In The News This Month – March 2022




March 20, 2022 was the first official day of Spring. However, throughout the month of March it seemed like winter wanted to linger a bit longer. As usually is the case, the weather has been unpredictable throughout the country. It was as if Mother Nature couldn’t decide if Spring should start now or if colder temperatures should continue. Rain or shine we typically equate Spring with the Easter holiday. A time when the U.S. layer flock usually expands to meet the high demand of eggs during this season. Unfortunately, our Easter egg supplies could be at risk. The egg supply chains have not fully recovered from the pandemic disruption and now must deal with the fast-spreading Avian flu. According to “if additional cases of HPAI are diagnosed, availability will be more severely impacted…” is providing comprehensive coverage of avian flu cases with an interactive map. The highly pathogenic avian influenza combined with high feed costs and other challenges are severely limiting flock size management. As news of possible egg shortages spreads, consumers will want to stock up on eggs earlier than expected and it is possible that retailers will maximize shelf prices in relation to demand. Hopefully prices will stabilize some because Easter without the traditional easter egg hunt would be depressing.

The Ukrainian crisis continues to disrupt the food supply chain. One Ukrainian egg company has been unable to feed hens, transport workers, or ship eggs to customers.  They are reporting that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a loss of about $51 million US dollars. Although they lost a lot of their flocks, they were able to give some hens and eggs away to the local population. They’ve not only donated hundreds of thousands of eggs to defenders of Ukraine, but they have also donated fuel and other resources.

In more positive news, Aeros’ customer Cal-Maine Foods recently invested $82 million to further expand their cage-free egg production capabilities. Some of the proposed projects include adding four new cage-free layer houses and two pullet house conversions in Delta, Utah. They also plan to convert nine layer houses and two pullet houses in Guthrie, Kentucky. Since 2008 Cal-Maine Foods has allocated about $625 million in facilities, equipment, and related operations expanding their cage-free production and distribution capabilities. Dolph Baker, CEO of Cal-Maine Foods, recently said “We are committed to meeting the needs of our valued customers and will continue to identify opportunities to enhance our operations with improved efficiencies to support our anticipated growth.”

Sustainability continues to be a significant priority for the industry. A new sustainability assessment program called the On-Farm Sustainability report program will help pork producers gather and analyze data to benchmark progress. Pork producers can now easily validate and verify if what they are doing is working. They can determine what goals to set and what next steps are needed to increase their sustainability efforts. recently published a story that we felt should be highlighted. Dairy farming, and really all farming, is a demanding job with an extremely high level of commitment bringing stress from caring for your animals to economic uncertainty and unpredictable weather conditions. Mental health issues have been a hot topic of conversation lately, with the pandemic shining a spotlight on the country’s mental health crisis. The CDC reported that one third of Americans experience symptoms of anxiety or depression and farmers are among the most likely to die by suicide compared to other occupations. Pennsylvania dairy farmer Jessica Peters has publicly shared her mental health struggles and launched Secrets of Ag to give others a place to secretly talk about what they are feeling. The most important thing she and others stress is ending the stigma of mental health. Be sure to click on the article below to learn more about methods that can help you cope when your mental headspace is off-kilter.


Monica Lizar

Account Manager

Aeros, a Cultura Company


Feed and Grains:


2022 Planted Acres: Corn Down 4%, Soybeans Up 4%

For 2022, USDA are expecting more soybean acres than corn. That’s according to the 2022 Prospective Plantings report released on March 31.

Acreage estimates include: 

  • Corn: 89.5 million, down 4% from 2021
  • Soybeans: 91 million, up 4% from 2021
  • All Wheat: 47.4 million, up 1% from 2021
  • Cotton: 12.2 million, up 9% form 2021

Take Our Poll: USDA’s Prospective Plantings Estimates

Ahead of the report, analysts were predicting:

  • 92 million for corn 
  • 88.7 million for soybeans
  • 48 million for wheat

USDA predicts 317.4 million acres of principle crops. That is 1.2 million acres higher than final acreage in 2021.

“We’re not seeing a resurgence in acres like we were really expecting,” says Rich Nelson, chief strategist with Allendale. 

Read full article here


USDA’s Prospective Plantings report stirs up grain prices

USDA’s Prospective Plantings report, out this morning, showed U.S. soybean acres could reach record levels this year – which, if realized and assuming trendline yields, could bring a record-breaking production in 2022. That caused prices to tumble 2.75%. Winter wheat prices also faded 1.25% to 2% in a still-volatile environment. But with soybean acres on the rise, that means fewer corn acres, which helped prices firm moderately higher. For our full coverage and analysis of today’s market-shaking report, click here.

After plenty of wet weather earlier this week, there will still be a bit more rain and snow possible across much of the central U.S. between Friday and Monday, per the latest 72-hour cumulative precipitation map from NOAA. The agency’s 8-to-14-day outlooks still shows the probability for drier-than-normal conditions across the Central and Southern Plains between April 7 and April 13, with seasonally cool weather hanging in the eastern Corn Belt and Great Lakes region during that time.

Read full article here





Cal-Maine Foods investing $82m on cage-free production

Cal-Maine Foods Inc. announced March 30 that its board of directors has approved new capital projects to further expand the company’s cage-free egg production capabilities. The company plans to fund the proposed projects for an estimated total of $82 million through a combination of available cash on hand, investments and operating cash flow.

The proposed projects will include the following Cal-Maine Foods’ locations:

  • Delta, Utah – four new cage-free layer houses and two pullet house conversions with capacity for approximately 810,000 cage-free layer hens. Work is expected to commence immediately with project completion expected by fall 2023.
  • Guthrie, Kentucky – nine cage-free layer house conversions and two pullet house conversions with capacity for approximately 953,000 cage-free layer hens. Work is expected to commence immediately with expected completion by spring 2025.

Read full article here


Avian flu puts Easter egg supplies at risk

Recent outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) within the U.S. layer flock are adding strain to beleaguered egg supply chains, which have not fully recovered from disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. While egg production has stabilized in recent months, it is still well below pre-pandemic levels and egg availability could be limited leading into Easter, according to a new research brief from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange.

“U.S. egg producers have been hard-pressed to align supplies with market demand over the last two years,” said Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist with CoBank. “The U.S. layer flock typically expands ahead of the surge in demand for Easter and contracts during the summer months. But recent losses due to HPAI have combined with high feed costs and other challenges that are severely limiting flock size management.” 

Read full article here


Egg Week

Market Overview

  • Average unit revenue for Midwest Extra-large and Large sizes were 60.5 percent higher during the past week following depletion of more than12 million hens over the past four weeks. Unseasonal 1st quarter consumer demand paused at the end of February after four successive weekends of inclement weather in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The increase in price for all sizes this past week despite a 0.8 percent increase in industry shell-egg inventory suggests continued demand over the short term with progressively increasing prices. If additional cases of HPAI are diagnosed, availability will be more severely impacted especially in the breaking sector. Industry inventory rose this past week to 1.92 million cases due to small increases in both shell egg and breaking stock. Retailers will continue refilling the pipeline to satisfy consumer demand as the industry moves through the weeks before Easter. It is possible that orders will increase over uncertainty on the part of chain buyers concerning avian influenza. Either way retailers are expected to maximize shelf prices in relation to demand. Wholesale unit prices during the 1st quarter of 2022 contrast favorably with the corresponding periods in both 2020 and 2021 that were characterized by low ex-plant unit revenue. Wholesale Midwest prices are yielding positive margins, taking into account the combined costs of nest-run, grading, packaging and delivery. This compensates for higher feed costs and previously low unit revenue.



Read full article here




Second Mistrial In Poultry Price-Fixing Case

The U.S. Justice Department has tried and failed twice in its efforts to prove price-fixing among chicken industry executives.

A federal judge in Denver has declared a second mistrial after a jury deadlocked over whether 10 chicken company executives had conspired to fix prices. The first trial ended in December 2021.

U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer ended the case on March 29 after jurors said they were unable to reach a verdict after four days of deliberations. The 10 executives had worked for Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., Perdue Farms LLC, Claxton Poultry, Tyson Foods Inc., Koch Foods Inc., Case Farms and George’s Inc.

Read full article here 


Without explanatory labels, consumer stigma would slow adoption of novel chicken feed

Chicken producers who use novel feed ingredients may want to consider product labeling to avoid consumer stigma, according to new research from the University of Göttingen.

Feeding broiler chickens ingredients such as spirulina or insect meal changes the color of the final meat products, potentially creating a barrier to adoption among consumers. In a survey of German consumers, participants showed a slight preference for insect-fed chicken products, which have a lighter meat color than soy- and algae-fed chickens. Less than one-quarter said they would be willing to purchase the algae-fed chickens, which have a darker, more yellow hue.

However, when consumers were provided with information about how the chickens were fed, willingness to try the alternative options increased. Assuming the price for all three products remained equal, 48.9% of consumers indicated they would buy chicken fed an insect-based diet when informed of the potential environmental benefits of the alternative feed.

Read full article here 




Track 2022 avian influenza outbreaks in North American poultry

Avian influenza has returned in poultry flocks in 2022 as birds migrate across North America. In light of these most-recent avian flu outbreaks, it is necessary that members of the industry be proactive and keep up-to-date to ensure the health of their birds and safety of their poultry products. 

To help poultry growers and producers monitor these outbreaks of avian influenza, has created an interactive map tracking cases confirmed by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) in North America in 2022 in commercial poultry flocks: 

Read full article here


Compost management key to avoiding clostridial dermatitis

One of the most important things turkey producers can do to reduce the risk of clostridial dermatitis (CDT) in their flocks is to properly manage their composting activities.

Dr. Steven Clark, veterinary technical service manager for Huvepharma’s turkey portfolio, highlighted that importance during his talk, “The ABCs of CDT: Clostridial Dermatitis in Turkeys,” at the Midwest Poultry Federation (MPF) Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on March 22.

While Clark went through the entire alphabet during his presentation, he frequently returned the discussion to the letter C, which stood for compost management.

When turkey producers opt to compost their dead birds, one mistake he sees all too often is that the compost pile is too close to the barns where the turkeys are housed.

“The No. 1 rule is don’t compost within 200 feet of the barn,” Clark said.

Read full article here




U.S. Pork Seeks To Reduce GHGs 40% By 2030, Announces On-Farm Sustainability Report For Producers

A new sustainability assessment program aims to help pork producers easily gather and analyze on-farm data to benchmark progress while working toward industry goals that include lowering greenhouse gas emissions, improving animal well-being and giving back to communities. The On-Farm Sustainability Report program and the pork industry’s latest Sustainability Report was launched in mid-February 2022 and includes a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% industrywide by 2030.

Read full article here


German pig farmers welcome ASF cooperation

Over the past 10 days, Romania is the only country in Europe to register new cases of African swine fever in domestic pigs; cases continue to rise among the wild boar populations of Germany and 7 other European countries

In the eastern German state of Brandenburg, the struggle to control African swine fever (ASF) began 18 months ago, in September 2020.

Since then, the infection has spread to more than 2,400 wild boar in seven districts of the state, according to the state government. A range of controls on the wild population and restrictions on domestic pigs have been largely successful in keeping the German pig sector free of ASF. Across the three affected states, just four swine herds have tested positive for the ASF virus. Affected were two commercial farms and two backyards.

Read full article here




GRSB launches Beef Carbon Footprint Guideline

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) Scientific Advisory Council has launched the Beef Carbon Footprint Guideline, to allow for sector-wide consistency in the calculation of the carbon footprint of beef cattle.

The creation of the guideline was made possible by a number of notable members of the organization. This included financial support from McDonald’s Corporation and DSM. Blonk Consultants supported by advising on the methodological approach and developing the guideline.

Together, GRSB and its members noticed that across the sector, businesses, and organizations globally were using different methodologies and data to measure their carbon impact – leading to inconsistencies. As such, comparable and consistent measuring across companies, countries and continents was difficult.

Read full article here


Beef trade deal struck with Japan

The United States and Japan have reached an agreement to increase the beef safeguard trigger level under the U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement. The new three-trigger safeguard mechanism will allow U.S. exporters to meet Japan’s growing demand for high-quality beef and reduce the probability that Japan will impose higher tariffs in the future, according to a release from USDA and the U.S. Trade Representative’s office. 

U.S. beef exports to Japan exceeded 320,000 metric tons in 2021 and set a new value record at $2.38 billion. But U.S. beef was subject to a higher tariff than its competitors for 30 days, from mid-March to mid-April, after imports exceeded the safeguard volume. As part of the terms of the Japan – U.S. Trade Agreement, both countries entered consultations after the volume-based safeguard was triggered in March 2021.

Read full article here




USDA finalizes organic dairy rule

In action March 29, USDA published the highly anticipated Origin of Livestock final rule for organic dairy. USDA says this change to the USDA organic regulations will promote a fairer and more competitive market for all organic dairy producers, by making sure that certified USDA organic dairy products are produced to the same consistent standard.

“This action demonstrates the USDA’s strong commitment to America’s organic dairy farmers,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “The Origin of Livestock final rule provides clear and uniform standards about how and when livestock may be transitioned to organic dairy production, and how transitioned animals are managed within the organic dairy system. Now, all organic dairy livestock producers will have the confidence and certainty they are operating in a fair and competitive market.”

Read full article here


Checkoff helps Taco Bell unveil dairy creamer, new coffee drink

Taco Bell restaurants nationwide have rolled out a dairy-based coffee creamer and a new coffee drink with support from dairy checkoff food scientists.

The vanilla creamer replaces a non-dairy product and will become a permanent offering at more than 7,500 Taco Bell locations in the United States. The shelf-stable creamer also was used in the checkoff-created Pineapple Whip Freeze and Island Berry Freeze beverages that previously appeared on Taco Bell’s menu.

Read full article here


Farmer Suicide Increases Nationwide – Help is Available

Dairy farming is a 24/7, 365-day commitment and with the demanding job it brings just caring for cattle, it can be compounded by economic uncertainty and vulnerability to weather conditions. The nonstop demand can plague a producer’s mental health, aiding in stress, anxiety and depression.

The pandemic brought mental health into the spotlight as it wreaked havoc on the mental headspace of many. The Center of Disease Control (CDC) reports that one third of Americans experience symptoms of anxiety or depression. Furthermore, 85% of employees feel their wellbeing has declined since COVID-19. Farmers are among the most likely to die by suicide compared to other occupations, a statistic that was known before the pandemic even hit.

Read full article here





Ukrainian egg company has been unable to feed hens, transport workers or ship eggs to customers

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to a loss of about UAH1.5 billion (US$51 million) for Ukrainian egg producer Avangardco.

According to a press release from UkrLandFarming, the parent company of Avangardco, the company has lost its ability to feed hens, transport workers to the farm in the Kherson region, or ship eggs to customers because of the aggression shown by Russian forces. The farm was also cut off from its power supply.

The company had earlier reported that nearly 3 million hens would die if they could not get feed, and there has not been a way to dispose of the carcasses in a manner that is appropriate for the environment.

The company was able to give some of those hens and eggs away to the local population, UkrLandFarming stated, but most had to be slaughtered.

Read full article here


Survey: KFC’s ‘sonic logo’ is most recognizable

The KFC slogan – “It’s finger lickin’ good” – was ranked as the most recognizable quick-serve restaurant (QSR) “sonic logo,” according to a survey from audio research and analytics platform Veritonic.

“As the consumption of audio continues to burgeon, what a brand sounds like is becoming as important as what it looks like,” Veritonic CEO & co-founder Scott Simonelli wrote in the company’s 2022 U.S. Audio Logo Index report.

“Audio branding is just one of many kinds of audio that are being utilized to increase reach and brand awareness in today’s multi-faceted media landscape.”

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.