In this issue
Latest Feed Info
Current dry weather and forecasts of little rain for the next 10-14 days has given cause for concern that grain crops will start to mature early at the detriment to potential yield and quality. Reports suggest that in the past two months, the EU has experienced only 25% of the "normal" rainfall levels. Wheat crops across Europe are reported to be seeing increasing signs of drought-stress and the market has reacted strongly as a result.
Added to this is the current wet weather across the Atlantic in the US. With US maize stocks for the end of the season seen at the bare minimum, the US 2011 maize crop can't afford any lost yield potential and so markets are again very reactive to weather news and have been adding a weather premium into the prices as the less than ideal conditions continue. The first new-crop estimates from the USDA released on May 11th.
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Latest Link Updates
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Other BPEX Sites
BPEX Weekly: 21 April, 2011
The BPEX Weekly is taking an Easter holiday so there will not be an issue next week. However, everything will return to normal the week after.
Have a good break.
Barbie Top Tips
Get ready for the Easter weekend by ensuring you have enough sausages, burgers, marinated chops and steaks ready for the sizzling bank holiday.
For a few top tips and guides go to lovepork where there is a host of recipe and meal ideas for outdoor eating.
Or alternatively watch the Grilling Guide video
Following the disappointment of January 2011 and the reduction of support on ‘British’ pork it is pleasing to note an improvement in March.
Whether this is the beginning of a positive trend or just the availability of individual promotions on pork will be noted in future reports.
Disappointingly on bacon, ham and sausage there is a small reduction on ‘British’. This is particularly disappointing as, anecdotally, a lot of these lines are ‘British’ but are consistently not identified as such. Red Tractor visibility on these lines is also poor. For individual retailers reports click here.
Northing says I love you like a bacon bouquet!
Click here to find out more.
Bacon Week Success
Bacon Connoisseur's Week 2011 has more than maintained the momentum of growth witnessed from it’s inception in 2007.
Total media coverage so far stands at £5.3m with an audience reach of almost 180million people.
This compares to a total of £3.1m media coverage and 132m reach last year. Not unlike other BPEX campaigns, such as British Sausage Week, the key coverage drivers are increasingly in radio and TV, which grew considerably this year, from just under £2.5m media value in 2010 to £3.58m this year.
National press coverage also increased this year, with five pieces, as opposed to only one last year.
Many more retailers took on board the campaign with the butchers kit being reprinted 3 times and for the winning producers of the Savour Your Bacon competition, on pack stickers will be seen instore on the winning packs.
Tip of the Week: No Passengers!
Are you keeping your pigs for their muck and company? Get your herd in tip top condition to keep costs down and efficiency up, especially as we move into summer.
Grade your sows and carry no passengers! Make sure you have gilts coming in to replace culls. If you have reduced your gilt order then why not consider breeding your own gilts using damline semen?
They'll be ready to enter the herd in 11-12 months time.
Soil - A Forgotten Resource
The BPEX Soil Management Plan (SMP) helps outdoor pig keepers assess the risk of soil erosion and damage to the land and identify suitable measures to prevent and record this. See how it has benefited one producer by downloading the latest BPEX Farm Case Study here.
“It is an essential part of outdoor pig keeping, so using the BPEX SMP makes working with our land agents and land owners more straightforward.” Terry Ledbury
The SMP is not a substitute for the Soil Protection Review or ELS Plan where these are needed. The SMP is a working document compiled, often in collaboration with landlords or other users of the land, before moving onto a new site, during occupancy and finally on vacation. It demonstrates diligence and professionalism to landlords, regulators and inspectors.
Have you seen a copy of the DVD produced by BPEX to help pig producers identify ventilation-related problems and, more importantly, provide practical solutions?
It is presented by John Chambers of J C Consulting, who has been trouble-shooting problems caused by poor ventilation for many years.
To request a copy (free of charge to English levy payers) contact BPEX: 0247 647 8792 or email@example.com with your postal address.
No Action = No Cure
In the European Region, the WHO Regional Office for Europe is developing a strategy on antibiotic resistance for submission to the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2011.
WHO has long recognised that antibiotic use in food animals, which seems to outweigh antibiotic use for human therapy in many countries, contributes importantly to the public health problem of antibiotic resistance. WHO believes this necessitates increased awareness and specific policy guidance on containing antibiotic resistance from a food safety perspective.
The WHO Regional Office for Europe developed a publication, the first of its kind, to meet Member States’ needs and support their efforts to prevent and contain antibiotic resistance, by focusing on spread though the food-chain, which plays an important although often hidden role.
The aims to raise awareness of the importance of antibiotic resistance as a food safety issue and the responsibilities of all players in food production to prevent and control the spread of antibiotic resistance through the food-chain.
At the FAO Headquarters in Rome, the WHO Regional Office for Europe organized an event, during which a new policy guidance on “Tackling antibiotic resistance in a food safety perspective in Europe” was launched. The guidance is available by clicking here.
Unaware of Origin
Good intentions when it comes to buying British are not followed up with action, a new survey has revealed.
Nine out of 10 (91%) of Britons said it is important to buy produce from the UK, but only around one in 20 (6%) said they go out of their way to do so.
The vast majority admitted being unaware of where their food comes from, with only one in 10 (11%) knowing the country of origin of the produce on their plates.
TV presenter and farmer Jimmy Doherty said: "It's clear that people don't realise the source of their food.
"As a farmer myself I know how important it is to invest in British farming - not just for the British economy but also for our fantastic British countryside."
2,000 adults were surveyed on April 10 and 11 on behalf of Hovis.
Bull for Swine Manager
Ceva Animal Health has appointed a new swine manager for the UK. Richard Bull brings to the company extensive knowledge of all aspects of the UK pig industry.
Richard was previously a key account manager for a leading company within the animal feed industry. Prior to this, he was a knowledge transfer manager for the British Pig Executive (BPEX), having worked before that as a pig production technical support manager.
Richard has a thorough grounding in all aspects of pig management having gained an ANCA in pig management from Bishop Burton College and then run his own small breeding unit before moving into multisite pig production management with two of the industry’s major players.
He said: “I am delighted with my new appointment. This is my first role within the animal pharmaceutical sector and I look forward to using my wealth of knowledge in all aspects of the UK pig industry to assist in developing the sales of the company’s growing portfolio of pig products.”
Best Practice Workshop
The British Society of Animal Science (BSAS) has organised a Best Practice Knowledge Transfer workshop. It was attended by 110 people ranging from Knowledge Transfer professionals, animal scientists, social scientists, veterinary groups, journalists, non-Government organisations, Defra and Government Agencies.
Cees Leeuwis from Wageningen University in Holland described what was known as ‘extension’ as ‘Communication for Innovation’ a good modern description of the field and in tune with the current interest in innovation.
The afternoon was filled with case studies that illustrated how Knowledge Transfer had been undertaken by a whole range of organisations involved with farmers. The range of methods and mechanisms described included farmer groups, demonstration farms, mentoring and farmer participatory groups. The programme, papers, presentations and some audio files of the talks are on the BSAS website.:
Attack on Illegal Food Imports
NFU Scotland has written to HM Revenue & Customs calling for greater resources to be targeted towards preventing illegal imports of food into the UK following a growing number of animal disease outbreaks in other parts of the world. The letter was copied to the Chief Veterinary officers for Scotland and the UK.
In Southern Russia, African Swine Fever (ASF) is now deemed to be out of control and, in the past week, several new cases in Northern Russia have brought the devastating pig disease much closer to European Borders. At the same time, Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) still presents a risk and is known to be present in a growing number of areas including Bulgaria, South East Asia, Libya and South Africa.
The UK’s island status should afford it a high degree of protection from any animal disease reaching our shores. However, the alarming spread of such diseases has prompted calls from NFUS for greater resources to be directed toward policing border entry points at ports and airports. The Union has also asked for a higher profile information campaign targeted at travellers highlighting the risks from bringing in illegal food imports. Both issues must be tackled to deliver the necessary level of protection for UK livestock farmers.
Speaking from Brussels, where meetings are taking place on cost and responsibility sharing for animal health and welfare, NFU Scotland President Nigel Miller said: “There is ever increasing pressure on farmers to protect themselves against disease and ‘share responsibility’ for outbreaks but for many exotic diseases, there is only so much farmers can do on farm.
"Illegal food imports run the risk of bringing in a number of diseases, many of which would have devastating consequences for our crucial livestock industry in Scotland, and proper focus must be given to preventing these diseases reaching here in the first place."
There has been more positive feedback on the Professional Manager Development Scheme.
John Dunning of Kenniford Farm, who received the course student of the year award, said: “I would like to convey a huge thank you to everyone at BPEX and Alistair Gibb at Cedar Associates for putting together such an excellent course. It was truly overwhelming just how much training support there is from within the core of the industry. I strongly urge anyone out there looking to improve their businesses to apply for a position on the course next year.”
Course leader Alistair Gibb of Cedar Associates said: ”The combination of people we had in the group and the way it was set up which led to the outcomes and their impact at work has been the absolute peak moment for me in my training career of 12 years.”
Hear more from the managers and Alistair by watching their video.
Applications for the next course open on 1 July 2011, with interviews taking place in the autumn. All who are interested in joining the next course can contact Helen Brookes, 07891 214335, firstname.lastname@example.org or Tess Howe, email@example.com.
The PMDS is a culmination of the integrated skills offer that the pig industry now has and continues to build upon. The concept first came from Agskills, a forward-thinking group of pig industry people, was promoted by the National Pig Association, developed by the Pig Industry Skills Strategy Group and then implemented by BPEX.
Further invaluable partners include Defra, Lantra, the NPTC and Landex.
Latest BPHS Dates
Assessment dates for January to June 2011 in all participating abattoirs have been published and are available on the BPEX website.
Fewer Pigs Needed Say Dutch
About 40% fewer pigs will be needed worldwide if all pork production took place very efficiently, Dutch scientists have concluded.
Scientists at the Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI) from the Wageningen University, the Netherlands, calculated that about 44 million sows would be sufficient to meet the annual demanded carcase weight of 106 million tonnes of pork.
Worldwide, large differences in productivity exist. Professional pork production facilities in the United Kingdom grow 21 finishers per sow per year, in the Netherlands, however, this is 26. In addition, pigs are slaughtered in the UK at a carcase weight of on average 80kg, in the Netherlands, however, this is 92kg. In China, the world’s largest pig producer, annual piglet production/sow/year is 13.
The researchers concluded that the required amount of sows per tonne slaughterweight in the Netherlands is relatively low – and they used these efficiency figures for further calculations.
Romanian Farmers Cash
The European Commission has authorised a Romanian scheme with a budget of 1.3 billion RON (approximately € 304 million) which aims at supporting farmers in Romania who encounter difficulties as a result of the economic crisis.
Aid under this scheme can be granted until 31 December 2011 and will take the form of direct grants. This scheme is a further application of the Commission's Temporary framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis, adopted in December 2010, in order to allow Member States to grant limited amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers.
The scheme is open to farmers in all sub-sectors of primary agricultural production, provided they were not already in difficulty on 1 July 2008 (i.e. before the beginning of the crisis). It is limited in time until 31 December 2011. It provides aid in the form of direct grants, up to € 15,000 per farmer, calculated on the basis of technical parameters (amount per hectare and livestock unit).
Standstill Budget for EU
The draft EU budget for 2012 endeavours to be in tune with the current austerity climate at national level.
The Commission has made a particular effort and opted for a freeze of its administrative expenditure for 2012 i.e. a 0.0% increase compared to the 2011 budget.
This has been achieved by significantly reducing expenditure linked to buildings, information and communication technology, studies, publications, missions, conferences and meetings. Furthermore, for the third year in a row, the Commission does not request any additional new post.
Also, in drawing up next year's draft budget, the Commission endeavoured to identify programmes or initiatives that are not performing. The Development Cooperation Instrument has been reduced by €70.7 million as a result of its performance assessment. The Industrialised Countries Instrument has seen a reduction of €14.5 million due to high level of de-commitments in 2007 and low performance and delay in adoption of the new legal base. GALILEO funding has been reduced by €24.9 million (N.B. figures in commitments appropriations).
The proposed increase for next year’s budget amounts to the bare minimum required to honour the Commission’s legal commitments. Any decrease below this figure would require member states and the European Parliament to break the legal commitments that have been made on existing contracts.
The Draft Budget foresees some €57.7bn to be paid in 2012 for sustainable growth to help Member States increase their investments in these areas whereas some €62.6 billion is dedicated to the Europe 2020 priorities, an increase of 5.1% on the previous year. Also Climate change activities have an important place. An increase of 6.1% is planned in 2012 to achieve €8.1 billion in total.
EU Food Price Report
A monthly update from the EU Commission on food prices has been published.
To read the update, click here.
Choice Over GMOs
The Environment Committee in the European Parliament voted yesterday on a Commission proposal to grant Member States the choice of whether to ban the cultivation of GMOs or not on their territory.
.While some MEPs in committee would have preferred to dismiss the Commission proposal altogether, a majority, led by rapporteur Corinne Lepage (ALDE, FR), opted to maintain it with changes. Her report was adopted with 34 votes in favour, 10 against and 16 abstentions.
The main change lies in an amendment allowing EU Member States to state environmental grounds, such as pesticide resistance, for restricting or banning the cultivation of EU-approved genetically-modified crops. According to the ENVI committee, stating these grounds could strengthen legal protection against possible WTO challenges to GMO bans and could as well complement the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) role in evaluating GMOs’ health and environmental implications.
The Committee also considered that socioeconomic impacts could provide legitimate grounds for a ban, e.g. where contamination risks cannot practicably be managed or to protect other types of agriculture.
The ENVI committee report also underlines the following considerations:
• that Member States have more legal certainty when exercising their freedom to decide on GMO crop cultivation,
• that Member States judgments on whether or not to authorise GMO crop cultivation should be complementary to the EU level authorisation procedure,
• that any measures by Member States taken on the basis of environmental risk are also complementary to EU level decisions,
The European Parliament plenary is now due to vote on the proposal in June.
Food Labelling Latest
The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has voted through an amendment to the food labelling regulation.
It calls for mandatory country of origin labelling for all meat, milk and dairy products, fresh fruit and vegetables and for meat, poultry and fish when used as an ingredient in processed foods.
This is the beginning of the second reading of the dossier and it sends a strong message before all MEPs vote again on the report at Plenary in June/July and before the Council has its second reading later in the year.
It is therefore another important step forward in our long running campaign for clear, mandatory country of origin labelling.
The amendment can be read in its original format here, scroll down to ‘compromise amendment 4’.
Cash For Portuguese Farmers
The Commission has recently authorised a Portuguese scheme with a budget of €50 million which aims at supporting farmers in Portugal who encounter difficulties as a result of the economic crisis.
Aid under this scheme can be granted until 31 December 2011 and will take the form of interest rate subsidies. This scheme is a further application of the Commission's Temporary framework for State aid measures to support access to finance in the current financial and economic crisis, adopted in December 2010, in order to allow Member States to grant limited amounts of aid to primary agricultural producers.
The scheme is open to farmers in all sub-sectors of primary agricultural production, provided they were not already in difficulty on 1 July 2008 (i.e. before the beginning of the crisis). It is limited in time until 31 December 2011. It provides aid in the form of interest rate subsidies, up to €15,000 per farmer, which are calculated on the basis of the applicable reference rate.
The Portuguese scheme complies with all the conditions of the Temporary Crisis Framework. In particular, the Portuguese authorities demonstrated that it is necessary, proportional and appropriate to remedy a serious disturbance in the economy. The Commission therefore considered that the scheme can be approved under the State aid rules (Article 107(3)(b)) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
The full text of the Commission decision will be published in the State Aid Register on DG Competition’s website under the reference number SA 32616.