BPEX Weekly

In this issue

Latest Feed Info

feed info

The two main drivers for prices last week were the general economic concerns over the Eurozone and the publication of the latest USDA report. Grain prices peaked on Tuesday last week with CBOT maize reaching $254 per tonne by the end of trading ahead of the latest USDA report.

The results of the USDA report were that the forecast US maize production was reduced by 1.6 million tonnes to 315.8 million tonnes as a result of a lower area harvested; however, US opening stocks increased giving '11/12 ending stocks at 22 million tonnes, a near 5 million tonne increase from the previous month’s estimate. There was also an expected increase in the '11/12 Kazakh wheat production and Australian carry-in stocks were higher resulting in a '11/12 ending stock figure for wheat of 202.4 million tonnes up 7.78 million tonnes from the previous estimate.

HGCA has released estimates of supply and demand in 2011-12. This comes ahead of the first official estimates from Defra that are due in November. For wheat lower opening stocks are expected to be offset by an increase in production, almost 500,000 tonnes higher on the year at 15.4 million tonnes, resulting in the expectation that availability will be similar to last year at 17.8 million tonnes.

UK FEMAS soyameal prices, ex-mill Liverpool, were quoted last week at £308 per tonne for October delivery, up £13 on the previous week as the USDA reported lower expectations for US end of season stocks and production. Rapemeal prices also increased up £1 per tonne to average £165.50 per tonne for ex-mill Erith.

Click here for more feed information.


Latest Link Updates

Pig Market Update


ZNCPig Scheme


Contact Details

Call: 02476 692 051

Email: info@bpex.org.uk

Web: www.bpex.org.uk

Other BPEX Sites




BPEX is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

BPEX Weekly: 21 October 2011

Marketing News

Archers Sausage Storyline


As part of a story on Tom Archer's footballing pigs, Sausage Week has been mentioned on Radio 4's The Archers this week.

Click here for new sausage recipes and vote on your favourite supermarket sausage finalist in the Legendary Banger Competition.

Plus, check out the tour dates to find out when this year's King of Sizzle, Noddy Holder, will be passing through on his search for Legendary British Bangers.

British Sausage Week 2011 starts on 31 October!

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Foodservice Finals

It has been a fantastic day spent sausage judging at the final of the Foodservice Pork Sausage of the Year in London.

Follow @porkforcaterers for Twitter updates.

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Pork Promise Update


The Times (29 Oct) issue will feature the Pork Promise advert and Hello magazine (24 Oct) issue will feature the Grill It advert. The number of Facebook fans is now over 45,000, with between 5-6,000 people talking on the page on average at any one time. The number of Pork Promises made is currently over 2700.

Also this week, Compassion in World Farming has made a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority questioning the validity of Assured Food Standards’ current 'Pork Not Porkies' advertising campaign. BPEX, NPA & AFS prepared a statement in response to defend the campaign, saying: “Red Tractor farmers are proud of their welfare standards and we stand by the statement in our adverts. Red Tractor pork is high welfare pork."


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Knowledge Transfer

Tip of the Week: Health Conferences


Missed the 2TS Focus on Health conferences that took place this week? Don’t worry - you can access the five presentations here!

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Climate Change Levy

Reminder: Revisions to the Climate Change Levy (CCL) rebate scheme are being consulted on by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC).

This is of concern to existing scheme members who could be affected by the proposed changes. Of key interest to pig scheme members are proposals to allow participation until 2023.

Changing the 90/10 rule to 70/30, ie sites whose eligible energy use is more than 70% (rather than the current level of 90%) of the total energy consumption will be able to claim the CCL discount on their entire usage, and transfer of scheme from DECC to the Environment Agency, with the possibility of charges increasing and further reducing the scheme benefits.

The closing date for the consultation is 28 October 2011. To read more visit the DECC website here:

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Find a Group Near You


BPEX has a number of established producer groups around the country and the workshop season is now upon us!

The groups are run by the KT Team and provide a forum for sharing ideas, learning and networking. Find a group in your region by clicking on the map found here, or for further information contact BPEX.

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Predicting Lameness

Lameness due to foot and leg problems is a persistent issue for the pig industry. The aim of this BPEX-funded project, being carried out at Newcastle University, is to develop objective methods of assessing locomotion in pigs which could help to identify at a relatively early stage those pigs likely to develop a foot or a leg problem later in life because of their conformation or structural development.

The project, which started last year, will develop a series of steps to:

  • Put parameters on the normal gait of pigs through the use of motion capture technology
  • Ascertain how gait changes with increasing age/weight of the pig
  • Determine the effect of floor surface on gait
  • Ascertain the predictive power of early gait score measures to identify later predisposition to lameness.

Read more about this project here.

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Health Scheme Latest

PHIP logo

A ‘top five’ of farm services that will be available to every pig farm signing up to BPEX’s new national pig health scheme, was revealed at this week’s ‘Two Tonne Sow’ Focus on Health conferences.

The Pig Health Improvement Project (PHIP) became a national scheme in July following regional projects in Yorkshire, Humberside, East Anglia and the East Midlands. It’s now stepping up a gear as much of the infrastructure has been put in place and clear membership benefits are available.

These services consist of free BPHS abattoir reports, which are an invaluable tool for vets and pig producers in identifying sub-clinical disease which is not always easy to spot on the farm.

Access to local health mapping, which raises awareness about any pig-health related concerns in a farm’s locality.

A bespoke biosecurity action plan which vets will develop with farmers, using a unique questionnaire to assess biosecurity on their units.

And disease testing which farmers can access with the help of their vet.

The fifth service comprises BPEX regional support. And with dedicated regional staff, there is a wealth of guidance available to help every unit and group of producers to get started and get the most out of PHIP.

Sign-up is free. To download an application form visit www.pighealth.org.uk. Alternatively, contact your vet, or BPEX on 02476 478877.

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Latest BPHS Dates


Click here for full list of BPHS assessment dates in all participating abattoirs for July to December 2011.

Please note the following date change:

Cranswick, Norfolk – now 23 Nov (instead of 2 Nov)

The BPEX Pig Health Scheme (BPHS) has specialist pig vets checking carcases for important pig health conditions in abattoirs across England and provides producers with free abattoir reports.

They include sub-clinical disease which is not always easy to spot on farm, but still affects performance.

BPHS reports are available to all members of the Pig Health Improvement Project. To sign up for free, call 02476 478877 or visit www.pighealth.org.uk

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New Training Partnership

The BBSRC has recently awarded a series of Advanced Training Partnerships (ATPs), encouraging knowledge transfer between the academic and agri-food sectors. A partnership in “Intensive Livestock Health and Production” was awarded to the Royal Veterinary College in collaboration with Cambridge, Edinburgh and Newcastle Universities. It will provide graduate level training and skills in the pig and poultry sectors to participants from across the entire agri-food sector, based on input from both industry and academic experts.

The BBSRC hopes people will assist by providing their views through this short survey, ensuring at an early stage that course development is relevant to the training requirements of the sector.

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Development Post for Derek


Derek Armstrong has been confirmed as the new head of Research and Development for BPEX. Derek, who has been acting head since the departure of Mike Varley in July, was previously Veterinary Programme Manager.

He joined the Veterinary Department of the Meat and Livestock Commission in 1998.

He graduated as a veterinary surgeon in 1983 and prior to joining MLC worked in veterinary research at the Veterinary Research Laboratories in Northern Ireland and in general veterinary practice in Ireland and New Zealand.

BPEX Director, Mick Sloyan, said: “Derek is a valuable member of the team with a wide range of knowledge about the industry.”

Derek said: “Research and development is very important in any industry and the focus for BPEX will be on delivering the work that helps pig farmers in England to compete effectively with pig producers internationally.

“I look forward to working with producers, processors and the wider supply chain to identify the priorities for research and development and finding practical solutions.”

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National News:

Land Use on View

AHVLA has recently developed a new IT application, known as the ‘CPH Viewer’, which allows the Agency to understand better the spread of land making up livestock holdings within England.

The application, funded by Defra, draws on information already collected by AHVLA on livestock-keeping activities and plots this together with land holding data held by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA). The development has been supported by key industry representatives.

The launch of the CPH Viewer represents a real step forward in terms of these two organisations being able to share more effectively a spatial view of livestock premises. It will benefit the industry as well as government by:

  • improving AHVLA’s interactions with customers by being able to access quickly relevant information about their livestock holdings
  • minimising the need for AHVLA staff to ask livestock keepers for information they have already provided to RPA about where they keep their animals
  • providing a more immediate and comprehensive view of where animals may be being kept as a better starting point in an exotic disease outbreak
  • informing policy decisions, as the CPH Viewer can be used to understand the size and spread of holdings across England.

Click here for more.

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New Export Website

A new website for prospective international customers has been launched by the EBLEX and BPEX Export Department.

The website www.eblex-bpex-export.org.uk offers red meat buyers worldwide a comprehensive tool to find a product of interest, via the site’s ‘cutting guides’ or find suppliers by using the ‘exporters directory’.

Identifying red meat suppliers through the ‘exporters directory’ is also made simpler through filtering searches by meat type, product type and export market.

The site will also be translated into French, German, Italian and Spanish, and will include an interactive world map with detailed information on countries where EBLEX and BPEX have offices or representatives or possess valid Export Health Certificates for red meat. This is aimed at helping quality red meat exporters identify and target markets and potentially expand their operations worldwide.

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BMPA Response to CAP

The European Commission’s proposals for reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, for the period after 2013, which were published on 12 October, should be assessed against the question: “do they promote sustainable meat and livestock production in the UK?” says the BMPA.

Director Stephen Rossides said: “The BMPA’s key aim is a CAP reform agreement that helps to foster a confident, competitive livestock industry that, in turn, ensures a sustainable and stable supply of raw material for our members. It is clear that direct payments to active farmers must be retained for the foreseeable future in order to encourage viable livestock businesses. Any diminution of these payments due to capping, modulation or greening that discourages production is unhelpful.

”The meat and livestock industry needs to think about how we can link environmental and other paid activities to livestock production. And this time around, particularly in England, we need rural development programmes that are more intelligently designed and delivered so as to promote competitiveness and more efficient supply chains.

“The focus of this round of CAP reform must be on encouraging efficient food production in a world challenged by food security concerns and pressures on natural resources.”   

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Grocery Adjudicator Latest

The Government has published its response to the BIS Committee’s report on the inquiry into the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill.

The Government has decided to incorporate some of the recommendations into the Bill, in particular that the Adjudicator should have some power to escalate remedies, to have the first review of its role after two, rather than three, years, and to extend the source of secondments to the Adjudicator from the current provision of BIS and the OFT, to the entire public sector.

However, there are a number of other recommendations that the Government will not be taking forward, in particular to provide the power to add additional categories of informant in the future and introducing financial penalties from the outset. The Government remains of the view that financial penalties should be kept as a reserve power.

The Government is still considering whether to allow information from trade associations and possibly whistleblowers, to act as a trigger for starting investigations, though currently its position remains that such information should not be allowed to trigger investigations. It recognises that in some of these cases the arguments are finely balanced, and it has set out the reasons why it has chosen not to accept these specific recommendations.

To read the response click here.

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Soils for Profit

Farmers in the South West have the opportunity to access a free scheme which will offer them a free soil testing kit as part of an initiative to provide advice on soil management.

Soils for Profits is designed to help producers become more profitable by managing their resources more efficiently while reducing the impact of their activities on the environment. The project is funded by South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and managed by Natural England.

The free visits and soil testing provide farmers with practical advice about soils, nutrients and manures and an action plan written specifically for their landholdings.

For more information contact Natural England on 0300 060 1244, email soils4profit@naturalengland.org.uk or visit the Natural England website.

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International News:

EU Farm Holdings

Eurostat has published the preliminary results of EU-Agricultural census 2010

Results show:

The number of agricultural holdings in the EU27 fell by 20% between 2003 and 2010, while the agricultural area decreased by only 2%.

Seven Member States account for more than 80% of agricultural holdings in the EU27.

Romania (3.9 million holdings or 32.0% of the EU27 total) had the largest number of holdings in the EU27 in 2010, followed by Italy (1.6 million, 13.5%), Poland (1.5 million, 12.5%), Spain (1.0 million in 2009, 8.2%), Greece (0.7 million, 5.9%), Hungary (0.6 million, 4.8%) and France (0.5 million, 4.3%).

Seven Member States account for almost three quarters of the utilised agricultural area in the EU27.

Of the utilised agricultural area (UAA), France (27.1 million ha or 15.9% of the total UAA of the EU27) had the largest area, followed by Spain (23.8 million ha in 2009, 14.0%), Germany (16.7 million ha, 9.8%), the United Kingdom (15.9 million ha, 9.4%), Poland (14.4 million ha, 8.5%), Romania (13.3 million ha, 7.8%) and Italy (12.9 million ha, 7.6%).

The UK comes second in terms of the EU largest holdings:

In 2010, the largest holdings on average were found in the Czech Republic (152 hectares per holding), the United Kingdom (79 ha), Denmark (65 ha), Luxembourg (59 ha), Germany (56 ha) and France (53 ha), and the smallest in Malta (1 ha), Cyprus and Romania (both 3 ha), Greece and Slovenia (both 6 ha).

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Warning on GM

Europe's biotechnology industry has warned the European Commission that agricultural imports vital to EU food security are increasingly being put at risk, due to the slow pace of the bloc's approval system for genetically modified (GM) crops.

In a report to be presented to EU policymakers, biotech association EuropaBio said the speed of GM crop authorisations in Europe is slowing - even as governments worldwide seek to step up the pace of their approvals.

"The EU authorisation process for GM products takes substantially longer than comparable systems, despite the fact that government processes around the world to assess the safety and impact of GM products are essentially the same," it said.

EU policy on GM crops has long been politically fraught, with a majority of consumers opposed to modified foods, but the bloc reliant on imports of about 30 million tonnes of GM animal feed each year - equivalent to 60kg per person.

EuropaBio estimates the EU's approval process takes 15-20 months longer, on average, than in the three top global exporters of GM crops - the United States, Brazil and Canada.

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Castration Alternatives

Wageningen University and Research centre in co-operation with the Organising Committee consisting of bodies and companies in the Dutch pork production chain are organising the Internationale Conference Boars heading for 2018 on 30 November and 1 December 2011. A scientific satellite program will be organised on 2 December 2011.

This Conference is a follow-up of the successful international meeting in 2007 in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Boars heading for 2018 is organised to discuss challenges and chances, in the marketing of the meat of non-castrated male pigs.

The objectives of this Conference are to:

  • exchange knowledge and facts
  • inventorise the European challenges
  • find possible directions for solutions in the various European countries.
  • enable delegates to network and build and strengthen relationships

The final goal is to explore, develop and work together to meet the European declaration on alternatives for surgical castration of pigs 2018.

For more information, please see: http://boars2018.com/

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New ASK Outbreak

The Veterinary Services of the Krasnodar region has reported another outbreak of ASF.

In mid-September, as a result of ASF outbreaks at a nearby farm, "Banner of Lenin, " approximately 20,000 pigs were destroyed to prevent the further spread of infection.

However, a new outbreak at a private farm may cause greater harm to the pork industry of the region. In the threatened area about 25,000 pigs have been affected in total.

The region’s government has declared a state of emergency.

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EU Gets Tough

The European Commission has once again urged Member States to implement a ban on un-enriched cages for laying hens, which comes into force on 1 January 2012.

It warned it will adopt measures against those that fail to comply with the relevant EU legislation.

Consumer Policy Commissioner, John Dalli, said : "The political decision for the ban was taken in 1999. Twelve years have gone by and the situation in some Member States is reportedly unsatisfactory.

“The consequences on animal welfare and the risk of market distortions are real. These would undermine investments and compliance efforts already made as well as consumer trust and this is clearly unacceptable.

"The Commission does not intend to postpone the deadline and it will not hesitate to start infringement procedures in cases of non-compliance."

Commissioner Dalli also announced that experts from the Commission's inspection service, the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), will start visiting targeted Member States as of January 2012. Any decisions on infringement procedures will be based on the outcome of these audits.

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Danish Fat Tax

Kalu, a company which specialises in imports of Spanish, French and Italian products, is not experiencing much friendliness from abroad towards the Danish act on fat tax. “Should I approach a French supplier and tell him that we want to sell his products but to do so we must have their recipes in order to meet the requirements of the Danish Act on Fat Tax? He will laugh at me and tell me to get lost,” says CEO of Kalu, Henrik Skovdal.

To read more from this week's Export Bulletin click here.

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International Prices

For the latest international prices, click here

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BPEX, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Stoneleigh Park, Kenilworth, Warwickshire, CV8 2TL