News: Greater Europe
The ongoing consolidation process of Bulgaria’s feed and poultry industries, the latest trends in the oilseeds crushing industry, and proximity to Constanta Port on the Black Sea are key factors in the potential development of the country as a market for U.S. Soy.
The Bulgarian Oilseeds Crushers Association’s annual conference is traditionally organized in the capital city of Sofia. This year, it was jointly conducted with the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) – Sofia. About 70 participants from 19 crusher members of the association attended the event, which took place on February 25 and 26.
Prior to the event, USSEC Regional Consultant – Southeast Europe Iani Chihaia worked with FAS – Sofia agricultural specialist Mila Boshnakova and Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture to put together a U.S. Soy panel with the goal of introducing U.S. soybeans and soybean products. The U.S. panel was a success, attracting the attention and interest of the entire industry and launching the first professional promotion of U.S. soybeans to the local market.
Information about U.S. soybean crushing technology was presented by Plamen Vassilev, a regional technical support engineer from oilseed crushing equipment manufacturer U.S. Crown Iron Works Ltd in response to recent inquiries for the upgrading of plants.
The information presented by Dr. Chihaia was aimed at convincing the audience of the dominance of soybean products in the world, the prospects of soybean and soy products trade, showed the wide range of products that can be produced from soybeans, and emphasized the crushers’ advantages of processing soybeans.
Currently, high production crushing capacity is underused mainly due to the deficit of local sunflower production last year, which will continue to impact the industry for some time. Diversification is the solution and industry leaders are considering alternatives. Although at this stage, soybeans are the forgotten ingredient mainly because of the lack of local production and historical industry experience, the high interest of the Bulgarian industry should make U.S. Soy a feasible alternative in filling gaps and improving efficiency of the local crushers.
“The industry needs to have more knowledge on how to import soybeans in small shipments since a few companies can afford to buy bigger volumes by vessels,” said Dr. Chihaia. “Import logistics is key and careful research is needed about necessary technological plant upgrades and their cost. Thanks to FAS’s invitation to join this yearly event, USSEC had an excellent opportunity to promote U.S. Soy exports and to prove to the local industry that is able to assist the development of the Bulgarian market.”
USSEC conducted a dairy nutrition seminar focused on the use of soy in transition and production diets in Izmir, Turkey on February 11 and 12. About 70 key decision-making nutritionists, farmers and feed manufacturers attended the seminar, which provided information on the choice of feeds and ingredients used in feed production.
The use of U.S. Soy in this region by feed compounders and farmers is important and constitutes a confirmation on the effectiveness of this approach – especially against alternatives. The main objective of the meeting was the marketing of U.S. Soy and soy products and the enhancement of USSEC’ s image in this part of the world. Thus, the program covered a wide array of subjects, each with the potential to link it to the use of soy products in diets/ration. The clear objective of all the talks, presentations and interactions with the attendees was to promote USSEC and U.S. Soy products in terms of real advantages as well as the image. The presentations at the seminar led to a favorable introduction, background, communication and exchange on or around soy issues.
All this was resumed in practical points worked out during the last session with formulation examples to address the specific subjects highlighted. In this session, attention was also paid to quality control parameters and the impact or importance of these in formulation, along with generating savings under current formulation and market conditions.
Overall, the response of attendees was positive and the multiple questions posed reflected the high level of interest. The discussion during breaks as well as following the Q&A sessions were lively and constructive. These participants have been attending USSEC seminars for a significant number of years and some have started dairy operations on the basis – or with the assistance – of USSEC.
Continued effort in this area will increase and safeguard demand for U.S. Soy.
USSEC recently released the report, “Soybean Meal Quality by Origin: Economical Value of Hipro Soybean Meal in Least Cost Formulations.” The 2016 report is based on current (February) and future (May-July) feedstuff prices for feeds of different species and is available online at USSEC’s website or through USSEC’s regional offices worldwide. This report, contracted through Schothurst Feed Research, demonstrates the added value of higher quality soybean meal by origin for different European regions based on current feedstuff prices in feeds for swine, layers and broilers. The study focuses on four regions: Northwestern Europe, Southwestern Europe, Northeastern Europe and Southeastern Europe.
The report emphasizes that even though soybean meal is sold on a per unit of protein basis, differences in digestible energy and amino acid content contribute more to the value of soybean meal and that differences in value are largest for broiler feeds followed by layer and swine feeds in all regions. The report also shows that soybean meal prices have continued to decrease in most regions. Currently, prices of synthetic amino acids like L Lysine, L Threonine and L Thryptophan have increased and the DL Methionine price is still high, which adds extra value to high(er) quality Hipro soybean meal. The value of Hipro soybean meal from the United States increases with high prices of synthetic amino acids because of a higher digestible amino acid content.
On an equal protein content basis, the value differences (in energy, mineral and digestible amino acid content) of U.S. soybean meal over that of other origins is: € 9.60-16.50 (U.S. vs. Brazil) and € 9.90-18.10/ metric ton (MT) (U.S. vs. Argentina) or respectively 2.9-5.1 percent and 3.0-5.6 percent.
To view the report on the USSEC website, please click here.
In 2015, Poland was once again the largest producer of poultry in Europe reaching over 2.3 million metric tons (MMT) of the meat in industry estimates, which was 10 percent higher than the previous year. In the current year, the average Pole is forecasted to eat 29.5 kilogram (kg) of poultry meat, 0.5 kg more than the previous year. For comparison, in 2008, the figure was about 24 kg per capita.
As the director general of the Polish Poultry Council, Łukasz Dominiak, explains, local poultry meat consumption has been growing continuously, but at a slower pace than production, and expanding exports is necessary.
Thanks to foreign sales, mainly to other EU countries, but also to Africa and Asia, the Polish poultry industry has been rapidly growing. 40 percent of Poland’s poultry output goes to export markets, up 17 percent from last year.
USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki recalls how in recent years, USSEC has invested a considerable amount of the U.S. Soy industry’s resources into programs supporting the Polish poultry sector’s growth and development. Initially, the managers and technical specialists representing Polish broiler and turkey companies were invited to foreign poultry shows such as the International Poultry Exhibition (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia, or poultry production team visits to the U.S. Now, most USSEC support focuses on poultry nutrition and feed manufacturing, where Polish specialists are provided with first class know-how at national poultry feeding seminars and conferences, feed formulation training courses, feed ingredient purchasing educational programs, broiler and layer field visits held in western European countries, in-company consultations with internationally renowned experts, and sponsored trips to various soy trade conferences held in the U.S. and Europe.
The consequent work of U.S. Soy envoys in this sixth largest European country to rebuild its poultry and feed industry after its collapse a couple of decades ago began paying off a few years ago resulting in rapidly growing soybean meal utilization, which is counted today in millions of tons, with resumed purchases from the U.S. In recent years, Poland has been buying between 150 and 350 thousand metric tons (TMT) of U.S. meal a year, depending on the international soy markets. More work is needed to secure sustainable market share for U.S. Soy in this market and USSEC is determined to meet this challenge.
On February 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that 67,000 metric tons of U.S. soybeans were shipped to Romania, showing the interest of local crushers in sourcing quality protein to answer the demand and growth in efficiency and sophistication of Romania and Bulgaria’s local feed industries. The past year’s feed production numbers from these countries demonstrate an improvement in feed conversion rates for both broilers and pigs and, as a result of better practices, in animal nutrition and farms management.
A January 2016 editorial in the Romanian Feed Association’s magazine stated, “It is very tempting to substitute ingredients in the feed formulation process, especially under the current market situation, when there is a down trend in feedstuffs prices worldwide. However, we have to stay focused on getting the best efficiency rates in feed and animal production because of fierce competition and a highly regulated EU market.”
“This is possible only by using quality ingredients and soy is the key when we discuss amino acids and energy. In order to be able to differentiate between ingredients, nutritionists need knowledge and practice,” said Daniela Valdescu, quality control manager at one of Romania’s largest broiler integrators. “Thanks to USSEC, the Romanian nutritionists had access to the latest information and high caliber experts helped us to understand the value of the U.S. Soy.”
Processing U.S. soybeans provides several advantages for oilseeds processors since crushing soybeans produces more meal and less oil compared to processing sunflower and rapeseed, which is higher in oil yield.
The demand for quality protein feedstuffs from the Romanian and Bulgarian crushing and feed industries is expected to increase this year. Both countries will continue to rely on sizable amounts of soy imports to fill domestic use needs.
USSEC held a Swine Nutrition & Feed Manufacturing Seminar in Poznań, Poland from January 12-14.
About 50 key employees of Agri Plus, Smithfield’s hog producing company in Poland, attended the conference. Among them there were nutritionists, veterinarians, hog farm managers, feed production specialists, regional swine growing advisors, and ingredient/feed quality control specialists, as well as ingredient procurement staff. USSEC Southeastern Europe consultant Iani Chihaia escorted a couple of colleagues representing Smithfield-Romania.
Agri Plus is a leading swine producer in Poland, producing some 1 million hogs annually at its 24 large and contract farms. It also produces 750 thousand metric tons (TMT) of feeds in 6 mills, directly employs 500 people and a further 6000 through farming contracts. It is a definite influencer of the Polish hog market.
The first day was attended mainly by feed group staff, which USSEC consultant Gonzalo G. Mateos briefed on the advantages of feeding soybean meal and other soy products vs. rapeseed meal to pigs. Dr. Enric Marco of Marcovetgrup in Barcelona, Spain taught interactions between nutrition and pathology in piglets and fatteners, and Dr. Domingo Carrion of Cargill Animal Nutrition in Spain spoke about feeding the fattening pigs, concentrating mainly on the impact of feeding programs, nutrition, health status, genetic background and production system. The rest of the day was devoted to feed manufacturing technology and quality control of ingredients and final feeds.
On the second day, USSEC’s conference room was filled with members of the Agri Plus swine farm production group, and the trainers focused on different aspects of feeding and health of the various production groups and interactions between management and pathology and nutrition. They also highlighted key areas for improvements. This group of participants listened to a lecture on the benefits of feeding U.S. soybean meal and soy products to modern pig lines. Discussion was a key element of the completed event.
At a closing dinner for speakers, organizers and top managers, Jarosław Niescier, Agri Plus’s (Poland) managing director of the feed group, commented, “The seminar was an extremely useful educational opportunity for our staff and the Polish swine sector as well. We gratefully appreciate USSEC’s contribution – know-how and funding and organizational effort – to our striving for an ongoing improvement of what we do.”
USSEC believes that working with market influencers such as Smithfield – Poland is a smart investment of U.S. Soy farmers’ dollars in rebuilding the strength of Polish hog production, which recently underwent a sharp slide from 21 million hogs to 11 million a year, thus increasing the market for U.S. Hi-Pro.
USSEC Regional Director Greater Europe and Middle East / North Africa (MENA) Brent Babb has been asked to give a presentation at the European Feed Manufacturers’ Association (FEFAC) and TURKIYEMBIR, representing the Turkish feed industry, at the XXVII FEFAC Congress in Antalya, Turkey, which will take place on April 21 and 22, 2016.
The key conference theme is “Societal Acceptance of Livestock & Feed Production in the EU.” The European Commission’s Circular Economy Package released in December 2015 provides a new holistic policy approach to a more resource-efficient food and feed chain management respecting both food & feed safety and environmental objectives.
Mr. Babb will speak about the U.S. Soy industry’s efforts in the field of supplying responsible soy to the EU feed industry as FEFAC strives to demonstrate how it looks beyond the manufacturing sites of feed producers and has invested in building responsible supply chains.
USSEC’s assistance has been vital to the success of AminoPlus Bypass Soybean Meal in Poland and Northeast Europe in 2015.
The ETOS feed company based in Poznan, Poland, which is an exclusive importer and distributor for AGP in the Polish market, has informed USSEC that it recently received the last two containers of AminoPlus bypass meal manufactured in the U.S. for the current calendar year. The newest shipments add up to a total volume of 375 metric tons (MT) of the specialty soymeal delivered to local high-producing dairy farms in 2015 and reaches a total of 600 MT imported since ETOS began working with AGP in mid-2014.
“These volumes may not look impressive to the U.S. Soy industry, but taking into account the total market loss for AminoPlus caused by the former Polish importer and a substantial decline in the profitability of milk production in Poland since the EU has given up on its milk production quotas, this is quite an achievement for ETOS,” says USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe Jerzy Kosieradzki.
The growing sales of AminoPlus in Poland, which is the largest agricultural state in the northeastern part of the European Union, is just one example of the successful sales of the product in the sub region, especially in Hungary, the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic, where it was introduced prior to Poland a decade ago. From the beginning, USSEC has assisted AGP in their market development for AminoPlus in these countries, contributing to market research; feeding trials; promotional and educational events; and training the local distributor’s field dairy nutrition advisors and marketing specialists and key customers locally and internationally. In the most recent years, USSEC’s support to AminoPlus in Northeast Europe has focused on helping its Polish distributor by contributing to its annual dairy nutrition and management seminars and organizing practical training for its key dairymen in the U.S. and western European countries.
“USSEC’s support, offered to us from the very beginning of our handling of the U.S. bypass soy product, has been vital,” states Piotr Chelminiak, dairy nutrition department director at ETOS. “Both our staff and our dairy customers in Poland highly value the access to cutting edge professional know-how provided by USSEC, which pays off in growing sales even under unfriendly market conditions.”
In FY16, USSEC plans to match ETOS resources for promotion of AminoPlus and bring two dairy nutritionists from the U.S. and Europe to speak at an USSEC/ETOS educational event, followed by on-farm training as well as a taking Polish dairy nutrition team to France.
USSEC participated in the Feeds.Pro conference in St. Petersburg, Russia from November 4-6. This conference, organized by the Sfera Company, was a follow-up to the June 2015 World Soy Feeds Congress. At that time, USSEC received several inquiries from its Russian industry colleagues to discuss two hot topics, alternative feed ingredients and fish feed formulations.
USSEC consultant Dr. Iani Chihaia presented two papers to about 150 industry delegates. His presentations generated a vivid dialogue about the role and quality of soy in achieving high performance and how soy products should be used in animal feeding, especially in fish feeds.
“Russia aims to become self-sufficient in foodstuff supplies and to increase animal protein production,” stated Olga Palenova, conference chairman and organizer. “The interest in high efficacy feed ingredients and their feeding application is growing. This year, we’ve received a number of inquiries from industry colleagues interested in fish feed production as a result of the emerging development of aquaculture in Russia. Our feed technologists are highly interested in fish feed ingredients usage and in feed extrusion technology. Thanks to USSEC’s efforts and participations, our conference brought many answers in this regard,” Mrs. Palenova said.
During the two-day event, USSEC consultants Dr. Chihaia and Dr. Maria Domoroshchenkova gave three technical presentations, proving the commitment of U.S. Soy farmers to Russian soy customers and end users. The event was an excellent opportunity to interact with industry professionals from commercial feed, poultry and swine integrations, fish farms and trading companies.
“After interacting with our Russian colleagues, I believe that the use of alternative feed ingredients seems to be in many cases more challenging than a promising, realistic possibility, since high quality and high digestible amino acids profile from soy is not easy to replace in animal diets without sacrificing performance. However, the Russian feed industry should consider any possibility, with pros and cons,” Dr. Chihaia remarked.
“Meanwhile, we have to stay close and follow the Russian fish industry’s forecasted growth for the next year. Development of fish farms in Russia is part of the country’s goal to increase self-reliance and boost growth. Soybean meal, soy oil and soy protein concentrates are key raw materials for fish feed production and this will potentially generate U.S. Soy exports,” Dr. Chihaia concluded.
In recent years, USSEC has concentrated many of its efforts on the Polish market. This work is coming to fruition in the form of the constantly growing local compound feed industry, which serves Poland’s quickly expanding and improving livestock sector. Major growth has been observed in the poultry sector, which feeds over 20 million chickens a year and still buys the majority of its feeds from commercial feed manufacturers. The success rates achieved by the broiler growers include a 38-42 day cycle duration and an average final body weight of 2.5 kilograms. Additionally, feed utilizing per kilogram of those chickens’ growth is 1.6-1.7 kilograms. Last year, Poland’s broiler production increased by 10 percent, while turkey production increased by 15 percent and all poultry exports went up to 40 percent.
The country has seen tremendous growth and improvements in its feed milling sector with many recently modernized or constructed plants. USSEC representatives recently attended opening ceremonies at two super-modern, large feed mills: Golpasz’s mill located at Podkonice Duże in central Poland, which can manufacture up to 300 thousand metric tons of feed a year, and a similar capacity mill built for the Agrocentrum livestock and feed company in the northeastern corner of the country. Employees of both companies have long been involved in various educational activities organized by USSEC in Poland, other European countries, and the U.S., and have often expressed their appreciation for all that the U.S. Soy Farmers do for them.
A large portion of the support given by USSEC to its Polish customers comes via the Polish Grain & Feed Chamber, which is a very active and efficient industry association, often working with various policy challenges such as a legal biotech feed ban. USSEC and the Chamber frequently jointly organize various kinds of seminars and conferences for the local agricultural industries as well as policy makers.
From the U.S. soybean industry’s point of view, it is important for the Polish livestock and feed industry to remain a good client for the U.S. soybean meal and bypass soy and concentrates. The latest industry insiders’ reports indicate that a couple of new U.S. Hi-Pro meal vessels have already been contracted for Poland to be delivered later in the current marketing year.
A group of twelve selected Russian and Romanian customers attended USSEC training from October 19 – 23 at the University Politechnica of Madrid under the coordination of USSEC course director Gonzalo Mateos. The training’s goal was to educate Eastern European customers in new advances in feed ingredients, focusing on key sources of proteins used in animal feeding: soybean meal, full fat soybean meal and soy concentrates.
In addition to learning about the latest advances in raw materials quality, students had the opportunity to understand Spain’s experience in feed quality control under EU laws and regulations. Field visits were organized as well visits to representative companies from Andalusia, including INALSA (one of the largest independent feed mills in Spain) and COVAP (the second largest dairy feed mill in the country).
Dr. Aurelian Zarnescu of Banvit FNC, Romania said, “During this week we learned valuable knowledge regarding evaluation of raw materials and about the current EU Assurance and Quality Control Systems in the feed industry. The visit to the laboratories of the Inalsa and Covap Feed Mills was the perfect opportunity at the right time for us to reinforce what we are currently implementing: the raw materials quality control systems in our countries. Meantime, the whole event was a unique opportunity to meet and interact and exchange information with our Spanish and Russian feed industry colleagues. We appreciate USSEC’s efforts to put together these technical events, supporting the development of our feed industries.”
Russian participants were excited to be given an opportunity to combine theoretical classes with laboratory exercises and field visits.
Dr. Vladimir Galetsky, deputy director for innovations at one of the largest Russian feed mills, Gatchinsky KKZ, reported that the training provided very useful practical advice and “take home” messages. He was happy to interact and discuss many important feed quality issues and modern feeding practices with EU colleagues. Dr. Galetsky added, “Organizing such trainings by USSEC is very important for Russian customers as the country’s soy demand is growing”.
“Shortly after I returned home from the USSEC training, I started to update our quality control system with the latest knowledge gained at the UPM. Thanks to this new experience and valuable information, we are able to better understand how to monitor the quality of the soybean meal,” commented Ekaterina Varfolomeeva, quality control manager at one of largest pig integrators in the Kaliningrad region.
Dr. Mateos concluded, “Providing education and technical support to soy customers is one of the most efficient ways to demonstrate the value of U.S. Soy and maintain relationships with our customers. We always have very good feedback from students who attend the USSEC training classes and this is expected to lead to a potential increase in U.S. Soy demand from European countries
The USA Pavilion closed its doors Saturday night as Milan EXPO 2015 ended. A whopping six million people visited the USA Pavilion between May 1 and October 31. Over 140 countries participated in the World Fair.
The USA Pavilion showcased the idea “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and spotlighted American leadership on issues such as food security and policy, technology, nutrition and health, and culinary culture. The USA Pavilion focused on the United States as an innovator not only in the food sector, but also in many aspects of culture, science, and business.
USSEC was a partner in the Friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015. The friends of the USA Pavilion Milano 2015 was the private sector partner that worked with the U.S. government to develop and implement an official U.S. presence at the Expo, which ran from May 1 through October 31. The partnership’s mission was to conceive, design, fundraise for and produce the USA Pavilion and programs at Expo Milano 2015.
USSEC’s participation was a part of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Global Broad-based Initiative (GBI) on sustainability. USSEC acts as the lead in a sustainability alliance consisting of twelve USDA cooperators representing agriculture, forestry and fisheries through the U.S. Sustainability Alliance (USSA).
For more information, please visit http://www.thesustainabilityalliance.us.
USSEC participated in the International Soy Growers Alliance (ISGA) meetings in Montevideo, Uruguay from August 13-16.
American Soybean Association (ASA) first vice president Richard Wilkins and United Soybean Board (USB) treasurer John Motter participated in these meetings together with USSEC Marketing Director Market Access/FTO Roz Leeck. The agenda included listening to perspectives from the South American region and the world, along with an ISGA group discussion, moderated by Ms. Leeck. The ISGA’s next steps were discussed, including an April 2016 mission to China and a potential EU mission this fall. The group had the opportunity to visit the Uruguayan Chamber of Commerce and took an all-day tour of a local farm.
While the countries that make up ISGA typically are competitors in the world soybean market, the mission of the group is to collaborate in the development of select soybean markets and to speak with a unified voice opposing market restrictions, scientifically unsound non-tariff barriers to trade relating to health, environmental, chemical residues and biotechnology approvals. ISGA contributors work together to maintain the solid market position of soy against other competitor oilseeds and to communicate the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the soybean chain.
USSEC participated in a sustainability event, held at the Milan EXPO USA Pavilion in Italy on July 3. The USA Pavilion showcases the idea “American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet,” and spotlights American leadership on issues such as food security and policy, technology, nutrition and health, and culinary culture. Over 140 countries are participating in Milan EXPO 2015, and more than 20 million people are expected to visit before the World’s Fair concludes in October 2015. The USA Pavilion, which focuses on the United States as an innovator not only in the food sector, but also in many aspects of culture, science, and business, has already registered more than one million visitors.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack gave the keynote address at the “U.S. Sustainability: This is How We Grow” event, which was sponsored by the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Rome Country Strategy Support Fund (CSSF), and was attended by a select group of 40-50 representatives from the agri-food sector, other EXPO Pavilions, non-profit organizations, and U.S., Italian, and EU officials. The event featured an expert panel representing the U.S. dairy, soybean, organic and fishery sectors.
Secretary Vilsack spoke on the topic “How We Grow for the Future” and noted “U.S. agriculture has a positive story to tell on sustainability…We have a long-standing commitment to conservation. We also promote research and education for sustainable agriculture. With the global focus on climate impacts on agriculture and food security, the United States is now also committed to implementing climate smart agriculture principles.” He added that “it will take as much innovation, science, research, and technology over the next 35 years as in the last 10,000 years.” Secretary Vilsack outlined the U.S. sustainability and climate-smart agriculture efforts to date and argued for more research and development as well as policies based on science. He stated that sustainability must not only be about environmental sustainability but also about economic sustainability, which includes supporting diversity in methods of production and all types of farmers.
USSEC senior technical consultant David Green’s presentation on the Sustainability Alliance framed the discussion by introducing the initiative and describing some of the underlying EU perceptions about U.S. agriculture and the theme of sustainability. Mr. Green explained how the United States has been on the forefront of sustainable farming practices ever since the dustbowl in the 1930s and that now more than ever the U.S. government has laws and programs in place to support and defend good farming practices.
USSEC vice chairman and ASA director Jim Miller’s “This is How We Grow” presentation provided a practical example of a fourth generation farmer from Nebraska who has been using sustainable farming practices on his farm for years. He discussed how sustainable farming is a way of life for him and his peers because farmers care about the future. Crop rotation improves diversity and reduces inputs, while also meeting customer demands and improving profitability. By using biotechnology, Mr. Miller has managed to reduce the amount of crop protection agents used, and by employing sustainable farming practices he has not tilled since 1996, which has resulted in fuel savings, increased organic matter of soil and decreased soil erosion.
Increasing the awareness of U.S. Soy, improving the understanding of the value of soybean meals of different origins and educating local industries to detect potential adulteration of this valuable raw material, were the main goals of the recent USSEC seminar, “Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Feed Microscopy as Tools to Differentiate Between Origins and Identify Adulterants of Soybean Meals.”
The seminar, held in Bucharest, Romania, took place on June 25. More than 27 key industry lab managers, nutritionists, researchers, purchasing managers and poultry professionals from Romania, Morocco and Tunisia attended the event. Notably, most of the participants were young professionals, demonstrating the eagerness to learn the latest news in soybean meal quality.
Keynote speakers were Dr. Paloma Rebollar, Dr. Ana Baroetta and Dr. Roser Sala, professors from the Universities of Madrid and Barcelona. USSEC consultants Dr. Khalid Benabdeljelil, professor at Rabat University in Morocco, and Dr. Riadh Karma, USSEC consultant from Tunisia, joined and actively participated with their customers during the field visits and seminar in Romania.
The USSEC seminar speakers first introduced the basics of Near Infrared (NIR) and Feed Microscopy, and then provided the results of the seven-year Madrid University NIR Soybean Meal study.
The use of NIR technology by the Romanian feed industry to determine simple components such as moisture, protein, fat, and fiber of major feed ingredients and finished feeds has been around for many years. NIR calibration for soybean meal of different origins requires adjustments to the particular production process and geographical region. Currently, the Romanian feed mill laboratories are using NIR mainly to implement their quality control and quality assurance programs involving feed ingredients and finished feeds.
“Our Romanian colleagues are doing a very good job using NIR technology. In this regard, we have found a very interesting set of soybean meal analysis databases. The next step for the feed companies is to use NIR technology as a tool to build or fine tune specifications of feed ingredients (especially for soybean meals of different origins) in feed formulation software,” noted Dr. Rebollar, the keynote speaker at the event in Bucharest.
“On the other hand, statistical expertise is needed to calibrate, validate, and update equations under commercial conditions and this seems to be a major limiting factor in the proper use of this technology by some of the companies we interacted with during our field visits and seminar. Moreover, we recommended our young colleagues to develop their own customized calibration models in compliance with the specific raw materials used in a particular production process and available on the particular market and geographic location,” Dr. Rebollar added.
Prior to the seminar, project participants traveled to the National Institute of Animal Nutrition (IBNA) and several commercial feed mills from Southern Romania were shown NIR testing procedures and got access to data compilation utilized under local commercial conditions in Romania.
The USSEC project was an excellent opportunity for the attendees to refresh their knowledge and understand how NIR should be better used in order to get more value from U.S. soybean meal and how to detect potential adulteration of this valuable ingredient. Shortly after the meeting, key companies from Romania continued interaction with the Spanish professors and showed a particular interest in statistically interpreting the soybean meal databases and how to select / purchase the right microscope for their feed laboratories.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) took a group of fourteen young commercial nutritionists from Poland and Romania representing local feed compounders to Madrid, Spain in October 2014 where they attended a series of in-class training sessions at the Polytechnical University of Madrid (UPM), run by three European experts on swine nutrition, feed science and feeding-related health problems. USSEC recruited the participants and helped coordinate this training course. The nutritionists toured Spanish swine breeding and production facilities, including a swine research farm, a leading international consulting firm specializing in swine nutrition and management, and a soybean and local legumes processing plant, as well as a leading regional cooperative which manufactures various swine feed products and supplies them to numerous independent farms in several Spanish provinces. This weeklong professional experience offered to this team of USSEC’s European customers was highly evaluated by the participants.
On May 28, the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) organized a soybean meal forum in Barcelona, Spain. The one-day event, funded by FMD, brought together more than a dozen experts, from leading European research centers, trading companies and private entities to discuss the latest studies and findings on soybean meal. Scientists and key senior nutritionists of the European feed industry were targeted with the objective for USSEC to share information on how USSEC differentiates soybean meal by origin and to learn from the EU experts on what the U.S. Soy industry can do in the future to help other EU nutritionists see and accept differences in nutritive value among soybean meal samples. USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos from the University of Madrid presented the results of his long-term research, funded by USSEC, on soybean meal from the United States, Brazil and Argentina. Over a seven-year period, almost 500 samples have been taken and analyzed for various components including proximal analysis and amino acid content, aiming to determine overall quality of the different sourced meals. The results showed wide variation in numerous sub-components of soybean meal, but provided sufficient evidence to conclude that while Brazilian soybean meal generally has higher overall protein levels, due mostly to latitude and production conditions, U.S. soybean meal has better quality protein for animal nutrition purposes. Discussion focused on finding the most cost effective and quickest way to determine the protein quality of soybean meal such as using reactive lysine as an indicator. Participants agreed that good communication along the entire value chain, from producers to crushing facilities to feed manufacturers to livestock producers, was essential. There was also general agreement by all participants that the use of near-infrared spectroscopy (NIR) technology will be essential to determining the nutritive value and protein quality of the different batches of soybean meal. Soybean meal customers in the European Union are increasingly sophisticated and will be demanding specific components in the soybean meal, tailored to their production requirements. USSEC’s programs in the EU are yielding success as the EU industry is learning the importance of the valuation of soybean meal by origin. One forum participant stated, “The European Soybean Meal Forum is a unique event that brings different stakeholders and actors in the soy chain together to discuss about the quality of soybean meal. The meeting not only provided me an updated overview on the scientific data with respect to the differences in nutritional value of soybean meal related to origin, but it also provided me the opportunity to exchange views with others about how we could use this knowledge in the daily practice. It became clear that we should work together in the chain to be able to benefit from the differences in value of soybean meal related to origin and processing, and that we need to further increase the knowledge regarding uniform analytical tests.” Events such as this have revitalized U.S. soymeal exports to the EU-29 from 411,000 metric tons (MT) in 2011/12, to 1,265,000 MT in 2012/13, to 1,326,000 MT in 2013/14, the last marketing year where full year sales are available.
In an effort to promote U.S. Soy and strengthen relationships with local feed manufacturers, a USSEC delegation visited Romanian feed and broiler companies during the last week of June and attended the annual conference of the Romanian Feed Manufacturers Association (ANFNC). The conference is Romania’s key event related to the feed industry and provided an excellent opportunity to meet with end users of U.S. soy, including decision makers (owners and general managers) and technicians (nutritionists and purchasing managers). USSEC technical consultant Iani Chihaia escorted and introduced the group at the meetings.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Larry Marek of Iowa gave a comprehensive presentation to an audience comprised of over 70 key Romanian industry owners and professionals, representing more 80 percent of Romania’s feed industry, demonstrating the superior characteristics of U.S. soybeans and soybean meal: quality, reliability and sustainability.
At the end of Mr. Marek’s talk, participants raised questions mainly targeting biotech soy benefits and about their concerns related to the potential impact of the recent EU proposal for the nationalization of GM imports.
“Adoption of this proposal will generate huge disruptions in soybean meal supply in [all of] Europe and the Romanian feed industry will be affected, too,” commented Iosif Pazuric, ANFNC past president. “Currently, the Romanian Feed Industry imports over 80 percent of the soybean meal used in the country and any disruption in soybean meal trade will impact all of us,” he added.
USSEC Trading and Risk Commodities Consultant Lola Herrera discussed global soy market status and trends. Dr. Chihaia talked about the status of the local industry and emphasized USSEC’s support for ANFNC and opportunities for U.S. Soy exports.
Prior to the conference, Mr. Marek, together with Ohio Soybean Council members Jeff Magyar and Bill Bayliss, visited Combial Feed Mill and Bona Avis Broiler Farm, one of Romania’s most modern broiler integrations, family owned and administrated by Eda Kizilcelik.
The day after she received the USSEC delegation’s visit at Combial, Mrs. Kizilcelik was elected as the new president of ANFNC at the association’s annual meeting on June 30.
Bona Avis’s broiler facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art technology for climate control, ventilation and feeding systems, which provides them with real chances for future growth and development in broiler business. Combial Integration grows grain crops, runs a feed mill, and raises broilers, as well as operating a poultry slaughterhouse and processing facilities for their meat products, sold locally and exported to the EU.
Southeast Europe, particularly Romania, is predicted to play a key role in animal protein production growth for the next several years, while meat production in Western Europe is expected to stay flat or even slightly decrease. As one of the main grains producing countries in the EU 27, with an annual production of 20 million tons of grains per year, Romania still has an unlocked potential in growing its poultry, livestock and aqua sectors. Currently, Romania ranks as the main feed producing country in the Southeastern Europe region, with an annual production of over 3 million tons of feed in the industrial sector and another 2.7 million tons of feed produced as home mixed feeds. As the poultry, pork and aquaculture sectors continue to grow, there will be a greater need for a high quality protein source rich in essential amino acids that U.S. soybean farmers are ready to provide.