News: Greater Europe
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.
The USSEC Poultry Training Program for Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey was held April 19- 25 at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine/IFAS, in Gainesville, Florida. Twelve key veterinarians and managers from the MENA region traveled to the University of Florida to attend the intensive program where disease and management problems affecting their region were discussed in detail. The program allowed for the presentation of new scientific information as well as an exchange of ideas among technical personnel from the participating countries.
At the current time, infectious diseases are devastating the poultry industries in Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia. The need for improvements in biosecurity and changes in the structure of the poultry industry in these countries is urgent. Topics for presentation and discussion ranged from avian influenza (H9 and H5), genotype 7 Newcastle disease, mycoplasma infections, variant bronchitis, biosecurity programs, vaccination techniques and management of the broiler from the day of arrival to the farm.
USSEC consultant Dr. Gary Butcher provided details on his experiences with these diseases in numerous countries worldwide. The event also provided a forum for technical personnel from the different poultry companies and countries to discuss current conditions and programs being implements to combat these illnesses. Participants commented positively on the program and especially enjoyed the roundtable discussion sessions, which provided them with an opportunity to learn more about problems unique to their region and take back knowledge that can be readily applied to their companies.
Attendees also toured a high tech and modern processing plant in Live Oak, Florida owned by Pilgrim’s Pride and the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Florida.