Rapid Intensification of Brazilian Beef Production to Continue

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

raboIn response to rising global beef demand, Brazil is set to step up the rapid intensification of its beef production sector over the next ten years, enabling the industry to expand into higher-value export markets. According to its latest report “Beefing up in Brazil: Feedlots to Drive Industry Growth,” the Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research (FAR) and Advisory group expects Brazil’s feedlot capacity to more than double to 4.5 million head, turning out over 9 million head of fed cattle annually, and increasing fed beef production by approximately 2.5 million tons per year by 2023.

“The opportunities for Brazilian beef producers, feeders, processors and exporters appear very bright,” explained Rabobank Analyst Adolfo Fontes. “Expected improvements in productivity and quality in the beef industry will help Brazil increase its presence in high-value export markets such as Europe, Japan and Korea.”

Brazil is already the world’s second-largest beef producer and the largest exporter. However, the industry remains relatively inefficient by global standards, with below-average sector productivity and yield parameters, suggesting significant opportunities exist for improvement.

“Brazil is uniquely positioned to fulfil this need, due to the country’s unmatched potential for expanding corn and soybean production—the two most universally-used ingredients for animal rations,” explained Rabobank Analyst Renato Rasmussen.

Read More

Agribusiness, Beef, Food, International, Markets, Meat Jamie JohansenRapid Intensification of Brazilian Beef Production to Continue

World’s Largest Robotic Milking Installation Now in Operation

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

DeLaval 0264The van Leeuwen dairy farm in New Zealand has become the site of the world’s largest robotic milking installation for free cow traffic under one roof.

With twenty four new DeLaval voluntary milking system VMS™ the 1,500-cow barn in Makikhi South Canterbury has gone from milking zero to 750 cows in just seven days in just half the space available. The barn is expected to be running at full capacity by year end. DeLaval worked closely with the van Leeuwens to meet their needs, providing a complete package to deliver excellence in animal health, efficient milking and a farm that works in synergy with the environment, at scale.

“We are pleased that the van Leeuwen’s chose DeLaval, a world leader in robotic milking systems, and we are confident that together we will be great partners,” says Paul Löfgren, EVP Sales & Marketing. “In addition, to the twenty four DeLaval VMS™, we are pleased that the barn is equipped with the DeLaval online cell counter OCC and our Herd Navigator™ system, which were among the key reasons for choosing DeLaval. The van Leeuwen dairy farm is a great example of a farm that is maximising its resources and keeping in balance with the environment.”

Robotic milking offers today’s farmers the opportunity to reduce labour costs and provides more flexible lifestyles by eliminating the need to milk the cows twice a day. This enables successful modern farmers like the van Leeuwens to focus on improving areas such as environmental sustainability and herd management.

“On this farm there is no artificial fertilizer. What comes out of the barn is recycled and goes back on to the farm,” says owner Aad van Leeuwen. “We have proved to the authorities that what we are doing here is sustainable. As we have a contracting business, the farm grows all its own feed for the cows on surrounding land and so completes the cycle of a completely self-sufficient farm. Our goal is to focus on milk solids and not push volume ; we want to be sustainable,” he adds.

Agribusiness, Dairy, Milking Parlor, Technology Jamie JohansenWorld’s Largest Robotic Milking Installation Now in Operation

Food Dialogue on GMOs

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Mike Pearson Market to MarketWhat do you know about GMOs? Most people not much with the exception that many have been led to believe they are bad. In a recent Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy Kimmel, he took to the streets to ask people what a GMO was and not one person knew, even thought most believed they were bad. In case you don’t know, its a “genetically modified organism” or in the words of 2014 Borlaug CAST Communication Award winner Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, it means genetically engineered.

Because GMO’s are such a misunderstood technology and a hot topic the U.S. Ranchers & Farmers Alliance (USFRA) hosted a Food Dialogue event in conjunction with CAST and the World Food Prize. “GMOs and the Consumer Mindset: Does Perception and Marketing Outweigh Science?” was moderated by Mike Pearson, host of Market to Market on Iowa Public Television. Panelists included Julie Kenney, farmer and CommonGround volunteer; David Sutherland, activist, blogger and founder of VeganGMO; Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, University of California-Davis, department of Animal Science; and Jay Byrne, president v-Fluence Interactive.

The dialogue focused on two main topics: what consumers believe about GMOs and how to get the facts into the conversation and more specifically how to get scientists, like Van Eenannaam, more involved in the conversation.

One issue that all the panelists noted was that in the debate, the “experts” have no expertise. They are anti-GMO advocates from various walks of life who have self-proclaimed themselves experts but don’t understand the data or more specifically refuse to acknowledge the data. And what is unnerving, explained Byrne, is that people who are reading about GMOs are taking the word of these experts including high profile media such as Dr. Oz, host of the Dr. Oz Show.

Speaking of media, all the panelists agreed that the media were in part to blame for the mis-information being proGMO Food Dialogues Des Moinespagated about GMOs. They don’t do their research and they don’t understand science. Sutherland noted that the story of GMOs being fine “is not sexy” and thus is ignored.

Kenney added that when speaking to “mom bloggers” when they come to the farm they had the view that GMOs were bad but after seeing firsthand how food was made, many of them became “conflicted” as to which message was the truth.

Sutherland, Byrne and Kenney all stressed that in their roles, the people they are speaking with have no science-based facts and stressed the need for more scientists to speak out. However, Van Eenennaam said that its hard to scientists to speak out when they are attacked and many have difficulty discussing their research in ways consumers can understand.

Yet despite these challenges, Byrne said that this debate will run its course and if the facts continue to be presented by respected people, such as the work Kenney is doing with CommonGround and the work Van Eenennaam is doing on behalf of the scientific community, GMOs will ultimately become accepted and no longer a front line issue.

Ag Group, GMO, USFRA Jamie JohansenFood Dialogue on GMOs

WTO Decision Rules Against COOL

Cindy Zimmerman Leave a Comment

cool-usdaThe United States’ Country of Origin labeling (COOL) is still not cool with the World Trade Organization (WTO).

In the compliance panel report released today, the WTO found that “the amended COOL measure violates Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement because it accords to Canadian and Mexican livestock less favourable treatment than that accorded to like US livestock.”

In particular, the compliance panel concluded that the amended COOL measure increases the original COOL measure’s detrimental impact on the competitive opportunities of imported livestock in the U.S. market, because it necessitates increased segregation of meat and livestock according to origin; entails a higher recordkeeping burden; and increases the original COOL measure’s incentive to choose domestic over imported livestock.

ncba-logoNational Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) President Bob McCan of Texas says the expected ruling
“brings us all one step closer to facing retaliatory tariffs from two of our largest trading partners.”

McCan added that “NCBA has maintained that there is no regulatory fix to bring the COOL rule into compliance with our WTO obligations or that will satisfy our top trading partners. We look forward to working with Congress to find a permanent solution to this issue, avoiding retaliation against not only beef, but a host of U.S. products.”

nppcNational Pork Producers Council President Howard Hill urged the Obama administration and Congress to fix the law to avoid trade retaliation from Canada and Mexico.

“The United States must avoid retaliation from Canada and Mexico,” said Hill, a veterinarian and pork producer from Cambridge, Iowa. “Retaliatory tariffs on pork would be financially devastating to U.S. pork producers.”

Members of the COOL Reform Coalition held a press call and webinar to respond to the announcement.

Ag Group, Beef, Government, NCBA, NPPC, Pork, Trade Cindy ZimmermanWTO Decision Rules Against COOL

Highlands Farmer Selected for Prestigious National Award

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Ben ButlerFlorida dairy farmer Ben Butler was selected for Vance Publishing Corp.’s second annual “40 Under 40 Award” that recognizes people making a significant contribution to America’s food system. He joins a group of top agricultural industry professionals from across North America selected for their leadership and commitment to advance the cause to double food production by 2050.

Butler, 35, who grew up working on the family farm, today is farm manager and vice president of the board of directors at Butler Oaks Farm in Lorida in Highlands County. His commitment to agriculture is clearly demonstrated by his desire to get involved in his community, be a spokesman for his farm and carry the flag for the agricultural industry.

Since his role as state president for the national Future Farmers of America organization at the age of 18, he has served on countless committees and councils, ranging from local co-ops and youth livestock shows to agricultural councils and advisory committees. Butler also has volunteered with local 4-H clubs and numerous other organizations.

In addition, he is a member of Class IX of the well-respected Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agricultural and Natural Resources, which develops and refines the leadership qualities of Florida’s agriculture and natural resource professionals.

Vance Publishing, which produces agricultural magazines including Dairy Herd Management and Ag Professional, started the awards program as a way to identify problem solvers for the next generation of agriculture. The honorees were chosen from hundreds of applicants by a panel of six judges who have had distinguished careers in the agriculture field.

Agribusiness, award, Dairy Jamie JohansenHighlands Farmer Selected for Prestigious National Award

Support for Dairy Sustainability Efforts Broadens

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 4.59.34 PMThe Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy®, established under the leadership of dairy farmers, announced that McDonald’s Corporation has joined the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards program as a new silver-level sponsor in support of U.S. dairy farmers and the industry’s sustainability efforts. Tetra Pak, Inc. also has committed to a second year of sponsorship.

With two new award categories and an expanded judging panel, the 2015 awards program reflects the fact that organizations, from farm to table, are increasingly working together toward a sustainable food system.

The awards, which launched four years ago, recognize outstanding dairy farms, businesses and partnerships for socially responsible, economically viable and environmentally sound practices. These practices, large and small, are steps that add up to promote the health and well-being of consumers, communities, cows, employees, the planet and business. Nominations are open through Nov. 7, 2014.

“Dairy sustainability is about more than just a carbon footprint. It is about our positive contributions to alleviate hunger, ensure the vitality of our communities, protect natural resources and more,” said Barbara O’Brien, president of the Innovation Center. “We are inspired by the powerhouse of thought leaders who also are committed to solving the country’s food, energy and water challenges, and are joining our effort.”

Read More

Ag Group, award, Dairy Jamie JohansenSupport for Dairy Sustainability Efforts Broadens

Drive with Caution During Harvest Season

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 10.13.48 AMIt’s harvest season in Georgia and more farm equipment will be heading out across the state as farmers transport equipment and produce between fields and processing areas. Because farm equipment is designed to be used primarily in the field and not for typical highway speeds, motorists can be caught off guard when traveling rural roads this time of year.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Georgia Department of Agriculture are teaming up for the fourth year to remind motorists and farmers to use caution during harvest time.

“We want drivers who are navigating our rural roads to be mindful of tractors and other farm equipment that may be transporting harvest from field to field,” GOHS Director Harris Blackwood said. “In rural regions around farmland, speed limits are higher, and motorists should be aware that this is the season when field equipment is sharing the asphalt with motor vehicles.”

Motorists are urged to slow down when they approach a slow-moving vehicle. If a vehicle is traveling at 55 mph and comes upon a tractor that’s moving at just 15 mph, it only takes 5 seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between the vehicle and tractor.

“These fatalities are 100 percent avoidable,” said Agriculture Commissioner Gary Black. “Farming is a crucial aspect of Georgia commerce and agriculture. We need to ensure that these farm workers can do their jobs safely to get food on our tables and contribute to a safe and prosperous harvest season in Georgia.”

Farmers should mark any equipment that travels on the road with a slow moving vehicle triangle. The triangle is orange with a red border and is reflective. Unfortunately, fewer than 30 percent of drivers know what this symbol means, but it’s a matter of life and death for motorists and farm equipment operators on rural roads. The symbol is meant to notify motorists that the vehicle travels at speeds of 25 mph or less. It’s a reflector, but also a warning for motorists to slow down.

Ag Group, Farm Safety, Harvest Jamie JohansenDrive with Caution During Harvest Season

Five Nations Beef Alliance Statement on TPP

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

ncba-logoThe Five Nations Beef Alliance* concluded a successful meeting and tour in south Texas last week, capped by the unanimous endorsement of a public statement calling for all Trans-Pacific Partnership nations to support ‘gold standard outcomes’ for beef that do not sacrifice important reforms for political expediency.

The annual meeting, hosted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, unites beef industry leaders from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. This year, members of the group toured several Texas beef value chain operations, including McFaddin Enterprises Ltd., a fifth-generation ranch operated by NCBA President Bob McCan; King Ranch; Graham Land & Cattle, a 30,000 head feedlot; and Capitol Land & Livestock, one of the largest livestock dealers in the United States. The group also visited HEB, an important retail partner which offers a wide variety of beef cuts to consumers.

“The opportunity to bring producer leaders from across the world to Texas and showcase the beef industry in the United States was an honor for me and my family,” said McCan. “During the course of the week, we formed working relationships that cross political boundaries and it’s those relationships that will benefit our producers in the United States as we work together to find common ground in the future.” McCan pointed to the endorsement of the TPP statement as a sign that FNBA is already fulfilling the ambitious goals set out for the group.

“The statement we issued this week, calling for ‘gold standard’ outcomes for beef, is an indication of the strength of these relationships,” he said. “Science-based trade standards are something that benefit the global beef industry and if we can agree to place that ambition above political expediency, cattlemen and women in each of the five nations will be better served.”

Read More

Ag Group, Beef, Export, Government, International, NCBA Jamie JohansenFive Nations Beef Alliance Statement on TPP

Winter Calf Barn Ventilation 101

Jamie Johansen Leave a Comment

PurinaCLF_Positive pressure ventilation system_090414Many calf barns rely on natural ventilation to provide clean, fresh air to calf pens. But, as the weather cools down and winter approaches, there can be a tendency to close the doors, windows and curtains on the calf barn in an effort to reduce drafts. Preventing cold air from blowing on calves can help keep calves warm, but when buildings are closed proper air exchange to keep calves healthy through the winter months can be prohibited.

“If you fail to get good ventilation or adequate air exchange in calf barns, you get a build-up of dust, pathogens and moisture in the air,” says Gary Geisler, calf and heifer specialist with Purina Animal Nutrition. “A build-up of ammonia can occur and cause irritation to the respiratory system of calves.”

Geisler cautions that if close attention is not paid to ventilation, a breakout of pneumonia or another respiratory disease could occur. Symptoms that might indicate a respiratory infection include: coughing, nasal discharge and watery eyes.

The goal for wintertime ventilation is to have a minimum of four interior air exchanges per hour in calf barns, which can be provided by a positive pressure ventilation system. A well-designed system will deliver fresh air to the immediate environment of the calf without creating a draft.

“A positive pressure ventilation system supplies fresh, outside air into the calf barn and distributes the air evenly throughout the barn,” says Geisler. “In barns with individual calf pens this is especially important because the system is designed to move air into “dead spots” – areas where the air may be stagnant, such as between solid calf pen panels. Stagnant air can harbor airborne pathogens.”

Positive pressure ventilation systems when designed properly can run 24 hours per day, even in cold weather. While positive pressure ventilation systems can be a great solution for providing air exchange throughout your barn, Geisler cautions that these systems are “not one size fits all.”

“Positive pressure ventilation systems should be designed based on the number of calves, size of building, dimensions of the barn, layout of the calf pens and more,” says Geisler. “It takes precise planning to achieve even distribution of air throughout the facility, but no drafts.”

The Dairyland Initiative, a University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine outreach program, provides resources that can assist dairy producers in properly planning a ventilation system. A list of trained designed consultants throughout the U.S., Canada and beyond can be found online.

Agribusiness, calf, Calves, Dairy, Weather Jamie JohansenWinter Calf Barn Ventilation 101

Center for Food Integrity at Premier Dairy Event

Jamie Johansen 2 Comments

Arnot PhotoThe Professional Dairy Managers of Pennsylvania and the Center for Dairy Excellence are gearing up to host the premier dairy educational event in Pennsylvania known as the Pennsylvania Dairy Summit. The 2015 event is being held February 4-5 at the Lancaster Marriot in the historical part of Lancaster City in Penn Square.

On Wednesday, February 4, the general session will feature Charlie Arnot, chief executive officer of the Center for Food Integrity. This organization was established in 2007 to help build consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system.

Arnot will discuss emerging issues and their impact on our food supply. He will discuss GMOs, food safety and security requirements, and other issues that could affect our ability to meet demand. He will also lead an additional breakout session on how to talk to the non-ag public about GMOs and their role in the marketplace.

The Hershey Company will share a business showcase and to look at their best management practices in the marketplace. They are the global leaders in the market for confectionary sugars, employ 13,000 people around the world and have been dedicated to delivering high quality products with excellence for the past 120 years.

Registration information will be available in November, with a block of rooms currently being held at the Lancaster Marriott. Please call 814-355-2467 or email info@padairysummit.org for additional questions and information.

Ag Group, Dairy, Education, Events Jamie JohansenCenter for Food Integrity at Premier Dairy Event