Egg packers look to future shortages


Noble Foods has started to recruit new production again in anticipation of the egg market returning to balance by the end of the year.

Free range egg producers are currently making substantial losses through a combination of soaring costs and low prices paid for their eggs – the result, they were told, of too many eggs on the UK market. Just a few months ago the packers’ organisation, NEMAL, warned that it could be the middle of 2012 before the egg market returned to balance, but Britain’s biggest packer, Noble Foods, now says that balance could return earlier and it is making plans for extra production for next year.

Noble’s contract, producers and farms director, Tom Willings, told the Ranger, "There are some indications that free range supply and demand may return to balance toward the end of the year. Wholesale market prices have firmed and whilst there are still some surpluses present, the volumes being traded have reduced from those present only a few months ago. Chick placement data shows a significant reduction in future flock base, though it is unclear as to what extent this is influenced by the legislative change in the intensive market," he said.
Ironically the latest monthly statistics from Defra show that the commercial layer chick placings for May were up slightly on the same month last year – 2.74 million in May this year compared with 2.64 million last May, although there were substantial year-on-year falls in the previous months this year.
The chick placement figure for April this year was 2.9 million. This was nearly a million down on the 3.8 million chicks placed in same month for 2010, although last year’s figure was slightly inflated because April was a five-week month for the statisticians. The number of layer chicks placed in March this year was 2.2 million – down by more than a quarter on the total for the same month last year. A total of three million layer chicks were placed in the UK in March 2010.
Tom Willings said that demand for free range eggs amongst consumers was also holding up very well. "Free range performance in the supermarkets continues to be strong, with the latest data showing a 10 per cent year-on-year increase in volume, although free range retail prices, contrary to recent reports, have seen little or no inflation over the last 10 months. Average retail prices after promotional discounts, when comparing August 2010 to June 2011 remain unchanged at £2.73 per dozen."
He indicated that there could be better times ahead for the UK’s struggling free range egg producers. "With these factors taken into account, together with some reduction in feed costs, the outlook for improved producer returns must be positive.
"Into the medium term, the continued growth in free range demand will necessitate careful expansion in supply base if the demand is to be met over the next year. To this end, Noble Foods have first and foremost looked to source free range volume from within the pool of existing packer surpluses, ready for use in 2012. Having exhausted the opportunities to responsibly acquire these existing surpluses, and considering the length of time the planning and building process can take, we have looked to selectively recruit a controlled number of birds due to come into production well into the next year." Tom would not say just how many extra layers the company was looking to add to its books.
Another company looking for new producers is Glenrath Farms, although John Campbell said the market remained very difficult at the moment. He said that, like Noble, the company was looking ahead. It was looking for new producers for its own Kitty Campbell’s brand, which it launched onto the market recently.
The Kitty Campbell’s eggs, which take their name from John’s granddaughter, are currently exclusive to Tesco and are being trialled in a number of stores initially. The brand is being marketed as high welfare, high quality eggs. All the birds are reared on the farm from one day old.
John said Glenrath had launched the new brand in response to other companies. Glenrath says the venture is proving successful and because of this the company is looking for new producers to provide the eggs needed for its development. Glenrath advertised in the Ranger, offering producers 85 pence per dozen for their eggs, and John says that the response has been huge.
"We are amazed at the number of responses we have had. Most are existing free range producers, although there have been one or two new people as well," said John. "We are not wanting too many at the moment, but we are looking towards next year."
On the market generally, John said there were still too many eggs around at the moment. Added to the problem of surplus commercial eggs, there was also the problem of backyard hens, he said. There had been huge growth in the number of backyard hens and this would inevitably have an impact on the market.
Despite his concerns, John is looking ahead by seeking new recruits and Noble is doing the same. Existing producers will take some heart from Tom Willings’ expectation that the egg market will return to balance earlier than previously suggested.

Aim to ensure sustainable future for fish

13472016 FISHERMEN working on a new project to help shape a sustainable future for the fishing industry and marine wildlife around Anglesey had a chance to explain their work to a Welsh Government minister yesterday.

In Port Penrhyn, Bangor, the Deputy Minister for Agriculture Food and Fisheries, Alun Davies, saw at first hand how information on fishing activity was gathered from fishermen, and combined with information on the area’s wildlife habitats and their sensitivity.

The information, in map form, will give a clear picture of the type and level of fishing activities taking place in various natural habitats.

The maps will be a basis to develop options for sustainable fisheries management – showing which areas are vulnerable to fishing activities and others which are more robust.

Mr Davies said: “I have been very impressed. For an activity to be truly sustainable it has to take into consideration the local economy and communities as well as the natural environment and this project aims to do both. It is an excellent example of interested groups working together to achieve a sustainable, workable future.

“Today’s visit has illustrated that the project has the potential to improve the management of our seas for the benefit of wildlife and for those whose livelihoods depend on them by finding agreed, sustainable solutions to fisheries management. I am delighted to see the progress made so far and wish the project the very best.”

Developed initially for the sea area around Anglesey and the Menai Strait the project, if successful, could be applied to other sea areas around Wales in time. The Fish Map Môn project is run by the Countryside Council for Wales, working with the North Wales Fishermen’s Cooperative Ltd, Bangor Mussel Producers Ltd, the Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers and North Wales Fishermen’s Co-operative Limited (NWFCL).

James Wilson, on behalf of Bangor Mussel Producers Ltd said: “We are happy to be involved in a closely integrated project that will examine, in an innovative way, the crossover between fisheries and environmental needs. We hope the work will provide information that, in time, will be useful for marine spatial planning and developing an ecosystem-based approach to managing the marine environment.”

The project is funded by the EU from the cash it receives from the UK government, and aims to help achieve the vision of the Wales Fisheries Strategy – to “support the development of viable and sustainable fisheries in Wales as an integral part of coherent policies for safeguarding the environment.”

Deputy Minister Alun Davies also visited the Food Technology Centre at Coleg Menai to see how Welsh Government support was helping the centre to help new food producers in Wales.

As part of the Welsh Food Added Value project funded by the Rural Development Plan for Wales, the centre works with local food producers and processors to encourage them to work together to develop new high quality products that add value to the core produce. The project also provides research and development facilities and technical support.Š

During his visit, Mr Davies met staff and saw the facilities and technology available at the centre as well as sampling some of the produce that the centre has helped to create, including some of the ten new products that he helped to launch at the Royal Welsh Show this year.

Winegrowers face an ‘uncertain’ future

12042011 News.Photo:Scott Hammond/The Marlborough Express.
Foxes Island Wine.
Old Ford Rd Vineyard.
stock photos.

Grower profitability is under siege and many growers are asking what the future holds for their business, says New Zealand Grape Growers’ Council president Stuart Smith.

Mr Smith was speaking to a handful of growers at the council’s annual meeting, held at Winegrowers New Zealand’s Romeo Bragato conference in Auckland last week.

For a significant number of growers it had become more profitable and less financially risky to supply the bulk rather than the bottled market, Mr Smith said.

"It can be questioned whether this market structure really matches our aspirations as an industry."

The 2011 average grape price fell to $1172 per tonne from $1293 the previous year, forcing growers to rely heavily on cut-backs and efficiencies, as well as off-farm income, Mr Smith said. Prices peaked in 2008 at $2061 per tonne.

In Marlborough, total income improved for many growers because of larger crops and the bulk wine market which acted as a backstop. However, in regions where crops were smaller and management costs higher, grower incomes took another hit.

"As winery incomes improve as sales grow, I would hope the question of whether growers are receiving the right price incentives to produce high quality fruit is given serious consideration," Mr Smith said.

The growth in markets which saw 2010 wines oversold and strong demand for the 2011 vintage was heartening. However, it was important to retain control of the supply and demand balance because the risk of a production spike remained.

Most vineyards were growing to yield caps and fruit was being left on the vine. Factor in the smaller vintage seen in most North Island regions and there was no room for complacency, Mr Smith said.

There was no going back to the golden days before 2008 but this was not necessarily a bad thing. Recent troubles were caused by the gold-rush that governed grape and wine prices in the mid-2000s.

The future should be built on innovation and adapting to changing circumstances, the understanding that every grower and winery shared an interest in the reputation of the national brand and the importance of quality wines, he said.

Mr Smith is also the president of Winegrowers New Zealand which brings together the Grape Growers Council and the Wine Institute of New Zealand representing wine companies.

Potatoes in Practice 2011 sets a high benchmark for future events

tải xuống (12) This year’s Potatoes in Practice has been heralded as a great success, attracting record numbers of visitors, exhibitors and boasting a wide range of field demonstrations and trials. A total of 760 people (up from 700) attended from across the industry, and the number of exhibitors showed a 33% increase on 2010, illustrating the importance of this industry event.
Many of the visitors were UK-based; however the reputation of the event is now such that growers travelled from as far away as Iceland and even Australia. Mike Cumming, a leading Angus seed grower, said; "Potatoes in Practice is a ’must attend’ event for me. The field demonstrations and trials give me the opportunity to actually see the impact of best practice advice and scientific developments in the industry. This year’s PiP again proved it has something for everyone who has a concern in potato growing and production’

Potatoes in Practice 2011 continued the event’s tradition of providing practical advice for attendees by hosting a number of trials and demonstrations, including those aimed at mechanical and chemical control methods. These included three Potato Council-sponsored trials, conducted by SAC:
• Control of potato volunteers
• Implications of cultivar blight resistance rating changes
• Seed treatment efficacy
In addition to the field activities, the event included a range of presentations from high profile speakers who covered key issues affecting today’s industry and future development. Dr. John Kerr from SASA (Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture) outlined the impact the PCN Directive has had on the industry, while Dr Gerry Saddler examined the vital role that growers can play in minimising risks to plant health.
The day also saw Mark Prentice, head of seed and export at the Potato Council, partner with SASA’s Export Liaison Officer Robert Burns to highlight how growing demand for Scottish seed is being addressed, and what issues may arise in the future. One of the key points raised by Mark was the excellent growth of Scottish seed potato exports over the last year, which showed a year-on-year increase of 12%, pushing total seed exports (EU and non-EU) through the hundred thousand tonnes mark (101,030t) for the first time.
Allan Stevenson, Chairman of the Potato Council and member of the governing body of the James Hutton Institute, highlighted the importance of this event to the industry during his welcome address. He said: "Potatoes in Practice provides a vital opportunity to bring together levy payers, Government representatives, industry research, and variety development all on one field. We have seen more exhibitors than ever this year, which is a really positive sign and highlights the high value they see in attending this event. We are already looking forward to next year’s event and hope that we see many of those who attended Potatoes in Practice at the forthcoming British Potato event in Harrogate."

Chicago grain futures climb fourth session in row

images (7)

CHICAGO, — Chicago corn and soybean futures extended gains on Monday, relying on the lingering support as U.S. government cuts it projection for grain output last week due to the heat and drought in U.S. Midwest this July. Wheat jumped more than one percent, on strong demand from Saudi Arabia and U.S. weather concerns.
The most active corn contract for December delivery added 5.5 cents, or 0.8 percent, to close at 7.2 U.S. dollars per bushel. September wheat jumped 9.25 cents, or 1.3 percent, to 7.415 dollars per bushel. November soybean climbed 16.5 cents, or 1.2 percent, to 13.5125 dollars per bushel.
Corn and soybean markets continued to rally as U.S. Department of Agriculture sharply reduced their crop estimate in the U.S. to well below analysts’ previous expectation last week.
Meanwhile, the continued dry condition in eastern Iowa and west- central Illinois also helped support the early rally, and the upbeat outside market, such as a deep break in greenback and stronger performance of U.S. stock market also added to the positive tone.
"Traders there bought in anticipation of tonight’s crop progress number. As we head into August days, soybean fundamentals become much more important," said Linn Group grain market analyst Jerrod Kitt.
Traders said that worries have been intensified recently, as an unprecedented drought in the states of Texas and Oklahoma will prevent farmers from planting hard red winter wheat.
And some traders even predicted that the drought conditions will not be alleviated for planting the winter wheat crop in another 4-6 weeks, as the planting usually start as early as September.
Meanwhile, wheat also got a strong boost from the upbeat news that Saudi Arabia bought 660,000 tones of wheat from Australia, EU, Canada and the U.S. "Wheat saw some support overnight from Saudi Arabia finalizing their tender over the weekend. The purchase price was a little better than expected and did not include any Russian origin wheat," Kitt added.

Cashew nut exporters upbeat about future

images (7) Vietnam’s cashew exports are likely to rise to US$1.5 billion in 2020 from $1.13 billion last year, the Vietnam Cashew Association has said.

Speaking at an international cashew conference in HCM City last week, Nguyen Thai Hoc, its chairman, said under the industry development strategy, the area under cashew would remain at 350,000 hectares until 2015 when average productivity would be 1 ton per hectare, before reducing to 330,000ha by 2020 when the yield would rise by almost half.

The industry would focus on raising the ratio of fully processed kernels to satisfy the high requirements of customers and add more value.

To achieve the targets, the industry would take several measures like modernizing technologies and equipment to expand processing capacity, improve quality, diversify, and ensure hygiene and food safety.

It would provide training to 1.5 -2 million workers in cashew growing and processing.

Last year Vietnam, the world’s top exporter with a 37 per cent market share, exported 198,000 tons of cashew, a year-on-year increase of 11.8 per cent.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong said cashew was one of Vietnam’s main agricultural exports.

However, Vietnamese firms only undertook production phases that contain little value addition while those that generated the most profits, like processing, increasing brand value, and commercializing products, were done by foreign enterprises.

He called on international buyers to work with local businesses to invest in processing in Vietnam and help build brands.

Hoc said the sector currently faced many challenges, including shortages of workers and raw cashew for processing for export and increasing costs.

Abnormal weather patterns decreased yield and many growers preferred rubber and other trees for higher profit to chop cashew.

Bui Van Thach, deputy chairman of the Binh Phuoc Province People’s Committee, agreed with Hoc, saying that if the Government did not support cashew growers, the area under the crop would plunge.

He called for establishing a fund to stabilize cashew prices and support growers.

Domestic market ignored

Many attendees called on processing companies to focus on the lucrative domestic market.

Dinh Thi My Loan, general secretary of the Vietnam Retailers Association, said the cashew industry depended too much on exports, shipping more than 95 per cent of output.

"Cashew consumption in the domestic market accounted a very modest rate of 1.8-2.2 per cent. In India, the world’s largest cashew producer, as much as 40-60 per cent of cashew is sold in the domestic market."

Loan attributed the low demand at home to the high prices, poor marketing, and lack of diversified products.

Nguyen Phi Long, director of Nam Long Co Ltd, said because of its high price cashew was considered a "high-end" nut, and so many people did not eat it despite its high nutritional value.

Besides, cashew processors were not interested in the local market because of the very low margins.

But Loan and Long agreed that with a population of nearly 100 million, the Vietnamese market was lucrative for cashew nut and cashew nut-based products.

Delegates heard that with demand for the nut expected to increase sharply but area under cashew reducing, prices would remain high.

Hoc announced that Vinacas and cashew associations from other countries had agreed to establish the Temporary International Cashew Association with its first meeting to be next September in Gambia.

The two-day event, organized by Vinacas, was attended by 350 delegates, including buyers from the US, China, Australia, Russia, and Canada.