Egg Industry News


COMMODITY REPORT

09/23/2021

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT: SEPTEMBER 23rd 2021.

 

  • Commodity prices were less than one percent down over the past week despite inter-day fluctuations. Factors influencing prices in either direction included:-
    • Part restoration of operation of shipments from lower Mississippi export terminals following Hurricane Ida. Some installations have been repaired and now with power are unloading barges and preparing to load bulk carriers. (moderate upward pressure)
    • Delay in post-Ida cleanup caused by heavy precipitation from Hurricane Nicholas along the Gulf. (mild downward pressure)
    • Release of the September 10th WASDE (limited downward pressure);
    • Results of the ProFarmer crop review (limited downward pressure)
    • Lower than anticipated export sales, especially to China (downward pressure);
    • Moderation of drought in many counties in the corn belt with enhanced yields and especially in Iowa (moderate downward pressure);
    • Drought in Brazil causing a low Safrinha (second) crop (upward pressure);
    • Restoration of shipments from Argentina albeit at lower than normal volume (moderate downward pressure);
    • Central government of China attempting to stabilize prices of pork and corn (downward pressure).

Projected harvests and ending stocks in the U.S. were updated in the September 10th WASDE especially since there is greater clarity on acreage and the effects of weather and trade to date on ending stocks. Annual field assessment of crop conditions by ProFarmer scouts was released three weeks ago with yield projections similar to the September WASDE. The USDA is conducting evaluation of crop conditions to refine estimates for the October edition of the WASDE.

 

  • U.S producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers in the Midwest will pay above $5.30 per bushel for corn and crushers will pay $12.85 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis in late September. Corn was down 0.2 percent this past week and soybeans were down 0.8 percent for November delivery. Soybean meal was down 0.9 percent for December delivery compared to last week reflecting the decline in the price of soybeans and transitory suspension of exports from lower Mississippi terminals following Hurricane Ida.

     

  • The FAS Export Report released on September 23rd for the week ending September 16th reflecting market year 2021-2022, confirmed that outstanding export orders for corn for the new market year amounted to 24.1 million metric tons (950 million bushels) with 0.49 million metric tons (19.3 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week orders for the 2021-2022 market year amounted to 0.38 million metric tons (15.0 million bushels). For market year 2022-2023 outstanding sales amounted to 0.33 million metric tons (13 million bushels) with no sales recorded this past week.

     

  • The FAS Export Report released on September 23rd for the week ending September 16th reflecting market year 2021-2022 recorded outstanding export orders for soybeans amounting to 22.7 million metric tons (833 million bushels) with 0.27 million metric tons (9.9 million bushels) actually shipped. Weekly soybean orders attained 0.9 million metric tons (33.0 million bushels)

     

  • During the week ending September 16th 45,000 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered for the market year 2021-2022, down 53 percent from the previous week. The quantity shipped, presumably from recently repaired Gulf terminals and unaffected but congested West coast facilities amounted to 245,000 metric tons up 329 percent from the previous week.

 

he following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 13H00 on September 23rd 2021, compared with values posted at close of trading on September 16th 2021 (in parentheses):-

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec. 529 (530)

March ‘22. 536 (538)

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov. 1,284 (1,294)

March ’22. 1,297 (1,306)

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Dec. 340 (343)

March ’22. 346 (348)

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

 

COMMODITY CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK FOR MONTH OF DELIVERY AS INDICATED

Corn: Dec. quotation down 1 cent per bushel (-0.2 percent)

Soybeans: Nov. quotation down 10 cents per bushel (-0.8 percent)

Soybean Meal: Dec. quotation down $3 per ton (-0.9 percent )

 

The USDA weekly wholesale feedstuffs prices expressed per short ton posted on September 21st (with previous week in parentheses) were:-

  • Corn: $174 ($175), Chicago
  • Soybean Meal: $346 ($343), Central Illinois
  • Meat and Bone Meal: $380 ($385), Central Midwest
  • DDGS: $200 ($198), Eastern corn belt
  • For each $1 per ton (2.5 cents/bushel) change in corn:-
    • The cost of egg production would change by 0.011 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.06 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 0.44 cent per dozen
    • The cost of broiler production would change by 0.25 cent per pound live weight

 

The changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal for September 23 rd compared with September 16th USDA weekly quotations would increase nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.39 cents per dozen and for broilers 0.22 cents per live pound extending the decrease from the previous week .

Year-to-date, escalation in the prices of major ingredients has added 3.5* cents per dozen eggs and 1.9* cents per live-weight lb. to broiler production cost

*(rounded to 0.1cent)


 


Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act Introduced

09/23/2021

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) Chairperson of the House Appropriations Committee has introduced the Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act.  The intent of this proposed legislation is to enhance the ability of the USDA to purchase and distribute fresh fruit and vegetables.  DeLauro commented, "Last year the COVID-19 pandemic created the greatest economic and public health crisis in a generation".  She added, "As the economic crisis worsened hunger skyrocketed particularly among families with children and the pandemic has exploited our country's nutrition crisis disproportionately affecting Americans with chronic diet-related conditions including obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart failure".

 

DeLauro praised the Farmers to Families Box Program introduced by the previous Administration under the direction of then Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Sonny Perdue. The proposed Fresh Produce Procurement Reform Act will enable USDA to work with growers, distributors and food hubs to supply fruit and vegetables to local pantries and food banks.

 

Fruit and vegetables appear to have gained prominence in initiatives to improve nutrition dating back to the efforts of then First Lady Michelle Obama who championed balanced nutrition and worked against food deserts in inner cities of major metro regions.

 

It would certainly be of benefit to the egg industry if a Congressional champion for the nutritional value of eggs could be motivated.  Perhaps even Representative DeLauro with her knowledge of nutrition and public health could be persuaded as to the benefits of a low-calorie food with an ideal amino acid composition.


 

Cracker Barrel Reports on Q4 and Fiscal 2021

09/22/2021

On September 21st Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. (CBRL) posted results for Q4 and fiscal 2021 ending July 30th. For the quarter, revenue increased by 78 percent to $784.41 million.  Net earnings attained $36.36 million a 45 percent increase over Q4 of FY 2020 with EPS higher by 46 percent to $1.53. 

 

For the fiscal year, revenue increased by 12 percent to $2.82 billion with a substantial increase in net earnings to $254.51 million compared to a loss of $32.48 million in Q4 of FY 2020.  EPS increased from a loss of $1.36 to $10.71 for the most recent quarter.  Comparable restaurant sales compared with Q4 2019 were down 6.8 percent, but retail sales were up by 18.2 percent.  Comparing sales against Q4 of 2020, restaurant revenue increased by 18.2 percent and retail by 74.8 percent.

 

In commenting on performance, Sandra B. Cochran, CEO stated "despite the well-known headwinds the industry continues to face with respect to staffing, commodity and wage inflation and the resurgence of the pandemic, we are pleased that our fourth quarter profitability continues to trend positively from the third quarter and that our off-premise sales, retail business and Maple Street Biscuit Company concept continue to outperform".  She added, "I am confident that these and other initiatives position is well for 2022 despite the uncertain environment".

 

Cracker Barrel has a market capitalization of $3.18 billion with assets of $2.39 billion and long- term debt and lease obligations of $1.16 billion.  CBRL has traded over the past 52 weeks in a range of $106.92 to $178.82 with a 50-day moving average of $137.99.  As of August 31st, 9.2 percent of the float was short.  For the trailing twelve months, operating margin was 2.6 percent and profit margin 9.6 percent.  The company generated a return on assets of 1.7 percent and 46.8 percent on equity.


 

De Anda Predicts Egg Exports by Mexicoto Increase

09/22/2021

Prominent poultry producer and international personality Cesar De Anda predicts Mexico could become a major international egg supplier providing producers can meet accepted quality standards.  Quoted in the September 20th edition of the USAPEEC MondayLine, De Anda noted high domestic consumption and expansion of production facilities in Mexico. 

 

During the first seven months of 2021, Mexico imported 34.6 million dozen shell eggs and  3,771 metric tons of egg liquid and related products from the U.S.


 

USAPEEC and AEB to Present “Huevinars” During September and October

09/22/2021

The USAPEEC Mexico office in conjunction with the American Egg Board presented a virtual “Huevinar” promotional event on September 21st to be repeated on October 7th.  The online seminars in Spanish provide information on U.S. eggs, functionality, quality and application in bakery, food processing and food service.  Previous Huevinars have met with considerable interest with a large number of registrants and attendees.

 

For the first seven months of 2021 Mexico imported 34.6 million dozen shell eggs valued at $27.3 million and 3,771 tons of egg products  worth $8.0 million supplementing domestic production.

 

Additional information can be obtained from Liliana Solis lsolis@usapeec.org.mx


 

Quat. Disinfectants and Antibiotic Resistance

09/22/2021

Recent studies have demonstrated that under laboratory conditions, exposure of organisms to quaternary ammonium disinfectants may develop resistance to antibiotics. Potential pathogens frequently found in water treatment plants such as Pseudomonas aeroginosa exposed to alkyl-dimethylbenzyl-ammonium chloride develop resistance to penicillin, tetracycline and ciprofloxacin.   Exposure can alter sensitivity to antibiotics as illustrated by an isolate of Pseudomonas derived from a mid-western lake that became resistant to ciprofloxacin but more susceptible to streptomycin following exposure.

 

It is important for scientists working in the field of environmental bacteriology to determine the actual levels of quaternary ammonium disinfectants in the waters they study and relate these to concentrations used in food production and medical facilities to ascertain whether laboratory results are relevant to the real world.

 

Resistance of pathogens to Quaternary ammonium compounds is instinctively of significance in hatcheries and egg-packing plants if a single class of disinfectant is used for extended periods without appropriate microbiologic monitoring.


 

CDC Investigating two Salmonella Outbreaks

09/22/2021

According to a preliminary posting an ongoing outbreak of Salmonella Oranienburg has been diagnosed in 126 patients.  Concurrently a Salmonella Thompson outbreak is responsible for 76 cases.  No specific vehicle of infection has been identified and as of September 15th, there are no details as to states affected or the ages of those infected.


 

Kroger Masks Up

09/22/2021

The Kroger Company has implemented mandatory masking for all employees and contractors effective September 10th.  The Company does not intend to require masks in stores, but will abide by local and state mandates where applicable.  The requirement for masking will include all Kroger banners and may affect as many as 450,000 workers.

 

In announcing the policy, the Company stated “We are now requiring all associates and contractors to wear a mask when in our stores, offices, and other facilities regardless of vaccination status.  We continue to strongly encourage customers to wear masks to protect themselves and others and to curb the spread of COVID-19.”


 

FDA to Initiate Study of Pathogen Contamination in Cantaloupe

09/22/2021

The FDA will collect and assay 240 samples of cut cantaloupe to determine the possible presence of Listeria and Salmonella.  The initiative follows the 2011 Listeria outbreak responsible for 147 diagnosed cases with 143 hospitalizations and 33 fatalities.  Since this time, cantaloupe has been associated with isolated cases of salmonellosis and listeriosis.

 

Samples will be obtained from precut and packaged cantaloupe as delivered to schools, hospitals, and supermarkets.  It is presumed that surface contamination is introduced into the flesh of melons during processing as with meat and fish products.  Sampling melons at point of delivery will indicate the level of contamination.

 

A more comprehensive study from field through harvesting, washing, packaging, and also further processing is required if the FDA is to fully understand the dynamics of infection.  Determining rates of contamination would simply be used as a justification for standards or regulations.  What is required is a set of proven effective measures to reduce infection including a positive kill-step. 


 

Immigrant Status Cannot Be Bundled with "Social Infrastructure" Package

09/21/2021

Elizabeth MacDonough, the non-partisan Senate Parliamentarian has ruled that legislation to extend a path to citizenship for the DACA cohort  of 800,000 and approximately 11 million workers currently in the U.S. illegally cannot be included in the proposed $3.5 trillion Social Infrastructure and Climate Enhancement Bill. Accordingly the affected demographic will not receive approval for either permanent status or a path to citizenship.

 

Ms. MacDonough ruled that under current Senate procedures bundling legislative provisions are not allowed in bills if they are "merely incidental" to the overall policy intent. Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) stated, "we are deeply disappointed in this decision but the fight to provide lawful status for immigrants in a budget reconciliation continues".  He added, "Senate Democrats have prepared alternate proposals and we will be holding additional meetings with the Senate Parliamentarian in the coming days".

 

Immigration has become a highly charged political issue. Most agricultural and animal production associations are pressing the Administration to grant unlimited H-2A visas to qualified applicants to allow year-round employment.


 

GM Label Declaration Will be Unnecessary for Eggs

09/21/2021

In accordance with the proposed rules requiring labeling of products containing GM ingredients, eggs from flocks fed conventional diets will not fall under the mandate. In the U.S. hens are invariably fed diets containing GM corn and soybean meal processed from GM soybeans with the exception of eggs produced under the USDA Certified Organic or non-GMO verified programs.

 

It is widely acknowledged that there is no risk or deleterious effect from consuming foods containing GM ingredients.  In 2016 the National Academy of Sciences conducted an extensive review involving more than one thousand studies that demonstrated no harmful effect from GM products.  The World Health Organization, the American Association for Advancement of Science and the E.U. Commission have all confirmed that GM foods are innocuous.


 

Egg Week

09/20/2021

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, September 23rd 2021.

  • Shell inventory was up by 0.4 percent, following a sharp rise of 5.0 percent during the past week reflecting increasing oversupply relative to demand, consistent with addition of 0.3 million hens to the producing flock this week and 3.6 million over five weeks. Increased consumer activity prior to the Labor Day Weekend and more intense buying before Hurricane Ida moved stock from shelves but predictably prices are now falling. Midwest prices for generics are still above breakeven taking into account the combined costs of nest-run, grading, packaging and delivery. Chains spread their purchases and preempted anticipated price rises before the Labor Day weekend following a trend. It is possible that with a large National flock this strategy will suppress traditional pre-Christmas increases. Industry observers and participants expect buyers to adjust purchases only in response to retail demand and will hold down inventories in their DCs and stores. Since the beginning of 2021 generic eggs have been consistently priced, with a few exceptions, at levels to maximize margins. This strategy has depressed the volume of sales to the disadvantage of the industry. Market data suggests that chains have selected shelf prices for generic white eggs in response to prevailing demand and are not featuring generic Large or Extra large.

 

  • Currently inventory comprises close to five days of production. Price movement over the past eight months defies conventional supply to demand relationships and indicates extraneous factors affecting price. Wholesale Midwest prices for Extra- large and Large were down this past week after sequential declines. This suggests that prices have plateaued and will decline into October. 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 up 0.1 percent (0.3 million hens) from the week of September 15th to 316.2 million despite seasonal depletions, with about 3.0 million molted hens having resumed production during the past month. The Industry previously demonstrated beneficial restraint in flock placement with continued depletions and non-restocking of some complexes or houses. The trend going forward is for a larger flock. Margins will continue to decline for commodity eggs unless matched with increased demand as predicated by prevailing seasonal wholesale price over the past four weeks.

 

  • The USDA average Midwest benchmark prices for generic Extra Large and Large were down 14.0 and 14.2 percent respectively over the past week to 110.5 and 108.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were down 9.9 percent to 72.5 cents per dozen. Second quarter prices reflected static demand, offset by decreases in the U.S. flock in production. The trajectory of prices through the third week of September suggests a decline moving through the remainder of the month into October. Margins going forward will be shaved despite stability in feed price but with higher labor and fuel costs especially as unit revenue erodes.

 

  • There is some prospect of a return of the food service sector with both frozen and dried-egg prices marginally higher. The economy is reopening despite a rise in COVID incidence rates and hospitalizations in many regions. There is some optimism over the rate of deployment and acceptance of the three vaccines especially in rural areas and inner city zones. Reopening of the economy and schools in areas with low population immunity has resulted in a surge in the incidence rate of COVID. This is especially the case following the introduction and dissemination of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus that is more infectious and possibly with higher pathogenicity than the original strain especially among the non-immunized proportion of the population that represent an overwhelming majority of those hospitalized.

 

  • The Midwest price for breaking stock was down 6.6 percent to an average of 63.5 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were unchanged at an average of 57.5 cents per dozen. It is anticipated that these prices will fluctuate in response to market trends and gradual recovery of the breaking sector.

 

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on September 20th, the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large were lower by 14.0 percent to an average of 110.5 cents per dozen; Large were down 14.2 percent to 108.5 cents per dozen; Mediums were 9.9 percent lower to 72.5 cents per dozen as delivered to DCs. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing, packaging materials and transport) cost of 69.7 cents per dozen in August 2021. The progression of prices during 2021 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

 

The September 20th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 38) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.37 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending September 13th 2021. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.27 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.45 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 50 cents per dozen above the 3-year average. This past week Midwest Large was approximately 54 cents above the corresponding week in 2020.


 


Ford and Walmart to Test Delivery of Groceries Using Autonomous Vehicles

09/20/2021

Ford Motor and affiliate Argo AI will initiate trials of home delivery of groceries from Walmart using autonomous vehicles.  Tests will be conducted in Miami, Washington DC and Austin TX in limited areas.

 

Bryan Salesky, founder and CEO of Argo AI stated, “Our focus is on the testing and development of self-driving technology that operates in urban areas where customer demand is high”

 

Argo AI has evaluated 150 autonomous vehicles in six cities over the past six months and has established an alliance with Lyft to offer rides in self-driving cars.


 

Sam’s Club to Increase Starting Wage

09/20/2021

Faced with competition for available labor, Sam’s Club CEO, Kath McLay has announced that the minimum wage for workers would be raised from $11 to $15 effective September 25th.  Currently 95 percent of workers receive at least $15 per hour but the increase would also be reflected in higher wage rates for workers with experience and seniority.  In a memo to employees Ms. McLay stated, “We want you to be competitively paid, whether you have found your destination job or you’re starting out and are eager to climb the ladder.”  The new wage rate will affect one-third of hourly workers including forklift drivers, personal shoppers and team leaders. 

 

Costco raised their starting wage to $16 per hour during the second quarter but the company offers a wide range of fringe benefits and opportunities.


 

Crop Progress

09/20/2021

Status of 2021 Corn and Soybean Crops

The USDA Crop Progress Report released on September 20th documented corn and soybean crop conditions to September 19 th compared to 5-year averages. This past week 93 percent of corn was at the dent stage. Fifty seven percent of the corn crop was mature, 10 percent ahead of the 5-year average and the same as in 2020. For soybeans 58 percent of the crop was dropping leaves consistent with the 5-year average and 6 percent has been harvested.

 

Surface moisture levels were relatively lower on average during the past week over the corn-belt attaining an average of 35.2 percent for areas classified in the two lowest categories of “Short” and “Very short”. The severe drought in Western states and the Dakotas continues with extensive wildfires in the Northwest. Topsoil moisture in Iowa was down this past week at 40 percent compared to 35 percent last week in the two lowest moisture categories. Despite the variable levels of topsoil moisture among states, 59 percent of the corn crop was classified under the “Good” and “Excellent” categories by the USDA, higher by one percent from last week. The corresponding figure for soybeans was 58 percent, also up 1 percent from last week.

 

The ProFarmer Crop Tour completed three weeks ago, estimated corn yield to range from 175.2 to 178.8 bushels per acre with a mean value of 177.0 bushels per acre compared to the September WASDE value of 176.3 bushels per acre. This corresponded to a projected range for the 2021 corn harvest of 14.965 to 15.265 billion bushels with a mean value of 15.116 billion bushels compared to the September WASDE value of 14.996 billion bushels.

 

The ProFarmer Crop Tour estimated the soybean yield to range from 50.2 to 52.2 bushels per acre with a mean value of 51.2 bushels per acre compared to the September WASDE value of 50.6 bushels per acre. This corresponded to a projected range in the 2021 soybean harvest of 4.347 to 4.525 billion bushels with a mean value of 4.525 billion bushels compared to the September WASDE value of 4.374 billion bushels.

 

CHICK-NEWS and EGG-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA through the end of the 2021 harvest in November.

 

Reference is made to the September 10th WASDE Report #616 and the Acreage Report retrievable under the STATS tab for projected 2021 acreage and yields. This data will be updated when WASDE #617 is released on Friday October 8th with a firmer projection of yields and ending stocks.

 

 

WEEK ENDING

 

Crop

September 12th

September 19th

5-Year Average

Corn Dough (%)

Corn Dented (%)

Corn Mature (%)

Corn Harvested (%)

100

87

37

4

100

93

57

10

100

89

47

9

Soybeans setting pods (%)

Soybeans Dropping leaves (%)

Soybeans Harvested (%)

100

35

-

100

58

6

100

48

6

Crop Condition

18 States

V. Poor

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Corn 2021 (%)

Corn 2020 (%) 1

1. Late planting

5

5

10

9

26

25

45

47

14

14

Soybeans 2021 (%)

Soybeans 2020 (%)1

1. Late planting

4

3

10

7

28

27

47

51

11

12

Parameter 48 States

V. Short

Short

Adequate

Surplus

Topsoil moisture %: Past Week*

18

32

47

3

Past Year

14

28

54

4

Subsoil moisture %: Past Week

21

31

46

2

Past Year

15

28

53

4

 

 

For topsoil moisture the major corn and soybean-producing states had an average of 35.2 percent in the “Very Short” and “Short” categories (last week 33 percent) with a range of 6 percent for PA to 51 percent for IN.

 

  • Iowa 40% (was 35%)
  • Illinois 38% (was 33%)
  • Indiana 51% (was 47%)
  • Kansas 49% (was 45%)
  • Kentucky 18% (was 22%)
  • Michigan 22% (was 38%)
  • Missouri 43% (was 33%)
  • Ohio 50% (was 40%)
  • Pennsylvania 6% (was 4%)

 

Egg-Free Mayonnaise Using Chickpea Isolate

09/20/2021

ChickP of Israel had isolated a protein from chickpeas to be added to plant-based mayonnaise. The product obviates the need to add hydrocolloids and stabilizers to achieve emulsification.  The manufactures claim retention of high solubility, heat stability and foaming despite extended shelf life.

 

Ron Klein, CEO of ChickP stated, "based on work with Aquafaba, the development has been a culinary game changer for many vegans".  He added, "the downside is that it still does not present a viable egg substitute in nutritional terms as it contains only a fraction of the protein of an egg".

 

The same can be said of all plant-based mayonnaise substitutes prepared without eggs.  Irrespective of the nutritional inferiority, the ChickP product appears to offer advantages over other ersatz mayonnaise products developed and marketed in the U.S.


 

Minnesota Sues Sparboe Farms Over COVID-period Pricing

09/20/2021

On September 3rd the Attorney General of the state of Minnesota filed a complaint against Sparboe Farms alleging excessive pricing during April 2020.  The case arises from the unprecedented transitory increase in the wholesale prices of eggs. The lawsuit is based on an executive order issued by Governor Tim Walz on March 20th 2020 prohibiting “unconscionably excessive increases in the prices of essential items during the COVID-19 peacetime emergency.”

 

During late March and April, prices charged by Sparboe were greater than the 20 percent cap specified in the Minnesota Executive Order.  Reference to USDA data confirmed that the USDA Combined Regional Large Egg Weekly average price increased from approximately 85 cents per dozen in mid-March to a peak of $2.85 per dozen in mid-April with a sharp decline thereafter to previous levels by mid-May.

 

The Minnesota Attorney General presented evidence that retail and wholesale customers requested Sparboe to lower prices.  Sparboe apparently countered that the price was based on contracts linked to a widely used industry price discovery benchmark to justify price increases rather than any quantifiable increase in production costs. The Attorney General has discovered internal company documents and memorandums relating to the price increase.

 

Previously the Minnesota Attorney General settled an investigation into alleged ‘price gouging’ by Forsman Farms.  Under an assurance of a discontinuance document, Forsman Farms agreed on April 28th 2020 to limit prices to no more than 20 percent over pre-emergency values and to abide by existing contracts if they dictated a price lower than the ceiling.  In commenting on the settlement, Attorney General Keith Ellison stated, “I was encouraged to see Forsman Farms cooperate fully with my office’s investigation and I am pleased that the mutual resolution protects Minnesotans against excessive increases in egg prices during the emergency.”

 

This case also illustrates the distorting effect of the prevailing price discovery benchmark that amplifies both upward and downward swings in price. This occurs since fewer chain buyers represent a larger proportion of the market, all reacting to the published price for a perishable product with limited shelf life.


 

Updated August 2021 USDA Projection for U.S. Egg Production

09/16/2021

The USDA Economic Research Service issued an updated forecast of egg production on September 16th 2021 revising the previous August 18th 2021 report. The September projection of production for 2021 was increased by 0.2 percent from 2020 to 8,073 million dozen with a per capita consumption of shell eggs and liquids combined of 284.1 down 1.4 percent compared to 2020. The average 2021 benchmark New York bulk unit price was raised to 117.8 cents per dozen taking into account higher prices during the first quarter and in August. The USDA provided a long-term forecast for 2022 of 8,175 million dozen produced, with a consumption of 287.4 per capita. Subsequent USDA forecasts will provide greater clarity on reopening of the economy that is still depressed with moderate unemployment attributed to COVID restrictions.

 

September 2021 data is shown in the table below:-

 

Parameter

2018

(actual)

2019

(actual)

2020

(actual)

2021

(forecast)

2022

(projection)

% Difference

2020-2021

 

           

Production (m. dozen)

8,042

8,265

8,058

8,073

8,175

+0.2

Consumption (eggs per capita)

287.8

293.6

286.5

284.1

287.4

-0.8

New York price (c/doz.)

138

94

112

118

117

+4.5

 

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook

released September 16th 2021

 

Subscribers to EGG-NEWS are referred to the postings depicting weekly prices, volumes and trends and the monthly review of prices and related industry statistics.


 

U.S. Department of Energy Anticipates Increased Solar Supply

09/16/2021

In a recent Department of Energy release entitled “Solar Futures Study” prepared by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the Agency predicted that 35 percent of the U.S. requirement for electricity could be provided by solar in 2035.  Further investment could increase the proportion to 45 percent by 2050.  These optimistic predictions are however based on government investment, technological advances and willingness to invest in solar energy.  To achieve the DOE targets, capacity would have to increase by 30 gigawatts each year through 2025 and double to 60 gigawatts annually through to 2030.  In 2020 solar capacity increased by 20 gigawatts representing a 40 percent increase compared to 2019.

 

Although capital investment in solar and other environmentally acceptable generation may attain $560 billion, this will be offset by the cost of environmental degradation attributed to climate change caused by fossil fuels. Expenditure on repair of infrastructure after hurricanes, floods, polar vortices and droughts must be considered in relation to any investment in alternative sources of energy.

 

Apart from the technical issues, socioeconomic factors must be taken into account.  Workers involved in fossil fuel generation will be displaced and compensatory resources must be allocated in an equitable way. 

 

Progressive companies such as family-owned and operated Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch Inc. have installed solar panels adjacent to their new Pennsylvania complex.  Greater use should be made of the potential to generate on-farm power that will in the short term require increased government subsidies.


 

Egg Industry in Saudi Arabia

09/16/2021

According to a USDA-FAS GAIN Report SA2021-0010 released on September 10th the table egg industry in Saudi Arabia is more than self-sufficient and has been exporting to neighboring countries for more than 15 years.  Production in 2020 attained 483 million dozen eggs, 11 percent more than in 2019. Assuming 80 percent hen-week production this places the national flock at 20 million hens in production. Domestic consumption is estimated at 157 eggs per capita assuming a population of 35 million.

 

 Factors that contributed to expansion included liberal government subsidies.  On January 1st, 2020, the Government of Saudi Arabia transitioned from a subsidy on animal feed to a production-based value equivalent to $4 per case of 360 eggs. Expansion was also stimulated by indirect subsidies and interest-free loans and rebates on duty for imported equipment.  The Ministry of the Environment, Water Affairs and Agriculture has actively encouraged the establishment of new egg production units and expansion of existing farms.  This is in accordance with the Vision 2030 framework, establishing national goals including self-sufficiency in food and diversification from an oil economy.

 

During 2020 producers in Saudi Arabia exported 25 million dozen shell eggs representing 5.5 percent of production. Destinations included 73.4 percent to neighboring Bahrain, 12.4 percent to Oman, 8.6 percent to the UAE and lesser quantities to other nations in the Middle East.  It is however anticipated that currently importing nations will also adopt policies of self-sufficiency limiting future export potential.


 

COMMODITY REPORT

09/16/2021

WEEKLY COMMODITY REPORT: SEPTEMBER 16TH 2021.

 

  • Commodity prices were mostly down this past week with corn ending substantially lower continuing the trend of the previous week. Factors influencing prices in either direction included:-
    • Part restoration of operation of shipments from lower Mississippi export terminals following Hurricane Ida. Some installations have been repaired and with power are unloading barges and preparing to load bulk carriers. (moderate upward pressure)
    • Delay in post-Ida cleanup caused by heavy precipitation from Hurricane Nicholas along the Gulf. (mild downward pressure)
    • Release of the September 10th WASDE (limited downward pressure);
    • Results of the ProFarmer crop review (downward pressure)
    • Lower than anticipated export sales especially to China (downward pressure);
    • Moderation of drought in many counties in the corn belt and especially in Iowa (moderate downward pressure);
    • Drought in Brazil causing a low Safrinha (second) crop (upward pressure);
    • Restoration of shipments from Argentina albeit at lower than normal volume (moderate downward pressure);
    • Central government of China attempting to stabilize prices of pork and corn (downward pressure).

 

Projected harvests and ending stocks in the U.S. were updated in the September 10th WASDE especially since there is greater clarity on acreage and the effects of weather and trade to date on ending stocks. Annual field assessment of crop conditions by ProFarmer scouts was released three weeks ago with yield projections similar to the September WASDE. The USDA is conducting evaluation of crop conditions..

 

  • U.S producers are now receiving and conversely livestock producers in the Midwest will pay above $5.00 per bushel for corn and crushers will pay $12.80 per bushel for soybeans plus transport and basis in September. Corn was down 2.5 percent this past week and soybeans were down <0.1 percent for September delivery. Soybean meal was up 1.2 percent for September delivery compared to last week reflecting the decline in the price of soybeans and suspension of exports from lower Mississippi terminals following Hurricane Ida.
  • The FAS Export Report released on September 16th for the week ending September 9th reflecting market year 2021-2022, confirmed that outstanding export orders for corn for the new market year amounted to 24.22 million metric tons (954 million bushels) with 0.30 million metric tons (14.2 million bushels) actually shipped. During the past week orders for the 2021-2022 market year amounted to 0.25 million metric tons (9.9 million bushels). For market year 2022-2023 outstanding sales amounted to 0.33 million metric tons (13 million bushels) with sales of 23,000 metric tons ((0.9 million bushels)
  • The FAS Export Report released on September 16th for the week ending September 9th reflecting market year 2021-2022 recorded outstanding export orders for soybeans amounting to 22.0 million metric tons (807 million bushels) with 0.26 million metric tons (9.5 million bushels) actually shipped. Weekly soybean orders attained 1.26 million metric tons (46.2 million bushels)
  • During the week ending September 9th 95,400 metric tons of soybean meal and cake were ordered for the market year 2021-2022, up 57 percent from the previous week. The quantity shipped, presumably from other than Gulf terminals amounted to 57,100 metric tons up 29 percent from the previous week.

 

The following quotations for delivery in the months as indicated were posted by the CME at 13H00 on September 16th 2021, compared with values posted at close of trading on September 9th 2021 (in parentheses):-

COMMODITY

 

Corn (cents per bushel)

Dec. 530 (516)

March ‘22. 538

Soybeans (cents per bushel)

Nov. 1,294 (1,288)

March ’22. 1,306

Soybean meal ($ per ton)

Dec. 339 (343)

March ’22. 348

 

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

 

COMMODITY CHANGE FROM PAST WEEK FOR MONTH OF DELIVERY AS INDICATED

Corn: Dec. quotation up 14 cent per bushel (+2.7 percent)

Soybeans: Nov. quotation up 6 cents per bushel (+0.5 percent)

Soybean Meal: Dec. quotation down $4 per ton (-1.2 percent )

 

The USDA weekly wholesale feedstuffs prices expressed per short ton posted on September 14th (with previous week in parentheses) were:-

  • Corn: $175 ($175), Chicago
  • Soybean Meal: $344 ($341), Central Illinois
  • Meat and Bone Meal: $385 ($390), Central Midwest
  • DDGS: $198 ($198), Eastern corn belt
  • 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 0.44 cent per dozen

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

The changes in the prices of corn and soybean meal for September 14 th compared with September 9th USDA weekly quotations would increase nest-run production cost for eggs by 0.4* cents per dozen and for broilers 0.3* cents per live pound extending the decrease from the previous week .

 

Year-to-date, escalation in the prices of major ingredients has added 3.5 cents per dozen eggs and 2.1 cents per live-weight lb. to broiler production cost

*(rounded to 0.1cent)


 


USDA-APHIS Webinar on Preventing HPAI

09/16/2021

The USDA-APHIS will present a program on Prevention of HPAI on September 23rd 2021, at 14H30 ETD.  Speakers will include:

  • Dr. Julie Gauthier, Assistant Director for Poultry Health USDA-APHIS.  Dr. Gauthier holds MPH and DVM degrees and is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine.
  • Dr. Carol Cardona, Holder of the Ben Pomeroy Chair in Avian Health, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota.  Dr. Cardona serves as co-Director and co-co-Principal Investigator at the Minnesota Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance.
  • Dr. Tim Boyer, a scientist with the Center for Epidemiology and Animal Health in the USDA-APHIS.  Dr. Boyer has evaluated the epidemiology of END and HPAI including emergency preparation and control measures.  Dr. Boyer holds MPH and Ph.D degrees.


 

Rose Acre Farms Divests Soybean Plant

09/16/2021

In a September 13th release, Benson Hill Inc. announced acquisition of a soybean crushing plant from Rose Acre Farms.  The transaction will be funded by Western Technology Investment.

 

Bruce Bennett, President, for Ingredients at Benson Hill stated, "the acquisition of the Rose Acre Farm soybean crushing facility represents an important next step in the execution of our playbook for growth".  He added, "this targeted investment can ultimately provide the production capacity to deliver on our integrated business model for commercialization and scaling of our innovative soybean products including ultra-high protein soybean ingredients.  Benson Hill is promoting ultra-high protein soybeans and has contracted to extend acreage for the 2022- growing season. 

 

Tony Wesner, COO of Rose Acre Farms stated, "we look forward to continuing our partnership with Benson Hill and believe they will be a valuable member of our community.  We expect this transaction will result in value to our local farmers, particularly as opportunities for the Benson Hill network of farmer partners continues to expand".


 

Kroger Partners with Instacart on Kroger Delivery Now

09/16/2021

The new Kroger Delivery Now service will be available in 2,750 stores in 35 states under a wide range of Kroger banners serving a potential 50 million households in the U.S.  Rodney McMullen CEO commented, "This is a differentiated solution in the E-commerce industry, not just the grocery sector.  Our new service provides customers with one more way to shop with us and address the importance of convenience and immediacy". Consumers will access the service using a convenience hub, listing essentials that can be delivered by Instacart Express with 30-minute delivery on orders of $10.

 

Fidji Simo, the newly appointed CEO of Instacart commented, "we are proud to expand our long-time strategic partnership with Kroger and together as we unveil Kroger Delivery Now  to access convenience delivery nationwide". Ms. Simo continued, "Instacart has become a powerful retail enablement platform and today's expansion of our Kroger partnership is another example of our commitment to develop new solutions that help retailers grow and meet the involving needs of their businesses and customers".

 

The relationship between Kroger and Instacart was initiated in 2017 in California and has undergone a series of modifications and improvements including a 2019 service to deliver alcohol, where permitted by state rules. The current Kroger Delivery Now service was refined in mid-2019 and complemented other Kroger E-commerce initiatives including Kroger Delivery, Kroger Shipt, and Kroger Pick-up.


 

California Provides Formal Notice of Rulemaking Relating to Proposition #12

09/16/2021

In terms of rulemaking arising from the adoption of Proposition #12, Farm Animal Confinement, the California Department of Food and Agriculture is preparing regulations in accordance with Chapter 10 of the California Code of Regulations. And specifically the Health and Safety Code, Sections 25990 through 25994, relating to farm animal confinement standards.

 

The public written comment period ran from May 28th to July 12th, 2021.  The department then conducted a remote public hearing for the regulatory proposal on Friday, August 27th. 

 

 

Details relating to the proposed regulations relating to Proposition #12 are available on the department website www.cdfa.ca.gov/AHFSS/regulations.  The website includes the proposed regulatory text, the standardized Regulatory Impact Assessment. Transcripts of the public hearing of August 27th 202, will be posted in due course.

 

Proposition #12 relates to welfare; however, the legal justification is based on egg safety and quality management, effectively a legal manipulation to overcome a prohibition on interstate commerce.  Table-egg flocks irrespective of whether housed in conventional cages, enriched colony cages or alternative non-confined systems should not represent any danger of producing eggs contaminated with Salmonella Enteritidis. This contention is however subject to compliance with the FDA Final Rule on the prevention of Salmonella or even more strict EQAPs or the standard operating procedures of a specific nationally distributed brand.

 


 

Egg Week

09/15/2021

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, September 15th 2021.

  • Shell inventory was up by 5.0 percent, following a rise of 2.7 percent for the previous week reflecting increasing oversupply relative to demand, consistent with addition of 0.3 million hens to the producing flock this week and 3.3 million over three weeks. Increased consumer activity prior to the Labor Day Weekend and more intense buying before Hurricane Ida moved stock from shelves but predictably prices are now falling. Midwest prices for generics are still comfortably above breakeven taking into account the combined costs of nest-run, grading, packaging and delivery. Chains spread their purchases and preempted anticipated price rises before the Labor Day weekend following a trend. It is possible that with a large National flock this strategy will suppress traditional pre-Christmas increases. Industry observers and participants expect buyers to adjust purchases only in response to retail demand and will hold down inventories in their DCs and stores. Since the beginning of 2021 generic eggs have been consistently priced, with a few exceptions, at levels to maximize margins. This strategy has depressed the volume of sales to the disadvantage of the industry. Market data suggests that chains have selected shelf prices for generic white eggs in response to holiday demand and are not featuring generic Large or Extra large.

 

  • Currently inventory comprises close to five days of production. Price movement over the past six months defies conventional supply to demand relationships and indicates extraneous factors affecting price. Wholesale Midwest prices for Extra- large and Large were down this past week after sequential rises and then stability extending over the past six weeks. This suggests that prices have plateaued and will decline extending through September. 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 up 0.1 percent (0.3 million hens) from the week of September 8th to 315.9 million despite seasonal depletions, with about 3.0 million molted hens having resumed production during the past month. The Industry previously demonstrated beneficial restraint in flock placement with continued depletions and non-restocking of some complexes or houses. The trend going forward is for a larger flock but per dozen margins will continue to decline for commodity eggs unless matched with increased demand despite prevailing seasonal wholesale price over the past four weeks.

 

  • The USDA average Midwest benchmark prices for generic Extra Large and Large were down 3.0 and 3.1 percent respectively over the past week at 128.5 and 126.5 cents per dozen. Mediums were unchanged at 80.5 cents per dozen. Second quarter prices reflected static demand, offset by decreases in the U.S. flock in production. The trajectory of prices through the second week of September suggests a decline moving through the month. Margins going forward will be shaved despite stability in feed price but with higher labor and fuel costs especially as unit revenue erodes.

 

  • There is some prospect of a return of the food service sector with both frozen and dried-egg prices marginally higher. The economy is reopening despite a rise in COVID incidence rates and hospitalizations in many regions. There is some optimism over the rate of deployment and acceptance of the three vaccines especially in rural areas and inner city zones. Reopening of the economy and schools in areas with low population immunity has resulted in a surge in the incidence rate of COVID. This is especially the case following the introduction and dissemination of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus that is more infectious and possibly with higher pathogenicity than the original strain especially among the non-immunized proportion of the population that represent an overwhelming majority of those hospitalized.

 

  • The Midwest price for breaking stock was down 3.6 percent to an average of 68.0 cents per dozen. Checks in the Midwest were down 8.7 percent to an average of 57.5 cents per dozen. It is anticipated that these prices will fluctuate in response to market trends and gradual recovery of the breaking sector.

 

OVERVIEW

Prices

According to the USDA Egg Market News Reports released on September 13th, the Midwest wholesale prices for Extra-large were lower by 3.1 percent to an average of 128.5 cents per dozen; Large were down 3.1 percent to 126.5 cents per dozen; Mediums were unchanged at 80.5 cents per dozen as delivered to DCs. Prices should be compared with the USDA benchmark average 6-Region blended nest-run, (excluding provisions for packing, packaging materials and transport) cost of 69.7 cents per dozen in August 2021. The progression of prices during 2021 to date is depicted in the USDA chart reflecting three years of data, updated weekly.

 

The September 13th 2021 edition of the USDA Egg Market News Report (Vol. 68: No. 37) documented a USDA Combined Region value rounded to the nearest cent, of $1.41 per dozen delivered to warehouses for the week ending September 6th 2021. This average price lags current Midwest weekly values by one week. The USDA Combined range for Large in the Midwest was $1.31 per dozen. At the high end of the range, price in the South Central Region attained $1.49 per dozen. The USDA Combined Price last week was 42 cents per dozen above the 3-year average. This past week Midwest Large was approximately 54 cents above the corresponding week in 2020.


 


Cindy Long Appointed as Administrator of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service

09/14/2021

Cindy Long, Acting Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service has been confirmed as the Permanent Administrator.  She has extensive experience with the USDA including Deputy Administrator for the Child and Nutrition Program. This position involved management of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and other initiatives implemented by the Food and Nutrition Service.

 

Ms. Long earned a BA in economics from the University of Notre Dame and an MPA in public policy and economics from the Princeton University School of Public and International Affairs.

 

 


 

Secretary Vilsack Urges Patience for the Biofuels Industry

09/14/2021

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack has assured the biofuels industry that the $700 million package announced in June will be forthcoming.  He ascribes the delay to a review by the Office of Management and Budget that has final authority for approval.

 

It is a matter of record that COVID resulted in reduced demand for vehicle fuel severely impacting the ethanol industry. 

 

In a statement on Thursday September 9th Secretary Vilsack commented, “We are doing the best we can to try to move things forward and hopefully we will get to announce the resources and structure in which we are going to allocate those resources in the very near future.”


 

Whole Foods Market to Install Just Walk Out Technology

09/14/2021

Just Walk Out a checkout-free technology developed by Amazon will be progressively extended to Whole Foods Market locations in 2022.  The Just Walk Out system uses overhead cameras, weight sensors and AI to track purchases by consumers and to calculate payment.  Customers can select the Just Walk Out option when entering the store or use the traditional checkout lane.  The Just Walk Out method of payment will require scanning a QR code on an app, scanning their palm on an Amazon One signature device and inserting a credit card linked to an Amazon account.  On exiting the store, Just Walk Out debits an Amazon account and sends a digital receipt to the app.

 

John Mackey, CEO stated, “By collaborating with Amazon to introduce Just Walk Out shopping customers will be able to purchase fresh products and receive exceptional services throughout their shipping trip and save time by skipping the checkout line.”

 

Just Walk Out is used in Amazon Go stores in Washington State, home of the parent company.  Amazon Go has 17 locations in operation all undergoing transition to the Amazon Fresh banner.  The Whole Foods Market subsidiary of Amazon operates 506 stores in the U.S., 14 locations in Canada with an additional six in the U.K.


 

Avian Influenza in France

09/14/2021

A case of avian influenza strain H5N8 was diagnosed in a backyard flock in France near the border with Belgium. This event followed cases of H5N8 avian influenza in this neighboring nation and in adjacent Luxembourg.

 

The Ministry of Agriculture has increased the avian influenza risk from negligible to moderate. This determination will result in confinement of hens in areas considered to be vulnerable to introduction and dissemination of infection. As in previous years the most recent outbreaks are attributed to introduction by migratory waterfowl and additional cases are most likely.


 

The Kroger Companies Posts Q2 Results with Higher Sales but Lower Earnings

09/14/2021

On September 10th the Kroger Companies (KR) posted results for the second quarter of fiscal 2021 ending August 14th.  For the period, sales increased 3.9 percent over the second quarter of fiscal 2020 to attain $31.682 billion.  Net earnings declined by 43 percent to $467 million with a corresponding 40.4 percent reduction in EPS to $0.62. For the period, identical store sales decreased by 0.6 percent but on a two-year stacked basis were 14.0 percent higher. For full FY 2021 The Company provided guidance including an adjusted identical-store sales loss of 1.0 to 1.5 percent and an operating profit of $3.9 to $4.0 billion.

 

In commenting on the quarter, Rodney McMullen, Chairman and CEO stated, “Our strategic focus on leading with fresh and accelerating with digital continues to build momentum across our business. The Kroger seamless ecosystem is working.  This was evident during the quarter as we saw customers shift between channels and we continue to see strong digital engagement.” 

 

Kroger Companies posted total assets of $48.46 billion and carries long-term debt, lease and other obligation of $21.58 billion.  The Kroger Company has a market capitalization of $31.89 billion.  Over the past 52-weeks share price ranged from $30.35 to $47.99 with a 50-day moving average of $43.82.  On a 12-month trailing basis, operating margin was 2.0 percent and profit margin 1.1 percent.  The company attained a 3.5 percent return on assets and 16.4 percent on equity.  The company closed at $46.14 on Thursday September 9th prior to the Q2 release but fell sharply to close at $42.65 on Friday September 10th down 7.5 percent.

 


 

HPAI in Pakistan

09/14/2021

According to ProMED, Authorities in Pakistan have reported on an outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N8 in a commercial egg production flock of 3,000 hens housed near Multan in the Punjab.  Studies conducted in 2017 based on sequencing of clade 2.3.4.4b viruses demonstrated a number of mutations with increased haemagglutinin affinity for human alpha-2,6 receptors. 

 

Live-bird markets are a source of virus for workers and consumers and ultimately contribute to persistence of infection. The live bird market system is responsible for perpetuation of infection with circulation of virus back to production farms carried on coops and through traders’ vehicles.  The implications relating to the emergence of an epidemic or even pandemic influenza strain is self-evident.


 

China Implacable Over ASF in Germany

09/14/2021

Despite ongoing negotiations, China has refused to accept the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) principle of regionalization.  At issue is the presence of African swine fever (ASF) among wild boar that migrated westward from Poland and are now confined to limited designated regions in the states of Brandenburg and Saxony.  Three small farms were infected but were depleted in accordance with OIE recommendations concerning quarantine and surveillance. 

 

The continued embargo by China is scientifically unjustified given that the infection is contained in Germany and also ASF is endemic and ongoing in China. Deputy Agriculture Minister in the German Federal Government, Uwe Feiler stated, "negotiations with China are continuing, but are proving difficult".

 

The issue with ASF in a restricted area in Germany demonstrates the selective approach by China to international agreements and conventions. The Nation makes decisions on trade issues including disease based on self-interest, conformity to government policy and support of domestic production. This has implications for exports of U.S. poultry, eggs and products to China.


 

Food Crisis in Afghanistan Following Taliban Take Over

09/14/2021

According to a September 13th Reuters report, the U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is attempting to raise $606 million for hunger relief in Afghanistan.  The Secretary-General stated that food supplies could run out by the end of September resulting in 14 million facing starvation.  With the Taliban take-over, aid flows from western nations and the U.S. have ceased, leaving the nation vulnerable to famine.

 

Michelle Bachelet, U.N. Human Rights Administrator noted, "a lack of enthusiasm among western nations to donate to Afghanistan based on the policies of the new Taliban Administration over the past four weeks".  The U.S. has pledged $64 million for humanitarian assistance and with Norway pledging an additional $12 million. Attempting to capitalize on the situation, Chen Xu, Ambassador to the United Nations from the Peoples Republic of China stated, "the U.S. and its allies have an obligation to extend economic humanitarian and livelihood assistance".

 

Apart from social disruption caused by political disturbance, drought has destroyed 40 percent of the 2021 wheat crop in Afghanistan and most people have inadequate funds to buy cooking oil and other necessities.  Progress made in eradicating polio and vaccinating against COVID will obviously be reversed given political instability and reversion to an 18th Century theocracy.


 

Wegmans Launches Sustainable Egg Packaging

09/12/2021

Wegmans will introduce a paper-pulp carton for eggs that is recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable.  Cartons are fabricated from post-consumer recycled newsprint and paper products.  Wegmans estimates that the change will eliminate 300 tons of foam-equivalent cartons annually.  Ron Indovina, merchandiser for dairy and frozen products, noted “We decided to make the switch to paper pulp cartons because we heard from customers they wanted a fiber option.”

The new paper pulp cartons were trialed in Massachusetts over an eight week period in April in cooperation with New York state egg supplier Kreher Family Farms. 

 

Wegmans operates 106 stores in seven states and is ranked 35 on the Progressive Grocer 2021 list of the Top 100 Grocers in the U.S.


 

Sad Passing of Dr. James Stanley Guy

09/12/2021

Dr. ‘Jim’ Guy passed on September 6th in Durham N.C. after a courageous battle with cancer. He was born in 1950 in Cleveland TN. And was raised in Michigan.  Jim earned the DVM degree in 1980 followed by a PhD in 1984, both from the University of Tennessee.  He was double boarded as a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Microbiologist and the American College of Poultry Veterinarians.  His entire 37-year professional career was at North Carolina State University as a Professor of poultry health management.

 

His work involved investigation of the molecular biology and epidemiology of viral diseases including laryngotracheitis, turkey coronaviral enteritis and reovirus.

 

During his career he was a recipient of the Phibro Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017 and the Charles Beard Research Excellence Award from the American Association of Avian Pathologists in 2013.

 

Jim was always willing to help colleagues with advice and guidance. The students he mentored have added to his considerable contribution to an understanding of viral diseases of poultry.

 

A memorial ceremony celebrating his life and achievements will take place at the College of Veterinary Medicine, North Carolina State University on October 7th.

 

EGG-NEWS extends condolences to his widow, Wilma and family.  He will be missed by his many colleagues, friends and students.


 

USDA to Provide Grants for COVID Relief

09/12/2021

USDA has announced that $700 million will be available for meat-processing and farm workers as compensation for losses sustained as a result of COVID infection.  Initially, $20 million will be assigned to a pilot program for grocery store employees.  The bulk of the $700 million grant will be for farm and meat-processing workers.

 

The USDA release stated, "this relief is intended to defray costs for reasonable and necessary personal, family or living expenses related to the COVID pandemic including costs for personal protective equipment, dependent care and expenses associated with quarantine and testing". 

 

The request for applications will be announced in October and additional information will be provided at an appropriate time.


 

Yum! Brands Acquires Technology Company

09/12/2021

In a September 7th announcement, Yum! Brands Inc announced acquisition of Dragon Tail Systems Limited in an al-cash transaction valued at $68 million.

Dragon Tail has developed software to optimize and manage food preparation from order through delivery applying AI-based solutions.  The software provides optimal delivery routes and consolidates orders by location to minimize costs.

 

David Gibbs, CEO of Yum! Brands, stated “A key growth driver for our business and our teams is a continued acceleration of our digital and technology strategy, including how we leverage our global scale with investments in technology initiatives that enhance the customer and employee experience and strengthen restaurant economics providing a competitive advantage for our franchisees.” 

 

The Dragon Tail kitchen order management and delivery technology is currently deployed across 1,500 Pizza Hut restaurants in over ten nations.  Favorable experience with the system influenced the decision to purchase the supplier and apply the technology to 39,000 restaurants worldwide. 

 

Managing Director of Dragon Tail, Ido Levanon, commented “This transaction is a positive one for Dragon Tail shareholders and it provides Yum! Brands with even more innovative technology.” Earlier this year, Yum! Brands purchased Kvantum applying AI-based technology to guide marketing.  The second 2021 acquisition was Tic Tuk Technologies that provided ordering and marketing software.  Dragon Tail employees will be located in the U.S., Australia, and Israel and will be managed by Ido Levanon.

 


 

Life Cycle Assessment

09/10/2021

In partnership with the Egg Industry Center and United Egg Producers, AEB launched an Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) evaluation in July to measure the environmental footprint of U.S. egg production and to quantify how egg farmers are producing a sustainable protein offering value and balanced nutrition.

 

The first LCA demonstrated how genetics, supported by improved nutrition, housing, management and disease control in the egg industry reduced the environmental footprint over a 50 year period from 1960 to 2010. The update of the LCA now in progress will reflect the changes in egg production during the past ten years. Producers are urged to cooperate in providing information to assist the compilers of the LCA.


 

Member of U.K. Parliament Introduces Bill to Ban Enriched Colony Modules

09/09/2021

Henry Smith, MP has introduced a bill into the House of Commons to ban enriched colony modules, consistent with the Conservative Party manifesto adopted before the 2020 election.  The proposed legislation known as "Beatrice's Bill" would require transition to alternative systems for approximately 16 million hens representing half the national flock. Currently eggs from hens in enriched colony modules are processed and are not sold as shell-eggs at retail.

 

Consistent with the E.U. law banning conventional cages that took effect in 2012, most U.K. farmers installed enriched colony modules that are now approximately ten-year-old and in many cases have not been depreciated.

 

Mark Williams, CEO of the British Egg Industry Council noted, "we would emphasize that if the U.K. Government bans the use of enriched cages in the laying hen sector it would immediately have to ban the import of eggs and egg products produced by hens in similar systems, otherwise it would totally undermine our egg producers".  Most retailers in the U.K. have committed to selling only cage-free eggs by 2025.

 

The chances of Beatrice's bill being enacted are at best slim.  Parliamentarian Henry Smith has placed the proposed legislation under the "10-Minute Rule".  He will be allowed to introduce the bill with a 10-minute speech.  If members present vote to accept the bill it will be added to the register of parliamentary business but only with a low priority.

 

An initiative in the E.U. to impose a total ban on any cage system is currently under consideration. 


 

China Reports H9N2 Human Case

09/07/2021

According to a ProMED mail posting on September 6th, health officials in China reported a case of H9N2 avian influenza in a 20-month-old patient in Changsha, Hunan Province. Family contacts were unaffected. The child had a history of exposure to domestic poultry prior to onset of illness.  For 2021 to date, 15 cases of H9N2 have been reported in humans with a total of 56 cases since December 2015.

 

The World Health Organization regards H9N2 as a pathogen with pandemic potential.


 

Animal Agriculture Alliance Announces Annual College Aggies Online Scholarship Competition

09/06/2021

On September 13th, undergraduates, graduate students and collegiate clubs will compete for scholarships valued at a total of $20,000.  The College Aggies Online connects college students interested in a career in agriculture with mentoring by experts.  Participants are challenged to host events virtually or on their campus to discuss issues in modern agriculture with guidance from experts.  The 2020 program will allow students to reach contacts on social media and at club events.

 

Emily Solis, Communication Specialist with the Animal Agriculture Alliance stated, “As a former participant I was able to grow my communication skills through the program and find new ways to advocate for agriculture while networking and engaging with students and mentors that I’m still connected with to this day.” 

 

Dr. Alexander Strauch, Poultry Veterinarian with Herbrucks Family Ranch will serve as a mentor for the 2021 program.

 

The College Aggies Online program is in part sponsored by Dairy Management Inc., CHS Foundation, Iowa Pork Producers Association, National Corn Growers Association, Domino’s Pizza, Ohio Poultry Association and other businesses involved in the food industry.

 

For further information on sponsorship or to support the program contact Casey Kinler ckinler@animalagalliance.org


 

Sale of Charles City Processing Plant Contested

09/06/2021

The Simply Essentials plant in Charles City Iowa represented 500 jobs that were lost when the plant ceased operation in August 2019.  Executors subsequently accepted a $9.5 billion bid from Pure Prairie Farms.  Wincorp International, controlled by the Jamaica Broilers Group of Companies is contesting the sale and has now offered $10 million for the assets.

 

Over two decades the Simply Essentials plant has had a number of owners and has processed layer culls and small numbers of broilers but has never been a viable enterprise.


 

NPIP General Conference Committee Meeting

09/06/2021

The National Poultry Improvement Program (NPIP) General Conference Committee Meeting to be held in virtual format is open for registration.  The meeting will be held on Wednesday September 22nd from noon to 17H00.  Observers will be able to listen and place questions on-line.  Participants will have the ability to speak in the open session subject to availability of time. 

 

The deadline for registration as a full participant is September 15th and observers have until September 22nd.  Register by accessing the NPIP website www.poultryimprovement.org. Specific questions can be directed to the NPIP Director, Dr. Elena Behnke Elena.behnke@usda.gov


 

EPA to Review Small Refinery Exemptions Granted in 2019

09/06/2021

The question of Small Refinery Exemptions has been extensively litigated during the past two years.  The EPA has now requested the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to send the decision made by the previous Administration back to the Agency for review.  The EPA maintains that small refineries that applied for extensions did not receive continuous extensions of their exemption.  The previous Administration granted 88 small refinery exemptions from 2016 to 2020 representing 4 billion gallons of ethanol demand. 

 

The EPA has 59 small-refinery exemption requests pending from 2016 through 2021.  The Agency maintains that exemptions were issued to refineries without any analysis or substantiation and that the Agency does not have records to account for their actions under the previous Administration. Given the volume of ethanol involved and the respective lobbying power of both the biofuels industry and petroleum refiners, this issue will not be settled either swiftly or amicably and will involve representations to a number of U.S. District Courts of Appeal and ultimately SCOTUS.


 

Concern Over Damage to Louisiana Export Terminals

09/06/2021

From all accounts, it is evident that Hurricane Ida damaged both infrastructure and installations along the lower Mississippi River between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.  The various terminals operated by the major grain-trading companies on the river are responsible for the export of 60 percent of U.S. corn, wheat, sorghum and soybeans.  Their combined capacity is estimated at 3.6 billion bushels annually with the capability of annualized rates of four billion bushels during the post-harvest export season,

 

The Cargill terminal at Reserve, LA is capable of exporting eight percent of U.S Gulf capacity and will obviously be inoperable for many months extending into the export season.  Damage to other terminals can probably be repaired over the short term.  Current estimates are that exports will not be resumed for three to four weeks due to heavy damage to the power grid.

 

As estimate of the volume shipped from the lower Mississippi terminals is illustrated by activity during the week ending August 19th.  Over the period, 18.3 million bushels of corn, 5.2 million bushels of soybeans and 2.6 million bushels of wheat were exported and 487 barges were unloaded for subsequent transfer to ocean-going vessels.


 

Nabati Foods Global Inc Launches Plant Eggz™ in the U.S.

09/05/2021

Nabati Foods of Canada has entered the U.S. market offering Nabati Plant Eggz™.  The product is manufactured using lupin and pea protein and is claimed to be a substitute for egg liquid with 100 calories, six grams of protein and two grams of fiber in each serving.  The product will be sold as a liquid in 10-ounce bottles for $6.99.  As with other substitute plant-based eggs on the market, the real egg equivalent cost is approximately $1 per egg.  This means that for every bottle of Nabati Plant Eggz ™ to serve seven meals, a consumer could purchase five dozen eggs at approximately $1.45 at current shelf prices.  Nabati Foods Global is also offering a package of two bottles of egg liquid and two bags of plant-based cheese for $15 including shipping.

 

Hopefully their customer base will be attracted by claims of welfare and sustainability and not be capable of simple arithmetic.


 

Walmart to Hire 20,000 Associates for Distribution and Fulfillment Centers

09/05/2021

Walmart intends to expand their employee patroll by 20,000.  Jobs will be available in 250 Walmart and Sam’s Club distribution centers and fulfillment centers.  Positions will be offered for order-fillers, freight-handlers, forklift-drivers, technicians and management.  All positions will be permanent and offered in full- or part-time capacity.  Average wage for supply chain associates is $20.37 per hour. 

 

Walmart has invested in developmentof empoyees with growth opportunities. The Company will open six new Walmart Academies to support their supply chain operations.  Attendees will receive classroom and direct floor-training focused on supply chain skills in addition to leadership and communications.  Walmart gained experience in training in 2020 with 6,000 associates passing through the Academy.  All employees are eligible to participate in the Live Better U. to earn Bachelor’s level degrees debt free with Walmart paying all of the costs of tuition and books.  Walmart will be offering medical coverage at a cost of  $30.50 per pay period that will include maternity and paternal benefits, health care focussed on specific demographics, veterans and military-spouse support.  Employees will receive a $150 cash bonus to receive a COVID vaccination before October 4th.


 

Eggland’s Best Celebrates National Family Meals Month™

09/05/2021

September is designated as National Family Meals Month (™). To celebrate the event, Eggland’s Best LLC has announced four initiatives as part of the 2021 “Share a Better Family Meal” program:

  • Bring families together in the kitchen
    • Eggland’s Best has partnered with Raddish Kids to release a free digital version of their popular Eggscellent Experiments. The kit is designed for kids to participate in meal creations. The kit can be downloaded at www.raddishkids.com/egglandsbest .
  • Live family-friendly cook-along
    • On September 14th, Raddish Kids and Eggland’s Best will host a live-cook along event for families preparing a chocolate souffle cake under the guidance of Chef Julie.
  • Sweepstakes from August 31st through October 8th
    • Fans can enter the Eggland’s Best Share a Better Family Meal sweepstakes for a chance to win grocery gift cards, subscriptions to Raddish Kids, and a grand prize of $5,000 - www.ebfamilysweeps.com.
  • Recipes from Delish featuring Eggland’s Best eggs
    • Delish has created three recipe videos for families to commemorate National Family Meals Month™. This year recipes include sheet tray steak and eggs, savory parm waffle egg, and bacon and omelette sliders.
    •  

Charlie Lanktree, CEO of Eggland’s Best, stated “We are committed to encouraging families to create better eating habits which is why we have created a variety of resources to inspire families to get cooking and spend more time together eating nutritious meals.”

 

Marissa Meshulam, Founder of MPM Nutrition, commented “It’s never too early to get your kids involved in the kitchen to help educate them on the value of choosing nutritious foods and ingredients including Eggland’s Best eggs.”


 

Export of Shell Eggs and Products, January-July 2021

09/05/2021

USDA-FAS data collated by USAPEEC, reflecting export volume and values for shell eggs and egg products are shown in the table below comparing January-July 2021 with the corresponding months in 2020:-

 

PRODUCT

Jan.-July 2020

Jan.-July 2021

Difference

Shell Eggs

     

Volume (m. dozen)

78.3

116.2

+37.9 (+48.4%)

Value ($ million)

68.0

116.8

+48.8 (+71.8%)

Unit Value ($/dozen)

0.87

1.03

+0.16 (+18.4%)

Egg Products

 

 

 

Volume (metric tons)

23,586

21,281

-2,305 (-9.8%)

Value ($ million)

62.0

63.2

+1.2 (+1.9%)

Unit Value ($/metric ton)

2,629

2,970

+341 (+12.9%)

 

U.S. SHELL EGG AND EGG PRODUCT EXPORTS DURING

JANUARY-JULY 2021 COMPARED WITH 2020

                                        Source USDA-FAS/USAPEEC

 

SHELL EGGS

 

Shell egg exports from the U.S. during January-July 2021 increased by 48.8 percent in volume and 71.8 percent in total value compared to the corresponding months in 2020. Unit value was 16.0 cents higher to $1.03 per dozen for the comparison between 2020 and 2021. The top two importers, Hong Kong and Mexico combined, represented 66.0 percent of volume and 46.8 percent of total value.


 


Senate Passes Infrastructure Bill

09/03/2021

In a 69 to 30 vote, the U.S. Senate passed the $1.2 trillion package to repair roads and bridges, extend broadband service and address the needs of mass transit.

 

The Bill will now be debated by the House where the Democratic majority intend to add to expenditure and also link the legislation with companion "social infrastructure" legislation

 

It is possible that damage inflicted by Hurricane Ida will expedite approval of the package when the House reconvenes after the recent August recess.


 

Carnivores are Immunologically Challenged

09/03/2021

Studies on dogs recently revealed deficiencies in the immune system apparently common to all carnivora.  This is an evolutionary development since meat diets are bacteriocidal. The scientific basis for this contention is described in an article* published in Cell Reports.  Studies conducted at the University of Cambridge, Department of Veterinary Medicine, demonstrated “the lack of functioning genes that contributes to the ability of pathogens to hide undetected in carnivores to potentially mutate and be transmitted, becoming a human health risk.”

 

The molecular biological studies conducted on a canine cell line demonstrated a “progressive evolutionary down-regulation of pathogen-sensing inflammasome pathways.  These include the loss of nucleotide-oligomerization domain, leucine-rich repeat receptors, and acquisition of a unique caspase-1/-4 effector fusion protein that processes gasdermin D pore formation without inducing rapid lytic cell death and the formation of a caspase-8 containing inflammasome that inefficiently processes interleukin-1 beta.

 

According to Professor Claire Bryant, in addition to changes in the intestinal tract, the immune deficiency occurs in other organs including the lungs.

 

This molecular biological explanation confirms the mechanism associated with the high prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in zoo carnivores including all the large felines and in farmed mink.  Doctor Bryant considers that carnivores held in close proximity in large numbers could create a disease reservoir that would allow pathogens to mutate.  This consideration was evident in Denmark during the early stages of mink COVID and confirms that farming this species will contribute to mutants irrespective of whether or not they are vaccinated.  If the vaccine authorized for animal species is widely deployed, it will be necessary to constantly monitor mink farms and zoos for emerging mutants of SARS-CoV-2, given the compromised immune response inherent to carnivores.

 

*Digby, Z. et al Evolutionary Loss of Inflammasomes in the Carnivora and Implications for the Carriage of Zoonotic Infections. Cell Reports. doi.org/10.1016.j.cellrep, 2021, 109614.


 

American Egg Board and USAPEEC Present Fourth Egg Products Workshop in Mexico

09/03/2021

The American Egg Board and USAPEEC office in Mexico recently presented the Fourth in a series of workshops promoting U.S. egg products to the bakery, processing and service segments of the national food industry.

 

Due to COVID restrictions the workshop was conducted in virtual format with sixty professionals and business owners logging in.

 

It is intended to continue the series of presentations to be arranged in October and November.


 

STOP PRESS

09/02/2021

Louisiana Export Terminals Impacted by Hurricane Ida

 

According to press reports, the Cargill export terminal on the Mississippi at Reserve, LA sustained extensive damage from Hurricane Ida.  Other grain terminals were impacted but not to the same extent according to reports from Bunge and ADM.  The major problem is the supply of power which may not be restored for three to four weeks.

 

Faced with a prolonged shutdown, major grain trading companies are evaluating alternatives. 


 

Concern over COVID Delays Return to 2019 Shopping Patterns

09/01/2021

According to a recent article in Supermarket News, the FMI report entitled U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends Tracker: Back to School/Back to Office demonstrates obvious consumer concern over COVID.  More than half of those surveyed remain either Very or Extremely Cautious about COVID and emerging variants.  Shopping appears to be regarded as a risk activity and is regarded as apparently more serious than dining at restaurants or eating at home.  Changes in shopping habits will in all probability be adopted as a new normal with little change in the intermediate future. 

 

Back to school (such as it is) has not convinced parents that there will be a shift towards normal grocery shopping.  Recognizing anxiety and concern among consumers, many supermarket chains have encouraged vaccination of employees.  Following permanent approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, mandates are expected.  Supermarkets are still encouraging masking and social distancing in many areas of the nation, especially where state or local authorities have mandated masking in public.


 

Schnuck Markets to Deploy Tally Robots

09/01/2021

Schnuck Markets based in St. Louis, MO. has arranged with Simbe Robotics to deploy Tally robots in 111 locations.  Tally robots continually travel along aisles and scan shelves to confirm inventory position, pricing and promotions.  Data and analytical reports contribute to inventory optimization.  A decision to extend Tally to all stores is based on a preliminary evaluation in 2017 and subsequent expansion to 62 stores in 2020.

 

 

Claimed benefits for Tally include:

 

  • Detection of out-of-stock items

 

  • Improved pricing and promotional implementation

 

  • Increased precision of real-time inventory control and replenishment

 

Brad Bogolea, founder and CEO of Simbe Robotics stated, “This expansion is a momentous occasion for Simbe, it demonstrates that robots that are thoughtfully deployed are critically important tools for retailers to improve bottom-line, support teams and maintain an exceptional shopping experience both in stores and for on-line sales”.

 


 

Deliberate Contamination of Food Items in London UK Supermarkets

09/01/2021

Authorities in London, England, have arrested a man accused of injecting an as yet unidentified substance into microwaveable foods displayed at three supermarkets in the Borough of Fulham.  Products at small-format high street stores operated by Waitrose, Sainbury’s and Tesco were affected.  The premises had to be closed and forensic investigations were initiated. Initial reports suggest that the perpetrator of the episode was mentally deranged

 

The last case of deliberate contamination in the U.K. took place in the 1978 when a militant group claimed to have injected mercury into citrus imported from Israel as a politically-inspired action.

 

Deliberate and malicious contamination of foods is difficult to prevent and is extremely expensive to remedy. The effect on brand image of a food product could be disastrous unless the response is carefully implemented. This was the case with the Chicago Tylenol murders in 1982 that serves as the standard for approaching any crisis. Any deliberate incident of food contamination, short of juvenile licking of ice cream in display freezers, will  in all probability be prosecuted under Federal agro-bioterrorism statutes, entailing severe penalties.


 

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs

09/01/2021

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs (U.S.RSPE) intends to quantify energy inputs and greenhouse gas emissions through the entire production processing and distribution chain for chicken, turkey and eggs.  The detailed and structured framework was established through cooperation among a wide range of stakeholders to ensure a comprehensive and balanced evaluation. The framework will enhance transparency as to how poultry is raised.  Input will be derived from allied industries, non-governmental organizations, integrators, renderers, processors, farm operators, feed producers, hatcheries, primary breeders, food service companies, and retailers.

 

 

 

 


 

Summary of State Housing and Management Requirements for Egg-producing Flocks

09/01/2021

United Egg Producers recently compared housing requirements and other restrictions relating to states that have enacted legislation together with a comment on states contemplating cage-free rules.  The table is reproduced with the permission of the United Egg Producers.


 

New Services Offered by Micro-Tracers™

09/01/2021

Micro-Tracers, Inc. announces the release of new spot-counting APPs for Android and I-Phones. These APPs count red and blue tracer spots automatically and also permit transfer of the counts to a report on mixer- performance. Together, these functions can save time required to analyze and report individual Micro-Tracer counts that confirm inclusion of an additive to a feed mix.

 

Micro-Tracers has developed a new Web Portal- portal.microtracers.com. This allows test counts from mixer evaluations to be entered into a database to generate new reports on mixer performance. The Micro-Tracer portal will allow entry and archiving of tracking data obtained from the assay of either truckload, farm silo or retained feed samples. The electronic storage of data is an important component of a quality control system to confirm that specific feed additives including anticoccidials and premixes coded with Micro-Tracers were or were not added to a diet.

 

In the near future additional functions will be added to allow statistical interpretation of Micro-Tracer data confirming inclusion of specific coded additives in addition to consistency of mixing.

 

Micro-Tracers can now receive and process feed samples in their in-house laboratory as a paid-for service for manufacturers who require analyses to be performed by a third party.

 

For further information, access www.microtracers.com  or contact Micro-Tracers, Inc. at (415) 822-1100 ex. 1511. (Pacific Time)


 

Vital Farms Reports on Q2 of FY 2021

08/31/2021

In a press release dated August 10th Vital Farms (VITL), a Certified B Corporation announced results for the 2nd Quarter ending June 27th.

 

The following table summarizes the results for the period compared with the values for the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year (Values expressed as US$ x 1,000 except EPS)

 

2nd Quarter Ending

June 27th 2021

June 28th 2020

Difference (%)

Sales:

$60,324

$59,341

+1.7

Gross profit:

$21,933

$22,698

-3.3

Operating income:

$3,015

$9,062

-66.7

Pre-tax Income

Net Income1

$3,188

$3,907

$8,748

$5,964

-63.6

-84.8

Diluted earnings per share:

$0.09

$0.16

-43.8

Gross Margin (%)

36.3

38.3

-5.2

Operating Margin (%)

5.0

15.3

-67.3

Profit Margin (%)

6.5

10.1

-35.6

Long-term Debt and lease obligations*:

$275

$519

-47.0

12 Months Trailing:

     

Return on Assets (%)

3.7

   

Return on Equity (%)

8.6

   

Operating Margin (%)

3.4

   

Profit Margin (%)

3.7

   

Total Assets*

$181,708

$171,374

+6.0

Market Capitalization

$693,000

   

*June 27th 2021/Dec. 27th 2020

Note 1. $695,000 tax benefit in Q2 2021 compared to $2,848,000 payment in Q2 2020

 

52-Week Range in Share Price: $16.02 to $41.95 50-day Moving average $17.84

Market Close: August 10th $18.29. Market Close: August 31 st $18.00

Forward P/E 1.7K

 

Insiders hold 32 percent of the equity, institutions hold 74 percent. As at August 13th 17 percent of float was short.


In commenting on Q2 results Russell Diez-Canseco CEO stated, “The sustained growth Vital Farms has demonstrated in our first year as a public company is a testament to investments we’ve made in our crew members, in increasing capacity across our farmer network, which now stands at over 225 family farms and in the further expansion of Egg Central Station, our egg washing and packing facility. Looking ahead, we believe we are well-positioned for the future and will continue to execute our plan of investing across the business to further drive growth and fulfill our mission to bring ethical food to the table.”


 

Javits Center to Incorporate Sustainability in Expansion Program

08/31/2021

Plans for a 1.2 million square foot expansion of the Javits Center in New York City will include enhanced sustainability.  Innovations will include installation of 3,000 solar panels, conserving storm water with removal of suspended solids and installation of energy-efficient HVAC.  As an experiment, a one-acre roof farm will be created.  It is anticipated to produce 20 tons of produce and fruit each year.

 

The Javits Center was awarded LEED silver status that will be extended and enhanced through the environmental improvements.


 

Zoetis Donates Experimental SARS-COV-2 Vaccine for Zoo Animals

08/31/2021

Zoetis will donate to zoos a considerable number of doses of an experimental vaccine authorized to protect susceptible animals from COVID. Since the emergence of COVID, felines, ursines and primates in zoos have been diagnosed with SARS-COV-2 acquired from caretakers and visitors.  The efficacy of the vaccine will be evaluated at 80 institutions in 28 states.

 

 It is anticipated that the vaccine will be extensively used to protect farmed mink.  If the response of this highly susceptible species follows the pattern in dense human populations, breakthrough infection will occur. It is possible that variant strains may emerge following vaccination as has occurred with natural infection in Holland, Denmark and Poland.  The vaccine may prevent severe clinical signs and mortality representing an acceptable outcome for pelt producers.  Creating a situation promoting the emergence of variants in a farmed animal maintained to produce an unnecessary vanity item is a questionable epidemiologic exercise, the results of which have yet to be determined. 

 

Many nations in Europe have already committed to phasing out mink as a farm animal.  Legislation is being introduced in Congress to limit production that is mainly confined to four states and benefits a fractional proportion of livestock producers.  Within five years, mink production will be a virtual monopoly of China.  If however mink are demonstrated to be reservoirs of SARS-CoV-2 virus and a source of variants, authorities in China will immediately eradicate the domestic industry


 

Argentina Establishes Agency to Maintain Navigability in the Parana River

08/30/2021

Reminiscent of the adage “I’m here from the government to help you” a new Argentine agency has been developed to oversee dredging of the Parana River under the management of the National Ports Administration.  Prior to the low-water crisis on the Parana River, vessels paid a Belgian dredging company directly for passage.  It is anticipated that the new arrangement will result in increased costs that will be applied to grain shipped from the cluster of ports around Rosario.  The National Ports Administration will call for competitive contracts for dredging operations that will include a deeper and wider channel to accommodate vessels capable of transporting larger cargos. 

 

Argentina is the third ranked corn exporter and the major supplier of soybean meal to the EU and Southeast Asia.


 




























































































































































































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