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Studies on Western African H9N2 AI Strains Suggest Pandemic Potential


Viruses isolated in Burkina Faso in West Africa were studied at the International Influenza Reference Laboratory of the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale delle Venezie in Italy*.  Thirty tracheal swabs and ten organ samples collected in January 2017 from an egg-producing farm in the country were submitted to the laboratory in Italy with a provisional field diagnosis of infectious bronchitis.

Phylogeographic analysis of the H9N2 subtype indicated an origin in Morocco.  Sequencing showed insertion of leucine at position 226 of the hemagglutinin receptor binding site which is associated with an affinity for the α-2, 6 sialic acid receptor.  Changes were observed in the acidic polymerase protein which also increases specificity for infections of humans.  This mutation is common to viruses isolated in Morocco and Dubai.

The significance of the presence of H9N2 viruses with an affinity for mammalian receptor sites relates to the potential for emergence of reassortant strains of AI. Monitoring has demonstrated that H5 strains of avian influenza have been circulating in poultry populations in West Africa since 2015.  Reassortment between H9N2 and H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza has been reported from China and Bangladesh raising the possibility of emergence of a pandemic strain.

The authors of the study counseled for increased surveillance of AI in West African nations and awareness of the possibility of emergence of a pandemic reassortant strain with co-circulation of influenza virus in poultry populations.

*Zecchin, B. et al Influenza A (H9N2) Virus, Burkina Faso Emerging Infectious Diseases. 23: 2118-2119 (2017)

(SMS 018-17 January 2nd 2018)


Egg Industry News



As the January 19th edition is compiled the following items are of interest to subscribers of EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS

  • The Cliff-hanger Budget Process: The House passed their version of the Budget Continuing Resolution—now it is up to the Senate.
  • U.K. Imposes Avian Influenza Prevention Zones: Following isolation of HPAI from a reassortant H5N6 virus from wild birds precautions to prevent contact between domestic flocks and migratory birds have been imposed
  • JBS sells Five Rivers Cattle Feeding Company: Beleaguered JBS SA has sold the Five Rivers Cattle Feeding Company to Pinnacle Asset Group for $200 million
  • FDA to Release Guidance on FSMA: According to an FDA press release certain provisions of the FSMA applicable to the feed industry will not be enforced and will be the subject of an advisory.
  • U.S. Soy Crop a Record: Farmers in the U.S. harvested 4.39 billion bushels from 89.5 million acres with an average yield of 49.1 bushels per acre.

(SMS 137-18 January 19th 2018) 


Export of Shell Eggs and Products, January-November 2017.


USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing the first eleven months of 2017 with the corresponding period in 2016:-


Jan.-Nov. 2016

Jan.-Nov. 2017


Shell Eggs


Volume (m. dozen)



+1.7 (+1.5%)

Value ($ million)



+2.1 (+1.9%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)



-0.01 (+1.0%)

Egg Products




Volume (metric tons)



+15,514 (+62.2%)

Value ($ million)



+38.4 (+54.5%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)



-133 (-4.7%)





Shell egg exports from the U.S. during January-November 2017 increased by 1.7 percent in volume and 1.5 percent in total value compared to the corresponding period in 2016. Unit value was higher by 1 cent per dozen for the eleven-month comparison between 2016 and 2017. Hong Kong was the leading importer, with 34.2 million dozen representing 30.2 percent of volume and 28.2 percent of value of U.S. shipments of shell eggs with an average unit value of 94.2 cents per dozen.


USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, January18th 2018


Hen Numbers in Production Stable at 316.6 Million. Inventory down12.1 Percent. Mid- January Prices Lower by 10 Percent From Previous Week.


According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports posted on January 16 th the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra Large and Large sizes were down by 10.5 and 10.7 percent respectively from last week and Mediums were 10.9 percent lower. The progression of prices during 2017 is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

The January 16th USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 65: No. 03) documented a USDA Combined Region value of $1.12 per dozen delivered to warehouses. This price lags Midwest Weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large, in the Midwest was $1.03 per dozen. At the high end of the range, the price in the South Central Region attained $1.18 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was approximately 20 cents per dozen above the corresponding three-year average but following a similar trajectory.

The number of producing hens this week was down 0.1 million to 316.6 million. The hen population is at a high level relative to non-seasonal consumer and industrial demand. The total U.S. egg-flock comprises 320.1 million hens including 2nd Cycle birds and those in molt on all farms.




According to the January 12th 2018 WASDE release, 82.7 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2018 to yield 14.60 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.39 Billion bushels from 89.5 million acres harvested.


On Friday, January 12th 2018 at 15H00 on the CME, the following rounded quotations for corn, soybeans and soybean meal were recorded, together with the bracketed value for the previous week. Futures suggest stable ingredient prices going forward.




Corn (cents per bushel)

March ’18  347  (351)        

July      ‘18   363  (367)            

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Jan.      ’18  944  (960)    

March ’18   974  (970)      

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Jan.      ‘18  308  (318)

March ’18   321  (321) 

Changes in the price of soybeans and soybean meal this week were:-

Corn:                     March quotation down 4cents/Bu        (-1.1 percent)

Soybeans:            Jan. quotation down by 16 cents/Bu.   (-1.7 percent)

Soybean Meal:    Jan. quotation down by $10/ton           (-3.1 percent)                                  


  • For each 10 cent per bushel change in corn:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.45 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


  • For each $10 per ton change in the price of soybean meal:-

The cost of egg production would change by 0.40 cent per dozen

The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight


See WADE posting on CHICK-NEWS under STATISTICS tab summarizing the December 11th USDA-WASDE Report #572, reviewing price projections and quantities of commodities to be produced during the 2017-18 season.


(SMS 076-18. January 12th 2018)


USDA- WASDE FORECAST #573, January 12th 2018



The January 12th 2018 USDA WASDE projections for the 2018 corn and soybean harvests were estimated based on preliminary intentions to plant by farmers and historical data. Harvest areas for corn and soybeans were projected to be 82.7 million acres (83.1 million in 2017) and 89.5 million acres (unchanged from 2017) respectively. The USDA raised corn yield to176.6 bushels per acre (175.4 bushels in 2017). Soybean yield was lowered to 49.1 bushels per acre (49.5 bushels in 2017). Ending stock for corn was raised 1.6 percent to 2,477 million bushels. Ending stock for soybeans was raised 45.6 percent to 470 million bushels.


The projection of the corn harvest was raised 0.2 percent from December 2017 to 14,604 million bushels compared to the 2017 harvest of 14,577 million bushels and down 3.6 percent from the 2016 near-record harvest of 15,148 million bushels. None of the major categories of use were appreciably changed. The projected USDA range in farm price was narrowed to 295 to 355 cents per bushel. At 15H00 on January 12th CME quotations for January and May 2018 corn were 347 cents and 363 cents per bushel respectively.


Sad Passing of Wally Newman


Wallace "Wally" Newman, died peacefully on January 5, 2018 in Alpharetta, GA. at the age of 92.  He was born July 11, 1925 in Brooklyn, N.Y. In 1943 he enlisted in the United States Coast Guard. After training as a radioman, his first assignment was in the battle of the North Atlantic, on a Q-Ship, the USCGC Bighorn. He was subsequently promoted to Radioman 1st class and transferred to LST741 in the Pacific Theater where he fought in the invasion of Iwo Jima.

After WWII Wallace married and moved to a farm in Toms River, NJ, Shortly thereafter he built and operated a poultry farm where his three children spent their early years.

From 1955 until 1980 Wally Newman worked for Big Dutchman starting as the Salesman for New Jersey, and eventually becoming Sales and Marketing Manager for the Company. From 1982 until 1995 Wally served as Sales and Marketing Manager for the Chore-Time Egg Production Division. He was instrumental in extending the market penetration by the Company during a period of rapid expansion of the egg-production industry which was at that time erecting high-rise houses with multi-tier, stair-step cages.

Wally was a consummate gentleman with a phenomenal ability to remember people and their circumstances. He was a skilled negotiator with an extensive knowledge of the industry and his equipment. He was always ready to help with suggestions and was at his happiest interacting with his customers, all of whom were friends, at industry meetings and shows.

Wally was buried in a private ceremony in Woodbridge NJ on Sunday January 7th with a U.S. Coast Guard honor guard in attendance. He is survived by four grandchildren, daughter Barbara and sons Neal and David, president of Northeast Agri- Systems, Lititz, PA.

(SMS 080-18 January 12th 2018) Amended January 14



Frozen Egg Patties Added to USDA Purchase Program


The American Egg Board has announced that frozen egg patties have now been officially added to the USDA Federal Purchase Program for school food service serving.

This benefit to the industry results from promotions by the AEB to the USDA Agriculture Marketing Services Commodity and Procurement and Food Nutrition Services Team.

Detailed specifications for frozen patties are available from the AEB.




(SMS 091-18 January 14th 2018)


Awareness of U.S. Egg Products in Japan


The combined promotional efforts of the American Egg Board and USAPEEC in Japan through seminars and chef contest have increased awareness of U.S. egg products and their versatility.  The usage survey among food processors disclosed that 40 percent were aware of U.S. dried egg products and 30 percent of respondents reported using dried egg white during the past year.

For the period January through November, Japan received 11,256 metric tons of egg products valued at $39.8 million representing a 34 percent increase in value from corresponding eleven month period in 2016. Exports of egg products to Japan represented 28 percent of total exports of 40,461 m. tons for the eleven month period in 2017

(SMS 092-18 January 14th 2018)


Modifications to Dividers for the EggsCargo System® to Accommodate Robotics


Twin Pack Special Products has announced that the dividers for EggsCargo System® have been modified to facilitate handling by robots. The new modified dividers are however compatible with all existing EggsCargo System dividers supplied by Twin Packs Special Products.  No modification of robot end arms will be required.  The modifications were designed and completed with the cooperation of suppliers of robots to ensure compatibility.

The changes which have been made are illustrated in the diagram.

(SMS 093-18 January 14th 2018)



Smithfield Foods Converts to Group Housing for Pregnant Sows


When the Egg Bill was mooted, there was considerable opposition from the swine industry since adoption of Federal standards for hens was considered as a “slippery slope” which would lead to legislation against gestation crates for sows. At the time the system was generally regarded in disfavor by consumers and customers as inhumane. In response to trends in welfare Smithfield Foods, Tyson Foods and other integrators announced that would transition to group-housing for pregnant sows and would abandon “gestation crates”.

Since 2007 Smithfield Foods has committed more than $360 million to complete the transition in the U.S. and in all operations worldwide.  Poland and Romania have already completed conversion and joint ventures in Mexico are planning to complete the change by 2022.

Kenneth Sullivan, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods stated, “Smithfield's leadership in animal care is reflected in today's landmark announcement.”  He added, “Achieving this goal is a testament to the fact that, at Smithfield, we keep our promises. We stand committed to continue leading the industry in both animal care and transparency.”

When opposition from the swine industry was raised in relation to the Egg Bill, EGG-CITE predecessor to EGG-NEWS noted that, “the train had left the station” and that adherents to gestation crates were attempting to play King Canute by ignoring the ground swell to change the housing system.  Opponents of the transition claimed that productivity would be adversely affected by adopting group housing.  Initial evidence suggests that the opposite is the case and that capital expenditure on conversion is both necessary from a welfare and image perspective and also to maintain customer goodwill.

(SMS 094-18 January 15th 2018)



Dispute over Tax Abatement for Montana Egg Packing Plant


Cascade County Commissioners will continue the review the application by Montana Egg for a $7 million tax abatement following erection and commissioning of their packing plant in Great Falls, MN.  The Cascade County Commission was split over an agreement to grant the abatement at a meeting in mid-December. Given news reports concerning the dispute and the willingness of the Commission to reconsider the application, it is more likely than not that approval will be granted.  Two Commissioners agreed that it would be beneficial for applicants to provide details of projects and submit a formal request before initiating a project.


(SMS 095-18 January 15th 2018)


Whole Foods Market to Operate New DC in Chicago


Whole Foods Market has opened a 140,000 ft.2 distribution center on Chicago’s South Side. The facility will serve 60 stores in eight Midwest states and the Province of Ontario. The new DC replaces a Muncie, IN. operation. The design of the Chicago facility in Pullman, includes installations which improve energy use including high efficiency interior and exterior lighting, thermosiphon oil cooling and redistribution of refrigeration and waste to heat floors.

 Obviously the DC was planned and erected before the acquisition by Amazon and was in part a demonstration of the Whole Foods commitment to philanthropy and civic service. It is doubtful whether under new ownership that previous decisions made by John Mackey concerning the image of his company will continue. Amazon will demand a positive return on improvements which are accretive to profits.


(SMS 107-18 January 15th 2018)


U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Sonny Perdue to Headline Poultry Market Intelligence Forum at the 2018 IPPE


In a January 10th release, US Poultry and Egg Association announced that Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Sonny Perdue, will speak at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, January 31st during the Poultry Market Intelligence Forum sponsored by USPOULTRY in room C-202/204. The program will include review of domestic and global economies and improvements in performance affecting both poultry meat and egg production. The Poultry Market Intelligence Forum will run from 09h00 to 10h30.


(SMS 108-18 January 15th 2018)


Benefits of Consuming Whole Eggs on Muscle Development


A cooperative study conducted by scientists at the Universities of Illinois and Toronto supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture demonstrated the benefit of consuming whole eggs over egg white following exercise.  Subjects consuming whole eggs showed greater stimulation of myofibrillar protein synthesis providing a benefit as measured using an isotopically labeled amino acid, leucine.




(SMS 118-18 January 16th 2018)  


Dr. Tia Rains Promotes Egg Consumption for Babies


Dr. Tia M. Rains, Executive Director of the Egg Nutrition Center, funded by the American Egg Board recently published on aspects of nutrition on brain development from conception through to the second birthday. Eleven nutrients have been linked to cognitive development and any deficiency among the group will potentially result in impairment of intelligence and reasoning ability.  The critical nutrients include essential amino acids, essential polyunsaturated fatty acids, iron, zinc, copper, iodine, choline, folate and vitamins A, B6 and B12 especially during the first “thousand days”.  Eggs are rich in protein, choline, iodine and zinc with some specialty eggs showing higher levels of fat-soluble vitamins and minerals in addition to omega-3 fatty acids including DHA.



(SMS 119-18 January 16th 2018)


Illegal Manufacture and Distribution of Ice Cream


The Ohio Department of Agriculture has issued a public health alert relating to FlexFrost Protein ice cream deserts. The product was manufactured in an unlicensed plant in Columbus, OH without appropriate food safety protocols.

Desserts were packaged in 4-ounce containers and were distributed among other recipients to eight school systems and The Ohio State University. The Ohio Department of Agriculture is currently conducting a trace forward investigation to ascertain the points of delivery and to conduct a recall.

During recent years, established dairy manufacturing plants have encountered problems associated with E.coli, Salmonella and Listeria. In the case of FlexFrost, the absence of an HACCP system and other protocols may well have prejudiced microbiological quality although no reports of illness have been received. The saving grace is probably the limited size of manufacture, although distribution to schools is extremely troubling.


(SMS 120-18 January 16th 2018)


New Jersey Clamps Down on Illegal Distribution of Raw Milk


According to Federal Rules raw milk may not be distributed across state lines other than for “personal consumption”. The entity termed Udder Milk has contravened the restriction facilitating transport of milk from Pennsylvania to New Jersey where it is distributed by families within the state.

Authorities in New Jersey have issued cease and desist orders to eight families in accordance with the New Jersey Public Health and Food Protection Program. New Jersey, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Louisiana, Nevada and Rhode Island absolutely prohibit sale of raw milk in any form.

Federal and state laws were enacted in the 1920s when it became apparent that raw milk was responsible for dissemination of tuberculosis, brucellosis, salmonellosis, colibacillosis.

Raw milk represents less than one percent all milk consumption, but is responsible for 80 percent of milk-borne infections including emerging campylobacteriosis and STEC E.coli infection.


(SMS 121-18 January 16th 2018)


Alltech to Present Results of 2018 Global Feed Survey


Aidan Connolly, Chief Innovation Officer and Vice President of Corporate Accounts for Alltech will present the results of the 7th annual Alltech Global Feed Survey during the IPPE. The survey will contain information obtained from the Asia-Pacific region including new nations with a total of 142 countries representing more than 30,000 feed mills.







(SMS 122-18 January 17th 2018) 


Cal-Maine the Subject of an Intrusion Video


Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), an extremist animal rights organization posted a video purportedly obtained and clandestinely recorded at a Lake Wales, FL. complex at some undetermined time.

The video depicts:-

  • Inhumane handling of hens during depopulation which if authentic represents a lack of supervision of contract personnel

  • Mummified carcasses of hens in cages without specifying the prevalence in relation to the complex

  • Cockroach infestation which was probably localized since these insects are not generally encountered in high-rise laying houses.

  • Accumulation of eggs on belts which may have been due to a defect in an old installation.

    It is evident that the footage and many of the images, although not necessarily representing cruelty, were selected to create an impression of suboptimal housing and management. Different flocks were depicted and specific birds with skin lesions, cloacal prolapse or other defects not representative of the population of hens on this or any other farm, received inordinate emphasis as an appeal to the emotions.

    A review of the ARM website discloses that Whole Foods Market is a sponsor and has supported the organization and its activities through a “Donate a Dime” program.

    As with most intrusion videos Cal-Maine Foods responded with a clarification and statement which is reproduced in entirety:-

JACKSON, MS. Jan. 16, 2018-- Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ: CALM) today issued the following statement in response to a staged video released by Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), involving a Cal-Maine Foods employee and the treatment of laying hens at the Company’s Lake Wales, Florida, location:

Cal-Maine Foods is an industry leader in accepting and implementing animal welfare measures. All of the Company’s eggs are produced in accordance with United Egg Producers (UEP) animal care guidelines. Each employee involved in the care and handling of hens is required to review, sign and comply with the Company’s code of conduct regarding the ethical treatment of hens, which also requires employees to report any possible violations. The ARM video was taken by a former employee acting as an undercover activist, and he chose to disregard required farm procedures as part of his intent to misrepresent our efforts to provide proper care for our hens. The employee’s job included identifying and addressing the type of issues shown on the video, and he failed to meet his job requirements. The video depicts another employee deliberately mistreating a hen, and that employee was immediately terminated. Once the video was presented to us, we cooperated with the local sheriff’s department and officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in their investigation, and we provided them access to the Lake Wales facility. They reported they did not find comparable conditions to what was shown on the video. We believe that this was an isolated incident and does not reflect the ethical standards of animal care expected of all Cal-Maine Foods employees. Further, we continue to work with our animal welfare team to prevent this from happening in the future.

All of Cal-Maine Foods’ facilities are operated in full compliance with existing environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and permits. As a fully-integrated shell egg producer, all shell egg facilities are subject to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and are subject to various state and local health and agricultural agencies.

(SMS 125-18 January 17th 2018)


Severe Weather in 2017 Caused $300 Billion in Damage in the U.S.


A report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed the extent of extreme temperature and climatic conditions in 2017. These were manifest by two major hurricanes with flooding, wildfires in the West and tornadoes in the Midwest. NOAA confirmed that 2017 was the third-warmest on record. Each of the five warmest years since 1895 have occurred since 2006. The average annual temperature in the Lower 48 was 2.6 F above the average for the previous century.

Global warming has been blamed ironically for the extremely cold weather characterized as a “bomb cyclone”. Melting of the polar icecap which is a reality, interfered with circular weather patterns around the Northern Artic allowing the southward movement of polar air across the northern tier and eastern U.S. states.

 Commentators have forcefully distinguished between “climate” which relates to long-term trends and “weather” which is of short duration. Climate scientists have warned that global increases in temperature will affect agriculture and obviously will impact poultry production over the long term.

(SMS 123-18 January 2018)




BioChek IPPE Lunch Meeting



BioChBioChek will host a lunch event during the International Production & Processing Expo,
on Weon Wednesday January 31st. in Roob B 315. GWCC. Dr. Luuk Stooker, will be the guest
 speakspeaker with a with Q&A to follow.
The titThe title of the presentation is:-

"The development of an NDV-Fusion protein ELISA
and its place in a full NDV diagnostic strategy"

Dr. Stooker serves as the BioChek Sales Director for Europe,
Middle East and Africa. He joined BioChek in the summer of
2016 as Senior Poultry Product Manager progressing to his
current role during the fall of 2017.

Dr. Stooker earned his DVM from Utrecht University in the Netherlands and has extensive experience in the diagnosis
and control of poultry diseases.

The BioChek Smart Veterinary Diagnostics technical team will be available on
Booth B7314 , from January 30th until February 1st, 2017.
To register for the BioChek lunch please contact Tim Goode:


BioChek B.V.
Fokkerstraat 14
2811 ER Reeuwijk
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 (0)182 582 592


BioChek US
Scarborough 3 Southgate Road
Scarborough, ME 04074
United States
Tel: +01 (207) 883-3003

(SMS 109-18 January 16th 2018)



Outcome of NAFTA Negotiations to Influence Mexican Presidential Election


Unilateral withdrawal or attempting to impose deal-breaking conditions in NAFTA negotiations will have a negative effect on the outcome of the 2018 presidential election in Mexico. President Pena of the PRI party is currently highly unpopular and although he is constitutionally prevented from running, the nominated candidate lacks charisma and carries the baggage accumulated by the current Administration.

Candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is rising in popularity. Clearly a populous socialist demagogue, Obrador ran unsuccessfully against previous Presidents Calderon and Pena claiming rigged elections and creating turmoil with each narrow loss. Obrador was once aligned with the PRI, the dominant political party in Mexico for decades. In 1989 he split to form the socialistic PRD party. According to Mary Anastase O’Grady in an opinion published in The Wall Street Journal on January 8th, it is clear that if elected, Obrador would introduce policies detrimental to the U.S. Abandoning NAFTA would create considerable economic hardship in Mexico benefitting Obrador.

Trade negotiations have potential outcomes far beyond U.S. jobs, agricultural exports and intellectual property. An unfavorable outcome could result in a Venezuela on our doorstep.

(SMS 083-18 January 12th 2018)  


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