In this issue
Latest Feed Info
Global grain prices broadly strengthened last week following the declines in the previous week in the wake of the latest USDA report (12 Jan). Hot, dry South American weather continued to pose a threat to world grain supplies and a weaker US dollar both put upward pressure on prices.
UK wheat futures, for May-12 delivery, having finished the previous week at £155.5 per tonne, reached £158 per tonne by the end of Friday (20 Jan). This, despite falling as low as £156.5 per tonne by the end of Wednesday’s (18 Jan) trading. Prices strengthened further on Monday, trading at £159.5 per tonne by mid-afternoon. French prices for MATIF wheat futures, May-12 delivery, fell to €193.8 per tonne by Wednesday, down from €195.3 per tonne on Monday. Prices stayed at that level for the remainder of the week, before increasing to €196 per tonne by Monday afternoon.
For the crop year 2011/12, Strategie Grains estimate total EU grain production will be 285 million tonnes, slightly higher than previous estimates (1.2 million tonnes higher). This is mainly the result of the maize crop being forecast higher due to increased production in Romania, Spain and Austria.
Looking to crop year 2012/13, production forecasts are little changed from previous estimates. Total EU grain production is forecast at 290 million tonnes as a slightly lower wheat crop is offset by increased maize production.
UK FEMAS soyameal prices, ex-mill Liverpool, were quoted last week at £310 per tonne, up £7.50 per tonne on the week. Rapemeal prices were up £5.50 per tonne to average £158 per tonne for ex-mill Erith.
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BPEX is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board
BPEX Weekly: 27 January 2012
Breakfast With LIPs
Lips were cooking up a full English at the Yorkshire showground in collaboration with the Yorkshire Agricultural Society in support of HGCA's Farmhouse breakfast week.
Dietary Iron Fears
Women’s lack of understanding of the importance of iron in the diet could be endangering their health and hindering the education performance of their children, according to research published today.
While fifty per cent of women believe they’re getting enough iron, clinical research shows that the diets of more than 90 per cent of women do not include enough iron.
A poll indicated a further 31% of women simply didn’t know whether they were getting enough iron in their diet and, while two-thirds of the women polled knew that pregnant women were at risk of iron deficiency, only 39% correctly identified all women of childbearing age as a high risk group. Click here for further information
New Marketing Head
BPEX has appointed a new Head of Marketing to replace Chris Lamb who is retiring at the end of February after more than 20 years in the industry.
Slicing and Packing
A south-west-based cooked meat and continental sausage manufacturer is looking for slicing and packing businesses to undertake contract work. Please email Tony Goodger of BPEX for more information.
Tip of the Week: Fox Fences
It is essential that you manage and maintain your electric fox fences. Keeping foxes and badgers away from farrowing paddocks is essential to reduce numbers of missing piglets. Use this checklist to help maintain your fences in good working order:
Hartpury College Pig Unit farrows eight sows on a three-week batch system. With litter size averaging 13.33 born alive, there are not many spare teats at farrowing!
To ensure piglets get off to a good start by consuming plenty of colostrum, the litters are split suckled until spare places can be found. Watch how their split suckling works here.
Sign Up For Texts
This service covers a wide range of issues important to producers. It means you can receive text message alerts on your mobile phone in the case of a disease outbreak, to inform you of current situations in the industry as well as reminding you of BPEX events in your area and when new literature is produced.
Signing up is easy, simply fill in the form on the website by clicking here.
Meat Inspection Changes
The Pork Safety team at BPEX is organising a meeting for processors to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with the future of meat inspection.
It will look at what pig industry processors can do to influence future discussions on this topic at EU level and control the cost of the changes.
The date and location of the meeting are yet to be decided but it will be a central location with good access by rail, road and air and it will be mid-March.
If you are interested in attending the meeting either as a participant or even as a speaker and you would like to receive further details about the agenda, please email Georgina Crayford or call her on 07929 203699.
A few pig finishers have already said they want to join in the 2TS Finisher Challlenge. BPEX has challenged English producers to see how much further they can improve growing pig production by October this year.
If producers have heard about it and are curious about what is actually involved, they can contact one of the BPEX knowledge transfer (KT) team to find out more. Then they just need to say they are ready to go for it and it will be taken from there.
BPEX will help producers identify areas of ‘lost potential’ and find ways to fine-tune their system. It does not matter what type of finishing system or what the starting point is – the challenge is open to all finishing and contract finishing pig units in England. The goal is to improve performance in the growing pig herd to help the industry reach the two-tonne sow target and increase profitability.
Grant for Innovation
The BPEX Innovation Fund awards grants to pig producers or businesses who have a good idea but not enough cash to try it out and develop it. If the idea works well, BPEX and the grant award winner can spread the word to other producers – the fund is there to help evaluate new systems and technologies to benefit the pig industry as a whole.
BPEX is looking for new and innovative ideas, these could be:
• home-grown ideas from the farm
• technologies from another sector or overseas
• a new process to improve efficiency or save labour.
It is about encouraging investment, improving technical competence and boosting cost competitiveness in the English pig industry.
The scope is broad and the ideas hugely varied so, whether you already have a clear plan or just an inkling of an idea, the first step is to chat to your regional BPEX Knowledge Transfer (KT) manager.
For more information and how to apply click here.
Follow Lis on Twitter
BPEX’s Lis Ravn is now on Twitter. Follow her for the latest news from the knowledge transfer team, tips and ideas, plus stories from wherever she is. Click here to go straight to her page and follow @2TSPigs_Lis
A new Knowledge Transfer manager is being sought by BPEX to cover the east of the country.
For more information, click here.
Pig Farmers Needed
The Foods Standards Agency (FSA) has appointed a team from MLCSL Consulting, BPEX and EBLEX, to evaluate the implementation of Food Chain Information and the Collection and Communication of Inspection Results for all species. This is part of a wider review by the FSA of the current official controls on meat to identify potential changes that would support an improved system.
As part of this work, we would like to contact a sample of about 45 pig farmers who have sent animals for slaughter in the past 18 months to take part in a short survey to evaluate their attitudes towards having to supply information on the condition of the livestock sent for slaughter (ie Food Chain Information), and the extent to which they receive and use the results of ante and post mortem inspection (ie Collection and Communication of Inspection Results).
The questionnaire contains 24 questions, most of which can be answered by ticking the relevant box and can be completed in about 10 minutes. Details of where to return (by email, post or fax) are on the final page of the questionnaire.
The answers provided are confidential and will only be seen by members of the research team, and will only be used when combined with those from the other livestock producers interviewed. All the completed survey forms will be held securely and not used for any purpose beyond this specific project.
Providing Food Chain Information has been a legal requirement for a number of years in the case of pigs. The ‘minimum elements’ consist of statements to confirm things such as withdrawal periods have been adhered to and that the livestock, as far as the producer is aware, are fit and healthy (indicating where appropriate such as TB status etc). Currently these are most commonly appended to the movement license. In specific instances, additional information is required or can be provided.
To take part in the survey, click here.
New PIC Centre
PIC UK has opened a world-class Gene Transfer (GT) Centre of Excellence, thought to be the first of its type in the UK and Europe. Its research and development work on semen will have the potential to benefit commercial pig production throughout the UK.
The centre was officially opened this week by Tulip Ltd agriculture director, Andrew Saunders (pictured). He said: “Pig production today faces many challenges and opportunities. This significant investment by PIC will help pig producers exploit new technology quickly and efficiently.”
PIC UK general manager, Sue Corning, said: “PIC is confident the UK pig industry has a good future, with AI being a key element in helping to improve production efficiency and supporting the overall objective of retaining competitiveness.”
The facility will also be used to provide training for UK pig producers who buy semen from boar studs and those who collect semen from boars at on-farm studs.
Farm Income Figures
Latest farm income figures show pig farms are estimated to be down 20% but the continued rise in input costs and the crisis in the eurozone means that there’s no room for complacency, says the NFU.
Defra’s Farm Business Income forecasts for the year ending February 2012 predict incomes in several key sectors have strengthened over the last 12 months. Improvements in UK beef and milk prices, along with the relative strength of agricultural commodity prices, have helped underpin the forecast.
NFU Chief Economist Phil Bicknell said, “These forecasts are in contrast to the performance of the wider economy.
“But not all farm types saw improvements to their bottom line. Pigs and poultry saw profitability decline, as rising input costs, most notably feed, made inroads into enterprise margins.
“Higher costs will not be unique to pigs and poultry either. All farmers have faced significantly higher operating costs over the last year, with the 18 per cent increase in fuel costs and the 20 per cent rise in fertiliser prices the most significant."
Go For a Fry-Up
Frying food in olive or sunflower oil does not increase the risk of heart disease or early death, researchers say.
The study goes against the idea that frying food is generally bad for the heart but experts said this "does not mean that frequent meals of fish and chips will have no health consequences."
A team drawn from research centres, universities and hospitals in Spain analysed data from almost 41,000 adults aged 29 to 69 who did not have heart disease at the start of the study.
They were divided into four groups according to how much they ate foods fried in olive oil or sunflower oil, from the lowest to highest amounts.
People were asked about food consumed in a typical week during the previous 12 months, with foods consumed at least twice a month recorded.
Fried foods included those that were deep fried or pan fried and could be battered, crumbed or sauteed.
During an 11-year follow-up, there were just over 600 "coronary heart disease events" such as heart attacks and just over 1,100 people died from any cause.
Analysis showed no differences between the four groups of people in the risk of heart disease or dying.
The results also did not vary between those who used olive oil for frying and those who used sunflower oil.
£1000 Prize on Offer
Open to anyone with an idea for adding greater value to the British pig and poultry industry, the ABN Innovation Award 2012 sets out to highlight the very best idea to help tackle some of the challenges currently being faced by the pig and poultry food production chain.
Ideas relating to any area of the food chain are eligible, from the supply of inputs and primary production, through transport and processing, regulation and feed assurance, to retailing, product labelling and food preparation.
Run in conjunction with the British Pig and Poultry Fair, the ABN Innovation Award offers a £1,000 cash prize for the ultimate winner, plus the opportunity for all selected finalists to pitch their idea to a panel of leading influencers within the British farming and food industries.
The closing date for entries is Monday 16 April, with applicants welcome from both within and outside the industry. Judging will be based on the effectiveness, practicality and innovation exhibited by the concept, as well as the quality of presentation.
Full rules and an entry form can be found by clicking here or call ABN on 0173 3871 386.
Outlook Conference Date
This year’s Outlook conference, jointly hosted by BPEX, DairyCo and EBLEX, will be held at One Great George Street, in London, on Wednesday, 2nd May.
The three divisions of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB), representing pigs, dairy, and beef and sheep respectively, will join forces for a programme highlighting economic and market information that affects them all, as well as having sector-specific forecasting sessions looking at the coming months.
Booking details for the half-day event are being finalised and are expected to be published by the end of March, when the finalised programme will also be available.
To register to receive more booking information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org There is also an outlook conference section on the EBLEX website where information will appear as soon as it is available.
Revamped BPEX Website
The BPEX website has been given a makeover to make it easier to navigate around the vast amount of information it contains.
BPEX Head of Communications Andrew Knowles said: "The aim of the website is to be a one-stop shop for anybody wanting to find out about pig production and the pig meat market, whether they are looking for prices, production and technical information, feed costs or the latest marketing campaigns.
"Much hard work has gone on behind the scenes to make the site as easy as possible to navigate but still with all the relevant information."
The home page has a fresh clean look with much the same information as before but presented in a different way.
Each section is colour-coded so surfers will always know where they are, which is part of the drive to make navigation easier.
The website can be found by clicking here.
New Food Boss for Co-op
The Co-operative has appointed Steve Murrells as chief executive of its food business following the departure of Tim Hurrell who retired last year.
Mr Murrells, who is 46, will join the business in July from Danish meat company Tulip, where he is UK chief executive.
Latest BPHS Dates
Click here for full list of BPHS assessment dates in all participating abattoirs for January to June 2012.
EU Meat Prices
Food prices fell in December 2011 with the Food and Agriculture Organisation Food Price Index dropping 2.4 percent, or five points from November.
The decline was driven by sharp falls in international prices of cereals, sugar and oils due to bumper 2011 crops, coupled with slowing demand and a stronger US dollar. Most commodities were affected. However, although prices dropped steadily in the second half of 2011, the Index averaged 228 points in 2011 — the highest average since FAO started measuring international food prices in 1990. The previous high was in 2008 at 200 points.
The FAO Meat Price Index averaged 179 points, slightly down compared with November. The decline was mainly driven by pig meat, whose price dropped by 2.2 percent, with sheep meat also receding somewhat. By contrast, poultry and bovine meat prices recorded mild gains. On an annual basis, meat prices in 2011 were 16 percent higher than in 2010.
Germans Head for China
German firm Tönnies aims to grow its business in China significantly. Therefore, a new joint venture will be set up, MD Clemens Tönnies announced.
The BPEX Export Bulletin says the company aims to support the countrywide installation of large deboning plants that will eventually also be supplied with German pig meat.
The target is for Tönnies to benefit financially from the re-structuring of the meat supply chain in China, where currently small traders are selling meat throughout the country - with nearly no refrigeration in place.
To read the Export Bulletin, click here.
For the latest international prices, click here.