Hovis to close loss-making Southampton mill



Hovis is to close a loss-making flour mill in Southampton with the loss of up to 70 jobs.

The warehouse and logistics operations in DHL Bawtry, DHL Southampton and DSV Belfast will also cease at the end of the year, the company said in a statement.

Nish Kankiwala, Chief Executive Officer of Hovis Ltd said: “The proposed Southampton Mill closure is part of the process to futureproof our core baking business in the competitive market.

Whilst we never take decisions such as these lightly, we firmly believe this is the right decision for the business and ensures Hovis will continue to grow and prosper as a great UK brand and bakery manufacturer Ina very competitive market place.”

The statement from Hovis said: “Following the creation of Hovis Ltd in 2014, the Board has focused on driving sustainable growth and profitability across the group by investing in our core bakery business and cementing our reputation and position as a leading UK manufacturer of bakery products.

“The Milling business has undertaken a detailed strategic review to identify the best way forward in an economically challenging environment within a highly competitive market.

“The review has identified that Southampton Mill is significantly loss-making and following the consideration of a number of options, including a review of the competitive marketplace and the current and anticipated costs of operating the site, we propose ceasing operations at the end of 2018 and closing the site.

“This would result in the loss of up to 70 jobs in Southampton Mill (including Central Laboratory) where the consultation process will now commence.

“This proposal would also see the warehouse and logistics operations in DHL Bawtry, DHL Southampton and DSV Belfast cease at the end of the year.”

Nish Kankiwala, Chief Executive Officer Hovis Ltd said: “Hovis has succeeded in building a strong and successful business that reflects our heritage as a UK family favourite while also adapting to future opportunities.

“We have a clearly defined strategy to invest in and continue to grow our bakery business and to be a leading, quality manufacturer.

“The proposed Southampton Mill closure is part of the process to futureproof our core baking business in the competitive market.

“Whilst we never take decisions such as these lightly, we firmly believe this is the right decision for the business and ensures Hovis will continue to grow and prosper as a great UK brand and bakery manufacturer Ina very competitive market place.

“Our priority now is to work with affected Milling colleagues and customers to minimize the impact on them.”

U.S. Grains Council welcomes new agreement with Mexico and Canada

The United States of America has reached a new agreement with Mexico and Canada.

A statement from U.S. Grains Council Chairman, Jim Stitzlein said he was now looking forward to approving the new agreement.

He said: “The U.S. Grains Council (USGC) is very pleased to see the United States, Mexico and Canada have reached a new agreement. 
“No trade agreement has had more impact on our sector than NAFTA which prompted explosive growth in our export sales to both countries as well as the development of a fully-integrated grains and livestock supply chain within North America.


Jim Stitzlein

“Over the past two decades, this agreement has proven beneficial for the producers, agricultural sectors and economies of all three countries. 
“We appreciate the dedicated, hard work of our negotiating team to achieve this outcome with our neighbors and customers and look forward to fully examining the new text as the process of approving the new agreement begins a new phase.”
For more information about the USGC visit:  www.grains.org.

U.S. talks announced with Japan, second largest buyer of U.S. corn

Leaders of the United States and Japan, one of the largest U.S. grain customers, announced Wednesday the two countries would pursue trade talks.
The announcement followed a meeting of U.S. President Donald J. Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in association with the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York City.
“Positive movement with Japan related to trade and our countries’ relationship as a whole is critical to the U.S. grains sector,” said Tom Sleight, U.S. Grains Council (USGC) president and chief executive officer. “Japan is one of the largest and most loyal buyers of U.S. grains, and our relationships with our Japanese customers run deep.

“We are pleased to see this development in the work between our two countries.”

U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer indicated the Trump administration would notify the U.S. Congress of the talks,the first step toward eventual passage of a trade agreement under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) and a sign of the seriousness of the effort.

In a statement, the two countries “affirmed the importance of a strong, stable and mutually beneficial trade and economic relationship between the United States and Japan.”
The talks are expected to come in two tranches, the first on goods and “other key areas including services, that can produce early achievements” and a second on other issues.
The impact on agriculture is to be determined in the talks. In the announcement, the United States agreed “outcomes related to market access as reflected in Japan’s previous economic partnership agreements constitute the maximum level.”
Japan was the second largest buyer of U.S. corn in the 2016/2017 marketing year, after Mexico, with sales of more than 12.7 million metric tons (501 million bushels). Based on data from September 2017 to July 2018, Japan will also be the second largest buyer of U.S. corn this year.
The country is also a strong purchaser of sorghum, barley and distiller’s dried grains with solubes, and the Japanese government recently modified its national biofuels policy in a way that could open the door for sales of U.S. ethanol-based additives or ethanol for fuel use. The Council, which partners with local industries and governments to develop markets for grains products, has worked in Japan since 1961.
Additionally, Japan and the United States said this week they would work together with the European Union on issues of global importance, including at the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The United States and the European Union have also been preparing for talks; Lighthizer met his counterparts in New York this week as well, following efforts started earlier in the year between Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. Future discussions are planned throughout the fall, and Lighthizer has indicated USTR could also notify Congress of the U.S.-EU effort.

International Association of Operative Millers call for papers for the product showcase for annual EXPO


Millers are being asked to submit their products for the 123rdannual IAOM Conference and Expo in Denver.

Organisers of the International Association of Operative Millers (IAOM) say they are looking for approximately six products that are either new and innovative or that have a new application.

Companies submitting their products must be exhibiting in the 2019 EXPO.

The IAOM Annual Conference & Expo is the premier educational event for grain milling and seed processing professionals.

The annual event gathers milling and allied trade professionals from around the world for three days of education, networking and fellowship.

Educational and technical programs presented at the conference assist millers in improving yields, productivity, customer satisfaction and safety.

The Expo takes place in Denver Colorado between April 15-19, 2019.

A spokesman for the Program Committee said: “Again this year, attendees at all six of the Product Showcase events will vote on “Best of Show” a highlight of last year’s Expo.”

The deadline for Product Showcase submissions is December 7, 2018. Product Showcase presentations are ten minutes long and occur at the companies Expo Booth.

For more information please apply online

Nutriad pursues growth in China

Global feeds additives producer Nutriad is targeting China with an updgrade of its production facilities and an investment in people and product development.

Nutriad, which is a leader in palatability, mycotoxin management and gut health solutions, was present at VIV China in Nanjing where it interacted with customers, distributors and key opinion leaders.


“We can see clear trends in China that are shaping the demand for feed additive solutions like the ones Nutriad provides,” said Nutriad CEO Erik Visser.

“A reduction in the use of antibiotic growth promotors, driven by both consumers and government, will enhance the need for an alternative approach to gut health. Furthermore, the increasing pressure on farmer’s profits will demand an increased production efficiency, which can partly be obtained by an improved diet composition.

“Finally, the trade tensions between China and the USA put pressure on soybean pricing and might drive the producer to finding alternative protein sources.

“Our palatability product offering helps producers ensure feed intake even when taste and/or quality of raw material in feed changes.”

Nutriad’s portfolio covers all species as well as the various life stages of each species. Traditionally strong in swine in China, the integration with Adisseo will increase its penetration in the poultry segment. Ruminant and aquaculture offer further opportunities for the multinational company, as its product range is backed by scientific research from leading universities.

“Not only because of the size of the market, but also because of the challenges Chinese producers face, we are confident that we can accelerate our growth in China with the practical solutions we offer and the local technical support available through our direct interaction with customers as well as via our extensive distributor network,” said Visser.

Nutriad delivers products and services to over 80 countries through a network of own sales offices and distributors. Supported by 4 application laboratories and 5 manufacturing facilities on 3 continents.  Find out more at www.nutriad.com

Novel – Omics Technologies and nutrition becoming key to understanding and reducing antibiotics in farm animal

As consumer demand and regulatory scrutiny further restrict the use of antibiotics in farm animals worldwide, new understanding enabled by gene sequencing-based technologies and a new approach to animal rearing will be crucial.

“The resistance of bacteria against antibiotics is a growing worldwide concern in the field of animal husbandry, and more importantly in human medicine,” said Dr Mahdi Ghanbari, Scientist at BIOMIN Research Centre.

Industry practitioners face a set of challenges when it comes to maintaining high performing, healthy and profitable animals while at the same time using fewer or no antibiotics.

“Nutrition has a crucial function in animal performance as well as in the maintenance of optimal animal health and welfare status. Specialty feed ingredients used in feed and pet food are pivotal contributors to ensuring adequate nutrition and optimal animal welfare,” said Joerg Seifert of FEFANA, the EU Association of Specialty Feed Ingredients and their Mixtures.

The effects of novel feed additives –such as growth promotion, nutrient quality preservation, mycotoxin mitigation and pathogen prevention contribute to a preventive approach that reduces the need for antimicrobials.

“A holistic, 360-degree approach to antibiotic reduction based on prevention involves looking at the entire set of factors that can contribute to animal health and performance, including management, nutrition, biosecurity, hygiene and health,” said Nataliya Roth, Development Scientist at BIOMIN.

“Maintaining animals in optimal health contributes to the prevention of veterinary treatments and connected antibiotic use in livestock production,” added Mr Seifert.

The rapid advancement of gene sequencing technologies have recently made it possible to investigate a number of related questions regarding antibiotics, such as the prevalence and transmission of antibiotic resistance, as well as the mode of action of antibiotics and feed additives.

Next Generation Sequencing allows for the analysis of the genome as well as the transcriptome –the expression of all genes– at a given biological moment.

“Novel methods to study antibiotic resistance genes have been developed, enhanced by emerging Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies,” said Dr Ghanbari.

“It is important to understand the cellular mode of action of AGPs in order to develop suitable alternatives and optimize animal nutrition,” said Dr Bertrand Grenier, Scientist at BIOMIN Research Center.

“By using RNA sequencing, we have confirmed that beyond their antimicrobial effect, AGPs interact with the host tissue and modulate the anti-inflammatory response. A more sustainable method of growth promotion would, for example, modulate the same anti-inflammatory response without contributing to antibiotic resistance,” added Dr Grenier.

Several categories of novel feed additives can play a role in an AGP-free or antibiotic-free feeding program.

“BIOMIN scientists and researchers have evaluated the effects of organic acids-based products, phytogenics and synbiotics on antibiotic resistant bacteria and genes in recent years,” explained Ms Roth.

A minimum criterion for success is that an antibiotic reduction strategy maintains high performance levels and does not contribute to antibiotic resistance (AMR). Fortunately, the latest results suggest that this is achievable.

“Several scientific trials provide the confirmation that replacing antibiotics by novel feed additives provide similar levels of performance while reducing the prevalence of antibiotic resistance,” Ms Roth concluded.

These experts will delve into further detail on the application of –omics technologies and the understanding of antibiotic resistance at the Gut Performance Session of the 2018 World Nutrition Forum in Cape Town, South Africa from 3 to 5 October, 2018.



Commonly known as the ‘Mother City’ and recognized as a top global destination, Cape Town offers a vibrant, multicultural setting and modern infrastructure well suited for meetings and conventions. Attractive sights, unmatched hospitality, an eclectic mix of cuisines and the world-class Cape Town International Convention Centre are just a few of many attributes that will make the 2018 World Nutrition Forum experience both eye-catching and eye-opening.

Visit http://www.worldnutritionforum.info or contact your local BIOMIN representative for more inform

BIOMIN breaks ground on new ERBER Group production site in Haag am Hausruck, Austria

Getzersdorf/Lower Austria, September 20, 2018 – BIOMIN, an affiliated company of ERBER Group that develops sustainable, antibiotic-free and top-quality animal nutrition products for healthy and profitable animal production, recently broke ground on a new production site.

Located in the state of Upper Austria, the facility is scheduled to begin operating in December 2019 and marks the firm’s further expansion and growth.

“We have decided to invest in Austria in a sustainable and forward-looking way. This is proof that ERBER Group’s significant international growth is also manifest in Austria. The new BIOMIN production site is only one of several big steps in the years to come,” said Jan Vanbrabant, PhD, ERBER Group CEO at the groundbreaking ceremony for the production site in Haag am Hausruck, Upper Austria.

The new production site will produce natural, antibiotic-free mineral feed and premixes, which help to increase the performance of swine, poultry, and dairy and beef cattle in an economic way. The construction phase will take 12 months and production at the new site will be fully operational from December 2019.

Markus Edlinger, MBA, Managing Director BIOMIN added, “We are very happy that construction will start soon. The new site will only be 20 minutes by car from the existing production facility. We are building one of the world’s most modern mineral feed production sites here in Upper Austria, and it will be the basis of ERBER Group’s strategy for the future.”

Member of the Austrian National Parliament, Manfred Hofinger, who came to the groundbreaking ceremony on behalf of Upper Austrian Governor Thomas Stelzer, and Konrad Binder, Mayor of the Upper Austrian municipality of Haag am Hausruck attended the ceremony.

They expressed their pleasure about the start of the construction, “We are proud that an international group of companies like ERBER and its affiliate BIOMIN are investing a euro amount in the double-digit millions in a site here in Haag am Hausruck. This permanently safeguards jobs and strengthens added value for the entire region on a long-term basis.


Hopes for Nigerian soybeans

I had this article through from Shem in Nigeria today:




Nigeria has continued to battle a ballooning import bill for soybean and soybean products despite the West African country being one of the top three producers of the crop in Africa alongside South Africa and Zambia.


The Nigerian government, in partnership with the private sector, is on the campaign trail to expand the acreage under soybean production and also promoting the growth of both the poultry and fisheries industries, the two main drivers of the country’s soybean market.


Through the State-sponsored Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme (ATASP),  which targets sustainable increasing of incomes for smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs in the production, processing, storage and marketing of the selected commodity value chains including soybean, Nigeria has sought to create a domestic market for soybean in both raw and processed form and hence trigger increased production.


Nigeria’s domestic soybean production is estimated at 500,000 metric tons despite an existing huge potential to produce more. Increased production has been constrained by several stiffing factors that the Nigerian government, in partnership with the private sector, is attempting to address through ATASP that was launched in February 2015 and runs to February 2019.


The country’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture identifies lack of credit for farmers, inadequate investment in soybean processing, limited use of farm inputs, haphazard extension services, archaic land tenure systems that locks out many from accessing land as a factor of production, as some of the challenges constraining the growth of Nigeria’s soybean industry.


With an average soybean farm sizes of 1.5ha, Nigeria’s annual average production is around 680,000 tons nearly 25% if the country’s national demand of of 2.7 million tons. The deficit is met through imports from major global producers such as Argentina and USA. An estimated 120,000 metric tons of soybean including raw soybeans flour was imported during the 2015/2016 season according to government records. The Nigerian buyers paid an average 18% and 19% more for the imports compared to prices in USA and Argentina respectively.

In an effort to reduce the high soybean importation bill, Nigeria has outlined measures that will promote expansion of the animal production sector with more emphasis on poultry and fisheries so as to catalyze growth of domestic production of the crop that is largely grown in the middle belt particularly Benue State and also Adamawa, Kwara, Katsina, Taraba, Kano and Kaduna.


For example, ATASP targets increasing production of poultry and fisheries by 51% and 20% respectively. As Africa’s largest egg producer and with the fame of having the second largest chicken population after South Africa, Nigeria has been working on providing more than 260,000 Grant Parent Stock and 40 million parent stock for commercial layer flock over the last four years according to the ATASP.


And for the larger Nigerian animal production segment, growth remains constrained hence the low appetite for products such as animal feeds with a high soybean ingredient in their formulation. Various reports have shown how dominance of low yielding animal breeds, inadequate access to feeds and grazing, conflicts between crop farmers and pastoralists, low animal products processing capacity and deficiency in value addition have failed to inspire growth in demand for soybean products.


And in what appears to be a confirmation of the growing production deficit in the soybean industry, the ATASP says the government “will address shortage of soybean meal/cake to commercial feed mills by introducing unconventional protein source ingredients that have been developed by Raw Materials Research and Development Council such as vegetable carried blood meal, rumen content blood and also ensuring greater, availability of brewers’ dried gran from the breweries.” The country’s poultry market is valued at $600 million according to the Ministry of Agriculture.


ATASP also promises to combine both public and private partnerships to ensure “increased local production of soybean and alternative protein sources for poultry feed.”


As part of the ATASP, the Nigerian government hopes to have in place a fish farm certification process to ensure quality standards across the industry’s value chain in addition to increasing aquaculture production to more than one million metric tons in the short term and reducing the importation of such products and also inputs.


Growth of Nigeria’s fishing industry is expected to be a key driver in the increasing demand for soybean production in the country. Under the ATASP, Nigeria hopes to scale up annual fish seed production to 1.25 billion in addition to producing 400,000 metric tons of fish feed every year.


The Fisheries Society of Nigeria says for the country to grow its fisheries industry effectively, and hence create demand for associated markets such as soybean, the government needs to set up a Fisheries Commission at the national level with affiliates at the State and local government levels in addition to providing an updated and effective national regulatory and legislative framework for fisheries and aquaculture.


The Society says large, medium and small fish industry entrepreneurs should also be supported with financing through the setting up of a special fund for their benefit according to the Society.


Currently, Nigeria’s annual fish demand stands at 2.66 million metric tons according to government statistics but the country’s production stands at less than 0.7 million metric tons. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates Nigeria’s fish imports at 60% of the country’s total consumption.


The constrains in soybean production cuts across all Nigerian agricultural sector, which FAO says includes “reliance on rain-fed agriculture, smallholder land holding, poor planting material, low application of fertilizer and weak agricultural extension systems.”


Nigeria’s private sector is expected to play a key role in growing the soybean market across the industry’s value chain with companies such as Olam, the country’s largest buyer of domestic soybean and Nestle expected to lead in creating capacity both to produce and consume the commodity.


For example, Olam says on its website part of its Nigerian investment and capacity building is on “soybean processing, including on-going work with local companies to improve efficiencies and capacity utilisation.”


“We also want to enhance smallholder livelihoods, and are partnering with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Ibadan to promote high-quality seeds for farmers across Nigeria that are tailored to the country’s climactic conditions,” the company says.


The company has recently established a 220ha trial seed farm in Kaduna, with a strategy to increase the country’s soybean production from 500,000 metric tons to 2 million metric tons in five to seven years so as “not only to make Nigeria self-sufficient on plant proteins, but a net soybean exporter.”


To endear the Nigerian soybean export crop to international buyers, Olam says both the public and private sector have to address the “negative quality perceptions that Nigerian beans suffer.”


Olam lists some of the quality challenges Nigeria’s soybean crop faces in the global market as “aflatoxin content, high presence of foreign matter, low oil content and excessively dried.”


“While Olam was able to convince global buyers to overlook some of these parameters, these remain major issue that need to be resolved to make Nigeria a credible exporter of soybeans,” the company says in one of its fact sheets on the Nigerian operations.


Meanwhile, Nestle Nigeria, an affiliate of Swiss transnational food and drink company  Nestle, has for the last few years partnered with University of Agriculture Abeokuta to sensitize Nigeruan soybean producers on good production practices and the economic benefits of the crop as part of the company’s strategy to meet its supply needs in the West African country.


The partnership, which targets suitable soybean growing areas of Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo to the south west, has come up with two major varieties of TGX1019-2EB and TGX 1448-IE which Nestle says have proven “promising” and passed parameters such as “high yield,disease resistance and seed quality.”




Space – the final frontier

I am just back from a wonderful week in Rennes attending the Space 2018 conference. It was a whirlwind week visiting many great companies and enjoying the hospitality of the Space team at Rennes.

Firstly let me say how well organised the whole show was. The facilities for journalists were second to none and a centrally placed press facility made visiting the stalls much easier. There were regular updates from the media team and – this being France – a sumptuous four course lunch every day. I didn’t have got but you could have had wine and that other Brittany favourite – Cidre.

The very first day I spent in Rennes was attending a one day short course on Aquafeed extrusion. The course had been organised by Perendale Publishers and sponsored by firms including CPM, Kevin, Andritz, Clextral, Perten, Dinnissen and Corporate Project Services.

We had some highly regarded speakers at the conference in eluding Dr Mian Riaz from Texas – he is one of the world’s leading authorities in extrusion and Tim Hartter of Corporate Project Services (a division of Wenger). We also heard from Arthur vom Home of CPM Europe, Nicola Tallarico of Kemin Europe, Thomas Ellegaard Mohr of Andritz Feed and Biofuel. Alain Brisset of Clextral and Per Liden of Perten Instruments also contributed.

It was a fascinating day and one which the delegates took a lot from. There was a Nigerian fish farmer who spoke about farm fishing Tilapia and Catfish. He spoke of the dangers he has to face being a fish farmer. You don’t expect a fish farmer to lose all his stock in one go as bandits steal all his fish. It is good to know my company Perendale supports a charity called Aquaculture Without Frontiers which helps fish farmers around the world.

Away from the extrusion conference I was impressed with the kit on display from companies such as Mrillion, Tout Pour Le Grain and an old family firm from Italy called La Meccanica who produced some spectacularly stylish machines for milling and animal feed production.

Some of the big names in  milling were also there – Buhler and Andritz – as well as die manufacturer Ferotec and animal feed manufacturers Mixscience. Biomin and Phileo as well as Aliphos and ABVista were all at Space – a great place to do business in Europe.  The irrepressible Mattieu Boulez of L’Allemand and Phosfeed were all represented.

The swanky Innov Space 2018 awards evening was a highlight with innovations from across the agricultural sector being celebrated.

Space’s exhibition manager Anne Marie Quemener was always on hand to provide expert analysis of the show and to make sure everything was running smoothly.

I really enjoyed Space and cannot wait until next year.



Looking forward to visiting Space 2018, Rennes

Next week I will be embarking on my first major conference for Perendale Publishers – Space 2018

It features over 1,440 exhibitors from across the globe and I am really looking forward to getting stuck in and finding out more about this wonderful industry called milling. The destination is Rennes in France which sounds quite romantic although I am sure it will be more technical than romantic.

I have contacted the organisers to get my press accreditation and have booked in to a welcome meal for all international journalist. The animal competitions appear to be quite exciting with over 700 animals competing in a variety of areas as they vie for top spot.

On Tuesday for the first time at SPACE, the Parthenais breed will organise its national competition at the Expo. Only the 80 best animals in the breed will be competing.

Five other beef breeds will enter the inter-regional competition in the afternoon.

The Roussin sheep breed will also be in the spotlight with its national competition organised from 2pm. I love watching the animal classes at these shows – it reminds me of my time covering agricultural shows for the Western Daily Press and climbing into the parade ring to get a good shot of the Best in Show bull.

More than the animals I want to learn more about animal feed and all the associated industries. How feed can make such a difference to the health of the animal. I am hoping to see extruding machines and learning all about extrusion.

As well of course sampling some fine French cuisine while there.