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.


Articles from 2016 In June

EU compound feed production climbs slightly in 2015

According to data provided by members of the European Feed Manufacturers Federation (FEFAC), compound feed production in the 28 member countries of the European Union (excluding Luxemburg, Malta and Greece) in 2015 reached 157.3 million metric tons (Table), which is 0.6% more than in 2014.

While cattle feed production dropped by 0.7%, pig feed and poultry feed grew by 0.6% and 1.2%, respectively. Poultry feed further enforced its leading position in EU feed production, FEFAC said.

Feed costs remained low and even decreased compared to 2014 due to a good 2015 cereal grain harvest in the EU, both in terms of quantity and sanitary status, and a largely sufficient supply of oilseed meals globally, especially soybean meal. This compensated the still decreasing pork quotations to a certain extent, while pork production continued to increase by close to 4% in 2015.

Regarding cattle feed, the picture is, as usual, very contrasted across Europe, depending on weather conditions for forage production. The effect of the lifting of the quota regime, with a plus 2% milk delivery in 2015 versus 2014, was hardly visible for the compound feed industry EU-wide, with the exception of Ireland and the Netherlands, FEFAC said.

Finally, poultry feed production continued to grow, boosted by an increase in per capita meat consumption (up 2.7%), which primarily benefited poultry meat (up 4%). As a consequence, poultry feed consolidated its position of leading segment of EU compound feed production, now well ahead of pig feed.

Poland and Spain have been the only well-performing member states among the largest EU feed-producing countries, with annual growth close to 4%, FEFAC noted. Germany recorded a significant decrease (down 2.9%) after five consecutive years of growth, whereas the U.K. was set back by more than 4%, especially because of bad results in poultry feed. All other major producers — France, Italy and the Netherlands — saw limited changes in their production records.

Germany and Spain are shoulder to shoulder in their position as leading EU countries in terms of total compound feed production and are well ahead France.

Forecast for 2016

FEFAC market experts are relatively pessimistic concerning industrial compound feed production in 2016, the announcement said. They do anticipate the upward trend in poultry feed demand to persist, although at a slower pace (0.5%) than in 2015, but also a significant reduction in pig feed demand (-1.5%), in line with expert forecasts on pork production in the EU. Overall, this would lead to a 0.7% decrease in compound feed production in 2016 versus 2015.

On the feed materials side, concerns regarding the quality of the EU cereal grain harvest in 2016 due to the humid and cold weather conditions in several EU member states may result in a greater supply of feed wheat. However, prudence will be required regarding the sanitary quality. Concerning proteins, after the lower-than-expected South American soybean harvest in 2016, combined with increased global demand for soybean meal, the attention is put on the U.S. soy harvest forecast, which is relatively good for now.

FEFAC represents 25 national associations in 24 EU member states as well as industry associations in Switzerland, Turkey, Serbia, Russia and Norway with observer/associate member status. The European compound feed industry employs more than 110,000 people on about 4,000 production sites.

Farm animals in the EU-28 consume an estimated 480 mmt of feed a year, about 30% of which is produced by compound feed manufacturers. Turnover of the European compound feed industry is estimated at 50 billion euros.

Industrial compound feed production in 28-member European Union*, by country, 2015, 1,000 metric tons



























































































Czech Republic








































































*Does not include Luxemburg, Greece and Malta.

**Production of milk replacers was reported separately but was added to "Others" in this table.

***For 2015 on, the production of milk replacers in the Netherlands is a rough estimate, due to statistical confidentiality.

EU approves short-term glyphosate authorization

The European Commission will again extend authorization for the herbicide glyphosate for another 18 months. Without an extension, manufacturers would have needed to phase out products containing the herbicide within six months after the end of this month.

American Soybean Assn. (ASA) president and Greenwood, Del., soybean farmer Richard Wilkins noted in a statement that the announcement comes as only temporary relief for American farmers searching for certainty in the European marketplace.

“An 18-month extension gives U.S. farmers and exporters the assurance that they will at least have access to the European market for that period of time. Clearly, that’s not the certainty the industry needs, but it’s better than nothing,” he said.

Wilkins added that his group is still extraordinarily frustrated by the non-scientific approach taken in the European Union. “Remember, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) found that glyphosate is safe. Given this repeatedly proven fact, it’s a relief that the commission decided to step in and issue this reauthorization, even after the Council of Ministers was unable to find the support among its members to affirm the EFSA finding,” he said.

The commission had initially proposed a 15-year reauthorization for glyphosate but whittled down its plans following opposition from EU governments and environmental and public health groups.

Wilkins said continued progress is needed, however. “A logical and welcomed next step will be for the EU to finalize approval of the three pending biotech varieties. With that approval, our farmers can move forward with the certainty they need,” he said.

In a letter to European Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis earlier in June, ASA expressed deep concern with the EU’s delay in authorizing three new soybean traits: Monsanto’s dicamba-tolerant RR2Xtend and Vistive Gold high oleic traits, as well as Bayer CropScience’s isoxaflutole-resistant Balance Bean trait. All three traits received positive opinions from EFSA in May and June of last year and have awaited approval for five months following an Appeals Committee ruling in January.

“The commission’s lack of action in providing final authorization for these soy events has already caused unnecessary uncertainty, disruption and cost in the agricultural supply chain. Immediate authorization by the European Commission is needed to avoid substantial additional unnecessary costs and possible disruption to the essential supply of feedstocks needed by the EU’s livestock, poultry and feed industries, which are more than 70% dependent on imports of vegetable protein,” the ASA letter stated.

International Nutrition marks new beginning with grand opening

International Nutrition marks new beginning with grand opening

Tragedy unexpectedly struck at the International Nutrition facility in south-central Omaha, Neb., in January 2014. Two were killed and nine injured when a section of the company’s long-standing production facility collapsed.

This past month, the company honored those lost with a plaque to be installed in a new 20,000 sq. ft. production building on the site of where the old once stood. Now operational and adding back additional capacity as required approvals and inspections are completed, it is one of the most modern premix facilities in the nation.

International Nutrition is a privately held company involved in the production of livestock feed products and animal supplements and premixes. Its properties encompass five buildings on a 150,000 sq. ft. campus near 76th St. and F St. in Omaha. The corporate office is located about 50 yards from where the production facility sits.

Steven Silver, president of International Nutrition, said in a recent interview that the new production facility is very different from the old structure, which was built in the early 1970s.

The new three-story pre-cast concrete structure, built by Younglove Construction of Sioux City, Iowa, houses the latest in mixing equipment and safety features. Four mild steel mixers with a capacity of five metric tons are located in the primary mixing area. Nineteen bulk bins, located behind the building, empty directly into these mixers that rest on individual load sensors. Process automation is controlled through a CPM/Beta Raven system.

In a separate climate-controlled room are two, 2 mt stainless steel mixers for manufacturing water-soluble products and doing form fill seal packaging. An explosion-suppression system has been installed, and areas where dust traditionally tends to accumulate have been minimized. A plant-wide dust collection system allows for dust to be vacuumed up rather than blown around, as would be the case when areas are cleaned with streams of air.

Silver said he was overwhelmed by and so appreciative of the response by customers and suppliers to the 2014 incident. While International Nutrition is involved in more than just the production business and was able to continue certain distribution and production functions, Silver said outsourced production support from customers and others currently in the premix business, continued direct relationships with suppliers and ongoing commitments from customers across the globe allowed the company to fully operate.  Without this level of support, Silver said the company would never have been able to rebuild.

When asked about the challenges ahead, Silver said, without question, animal agriculture faces increased regulatory pressure to operate at a level more in line with that of the human food industry, and this new facility, run by well-trained and dedicated employees, is designed to specifically help International Nutrition's customers meet those standards. “There’s a lot of production capacity out there, but it’s all 40-70 years old, ... and this new plant takes us and the industry into the future,” Silver said.

Monsanto reports 2016 Q3 financial results

Monsanto Co. highlighted progress made on several milestones related to its long-term growth drivers, despite the macro challenges facing global agriculture, as it announced its financial results for the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal 2016.

Monsanto said it continues to operate as the most innovative company in the space as it stays committed to delivering on the integrated solutions strategy that will position it well for an expected rebound within the industry. Additionally, the company said it remains uniquely positioned to be the partner of choice for leading agricultural technologies with its commercial capability and research and development (R&D) leadership, reinforced by several recent technology and operational agreements.

“Our long-term optimism within agriculture and our business remains,” Monsanto chairman and chief executive officer Hugh Grant said. “Our industry is running at a low point in the overall agriculture cycle, and we’ve experienced an unforeseen level of challenges affecting our business in fiscal year 2016. Today, however, we anticipate positive resolution on the horizon for several of these challenges, coupled with early signs of recovery in agriculture.”

Grant said strategic changes have positioned the company to further strengthen its leadership role in the agricultural space through financial discipline and a steadfast commitment to serving growers with new innovation.

He added that while there is no formal update on Bayer's proposal to acquire Monsanto, "I have been personally in discussions with Bayer’s management over the last several weeks, along with others regarding alternative strategic options. We continue to recognize the potential value these types of combinations can create as they accelerate innovation and increase choice for farmers across a broader set of crops, geographies and production practices while improving the sustainability of agriculture around the world. That is why we remain open and will continue to actively engage in constructive dialogue to pursue value-enhancing strategic options.”

Results of operations

Net sales for Monsanto's fiscal 2016 third quarter were $4.2 billion versus $4.6 billion in the prior-year period. Gross profit for the quarter decreased to $2.4 billion versus $2.7 billion in the prior-year period.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2016, net sales were $10.9 billion versus $12.6 billion in the same period of 2015. Gross profit for the first nine months was $5.9 billion versus $7.2 billion in the prior-year period.

Selling, general and administrative costs were $729 million, and R&D expenses were $387 million for the third quarter of 2016.

Third-quarter 2016 earnings per share (EPS) were $1.63 on an as-reported basis and $2.17 on an ongoing basis, which excludes 54 cents per share for restructuring charges, environmental and litigation matters and a net charge of $219 million for tax matters related to the Argentina business.

Monsanto said EPS performance for the quarter versus the prior-year period was negatively affected by the absence of the Scott’s licensing agreement, glyphosate pricing declines, costs of the Roundup Ready 2 Xtend launch delay plus lower soybean volumes due to that delay and India's cotton pricing regulations. However, these factors were partly offset by the positive impact of share repurchases and increased row crop licensing gross profit.

The Argentina-related tax matters refer primarily to a valuation allowance against Monsanto's deferred tax assets and were driven mainly by a recent history of cumulative losses in its Argentina subsidiary. With growth in the business, the company would expect to see this allowance reversed partially, or in full, over time.

EPS for the first nine months of fiscal 2016 was $3.40 on an as-reported basis and $4.40 on an ongoing basis.

Monsanto said it reinforced its position as the partner of choice for the industry, delivering on significant strategic portfolio management and licensing commitments in fiscal 2016 through several distinct technology and operating agreements in the last several months. The company expects around $210 million of the approximately $370 million in earnings before interest and taxes benefit from licensing and strategic deals in fiscal 2016 to be reflected in gross profit, with the remainder expected to be recorded in other income.

Monsanto has a long history of collaborations, partnerships and licensing arrangements. The company said it will continue to evaluate additional opportunities to realize returns on its pipeline of innovation and create focus in its portfolio.

China's export prospects remain strong despite new dietary guidelines

China’s Ministry of Health recently issued new dietary guidelines that call for Chinese citizens to significantly reduce their meat consumption.

Joel Haggard, U.S. Meat Export Federation senior vice president for the Asia Pacific, said he does not expect the new guidelines to have much impact on consumer behavior but added that Chinese consumers – especially in major urban areas – are becoming more health conscious when purchasing food items.

Haggard explained that other factors – such as rising prices and constraints on domestic livestock production – could slow meat consumption growth in China, but he still expects U.S. exporters to have excellent business opportunities in that market.

While China remains closed to U.S. beef due to the bovine spongiform encephalopathy-related suspension imposed in 2003, pork exports to China have achieved strong growth in 2016. Through April, pork exports to China totaled more than $220 million – nearly double the total value during the same period last year.

Forage grasses may soon experience heterosis

The grass might be greener on the other side, but in economic terms, grass growth is a factor that must be considered and should be optimized, where possible.

Many grasslands are made up of so-called artificial pasture, which, unlike permanent pasture, is integrated into arable crop rotation and is regularly seeded with forage grass. The seeds of the most important varieties of grass are subject to constant development through cultivation.

However, whereas success in cultivating varieties of grains such as wheat, maize or rice has led to spectacular increases in yield and entered into the public consciousness as the "Green Revolution," little attention has been paid to the progress made in cultivating forage grasses, even though forage grass should respond to the same factors that increase the yield of grain crops.

The main role is played by "hybrid cultivation," although researchers are still only beginning to understand why hybrid plants grow better and stronger than non-hybrids — a phenomenon known as the "heterosis effect."

Non-inbreeding grasses

A team led by Bruno Studer, a professor at the Institute of Agricultural Sciences at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, recently took a big step towards cultivating hybrid forage grasses. They found a gene that ensures that the pollen of so-called self-incompatible grasses does not form any pollen tubes when it lands on the stigma of a female flower of the same plant. This gene, called the S-locus gene, is an important component of a biological mechanism that hinders self-fertilization, thereby preventing inbreeding.

For his work on self-incompatibility, Studer was awarded the Wricke Prize at this year's conference of the German Society for Plant Breeding. The discovery of the S-locus in English ryegrass (Lolium perenne) marks a milestone in the cultivation of forage grasses.

"Only with this knowledge can we take cultivation concepts that were imagined decades ago and implement them in the real world," Studer said.

He believes one possibility is to use genetic markers to inform growers which plants can be crossed with each other. "If we can steer pollination within breeding populations, then we can use the heterosis effect to increase the yield of forage grasses significantly — but by natural means, and without losing any genetic diversity," Studer said.

Beat Reidy, a fodder crop expert at the School of Agricultural, Forest & Food Sciences in Zollikofen, Switzerland, also sees great potential in this new finding. However, he believes it will take decades to show whether the hoped-for progress has been realized.

Crop markets lower as traders await USDA report: Podcast

Crop markets were mostly lower on Wednesday as traders prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's release of acreage and grain stocks reports on Thursday.

Farm Futures expects a decrease in corn acres from USDA’s previous forecast and increases in soybean and wheat acres.

Bob Burgdorfer of Farm Futures reporting. Farm Futures is a sister publication of Feedstuffs.

Global survey reveals common barriers to animal health

Results from a global survey commissioned by HealthforAnimals have revealed the most common regulatory barriers shared by animal health markets worldwide.

Since 1996, HealthforAnimals — an organization representing manufacturers of veterinary medicines, vaccines and other animal health products in both developed and developing countries across five continents — has benchmarked the status of regional regulatory frameworks for veterinary medicines. The latest "Global Benchmarking Survey" received a total of 79 responses from across Europe, the U.S., Australia, Japan, China and Brazil.

The focus of the survey centered on animal health and veterinary products, including: pharmaceuticals, in-feed medicinals, biologicals and pesticide-based products.

According to HealthforAnimals, shared barriers include:

1. The time and expense required for research and development (R&D). The most significant regulatory barriers to innovation identified were increases in the cost and time for new product development. All regions surveyed were concerned about these increases, with the exception of Canada, where overall new product development time has fallen since 2011 due to decreases in the regulatory review component. The highest costs were reported in Europe, reflecting increases due to the application of requirements for environmental risk assessments and studies addressing the potential development of antimicrobial resistance.

2. Market uncertainty. The past four to five years have seen mounting political pressure on the animal health sector to address the use of antibiotics in all animals. While the continuing political pressure might result in novel non-antibiotic ways of controlling or preventing disease, the common view is that the current situation introduces tremendous strategic and financial uncertainty into the market.

3. An increase in mandatory defensive R&D (MDR&D) expenditure. Across the surveyed regions, an average 15-39% of available R&D budget was spent on the studies and regulatory activities necessary to just keep a product on the market. Overall, 55% of the companies surveyed reported an increase in expenditure on MDR&D. In particular, a high percentage of companies in Brazil and the U.S. reported increases in MDR&D expenditures since 2011.

4. Global data harmonization and electronic submissions. Incompatibilities in e-submission requirements and the cost of ensuring that data packages are valid for all territories were factors noted as creating a barrier to efficient and productive data sharing. In response to these challenges, survey respondents suggested expanding e-submissions and continuing progress on the harmonization of data sharing.

5. Pharmaceutical guidelines. A further common concern is that regulatory expectations for animal health products continue to be inappropriately conditioned by human pharmaceutical frameworks, guidelines and procedures. Besides differing in many respects from human health, the animal health sector is around 2.5% of the total global health market ($24 billion in 2015) and encompasses a diversity of species and business types, including companion animal products and livestock.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, HealthforAnimals executive director Carel du Marchie Sarvaas said, “Progress has been made within the industry, and as seen with Canada’s example, where review time has (been) reduced, it is possible to push for greater efficiencies in the regulatory process. Positively, the industry is beginning to make more use of new digital tools and approaches. For Canada, China, Japan and the U.S., there was positive feedback about the regulatory environment from at least 45% of companies.

“Nonetheless, as demonstrated by the survey responses, there remain common barriers to innovation in animal health," Sarvaas added. "Cooperation on a global level will be required to drive innovation in the animal health sector. This is becoming increasingly important in the face of global health challenges such as antimicrobial resistance."

He noted that within the antimicrobial resistance debate between industry science and political decisions, "sadly, the voice of science has often not been heeded. Understandably, companies are hesitant to risk investment in developments that might be banned at some unknown point in their pathway to the market, with incalculable cost. It, therefore, remains vitally important that we continue to search for best regulatory practice and opportunities for improvement.”

Global industry goals

HealthforAnimals listed the following as global industry aims:

* Further expand e-submissions and interagency collaboration across territories to make the best use of high-quality foreign data and approvals from well-regulated countries.

* Greater transparency, predictability, efficiency and flexibility of agencies, with enhanced staff training and expertise and increased staff numbers, are seen as critical for agencies to overcome the disruptive effects of changes in regulations and guidelines and to become innovation-ready.

* Reduce the costs of maintaining products on the market by streamlining excessive regulation of minor or frequent changes to products and manufacturing.

* Further improve policies, such as encouraging a deeper and more consistent application of risk-based approaches and using simpler rules for companion animal products, which 32% of companies noted.

To read the 2015 "Global Benchmarking Survey" in full, visit healthforanimals.org.

Model challenges conventional thoughts on drug residues

Model challenges conventional thoughts on drug residues

Research by Kansas State University's Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine is challenging conventional thought regarding human food safety and drug residues found in cattle and swine tissues.

In the study "Human Food Safety Implications of Variation in Food Animal Drug Metabolism" published recently in Nature's Scientific Reports, Kansas State University researchers Zhoumeng Lin, Christopher Vahl and Jim Riviere found that diseases can dramatically influence the type of drug residue found in the tissues of food animals that are tested by regulatory agencies in monitoring the safety of human foods.

A schematic of a general physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for the drugs ceftiofur, enrofloxacin, flunixin and sulfamethazine in cattle and swine.

Withdrawal times — the time from the last drug administration to slaughter — are determined in healthy animals during the drug development process and assume that the ratio of the marker residue to the total residue produced is constant. This "marker residue ratio" is then used to set legal tissue tolerances in food safety inspection programs, but diseases in treated animals may alter this ratio, said Lin, an assistant professor of anatomy and physiology.

"We created a general physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model for representative drugs such as ceftiofur, enrofloxacin, flunixin and sulfamethazine, which are typically used in cattle and swine and have had residue violations reported," Lin said. "Our simulation results showed that the ratios of the marker residues to the total residues for studied drugs were not fixed values but time dependent. Disease changes the ratios substantially, and the degree of change depends on the type of drug, exposure time, tissue and species."

Although this is just one study, the researchers believe their work could have a significant impact on food safety in the future, said Riviere, director of the Institute of Computational Comparative Medicine. Riviere also is a university distinguished professor, Kansas Bioscience eminent scholar, the MacDonald chair in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State and an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine.

"The cornerstone of regulatory chemical food safety programs is the monitoring of food products for violative chemical residues," Riviere said. "For edible products from food-producing animals, such as meat, milk or eggs, residue concentrations are determined based on jurisdictional-specific regulations that result in the determination of a tolerance or maximum residue level for specific drugs in a specific tissue for specific animal species."

The researchers' model was calibrated for each drug in each species with multiple data sets from the Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank, which has an office at Kansas State.

"We based our results on regression analyses between model-simulated and measured plasma and tissue concentrations of parent drugs and/or major metabolites for each drug in each species," Lin said. "In general, disease changed the ratios of ceftiofur, enrofloxacin, flunixin and sulfamethazine by several-fold, and the ratio could be different by up to several orders of magnitude at the withdrawal time compared to that at the time right after drug administration."

The results raise a question about the reasonableness of the underlying assumption of the Food & Drug Administration using a fixed ratio to determine withdrawal times of veterinary drugs in food animals, Riviere said. However, he added that FDA's method is very conservative and safe and said further study could help provide more accurate data in the future.

The research was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the Food Animal Residue Avoidance & Depletion Program, USDA 2013-41480-21001, and the Kansas Bioscience Authority. The idea and need for this analysis originated from a review of the USDA Food Safety & Inspection Service's National Residue Program that Riviere conducted for The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Smithfield rolling out sustainability report

Smithfield Foods Inc. is currently in the process of releasing its "2015 Sustainability & Financial" report. The first installment included new, more comprehensive information about its industry-leading animal care initiatives, and the recently released second installment highlights the company’s environmental efforts. The last two installments — “Food Safety & Quality” and “Helping Communities & People” — will be released through July 25, with the full report available Aug. 8.

“Animal care has been a focus for us for many years. However, we have recently refined and increased our reporting in this area, particularly when it comes to the topic of antibiotics,” said Stewart Leeth, vice president of regulatory affairs and chief sustainability officer for Smithfield. “To embark on a well-informed conversation guided by accurate and useful information, we need others in the industry to join Smithfield in defining and reporting antibiotics usage.”

New to this year’s report, Smithfield provided a clear, practical explanation and specific examples of "prevention" as it relates to antibiotics use in farm animals. Smithfield said it uses preventative antibiotics solely to reduce disease carriers in its herd and to prevent animals from contracting a disease, which would then require additional treatment and potentially more antibiotics.

The report also features new details about the company’s animal care audit platform, which is designed to provide customers and consumers with greater assurance that Smithfield is doing its part to raise animals in a responsible way. Additional highlights included a case study illustrating how Smithfield created a new market for sustainable feed, new details about the company’s breeding program, updates about its conversion to sow group housing and other company initiatives that improve animal well-being.

“At Smithfield, we have taken bold steps to ensure animals are safe, comfortable and healthy,” said Ken Sullivan, Smithfield president and chief executive officer. “These steps – whether in regards to antibiotics or group housing for pregnant sows – have created value for our business and the industry, making Smithfield the leader in animal care.”

In the latest installment, Smithfield reported its environmental progress.

“We recently updated our environmental goals and targets to realize even greater benefits,” the company noted. “A previous set of goals and targets had an end date of December 2014. The latest set, established in 2015 with a 2020 deadline, continues to push for strong reductions (10%) in water use and waste sent to landfill.”

The company set a target to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 5%.

In the first year alone, Smithfield said its operations nearly met the 2020 energy use reduction target and surpassed the GHG emissions target by a wide margin. Water use reduction continued to progress, while solid waste generation decreased by a modest amount, the company added.

“From the feed given to animals to the disposal of their manure to the way we distribute our products, we leverage our environmental management systems and supplier relationships to encourage efficiency and improve performance up and down our supply chain,” Smithfield said.