- Various forms of robotic milking are helping sustain small to medium sized dairy farms amid broader industry consolidation and improving labor efficiency for some larger operations according to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. A brief video synopsis of the report, “Automatic Milking Systems: Keeping Smaller Dairies in the Game” is available here and the full report is available at CoBank.com.
- The March Dairy Market Report is now available. Driven by a $2.00/cwt. drop in the U.S. all-milk price, the monthly margin under the Margin Protection Program (MPP) fell by $2.27/cwt. over the two months from November to January, to just over $8.00/cwt. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, enacted earlier this year, made significant changes to the MPP and created additional risk management options for farmers.
- Rose Acre Farms, the nation’s second largest egg producer, has contributed $200,000 to Purdue University’s new animal sciences complex dedicated yesterday on the school’s campus. Rose Acre Farms employs several alumnae from Purdue University’s Department of Agriculture and Animal Sciences and works with the institution on research projects involving agriculture and animal welfare.
- Dairy checkoff scientists who work onsite at McDonald’s headquarters have helped the chain launch new items that continue its commitment to elevate dairy and provide customers with great-tasting menu choices. Scientists working for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff, collaborated with members of McDonald’s culinary team to create McDonald’s Signature Crafted Recipes sandwiches and the Egg White Delight McMuffin, which will now feature sharp white cheddar cheese slices that are more than 30 percent larger than the pasteurized process version previously used. McDonald’s also launched limited-time-offer McCafe Turtle Coffee Beverages, which join a McCafé lineup that offers dairy in 90 percent of its items.
- Eggs in Schools conducted an in-depth interview with school nutrition dynamo April Liles, R.D., S.N.S., who brings a spirit of fun and creativity to the school nutrition program at the Waltham Public Schools in Waltham, Mass. Liles’ advice is presented in a series of blog posts designed to share best practices with school nutrition professionals seeking tried-and-true methods to help increase Average Daily Participation. Find all of the blog posts at aeb.org/blog/eggs-in-school-blog.
- Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) have announced an agreement establishing mutual recognition of the value and importance of each organization’s work and a commitment to foster an increased level of collaboration. In the agreement, USRSB agreed to recognize the role Field to Market plays in defining sustainable production for feed commodities utilized in beef production. In the same way, Field to Market agreed to recognize USRSB’s role in defining sustainable beef production.
While traveling Ireland with Alltech and KEENAN we stopped by Bord Bia Irish Food Board to learn more about the role they play in promoting Irish food and drink worldwide.
One of the prize projects they have developed is Origin Green, a program centered around food sustainability. The unique national concept brings in industry, the state and stakeholders within the industry to all work together. Mary Morrissey, Bord Bia Sr. Manager Food & Beverage Division, said, “It starts at the farm level. The next stage up is the manufacturing level and recently we’ve added the final end of the leg, retailers and foodservice operators.”
Just like farming and ranching in the U.S., Ireland is faced with the need to prove sustainability. This program is doing just that. “On the farm, it is about setting a standard and auditing farmers at either the beef or dairy assurance scheme and then moving on to the manufacturing and further up the supply chain.
Origin Green’s 280+ verified members now account for over 90% of Ireland’s total food and drink exports, a fourth consecutive year of growth. And their over 500 participating companies’ account for 95% of total food and drink exports, highlighting the ongoing and sustained commitment of Irish food and drink manufacturers towards sustainability and Origin Green.
Listen to my complete interview with Mary to learn more about Origin Green and how they are marketing Ireland’s brands internationally: Interview with Mary Morrissey, Bord Bia
Your Easter basket is just a little pricier this year, according to the lastest American Farm Bureau Federation Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey.
Higher retail prices for several foods including eggs, orange juice, meat products, bagged salad, shredded cheddar and vegetable oil contributed to the overall increase of two percent compared to last year. The informal survey showed the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $51.05, up $1.02 from a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, nine increased and seven decreased in average price.
AFBF director of market intelligence John Newton says eggs are 37 percent higher than a year ago. “U.S. egg exports were up nearly 50 percent in 2017 while egg production remained flat,” which led to the strong rise in retail egg prices, he said, noting that bird flu outbreak in South Korea contributed to the increase in U.S. export volumes.
Orange juice prices are up 24 cents or 7.5 percent this year, thanks to Hurricane Irma which contributed to Florida citrus growers harvesting the smallest crop in 70 years.
Several foods showed modest retail price decreases from a year ago: whole milk, white bread, chicken breasts, toasted oat cereal, apples, potatoes and flour.
“What we normally see is if the real thing sells in the real world, then we see a similar thing in the toy,” said Natalie Frow, European Brand Manager for Tomy Britains. “So we work together with them, we get the 3D data with them, we work with our engineers in China and we produced prototypes which we then adapted to make it look like the real thing.”
KEENAN invited local school groups to the company’s headquarters in Dublin for factory tours to celebrate the release of the toy, which will be available beginning in April from KEENAN and toy retailers throughout Europe, primarily in the United Kingdom.
Listen to Jamie’s interview with Natalie here: Interview with Natalie Frow, Tomy Britains
- The 2018 World Pork Expo will mark its 30th anniversary by presenting the world’s largest pork-specific trade show with more exhibit space and featuring more U.S. and international companies than ever before. Presented by the National Pork Producers Council, the world’s largest pork-specific trade show takes place Wednesday, June 6, through Friday, June 8, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Online registration is now open.
- Directors of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative have elected a new president and vice president. Brody Stapel, who farms at Double Dutch Dairy along Lake Michigan in Cedar Grove, Wis., was elected president at a meeting March 7. His election as president comes after John Pagel, who had been Edge’s president, passed away in late February as the result of a plane crash. The board also elected Todd Doornink as vice president. Doornink, who farms at Jon-De Dairy in Baldwin in northwestern Wisconsin, has been on the board since 2011.
- Join Dr. Shelby Roberts, a postdoctoral research fellow at the Alltech Center for Animal Nutrigenomics and Applied Animal Nutrition, for a live webinar on Tuesday, March 27 at 2:00 ET, to take a closer look at calf gut health and the importance of nutrition during the first weeks of the calf’s life. Reserve a spot now via this link. If you are unable to attend the live webinar, you can register via the link to receive the recording.
- Award applications for the 12th annual National Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Awards now are being accepted. The 2019 National BQA Awards recognize five winners in the areas of beef, dairy, marketing and education. Find the application and nomination requirements here. Applications are due by June 1, 2018.
At the 2018 Aptimmune Scientific Symposium, Dr. Andy Kryzer of Fairmont Veterinary Clinic in Fairmont, Minn., shared an evaluation of the Aptimmune vaccine in Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) viremic piglets.
Kryzer said the study trialed the vaccine at weaning only versus weaning and two weeks post weaning to see if the approaches were equally effective at reducing PRRS viremia and improving average daily gains through the nursery phase.
“Ultimately, the result is we saw fewer light weight pigs in the vaccinate groups versus the control, however we weren’t able to continue the trial through the finishing phase so ultimately would like to do that work to see how does this vaccine perform on the pigs through the finishing,” said Kryzer. “Does the difference that we see at the end of the nursery actually hit the first cut out of the barn?”
Kryzer noted that in this project there was a fairly low prevalence of PRRS – less than 20 percent of these pigs were positive.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dr. Kryzer here: Interview with Dr. Andy Kryzer,
Fairmont Veterinary Clinic
Three different trials on Minnesota hog farms resulting in encouraging evidence for the success of Aptimmune‘s Barricade vaccines. Dr. Chris Sievers, associate veterinarian at the Swine Vet Center in Minnesota presented on the trials at the 2018 Aptimmune Scientific Symposium.
“The exciting thing with Aptimmune is we have a vaccine that’s killed that’s showing some effectiveness,” said Sievers. “I should mention all of these were in heterogeneous challenges. It’s a different virus in the vaccine than what we had in the sow farm, and that’s a first for a killed vaccine. So not having to take a modified live product into some of our sow farms, that’s what we’re really excited about here and continue to look at the opportunity that holds.”
The trials included vaccinating sows in the face of a Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) virus break, which reduced the abortion rate and helped to reduce off-feed events. Another study vaccinated weaned pigs. One trial showed a small reduction in mortality and the other showed a three percent reduction in mortality, which is significant.
Sievers said the success in small trials will lead to larger studies that will result in more comprehensive data.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dr. Sievers here: Interview with Dr. Chris Sievers, Swine Vet Center
Following action by President Trump yesterday to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese imports, China is making its list of what U.S. products will be the target of retaliation. The list reportedly includes agricultural products such as U.S. pork, modified ethanol, wine, fruits and nuts, and soybeans are expected to be as well.
“We sell a lot of pork to China, so higher tariffs on our exports going there will harm our producers and undermine the rural economy,” said National Pork Producers Council President Jim Heimerl of Ohio. “No one wins in these tit-for-tat trade disputes, least of all the farmers and the consumers.”
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen says they expected ethanol would be on the list. “China’s response was entirely predictable, given recent actions by our administration to implement new tariffs. It is my fervent hope that the White House now fully understands the impact these actions will have on America’s ethanol industry and farmers, and we urge the administration to redouble its efforts to expand demand for ethanol here at home.”
China was the third-largest market for U.S. ethanol exports in 2016, accounting for almost 20% of total exports, but Dinneen says the country imposed a 30% tariff on U.S. ethanol last year, bringing sales down to almost nothing until recently when they have started to tick back up despite the tariff. “But a 15% additional tariff, on top of the 30 percent that’s already there will clearly prohibit any sales to that country,” Dinneen says.
Participants in the 2018 Aptimmune Scientific Symposium heard some real world examples of how Barricade PRRS is helping farmers to fight the illness in their herds.
Dr. Natalie Baker shared evidence of the vaccine’s success after Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) broke on an Indiana operation in April 2017.
“We followed these pigs out and looked at mortality data to see if there was a reduction in the vaccinated group versus non-vaccinated group,” said Baker. “What we saw was there was what seemed to be a significant reduction in mortality from about 3.3 percent down to 1.8 percent in the vaccinated groups. Still waiting on more data to come as these pigs are marketed.”
Baker said she expects PRRS to continue to impact the swine industry, so every tool available could help to reduce mortality and save more pigs.
Listen to Chuck’s interview with Dr. Baker here: Interview with Dr. Natalie Baker, Legacy Veterinary Clinic
U.S. dairy farmers visiting the headquarters for KEENAN Systems in Dublin, Ireland, learned more about MechFiber and the impact it can make on a dairy herd.
KEENAN Corporate Marketing Manager Martin Minchen shared that the concept, developed in 2008, has been a key value proposition for the company globally. The focus is on consistent fiber lengths and an even mix that encourages rumination and feed efficiency. The company’s newest development is the InTouch app controller, connecting the farmer to a nutrient specialist at any time.
“The company developed MechFiber. That was one step in terms of the physical mix,” said Minchen. “But delivering that consistently is crucial, so they set about using their own in-house team of software engineers developing an InTouch platform which was launched by the company in 2009 and since then has undergone various updates and with the latest ones being the app that was released in 2018.”
Minchen said almost 300,000 cows are currently part of that system, which is unique to KEENAN Systems.
“We can analyze real time data, mixer performance, if feed is over or under mixed, if the farmer has been adding the right ingredients, how long the feeder has been working, and then we can get the output data back from the cows so if the nutritionist noticed that cow output may have dropped on farm, they can proactively call the farmer,” he said.
Listen to Jamie’s interview here: Interview with Martin Minchen, KEENAN Systems