In The News Week – November 12, 2020


Thoughts for November:  3 T’s:

  1. Trade
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Technology


Trade. With the election behind us, Mary Kay Thatcher, senior lead for federal government relations at Syngenta, thinks that Biden will likely take a more cautious approach on trade and any new trade agreements.  She expects Biden to be aggressive on China, but in a way that also brings more of a coalition.

Farm Journal | AG WEB also sites relations with China is one of the three top 3 things to watch post-election.

Thanksgiving.  It is a busy time for our egg producers as we enter into the traditional holiday baking season.  And of course, a very busy time for our turkey producers.  Approximately 40 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving each year, according to National Turkey Federation estimates. The group believes the 2020 figure will be around the same, although the size and type of turkeys consumed could change.  I find a recent survey from HelloFresh very interesting:  half of the respondents said they were planning a virtual Thanksgiving, 18% indicated they would be cooking at home vs. attending traditional large family gatherings.  Whatever your plans may be, the Aeros Team wishes you a safe and wonderful holiday. 

Technology. We are thinking about how we will celebrate Thanksgiving 2020.  However, technology is becoming increasingly critical.  We should be thinking about …

Per McKinsey & Company:  

The Need for feed. By 2050, the Earth will hold more than two billion more people than it does today. And the costs to feed those people are already rising: water supply will fall 40% short of global needs by 2030, while energy, labor, and nutrient costs continue to increase. The farming industry is also under significant environmental pressures—including climate change and catastrophic weather events—and social pressures to adopt more ethical and sustainable farm practices

The success and sustainability of one of the planet’s oldest industries may well depend on a technology transformation.

Anthony Barton

General Manager

Aeros, A CULTURA company


Feed and Grains:

We’re Chasing an Additional 10 Bushels with Early Soybeans,’ Agronomist Says

Farmers in west-central Illinois and east-central Missouri are wrapping up the 2020 harvest, and many are seeing above-average corn yields, according to Matt Duesterhaus, Crop-Tech Consulting research agronomist.

“The growing season was excellent overall, a little dry in June, but we got some rain around the 4th of July that took us through pollination just fine,” Duesterhaus told Ken Ferrie, Farm Journal Field Agronomist, on this week’s Boots In The Field program.

This week, Duesterhaus was working with Ursa Farmers Cooperative, near Quincy, Ill., and some of their farmer customers.

Duesterhaus described the 2020 soybean crop as above average as well, but not delivering as strong of results as the corn crop.  “On the bean side, we’re seeing a lot of 60- and 70-plus yielding beans. Not a lot of 80- and 90-bushel bean averages, but still good yields,” he said.

Read full article here


Are $11 Soybeans the Start of the Next Ag Bull Market?

Soybean prices surged this week, topping $11. Those price levels are the highest U.S. farmers have seen on the CME since the summer of 2016.  Technically, $11 soybeans are a major pivot point for the market.

“If you look at a continuous soybean chart, soybeans don’t spend a lot of time between $11 and $12,” says Brian Splitt of AgMarket.Net. “That means we could be on the verge of a sharp, fast rally to $12 should USDA provide fuel with yield reduction and increased demand. However, if the USDA disappoints, we could be at a point where the market falters and waits for further guidance on South American weather.”

What drove soybean prices to top $11 this week? Splitt thinks in addition to the current good demand story, it’s also USDA pre-report estimates. He says that’s what spurred a 30-cent rally in soybeans last month just days ahead of the October WASDE release, and when pre-report estimates came out this week, it seemed traders were once again pricing in the numbers ahead of the official data drop.

Read full article here



3 tips for egg producers wanting to go cage-free

Rubén Martínez, CEO of Rujamar Poultry Farm in Cuenca, Spain, considers himself a fervent defender of animal welfare. For this reason, in June 2018, he determined to eliminate all cages on its layer farm to become the largest producer of cage-free eggs in Spain.

“I firmly believe in animal welfare. I never tire of saying that a caged hen is something that is not good for the animal,” said Martínez in an interview with WATT Poultry after receiving the Poultry Excellence Award on the 14th International Fair for Animal Production (FIGAN 2019), held in Zaragoza, Spain.

For Martínez, it was this commitment to “innovation, development” and animal welfare that led his company to receive this award. For this reason, WATT Poultry asked him about the recommendations he gives to other egg producers for the future.

1. Put fear aside and dare to be at the forefront

2. Think about animal welfare and product quality

3. Rely on specialized labor

Read full article here 


Egg Week

USDA Weekly Egg Price and Inventory Report 

    • The U.S. flock in production was seasonally up 2.7 million from the previous week to 317.1 million, with molted hens resuming production and pullets reaching maturity in anticipation of 4th quarter demand.
    • Shell inventory was up 3.4 percent after a 6.8 percent increase last week, the fourth increase in a row indicating an imbalance between demand and supply with implications for price going forward. There is some evidence of a return in the food service sector as the economy cautiously reopens but the incidence rate of COVID-19 is increasing in many regions.

    USDA Midwest benchmark generic prices for Extra-large and Large sizes were down 0.5 percent this past week consistent with moderate overproduction relative to seasonal demand to averages of 103.0 and 101.0 cents per dozen respectively. Mediums were unchanged at 90.5 per dozen. Prices will continue to fluctuate as molted hens resume production and pullets commence lay unless offset by a proportional increase in shell egg and liquid demand moving through the fourth quarter of 2020.

    The price of breaking stock in the Midwest was up 1.5 percent to an average of 70.0 cents per dozen. Checks were unchanged at 62.5 cents per dozen.

Read full article here 


Selenium and Immunity: food for thought

A balanced diet is key for human health promotion. Among essential nutrients, Selenium is shown to be deficient in many countries worldwide. In animals as well as in humans, Selenium deficiency is associated with compromised immunity and increased susceptibility to various diseases including the recent epidemic caused by COVID 19. Production of Se-enriched eggs, meat, and milk could be an important approach to deal with human Selenium deficiency.

Read full article here

BTW, eggs contain 22% of the RDA of selenium



Chicken, & pizza popular with consumers during pandemic

Consumers stuck at home during the COVID-19 pandemic have increasingly chosen to order pizza and chicken from foodservice locations over other food options.

“Pizza and chicken continue to impress,” Joe Pawlak, Managing Principal, Technomic said October 20 during Foodservice State of the Industry – Fall 2020 Update.

There has been a major uptick in off-premises dining throughout the pandemic. Most restaurants that sell chicken wings and pizza already had a strong off-premises orientation, Pawlak said. They are also offered in a variety of flavors and sizes, making it easy for families to find something for everyone.

In addition, food service locations that sell pizza and chicken have also been quick to adopt new technologies that help consumers order food, such as online ordering and delivery apps.

Another winner, he said, was Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen. Their chicken sandwich continues to be popular long after the 2019 chicken sandwich wars.

Read full article here


Avian flu virus detected from South Korea, Russia to Western Europe

While Russia and Israel report further outbreaks of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in poultry, the first cases of the season have been detected in Western Europe. Wild birds at two locations in South Korea have tested positive for a related virus.

In the Southern federal district of Russia, the H5N8 HPAI virus has been detected at a poultry farm with over 1.1 million birds.

More than 1,000 poultry at the premises in Rostov oblast died around the middle of October, according to the official report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The presence of the H5N8 HPAI virus was detected, but the fate of the rest of the flock is not recorded.

The Rostov oblast is located in the Southern federal district of Russia. In the neighboring North Caucasian district, the first occurrence of HPAI linked to the same virus variant in poultry was reported by the agriculture ministry in mid-September.

Read full article here  


6 opportunities from COVID-19 for the poultry industry

Despite the international crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the poultry industry could see some opportunities. Those include:

  1. Turn to virtuality
  2. Alternative channels
  3. Telecommuting
  4. Time to promote poultry products
  5. Corporate solidarity
  6. More formalization and associativity


Read full article here  


Turkey growers guess at COVID-19’s effect on Thanksgiving

Farmers pivot quickly to meet demands for smaller holiday celebrations.  The Thanksgiving turkey is a meal most consumers look forward to all year round. However, this year’s meal could look a little different given the global pandemic.

Read full article here  



Can we predict a meat processing plant COVID-19 outbreak?

A new automated, mobile white blood cell differential test could identify meat processing plant workers likely to test positive for COVID-19.

“I imagine many of you remember all too well the pain of trying to keep operations and processing lines staffed as employees either tested positive or were too concerned about COVID-19 to show up for work.” Joy Parr Drach, president and CEO, Advanced Animal Diagnostics, said during the Virtual Poultry Tech Summit 2020.

“Flu season is upon us and we’re gearing up for what could be a bleak winter.”

Earlier this year, numerous meat processing facilities were forced to slow or even stop operations to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic after outbreaks in workers occurred.

Read full article here


African swine fever is confirmed in the domestic pigs of 4 European states — Poland, Romania, Russia and Ukraine — an infected wild boar has been found in a new area of Germany.

Among the premises recently affected by African swine fever (ASF) in Romania is a large commercial farm with approximately 6,000 pigs.

Over the past week, Romania’s veterinary authority has officially registered a further 31 ASF outbreaks in domestic pigs. According to the report to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), 30 of these latest outbreaks were in backyard herds of up to 24 animals. Of the total 6,158 pigs lost to the disease through mortality or culling, almost 6,000 were on a single farm in Calarasi. Located in the south of the country, the county borders Bulgaria.

Read full article here



Despite COVID challenges, beef production to increase 1%

2020 has been a difficult year for the beef and cattle industries, but U.S. beef production is still expected to grow this year and next, according to Don Close, senior animal protein analyst at Rabo AgriFinance.

“This has been the most dynamic year and ground-shifting changes in the global meat trade that I recall in my career,” he said. “The fallout from this one is going to last a long, long time.”

Nonetheless, he expects U.S. beef production to increase by 1% in 2020, but not without challenges.  Analysts also predict growth for poultry production but drop in pork production

Read full article here


Can we make beef supply chain fair?

The beef supply chain is complex. There are many moving parts from transforming cattle from the farm to beef at the point of purchase. Along the way, there are discussions of fairness between each stage in the process.

Complexity is one of the factors that makes the U.S. beef industry one of the most efficient in the world at taking relatively small amounts of products from hundreds of thousands of farms and meeting the needs of consumers in the U.S. and around the world. Farmers provide those safe, affordable, consistent, high-quality, diverse and nutritious beef products. But that same complexity raises the potential for issues of fairness to arise between participants in different portions of the chain.

Read full article here



Dairy exports mark 13th straight month of increase

U.S. dairy export volume in milk solids equivalent rose 5% in September, marking the 13th straight month of year-over-year increases, according to newly released data compiled by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).

The latest numbers show that the aggregate volume of major products (milk powder, whey, cheese, butter and lactose) through the first three quarters of 2020 grew 14% to 1.7 million metric tons, which USDEC noted puts exports on pace to exceed the record year in 2018, when the U.S. exported 2.2 mmt. Overall, the U.S. exported 16.2% of milk solids produced over the first nine months.

Read full article here  


Trade arrangement secures benefits for U.S. dairy 

The U.S. dairy industry commended the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) for using its review of Indonesia’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) status to hold Indonesia accountable for issues that had threatened the smooth flow of U.S. dairy exports. USTR announced Nov. 2 the conclusion of its review of Indonesia’s eligibility to continue receiving preferential tariff access to the U.S. market under the GSP program.

“The U.S. dairy industry and all of its supplying dairy farmers rely on the enforcement of fair trade rules. We appreciate the work invested by the U.S. government to use the GSP review process to ensure that Indonesia complies with its trade obligations under the terms of the GSP program,” said Jim Mulhern, president and chief executive officer of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF).

Read full article here



Agriculture’s connected future: How technology can yield new growth

One of the oldest industries must embrace a digital, connectivity-fueled transformation in order to overcome increasing demand and several disruptive forces.

The agriculture industry has radically transformed over the past 50 years. Advances in machinery have expanded the scale, speed, and productivity of farm equipment, leading to more efficient cultivation of more land. Seed, irrigation, and fertilizers also have vastly improved, helping farmers increase yields. Now, agriculture is in the early days of yet another revolution, at the heart of which lie data and connectivity. Artificial intelligence, analytics, connected sensors, and other emerging technologies could further increase yields, improve the efficiency of water and other inputs, and build sustainability and resilience across crop cultivation and animal husbandry.

The farmer takes AI (artificial intelligence). Some farmers in the American Midwest are using high-tech solutions—such as high-res cameras and AI-linked sensors—during this fall’s harvest. The resulting improved yields and reduced costs are helping those in an already struggling sector where demand has declined because big buyers, such as restaurants and hotels, have been seriously disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. [Fortune]

AI for good. More than a quarter of the world’s population are still moderately to severely food insecure, and around 820 million people don’t get enough to eat daily. And while we have to feed more people, agriculture as we know it contributes to carbon emissions. Enter AI-enabled solutions focused on eliminating waste, vertical indoor farming, and alternative meats. [WEF]

Read full article here



High-Tech Chicken are a case study of why self-reliance is so hard.

It takes an effort—a small hardening of the heart—to see day-old Jinghai Poultry chicks for what they are. These, for all their plaintive cheeping and soft, fuzzy plumage, are tiny, high-performance meat factories. The product of decades of genetic research in American and European laboratories, they hatch in China thanks to global supply chains, involving the air-freighting of eggs and chicks between secure breeding sites on five continents.

Those chains are more fragile than once supposed. Animal diseases, the us-China trade war, and covid-19 have all disrupted or threatened to disrupt industrial chicken supplies. That makes those chicks a window onto something interesting: China’s increasingly complicated relationship with high-tech globalization, a force that has made the country more prosperous, but also reliant on the outside world in ways that trouble Communist Party bosses.

The unsentimental logic of high-performance poultry-rearing is easy to grasp. Standing this week in the loading bay of a factory farm in the coastal province of Jiangsu, Chaguan heard Jinghai executives explain how “white-feather meat chickens”, as they are known in China, grow to 2.5kg in 40 days. Homegrown varieties of “yellow-feather chicken”, descended from backyard fowl, take twice as long to mature and will only ever weigh half as much. Clients collect cardboard trays holding 102 chicks, peeking through slats in the sides. Four trays can generate a tonne of chicken.

Nor is China’s interest in cheap protein mysterious. Half a century ago meat was a rare luxury. Now, many see it as a daily necessity.

Read full article here


CoBank: Changes Afoot For Farm Supply Cooperatives

“The farm supply space remains dynamic and cooperatives have several tools to strengthen their operating model,” Kenneth Scott Zuckerberg, lead economist, grain and farm supply, at CoBank, said in a news release. ( Darrell Smith )

According to a new report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange, the business model for farm supply co-ops has been threatened by challenging fundamentals, disruptive forces and increased competition. It notes reduced input spending by farmers, mergers among cooperatives, and consolidation in suppliers as additional factors creating change. 

Read full article here


Will Mothballed Food Service Demand Overshadow Strong Livestock Exports?

As COVID-19 cases climb across the country, states such as Illinois are closing the door on indoor dining again. That’s as populous areas such as Los Angeles County, Cal. still don’t have indoor dining available.

As the risk of declining restaurant demand for protein becomes a bigger concern, one Kansas State University economist says it could also be a factor for livestock prices moving forward.

“The risk would be if we have a slowdown domestically,” says Glynn Tonsor of Kansas State University. “If we close down restaurants, if we mothball foodservice demand and some of that recovery, that is a notable risk as cases go up.”

Tonsor says 2020 is a year full of uncertainty, and to close out 2020, there is still plenty of uncertainty left. However, considering the rebound in livestock prices from the lows this spring, he thinks there’s also room for hope.

Read full article here


Three Things Agriculture Should Watch Post-Election

  1. Renewable Fuel Policy
  2. Relations with China 
  3. Short-Term Domestic Demand

Read full article here


Trade approach will change under a Biden Administration

Mary Kay Thatcher, senior lead for federal government relations at Syngenta, said during a webinar on Thursday that Biden will likely take a more cautious approach on trade and any new trade agreements than President Donald Trump and likely will focus more on enforcement.

Considering that it normally takes four years to complete a bilateral trade agreement, Thatcher instead expects Biden to look for specific actions to deal with U.S. trading partners in current trade agreements. With the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) just going into effect on July 1, 2020, there are already important things to watch on Canada’s handling of dairy implementation as well as the anti-pesticide and anti-biotechnology approach of Mexico’s current president.

She expects Biden to be aggressive on China, but in a way that also brings more of a coalition to deal with China’s President Xi Jingping. U.S. agricultural exports to China are at $25 billion — more than what has been seen in the last three to four years but unlikely to reach the $36.5 billion called for under the U.S.-China Phase One agreement.

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.