Editorial


Free-Living Birds Affected by Avian Influenza in 2021

In past years migratory birds, and especially waterfowl, were involved in transmission of H5 and H7 strains of avian influenza without reports of death.  In 2021, extensive mortality  has occurred in diverse species suggesting changes in the dynamic between highly pathogenic strains of avian influenza and their hosts.  During the winter of 2021, H5N1 was the predominant strain of avian influenza detected in 16 European nations in addition to West and Southern Africa and Asia.

 

Wild species that have been severely affected include:

  • The barnacle goose (Branta leucopsis) along the Solway Firth of Scotland.  Approximately 4,000 of this species have died representing 10 percent of the Svalbard population.
  • Demoiselle cranes (Grus virgo) in a wildlife reserve in Rajasthan, India.
  • Bank cormorants (Phalacrocorax neglectus) - approximately 18,000 of this species have died on the Dyer Island Reserve in the western cape of the Republic of South Africa.
  • The common crane (Grus grus) with as many as 8,000 dead in the Hula Valley Wildlife Reserve in Northern Israel. 

Other species affected with H5N1 include white pelicans (Pelcanus erythorhynchos), widgeons (Mareca spp), and teal (Anas crecca) in Scandinavian countries including the Waddensea Region in Southwest Denmark. Reports of widespread deaths in crows (Corvus splendens) in India.  Mute swans (Cygnus olor) have died in E.U. nations yielding H5N8 avian influenza.

 

Extensive outbreaks of avian influenza occur among species resting in wetlands serving as intermediate resting areas along migration paths between Eurasia and Africa.  In recent years, changes in agriculture and possibly global warming have influenced routes of migration.  High concentration of birds in limited areas may have facilitated mutation of low-pathogenic strains of H5 and H7 avian influenza to increase in virulence, as is the case in commercial poultry.

 

Experience since 2014 has demonstrated the need to maintain surveillance over wild bird populations to determine the serotypes of avian influenza that are present and to quantify risks of extension to commercial poultry.

 

Clearly the cohabitation of migratory birds, and especially waterfowl, with non-confined ducks and chickens contributes to introduction of avian influenza into commercial poultry.  This is evidenced by the December 2021 outbreak on the Avalon Peninsula of the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador where the same H5N1 virus was isolated from black-backed gulls (Larus spp) concurrently with an outbreak in an exhibition farm housing numerous species of indigenous and exotic waterfowl.

 

Obviously continuous surveillance of migratory birds and an appreciation of their ever changing migratory pathways is of importance to the World’s poultry industries.


 

Egg Industry News


Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, January 26th 2022.

Market Overview

  • Unit revenue for Midwest Extra-large and Large sizes in mid-January was unexpectedly higher by an average of 9.1 percent this past week following a 13.3 percent drop in price over the previous week. Mediums were up 12.8 percent. The increase in price for all sizes this past was consistent with the fall in industry inventory to below 1.8 million cases. This suggests the need for retailers to continue refilling the pipeline with stronger consumer demand than experienced in past years as the industry moves through January 2022. December 2021 and early January 2022 prices contrasted favorably with the corresponding weeks in both 2020 and 2021 respectively that were characterized by low ex-plant unit revenue. The price of shell-eggs will benefit from a net decrease of 2.1 million hens in the producing flock this past week but with a 10.4 million net increase in flock size over 24 weeks. Wholesale Midwest prices increased and still providing positive margins, taking into account the combined costs of nest-run, grading, packaging and delivery.

 

  • Shell inventory was 10.3 percent lower after a 6.4 percent decrease during the previous week. It is now apparent that the inventory held by chains and other significant distributors may be more important in establishing wholesale price than the published USDA inventory for plants, especially over the short term. Chains spread their purchases in late December and early January and attempted to take advantage of declining prices by drawing down on their inventory allowing industry stock to rise. The seasonal strategy of retailers is to adjust purchases only in response to retail demand and to hold down inventories in their DCs and stores while marking up shelf margins and pressuring suppliers for rapid replenishment of stocks to DCs and through DSD. In January 2022 this strategy has not worked to their advantage due in part to continuing demand attributed to home cooking associated with COVID concerns and restrictions and evidently unseasonal cold weather that increased purchases by consumers. Since the beginning of 2021 generic eggs have been priced, with a few exceptions, at levels to maximize store margins. This strategy noted during October and early November depressed the volume of sales of generics to the disadvantage of the industry. Market data suggests that chains have priced generic white eggs in response to prevailing demand and are infrequently featuring generic Large or Extra large.

 

  • Currently inventory has decreased in response to the action of chain buyers and comprises close to five days of production. Price movement during late 2021 and specifically since Labor Day and extending through Christmas defied conventional supply to demand relationships and indicated extraneous factors affecting price of eggs that are not constrained by a feed-price agreement. The increase in price this past week suggests that unit revenue will continue at an unseasonal level through January 2022. The commercial shell-egg price discovery system is obviously used by buyers to negotiate lower prices, serving as a self-fulfilling prophecy and a de facto instrument of potential indirect, but not necessarily intentional, collusion. The current relationship between producers and chain buyers based on a single price discovery system constitutes an impediment to a free market. The benchmark price amplifies both downward and upward swings and functions to the detriment of the industry. A CME quotation based on Midwest Large, responding to demand relative to supply would be more equitable.

 

  • The U.S. flock in production was down 0.4 percent (1.2 million hens) from the week of January 19th to 321.4 million consistent with planned seasonal molting, placement and depletion, but with about 2.0 million molted hens having resumed production during the early weeks of December. The Industry demonstrated beneficial restraint in flock placement during the third and fourth quarters of 2021 with continued depletions and non-restocking of some complexes or houses and disposal of flocks during the week before Christmas. Margins should continue to increase for commodity eggs due to increased demand as predicated by the pattern of seasonal wholesale prices and weather over the past three weeks. Production margins will be negatively impacted by increased prices for feed and pullet chicks. Higher labor and fuel costs will detract from profit especially if unit revenue fails to match expectations proceeding through the 1st Quarter of 2022.

 

  • There is some prospect of a return in the food service sector with frozen egg prices marginally higher over the past month. Prices of breaking stock and checks are high in relation to generic shell eggs but were unchanged this past week. The U.S. economy is reopening despite ongoing concern over COVID incidence rates and hospitalizations in many regions. There is some optimism over the rate of deployment and acceptance of the three available approved vaccines and boosters in diverse regions and among specific demographics.

 

  • The Midwest price for breaking stock was unchanged from last week at an average of 75.0 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were unchanged at an average of 67.5 cents per dozen. It is anticipated that these prices will fluctuate in response to market trends and gradual recovery of the breaking sector.

 

The Week in Review

Prices

 

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on January 24th, the Midwest wholesale price for Extra-large was 9.0 percent higher to an average of 121.5 cents per dozen; Large were 9.1 percent higher to an average of 119.5 cents per dozen; Mediums were higher by 12.8 percent to 105.5 cents per dozen as delivered to DCs. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run cost (excluding provisions for packing, packaging materials and transport) of 71.8 cents per dozen in December 2021. The progression of prices during 2021 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

 

The January 24th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 69: No. 04) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.21 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending January 17th 2022. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.10 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.28 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 25 cents above the 3-year average. This past week Midwest Large was approximately 30 cents above the corresponding week in 2021. Prices followed a plateau after Christmas and then fell with an anticipated downward trajectory in the near term given the full industry pipeline moving into 2022. Increased consumer demand has reversed this situation.

 

Flock Size

According to the USDA the number of producing hens reflecting January 26 th (rounded to 0.1 million) was 2.1 million lower to 321.4 million. If USDA data is accurate, the producing flock contains molted hens now coming back into production with approximately 4.5 million new pullets reaching maturity during the week, offset by flock depletion. Based on inventory level the hen population producing eggs is now in approximate balance with current consumer demand. Exports are at a moderate level with lower exports to South Korea following restoration of flocks previously depleted due to HPAI. Industrial and food service off-take although increasing, has not reverted to pre-COVID levels. Any number of producing hens above a subjectively determined range of 322 to 324 million in production during late-January, portends lower prices depending on relative levels of producer and store inventories. For the next week prices will stabilize, given the increases in inventory over the previous two weeks. Mild undersupply as denoted by inventory is attributed to flock depletion together with the contribution of hens returning to production from molt in early December 2021 coupled with pullets placed 24 weeks earlier that are now in production.


 

COMMODITY REPORT

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT: January 27th 2022.

 

  • Corn and soybean prices and volumes again fluctuated over a wide range of up to 1.0 percent of value daily during the past five trading days but settled higher on January 27th. The trend was influenced by rumors and data concerning orders from China coupled with domestic demand and the release of the January 12th WASDE Report, indicating higher ending stocks. The CME quotation for corn was up 1.6 percent and soybeans were up 4.0 percent, adding to the trend of the previous week. Soybean Meal was 1.3 percent higher compared to Thursday January 19th but will soon reflect the present escalation in the price of soybeans.

 

  • Factors influencing prices in either direction included:-
    • Anticipation of orders from China despite projections for reduced domestic demand. (transitory upward pressure)
    • Soybeans up on demand for soy oil (upward pressure on soybeans and meal)
    • Geopolitical tensions threatening wheat and corn exports from Ukraine (upward pressure on corn)
    •  Trend of increasing weekly ethanol production despite lower domestic demand (upward pressure on corn)
    • Persistent drought in Brazil despite some rainfall, with predictions of lowered yields. (downward pressure)
    • Reports of COVID in the Port of Rosario reducing shipments from Argentine (Small upward pressure)
    • Imports of corn by Mexico (transitory upward pressure)
    • Release of the January 12th WASDE  #620. Projections for corn and soybean yield, acreage production were little changed, exports were reduced but ending stocks, were increased for the 2022 harvest. (transitory downward pressure).

 

  • Based on CME quotations U.S. farmers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers and ethanol refiners in the Midwest will pay above $6.25 per bushel for corn in March, up 1.6 percent from last week. Crushers will pay $14.50 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis during March 2022, up 4.0 percent from the January 19th quotation for March delivery. Soybean meal was $5 per ton (1.3 percent) higher for March delivery compared to last week, reflecting higher domestic supply but with profitable export of soy oil.

 

  • The FAS Export Report released on January 27th for the week ending January 20th reflecting market year 2021-2022, confirmed that outstanding export orders for corn for the new market year amounted to 25.55 million metric tons (1,007 million bushels) with 18.4 million metric tons (724 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week orders for the 2021-2022 market year amounted to 1.40 million metric tons (55.1 million bushels) with 1.44 million metric tons (56.7 million bushels) shipped.  For market year 2022-2023 outstanding sales amounted to 1.45 million metric tons (57.1 million bushels), with 0.17 million metric tons (6.9 million bushels) cancelled this past week)

    (conversion 39.36 bushels per metric ton)

 

  • The FAS Export Report released on January 27th 2022 for the week ending January 20th reflecting market year 2021-2022, recorded outstanding export orders for soybeans amounting to 9.1 million metric tons (334.3 million bushels) with 33.03 million metric tons (1,287 million bushels) actually shipped. Weekly soybean orders attained 1.03 million metric tons (37.8 million bushels) with 1.59 million metric tons (58.4 million bushels) shipped. For market year 2022-2023 outstanding sales amounted to 1.20 million metric tons (44.1 million bushels), with 0.20 million metric tons (7.4 million bushels) ordered this past week)

    (conversion 36.74 bushels per metric ton)

 

  • For the week ending January 20th 2021, 330,100 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered for the market year 2021-2022, up 4.8 percent from the previous week. During the past week 327,100 metric tons of meal and cake was shipped, up 25.8 percent from the previous week and representing 8.3 percent of the total 3,937,200 metric tons shipped during the current marketing year to date.

 

  • Projected harvests and ending stocks were documented in the January 12th WASDE providing projections on quantities harvested and the effect of trade and domestic consumption on ending stocks that were increased from the November report.

 

The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 14H00 on January 27th 2022, compared with values posted at close of trading on January 19th 2021  (in parentheses):-

 

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

March 622   (612).

May 620   (612).

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

March 1,446   (1,390).

May 1,452   (1,400)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

March 399   (406).

May 404  (397)

 

Changes in the price of corn, soybeans and soybean meal over five trading days this past week were:-

Corn:

March quotation up 10 cents per bushel

(+1.6 percent)

Soybeans:

March quotation up 56 cents per bushel

(+4.0 percent)

Soybean Meal:

March quotation down $5 per ton

(-1.3percent)

 

The USDA weekly wholesale feedstuffs prices per short ton for January 26th 2022 were:-

 

  • Corn: $218 ($211), Chicago
  • Soybean Meal: $407 ($408), Central Illinois
  • Meat and Bone Meal: $355 ($355), Central Midwest
  • DDGS: $197 ($197), Eastern corn belt
  • Wheat Middlings: $150 ($140), Minneapolis
    • For each $1 per ton (2.8 cents/bushel) change in corn the cost of egg production would change by 0.11 cent per dozen
    • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal the cost of egg production would change by 0.44 cent per dozen

 

The respective changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal for January 26th compared with January 18th USDA weekly quotations would increase nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.7 cents per dozen.

 

Over the past 54 weeks the algebraic escalation in the prices of major ingredients has added 7.2* cents per dozen to eggs. Year-to-date feed cost has declined by 1.2 cents per dozen

*(rounded to 0.1cent)

 

According to the January 12th WASDE, corn harvested in calendar 2022 will be 15,115 million bushels with ending stocks projected at 1,540 million bushels compared to the December 2021 WASDE Report. Total corn stocks on December 1st 2021 amounted to 11.6 billion bushels up 3 percent from December 1st 2020.

 

Compared with the January 9th value, the CME quotation for corn at 14H00 on January 27th for March 2022 delivery was up 10 cents per bushel to 622 per bushel adding to the increase from the previous week.

 

The social restrictions imposed in the U.S. as a result of COVID-19, that are now being lifted, were projected to reduce ethanol demand by 1.5 billion gallons or 10 percent of projected 2020-2021 requirement, accepting a nominal ten percent addition to gasoline. This past week 90.3 percent of the U.S. ethanol fermentation volume was operational, based on the September 2021 U.S. Energy Information Administration (U.S. EIA) capacity data. The outlook for increased production will depend on higher domestic demand in addition to increasing the proportion of production that is exported. According to the U.S. EIA, for the week ending January 21st 2021 the industry produced on average 1,035,000 barrels per day, down 1.7 percent from the week ending January 14th 2022, and the 15th consecutive week above one million gallons per day after thirteen successive weeks under this benchmark. On January 21st ethanol stock was up 3.8 percent from the previous week to 24.5 million barrels, representing an approximately 21-day reserve but confirming a decrease in demand given a lower increase in stock relative to higher production during the week.

 

Ethanol quoted on the CBOT was priced at $2.14 per gallon on January 26th down 6 cents per gallon (2.7 percent) from the previous week and compared to a 52-week range of $1.65 to $2.48 per gallon. Concurrently RBOB gasoline at $2.51 per gallon was up 6 cent per gallon (2.5 percent) from the previous week, with a 0.5 percent lower WTI crude price of $86.87 per barrel at noon on January 26th. Gasoline is now 37 cents per gallon more expensive than ethanol but with a 63 percent higher BTU rating.

 

With most plants among the 197 that were operational on January 1st 2021 functioning, DDGS is freely available but commands a higher price than in the first half of 2021. Eastern Corn-belt DDGS was priced at $197 per ton on January 26th 2022, unchanged from the previous week and $27 per ton less expensive than on January 19th 2020. It is anticipated that the cost of DDGS will rise reflecting the price of corn. Generally DDGS is currently incorporated at low inclusion levels in egg-production formulas based on high price relative to the nutrient contribution of corn and other ingredients. This will change as corn and hence DDGS fluctuates in price

 

 Soybeans continue to be the beneficiary of export demand by China and other nations in addition to domestic livestock production and demand for soy oil. The USDA projected a harvest of 4,435 million bushels in the January WASDE. Ending stocks were raised 2.9 percent to 350 million bushels. Total soybean stock on December 1st 2021 amounted to 3.15 billion bushels down 14 percent from December 1st 2020 indicating the extent of exports during the 2020-2021 market year.

 

The CME soybean price for March delivery at 14H00 on January 19th 2022 was higher by 15 cents per bushel to 1,390 cents compared to 1,375 cents per bushel for January delivery last week.

 

According to a release on January 15th by the National Oilseed Processors Association a record 186.4 million bushels of soybeans were crushed in December compared to an expectation of 185.0 million bushels. The December crush value was up 3.8 percent from the November value of 184.0 million bushels.

 

On January 26th 2022 soybean meal quoted central Illinois was $407 per ton, $1 per ton lower than the previous week and compared to $449 per ton on January 19th 2020.

 

On January 26th 2021 Meat and Bone meal was $355 per ton quoted Central U.S., unchanged from the previous week but compared to $380 per ton on January 19th 2020.

 

On January 26th the conversion of the CNY to the BRL was 0.85 BRL, up BRL 0.01 from the previous week. The conversion of the US$ to the CNY was 6.36, down CNY 0.02 from the previous week.

 

For consecutive calendar years 2017 through 2019 the U.S. supplied 34.4 percent of soybean requirements for China amounting to 95.5 million metric tons. This was followed by a decline to 16.9 percent of 88.5 million metric tons in 2018 and 16.6 percent of 88.0 million metric tons in 2019. The USDA anticipated that soybean imports by China would attain 95 million metric tons during the 2020-2021 market year but in reality only 60.3 million tons was shipped through August 2021.

 

For the 2019/2020 market year China imported 2.1 million metric tons of corn from the U.S., 4.8 percent of total exports of 43.3 million tons, but 12 percent less than in the 2018/2019 market year. The USDA-FAS documented sales of U.S. corn to China through late August 2021 comprising the 2020/2021market year amounting to 73 million metric tons (2,876 million bushels) with 93 percent shipped.

 

COMMENTS

Subscribers are referred to the January 12th 2021 WASDE # and the USDA quarterly Grain Stocks Report  available under the STATISTICS tab.

 


 

Jim Sumner Receives the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Achievement Award

On January 24th 2022 Jim Sumner, president & CEO of the USA Poultry & Egg Export Council (USAPEEC), was honored by U.S. Poultry & Egg Association with the Harold E. Ford Lifetime Award on the occasion of the 2022 International Production & Processing Expo. This Award is presented to an industry individual demonstrating dedication and leadership over a career contributing both to the poultry industry and USPOULTRY. The award is presented only when the Awards and Recognition Committee unanimously recognizes and endorses the need for a person who has made exceptional contributions.

 

On commenting on the award, John Starkey, president of USPOULTRY stated “The connecting ties and friendship between Jim, USAPEEC and USPOULTRY are long and deep. It is a privilege to work with Jim, and we are honored to present this award.”

 

Sumner earned a BS in Journalism from Southern Illinois University. He has served as president and CEO of USAPEEC since 1990 and president of the International Poultry Council since 2005. He is also a past president of the World Poultry Federation. 

He has served as a member of the USDA Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade for many years. He has also served as an export advisor to the American Egg Board and Chairman of the Trade and Executive Committees of the International Egg Commission. In 2012, Sumner was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Poultry & Food Distributors Association (NPFDA).

 

Under his leadership, USAPEEC built a strong team in Atlanta, has opened to 16 international offices on four continents, helped establish trade with dozens of countries including Mexico, China and Cuba, and launched the International Poultry Council (IPC) and World Poultry Federation (WPF).


 

Sad Passing of Dr. Peter M. Biggs

The American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP) has announced the passing of Dr. Peter M. Biggs on December 27th at the age of 95.  Prior to his retirement, Dr. Biggs was the Director of the Houghton Poultry Research Station in the U.K.  His career was devoted to research on avian tumors. His pivotal contribution was to differentiate between lymphoid leucosis, a retroviral condition and Marek’s disease caused by a herpesvirus. Dr. Biggs named this condition in recognition of Professor Josef Marek who described the clinical presentation and the gross and histological neural lesions in 1907. 

 

Dr. Biggs was evacuated to the U.S. during World War II and attended high school in Cambridge MA. On his return to England Dr. Biggs joined the Royal Air Force in the autumn of 1944 and was detached to Queen’s University, Belfast under a university short course program similar to our OTC programs.  He holds the distinction of flying solo in a De Havilland Tiger Moth biplane trainer in only five hours compared to a normal ten hours.  Eschewing aviation on demobilization and following a keen interest in zoology he entered the Royal Veterinary College in London graduating in 1952.  He undertook doctoral research in avian virology at the Veterinary School of the University of Bristol.  In 1955 he completed his doctoral degree and was appointed a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in veterinary clinical pathology moving to the Houghton Poultry Research Station in 1959 to study avian leucosis.

 

Dr. Biggs was a frequent visitor to the United States and developed collaborative projects with colleagues Drs. Ben Burmeister and Graham Purchase at the USDA-ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory in East Lansing, MI.  He was responsible for the first Marek’s vaccine.

 

He undertook projects in oncology in cooperation with Duke University, the National Cancer Institute and Cornell University.  He was appointed director of the Houghton Poultry Research Station and the Institute for Animal Health in 1973 and served in that position for 12 years.  He retired in 1987 but maintained an interest in the British Veterinary Association. Other contributions to the poultry industry included establishing the World Veterinary Pathology Association and the Founder Editor of Avian Pathology.

 

Among many honors, Dr. Biggs was selected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1976, the ultimate U.K award in science and was a Founding Fellow and Council Member of the Academy of Medical Sciences established in 1998.  He served on many U.K. government committees including control of biological weapons and scientific aspects of international security.


 

Campbell Soup Appoints Chief Supply Chain Officer

The Campbell Soup Company has appointed Daniel L. Poland as Executive Vice-president and Chief Supply Officer, effective January 10, 2022. Poland has extensive experience in the consumer package goods industry. He was previously an Executive Vice President and Chief Supply Chain Officer at Pinnacle Foods.  It was here that he met Mark Clouse the current CEO of Campbell Soup.  He has also worked for Nestle and Gerber and was employed by HJ Heinz for fifteen years, moving from plant manager to Chief Supply Chain Officer.

 

Poland earned a BS in agricultural engineering from Michigan State University and an MBA from the University of Iowa.

This appointment clearly demonstrates the pivotal role of supply chain management in any food-related company.  Disruption associated with COVID, tensions in international trade attributed to political considerations, delays in shipping, escalation in cost and restricted availability of domestic road transport have all created problems for manufacturers of food products.


 

Port of Oakland Resolving Bottlenecks

The Port of Oakland has announced that it will establish and operate a large off-terminal container yard to ease congestion and expedite both delivery of inbound containers and loading of export cargos.  Traditionally the Port of Oakland has maintained an even balance between imports and exports.  This was disrupted by the surge in imports from Asia necessitating modification to handling of inbound and outbound containers and requiring additional space and equipment.

 

State transportation officials and the Department of Food and Agriculture have pressured management of ports and shipping companies to expedite export capability from Oakland to Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent with special reference to agricultural products.


 

Boehringer-Ingelheim to Subsidize Veterinary Scholars Program

Boehringer-Ingelheim is cooperating with the USDA Agricultural Research Service to expand an existing program to train veterinary students. The Company will cover costs for the students including a monthly stipend during the summer and expenses associated with travel and subsistence to one of nine USDA research centers.

 

USDA funding for the program is part of the Agrosecurity Partnerships for Innovative Research (ASPIRE).  The Veterinary Scholars Program will be funded through the agreement for five years. The objective will be to improve collaboration among national and international colleges of veterinary medicine to provide students with research opportunities.  Of special interest to the poultry industry will be activities at the Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, GA; the National Animal Diseases Center in Ames, IA. and the National Bio and Agri-Defense Facility in Manhattan, KS.

Dr. Roxann Motroni, National Program Leader for Animal Health at the USDA stated, “This program allows us to be responsive to emerging One Health disease threats by quickly implementing research needed to inform emergency response. Through this partnership with the Boehringer-Ingelheim Veterinary Scholars Program, students across the country will have the opportunity to train with leading veterinary scientists.”


 

Salmonella Javiana Attributed to Cantaloupe

The Food and Drug Administration has revealed that cut cantaloupe was responsible for an extensive outbreak of Salmonella Javiana investigated by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  To date, 65 cases were identified over the period from late December 2021 through mid-January 2022.  The implicated product was fresh-cut fruit processed and distributed by Taylor Cut Produce to Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Delaware mainly to institutional customers including schools, restaurants and hospitals.

 


 

Slice of Learning at 2022 MPF Convention

The Midwest Poultry Federation (MPF) will present the “Slice of Learning” educational program on Thursday, March 24th during the Convention to be held at the Minneapolis Convention Center March 22nd-24th, 2022.  The program will be organized by MPF Education co-chairs Dr. Darrin Karcher, Purdue University, and Dr. Ken Kolkebeck, University of Illinois.

 

 

 

Information on the MPF Convention events education program and exhibitors can be accessed at <www.midwestpoultry.com>.


 

Midwest Poultry Federation Convention COVID Requirements

The Midwest Poultry Federation has announced requirements to protect participants during the 2022 Convention to be held from March 22nd to March 24th at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The Midwest Poultry Federation will follow COVID guidelines, regulations to be in place in Minneapolis and the state of Minnesota at the time of the Convention. The Federation recommends that all attendees and exhibitors be fully vaccinated:

 

  • As of January 19th the city of Minneapolis will require proof of full vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours before entering the Minneapolis Convention Center that serves food and drink. Attempts are underway to separate food and drink areas from event space to create areas where the vaccine requirement would not be in effect.
  • The Minneapolis Poultry Federation will update prospective attendees and exhibitors if there are changes to regulations before the Convention.
  • All participants must wear a face covering unless exempted by a medical condition
  • The NPF has requested that any attendee with COVID-like symptoms should refrain from attending the convention.

 

Intensive cleaning and disinfection of public spaces has been planned.

 

Additional information is accessible at < info@MidwestPoultry.com>.


 

Walmart Expanding InHome Service

Walmart Inc. has announced that it will expand their InHome service to 30 million U.S. households by the end of 2022. This will require investment in an all-electric vehicle fleet and hiring of 3,000 delivery drivers.

 

Tom Ward, Senior Vice-president stated, "we have been operating InHome in select markets over the last two years and have found it is a perfect solution for customers who want to live their lives without worrying about making it to the store or being home to accept a delivery".  Based on an existing six million household clientele and operating since 2019 InHome delivery provides convenience and security.

 

The system requires customers to place an order on a Walmart App. specifying InHome as a preferred delivery option.  An InHome associate completes the order using a one-time access code to unlock the door of the home or garage with monitoring of the delivery.

 

The InHome delivery services will cost $19.95 per month or $148 per year with no additional fees with tips incorporated into the membership price.  Users of the service can install a smart lock or garage keypad from InHome for $50.

 

InHome drivers are employed by Walmart and receive a $1.50 per hour premium above current store rates.  The Company provides benefits including medical, vision and dental insurance and a 401(k) matching program and payment of all tuition and books through the Live Better U Program.

 

The role of associate delivery driver was created in 2019 and according to Julie Murphy, Executive Vice-president and Chief People Officer "expanding the number of our InHome associates is a testament to the trust and confidence we have in them and their continuous commitment to our customers".

 

The InHome delivery service will complement existing delivery and express delivery from 3,400 Walmart stores accessing 70% of the U.S. population.


 

China Using Food Safety as a Retaliatory Measure

As a typical response to any perceived criticism, health authorities in China are investigating a Sam's Club warehouse in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province.  The investigation by the Bureau for Market Regulation was initiated following alleged complaints regarding ‘spoiled’ beef. The Authorities claim that products ‘did not meet standards’ and ordered a recall.  The intensive audit that ensued also disclosed some deviations from regulations.

 

Authorities in China have publicized a $50,000 fine imposed on Walmart in 2021, possibly in an attempt to discredit the Company and the Sam's Club brand.

 

The action by Chinese authorities is regarded as a retaliatory response to Walmart announcing that it would not stock products from the Province of Xinjiang. This action followed enactment of a U.S. law banning imports from Xinjiang of products allegedly produced in facilities employing coerced-labor.

 

Previous actions by Central or Provincial governments in China confirm a militant and disproportionate response to any criticism or perceived impact on image that might be considered an insult or loss of ‘face’.


 

Take Home Messages from the Latest USDA AI Webinar

Following the confirmation of three isolates of H5N1 from free-living waterfowl the USDA-APHIS presented a webinar for stakeholders on Tuesday, January 18th.  The recoveries to date are:

  • H5N1 confirmed January 14th from an American wigeon  (Marecaa americana) in Colleton County, SC.
  • H5N1 confirmed from a blue-winged teal (Anas discors) on January 18th from Colleton County, SC.
  • H5N1 confirmed from a northern shoveler (Spatula clypeata) on January 18th from Hyde County, NC.

 

All three isolates were obtained from hunter-killed birds as part of the USDA-APHIS wild bird surveillance program.  From mid-June 2021 to mid-March 2022, the survey will involve twenty-five states with a projected 16,000 samples.  Nine thousand of these samples will be from the Atlantic Flyway extending from Maine to Florida.

 

Dr. Michael Neault of the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, Dr. Michael Martin of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs and Dr. Rose Marie Sifford of the USDA all emphasized the need for high levels of biosecurity on commercial farms.

 

It is noted that in the event of a diagnosis of avian influenza or shedding of H5 or H7 virus by migratory birds, authorities in most E.U. nations recommend or mandate confinement of all flocks depending on jurisdiction and legislation.  Once avian influenza is detected through surveillance in migratory birds, commercial flocks should be confined to prevent infection.

 

The USDA has numerous advisories on their website for the information of both backyard poultry and hobbyist-owners of poultry. Appropriate recommendations are also provided for managers of commercial operations to upgrade biosecurity.  It is however necessary to adapt general principles to specific operations both with respect to structural biosecurity involving capital investment and operational biosecurity that requires planning implementation and ongoing control.

 

Given that there is evidence of H5N1 strain highly pathogenic avian influenza virus in the Atlantic Flyway, additional cases in wild birds will be detected through the surveillance system.  The commercial industry must endeavor to implement effective biosecurity in accordance with a predetermined program using professional resources and taking into account local risks and circumstances.


 

Avian Influenza Vaccination Suggested for the EU

Given extensive outbreaks of avian influenza in the E.U., the Administer of Agriculture for France, Julien Denormandie is encouraging all 27 member states to adopt vaccination as a preventive and control measure.  France in particular has experienced a number of devastating epornitics especially in regions producing foie gras requiring pasture management of large flocks of waterfowl that are susceptible to H5 and H7 virus carried by migratory birds.

 

Stamping out has proven to be expensive and unsuccessful given the seasonal introduction of virus by migratory waterfowl.  The secondary consideration is the possibility of a mutation of H5 or H7 influenza viruses to become pathogenic to humans.  Although the specific case of human H5N1 reported in the U.K. is regarded as a possible warning, the circumstances of the infection of the patient were highly specific in that he had more than twenty ducks in his home and fed feral ducks in his village.

 

In a Monday, January 17th press conference, Minister Denormandie stated, "for the past year and a half we have worked incredibly hard with all sectors and yet the virus continues to spread".  He added, "so it is in a very lucid way that I say while we have been invested enormously on biosecurity measures that tomorrow we need to be able to fight this virus with the help of a vaccine".

 

It is understood that veterinary authorities in France have initiated pre-emptive slaughter of as many as a million commercial waterfowl in an attempt to control HPAI in the southwest Departments affected in past years.


 

Novogen Egg Strains Acquired by the EW Group

In a December 28th release, Groupe Grimaud announced that it has divested egg production strains marked under the Novogen brand to the EW Group, parent company of Hy-Line International and H&N and their subsidiaries.

 

The decision was made by the Groupe Grimaud to allow the respective companies to ensure the sustainability of their activities and offer new opportunities for development.

 

Under new ownership, Novogen will retain its own identity and continue to select and sell layer breeders worldwide.  The Novogen teams in the E.U. and North America anticipate acceleration in development and new opportunities to serve the egg production industry.  Additional information is available from Bob Randall at bob.randall@novogen-layers.com

 


 

Co-infection with Influenza and COVID Reported

Co-infection with COVID and Influenza has been reported from thirteen states with between two and ten cases diagnosed within the past week with Virginia reporting 20 hospitalizations.  It is recommended that workers on farms and in plants should be immunized with the current influenza vaccine that contains four strains in addition to full COVID vaccination comprising a series of two mRNA priming doses plus a booster. 

 

Immunity to influenza in the U.S. population has probably waned since 2020 as public health precautions to prevent COVID, including masking and social distancing, thereby reducing the spread of influenza with the lowest incidence rates in recent memory.  Accordingly the U.S. unvaccinated population is susceptible to influenza. This has clinical implications in the event of a superimposition of Omicron-COVID which is highly infectious and responsible for the increasing incidence rate especially in areas with low vaccination compliance.  Vaccination clinics to administer influenza and COVID vaccines can be arranged with the cooperation of county or state public health departments. Immunization will avoid absenteeism and generate goodwill among the workforce and the community.


 

Tekni-Plex Acquires Fibro Corporation

In a January 19th release, Tekni-Plex announced acquisition of the assets and technology of Fibro Corporation, located in Tacoma, WA.  The company develops and manufactures molded fiber packaging for eggs and fresh food supplying sustainable pulp-based containers. The production capability of the Fibro Corporation will be integrated with Dolco Packaging allowing the company to supply egg cartons fabricated from either polystyrene foam, PET or pulp. Fibro has developed a smooth-finished, fiber-based egg carton facilitating precise printing and product presentation.

 

Previously Tekni-Plex acquired Keyes Packaging Group and Grupo Phoenix to increase the range of biodegradable packaging that will contribute to sustainability.

 

In commenting on the acquisition, Jay Arnold, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Dolco Packaging, stated “Our intention is to invest further in this innovative technology platform as we scale up, increase capacity, and expand our product line to bring superior solutions to the broader fresh-foods landscape.”


 

Disparity Between Rural and Urban COVID Vaccination Rates

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of January 13th, 47.9 percent of the rural population was “completely” vaccinated against COVID.  In contrast, in metropolitan counties, 61.1 percent of the population was “completely” vaccinated.  The rural rate is 22 percent lower than the urban rate on a percentage basis.  The COVID death rate is 30 percent higher in rural counties than in metropolitan areas but with a 25 percent lower incidence rate at present. 

 

 

The lower vaccination rate in rural counties is presumably due to the lower level of interaction that would be expected in urban communities associated with public transport, workplace contacts and entertainment events.  Florida has the widest gap between urban and rural vaccination rates at 64 percent and 44 percent respectively.  Georgia has a rural vaccination rate of 24 percent of the total population, although this figure may be an underestimate as some rural residents were vaccinated in cities.

 

The CDC considers two doses of an mRNA vaccine as being “completely” vaccinated.  Experience in the E.U. and in the U.S. suggests that a booster dose is necessary to provide a high level of durable immunity against the Delta and Omicron variants.  Given the high incidence rate of infections since December 2020, it is possible that the U.S. is moving towards endemic infection with the majority of the population expressing a protective level of antibody stimulated by either vaccination or exposure.  Rural communities will however serve as a source of infection since a high proportion of susceptible individuals will maintain the circulation of SARS-CoV-2 and may even lead to the emergence of variants by mutation. 

 

The policy of the large red meat packers and poultry processors of either mandating or encouraging vaccination will reduce the incidence of COVID in plants and also in rural communities where large instllations are located. This will provide a protective benefit to all residents of communities surrounding a plant. 

 

Effective January 18th 530 million doses of COVID vaccine have been administered in the U.S. with 2009 million, or 63.4 percent, of the population having received two doses.  A total of 81.7 million have received a booster dose and can be regarded as “fully protected” by vaccination. Although 75.2 percent of the U.S. population or 249.7 million, have received one dose of mRNA vaccine, they are inadequately protected and have a significantly higher probability of either severe clinical symptoms, hospitalization, admission to ICU, chronic COVID or even death compared to fully vaccinated individuals, if exposed to SARS-CoV-2 virus. 


 

Certified Group and FSNS Appoint President for Food and Beverage

Certified Group and subsidiary company Food Safety Net Services have announced the appointment of Justin Malvick as President, Food and Beverage.  In this role he will be responsible for developing strategy and guiding the business unit.

 

Justin has held leadership positions at JBS S.A., Pilgrim’s Pride, Keystone Foods, and Wayne Farms over a 23-year career in the food industry.  Justin earned a B.S. degree from the University of Minnesota.

 

John Bellinger, CEO of Certified Group and FSNS, stated “We are pleased to have Justin join our executive team with his track record of driving top and bottom line revenue, innovative growth strategies and coaching high performance teams.”

 

Certified Group is a leading provider of testing and regulatory consulting services.  The Certified Group includes Certified Laboratories, FSNS, Labstat, and MicroQuality Laboratories providing services for the food, supplements, cosmetic and nicotine industries.


 

PepsiCo Foods CEO Comments on Post COVID Trends

TotalRetail recently commented on a presentation by Steven Williams, CEO of PepsiCo Foods.  Delivering a keynote address at the 2022 National Retail Federation Big Show this past week, Williams commented on trends emerging during COVID that will persist after the pandemic is suppressed.  Major changes included:-

 

  • E-commerce grew at a faster rate than would otherwise have occurred since consumers were reluctant to shop at large supermarkets.  This trend will continue as evidenced by the investments made by Walmart, Kroger and Albertsons who are competing with Amazon, the industry leader.  Williams noted “E-commerce is here to stay as far as I’m concerned.”
     
  • During the first two quarters following the emergence of COVID, there was a marked swing to in-home meal preparation and dining.  This trend will continue, but will require products offering ease of preparation and cleanup.  Many supermarkets have introduced prepared meals and the home cooking trend has provided a lifeline to companies shipping prepared meals.  Some companies have established strategic partnerships with supermarkets to avoid the cost of shipping and to take advantage of both curiosity and availability of products.  Home delivery of restaurant-prepared meals soared following the advent of COVID, but other than affluent urban consumers, the cost of delivery is an important consideration in patterns of purchasing.
     
  • Value has emerged as an important determinant in the purchase decision.  Food inflation has increased the price of both restaurant meals and supermarket ingredients.  It is apparent that escalation in the cost of protein and especially beef and pork, has benefited the poultry industry with chicken gaining market share both in restaurants, QSRs, and retail.  Eggs benefit from relatively low price based on nutrient content, versatility, and ease of preparation.  The challenge facing the egg industry will be to convince consumers that eggs are suitable for lunches and dinner mealtimes, expanding the traditional acceptance of eggs as a breakfast staple.
     
  • Patronage of small, local supermarkets - Many consumers concerned over the potential for exposure in large supermarkets shifted their purchases to smaller local stores.  This trend was especially evident in urban areas.  The brick-and-mortar segment of Amazon is certainly benefitting from this move with high-technology stores incorporating smart carts and just-walk-out options.

 

Towards a Universal Coronavirus Vaccine

A number of U.S. and international research laboratories are developing and in some cases testing broad-spectrum or universal vaccines against sarbecoviruses, a group that includes the viruses responsible for SARS, MERS and COVID.  Research on novel vaccines is now in progress at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech), the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, the University of Virginia and the Duke Human Vaccine Institute.

 

Pamela Bjorkman at CalTech noted, "the great thing about having such vaccines is that they could handle potentially new variants as well as the next spill-over viruses that will come down the road".

 

Kayvon Modjarrad, is a co-inventor of a candidate multi-spectrum vaccine now in a phase-one trial involving primates.  The vaccine builds on technology used to develop influenza vaccines and uses a nanoparticle carrying copies of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.  The vaccine under development at the University of Virginia and the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, South Korea uses the fusion peptide region of the coronavirus spike protein that is highly conserved among all coronaviruses.

 

Successful development of a universal vaccine that is effective in protecting against a range of sarbecoviruses has the potential to deliver a broad-spectrum vaccine against multiple strains of infectious bronchitis of chickens. This ubiquitous infection is characterized by constantly evolving variants emerging in production regions with high concentrations of commercial broilers and breeders or egg production flocks.


 

USAPEEC Optimistic Over Future Egg Exports to Mexico

The USDA Agricultural Trade Office in Mexico City estimates that egg consumption in Mexico will attain 450 eggs per capita in 2022, three percent higher than the previous year. The increase is based on the perceived value of eggs in comparison to alternative animal proteins.  Based on projections of increased demand, USAPEEC Mexico sponsored by the American Egg Board, has embarked on an aggressive program of promoting U.S. table eggs and egg products.  Hands-on workshops have concentrated on application of dried egg products for the bakery, food service and processing sectors.  Online technical training seminars (Huevinars) have promoted the benefits of U.S. egg products in value-added products.

 

For the period January through November 2021, Mexico imported 51 million dozen table eggs valued at $40.7 million, 12 percent higher in volume and 32 percent higher in value compared to the corresponding period in 2020.  For the eleven-month period in 2021, fourth-ranked Mexico imported 4,802 tons of egg products valued at $11.1 million.  Volume and value were respectively 46 percent and 34 percent lower than the first eleven months of 2020.


 

Commentary


Protection from COVID Vaccination Confirmed

On January 18th Dr. Katelyn Jetelina, Ph.D, MPH, affiliated with the University of Texas Health Science Center, documented in her authoritative website Your Local Epidemiologist that vaccination protects against severe consequences arising from COVID infection. She cited data from the U.K., Switzerland and the U.S. to demonstrate the benefit of immunization.  From May through December 2021, critical care admissions to ICU wards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland attained 40.9 cases per 100,000 population among the 60 to 69-year age group.  Comparative figures for double-vaccinated patients of the same range in ages was 0.7 per 100,000 and for those receiving a booster, 0.4 per 100,000 population.  The hospital admission rate for those in the 30 to 39-age group was 1.6 per 100,000 in the non-vaccinated cases compared to 0.1 per 100,000 in the double- vaccinated category.

 

As of January 1st the death rate among non-vaccinated people in Switzerland was 16 per 100,000 for all age groups.  The corresponding figure for fully vaccinated (2 doses) was 2 per 100,000 and for those receiving a booster approximately 0.2 per 100,000.

 

In Oregon, the unvaccinated case rate during the first week of January was 2,250 per 100,000.  The corresponding figure for breakthrough cases among double-vaccinated individuals was 480 per 100,000.

 

Current incidence rates suggest that the Omicron wave has plateaued and is declining in many areas of the nation that showed widespread infection in November 2021. Dr. Jetelina provided a cautionary note, "there will be the same number of new infections on the way down as there were on the way up and hospitalizations and deaths will follow".   The conclusion from data presented on her website is that vaccines continue to provide protection against clinical infection requiring hospitalization and ICU care. To reduce the impact of COVID on society and the economy, public health measures are required over and above vaccination including masking and avoiding large concentrations of people in confined areas, especially with suboptimal ventilation. These precautions are also appropriate in some U.S. counties with low vaccination compliance. In rural Georgia 25% of the population is vaccinated contributing to an increasing incidence rate especially for gatherings that promote transmission of SARS-CoV-2, with the Omicron variant now responsible for 99 percent of new cases.


 
Dr. Simon M. Shane
Simon M. Shane
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