In The News This Month – April 2021




Summer is around the corner and it’s time to serve up your favorite egg dish for that healthy dose of protein and antioxidants that you need to get beach ready! It’s May, which means it is National Egg Month. We will have to keep our eyes open throughout the month to see how egg farmers commemorate the month of May. We have already seen in recent news that Cal-Maine donated 20,033 dozen eggs to the Mississippi Food Network not only in recognition of National Egg Month but to help Mississippi families during the coronavirus pandemic. I am sure we will continue to see such acts of charity throughout the month and hopefully the remainder of the year.

In other egg news, WattPoultry recently shared an article highlighting the need for Egg Farmers to have more customizable carbon reporting. Consumers continue to be more and more interested in the sustainability of their food choices and will keep putting pressure on brands to supply accurate information on their carbon footprints. We just celebrated Earth Day on April 22nd and it was a good reminder that people are willing to change their buying habits to help reduce negative environmental impacts.

Last month we read about the effects of “cool” cows on milk production. This month we can read about the effects of garlic powder. In an alternative to traditional fly control solutions, farmers have turned to garlic powder. Cattle fed with garlic will emit an odor that can deter flies. In line with this past month’s focus on reducing environmental impacts, garlic is a natural product, that is safe, easy to handle and easy to apply. Plus, the cows like the garlic flavor!

Over the last year the news has been saturated with the negative impacts of the pandemic. It was refreshing to see a news story this month on the effects of the COVID-19 recovery. Dairy products use is increasing thanks to signs the country is trying to move on from the pandemic. A rise in milk prices is forecasted for later this year due to the gradual recovery of food service and back to in-person schooling.

Drones made an appearance in the news this past month. In a recent podcast of The Scoop, we learned more about how drone applications are a great fit for ag retailers. We read about consumers becoming more interested in the origins of the food they purchase and how they were grown. Sustainability remains top in the news and the use of drones will continue to grow as part of an effective approach to sustainable agriculture.


Monica Lizar

Account Manager

Aeros, a Cultura Company


Feed and Grains:

Can Corn Get Back To $6 And Will Beans Make It To $15?

While temperatures were nearing normal last week on our farm in southeast Nebraska, a cold front has pushed in and put a stop to any planting progress.  Usually, we start planting corn by April 11th and try to finish within 7-10 days.  However, ground temperatures in our area remain below 45 degrees and forecasts show lows near 25 degrees on Tuesday.  The weather outlook later in the week looks more favorable, so hopefully everyone can start planting soon.  The entire corn belt along I-80 and I-70 seems to be in the same situation through the 23rd.

South America’s Second Corn Crop:  Brazil’s weather is looking dry, so there are growing concerns for their second crop’s yield potential, with some already speculating a possible 20% yield reduction.  If this dryness continues, it will likely support corn prices.  However, it’s still early and many in the trade assumed Argentina would have a 20% yield reduction due to La Nina.  However, late season rains have improved conditions there and losses may only be around 10% below normal according to recent estimates.

Read full article here


Asian feed producers move from corn to wheat in rations

Asian feed manufacturers are turning to wheat in animal rations due to multi-year high corn prices, Reuters reported.

China, South Korea and Vietnam are buying more wheat from Australia and the Black Sea region, according to two Singapore-based grain traders.

Together, those three countries are expected to buy 26.4% of global corn this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Read full article here


Dry Conditions Intensify Across Upper Midwest, West

Drought or abnormal dryness expanded or intensified across parts of the West and upper Midwest, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor, released on Thursday.

Much of the Ohio Valley states, and Iowa to Lower Michigan, had little to no precipitation this past week.

USDA statistics show that 30% of Michigan is experiencing topsoil moisture that is short to very short (dry to very dry), an increase of 17% over the last week. The same topsoil moisture concern by USDA was noted as increased to 34% of Iowa, 25% of Minnesota, and 21% of Wisconsin.

Read full article here



Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report, April 29th, 2021. 


Shell inventory was up by 1.4 percent, following a rise of 3.1 percent last week. The two-week trends during mid-February and again in mid-March indicated increased demand relative to supply. Prices retreated over the past three weeks but with a moderate decline this past week to a low level relative to the cost of production. Chains purchased in quantity over the last two weeks of March to preempt anticipated pre-Easter price rises. A large number of molted hens that returned to production prior to Easter have transitioned from laying medium to large-sized eggs. Industry participants expect buyers to reenter the market as guided by retail demand and inventories in DCs and stores. Generic eggs are priced high by many chains to maximize margin but this depresses volume to the disadvantage of the industry.

Currently inventory represents just over 5 days of production. Post-Easter movement on price defies conventional supply to demand relationships and indicates extraneous factors affecting price. The standard 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.

Read full article here 


Egg farmers need more customizable carbon reporting

Sustainable production is coming under ever more scrutiny and egg farmers need to look closely at their individual production decisions.

Egg farmers must find new ways to mitigate their impact on the environment, as the sustainability of all types of animal protein production is ever-more examined by investors, retailers and consumers.

Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) criteria are increasingly important for some investors in determining companies’ financial return and risks and publicly listed egg companies, or those seeking funds, cannot escape this scrutiny.

Consumers, as a likely consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, are putting health and sustainability at the forefront of their guiding principles. A recent survey conducted in 28 counties, for example, showed that 57% of consumers would be willing to change her purchasing habits to help reduce negative environmental impacts.

Retailers, with consumers ever-more interested in the sustainability of their food choices, are increasingly pressuring brands to supply accurate and relevant information on their carbon footprints.

Read full article here


Rose Acre to depopulate White County egg farm

Rose Acre Farms has informed the Indiana Department of Workforce Development of its intention to close layer houses on the White County Egg Farm effective June 14, 2021. Tony Wesner, COO, Rose Acre Farms said that, in its current configuration, the farm could house up to 1.4 million hens in cages. At the time of the depopulation announcement, the farm housed around 0.9 million hens.

Wesner said that the hens are being taken out of production early in response to high grain prices and a relative oversupply of eggs on the U.S. market which has kept egg prices down. Spot market prices for corn and soybeans in the U.S. have at times exceeded $6.0 and $15.0 per bushel, respectively, in April 2021.  

Read full article here


Cal-Maine Foods donates 20K dozen eggs to Mississippi Food Network

On Monday, Cal-Maine Foods, Inc., donated 20,033 dozen eggs to the Mississippi Food Network. The goal of the donation is to help Mississippi families during the coronavirus pandemic.

To help those in need and in recognition of National Egg Month, the company and Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture and Commerce Andy Gipson will donate 240,400 eggs to Mississippi Food Network.

Read full article here



Does Britney Spears belong in chicken sandwich wars?

The topic of the chicken sandwich wars is pretty much a daily conversation piece for those of us who produce content for the website.

Normally, the names thrown out are Popeyes, Chick-fil-A, Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Zaxby’s, KFC – you know, the names you would expect.

But how about Britney Spears?

Yes, the pop star who emerged in the 1990s is sharing her expertise in crafting a chicken sandwich. She recently did so via her Instagram channel with a video.

Read full article here 


VIDEO: How feed prices will impact the broiler industry

Higher corn costs are offset by higher chicken prices but runaway feed prices would seriously effect the industry.  In a WATT Poultry Chat interview, Mark Jordan, executive director of LEAP Market Analytics, examined what’s driving current feed prices and explained what the effects of higher than normal prices may be on the industry. 

He said lower-than-normal crop yields in 2020 and drought conditions in some of the corn growing regions of the U.S. are driving prices upward. Higher than normal corn costs can be offset by higher chicken prices but runaway feed prices would start have a serious effect. 

Watch the video here 



Butterball: Carving out a strategy

Considering the history of Jay Jandrain’s family in meat processing, and his lifelong exposure to food production, it is not surprising that today, he leads one of the most iconic companies in the meat and poultry industry, Mount Olive, NC-based Butterball LLC.

He’s been chief executive officer and president of Butterball for almost two-and-a-half years – since December 2018 – but he’s worked for the company for 19 years. As leader of the world’s largest turkey processor and producer, Jandrain is committed to transforming the company and the turkey industry away from an over-reliance on selling only whole birds for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas – and marketing turkey in various forms as a year-round protein product.

Read full article here


Prestage Farms veterinarian: Processing chain communication critical to identify health issues early, reduce turkey condemnations

Developing good relationships across the processing chain can be critical in helping to identify and overcome issues on farm and in the processing plant.

Claude Hebron, DVM at Prestage Farms in North Carolina, said regular and open communication between veterinarians, plant managers and USDA inspectors is invaluable in helping identify health issues early and reducing the number of condemnations being made during processing.  eaking to Poultry Health Today, Hebron explained how his own experiences of dealing with high numbers of turkey condemnations with Prestage Farms due to liver spots has shown him the importance of talking to all parties involved.

Read full article here



ASF leads to conflict over pork imports in Philippines

Since African swine fever (ASF) first arrived in the Philippines in July 2019, it has spread widely across the country, and caused heavy losses of pigs through mortality and culling. According to the latest update from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 155 outbreaks are ongoing in 25 regions as of February 18. Almost 426,000 pigs have been directly impacted in 622 registered outbreaks.

As a result of ASF, the country’s pork supply has been greatly impacted, according to Manila Bulletin. With pork a staple food for Filipinos, the shortage of supply and steeply rising prices became a major concern for the government. As an executive order setting a maximum price came to an end on April 8, suggested retail prices were introduced.

Read full article as well as updates on India, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, and South Africa here


China’s pork imports set record

China’s pork imports jumped to an all-time high in March on supply concerns following a resurgence of African swine fever in the world’s biggest consumer and producer.

Inbound shipments increased 16% from a year earlier to 460,000 tons, boosting overall meat imports to a record as well, according to customs data Sunday. Purchases in the first quarter advanced 22% to 1.16 million tons, data showed.

Hog herds could have contracted by as much as 30% from November, said Pan Chenjun, senior livestock analyst with Rabobank, as winter diseases, including new strains of African swine fever, hit the country’s farms. Hog inventories may currently be 60% to 70% of normal, Pan estimated.

Read full article here



Feeding your herd garlic powder for fly control

Every rancher and cattle producer knows that flies are bothersome. On top of being a nuisance, they can also be a drain on your profitability. Flies can reduce growth performance by taking blood meals, spreading infections, and causing general irritation and stress with constant buzzing. Exact figures are not hard to pin down, but some estimates put the cost at more than $1.5 billion per year on US cattle producers. On operations with serious infestations, it can be as much as $50 per head per year.1

Looking for alternatives to traditional fly control solutions, some beef producers have begun feeding dehydrated garlic to their herd as a natural fly control remedy.  Cattle fed with garlic emit an odor through their skin and breath that can deter flies. As a natural product, garlic is safe, easy to handle and easy to apply. It also compatible with specialized diets like grass-fed and organic, and it’s cheaper than some conventional solutions, costing only about $0.02 to $0.01 a day per head.

It may even improve palatability. “The cows that don’t typically eat the plain mineral enjoy the garlic flavor,” beef producer Chance McKinney explained. “So when they come up to eat the garlic, I know they are getting fly control and nutrients.”

Read full article here


Tyson Foods first meat company to join cattle traceability program

Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, is putting its support behind a cattle disease traceability program called U.S. CattleTrace.

This makes Tyson the first beef processor to invest in membership in the program, which was formed by multiple state cattlemen’s organizations to develop a national infrastructure for animal disease traceability in the U.S. cattle industry. The program is expected to assist animal health officials with an effective and quick disease response within the U.S. cattle herd in the event of a foreign animal disease occurring in the U.S., which is critical for the entire beef industry in order to maintain daily operations and continue to access ever important beef export markets.

Read full article here



DAIRY PRIDE Act upholds proper milk labeling

Congressional members reintroduce bill that would require FDA to enforce use of proper dairy terms.  Current Food and Drug Administration regulations define dairy products as being from dairy animals. Although existing federal regulations are clear, the FDA has not enforced these labeling regulations and the mislabeling of plant-based imitation dairy products as ‘milk’, ‘yogurt’ and ‘cheese’ has increased rapidly.

Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, and U.S. Senator Jim Risch, R-Idaho, reintroduced bipartisan legislation in the Senate to combat what they say is the “unfair practice of mislabeling non-dairy products using dairy names.” Representatives Peter Welch, D-Vt., and Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, are introducing bipartisan companion legislation in the House.

Read full article here


COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery is Propping Up Dairy Demand and Prices

Domestic demand and use of dairy products continues to increase. The news comes as the U.S. continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

According to the latest dairy market report from Dairy Management Incorporated and that National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), a gradual recovery of food service and in-person schooling is raising the milk price forecasts for later this year.

The groups say the positive developments are in a race against new virus variants and premature relaxation of behavioral measures to protect against transmission. 

As far as dairy exports, shipments surged in February while dairy imports have dropped to multi-year lows. Also, milk prices remain well below a year ago and payments under the Dairy Margin Coverage Program remain significant.

Read full article here



How Drone Applications Can Fit Into Ag Retail

Ag Partners Cooperative in Kansas is thinking about the big picture with technology advances and heading to the field with a smaller sized application technology. 

Rantizo CEO Michael Ott and Ethan Noll who heads up the digital ag efforts at Ag Partners, joined The Scoop podcast recently to share more about how drone applications are a fit for ag retailers. 

This season will be the first application season for Noll, who first read about Rantizo in Farm Journal and had been watching the technology. 

“This is another opportunity for us to get out there on their fields and service the customer,” Noll says. “We’re located in northeastern Kansas and we have a diverse geography we have hills and then we’ve got some of the river bottoms–so it’s pretty diverse. We go from wheat ground to 250 bushel corn.” 

Read full article here



Ag industry skeptical of Biden’s tax plan

In a joint session address to Congress, President Joe Biden focused on continued calls to “build back better” and to pay for many of his priorities with tax reform. The American Families Plan encourages family farms to stay in the family and does not tax farm and asset transfer to family members upon death, but there are still concerns from farm groups on the impact to those in rural America.

The American Families Plan would repeal the deferral of gain for real estate like-kind exchanges – also known as 1031 exchanges- for gains greater than $500,000 and eliminate stepped-up basis for gains in excess of $1 million ($2.5 million per couple “when combined with existing real estate exemptions”) and tax said gains on any property not donated to charity.  According to the plan, the reform will be designed “with protections so that family-owned businesses and farms will not have to pay taxes when given to heirs who continue to run the business.”

Read full article here


Good crop of California stone fruit expected

California’s peach, nectarine and plums crop should offer good volume and strong quality this year, according to Levon Ganajian, retail relations director for Trinity Fruit Sales  Co., Fresno, Calif.

“The best way to characterize it is a full crop,” Ganajian said. “We’ve had ideal weather conditions, plenty of chill hours, and so that equates to high quality fruit this year.”

In addition, growers had to do quite a bit of thinning, so a large crop is anticipated, he said.

Read full article here


Cargill invests in plant-based meat company

Responding to flexitarian consumers’ growing appetite for plant-based products that deliver a “meat-like” experience, Cargill is investing in Bflike, a start-up created by BOX NV, which is poised to be a new technology leader in the rapidly evolving meat and fish alternatives categories. The partnership combines Cargill’s extensive food ingredient solutions with Bflike’s recipes and technology, to give food manufacturers and retailers the opportunity to bring tasty plant-based products to market quickly and affordably.

“Global volume consumption of protein is expected to nearly double by 2050. Plant-based protein, as a complement to animal protein, will help fulfill growing consumers’ desire for more options as part of a balanced diet,” said Belgin Köse, segment director of enrichment & renewability for Cargill Starches, Sweeteners & Texturizers Europe. “This joint venture is another way in which Cargill is enabling plant-based alternatives that exceed consumer expectations and enrich consumer diets with responsible, sustainable and affordable options in various geographies.”

Read full article here


The information in this newsletter is intended to update our readers of current events.  Any third-party publications are presented for informational purposes only and the views presented in such publications are those of the respective authors.  The views therein are not necessarily representative of Aeros or any other CULTURA company’s views on any particular topic.