News: Greater Europe
At the invitation of the Russian Poultry Research Institute (VNITIP), USSEC participated in a poultry technical seminar on December 8.
USSEC consultant Dr. Gonzalo Mateos, accompanied by local USSEC consultant Dr. Maria Domoroshchenkova, attended the seminar, which was themed, “Modern Approaches to Feeding of High Productive Poultry Crosses, Control of Safety of Compound Feeds and Biologically Active Additives, New Technologies in Feed Production” in Sergiev Posad, the ancient Russian town which originated in the 15th century around one of the greatest Russian monasteries, the Trinity Lavra, located 70 kilometers from Moscow.
Over the last three years, USSEC consultants have become regular and respected visitors at such seminars, sharing with Russian customers the modern global and European trends in poultry production and feeding programs, new developments in soy feed additives production and control, the nutritional value and benefits of U.S. Soy versus other protein sources, and other issues.
A total of about 80 people attended the seminar. Attendees were predominantly representatives of feed mills, poultry farms, and feed additives and vet preparations companies from different regions of Russia.
Dr. Mateos gave a presentation, “Broiler Production in the Absence of ‘In Feed Antibiotics’: Diet Modification and Use of Functional Additives.” Dr. Mateos in his presentation, alongside with other poultry feeding questions/issues, compared the nutritive value of different protein sources widely used by the EU and Russian poultry industries and emphasized the importance of the uniformity of protein ingredients in modern poultry diets. He demonstrated the benefits of soy products in poultry feeding versus other protein sources and provided data for understanding quality differences in soybean meal (including differences in origin) and the impact on broiler production. The quality benefits of U.S. Soy products was clearly appreciated and recognized. The presentation was well received as evidenced by the number of questions and reactions. Although the organizers of the seminar allocated an hour and half in the program for Dr. Mateos’s presentation, it was still not quite enough time, and discussions continued after the end of the session. Obviously, the topics presented were of high interest to the Russian customers.
Local poultry farms are the principle users of soybean meal in Russia, compared to other animal producers. Russia’s poultry production has been rising significantly in the past few years. Russia is the world’s fourth largest producer of poultry meat and the sixth largest producer of eggs. The poultry meat production growth rate in Russia is six times higher than the world average. Poultry meat occupies a 48 percent share in the structure of meat production in Russia in 2016, according to the estimates of the Russian Poultry Union.
There is a serious potential for the growth of demand of soybean meal via an increase of ratio of soy proteins in local feed formulations. USSEC’s marketing efforts are beneficial for the promotion of soy additives in poultry feeding programs at the nutritionally recommended dosage and will contribute to the growth of demand in U.S. Soy.
USSEC participated in EuroTier 2016 from November 15-18 in Hannover, Germany.
Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA and five of USSEC’s European contractors traveled to Germany for this event.
EuroTier is the world’s leading trade show for animal husbandry, including livestock feed production, which attracts exhibitors from all over the world to present their innovations for dairy and beef cattle and pig and poultry farming, as well as participants from the fields of aquaculture, sheep and goat growing, and buildings and equipment. In addition to the latest innovations, visitors also find a wide range of special side events, including technical presentations, press conferences, and panel discussions that provide plenty of opportunities to learn and share information with other industry members.
As the leading trade fair in its sector, EuroTier provides a comprehensive overview of innovative technology, services, and genetics for modern livestock production. It focuses on farm inputs especially for livestock farmers, such as feeds and ingredients, as well as relevant equipment and technology, including grain and oilseed processing, livestock feed mixing equipment, quality control systems, and many tools used in modern animal agriculture.
Attracting more than 2500 exhibitors and approximately 150,00 – 160,000 visitors from Germany and over 100 other countries, the EuroTier 2016 show was the place to be for USSEC’s European team.
“EuroTier provides a great place for USSEC team members to meet with key customers and also to discuss future programs with industry experts,” explained Mr. Babb. The team planned several events for 2017 with industry contacts including a feed technology meeting in Romania, two sustainability meetings in Germany, and a tentative sustainability media tour in Fall 2017.
Eugene Philhower, USSEC commercial contractor-North Europe; Jan van Eys, USSEC regional EU contractor based in France; Iani Chihaia, USSEC contractor – Southeast Europe; Jerzy Kosieradzki, USSEC contractor – Northeast Europe; and Sirri Kayhan, USSEC contractor – Turkey, spent two days at EuroTier updating their knowledge of technological innovations, studying competitors’ products and offers, and renewing contacts with soy buyers and users from many European countries.
An added bonus was an opportunity for USSEC’s European team to meet and discuss various current programs, administrative procedures, and plans for the coming year 2017.
Nearly ten years ago, the Polish government introduced a legal ban on GM animal feeds, although the ban has never been implemented due to the high dependency of Polish livestock production upon soybean meal imports (two million metric tons [MMT] imported annually). The present moratorium on putting the ban into operation ends on December 31 of this year. The Polish feed and livestock and food industries undertook a number of initiatives to ensure the ban will be abolished or at least suspended for a few more years. One of the projects in their pro-biotech campaign was the publication of a special biotech insert in Gazeta Wyborcza, a top Polish daily newspaper. USSEC joined its Polish industry customers as a provider of professional information and a co-funder of the publication.
The insert was devoted to the theme “Agriculture: Safe, Efficient & Responsible” and consisted of several articles and interviews with governmental officials, scientists, industry organizations executives, and independent experts. “Animal Feeds with GM Soy” was the special feature of the insert’s edition.
The article titled “Green Biotechnology” was written by Jerzy Kosieradzki, USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe, and Iwona Kosieradzka, professor of animal nutrition at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences, and explained how ideology and multi-billion dollar interests of organic food corporations purposefully confuse consumers about biotech products. It highlighted the many benefits biotech crops offer to farmers, processors, and consumers around the world. The authors also reported on countless research institutions and scientific experts that had proven the safety of GM foods and feeds.
The message concluded that biotech soybeans continue to strongly contribute to the sustainability of the Polish and European food chains.
In a long interview, Professor Józef Brzóska, animal nutritionist at the Animal Production Institute in Krakow, Poland, referred to the results of a complex Polish research program funded by the Polish government that tested major corn and soybean GM varieties marketed around the world in fields and livestock production. The team of Polish scientists came to a clear conclusion that these GM crops were as safe for the environment and livestock and humans as conventional crops.
In another interview, Ewa Lech, Deputy Farm Minister spoke on the motives that caused the Polish agricultural authorities to propose to the government and parliament to extend the use of GM soy in livestock feeds for another four years.
USSEC recently participated in the European Bourse trade show in Turin, Italy, meeting with the largest soy importers in the European market.
Belinda Burrier, United Soybean Board (USB) director from Maryland, and Kevin Hoyer, American Soybean Association (ASA) director from Wisconsin, along with USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA Brent Babb and USSEC consultant Lola Herrera, attended the Bourse and also visited soy industry facilities of Italy’s two largest feed mills and its largest crusher. Additionally, the group meet with livestock industry and value-added food industry contacts in the prosciutto ham and Parmigiano cheese industry.
The European Bourse is the most important annual meeting for the grains and oilseeds agricultural and trading industry in Europe with about 3,000 attendees.
During the Bourse, the U.S. Soy delegation talked with European soy importers from ADM, Cargill, Bunge, and Louis Dreyfus. The feed industry was represented by some of Europe’s largest companies: Sanders from France, Veronesi and Amadori from Italy, and DUKA from Germany among others.
Prior to the Bourse, the group travelled to northern Italy, visiting the main soy industry companies. In Milan, they visited Cereal Docks, meeting with Giorgio della Bona. Cereal Docks is the main crusher in Italy, crushing 2,000 tons per day of non-GMO beans, from local production and 3,000 tons per day from the U.S. and other origins. Near Milan, the team also met with Veronesi, the largest feed producer in Italy, producing more than three million tons of feed annually for their own use to produce meat, poultry, and pork. Next, the group travelled to the port of Ravenna on the Adriatic Sea to visit the feed and soy full fat plant belonging to Amadori, the second largest company in feed and meat production in Italy. The purchasing and production team provided a tour of the plant, producing 50,000 metric tons (MT) of feed and 10,000 MT of full fat soy monthly. All feed production is used for their own consumption in poultry and livestock as the company is fully integrated.
USSEC attended a series of events and meetings in Europe from October 16-20.
USSEC consultant David Green of the U.S. Sustainability Alliance and USSEC Project Manager – Market Access/FTO Katie Williams attended SIAL Paris (a major international food exhibition) and the U.N’s Committee on World Food Security event in Rome, in addition to conducting one-on-one meetings in Brussels, Belgium and Dordrecht, Netherlands.
“During SIAL Paris and our meetings in Brussels and Rome, David and I were able to have face to face meetings with contacts from various Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) offices, retailers, food processors, and others,” stated Ms. Williams. “During these conversations, we were able to discern that European retailers are extremely interested in sustainability and recognize the potential for collaboration.”
Changing mindsets takes time. The successes of the Global Broad-based Initiative (GBI) program over the past two years are steps in the right direction, says Ms. Williams. Ongoing dialogue and communication with contacts made to date and with new stakeholders was appreciated by EU stakeholders. This base of contacts will be leveraged and built on to further improve the understanding and appreciation of the reality of sustainability and conservation in the U.S. The sustainability and conservation production processes used in U.S. agriculture, forestry, and fishery products are viewed positively by European audiences following outreach, education and information exchange on missions such as the above.
USSEC’s participation helps communicate to European audiences that U.S. agriculture and industry is sustainable and that many cooperators participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) conservation schemes. Also, the fact that some 95 percent of farms in the U.S. are family farms and that the U.S. has been enacting conservation laws and policies for more than 100 years were two points which were both new and enlightening to the European audience.
At the recent Consumer Goods Forum’s Sustainable Retail Summit in Paris, USSEC sponsored a special breakout session focused on sustainable U.S. Soy.
Brent Babb, USSEC Regional Director – EU/MENA opened the session by providing an overview of USSEC and the history and range of conservation efforts undertaken by U.S. producers. Mr. Babb described the four pillars of the U.S. Sustainable Soy Assurance Protocol (SSAP) – biodiversity and high carbon stock, production practices, health and welfare, and continuous improvement – while noting that to date, certificates have been issued for almost six million tons of U.S. Soy exports.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Nancy Kavazanjian spoke about the conservation efforts on her fourth generation family farm in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. Ms. Kavazanjian noted that conservation measures, such as no-till and cover crops, reduce soil erosion and improve soil quality, demonstrating her family’s commitment to continuous improvement, a key aspect of sustainable production.
Dr. Marty Matlock of the University of Arkansas spoke about the metrics and indicators collected and used to measure advancements toward the agreed upon sustainability goals for U.S. soybean producers. Dr. Matlock elaborated on the continuous improvement efforts and noted the commitment by U.S. Soy producers to continue their sustainability drive as measured by the five key indicators of land use, water and energy use, soil erosion, and greenhouse gas emissions.
The conference brought together a wide range of businesses along the food value chain, including CEOs from major European retailers. The USSEC delegation engaged with the conference participants and explained how the SSAP relates to the Consumer Goods Forum’s sustainable soy sourcing guidelines and USSEC’s efforts to promote and inform key European contacts on the SSAP.
USSEC recently provided a dairy program to key Polish dairy farmers, managers and nutrition advisors. The first phase of the two-phase activity, featured in the U.S. Soy News on October 18, was a dairy nutrition and management seminar for industry members from all over Poland. Phase two was an on-farm dairy training, organized jointly with the Polish importer and distributor of AminoPlus® bypass soybean meal.
Two experts were invited to Poland to work with the local dairy industry: Dr. Lynn Davis, Nutrition Professionals Inc., of Neenah, Wisconsin, and Dr. Jan van Eys, GANS and USSEC consultant, of Paris, France. Drs. Davis and van Eys were supported by USSEC Northeast Europe Technical Director Jerzy Kosieradzki and Piotr Chełminiak, Dairy Feed Department Manager at the ETOS feed company. The team spent a week visiting farms in the western part of Poland to provide their ideas for improvements of the local dairy feeding programs and managerial practices. Their opinions and ideas for adjustments were given to the local farmers and staff responsible for nutrition, health, breeding and management of the dairy herds. Whenever needed, feedstuffs samples were taken and sent to ETOS feed company’s laboratory to be thoroughly analyzed and a follow-up visit to the farms will be made later by the Polish company’s dairy nutrition advisors.
Concerning AminoPlus® usage, the team encountered situations where the U.S. bypass soybean meal was successfully used, such as at a dairy farm at Godziątków, owned by the Jaworowicz family. The imported meal contributed to their high milk production, which was close to 12,000 liters per cow annually, in this large operation. There were also farms where the managers forced too many ingredients into the diet optimization software or introduced too many restrictions, causing elimination of AminoPlus® from the actual feeding. Each time the explanation was same: the bypass meal is just too expensive! In these cases, either Dr. Davis or Dr. van Eys had to remove the unjustified restrictions and let the computer choose optimal ingredients at optimal levels and, believe or not, AminoPlus® always found a place in the diet.
At each location, locally available protein-rich ingredients and additives were discussed and tips for their utilization were shared with the farmers. Nutritional values of soybean meal as compared to the other protein sources were also checked and often-helpful adjustments were proposed.
While most of the work done by the USSEC consultants concentrated on high yielding dairy cows, they also paid attention to how calves and replacement heifers are fed and managed. As the future of the dairy operations, the young-stock required better housing and feeding, which was not always easy to follow in a long period of very low profitability in the Polish dairy sector. Only the smartest farmers were making such an investment in the next generation of their milking cows.
While USSEC ‘s marketing program in Poland focuses mainly on working with poultry and swine feed manufacturing industries, the dairy sector has not been overlooked as offering considerable potential to use U.S. soybean Hi-Pro meal and bypass meal as well.
In FY16, USSEC combined financial and human resources with a Polish feed compounder and feedstuff distributor, ETOS, to organize a dairy nutrition and management seminar, which was attended by almost 70 dairy growers and managers from many provinces.
The main speakers at the seminar were Dr. Jan van Eys, USSEC contractor based in France, and Dr. Lynn Davis, Nutrition Professionals Inc. of Neenah, Wisconsin.
Dr. van Eys explained the feeding of dairy cows during the so-called transition period (four weeks before calving and for another few weeks after calving) that plays a critical role in the cows’ milk production, health, reproduction and length of their productive life. Dr. Davis, who has worked for 30 years as a nutritional advisor to commercial dairies in Wisconsin and Colorado and co-owns three dairy farms in Wisconsin, discussed the management of dairy farms. Dr. Davis’s second presentation focused on staying ahead of the curve by adapting to evolving farm environment.
Other presentations were offered by local experts, including Marcin Winkowski of DSM-Poland and Piotr Chełminiak of ETOS, who highlighted nutritional products and services that contribute to the improved feeding efficiency of various components and overall success in a dairy operation. Quality control and assurance system was another important topic covered at the seminar, partially in the conference room and partially at ETOS’s feedstuff quality control laboratory, where Małgorzata Jędrzejczak, head of the lab, explained what the company does for their clients. The principles and benefits of GMP+ quality assurance system that is in place at ETOS were also presented to the visitors.
After the seminar, USSEC followed up with participants about their impressions and evaluation of the completed seminar and received positive opinions from the vast majority of attendees. Małgorzata Lisiecka, co-owner and manager of a 1200 head dairy complex at Czechnów in the western part of Poland said, “It was a very useful event and learning from the two experienced foreign experts allowed us to pick up some smart ideas we can implement in our operation. Like the software Dr. Davis recommended to us to use to monitor the time cows spend on various things during the day – this simple tool and approach has potential to save money.”
USSEC recently held practical training for eastern European customers, on the heels of its three-day in-class swine nutrition and management course held in Spain (see U.S. Soy News, October 11, 2016, for more information on that portion of the seminar). The two to three days of practical training was held at farms, feed mills, research facilities, providers of commercial services to farmers and manufacturers, suppliers of ingredients and additives, and quality control laboratories.
Having completed their intensive theoretical training in Madrid, customers from Poland, Belarus, Romania, Czech Republic and Russia toured the many swine producing and feed manufacturing sites scattered in various places in Spain. While accompanied by two key trainers, USSEC consultants Dr. Gonzalo G. Mateos and Dr. Juan Acedo-Rico, the trainees had the opportunity to speak with the many commercial specialists at the operations visited and check with them on how various procedures and technological solutions work in a day-to-day reality.
At COBADU cooperative, Dr. Eduardo Bueno, Chief of Nutrition, led the group around the coop’s feedstuffs drying and initial processing facilities, feed mill making feeds for monogastric animals, ruminant feed mill, feedstuff warehouses and quality control lab and answered a multitude of the participants’ questions. Dr. Rafael Sanchez, General Manger, explained to them the economic and productive system the cooperative uses in its business.
Visiting CEP experimental swine farm, a 500-sow unit, the eastern European customers were hosted by Joaquin Morales, Veterinarian in Charge, who explained the farm’s technological set-up and some studies run by the institution as a service to the industry. 3F company (Feeds & Foods Factory), was another case, where the group was hosted by Dr. Mario Garcia, one of the lecturers at the seminar completed earlier in the week, who showed them around the plant that makes livestock nutritional products out of organic acid, enzymes and other liquid additives and explained the practical aspects of such products utilization in swine diets.
At every stage of the practical training part of the course, the trainers pointed out the nutritional and economic aspects of optimal utilization of soybean products in livestock production with a special focus on swine production in which Spain holds the number one position in Europe. At COBADU, the students could see soybean extrusion operation and learn about the benefits gained by the local farmers, who feed it to their livestock.
In early September, USSEC held a one-day seminar, “Near Infrared Spectroscopy and Feed Microscopy,” in Bucharest, Romania, with the aim to support the Romanian feed industry to adopt Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) and microscopy technologies as tools for quality control and to detect potential adulteration of raw materials and feeds.
Quality control representatives, feed mill managers, and nutritionists from Romania attended the event and showed great interest in learning more about how to properly interpret the statistic results from NIRS analysis and how to implement qualitative analysis of soybean meals of different origins.
“Great care should be taken in developing NIRS calibrations as problems can arise when the primary methods do not define well the chemical constituent, and sample preparation is not as consistent as required,” Dr. Paloma Rebollar, professor at the University Politecnica in Madrid, Spain, emphasized at the seminar. “Besides proximal composition analysis, NIRS can be used for determining metabolizable energy, protein and phosphorous digestibility, and for the analysis of starch and non-starch polysaccharides, etc. It can be used to identify origin of soybean meals and to perform authenticity checks. In addition, heat damaged protein, fungal contamination and adulteration can be detected with modern pattern recognition software,” she added.
Dr. Roser Sala Paralles of Univeristy Autonoma in Barcelona, Spain recommended that participants adopt the feed microscopy as a fast and inexpensive quality control tool in their routine laboratory analysis, taking into account compliance with the specific raw materials used in a particular production process and available on the particular market and geographic location, specifically the geographic origin of available soybean meals in the Romanian market.
Prior to the seminar, USSEC organized visits to relevant feed mills and quality control, providing participants with the opportunity of knowing available analytical techniques and current practices used by the Romanian feed quality control labs, and the opportunity to discuss with quality control managers and nutritionists their main concerns on quality, variability and adulteration of soybean meal.
The individual meetings with laboratories at the feed mills and with nutritionists and researchers were informative and allowed participants to gain a better understanding of the Romanian feed and livestock’s actual reality and the potential for progress and expansion.
The Romanian feed and livestock industries clearly show the opportunities and potential that exists in this particular market for growth in livestock production and, consequently, the use of U.S. Soy products. Continuous promotional efforts to accompany the growth of this market and positioning of U.S. Soy in this market will be continued.
USSEC recently organized a swine nutrition and management training course at the Universidad Polytechnica of Madrid (UPM) in Spain. A group of almost twenty customers from various Eastern European countries including Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, Russia and Romania attended. Participants were comprised of technical professionals working at livestock integrators, feed compounders, swine nutrition advisors, feed additive merchandisers and feedstuffs quality control managers.
USSEC consultant and UPM professor Dr. Gonzalo Mateos organized this educational event and was one of a dozen lecturers involved in it. The speakers were all Spaniards and many of them combined European and U.S. education and commercial expertise. Half of the speakers represented universities and other research institutions and the other half worked for commercial companies operating locally in Spain, other EU countries, or globally.
The program and logistical arrangements were coordinated with three USSEC contractors working in Eastern European countries: Maria Domoroschenkova (Russian Federation), Iani Chihaia (Southeast Europe), and Jerzy Kosieradzki (Northeast Europe). Administrative support from Inspectia & Control, USSEC’s administrative arm in Europe, and USSEC consultant Sule Basa in Turkey was also vital.
The seminar’s agenda covered a wide scope of topics, from pig production and legislation (Dr. Enric Marco); feeding the various genetic lines and production groups of pigs (Dr. Domingo Carrion, Dr. Josep Gasa and Dr. Maria Angeles); nutrition, health and reproduction related matters (Dr. Carlos Pinero, Dr. Edgar Garcia, Dr. Enric Marco); through protein sources in pig diets and feed manufacturing (Dr. Juan Acedo-Rico, Dr. Carlos de Blas); and feedstuffs quality control and assurance programs (Dr. Pedro Mendel). Special highlights included interrelations among feeding programs, nutrition and pathology in pig production, presented by Dr. Edgar Garcia of Teagasc, Ireland, and optimal utilization of soy derived products in feeding of swine, mainly given by Dr. Mateos.
Participants expressed their appreciation of the many aspects of the project. “I am so grateful to USSEC and all the persons involved in putting the event together and running it, for having done such a great job. I can honestly state it was the most remarkable training program in my life. I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to attend it. It was also fun to spend a few days at university classrooms some 15 years after my graduation!” stated Mr. Michal Karas of DeHeus feed compounder in the Czech Republic.
In late September, USSEC – European Union (EU) organized a “Sustainable Soy” visit to the United States for contacts from the European feed industry. Participants came from the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. The trip focused on the key elements of the U.S. Sustainable Soy Assurance Protocol (SSAP), particularly the conservation and compliance requirements, and aimed to demonstrate the principles of sustainable soy production in the United States.
Starting in Washington D.C, both the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) provided briefings on their activities and programs and their impact on sustainable agricultural production in the United States. NRCS’s long history of conservation practices and its compliance systems and NASS’s data collection and dissemination both contribute critical elements to the SSAP. The American Soybean Association, the North American Export Grain Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, the Field to Market Alliance, and the American Feed Industry Association all provided detailed briefings on their programs.
State level NRCS offices organized visits to the farms of Mike and Mary Brown in Hartley, Delaware and Mark Eck in Henderson, Maryland where participants saw firsthand conservation practices and activities that improved wildlife habitats, soil erosion and water quality. The group visited historic Annapolis, Maryland before catching a late night flight to Des Moines, Iowa.
In Iowa, State NRCS representatives described their new Resource Stewardship Evaluation (RSE) program, a tool which strengthens and modernizes conservation planning by evaluating current management and conservation activities in the five critical areas of soil management, water quality and quantity, air quality and wildlife habitat, thereby helping producers better identify their conservation goals.
Later, the group visited Iowa State University (ISU) in Ames and received briefings on cutting edge research on water quality activities aimed at reducing nutrient runoff. The group also took a walking art tour of the ISU campus with the highlight being the Grant Wood (“American Gothic”) murals in the university’s library.
The next day was organized in close cooperation with the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) and started with briefings by their environment staff on the range of their conservation related activities with additional briefing on their research and community outreach efforts. The Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance provided a briefing on their activities to improve water quality and reduce nutrient runoff. The group then visited the farm of Lee Tesdell in Lincoln, Iowa where a number of conservation practices were demonstrated, including a bioreactor used to reduce nitrate levels in runoff water. The group then visited the farm of Rick Kimberley where the highlight was watching the soybean harvest begin. At both farms, the group engaged with the producers, asking questions on various aspects of the operations and gaining critical insights into soybean production, sustainability, conservation measures, the global market situation and current prices and prospects.
The final visit was to the ADM soybean crushing facility in Des Moines. The facility partners with Unilever and Field to Market Alliance in producing soybean oil for a famous brand of mayonnaise. AMD described the process of crushing and refining and their engagement with the 700 local farmers who sustainably produce soybeans for the Field to Market project.
After a busy week, the group provided their initial feedback and impressions, discussed the role of GM soybeans in sustainability, and brainstormed on the next steps in promoting the SSAP and sustainable U.S. Soy to the European market. All participants agreed that, like U.S. farms, no two markets are alike, and USSEC’s promotion and engagement efforts must be tailored to the specific conditions and requirements of each market. Undoubtedly, the participants gained insights into the diversity and richness of U.S. farming, a better understanding of the challenges ahead, and assurances of U.S. producers’ commitment to sustainability and to supplying sustainably produced soybeans to global markets.
USSEC and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Kevin Scott of Valley Springs, South Dakota and United Soybean Board (USB) director Jim Willers of Beaver Creek, Minnesota, recently visited two farms and a feed mill in Germany. The purpose of the visits was to generate a greater preference for U.S. Soy, to gain insights into the conditions and challenges facing German producers, and to exchange information on a wide range of soy-related issues, including sustainability and biotechnology.
The first stop was at the dairy farm of Hermann and Soehnke Schlichtmann in Oldendorf. The farm has been in the family for six generations but only began to focus on milk production in 1985, when they started with 16 cows. They currently manage a 340 milking cow operation and cultivate about 500 acres of grass, maize, and rye for their own feed production. They purchase soybean meal from one of the international importers and crushers in Hamburg.
The Schlichtmanns are members of DMK, a large cooperative with 7000 members and 26 factories, located mainly in northwest Germany. The Schlichtmanns’ farm is one of DMK’s model farms, open to the public, investors, and others to demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustainability. DMK has developed the MilkMasters Program to monitor and encourage producers to adopt more sustainable production practices. Producers are scored and measured against 140 indicators, and can earn a premium of up to one cent per liter on their milk. For example, if they know the manufacturer of their feed, they receive five points; if they know the soy content of their feed, they earn ten points; if the soy is recognized as sustainably produced, by a scheme such as FEFAC (under which the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol [SSAP] is recognized), they receive 20 points.
Milk producers in Germany are under tremendous pressure from the large retailers and non-government organizations (NGOs) to eliminate soy, and, in particular, genetically engineered (GE) soy, from their feed. Most dairy producers believe this is irrational but they need to provide what the market demands. Apparently, consumers can understand GE versus non-GE, while issues such as sustainability and sustainable sourcing guidelines are too difficult for them to understand.
The visit continued with a stop at the feed mill of Stader-Saatzucht in Apensen. With a capacity of 100,000 metric tons (MT) a year, the mill is one of the operations for a large and diverse company with holdings from gas stations to potato processing. They use about 3000 MT of soybean meal a month, buying directly from the trading company in Hamburg. The company is focused on high quality, specialized feed products. The managers stated that they will produce whatever the market wants, which increasingly means non-GE soy. There is great pressure, including European Commission (EC) member state government subsidies and research, to eliminate soy altogether from the feed, using locally produced rapeseed and other alternative crops. However, no alternative has the same attributes as soy in terms of protein quality and price.
On the final day, the USSEC group visited the farm of Thomas Kunz in Heidenrod-Niedermeilingen. Mr. Kunz is the vice president of the Hessian Farmers Association (in the Frankfurt region) and operates farms in three different locations with a total of almost 2000 acres, a large operation by German standards. The Kunz farm is located in a small village that dates back almost 400 hundred years. The Kunz operation is focused on high quality customized swine production for local butchering and processing. He produces almost all of his feed, purchasing soymeal as needed for his feeding requirements. The group visited his buildings, and saw his feed processing and farm equipment before tasting the pork products available in his small on-farm shop.
USSEC recently brought Dr. Jannes Doppenberg, a swine nutrition and feed manufacturing expert of Schorthorst Feed Research in the Netherlands, to Poland to work with selected swine production influencers.
The project involved a tour of Poland by Dr. Doppenberg and Jerzy Kosieradzki, USSEC Technical Director – Northeast Europe, which aimed to illuminate the added value of U.S. soybean meal on a personal level to nutritionists representing key commercial feed and pig growing companies. For this endeavor, in-company meetings worked better than group sessions such as seminars or conferences because of language differences, but, most importantly, because trust and confidence need to be built before nutritionists are willing to discuss their feed formulation work in detail with “outside” consultants.
Among the customers visited was CEDROB, Poland’s largest chicken integrator, which is now expanding into integrating swine production. They already have 9000 sows, which has given them the possibility to develop a full line of piglet, pig, and sow feeds. They were shown in greater detail the added value of U.S. soybean meal in reducing production costs per bird and pig produced.
At LIRA-Pasze, a feed compounder, their main production is pig feeds, which represents 70 percent of total feed production. The company specializes in high margin piglet feeds (branded as Porcus) and manufactures piglet feeds for Cedrob. The company operates three feed mills. They have focused strongly on feed technology by using extruders. Although LIRA’s feed production is relatively low, they are the market leader in piglet feeds and the use of extruders. Convincing Lira to exclusively use U.S. soybean meal as a high quality soybean meal source in their piglet feeds will help to position U.S. Soy in Polish pig feed production.
Smithfield is by far the leader in pig production and meat processing in Poland, and Agriplus is their integrated pig growing company. Currently, they have 80,000 sows with plans to increase to 120,000 in 3-4 years and then to 145,000 sows. The largest sow farm they own has over 10,000 sows and they use 90 percent contract growers to finish pigs. They currently produce around 850,000 tons of feed a year and will need to expand as sow/pig numbers increase. They have feed mills and slaughter facilities all over Poland. Because they want to produce more antibiotic free pork, protein quality will need to be very high in order to keep the crude protein content as low as possible. The usage of higher quality U.S. soybean meal was recommended.
Further professional discussions with these and other influencers of the Polish swine production sector about cutting edge swine nutrition and production know-how, including optimal utilization of U.S. soybean products and USSEC assistance, are planned for FY17.
The Euro-Asian poultry conference, “International Poultry Forum Baikal 2016,” was held July 4-8 in Ulan-Ude, the capital of the republic Buryatia (located in the Asian part of the Russian Federation). The Russian organizer of the event, International Poultry Forum LLC, is a member of the International Poultry Council and of the Euro-Asian Poultry Association. Attendees included representatives, specialists, traders, poultry producers, and feed compounders from different regions of the Russian Federation and from the surrounding countries of Kazakhstan, Belarus, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Japan. USSEC co-sponsored the conference and associated activities.
USSEC consultants presented two papers, introducing different aspects of U.S. Soy and its proper application and usage in feed formulation. Dr. Jan van Eys introduced the “Importance of Soy and Soybean Meal; Control of Quality Parameters for Soy Products and their Application in Broiler Feeding,” and Dr. Iani Chihaia presented “Fine Tuning of Ingredient Matrix for Accurate and Economic Poultry Feed Formulation.”
The presentations were well received and by the end of the lectures, participants posed several questions about U.S. Soy quality and feed formulation techniques. The information delivered during the event through the papers presented and one-to-one interactions was appreciated by the Russian, Belarus and Kazakhstan poultry and feed professionals, and they showed interest by interacting with USSEC to learn more about the advantages of soy in poultry feeding and precise feed formulation.
Active discussions and networking, visiting with end users and potential customers, and general exchanges during and around the conference represented an important aspect of the overall activities and these clearly led to opportunities to expand recognition and engagement for USSEC.
The potential of expansion for U.S. Soy exports is a great opportunity in a growing feed market with considerable opportunity to increase its soybean meal consumption. Follow-up with the various contacts established at this conference, especially those in neighboring countries, will be necessary to consolidate gains in recognition.
USSEC’s attendance and participation at this important regional conference allowed the organization to communicate its message of the advantages of U.S. Soy to a unique international audience and, consequently, allowed U.S. Soy to be positioned as a key, competitive source of value relative to soy of other origins in a region where an increase in competition is crucial for the livestock and feed industries.
In May, USSEC visited and investigated the offshore marine fish cage aquaculture industry in Malta to evaluate whether it would be a suitable replacement for the recently cancelled (due to ongoing security concerns) team tour to the offshore industry in Izmir, Turkey.
USSEC Aquaculture Program Lead Technical Consultant – SEA Lukas Manomaitis worked with a local expert, Dr. Carmelo Agius, to get an overview of Malta’s marine fish cage aquaculture industry. Based on this trip, USSEC is confident that it will be able to bring a team to Malta later in 2016 to replace the cancelled tour in Turkey. Because Malta lacks a large hatchery facility, a trip to a suitable hatchery in Sicily is also being planned.
Marine fish aquaculture is particularly attractive for U.S. Soy products because marine fish require ingredients that are of high quality and very consistent.
ST. LOUIS (July 22, 2016) – The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) is pleased to announce the long awaited European Union approval of three biotech soy traits for import and processing. The three stacked events are:
- Monsanto’s Xtend (dicamba x glyphosate MON87708 x MON89788)
- Monsanto’s Vistive Gold (high oleic x glyphosate MON87705 x MON89788)
- Bayer CropScience’s Balance GT (glyphosate x HPPD inhibitor FG72)
“The EU’s approval of these events is welcome news for U.S. soybean farmers,” said USSEC chairman Laura Foell, a soybean grower from Schaller, Iowa. “We’re happy that we can supply our European customers with a reliable supply of safe food.”
Europe is one of the largest customers of U.S. soybean farmers with over 165 million bushels of soybeans in exports already this year.
In 1996, U.S. growers began to adopt biotechnology on their farms. Today, twenty years later, growers are expected to plant 94 percent of their soybean acres with biotech soybeans. The technology allows U.S. soybean farmers to produce a healthy, affordable protein source sustainably with increased yields on less land, which helps to feed a growing world population. Biotech seeds allow farmers to limit their impact on the land as they apply fewer pesticides and herbicides, along with employing sustainable practices such as no-till that helps them to achieve a better moisture content in the soil in addition to reducing erosion and cutting carbon dioxide emissions and also helps to reduce energy consumption. Biotech also reduces the amount of crops that are lost due to variables such as insects or drought, which helps keep food prices more affordable.
The U.S. Soybean Export Council aims to maximize the use of U.S. Soy internationally by meeting the needs of global customers that use U.S. Soy in human food and feed for poultry, livestock and fish. The organization uses a global network of stakeholder partnerships, including soybean farmers, exporters, agribusinesses, agricultural organizations, researchers and government agencies, to accomplish that mission. USSEC programs are partially funded by the United Soybean Board (USB).
For more information, contact Lisa Humphreys at (636) 449-6040 or LHumphreys@ussec.org
June was a busy month in Southern Europe for USSEC. In addition to attending national and regional feed association assemblies usually held in June, USSEC organized a risk management course in Tarragona, Spain; a country meeting in Murcia, Spain; and a country meeting in Rennes, France.
The risk management course, coordinated with FCStone, boasted an attendance of 40 customers hailing from all regions of Spain. The course objective was to teach raw materials management and how to reduce purchasing risk in a volatile market, especially related to soybean meal. Participants had the opportunity over the two-day course to learn how markets work and studied several tools to manage risk in a constantly changing market. The training program also provided USSEC with an opportunity to present the U.S. soybean meal quality advantage and disseminate information about the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) and U.S. Soy sustainability. The importance of sustainability in purchasing is increasing in Spain but is still below Northern European levels.
USSEC also held two country meetings in June. The first took place in Murcia, Spain with the feed association collaboration. Murcia is located in a major area of Spain’s pork production. 25 customers attended the meeting, and the agenda focused on quality, sustainability and soy markets. USSEC consultant Jan van Eys discussed quality, Jaime Nola Miralles of FCStone talked about general raw material markets and how to manage risk; and USSEC consultants Mercedes Ruiz and Lola Herrera spoke about cask markets in the Spanish ports. USSEC’s mission and its activities in Spain and Europe were presented during the introduction.
USSEC collaborated with the U.S. consulate in Bretagne, and the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) in Paris to hold a similar program in Rennes. This country meeting also featured a presentation about soybean markets from Lucile Lefebvre, FAS – Paris, and a presentation about the French market was given by Christophe Callu Merite, Feed Alliance General Manager, Sanders purchasing part of the Avril Group. 28 key French feed compounders and soybean meal importers attended the meeting.
Spring is a busy time for the feed associations assemblies in southern Europe.
USSEC collaborates with many country level associations including IACA in Portugal, ASSALZOO in Italy, SNIA in France, and CESFAC in Spain, which represent a total of 60 million tons of industrial feed, more than 30 percent of the European market.
Sustainability was a main topic at all of the assemblies. USSEC had the opportunity to be present at all feed association events and to share the story of U.S. Soy sustainability and the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) with feed association members.
Industry innovation and competitiveness are also important subjects at these conferences.
In Portugal, the USSEC team discussed U.S. Soy sustainability and quality. Customers appreciated the presentation and gained a better understanding how U.S. farmers produce their crops sustainably.
In Italy, USSEC updated the sustainability situation, giving the association the good news that the SSAP is accepted in the European Feed Manufacturers’ Association’s (FEFAC) sustainability scheme.
The creation of DURALIN, the French organization for sustainable supply in all feed and food chain, SNIA, and the French co-op, has given France a strong direction in its sustainability program.
The SNIA’s annual assembly in Spain was held on June 3. In addition to sustainability, discussions focused on how the most successful businesses must be sustainable and competitive at the same time.
USSEC also participated in the regional feed association assemblies in Galicia and Andalucia, Spain. USSEC had the opportunity at both meetings to talk about SSAP during the general assembly and in one-on-one customer conversations.
The CESFAC Assembly in Spain discussed following France’s model of organizing a roundtable to present sustainability from two different views – government and industry. Lola Herrera, USSEC consultant in southern Spain, moderated the roundtable and had the opportunity to talk about SSAP and how U.S. farmers produce soy sustainably.
United Soybean Board (USB) director Scott Singlestad of Minnesota and American Soybean Association (ASA) director Kendall Culp from Indiana attended the CESFAC assembly where they had the opportunity to meet the main players in the Spanish market. The grower leaders also had the opportunity to visit the NUTRECO head office in Madrid; the port of Cadiz, a main area to import soybean meal; and a farm in Andalucia, which produces fruits, durum wheat and corn. They also travelled to Zamora to visit COBADU, which is an example of a Spanish cooperative that practices “field to table.” The coop has 14,000 association members that produce grains, hogs, cattle, chicken, and other livestock. COBADU produces feed for their association use at two plants, and is currently building a third plant.