Cereals LIVE celebrates online success

June 19th, 2020: Cereals LIVE, the online version of the arable event, has been a resounding success attracting over 10,000 visitors from 78 countries and 67,166 page views.

Having postponed the physical event due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the organisers decided to deliver as much content as possible online to support the industry during lockdown. The result was a two-day online event on 10-11th June, 2020 featuring a comprehensive seminar programme packed with top speakers, video demonstrations of machinery and new kit, crop plot tours and interactive chat with exhibitors.

‘We have been overwhelmed at the reaction from the farming industry,’ said event director Alli McEntyre. ‘Everyone has been really keen to get involved – and the response to the live webinars far exceeded our expectation. We had more than 9,000 live viewers, with the top session drawing over 800 attendees and every session producing some excellent questions from the audience.’

NFU president Minette Batters and Defra minister Victoria Prentis went head-to-head on the topic of food security and imports, with the NFU’s recent petition on maintaining high food standards having received nearly 900,000 signatories in just two weeks. ‘We’ve seen 72,000 emails going from members of the public to MPs – it just shows how strongly people feel; we’ve got to get this right,’ said Ms Batters.

Mrs Prentis insisted that the Government was committed to high standards in agriculture and food safety. ‘In all of our trade negotiations we will not compromise on high environmental protection, animal welfare protection or food standards,’ she said.

Other seminar topics included adapting to and mitigating climate change, precision farming technology, routes into farming, and the arable market outlook. In total there were 18 live webinars which averaged an audience of 487 each, plus two webinars available on demand.

‘It was nice to see a really global reach, with 15 percent of the attendees joining from outside of the UK – from a total of 78 different countries,’ said Ms McEntyre.

Visitors were also able to view plenty of machinery in action in the Syngenta Sprays & Sprayers Arena – where the Farm Sprayer Operator of the Year presentation took place. Scooping the top spot was Matt Fuller, who works at Heathcote Farms, Toddington, Bedfordshire. Making the presentation was NFU vice president Tom Bradshaw, ‘There’s going to be ever more scrutiny on the way we use plant protection products,’ he said. ‘It’s absolutely critical that we can demonstrate professionalism right throughout the industry.’

The event offered a valuable opportunity for visitors to collect BASIS and NRoSO points, as well as a plethora of technical advice from exhibitors and through the NIAB virtual event hub. There were even virtual crop walks and video from crop plots at the original Cambridgeshire site.

Closing the event on each day was a virtual beer tent, where visitors could relax with friends, request live music from the resident DJ and pledge money to the charity partner RABI.

‘Nothing can quite replace seeing friends, machinery and crops in person, but going online has enabled us to deliver a wide range of content and to reach a totally new audience,’ said Ms McEntyre. ‘I’d like to thank all of our exhibitors, sponsors, speakers and visitors for contributing to such a successful event, and look forward to meeting you face-to-face next year.’

Visit the Cereals LIVE website, HERE.

Cargill makes progress towards bold sustainability goals

Image credit: Jussie D Brito on Flickr
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

June 19th, 2020: Cargill has recently outlined progress against sustainability goals in critical supply chains including aqua nutrition, cocoa and chocolate, palm, soy, ocean transportation and beef. With a focus on advancing progress on land use, climate change, water, farmer prosperity and human rights, the company is working across every supply chain to drive sustainable production, transportation and operations.

‘The call for radical transparency is increasing. More than ever, our customers and consumers want to understand the story behind the products they buy,’ said Jill Kolling, Vice President of Global Sustainability, Cargill. ‘By investing and partnering on solutions to enhance transparency in the food system, we can deliver meaningful and sustainable impact on the ground and increase consumer confidence.’

Over the past year, Cargill adopted global sustainability efforts to more quickly advance progress. The company established a science-based commitment to reduce supply chain emissions by 30 percent by 2030, a bold climate commitment to reinforce support of the Paris Climate Commitment.

Cargill established its Forest Protection Advisory Panel to bring diverse insights and support continuous improvement on the ground. Additionally, a BeefUp Sustainability Advisory Panel will offer critical review of the strategy and resources underpinning the North America beef supply chain sustainability initiative.

Progress with Cargill’s aqua nutrition
Cargill continues to support the sustainable growth of the global aquaculture industry by enabling better seafood and helping farmers succeed. With a focus on delivering animal health and welfare through feed and nutrition, Cargill reports in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, which provides a level of transparency to build trust.

Cargill is educating consumers about the efficiency and favourable ecological foot-print of farmed fish by reporting openly and supporting industry certification schemes. Through partnerships like Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) and Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), Cargill works with customers, food service and retail industries, suppliers, industry partners, and even competitors, to advance and communicate about sustainability in the aquaculture industry.

Last year, Cargill trained more than 5,000 seafood farmers and workers in Thailand and Vietnam through local sustainability workshops and mobile lab services, supporting continued growth of sustainable practices in these regions.

In 2019, Cargill ranked sixth out of the top 30 seafood companies on the World Benchmarking Alliance’s Seafood Stewardship Index, reflecting their progress on key topics like responsible ingredient sourcing. For example, all of the soy used in Cargill’s salmon feeds was certified to RTRS or ProTerra standards or was organic, supporting their deforestation commitments. This sustainability report shows how Cargill has continued to progress in 2019.

For more information visit the Cargill website, HERE.

Mill Tech Istanbul postponed to March, 2021

June 19th, 2020: Mill Tech Istanbul is an event organised for the global milling machinery industry at the CNR Expo Centre in Istanbul, Turkey. Due to requests from the industry, CNR Holding and DESMÜD (Milling Machinery Manufacturer Association) have come to a joint decision to postpone the show to 3-6th March, 2021.

Mill Tech Istanbul aims to enable exhibiting companies to compensate for their business loss this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The exhibition will help exhibitors keep their trading active by  facilitating forward-focused business connections.

Visit the Mill Tech Istanbul website, HERE.

DSM to add world-leading animal nutrition and health specialty businesses with acquisition of Erber Group

June 19th, 2020: Royal DSM, a global science-based company in Nutrition, Health and Sustainable Living, announces that it has reached agreement to acquire Erber Group for an enterprise value of €980m. The value of the transaction represents an EV/EBITDA multiple of about 14x the 2020 EBITDA (fiscal year ending September 2020). The transaction – which excludes two smaller units in the Erber Group – is expected to be earnings enhancing in the first year upon completion.

Erber Group’s specialty animal nutrition and health businesses, Biomin and Romer Labs, specialize primarily in mycotoxin risk management, gut health performance management, and food and feed safety diagnostic solutions, expanding DSM’s range of higher value-add specialty solutions. Romer Labs also complements DSM’s human nutrition and health offering to food industry customers. Sanphar and EFB, representing 7% of Erber Group’s total sales, are not included in this transaction.

The acquired businesses have combined sales of €330m and an Adjusted EBITDA margin above 20% for the twelve months to the end of March 2020, with a high single-digit organic sales growth rate over the past 5 years. The acquisition will be debt financed, with committed bridge financing in place. DSM continues to benefit from a strong balance sheet and remains committed to maintaining a strong investment grade credit profile.

With state-of-the-art research and manufacturing facilities and approximately 1,200 employees around the world, the acquisition of Erber Group is a unique strategic opportunity that provides revenue-enhancing synergies from the combined offering, global customer base, and complementary geographic strengths. Austrian-based Erber Group offers DSM the opportunity to enter the mycotoxin risk management market as the world leader and extends the company’s position as one of the top suppliers in the rapidly growing animal gut performance management market.

Mycotoxins occur as a result of natural fungus contaminants in animal feed and threaten the health of both animals and humans. In addition to increasing the risk of illness, mycotoxins also reduce the nutritional value of feed. Biomin’s patented and proprietary technology provides the most scientifically advanced mycotoxin protection available. Biomin is also a major producer of phytogenic and probiotic feed alternatives to antibiotics, which complements and strengthens DSM’s position in the rapidly growing global eubiotics market for improving animal gut health.

Romer Labs is at the forefront of diagnostic technology with innovative testing solutions for the analysis of mycotoxins in feed and food, food allergens and pathogens as well as veterinary drug residues, with accredited full-service labs in Austria, UK, USA and Singapore. DSM’s extensive global network of food and beverage customers as well as feed customers stand to benefit from Romer Labs’ expertise and the combined group’s data-based quality assurance offering.

The acquisition of Erber Group further strengthens DSM’s expertise and reputation as a leading provider of animal health and nutrition solutions for farm productivity and sustainability, with an emphasis on emissions reduction, feed consumption efficiency, and better use of water and land.

Geraldine Matchett and Dimitri de Vreeze, Co-CEOs of DSM, said: ‘These are great businesses with strong and sustained track records of profitable growth and attractive margins. Biomin and Romer Labs will help strengthen and accelerate the growth of our specialty animal nutrition and health offering, including our big data and diagnostic capabilities, and it is exciting to be entrusted to take these family-founded businesses forward. It was immediately clear to us that the people at Erber Group share our purpose-led mission and will make a wonderful addition to DSM’.

Dr Erich Erber, Founder and President of Erber Group, commented: ‘In DSM, I recognize the mutual values of sustainable stewardship that are so important to us. The world must reduce farming’s environmental impact at the same time as increasing protein production to feed 10 billion people by 2050. To do that, we have to make sure protein is produced sustainably, using renewable ingredients as much as possible, while protecting the well-being of animals. DSM is the perfect home for our businesses, as Biomin and Romer Labs will be able to use their new scale to intensify our joint contribution to a more sustainable world’s food supply’.

Women in Agribusiness Summit Series goes virtual

June 19th, 2020: In a pivotal move to ensure event excellence during the changing business climate, the Women in Agribusiness (WIA) Summit series has announced virtual attendance options for its 2020 U.S. and international conferences.

Its WIA Summit Europe, July 2-3, originally scheduled to take place in Paris, France will now be held completely virtual, and its flagship Women in Agribusiness Summit US has added a remote attendance choice for the September 16-18th event in Nashville, Tenn, USA. Planning is now underway to ensure these virtual experiences mirror the benefits of networking, intelligence gathering and interactivity that have come to be the hallmarks of WIA events.

‘Our robust virtual platform will supercharge attendees’ experience,’ said Joy O’Shaughnessy, WIA event director and COO at HighQuest, parent company of WIA. ‘Speaker presentations will be brought to life with embedded live-streaming video, interactive Q&A sessions and engaging polling options, not to mention networking that includes instant messaging and real-time chat, and connecting with attendees via private group video discussions as well access to a multi-tiered database of information about fellow delegates.’

Not to miss speakers and topics for WIA Summit Europe, July 2-3rd, include:
• Keynote: Minette Batters, president of the National Farmers’ Union of England and Wales, who will speak on ‘Building Back Better’ after COVID-19.
• Panel: Experts from Matador Ventures Lt, Syngenta, CapAgro and AgriSat will talk to ‘Farming 4.0: Ushering in the Digital Age in Agriculture’ and address: How are those that collect this data using it? Who actually owns the data? Who is benefitting from this and how?
• Presentation: Carol Heil, associate at Ernst & Young, will speak to ‘Agricultural Trade After COVID-19’.
• Short Pitch Series: From biotechnology advances in ag to upcycling and eco-extraction, and robots in the poultry sector, these ingenious women will provide a glimpse into the future of ag during this always lively Ag Innovation Hour.

The Women in Agribusiness Summit US, now in its ninth year, is heading to Nashville for the first time (COVID-19 restrictions permitting), offering in-person and virtual attendance. During this interactive, engaging conference – which brought together nearly 900 attendees last year – delegates will be immersed in discussions that will help them know their business better, through session titles such as, ‘Fortifying Agriculture’s Resiliency’, ‘Reducing Litigation Exposure for Ag Companies’, and ‘Leveraging Liquidity to Thrive in Business’.

Visit the Women in Agriculture Europe website, HERE.

UK free of Avian Influenza (AI) H5N3 but vigilance still urged

Image credit: Tom Coppen on Flickr
(CC BY 2.0)

June 19th, 2020: The Chief Veterinary Officer has announced the UK has met international requirements to declare itself free from Avian Influenza (AI) H5N3, but reiterated calls for all poultry keepers to remain vigilant for signs of disease, as there is a real and constant threat.

Highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) continues to circulate in Europe and as winter approaches later in the year, the risk of migratory wild birds infecting domestic poultry will rise. The UK was previously declared free of Avian Flu in September 2017 and has remained free of highly pathogenic avian influenza since then. But a low pathogenic strain disease returned in December 2019 which was quickly met by Government action.

In December, a single case of low pathogenic avian flu of the H5N3 strain, which poses no threat to human health, was confirmed at a commercial chicken farm in Suffolk. The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) put movement restrictions in place to limit the spread of disease and carried out thorough investigations into the source and possible spread of infection and concluded that the most likely source was indirect contact with wild birds.

The UK Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO), Christine Middlemiss, urged keepers to remain vigilant for signs of disease and reiterated the need for good biosecurity at all times, ‘Declaring the UK free from avian flu is an important milestone that will help our efforts to re-open export markets. The case in December was met with swift action by the APHA and industry and I would like to thank everyone for their efforts in helping us to very effectively contain the disease. However, I urge all keepers to be vigilant – there is a constant risk of avian flu from wild birds and this will increase later in the year when winter approaches, temperatures fall, and migratory birds arrive in the UK. All poultry keepers should take steps to reduce the risk to their birds by maintaining good robust biosecurity at all times, such as cleaning footwear, feeding birds indoors, and minimising contact with wild birds. Building these simple actions into routines now can help prepare for any future outbreaks.’

The government continues to monitor the international situation and carry out surveillance in poultry and wild birds and publish regular disease updates.

EuroTier postponed to February 2021

June 19th, 2020: To ensure the success of the EuroTier and EnergyDecentral trade fairs, which were scheduled to take place at the exhibition grounds in Hanover from 17-20th November 2020, The organisers, DLG, are postponing both events until 9-12th February 2021. DLG have said this was a difficult decision to make, however, the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause international uncertainty.

Given these circumstances it has been assumed that it will not be possible to organise EuroTier and EnergyDecentral, both leading international trade fairs, in a form that is appropriate for exhibitors and visitors this year. This decision has been taken in close coordination with the trade fairs’ expert advisory boards.

DLG are convinced that EuroTier and EnergyDecentral in 2021 will be the international meeting point that their customers have come to expect.

Be there when EuroTier 2021 presents itself once again as one the best global industry events in the trade fair calendar for providing answers and solutions to the current and future challenges of animal production.

Visit the EuroTier website, HERE.

Biomin warns of high levels of deoxynivalenol in upcoming European corn and wheat harvest

June 18th, 2020: Innovative animal nutrition firm Biomin has released the results of statistical analysis revealing that many parts of Europe can expect potentially harmful levels of mycotoxin contamination in the upcoming 2020 corn (maize) and wheat harvest.

One major trend identified in the firm’s first-ever forecast of mycotoxin occurrence is that deoxynivalenol, or vomitoxin, has a high probability to exceed a risk threshold level of 150 parts per billion (ppb) in corn in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe, and a similarly high probability to exceed 150 ppb in wheat in Northern Europe. The forecast is based on a proprietary mycotoxin prediction tool that delivers daily assessments of expected mycotoxin levels in corn and wheat harvests.

The science of mycotoxin prediction
‘Our aim with the Biomin Mycotoxin Prediction Tool is to provide an assessment of likely mycotoxin occurrence as accurate as your daily weather forecast,’ explained Dr Timothy Jenkins, Development Scientist at Biomin.
The Mycotoxin Prediction Tool uses sophisticated algorithms that draw upon 15 factors and the extensive proprietary data set compiled through the Biomin Mycotoxin Survey, the longest running and most comprehensive survey of mycotoxin occurrence in animal feed worldwide.
‘Weather is the single most important factor in terms of predicting mycotoxin occurrence, and it dominates the reasons for year-to-year fluctuations in mycotoxin patterns we observe in a given region,’ stated Dr Timothy Jenkins, Development Scientist at Biomin.

The value of prediction
The Mycotoxin Prediction Tool can be useful for feed and animal protein industry professionals, including integrators, nutritionists, crop farmers, livestock growers, raw commodity purchasers and quality assurance and control professionals, by offering an early indication of the risk of mycotoxins in crops and feed.
‘Since 2004, customers have been highly appreciative of the service and insights that the Biomin Mycotoxin Survey represents,’ noted Ms Ursula Hofstetter, Head of Global Product Management Mycotoxins at Biomin.

“Leveraging our unmatched data set to help customers be better prepared is a logical extension of our commitment to delivering the best mycotoxin risk management anywhere,” noted Ms Hofstetter.

‘The new Mycotoxin Prediction Tool, along with the Biomin Mycotoxin Survey and Mycofix®—the most scientifically advanced mycotoxin-deactivating feed additive— all serve to help our clients stay naturally ahead of mycotoxins,’ added Ms Hofstetter.

Mycotoxin prediction updates through harvest
Based on the tool, weekly updates on the risk of mycotoxins in European region will be available HERE. The Mycotoxin Prediction Tool generates predicted risk of fumonisins, aflatoxin, deoxynivalenol and zearalenone in corn and deoxynivalenol and zearalenone in wheat.

De Heus Animal Nutrition strengthens its position with the Neovia Indonesia acquisition

Image credit: De Heus

June 4th, 2020: On the 2nd June, De Heus Animal Nutrition (De Heus) completed the acquisition of the compound feed operations of Neovia Indonesia (PT Welgro Feedmill and PT Wirifa Sakti) from ADM. With two compound feed mills located in West-Java and East-Java and total sales volume of 125,000 tonnes in 2019, Welgro and Wirifa focus mainly on the poultry, aqua and swine feed segments. For De Heus Indonesia, the acquisition is an important step in its ambition to become a leading player in the Indonesian animal feed market.

Gabor Fluit, Business Group Director De Heus Asia said, ‘After our successful entry into Indonesia in 2018 through the acquisition of PT Universal Agri Bisnisindo (UAB) in Bekasi, West Java, this acquisition will accelerate our Indonesian growth strategy. It gives us an excellent opportunity to expand our position in key livestock and aqua farming areas, close to our existing and potential new customers.’

Mr Fluit continued, ‘We live in turbulent times due to the COVID-19 virus, as a result the demand for animal feed has decreased slightly. On the longer term we believe markets will recover. De Heus is a company focused on the longer term and dedicated to bring new technology and real progress to the markets in which we operate by working closely together with our customers.’

It is estimated that the size of the animal feed market in Indonesia will increase from 19 million tonnes in 2019 to 22 million tonnes by 2022. Indonesia’s current population is 273 million, making it the largest consumer market for proteins in Southeast Asia. The demand for animal proteins will continue to increase over the coming years due to the growth in disposable income and population as well as the change in consumer preferences.

‘Since the UAB acquisition, De Heus has replicated its successful market approach developed in other Southeast Asian countries, supporting the further professionalisation of independent farmers in the local livestock and aqua farming sector with premium-quality animal feed products and practical feed and farming advice. In addition, we have improved production processes, invested in technical training of personnel and started construction of a new production line for aqua and poultry feed at the existing UAB feed mill,’ said Mr Fluit.

Kay De Vreese, President Director De Heus Indonesia commented, ‘We are very pleased that our focus on improving product quality and sharing best practices is recognised and appreciated by significantly growing customer base in Indonesia. We will continue to implement our investment plans over the coming years.’

He continued, ‘We are very pleased to welcome the Welgro and Wirifa employees as new colleagues to De Heus in Indonesia. We have come to know Welgro and Wirifa as dynamic companies with a focus on continuous improvement, which is an excellent fit with De Heus’ company culture. The coming year will be an important transition period. We will identify the investments needed in the production processes to improve product quality and increase production capacity. In addition, Welgro and Wirifa will be aligned with De Heus standards so it will create a strong and unified De Heus organisation in Indonesia. We will also continue to assess potential opportunities to strengthen our position in the value chain, both organically and through acquisitions.’

Visit the De Heus website, HERE.

New pet food protocol to provide US manufacturers greater Chinese market access

Image credit: Craig Nagy on Flickr
(CC BY-SA 2.0)

June 4th, 2020: The American Feed Industry Association has welcomed a new protocol, released this week by the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), which paves the way for pet food manufacturers to expand access into the Chinese marketplace.

APHIS created the protocol specifically for exporting US pet food products to the Asian country, signalling a critical step forward in bringing the positive benefits of the US-China phase one trade agreement to bear.

‘For nearly a decade, US pet food manufacturers have been hamstrung in their ability to access the world’s third largest pet population due to China’s unclear and opaque requirements guiding how American-made pet food and treats could be imported,’ said AFIA’s President and CEO Constance Cullman. ‘China’s unscientific demands to remove ruminant-origin ingredients only compounded the problem, forcing US pet food manufacturers to make costly decisions to reformulate their pet food and treats or lose out in this marketplace. We thank the APHIS staff for working throughout the public health emergency to hold up the United States’ end of the bargain in this trade deal and we promise to hold up ours by continuing to produce high-quality, diverse and nutritious food and treat options for China’s pets.’

APHIS’s new protocol, which goes into effect 15th August, creates a transparent process by which US pet food manufacturers can achieve broader access to the Chinese market. This process facilitates the export of products containing ruminant-origin ingredients and removes other procedural barriers, such as Chinese-required facility questionnaires and unnecessary audits.

It also includes provisions on how to safely continue utilising poultry products in pet food in the event of a highly pathogenic avian influenza or virulent Newcastle disease outbreak from unaffected regions of the country – a continued sign of progress between the two countries in implementing the China phase one trade agreement.

Visit the AFIA website, HERE.