News: Greater Europe
Acting upon a request from the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber, a longtime USSEC cooperator, and its allies in Poland’s poultry, swine and dairy industries, USSEC organized a special seminar devoted to the benefits of biotech soybean products and derived feeds and the threats to the European livestock industry if it turns its back on genetically enhanced soybeans.
The ban on GM feed was introduced in Poland in 2006, but has never been fully implemented, thanks to moratoriums on putting the law into practice adopted every few years under pressure from the local feed and livestock industries. The present moratorium ends on December 31 and threatens to cut the Polish food chain off from necessary soybean imports.
Marek Przeździak, a director of the Polish Federation of Food Producers and an agricultural lawyer, who works closely with EuropaBio Group, spoke about various negative consequences of asynchronous authorization of new GM crop events in the EU to European agriculture and economy as a whole. While registration of novel biotech events takes only 12 months in Australia and 23 months in the U.S., the EU needs 78 months to close such a process. Such asynchronous and asymmetric authorization increases financial risk for suppliers and leads to disruption in the whole agricultural production chain and a 25 percent rise in food prices. If only conventional beans are allowed in Europe, the disruptions in major soy exporting countries may boost soy and soy-based feed prices by more than 200 percent.
Dr. Francisco Areal, researcher at the University of Reading, UK, presented various studies proving GM soybeans were indispensable raw materials in the EU and evaluated several alternatives and their economic impacts on feed manufacturing and livestock producing sectors; he assumed both Spanish and EU perspectives.
“The total impact of a potential ban on imports of soy to Spain would result in $60 billion in added cost,” concluded Dr. Areal. “The EU could only replace 10 to 20 percent of soybeans and soymeal imported to the EU with increased production and imports of non-biotech protein-rich crops.”
The educational event was completed with a broad picture analysis by Professor Tomasz Twardowski, a Polish biotechnologist and educator, on “Polish and EU Bio Economy without GMO: Is it Possible?” and USSEC Regional Director – EU / Middle East/North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb’s expose on safety, quality and sustainability of U.S. Soy, which transitioned into a vigorous discussion.
Some interesting regulatory solutions to improve biotech feedstuffs and food trade were presented by the participants and speakers that were carefully noted by USSEC and the Chamber’s reps to be further discussed in an industry meeting with the hope to result in an official industry request to Polish legislators.
A Chinese study team of 24 selected swine and feed producers from all over China took a swine intensive training course at South Dakota State University (SDSU) from May 31 to June 8. The team was escorted by USSEC staff and consultants: Dr. Richard Han, Dr. Sam Shi, Sunny Zhang and Dr. Robert Thaler. All team members were able to learn U.S. advanced swine production management, nutrition requirement, barn design and ventilation system, meat quality science, manure treatment and environment control, disease prevention, and the control and merits of U.S. soybean products in pig feeds in improving China’s pig productivity in order to increase the demand of U.S. soybean products in China’s animal feed.
During the study period, the team also visited the soybean farms of Marc Reiner and Matt Bainbridge as well as the Oak Lane Hutterite Colony to personally see and learn about the U.S. sustainable soybean production system. The delegation especially valued a chance to better understand GMO soybeans. Grower leaders from South Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, the Iowa Soybean Board and the Iowa Soybean Association all met with the Chinese team. The team also participated in the World Pork Expo in Des Moines on June 8 on the last day of their trip.
USSEC organized a team travel training program for a group of Polish specialists representing key dairy and beef producing farms, dairy nutrition advisors, and AminoPlus importers in May. USSEC Technical Director Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki, and USSEC Dairy & Aquaculture Nutrition Consultant – Europe Jan van Eys organized this activity in Bretagne, France.
Some of the visits were organized through BCEL Group – Quest (Bretagne Conseil Elevage), a local company that coordinates milk recording and pedigree books in Bretagne as well as providing farmers with a range of valuable services. Additional farm and feedlot visits were organized directly or through contacts in the local industry.
The Polish group traveled for a full week visiting dairy and beef farms, a feed manufacturing company, a feed additive company, a milk testing laboratory and a technical agricultural/livestock production school with an experimental farm. At each visit a detailed document in Polish was provided to the Polish visitors, and at each visit, a point was made on the importance, role and inclusion rates of soybean meal in compound feed and the associated performance levels.
The selected farms covered much of the entire range of dairy production methods and systems in the visited region of France – largely pasture-based systems. The feed plant, the laboratory and DHI-type organization (BCEL) work in close contact with these farms and have a major influence on their feeding systems. Soybean meal is critical to all these farms, either as a component of the compound feed or as a raw material included in the total mixed ration. Currently, like most of the dairy production in Europe and the Americas, payment arrangements are such that revenue per liter of milk remains below the cost price. This leads to an overall difficult situation in the dairy sector and a reduction in investments, including concentrate feeding.
At the end of the dairy industry tour, a summary discussion was organized to review the findings and opinions of the Polish participants. Some problems observed by the Poles were thoroughly explained and corrective measures presented to the trainees. The ongoing milk price crisis resulted in the French farmers feeding fewer concentrates and soy products, which are greatly recognized for their quality. Once profitability improves, sales of those should increase as well.
Leaving France in Rennes, the Polish customers expressed their appreciation to the U.S. soybean farmers for providing them with such a great learning opportunity and a professional knowledge exchange among the participants.
USSEC attended the 10th International Conference “Mixed Feed 2016” hosted by the Industrial International Academy (IAA) in Moscow, Russia from June 21 – 23. The conference was organized by the Russian Feed Manufactures Union in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Russian Institute of Compound Feeds Industry, and IAA and supported by national livestock, swine, beef, poultry and grain unions, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, and by a number of specialized professional magazines.
USSEC consultants Dr. Maria Domoroshchenkova and Dr. Iani Chihaia joined the event, giving presentations promoting the usage of soy proteins in modern feeds and featuring the quality of U.S. Soy. They also offered soy technical papers, answered technical questions and inquiries from industry delegates visiting USSEC’s booth at the conference, and met with officials from professional associations, state organizations and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Moscow.
The event was one of the key industry’s annual meetings in Russia and offered broad possibilities of interactions with soy end users, feed millers, livestock companies and traders from the Russian Federation. More than 150 local professionals attended the event. The conference benefited from the support of several top feed additives, lab equipment, and feed milling technology suppliers including Evonik Germany, Buchi Switzerland, DSM Switzerland, Kemin Europe, BDW Feed Mill Systems, and JPT Industries Finland, among others.
Information delivered by the USSEC consultants during the event through the papers presented, interactions at the booth, and discussions during conference breaks was appreciated by the Russian poultry and feed professionals and they showed interest by asking more about the U.S. Soy nutritional profile, efficient use in animal feeding, challenges from using alternative ingredients and precise feed formulation.
In addition to meeting with industry representatives, the conference was an opportunity to follow up on previous activities to gain a better understanding of the current developments and future trends of the Russian feed industry. In this regard, the aqua sector development in Russia is on the agenda of the officials and several investors are interested in aqua farms.
The aqua market in Russia is in its infancy but has a significant potential for growth over the next decade with the majority of the increase in production coming from farmed fish that will require high protein feeds. According to the Russian Feed Manufactures association statement at the conference, the local aqua sector is going to be developed within the next five to ten years in order to supply the existing demand for fish products. Currently, over 60 percent of the fish consumed in Russia are imported. Estimates show that the annual demand for aqua feeds will grow up from 150 thousand metric tons (TMT) in 2015 to 500 TMT in 2020 and up to 850 TMT by 2025. Consequently, this opens up an important growth area for U.S. Soy products.
With the goal to increase awareness of U.S. Soy and help customers differentiate between soy of different origins, USSEC conducted a five day training program at the Technical University of Madrid (UPM) in Poultry Nutrition and Production for a team of 11 nutritionists and poultry professionals from top poultry integrations and feed manufacturing companies from Russia, Bulgaria and Romania from June 13 – 17.
The classes were organized in close cooperation with Cargill, the Spanish Confederation of Compound Animal Feeds (CESFAC) and the Spanish Animal Nutrition Foundation (FEDNA) under the lead of Professor Gonzalo Mateos of USSEC Spain. Nine lecturers introduced recent advances and reviewed key concepts in poultry related to nutrition, flock management, ingredient quality control and feed manufacturing.
“We were pleased to continue to provide knowledge to U.S. Soy customers through this week’s instructive and intensive short course that enables them to understand the recent advances in poultry nutrition and how to apply them with benefit in the field,” commented Dr. Mateos. “We trust that we have thus not only acted for the benefit of U.S. Soy, but also have upgraded knowledge level of course participants.”
After two and half days of classes, the first stop for the scheduled field visits was to visit Cargill’s area laboratory, serving both customers and internal requests from Spain. Participants listened with high interest and asked intensive questions about near infrared (NIR) technology, wet chemistry, and pathology exams performed in the lab. The impact of soybean meal quality on feed quality and economics was discussed, along with the importance of a quality control monitoring program.
Thanks to the farm visits, the course attendees were able get an understanding of the Spanish experience in industrial poultry farming and feed quality control under EU laws and regulations. Field visits were organized as well at VERAVIC and TECA Feed Mill, two of the most representative feed manufacturing companies from the Extrema Dura region in Spain. Besides learning about the latest advances in poultry nutrition, class participants had the opportunity to understand the Spanish experience in soybean meal differentiation, soy quality control procedures and monitoring programs, and feed quality control under EU laws and regulations.
The training achieved USSEC’s goal in educating Eastern European customers in recent advances in poultry nutrition and soybean meal differentiation. By the end of the event, all the participants had a clear understanding of the concept of soybean meal differentiation based on origin.
The World Soy-Feeds Conference is one of the main annual events in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for local crushers, feed millers and livestock companies. Organized in Saint Petersburg, the event’s main goal is to disseminate the latest international information from the field of market trends, soy processing, and soy ingredient use in animal feeds by the rapidly growing Russian livestock industry.
Early this year, Russian crushers imported 486.1 thousand metric tons (TMT) of U.S. soybeans. This is the second consecutive year that the country has been a key European customer for U.S. Soy. In an effort to continue good relationships with Russian industries, USSEC and United Soybean Board (USB) director Bob Metz led the USSEC delegation at the 2nd World Soy-Feeds Conference, which took place June 1 – 3. USSEC Marketing Director – Animal Utilization (AU) Pam Helmsing, USSEC consultant AU – European Union (EU) Iani Chihaia, and Matt Ammermann, Commodity Risk Manager and Vice President – Eastern Europe/Black Sea Region of INTL FCStone were also part of this team. Local consultant Maria Domoroshchenkova hosted the delegation in her native city.
Mr. Metz spoke to about 200 industry delegates from different regions of Russia and neighboring countries about how he farms quality U.S. Soy for customers around the world, sharing his farming practices, and how he preserves land resources for future generations. Andrey Kolyaskin, general director of the trade house Belagro (Agrolats Group), a grain and soybean meal trader, reiterated what Mr. Metz had said, reinforcing the role of farmers in raising safe, healthy food for people around the world and restating their duty to build the foundation for a future generation of farmers.
Mr. Ammermann discussed the recent rise in soybean and meal prices, and oilseeds market factors influencing the next crop from the Northern Hemisphere. His presentation provided attendees an understanding of the soy market from a worldwide prospective. Factors such as weather, currencies and geopolitics play a role in the latest developments.
Dr. Chihaia stressed the importance of vegetable protein for the global feed industry, focusing on issues related to the most important alternative protein ingredients currently available in Russia: rapeseed meal, double dehulled sunflower meal, and lupins, discussing losses and gains when substituting soybean meal. His presentation concluded that the best broiler performances are achieved only if soybean meal remains the staple of broiler feeds.
The conference was an excellent opportunity to promote U.S. Soy and interact with Russian customers to learn useful information about the latest developments and trends of the feed industry, animal husbandry and Russia’s soy market. USSEC was able to deliver inspiring messages about farming quality U.S. Soy for worldwide customers and how to build the foundation for the future generations of farmers.
USSEC’s presence at the World Soy-Feeds Conference facilitated ample interactions with several local crushing, feed, and livestock companies. The opportunity to chat in an informal manner with industry friends gave the delegation a good understanding of the reality of current Russian livestock production and the challenges of importing U.S. Soy. Continuing USSEC’s efforts to support and educate young Russian specialists in the efficient use of soy will create customer loyalty to U.S. Soy and the continuation and growth of imports.
After the conference, Ms. Helmsing and Dr. Domoroshchenkova visited the Federal Selection – Genetic Center of Fish Breeding in Ropsha, near St. Petersburg, and Gatchinsky Feed Mill, which manufactures different types of compound feeds including aquafeeds. Despite the current low level of aquaculture and fish farming in Russia, this area has a very high potential for development in upcoming years and would contribute to the growth of soy consumption.
At USSEC’s “Feed Manufacturing and Swine Farms Management” training recently held in Timisoara, Romania, Smithfield Farm delegates had the opportunity to hear about the latest findings in swine feeding and farm management research.
During the first day of training, presentations were focused on demonstrating nutrition knowledge in relation to the benefits of feeding U.S. soybean meal and soy products to modern swine hybrids.
“Soy is the key ingredient in swine diets and when it is properly used, it improves performances while enhancing the economics and sustainability of pork production. It has been a pleasure to share with the technical team of Smithfield Romania the latest knowledge regarding composition of soy from different origins,” said USSEC consultant Gonzalo Mateos. “Besides that, we enjoyed meeting and visiting with Smithfield’s Romania people. They have a state of the art feed mill, probably one of the best at this stage and qualified personnel, which gives the company a competitive advantage.”
On the second day, Smithfield managers and the speakers focused on different aspects of feeding and health of the sows and interactions between nutrition and management. USSEC consultant Josep Gasa Gaso demonstrated that properly fed ratios to gilts and sows increases the potential to obtain an adequate number of pigs per litter at birth, with good growth rates during their productive lives. In this regard, the use of soy products should help in designing optimum feeds for breeding swine.
As a key player in Romania, Smithfield annually manufactures over 360,000 metric tons (MT) of feed compound and is one of the top soybean meal, soy oil and soy protein concentrates users in the Southeast Europe region. Working closely with key customers, organizing common events, and providing education will rebuild the strengths of local pig production and potentially generate U.S. Soy exports.
On May 12, USSEC joined with the Royal Dutch Grain and Feed Trade Association (Het Comite) and the Dutch Feed Industry Association (NEVEDI) in organizing a networking event focused on the “Challenges in Global Raw Material Supply” near the port city of Rotterdam. Over 120 industry representatives participated in the daylong conference, which covered a range of issues currently facing the feed industry in the Netherlands. Former Dutch Minister of the Environment Jacqueline Cramer opened the morning session with a call to broaden the circular economy on resource use in the Netherlands. Additional speakers addressed current challenges in the plant protection business and the Netherlands government’s efforts to increase the use of insects in animal feed. The Chairman of the European Former Foodstuffs Processors Association gave a presentation on efforts to increase industrial food products in animal feed (do not use the word “waste”).
USSEC representative – Northern Europe Eugene Philhower gave a presentation on the sustainability of U.S. soybean production, emphasizing the continuous improvement efforts by U.S. soy growers and the recent inclusion of the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) on the approved list of FEFAC sourcing guidelines. To address concerns on the volume of sustainable soy available from the United States and the costs involved with sustainable production, Philhower emphasized that almost all U.S. soy is certifiable and that applying for the certificate is free for exporters.
In a panel discussion afterwards, Mr. Philhower presented his thesis: as long as the European model of agriculture was based on livestock production, Europe will continue to import a majority of its protein needs. In that market, the U.S. wants to position itself as a reliable source of high quality, competitively priced and sustainably produced soybeans.
In an effort to capitalize on the market opportunities offered by the recent dynamic changes in the Southeast European feed and crushing industries, Ohio Soybean Association (OSA) consultant Gunnar Lynum and USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Iani Chihaia visited local crushing plants and feed mill companies from May 16 – 18. The goal of this mission was to promote U.S. Soy and create confidence on the end users’ side in directly importing soybeans beans from U.S. farmers and cooperatives.
“Visiting with end users in Bulgaria and Romania at this time of the year is the right time since in a couples of months, harvest will become more of a reality and time allows us to establish commercial contacts and properly follow up with them,” said Mr. Lynum. “I believe that every little win is part of improving market opportunities for U.S. Soy. We would like to see the plants in Romania and Bulgaria processing U.S. Soy and this should happen once the new crop is harvested.”
Even if is not the largest soy user in the EU, southeast Europe’s sub region offers opportunities for U.S. Soy exports simply because of the high interest from local companies to secure their soy ingredient supply under the current market situation. In this regard, soy extrusion plants are looking at ways of getting back into production by the U.S. harvest season. In the meantime, Bulgarian oilseeds are currently exploring possibilities of converting existing sunflower processing plants to soybean crushing in order to optimize profitability. By working closely with the local industries, a supply chain should be developed between U.S. Soy farmers and end users from Southeast Europe, a market which is using over 800,000 tons annually.
Romania most likely boasts the largest number of soy extrusion plants of any European country. Over 20 companies have their own soy extrusion plants and at this stage, the main challenge is the continuous supply of beans needed in order to keep the existing extrusion plants running all twelve months of the year.
During the first week of May, USSEC consultants Mian Riaz and Juan Acedo Rico visited Romania in order to understand the current status of the soy extrusion technology use and to evaluate the adoption of good manufacturing practices in full fat soybean meal production, conveyed through different USSEC activities organized over the past few years.
“The output of the past activities carried out by USSEC in Romania are outstanding,” Dr. Riaz commented. “We are impressed with the high level of adoption in a relatively short period of time of soy extrusion, mainly dry extrusion technology, developed by U.S. Insta Pro Iowa. The customers we visited with this week in Romania have the capability to properly process soybeans by means of extrusion – expelling and quality of the products is very good,” he continued. “We are glad to see that and we can acknowledge that there is a high demand for beans here, and the people we met are looking at ways of getting their facilities back into production by harvest season in the U.S.”
During discussions with the plant managers, the consultants emphasized the optimum parameters for maximum full fat soybean meal quality. They also highlighted the nutritional benefits for non-ruminants of extruded soy.
“Dry extruded soybean meal is high in both protein and energy, which creates a highly competitive ingredient against other oilseeds used in animal feeding. As a farm-processed raw material, full fat soybean meal is a fresh ingredient with reputedly lower feed costs and improves animal performance,” explained USSEC Animal Utilization Consultant – Romania Iani Chihaia. “Especially in broiler feeding, extruded soy’s benefit is that it supplies over 30 percent of the energy in the feeds, thereby reducing the need for expensive vegetable oils, and the demand for full fat soybeans should grow. The fact that it can be used in many applications in high value feeds makes extruded soy very appealing to the Romanian feed manufactures.”
“Besides the quality of the beans, a fundamental understanding and experience in engineering is required for the design of the extrusion plants. Today, that work incorporates the understanding of the functional properties of soy, selecting the right equipment, coupled with practical experience,” Dr. Acedo Rico said. “However, improper engineering design is just one of many functions that could ruin a soy extrusion business,” he added.
“Because it does not grow enough soybeans for its feed and livestock requirements, Romania imports over 80 percent of the meal consumed by the feed industry. Early this year, U.S. soybean meal imports filled the gap for the first quarter, but starting with the second quarter, there are no bean stocks available in the country,” stated Dr. Iani. “The main achievement of this week’s activity implemented in Romania is that we revived hopes for a potential resurgence in extruded full fat soybean production, which prepares the ground for U.S. bean imports from this year’s crop from the U.S.”
USSEC attended a seminar given by the Bulgarian Feed Manufacturers Association on April 21. USSEC animal utilization consultants Dr. Jan van Eys and Dr. Iani Chihaia presented two keynote papers that focused on specific aspects of soybean meal differentiations and the advantages of U.S. Soy for feed production and formulation of feed products. Over 75 Bulgarian feed industry specialists attended the USSEC presentation with great interest.
“Thanks to USSEC’s efforts to join the annual conference, the Bulgarian feed manufacturers have access to the latest technical and soy market information,” stated Dr. Atanas Dardjikov, feed association president. “The information conveyed by the USSEC experts was very useful for us and we have gotten a clear message: U.S. Soy is nutritionally and economically advantageous relative to other origins.”
Dr. van Eys said, “It was clear that the general opinion was very positive and that the attendees agree with the fact that there are differences in soy products on the basis of origin, with U.S. Soy products being superior to other origins. In due time – and as markets increase in importance and openness – this should translate as increased demand for U.S. Soy and soybean meal.”
During the conference, the USSEC Award of Appreciation was presented to Dr. Dardjikov in honor and recognition of his extraordinary service, dedication to profession, outstanding leadership, and tireless efforts in building a successful partnership between the Bulgarian and U.S. feed industries.
Before and after the event, the USSEC consultants visited with leading companies and soy customers, VIAND (the largest independent feed miller in Bulgaria) and AMETA (the largest poultry integrator).
“Our meetings with customers were informative and allowed us to get a better understanding of the Bulgarian feed and livestock actual reality and potential for progress and expansion,” said Dr. Chihaia. “This helped us to understand the opportunities and potential that exists in the Bulgarian market for growth in animal production and consequently, in the use of U.S. Soy products. Continuing to support U.S. Soy’s customers will assist the development of this market and better position U.S. Soy products.”
Bulgaria may offer an important market opportunity in the near future for U.S. Soy. It stands to reason that extra effort in supporting current developments will deliver major returns in the near future. Within this context, the attendance and presentations at the Bulgarian Feed Association Annual conference underlined USSEC’s commitment to the development of the local feed industry.
USSEC participated in a technical seminar from April 19 – 21 in Sergiev Posad, Russia. The poultry seminar focused on new technologies in feed production, modern approaches to feeding of high productive crosses, quality control of raw materials, compound feeds and feed additives. It was organized by the Russian Poultry Research Institute (VNITIP).
A total of about 70 people attended this seminar. Attendees predominantly represented Russia’s feed and poultry industry.
USSEC consultant Gonzalo Mateos gave a presentation titled, “Traditional and Novel Ingredients in Practical Poultry Diets: Nutritive Value and Quality Control.” This presentation compared the nutritive value of different protein sources widely used by the EU and Russian poultry industries such as cereals and oilseed meals, clearly showing that variability of nutritive value within an ingredient is very high. Dr. Mateos demonstrated the benefits of soy products in poultry feeding versus other protein sources and provided data for understanding the quality differences in soybean meal (including differences in origin) and the impact on broiler production. The presentation was well received, as evidenced by the number of questions and reactions. The important role of USSEC and U.S. Soy products was clearly appreciated and recognized.
USSEC used this visit to network and gain a better understanding of the Russian markets. Although the current average share of cereals reaches 68 percent in poultry feeding ratios in Russia, the local poultry industry continues to be the main user of soybean meal. Poultry products are very important for Russian customers. Poultry meat occupies a 48 percent share in the structure of meat production in the country. In 2015, Russia produced more than 4.3 million tons of poultry meat in slaughtered weight and more than 42 billion eggs. Per capita, poultry meat production was 30.3 kilograms (kg) and 295 kg of eggs; it is forecasted to grow to 33.5 kg of poultry meat and 308 kg of eggs in 2020, showing that Russia’s demand for high protein feeds will continue to grow. Consequently, USSEC’s marketing efforts are beneficial for the promotion of soy additives in poultry feeding ratios and will further push the demand for U.S. Soy.
As part of its technical support activities, USSEC worked closely during the month of April with U.S. Soy end users from Romania to provide professionals from the feed manufacturing industry and related industries with practical oriented knowledge for safe and profitable feed production.
USSEC organized the “Feed Safe and Profitable Feed Production” seminar on April 14 in Bucharest, Romania. Over 27 Romanian feed mill managers, lab managers, nutritionists, supervisors and animal production managers who are actively engaged in feed mill operations all over the country attended the event with high interest.
The two speakers, USSEC consultants Juan Acedo Rico (feed technology expert) and Pedro Medel (feed safety and GMP+ expert), provided an overview of the key principles in efficient feed processing and technology. The information presented by Dr. Acedo Rico summarized animal feed production and provided an understanding of the current challenges in maintaining efficiency in the feed industry, including feed mill design, equipment maintenance, and feed processing. Safety protocols were covered by Dr. Medel, who also shared best practices from the Spanish sector by involving ISO, HACCP and GPM.
Quality control and assurance are critical issues in the EU and indeed, for the Romanian feed industry, which has been a European state since 2007. The quality control systems at the feed mills visited in Romania clearly involve properly trained personnel able to organize, document and comply with policies of various procedures and certifications processes necessary to guarantee the quality of feed ingredients and feed. However, continuous updates are needed due to changes and standard upgrades of the European industry.
“Our first mission to Romania was very pleasant and extremely interesting since we had the opportunity of sharing experiences and ideas about feed efficiency with our colleagues,” said Dr. Medel. “Besides design of feed plants and profitable feed production, we had the chance during field visits to discuss safety concepts and quality programs. Definitely, the most interesting visit was at Banvit FNC, which is going to be the first feed mill in the country certified under the GMP+ Feed Safety Scheme. This proves the high interest of the key players in the market to comply with EU regulations and increasing competitive advantages of the Eastern European countries in the EU 28 context.”
“The seminar in Bucharest was also a success and all the participants showed high interest on the information presented. All this work was extremely well conducted by USSEC and interaction with participants continued for a couple of days after the event,” stated Dr. Acedo. “We are pleased to continue to assist the U.S. Soy customers from Romania through future instructive and extensive training programs that will enable them to understand state of-the-art process technologies and to apply them with benefit in the field. We trust that we have thus not only acted for the benefit of U.S. Soy, but also to have aroused the interest of the soy customers in efficiently producing feeds in today’s highly competitive business environment.”
He continued, “After our first visit to Romania, we believe that the country is among the best endowed European countries in terms of land, water and skilled people. In this regard, and increase in meat production and indeed, soy consumption, are imminent for the coming years due to the potential of agriculture and ongoing investments in the feed and livestock industries we just saw during our mission.”
The feed and livestock industries of the European Union and Russian Federation depend on U.S. soybean farmers to maintain a consistent supply of soybean meal. Currently, countries from these regions are the second largest U.S. soy importer. In order to assist customers and develop the markets in this area, USSEC focused on this region by implementing several activities in 2015.
The Spanish feed industry is one of U.S. Soy’s leading customers and an excellent example for developing industries from Central and Eastern Europe. The total annual industry feed compound production in Spain is 21 million tons, plus over 8 million produced by the home mixing sector. Pig feed production accounts for over 45 percent of the total, while poultry is at 31 percent and cattle consume 24 percent of the feed produced in Spain. According to the latest estimates, Spain’s position as the leading EU country in terms of total compound feed was strengthened during 2015, putting it in second place of EU’s 28 feed producing countries.
The Spanish feed sector uses various sources of proteins, mainly soy. Because of fierce competition today in meat production, the Spanish feed sector is forced to be more and more competitive. Quality of protein sources plays a vital role in maximizing the performance of animals at this stage and in the near future. This is expected to generate an increase in high quality proteins, especially U.S. Soy use in animal feed. In this regard, Spain continues to be one of the top three EU destinations for U.S. Soy exports. For the last months of 2015 year, Spain imported over 1.2 million tons of U.S. soybeans and 150,000 tons of U.S. soybean meal. Total yearly U.S. Soy imports are valued at over $600 million.
USSEC has closely followed the improvements in the Spanish feed sector in the correct usage of U.S. Soy in animal feed and decided last year to implement several activities in Spain with the goal to disseminate knowledge and train young nutritionists, quality control, and feed mill managers from Eastern Europe and Russia.
“During 2015, USSEC organized several trainings in conjunction with University Politecnica of Madrid (UPM) with the main goal to improve customer preference for U.S. soybean meal and help buyers recognize the value of higher quality and service,” states Prof. Gonzalo Mateos, USSEC consultant and head of Animal Nutrition Department at UPM. “In this regard, USSEC has selected prominent experts in the field of animal nutrition and feed manufacturing and offered excellent training programs for U.S. Soy customers from the emerging feed industries from Romania, Poland and Russia. These actions will lead to an increase in U.S. Soy imports by the Central and Eastern European feed industries.”
“We feel like you can never go wrong by investing in the education of soy customers. Returns will come in the near future in the form of people from all over Europe implementing and working the knowledge we shared,” says USSEC Feed Technologist Consultant Dr. Juan Acedo Rico. “Taking into account that the EU is the second largest customer of U.S. Soy, the more feed each EU state will produce, the more soy they will use.”
USSEC organized a country meeting in Segovia, Spain, on April 5. The focus of the meeting was on U.S. soybean meal’s quality, sustainability and markets. This year, USSEC is giving greater emphasis to the importance of quality control in the raw materials used in feed industry.
Segovia is situated in central Spain; the area ranks second in the country for pork production and is also a beef and dairy producing hub. The meeting involved businesses from the autonomous region of Castilla Leon, which represents 17 percent of the total industrial feed production in Spain, about 5 million tons, plus feed on farm. Total industrial feed production in Spain is 21 million tons and including feed on farm, comes to 30 million.
This area is the main grain producer in the country, producing corn, wheat, and barley. Because it produces virtually no oilseed, it must import all protein needed for the feed industry, mainly soybean meal.
The area’s soybean meal supply comes from the northern ports of Santader, Bilbao, and Galicia and usually hails from Argentina, Brazil, and the U.S. Soybeans from Brazil and the U.S. then go to Bunge’s crushing plant in Bilbao. The main players in the region’s soybean meal import business are Bunge and Cargill. Total soybean meal consumption in the area is about 1.2 millions tons.
The meeting was held at the Segovia Chamber of Commerce. ASFACYL, Castilla León’s feed association, collaborated with USSEC to organize the meeting.
The region’s main feed industries, meat producers, importers, and crushers participated in the meeting, with participants totalling near 50.
The conference began with a presentation related to the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP), highlighting U.S. Soy’s quality and sustainability. USSEC consultants Dr. Gonzalo G. Mateos and Jan Van Eys talked about soy quality, emphasizing U.S. soybean meal’s quality advantage against that of other origins and other proteins. Discussion of quality control in raw material occupied an important portion of the presentation. Jaime Nolan-Miralles, of FCStone; Pedro Palomo, president and owner of O PALOMO, S.A., a large grain and protein distributor in the region; and USSEC consultant Lola Herrera spoke about international and local markets.
The customers appreciated both the meeting and USSEC’s effort in organizing these types of events, considering them to be good opportunities. They receive relevant information and are able to compare different points of view to improve their business.
The Czech Feed Industry Annual Conference 2016 was a two-day event held in Brno, the center of the Czech Republic’s agricultural and livestock science and commercial activities. USSEC presented the advantages of U.S. soybean meal and derived products to an audience of 150 professionals.
USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo G. Mateo, University Politechnica Madrid, gave a presentation on the nutritional and economic characteristics of U.S. soybean meal as compared with rapeseed meal, sunflower meal, and dried distiller grains with solubles (DDGs), as well as with soymeals of various origins. USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki supported Dr. Mateo during Q & A time and during discussions with the audience during breaks and after sessions.
Alexander Doering, Secretary General of the European Feed Industry Federation (FEFAC), provided a thorough explanation of the many issues the European and global feed/food chains currently face. He also explained that the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) had been positively benchmarked against FEFAC’s Soy Sourcing Guidelines through the independent International Trade Centre (ITC) customized benchmark tool on March 8, 2016. He emphasized a long and faithful cooperation between FEFAC and USSEC, which would lead to providing transparency to interested EU feed associations and member companies who wish to make further progress towards the mainstream market transition for the supply of sustainably produced soy to the EU feed sector.
At a post event meeting, Josef Svoboda, Secretary General of the Czech Grain & Feed Association – SKK, concluded, “All our audience greatly appreciated USSEC’s input provided in the form of a great presentation on how to understand and utilize the differences between these protein-rich feed ingredients and make the most of them in feeding poultry and pigs, and some sponsoring. The U.S. Soy industry’s contribution helped us to make our annual conference a success.”
USSEC followed the latest exports of U.S. soybeans through the feed chain of several European countries during its EU mission. The mission, which spanned March 14-19, set a goal to reinforce the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and demonstrate the U.S. farmer’s commitment to the 28 EU member states, the second largest importer of soybeans in the world. The SSAP was positively benchmarked against the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation’s (FEFAC) Soy Sourcing Guidelines through the independent International Trade Centre (ITC) customized benchmark tool on March 8.
In France, United Soybean Board (USB) and Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) director April Hemmes, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb and USSEC consultant Lola Herrera visited the SNIA (French Feed Association) in Paris, and toured the Bretagne area, which is the main feed and meat production area in the country, producing more than nine millions tons of feed.
The first stop in Bretagne was in Ancenis at the headquarters of the cooperative Terrena, where the group had a meeting with purchasing manager Franco Pilato and production manager Vincent Demiot.
Terrena is the second co-op in France and Europe’s tenth. They produce feed, meat, and distribute grains and vegetables. They have 22,000 member farmers and 12,159 employees. Terrena’s eight feed plants produce 1.3 million tons feed.
At the second stop of the trip in Rennes, the delegation met with Eric Beaty, the Economic and Commercial Attaché of the United States Consulate for Western France, to discuss the activity in the area.
The group met Laurent Berthelier of Feed Alliance, in his office near Rennes. This company is Sanders’ purchasing brand; they buy raw materials for their company and also for other companies in France. The group purchases about 700,000 metric tons (MT) of soybean meal yearly, with the origin of the soybean meal depending on the replacement price. They know and give value to U.S. soybean meal. Sanders is one of the companies that uses a different matrix for each soybean meal origin in its feed formula. This company is one of the most important feed producers in France and belongs to the Avril Group, one of the main rapeseed crushers and biodiesel producers in Europe.
The last stop of the Bretagne visit was at Saint Nazaire on the Atlantic coast, where most of France’s soybean meal imports arrive. France imports about 3.3 millions tons of soybean meal a year. The group met with Bunge representatives Yvon Pennors, CEO in France, and Christophe Delafon, sales manager. Bunge has a 28 – 30 percent share of the French market. They also sell soybean meal produced at their crushing plants in Spain, Bilbao and Barcelona. Bunge is a main soybean crusher in Europe, at more than 3.5 million tons.
In Paris, the group had a meeting with SNIA’s sustainability team. SNIA is working with the feed and food chains to develop a protocol for the sustainability of all raw materials used in the industry. They asked questions related to sustainability on U.S. farms, where Ms. Hemmes had the opportunity to talk about sustainable U.S. Soy farming methods.
“My recent visit to France and Romania was filled with great opportunities to tell my story of growing soybeans on my farm,” said Ms. Hemmes. “The SNIA was very interested to hear about how I raise my soybeans sustainably and how the farmers in the U.S. care about saving their soil and maintaining water quality for future generations. I loved talking about sustainability in France and hope my story led them to a better understanding of the SSAP.”
On the second part of the European mission, Ms. Hemmes visited Romanian customers along the U.S. Soy import / supply chain: from Constanta Port unloading facilities, to Bunge Prio Oilseeds Crushing Plant to Combial’s Feed Mill and Bona Avis Broiler farms, located in southern Romania. Establishing contacts and building relationships with customers is key in promoting the benefits of U.S. Soy and demonstrating the commitment of U.S. farmers.
“In Romania it was exciting for me to see the progression of U.S. beans being imported into the country. From the Constanta Port where they were unloaded off the ship, then to the Bunge crushing plant, where the soybeans were transformed into soybean meal, to the feed mill that made the feed compound and finally the chickens that ate the feed. Just to think that the soybeans in the chicken feed could have come from my farm in Iowa!” Ms. Hemmes said.
“These missions are very important as everyone learns from the experience, establishes connections with customers and demonstrates U.S. soy farmers’ commitment. I hope I helped the U.S. soybean cause on my first official trip as a USB board member,” she concluded.
The role of USSEC’s technical consultants varies according to the situations they encounter in the field. It ranges between customer service, person-to-person training or group education in animal nutrition and technical advice in the customer’s day-to-day operation. In this regard, the past year’s efforts of USSEC in Southeast European countries in disseminating the latest knowledge and providing access for local nutritionists to high caliber experts led to important improvements in performances of the local feed and meat industries. The Romanian poultry industry has been steadily expanding for the past several years and in the meantime, has achieved excellent performances. It has become a modern and key supplier of poultry products to the local consumer and to a large number of the central and eastern European countries, all while increasing its importance as a consumer of U.S. Soy products.
In a recent dialogue with the Romanian Feed Association, USSEC consultant Dr. Jan van EYS stated, “Animal nutrition today is a fast changing field of information and newly developed scientific knowledge is quickly adopted at the level of the commercial feed mills and farms. As USSEC consultants, we have been striving to transfer the latest knowledge in the field of digestible amino acids and metabolizable energy in soy to regional customers, and we encourage nutritionists to apply these most recent data – and the associated benefits – of U.S. Soy in their formulations.”
Aurelian Zarnescu, the vice president of the Romanian Feed Association added, “By implementing state-of-the-art knowledge and the experience shared by USSEC consultants, our nutritionists are able to put the most recent information into practice and as a result, we are achieving excellent technical and economical performances today, especially in poultry. We believe in a long term, constructive relationship build on trust, and maximum sharing of information. We are sure that our growers will benefit enormously from this. The role of USSEC and its support team is evident.”
Early this year, Bunge Romania imported more than 65,000 metric tons of U.S. Soy, which has largely been used in the Romanian and Bulgarian poultry and swine sectors. For 2016, the U.S. Soy industry is on speed to increase this amount by more than 10 percent. In addition to this progress, we are focusing increased attention to the ruminant and aqua sector, which should help in realizing the set objectives significantly.
USSEC sponsored and organized a risk management seminar and workshop on March 17 and 18 in Istanbul, Turkey.
50 people from Turkey, Romania and Poland attended the conference, which is part of a continuous activity sponsored by USSEC. Seminar participants included feed millers, crushers, poultry integrators, dairy integrators, fish integrators and traders who are key decision-makers in terms of choice of ingredients used in the feed production.
The main objectives of the meeting were to teach the feed producers and traders (including all the integrators) about international trading objectives and the marketing of U.S. Soy and soybean meal, and to increase the share of U.S. Soy in Turkey and other Europe countries.
The use of U.S. Soy in this region is driven by importers and crushers. Many of the crushers, large feed producers, and integrators are not familiar with the trading methods and so they do not really trade, but buy and sell on the same day without doing any hedging, future, and options, etc.
USSEC’s risk management program covered many topics: an overview of world soybean and soybean meal markets; the U.S. grain production and marketing systems; basis of trading and hedging; future markets; principals of futures and options trading; and simulations done about purchasing under the guidance of Robert Breshnahan of Trilateral, Jeffry Kuijpers of the CME Group and Jay O’Neil of Kansas State’s IGP. The clear objective of all presentations, simulations, and interactions with participants was to promote USSEC and U.S. Soy products in terms of real advantages.
The presentations led to a favorable introduction, background, communication and exchanges on or around U.S. soy and soybean meal. All this was resumed in practical points worked out during the last session with simulation examples to address the specific benefits of trading highlighted. Overall, the response of attendees was positive and the multiple questions posed reflected the high level of interest. The discussions during breaks as well as following the Q&A sessions were lively and constructive. Another important point was that the participants were chosen from the real decision makers of the feed industry and included mainly purchasing and trading representatives who decide where to import raw materials. Improving these decision makers’ knowledge with the basis of trading, hedging, and markets will help to increase the share of U.S. Soy.
Continued effort in this region is expected to increase the demand for U.S. Soy and create loyal U.S. Soy customers.