or treatment with antibiotics — can have both short- and long-term effects on the gut microbial population, and this can influence susceptibility to disease later on. For example, antibiotic treatment during the first year of life is associated with an increased incidence of asthma, whereas living on a farm is associated with a decreased risk.

Finlay found that treating neonatal mice with antibiotics for just a short period of time caused dramatic shifts in the gut microbial population and rendered otherwise resistant mice susceptible to asthma. These findings reveal that there appears to be a critical window during early development during which the gut flora is permanently determined, and this influences the immune system during adulthood.

Finlay also has an interest in exploring phytonutrient alternatives to antibiotics and found that treating mice with eugenol (from cloves) improves the gut's ability to keep pathogens out and decreases bacterial load during infections. This is an exciting area of research that will no doubt lead to novel applications in agriculture.

The interplay between the gut and the immune system was also presented by Dr. Nita Salzman from the Medical College of Wisconsin. She discussed Paneth cells, which are found in the intestine, are known to influence the composition of the microbiota and have many functions during normal development and during disease. Functional Paneth cells are critical for gut health, and disruption of their function can lead to Crohn's disease in humans (Johne's disease in ruminants).

In piglets, the gut microbiota is faced with big challenges due to drastic changes in the diet at weaning, and this disruption of the microbial population often results in increased susceptibility to diseases of the gut.

Dr. Kristian Daly from the University of Liverpool discussed some of the problems faced by swine producers in their attempt to improve piglet health. Some of Daly's work has focused on supplementing piglets with Sucram, an intense sweetener produced by Pancosma that has been shown to increase both feed intake and glucose absorption from the small intestine of piglets.

His most recent efforts have revealed that the sweetener has a marked effect on the gut microbiota and led to an increase in a specific phylotype of lactobacillus, which has probiotic properties and also inhibits pathogen growth.

How is it possible that an intense sweetener has such an effect on the gut flora? Daly's working hypothesis — the "sweet-sensing hypothesis" — is that this lactobacillus phylotype expresses a sweet sensor (receptor) that, when stimulated, initiates a signaling cascade that leads to increased glucose absorption.

Similar observations have been made in yeast, and these sensing systems are key for response and adaptation to the changing gut environment. Once it is understood how such sensing systems work in production animals, it will then be possible to target them to perturb the microbiota so gut health and animal performance can be optimized.

 

Phytonutrients

Novel sites targeted to improve efficiency
Dr. Hyun Lillehoj, an immunologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been collaborating with Pancosma for several years and has focused on the development of phytonutrient-based feed additives as alternatives to antibiotic growth promoters (AGPs).

Because gut health can affect egg quality and meat production, and AGPs clearly influence the gut microbiota, it is important to understand the effect phytonutrients have on gut health. Lillehoj's research has revealed that turmeric and capsicum can cause proliferation of immune cells and influence gene expression in the intestine. In addition, both molecules cause shifts in the gut microbiota (Figure 1).

Her most recent work focused on exploring the effect of garlic — known to have medicinal properties — on broiler immunity. Lillehoj explained that supplementing broilers with garlic altered the expression of inflammatory genes in the intestine and caused the proliferation of immune cells.

In addition, when broilers were infected with Eimeria acervulina, those supplemented with garlic exhibited no decrease in bodyweight and had decreased oocyte shedding (Figure 2) as well as increased expression of antioxidant genes relative to control animals.

Lillehoj's findings were recently published in the British Journal of Nutrition and have led to some exciting new opportunities for phytonutrient-based improvement of gut health and metabolic efficiency in poultry animals.

 

Glucose absorption

Now that more is understood about glucose absorption by the gut and how the microbiota can be targeted to influence animal health, some old questions can be revisited with a new and integrative mindset.

One relevant issue that is also an area of research at Pancosma is to explore the idea of using feed additives to improve glucose absorption in ruminants.

Dr. John Newbold, Cargill director of research and development, introduced the concept of carbohydrate digestion in ruminants and opportunities for improving starch digestibility.

How can starch digestion be improved in dairy cows at various physiological states and levels of milk production? Once improved, how can glucose absorption by the small intestine of dairy cows be increased to optimize milk yield? If the glucose is absorbed, will the mammary gland use it to make more milk? More important, is it even possible to increase the amount of absorbable glucose to a level that will translate into changes in animal health and/or milk production?

Dr. Soraya Shirazi-Beechey, a physiologist from the University of Liverpool, explored this possibility by integrating what is known about glucose absorption by the small intestine of ruminants with what she has recently observed in swine (Feedstuffs, March 19, 2012).

One of her main research questions is whether ruminants' digestion of starch can adapt to a changing diet, and if so, what are the mechanisms underlying the adaptation? The main transporter for glucose — SGLT1 — has been a major focus of her research program because its expression is diet inducible: It responds to changes in dietary monosaccharides but not to starch.

For example, expression of SGLT1 in the small intestine of milk-fed ruminants is quite high, whereas after weaning, it is nearly undetectable. If the animals are maintained on milk replacer, however, expression remains high.

Shirazi-Beechey explained that there are receptors in the small intestine called taste receptor type-2 and type-3 that, when combined, have the ability to "taste" sweet flavors. Upon tasting sweet, these receptors induced the expression of the glucose transporter SGLT1 in the small intestine of ruminants, and this resulted in an increase in the uptake of glucose by the gut.

These observations have now been confirmed in both milk-fed and weaned calves, as well as in non-lactating dairy cows. Therefore, ruminants appear to have all the molecular tools in place to allow for diet-inducible changes in glucose absorption.

However, the question remains: Can post-ruminal starch be hydrolyzed to glucose? If no significant amounts of glucose reach the small intestine, then the increase in SGLT1 expression will not translate into functional changes (i.e., milk yield).

Clearly, however, the integration of what is known about the mechanisms of glucose absorption in swine with that of ruminants has revealed several new and unexpected targets for developing strategies to optimize the metabolic efficiency of dairy and beef animals.

Adaptive metabolism of ruminants was also discussed by Dr. David Harmon from the University of Kentucky. One of Harmon's main research interests is to understand what limits starch digestion in ruminants. Possibilities include pancreatic amylase, pH, intestinal retention time and glucose transport.

Early research pointed to pancreatic amylase, which is often regulated by changes in the diet. In addition, as starch digestion shifts from the rumen to the small intestine, energy availability increases. However, even when the abundance and activity of pancreatic amylase was increased in the small intestine, starch digestion was not always affected. This indicates that other factors are limiting starch digestion, and Harmon continues to work on understanding what the factors are and how they work.

In a related topic, Dr. Chris Reynolds from the University of Reading discussed the potential benefits of shifting the site of starch digestion. The location of starch digestion has clear effects on milk production, energy and protein partitioning and the efficiency of nutrient utilization; these effects vary with the stage of lactation.

Some research has shown that when grain is flaked, more starch is digested in the rumen, and milk yield increases. However, research also supports the small intestine as a desirable location of starch digestion because although no microbial protein is produced, there is an increase in glucose supply with low energy losses, and there is often a positive effect on milk composition and marbling.

Because of the effect of diet and stage of lactation on starch digestion as it relates to the efficiency of nutrient utilization, it is very difficult to paint a clear picture that leads to obvious targets to optimize glucose availability and absorption. Further understanding in this area and integration of knowledge from other fields should lead to the identification of novel targets and the development of new strategies for increasing the efficiency of starch digestion.

Volume:85 Issue:22

Lose $1,000, or gain 20 lb.?

Lose $1,000, or gain 20 lb.?

Lose $1,000, or gain 20 lb.?
MORE than half of those responding to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation's 2013 "Food & Health Survey" indicated that they would rather lose $1,000 than gain an additional 20 lb. — 56% versus 35% (Figure 1).

The survey found that women were more likely than men to prefer to lose the money (63% versus 48%).

Not surprisingly, as an individual's income increased, so did their likelihood to agree with the statement — 47% of individuals who make less than $35,000 per year versus 68% of those who make more than $75,000 per year.

Other findings of this year's IFIC survey included:

* Taste continued to be the most important factor driving consumers' decisions to buy foods and beverages, with 89% rating the impact of taste as high, versus 71% who listed "price," 64% who chose "healthfulness," 56% who chose "convenience" and 36% who picked "sustainability."

Those numbers are largely consistent with the findings of the 2012 survey; however, healthfulness and convenience have increased steadily since the initial survey in 2006.

Sustainability appeared to have the greatest influence among older consumers and women. Convenience, on the other hand, was largely an influencer for younger consumers.

* People's willingness to believe new information about food and health was affected most by their own research, with 91% saying it has at least some impact. That number fell to 87% who are affected by hearing the information from friends or family members, 84% who hear it from someone who has an advanced degree in health or nutrition, 70% who hear it in the news (television, radio, newspaper or internet) and just 29% who see the information on social media.

* Health professionals (doctors, nurses and dietitians) were perceived to be the most trustworthy sources of accurate food safety information (93%). This compared with friends and family members at 75%, the government at 64% and food manufacturers at 44%.

* At least three-fourths of respondents said they give a lot of thought to chemicals (40%), foodborne illnesses (34%), pesticides (33%), animal antibiotics (25%) and undeclared allergens (16%) in their food. Respondents placed more faith in the safety of foods produced or grown in the U.S. than in imported foods (53% versus 48%).

* The majority of respondents (78%) agreed that they would rather hear what they should eat than what they should not eat, preferring positive messages about how to have a healthful diet (Figure 2).

Ninety-six percent of respondents said they have given a little or a lot of thought to the healthfulness of foods and beverages. This was particularly true for women and college graduates.

* In the case of calories, 38% indicated that they often or always think about the number of calories they consume. Thirty percent of respondents said all sources of calories were equally at fault for causing weight gain, while 21% specifically blamed sugars, 19% blamed carbohydrates and 16% blamed fats. Only 1% blamed protein for weight gain.

* Seventy percent indicated that they were somewhat or very confident in the safety of the U.S. food supply, while 29% said they were not too confident or not at all confident.

While this is still a large majority of the U.S. population, it indicates a significant decrease from the 2012 IFIC survey, when 78% were somewhat or very confident and 18% were not too confident or not at all confident.

* The vast majority of respondents (93%) agreed strongly or somewhat that they would prefer that ingredient lists use the common name of ingredients rather than the scientific name.

* The majority of respondents (81%) indicated that they believe minimally processed foods can be healthful, up 14% from the 2012 study.

The online survey was fielded by Mathew Greenwald & Associates of Washington, D.C., April 11-22, and involved 1,006 Americans ages 18-80. Results were weighted to match the U.S. Census based on age, education, gender, race/ethnicity and region to be nationally reflective.

Volume:85 Issue:22

Hog outlook better

Hog outlook better

Hog outlook better
THE market outlook for pork producers for the rest of the year is terrible, but the terribleness is, at least, getting better.

Producers have lost $32.36 per head on their hogs this year (January through May), setting up the fourth worst year in the industry's history (Figure), according to Shane Ellis, who maintains an Iowa-Minnesota profitability series at Iowa State University.

However, he told Feedstuffs that the overall projected loss for this year is $22.89 per head, which suggests decreasing costs as new-crop corn kicks in from now until the end of the year.

Furthermore, if new-crop corn falls into a $5/bu. price range, as futures indicated last week, returns will begin to get back into the black in the first quarter of 2014, he said.

Other sources agreed, offering pork producers heading to the 25th World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, this week less terrible news than they've been hearing in the past.

The number-one question will be the corn and soybean crops, which are behind schedule on planting, according to Steve Meyer, head of Paragon Economics.

Late planting implies a late harvest, and with a late harvest, frost becomes an issue, he said.

At the same time, experience shows that it's not so much the acres planted as the acres harvested and the yield, he said, which means that record-large crops are still entirely possible — and would bring down producers' costs of production quite rapidly.

Next comes pork demand, Meyer said, noting that there's a split in the outlooks for domestic versus export demand (Table 1).

Domestic demand has held fairly well and may start improving even more on positive developments in the U.S. economy, he said. Household income and the housing market are finally showing signs of recovery, and consumer confidence is strengthening, he added.

Indeed, household income increased 0.7% in April and, although still below the pre-recession level, is now over year ago, according to government data. This indicates that consumers can now deal with the tax hike they took at the beginning of the year, Feedstuffs sources said.

Home prices surged in the first quarter at the fastest pace since before the recession, and March home prices were 10.2% higher than last March. The Conference Board reported that consumer confidence increased seven points in May to a five-year high.

Furthermore, consumer-level beef prices are record high, and shoppers are getting sticker shock from chicken prices after being accustomed to lower-priced chicken, Meyer said. So, competitive meat prices and economic improvement will be supportive to pork demand this year, he said.

He added that pork supplies in cold storage are record large (Feedstuffs, May 27) due mainly to the significant slowdown in exports, which have been stymied by China and Russia announcing bans on ractopamine use and by the weakness of the Japanese yen.

Still, Meyer noted that stocks represent just 1.5 weeks of production, so, if stocks are kept in perspective, storage is not as worrisome as some think, and an increase in pork buying activity could take those stocks down fairly fast.

That activity could start this week as the National Pork Board launches a domestic marketing promotion for which it allocated $3 million in supplemental funding at its meeting in March (Feedstuffs, March 11).

Board vice president for domestic marketing Ceci Snyder told this column that the promotion will position pork for its value and versatility, with drive-time radio spots that encourage people to stop at supermarkets on their way home from work to buy pork for dinner that night.

The promotion also will have online messages and point-of-sale materials, she said, adding that retailers have been "very receptive."

Ron Plain at the University of Missouri echoed Meyer's outlook and said slaughter will be relatively stable going forward, although increased weights will bring in increased pork production. He said he's "confident" in pork demand for the rest of this year.

Given decreasing feed costs, losses will shrink.

This sets up a good situation for producers in 2014, Plain said.

Price projections from Plain and Meyer, who does market forecasting for the Pork Board, are shown in Table 2.

The hog markets were down 39 cents to up $3.07 last week to $90.35-93.29/cwt. on a lean carcass basis across the Corn Belt last Thursday, prices equivalent to a $68-70 live cash hog market and 10.6% higher than last year at this time.

Prices were within a couple of dollars of breakeven.

Hog futures closed last Thursday at levels that would confirm Ellis' forecast: Producers should break even in the June-to-August period, with a sharp drop in prices for the rest of the year but then with a relatively fast jump into profitability the first of next year that will hold in the black through the rest of the months on the board.

Elsewhere in the livestock and poultry markets last week, cattle did not trade in sufficient volume through Thursday to establish prices and, at week-before levels, were $124.00-126.00/cwt. north and south on the Plains, 2.9% higher than year ago.

The Choice cutout finally slipped and was down $2.82 after four straight weeks of setting record wholesale trade highs. The cutout was $208.55/cwt., 5.7% more than year ago.

Action in both the feeder and live cattle futures last week suggested that too much negative news had been factored into the futures that was being overcome, sources said.

Beef packer margins give packers plenty of reason to buy cattle, and feedlot placements can't continue to match the high levels of March and April as feeder supplies tighten up, especially as pasture conditions improve, Dennis Smith at Archer Financial Services noted in an evening wire.

It may be that the trade will begin shifting its focus from beef prices and demand to tight supplies, he said.

The chicken markets were mostly unchanged except for breasts and breast meat, which experienced normal post-holiday weakness, although supplies that were accumulating early in the week were getting cleaned up late in the week, sources said.

Chickens were unchanged at $1.12-1.17 and $1.07-1.13/lb. in the eastern and midwestern regions last Thursday, 30.9% higher than year ago.

Breasts were unchanged to down 7 cents at $1.30-1.34/lb., 36.1% more than year ago, and breast meat was down 13-15 cents at $1.94-2.02/lb., 60.3% over year ago.

The egg markets fell 18 cents to $1.13-1.17 and $1.04-1.06/doz. for large-sized eggs delivered to eastern and midwestern store doors last Thursday, 9.5% more than year ago.

Sources said prices got so high earlier last month that foodservice and retail demand and demand from Mexico "dried up." Consequently, supplies accumulated, and prices were unable to hold, sources said.

 

1. Domestic and export pork demand

 

% change from

 

% change from

Year

previous year

Month

previous month

-Domestic pork demand-

1999

0.4

March '12

0.9

2000

-0.2

April '12

-4.0

2001

-0.7

May '12

1.9

2002

0.3

June '12

-6.5

2003

-1.0

July '12

-0.8

2004

0.6

August '12

3.0

2005

-3.8

September '12

3.1

2006

-3.7

October '12

1.1

2007

1.9

November '12

1.9

2008

-4.0

December '12

-1.2

2009

1.4

January '13

5.1

2010

-1.0

February '13

-0.9

2011

1.1

March '13

2.5

2012

-0.5

 

 

-Export pork demand-

1999

2.0

March '12

-8.0

2000

8.4

April '12

-3.7

2001

20.9

May '12

0.6

2002

-7.5

June '12

5.4

2003

9.6

July '12

-2.7

2004

41.0

August '12

-11.3

2005

16.3

September '12

-11.6

2006

7.9

October '12

-5.5

2007

2.3

November '12

-12.6

2008

45.7

December '12

-17.3

2009

-19.2

January '13

-17.3

2010

25.7

February '13

-16.1

2011

29.3

March '13

-21.6

2012

-3.0

 

 

Source: Ron Plain, University of Missouri.

 

2. Hog prices ($/cwt.)

Period

Meyer

Plain

USDA

2013

Quarter 1

82.72

79.06

59.03

Quarter 2

89.50

85.00

60.00

Quarter 3

90.00

87.00

62.00

Quarter 4

81.00

78.00

54.00

Year

86.00

83.00

59.00

2014

Quarter 1

83.00

78.00

58.00

Note: Meyer and Plain use lean carcass basis; USDA uses live cash hog market basis.

Sources: Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics; Ron Plain, University of Missouri, and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 

Volume:85 Issue:22

Livestock & poultry cash market comparisons, 6/3/13

Livestock & poultry cash market comparisons, 6/3/13

Livestock and meat ($)

May 29

May 22

6 months ago

Year ago

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

209.53

211.20

195.73

197.00

Steers, Choice, 1,050-1,200 lb., cwt. Okla/Texas

N/A

125.00

128.00

121.00

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

141.75A

141.75A

153.50A

N/A

Lean Hogs, Carcass, Iowa-Minn. 167-187 lb.(1)

91.03

90.90

78.34

82.24

Feeder Pigs, 40 lb. National Direct Delivered(2)

51.18

52.20

60.53

48.73

SEW Pigs, 10 lb., National direct delivered (per head)

25.17

24.97

55.71

25.48

Choice Beef, cutout, cwt.

208.55

211.37

196.03

197.31

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

103.31

103.16

85.95

103.92

Hog Corn Ratio

13.0

12.4

10.3

14.3

Steer Corn Ratio

17.4

17.0

16.3

20.6

Poultry and eggs (cents)

 

 

 

 

Chickens, Grade A, Fresh lb. Chicago

110.16a

108.54a

96.32a

78.50a

Hen Turkeys, Grade A, Frozen, lb., Chicago

98.00Aa

98.00Aa

104.50Aa

107.00Aa

Young Tom Turkeys, Grade A. Frozen lb. Chicago

96.50Aa

96.50Aa

105.00Aa

110.00Aa

Eggs, Grade A, Large, doz., Chicago

119.50

121.50

127.50

92.50

N/A: not available

A: average

 

 

 

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

 

Volume:85 Issue:22

Grain & ingredient cash market comparisons, 6/3/13

Grain & ingredient cash market comparisons, 6/3/13

Major feed ingredients

May 29

May 22

6 months ago

Year ago

Corn No. 2, Chicago, bu.

 

 

 

 

Processor bid*

7.04A

7.10A

7.58A

5.93A

Terminal bid*

6.74A

6.83A

7.46A

5.54A

Milo, Kansas City, cwt.

12.21

12.12

13.39

9.28

Soybeans, Chicago, bu., processor bid

15.53A

15.54A

14.50A

13.32A

Soybean Meal, 48% Decatur Bid

482.30A

482.00A

462.70A

396.00A

Cottonseed Meal, Memphis, ton

315.00

305.00

355.00

270.00

Linseed Meal, Solvent, Minneapolis

340.00

340.00

285.00

270.00

Meat and Bone Meal, Chicago, ton

400.00

410.00

415.00

425.00

Fish Meal, Menhaden, Atlanta, ton

1,625.00

1,625.00

1,495.00

1,250.00

Corn Gluten Meal, 60%, Chicago, ton

498.00

498.00

715.00

563.00

Distillers Dried Grains, Chicago, ton

235.00

230.00

260.00

205.00

17% Dehy. Alfalfa Pellets, KC, ton

370.00

370.00

365.00

330.00

Millfeeds, Midds, Minneapolis, ton

180.00

185.00

230.00

180.00

Molasses, Cane, Houston, ton

165.00

165.00

165.00

167.50

Dried Citrus Pulp, Atlanta, ton

265.00

273.00

225.00

230.00

Whey, Whole, Chicago, cwt.

54.00

54.12

63.25

48.88

Rolled Oats, Minneapolis, ton

565.00

565.00

552.00

470.00

Barley, Los Angeles , cwt.

14.85

15.00

15.70

13.75

Feeding Wheat, Kansas City, bu.

7.63

7.55

9.26

6.95

* 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

N/A: not available

 

Volume:85 Issue:22

Inclusion of glycerol affects broiler growth

Inclusion of glycerol affects broiler growth

*Dr. William A. Dudley-Cash is a poultry and fish nutritionist and has his own consulting firm in Modesto, Cal. To expedite answers to questions concerning this column, please direct inquiries to Feedstuffs, Bottom Line of Nutrition, 5810 W. 78th St., Suite 200, Bloomington, Minn. 55439, or email [email protected]

GLYCEROL is the primary byproduct generated in the conversion of vegetable oils to biodiesel. Approximately 10% of the oil is recovered as glycerol.

The production of biodiesel is relatively expensive, and the economic viability of the industry is, to a large extent, dependent on finding a market for the glycerol.

Refined glycerol has an established market for thousands of uses that vary from cosmetics and pharmaceuticals to the starting point for the synthesis of other chemicals. However, this market is quite small. The volume of glycerol from biodiesel production easily overwhelms this market.

For example, in 2007, the refined glycerol price was painfully low, approximately 30 cents/lb. (compared to 70 cents/lb. before the expansion of biodiesel production) in the U.S. Accordingly, the price of crude glycerol decreased from about 25 cents/lb. to 5 cents/lb.

There is a great deal of interest in developing new markets for crude glycerol, and the animal feed industry is one potential large-volume market.

Glycerol is a good source of energy in animal feeds. It is readily absorbed and is converted to glucose for energy production in the liver of animals by the enzyme glycerol kinase.

Some researchers have referred to glycerol as a potential replacement for feed fats; however, glycerol is clearly not a feed fat. While glycerol may have some of the physical characteristics of a feed fat (a liquid at room temperature and lubricant in pelleting), chemically and metabolically, glycerol is a carbohydrate with a nutrient contribution similar to starch.

E. Topal of the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Affairs and M. Ozdogan of the Adnan Menderes University Faculty of Agriculture in Turkey recently published a paper in the Journal of Applied Poultry Research on the use of glycerol in broiler feeds. The objective of the experiment was to investigate the effect of glycerol inclusion on the growth performance, internal organ weights and chemical composition of the drumstick muscle in broiler chickens.

A total of 360 one-day-old Ross 308 broiler chicks were placed in 12 pens (30 birds per pen) and randomly assigned to three dietary treatments (four replicates per treatment). All broilers were fed a starter diet (0-21 days of age) and a finisher diet (22-42 days of age). The experimental treatments consisted of either 0% (GLYC-0), 4% (GLYC-4) or 8% (GLYC-8) crude glycerol added to the diet. The crude glycerol was obtained from a commercial biodiesel production facility that used sunflower, corn and soybean oil in the production of biodiesel.

The crude glycerol was analyzed to contain 82.6% glycerol, 0.03% methanol, 11.8% moisture, 0.64% crude protein, 0.1% ether extract and 4.81% ash. The metabolizable energy (ME) of the glycerol had previously been measured at 3,527 kcal/kg.

The composition of the experimental diets is shown in Table 1. The diets were formulated to provide nearly equal nutrient contents associated with the three levels of glycerol. The glycerol primarily replaced corn (starch) in the diet, with a stepwise reduction in ether extract content.

Weight gain, feed consumption and feed conversion were measured from 0 to 21 days and from 22 to 42 days of age. At the end of the experiment, 48 broilers were randomly selected for analysis of serum, carcass yields and internal organ weights (two males and two females from each pen).

The average bodyweights of the randomly sampled male and female broilers were 2,919.8 g and 2,408.7 g, respectively. The bodyweights of the selected males and females were similar to the average pen weights observed.

After slaughter, the carcasses were dissected and the internal organs (liver, kidneys, proventriculus, gizzard and heart) were weighed. The carcass without giblets was weighed to determine hot dressed yield. The weights of the internal organs relative to bodyweight were calculated. The drumstick muscle was separated from the left tibia by removing the skin, bones and connective tissue. The muscle tissue was analyzed for dry matter, ether extract, crude protein and ash.

The growth performance results are shown in Table 2. The addition of 4% and 8% glycerol significantly increased bodyweight gain during days 0-21. There were numeric increases in weight gain over days 22-42, but these differences were not statistically significant. When combined for the overall 42-day experimental period, only the 8% glycerol addition resulted in bodyweight gains that were significantly larger than the 0% glycerol control.

For feed consumption, there were numeric increases during both days 0-21 and days 22-42, but these differences were not statistically significant.

Feed conversion followed the pattern of bodyweight gain, with statistically improved values for the 4% and 8% addition of glycerol from 0 to 21 days and from 0 to 42 days.

The researchers suggested that the positive effects of glycerol inclusion during days 0-21 may have been related to undeveloped gastrointestinal organs of chicks at zero to seven days of age. Others have stated that the gastrointestinal organs secrete insufficient amounts of digestive juices and that the villi are not well developed during the first weeks of life.

Glycerol may be a source of easily digested energy. The bioavailability of glycerol in broilers is thought to be higher than other energy sources, except for oils and glucose.

The inclusion of glycerol in the diet did not affect the internal organ weights (liver, kidney, gizzard or proventriculus) of male and female broilers, with the exception of the heart weights for males receiving the 8% glycerol diet (Table 3). The relative weights of some internal organs, such as the heart and liver, are known to be related to bodyweight. The researchers concluded that the difference observed for heart weights of males receiving 8% glycerol was not a direct result of feeding the glycerol.

A significant decrease was observed in the ether extract content of the drumstick muscle in both male and female broilers consuming either 4% or 8% glycerol (Table 3), which the researchers suggested was due to decreased ether extract levels in the diets that resulted from reducing the level of corn when glycerol was added.

 

Comment

The crude glycerol used in this research was exceptionally high quality, containing more than 80% glycerol and less than 1% methanol, but the quality can vary widely.

An unrelated study of 11 crude glycerol products collected from seven Australian biodiesel producers showed that the glycerol content ranged from 38% to 96%, and some of the samples included more than 14% methanol and 29% ash. Methanol is toxic, and a level of more than 5% should be considered unacceptable.

It is imperative that the nutritionist have a robust quality control program and analyze samples of crude glycerol from all suppliers.

 

The Bottom Line

The results of this research show that high-quality crude glycerol is very effective in broiler diets at levels of 4% and 8%. The use of the crude glycerol significantly improved bodyweight gain and feed conversion, particularly during the feeding period from 0 to 21 days.

In this era of crippling feed ingredient prices, crude glycerol represents another potentially economical source of energy.

A significant increase in the relative weight of the heart in males and a decrease in the ether extract content of the drumstick muscle were interesting results that deserve more research.

 

Reference

Topal, E., and M. Ozdogan. 2013. Effects of glycerol on the growth performance, internal organ weights and drumstick muscle of broilers. J. Appl. Poult. Res. 22:146-151.

 

1. Composition of experimental diets

 

-Days 1-21 of age-

-Days 22-42 of age-

Ingredient, %

GLYC-0

GLYC-4

GLYC-8

GLYC-0

GLYC-4

GLYC-8

Glycerol

0.00

4.00

8.00

0.00

4.00

8.00

Corn

46.90

42.30

37.50

52.55

47.65

42.45

Soybean meal

43.00

43.70

44.50

37.30

38.20

39.30

Sunflower oil

6.00

6.00

6.00

6.50

6.50

6.60

Limestone

1.10

1.00

1.00

0.90

0.90

0.90

Dicalcium phosphate

2.00

2.00

2.00

1.85

1.85

1.85

Salt

0.30

0.30

0.30

0.30

0.30

0.30

L-Lysine

0.10

0.10

0.10

DL-Methionine

0.20

0.20

0.20

0.20

0.20

0.20

Vitamin mix

0.30

0.30

0.30

0.30

0.30

0.30

Mineral mix

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.10

0.10

Total

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

100.00

Nutrient, %

ME, kcal/kg

3,100

3,103

3,101

3,202

3,200

3,200

Dry matter

91.63

91.36

90.77

91.65

91.30

90.75

Crude protein

23.10

23.35

23.45

21.23

21.38

21.51

Ether extract

8.50

8.33

8.15

9.13

8.95

8.76

Calcium

1.00

1.00

1.00

0.90

0.90

0.90

Available phosphorus

0.50

0.50

0.50

0.40

0.40

0.40

Methionine+cysteine

0.92

0.91

0.90

0.86

0.86

0.85

Lysine

1.36

1.36

1.37

1.14

1.15

1.17

 

2. Broiler growth performance

 

GLYC-0

GLYC-4

GLYC-8

Bodyweight gain, g

Days 0-21

761b

812b

818b

Days 22-42

1,705

1,759

1,777

Days 0-42

2,466b

2,571ab

2,595a

Feed consumption, g

Days 0-21

995

1,022

1,033

Days 22-42

3,114

3,116

3,132

Days 0-42

4,108

4,138

4,166

Feed conversion

Days 0-21

1.31a

1.26b

1.26b

Days 22-42

1.83

1.77

1.76

Days 0-42

1.67a

1.61b

1.61b

a,bMeans in the same row that have different superscripts differ significantly (P < 0.05).

 

3. Heart weight and either extract of drumstick muscle

Heart weight (g/100 g of bodyweight)

GLYC-0

GLYC-4

GLYC-8

Male

0.43b

0.48b

0.54a

Female

0.53

0.52

0.52

Ether extract of drumstick muscle, %

Male

8.8a

6.3b

6.0b

Female

9.3a

6.7b

6.1b

a,bMeans in the same row that have different superscripts differ significantly (P < 0.05).

 

Volume:85 Issue:22

'Walmart effect' has global benefits (commentary)

&#039;Walmart effect&#039; has global benefits (commentary)

THE very mention of Walmart in some circles, whatever the context, can be a certain invitation to dishing out harsh criticism, especially when discussing the company's presence in the food world.

Walmart has single-handedly transformed the food retailing business.

The company has effectively established an innovative strategy for groceries within the framework of its broader business model.

Much of it is founded on a relentless commitment to tracking inventory turnover performance for individual items, including food products. That skill has enabled the company to achieve highly efficient inventory management (that subsequently also aids capital management efficiencies).

The result is that Walmart is able to cut costs and pass along savings to customers.

Most important here, lower grocery prices serve to attract customers, lead to enhanced loyalty and help drive store traffic. Ultimately, the company's food strategy to get customers in the door stimulates sales on higher-margin products in other departments, and in doing so, it increases overall store yield. As such, food is utilized as a means to an end.

The model is clearly successful. The food supercenter format has dominated new growth in the grocery retailing business during the past 10 years. Most telling is that a number of competitors are attempting to implement similar plans. Even traditional grocers are expanding product offerings within their respective stores in a way that somewhat resembles the supercenter model.

But, as alluded to above, the company has its share of critics. They don't like Walmart's competitiveness and often make accusations that it's all based on unfair labor and/or pricing tactics. Therein enters the emotional reacation often associated with Walmart's broader influence on society.

However, a recent commentary in Foreign Policy by Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development puts a slightly different spin on some of that criticism. Kenny argues that Walmart actually has benefitted the poor more "than any other business in American history." That's especially pertinent given Walmart's presence in the food business.

Kenny explains: "There are two ways to help poor people buy more of what they need. One is to help them make more money. The other is to make the money they have go further. And Walmart has proved incredibly adept at that second approach. Take food, for instance. Walmart is the world's biggest food retailer, and it offers foods at prices considerably lower than those at traditional supermarkets — as much as 25% lower, according to economists Jerry Hausman and Ephraim Leibtag."

The Hausman and Leibtag reference stems from a 2005 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper titled "Consumer Benefits from Increased Competition in Shopping Outlets: Measuring the Effect of Wal-Mart."

Their summation of the supercenter's role in food markets goes like this: "the benefits (are) substantial, both in terms of food expenditure and in terms of overall consumer expenditure. Low-income households benefit the most."

Kenny further explains that the benefit isn't limited just to the U.S. but also has an important global effect.

"More than 1 billion people still live in the borderlands of absolute deprivation, scraping by on less than $1.25 a day," he wrote. "Nevertheless, many have more access to goods and services than they did only a few years ago (even if they're not yet buying their cassava at the Ouagadougou Walmart). That's in part because companies around the world have figured out how to make and ship the stuff that poor people want at lower cost, which makes lives better. Call it the global Walmart effect."

So, whatever your view of Walmart, there's no denying how influential the company has become in these broader discussions. Sure, the company (and respective shareholders) has profited over time — largely by leveraging food to generate sales — but obviously, it's a mutually beneficial relationship, or else consumers wouldn't shop at Walmart.

Much of the vocal condemnation out there largely comes about because the model doesn't fit neatly into an ideological world view.

That criticism doesn't help feed a hungry world, though, and going forward, providing accessible and affordable nutrition for an ever-expanding population is the most important consideration of all.

*Dr. Nevil C. Speer is with Western Kentucky University and serves on the board of the National Institute for Animal Agriculture, a national organization devoted to engaging livestock producers and livestock health professionals in developing solutions for issues in the livestock industry.

Volume:85 Issue:22

Ventilation design of broiler houses studied

Ventilation design of broiler houses studied

APPROXIMATELY 80% of the cooling produced in a modern tunnel-ventilated poultry house is the result of wind speed moving over birds, according to recent research by Dr. Brian Fairchild and Dr. Mike Czarick at the University of Georgia.

In a study funded by the USPOULTRY Foundation, Fairchild and Czarick found important interactions among airspeed, static pressure and air velocity distribution in tunnel-ventilated broiler houses.

Understanding these relationships is very important in modern broiler houses, where airspeeds can be in excess of 600 ft./min.

According to the researchers, airspeeds across the cross-section of a house may vary by 30% or more, resulting in significant differences in bird cooling at different areas of the house (e.g., side wall versus center).

In new poultry house construction, airspeeds of 600-900 ft./min. are being targeted, but little work has been done to document factors affecting air velocity in tunnel-ventilated poultry houses, Fairchild and Czarick explained. The objective of their study was to determine which factors affect cross-sectional air velocity distribution in tunnel-ventilated broiler houses.

In the past, air velocity profiles in poultry housing were measured at one level, the researchers said, noting that their study used a grid of 15 anemometers (ceiling to floor and wall to wall) located 50 ft. in front of the tunnel fans to measure the cross-sectional air velocity.

Pressure sensors were installed at the pads, inlet, quarter house and three-quarter house to measure static pressure. Air velocity and static pressure were monitored with several fan capacities varying between 100% and 50% of all tunnel fans operating.

These measurements were taken in a total of 27 poultry houses that were less than two years of age belonging to four companies. Included were 24 broiler houses, one commercial layer house, one pullet house and one breeder house, Fairchild and Czarick reported.

High static pressure makes fans work harder but move less air, they explained. Therefore, static pressure was kept as low as possible in the past so fans could continue to operate at optimum efficiency.

In this study, the data show that static pressure increases as house air velocity increases, Fairchild and Czarick said. In the newer houses, the cross-sectional air velocity did not vary by more than 10% across the width of the house. This was due to the smoothness of the side-wall construction and having few obstructions down the length of the house, the researchers noted. In houses with smooth side walls, the average airspeed in the house can be estimated by measuring air movement at the side feed lines.

As more obstructions are introduced and side wall smoothness decreases, the researchers said additional measurements across the width of the house are required to estimate average house air velocity.

Static pressure increased as air moved down the length of the house. While static pressure is usually measured at the center of the house, it is important to remember that the total pressure the fans are working against is slightly higher when measured at the rear of house near the tunnel fans, they noted.

In older houses (airspeeds of 400-500 ft./min.), the largest factor affecting static pressure was the tunnel inlet, Fairchild and Czarick reported. If the inlet was too small, then pressure would be high. In those cases, the producer would increase the size of the tunnel inlet to maintain a low static pressure.

In modern high-airspeed houses, the tunnel inlet is not the main factor involved in increasing static pressure. Instead, the transitional pressure — where the air makes the turn into the house — is the main contributor to total static pressure, the researchers said.

They explained that in houses with airspeeds of 600 ft./min. or more, increasing the tunnel inlet size will not result in lower airspeeds. In fact, oversizing the tunnel inlet (usually done in length) can actually make airspeed distribution along the length of the tunnel inlet worse.

According to Fairchild and Czarick, this set of data indicated that tunnel openings in the house can be smaller than the evaporative cooling pad opening, which improves the air distribution along the length of the inlet without significant effects on the static pressure against which the fans are working.

They concluded that poultry companies targeting higher airspeeds should design their fan requirements at higher static pressures than the traditional design pressure of 0.1 in. of water column. House static pressure should be measured near the fans at least once a year.

Being mindful of these influences on air velocity can maximize the air movement in poultry houses and minimize the losses during hot weather.

 

'Green muscle'

The U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn. and the USPOULTRY Foundation also announced the completion of a research project they funded at Auburn University that has found a potential marker for selecting against broilers' susceptibility to deep pectoral myopathy (DPM), commonly called "green muscle."

Drs. Roger J. Lien, Sarge F. Bilgili and Joe B. Hess of Auburn explained that DPM is a condition in which the breast tender of broilers is found, during processing, to be discolored. This meat must be trimmed and condemned.

According to the researchers, it is estimated that 0.5% of breast tenders are condemned because of DPM, creating a loss of $50 million per year.

They were able to define some of the factors involved in causing this condition, including broiler strain, broiler gender and the temperature at which the birds were raised. Of particular importance, the researchers found that the level of a certain serum enzyme was correlated with the development of green muscle and suggested that this enzyme might be used as a marker for genetic selection of broiler strains that are less susceptible to the condition.

DPM is becoming more common in broilers and is caused by wing flapping at least a few days before slaughter, since discolored lesions take 24-48 hours to develop, or several weeks earlier, since tissue damage is often permanent, Lien et al. added. Broiler DPM will likely continue to increase since breast yield selection and heavier processing weights are both contributing factors that are increasing.

Creatine kinase (CK) is a muscle enzyme normally found in elevated amounts in plasma after muscle damage, the researchers said, explaining that its levels are elevated following DPM induction in turkeys and broiler breeders. CK may be useful as a non-invasive marker for detection in broilers, Lien et al. said.

In a previous project, Lien et al. developed a standardized technique to induce DPM called "encouraged wing flapping" (EWF).

The project objectives were to:

1. Determine if temperature, time of day or strain influenced susceptibility to DPM induction by increases in light intensity and human disturbance or EWF.

2. Determine the effects of age, sex, strain and bodyweight on DPM lesion development.

3. Determine if baseline or changes in CK levels with age- or EWF-induced CK level changes in very young broilers can indicate subsequent DPM susceptibility.

4. Determine the time course of CK level elevations following DPM induction.

Light intensity increases and disturbances similar to those occurring when farmers check broilers did not increase DPM incidence, Lien et al. reported. The prevalence of DPM was greater at normal temperatures — which resulted in greater growth than at high temperatures — and was greater in strains selected for breast yield.

Induction of DPM three to five days before slaughter resulted in a 10-20% decrease in subsequent growth. Broilers gradually developed DPM susceptibility from four to seven weeks, with males developing susceptibility a week earlier than females and bodyweight differences not being a primary factor, the researchers said.

Plasma CK levels in the weeks before induction of DPM were not a good predictor of susceptibility because they increased much more dramatically from one to four days after EWF in birds in which DPM was induced. Therefore, plasma CK levels after EWF could be used as a non-terminal marker for DPM susceptibility in genetic selection programs, Lien et al. said.

They concluded that plasma CK level changes in response to EWF at ages too early to induce DPM did seem to be related to subsequent susceptibility, which also suggests a potential use of CK levels to screen birds for DPM susceptibility without actually inducing lesions.

Volume:85 Issue:22