Impact of Hurricane Florence on Livestock Production in the Carolinas


Hurricane Florence which made landfall near the border of North and South Carolina as a Category 2 storm in the early hours of Friday September 14th extended for almost 100 miles along the mid-Atlantic coast. There was relatively little wind damage to farm buildings and installations but because the storm stalled for 36 hours, rainfall in excess of 36” inundated coastal and inland areas. Flooding will continue as rivers flood with abatement only expected by late in the current week.

Fortunately the death toll was light due to mass evacuation and planning by state and Federal authorities. From Company releases and press reports there were no injuries among the poultry-farming community.

Power failure, flooding of roads including parts of I-40, I-95 and I-75 in addition to local routes led to a complete shut-down of all plants in the affected region from Thursday 13th September as a precaution extending through Wednesday 19th in some cases. Perdue closed plants in Rockingham NC., and Dillon SC., reopening on Tuesday. Sanderson Farms commenced production in Kinston on Tuesday and anticipates production through Saint Pauls on Friday. Tyson will restore production in Monroe NC. by mid-week. Smithfield closed the Tar Heel hog plant with a capacity of 30,000 per day through Monday. Limitations on operation include power supply and ability of workers to access plants due to flooded roads.

Sanderson farms provided the most detailed report on losses. No structural damage was reported for their hatcheries, feed mills or plants in the region. Flooding occurred in 60 out of 880 broiler grow-out houses and four out of 92 breeder houses. A total of 1.7 million birds were lost. It may be presumed that similar losses were encountered in the turkey segment of the poultry industry in the State as a result of flooding although Butterball has not released an official statement on damage but encountered flooding and power outage at contract farms.

Severe losses in flocks extending beyond disruption and flooding were averted by investment in emergency generators with sufficient inventories of fuel to power ventilation systems, feeders and well pumps. Filling silos in anticipation of the storm prevented damage to exterior feed systems and supported flocks while mills were inoperative and delivery blocked by flooding. Lessons learned in previous severe weather events such as Hurricane Floyd in 1999 were incorporated into disaster planning.

It is evident that the effects of Florence will continue. Breeder performance will be impaired resulting in reduced setting and processing levels through the pre-Christmas period. Flocks subjected to even mild flooding will be more susceptible to enteritis, pododermatitis and gangrenous dermatitis. Saturated crops awaiting harvest as well as damaged feed may result in mold proliferation and the potential for mycotoxicoses.

Given the magnitude of Florence and the immense quantity of rainfall in its wake the poultry industries in the Carolinas emerged remarkably free of severe damage. This is in no small measure a function of planning, investment, training and cooperation between integrators and their contractors assisted by state and local agencies and responders.


Poultry Industry News

U.S. Broiler and Turkey Exports for January-July 2018.


Data for January-July 2018 indicate a moderate increase in export of broiler parts in comparison to the corresponding seven months of 2017. Total broiler exports for January-July 2018 attained 1,811,704 metric tons, 2.4 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017 (1,769,910 metric tons) but total value improved by 6.3 percent to $1,867 million ($1,757 million).

During January-July 2018 the National Chicken Council (NCC), citing USDA-FAS data, documented exports of 1,949,111 metric tons of chicken parts and other forms (whole and prepared) valued at $2,108 million with a weighted average unit value of $1,082 per metric ton, 4.2 percent higher in value compared to the first seven months of 2017 ($1,035 per m. ton).

The NCC breakdown of chicken exports by proportion and unit price for each broiler category for January-July 2018 compared with the equivalent months in 2017 (with the unit price in parentheses) comprised:-

  • Chicken parts 95.9%; Unit value $1,010 per metric ton ($949)

  • Prepared chicken 2.8%; Unit value $3,544 per metric ton ($3,535)

  • Whole chicken 1.3%; Unit value $1,055 per metric ton ($1,008)




According to the September 13th 2018 WASDE Report #581, 81.8 million acres of corn will be harvested in 2018 to yield 14.83 Billion bushels. The soybean crop is projected to attain 4.69 Billion bushels from 88.9 million acres harvested. The increased production is based on projections of higher yields resulting in larger ending stocks. This is reflected in lower CME prices as posted.


Quarterly corn and soybean stocks were estimated by USDA in a release on June 29th to total 5.3 Billion bushels (36.2 percent of 2017 harvest) and 1.2 Billion bushels (27.3 percent of 2017 harvest) respectively.


The following quotations for the months as indicated were posted by the CME at close of trading on September 14th together with values for the corresponding months in parentheses.


Weekly Broiler Production and Prices


Chick Placements

The September 12th edition of the USDA Broiler Hatchery Report confirmed that a total of 219.7 million eggs were set during the week ending September 8th approximately two percent above the corresponding week in 2017. A total of 176.5 million day-old chicks was placed among the 19 major broiler-producing states during the week ending September 8th. This was one percent higher than the corresponding week in 2017. Total chick placements for the U.S. amounted to 183.8 million, approximately one percent above the corresponding week in 2017. Average hatchability was 81.7 percent for eggs set three weeks earlier. Broiler chick placements for 2018 through September 1st amounted to 6.64 billion, within one percent of YTD 2017.

Broiler Production

For the processing week ending September 8th 149.1 million broilers were processed at an average live weight of 6.22 lbs. (6.25 lbs. last week) and a nominal yield of 76.0 percent. The number of broilers processed was 0.1 percent more than the corresponding processing week in 2017. Processed (RTC) broiler production for the week attained 704.9 million lbs. (320,410 metric tons), 0.2 percent more than in the corresponding week in 2017. Production of RTC for 2018 to date attained 27.18 million lbs. (12.36 million metric tons), 0.8 percent more than the corresponding period in 2017.

The USDA Southern States (SS) benchmark prices in cents per lb. (rounded to nearest cent) as documented in the Broiler Market News Report (Vol. 65 No. 37) September 14th 2018 edition are tabulated with a comparison with the previous week:-


Weekly Turkey Production and Prices


Poult Production and Placement:

The September 17th edition of the USDA Turkey Hatchery Report, issued monthly, documented 27.1 million eggs in incubators on September 1st 2018 (28.7 million eggs on August 1st 2018) down 6.8 percent (1.9 million eggs) from September 1st 2017. A total of 24.0 million poults were hatched during August 2018 (25.7 million in July 2018) and down 3.3 percent from August 2017.

A total of 23.3 million poults were placed on farms in the U.S. in August 2018, (25.7 million in July 2018) and down 4.2 percent (1.0 million poults) from August 2017. This suggests disposal of 0.75 million hen poults or 6.2 percent of hen poults hatched during August 2018 or 3.1 percent of the total hatch.

For the twelve-month period September 2017 through August 2018, 284.8 million poults were hatched and 246.8 million were placed. This suggests disposal of 17.6 million hen poults over the period representing 12.4 percent of hen poults hatched or 6.2 percent of all poults hatched.

USDA will release the next monthly report on October 16th.


Status of 2018 Corn and Soybean Crops


The USDA Crop Progress Report released on September 17 th updated the status and condition of 2018 corn and soybeans. Corn is denting at 93 percent of the crop, 7 percent over the 5-year average. Half the crop is mature and nine percent has been harvested.

Soybeans have completed blooming and setting pods consistent with good soil moisture and climate conditions. Approximately half of the crop has started dropping leaves, 17 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Six percent of the crop has been harvested

EGG-NEWS and CHICK-NEWS will report on the progress of the two major crops as monitored by the USDA during September and will continue posting updates through the end of harvest in October.


Crop Parameter (%)

September 9th

September 16th

5-Year Average

Corn Emerged

Corn Silking

Corn Dough

Corn Dent

Corn Mature

Corn Harvested

















Soybeans Emerged

Soybeans Blooming

Soybeans Setting Pods

Soybeans Dropping Leaves

Soybeans Harvested


















Crop Condition

V. Poor





Corn 2018

Corn 2017











Soybeans 2018

Soybeans 2017












Soil Parameter

V. Short




Topsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year





Subsoil moisture: Past Week





Past Year






USDA-WASDE FORECAST #581 September 13th 2018



The September 13th 2018 USDA WASDE projections for the 2018 corn and soybean harvests are based on actual planting data, crop progress with monitoring by "scouts", long-range weather forecasts and historical records. Harvest areas for corn and soybeans were retained from the July-August projections at 81.8 million acres (83.1 million in 2017) and 88.9 million acres, (89.5 million acres in 2017) respectively.

The USDA raised corn yield by 1.6 percent to 181.3 bushels per acre (175.4 bushels in 2017). Soybean yield was raised 2.3 percent to 52.8 bushels per acre (49.5 bushels in 2017).

The USDA September projection of ending stock for corn was raised 5.3 percent to 1,774 million bushels and ending stock for soybeans was raised 7.5 percent to 845 million bushels resulting in predictable declines in CME quotations.

The 2018 corn and soybean crops will be the second largest ever but will be harvested during a time of uncertainty regarding previously projected, anticipated and actual export volumes. The USDA projections of ending stocks and hence prices for corn and soybeans take into account current announced tariffs on U.S. products but do not reflect predicted or threatened tariffs or resolution of trade conflicts.


Jamaica Broilers Purchases Georgia Feed Mill


According to news reports, Jamaica Broilers has purchased the feed mill previously operated by Crystal Farms. The plant can  produce 5,000 tons of feed each week and employees 30.

Vice President of Finance for Jamaica Broilers Group, Ian Parsard noted “As we continue to grow our operations in Jamaica, USA and Haiti, this acquisition is a strategic step for our U.S.  operations.” He added “We are adding a feed mill to the existing breeder operations which produce fertile hatching eggs and hatchery operations in Iowa and Pennsylvania. The primary synergy is the control over the feed supplies required for our existing breeder operations located in both North and South Georgia.”


Wayne Farms Recalls Potentially Adulterated Chicken


In a September 5th release, the USDA-FSIS reported a Class 1 recall of approximately 200 tons of frozen, fully-cooked chicken products potentially contaminated with metal fragments.

The incriminated product was produced from July 4th to July 17th in establishment P-20214.

The recall follows a complaint registered by a consumer. To date, there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions or injury associated with the presumed contamination.


Weather Conditions Predicate Mycotoxicosis in 2018 Crop


Heavy rains in the upper Midwest accompanied by above-normal temperatures in the Southern and Eastern corn belt may lead to proliferation of fungi and elaboration of mycotoxins associated with a 2018 corn harvest.

Southeastern corn approaching maturity will be impacted by torrential rains from hurricane Florence.

Integrators and feed mill operators are encouraged to monitor moisture content and to confirm that levels of critical mycotoxins are within acceptable limits.


George’s to Acquire Ozark Mountain Poultry Inc


George’s Inc. will acquire the assets of Ozark Mountain Inc. with facilities in Rogers and Batesville in Arkansas.

Current production is in the region of 1.1 million broilers per week with an emphasis on antibiotic-free and non-GMO products. Ozark Mountain Poultry was incorporated in 2001, but apparently lacked volume to attain economies of scale. The Company has faced considerable competition from the expansion of antibiotic-free and non-GMO and organic chicken by large producers. This situation will intensify during the coming year following announcements by Perdue Farms and  Pilgrim’s Pride concerning their shifts towards antibiotic-free and organic production

George’s is ranked 11th among broiler producers with a weekly output of 22 million pounds of RTC.


CTB Purchases Controlling Interest in CAT Squared Inc.


In a September 5th release, CTB Inc., a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway announced that it has agreed to purchase a controlling interest in M-Tech International, the holding company for CAT Squared Inc. The company provides software solutions for food processors. CAT Squared product scope includes software for production, inventory control and traceability.

CEO of CTB, Victor A. Mancinelli noted “The CAT Squared production line supports CTB by providing a single source of supply for its processing industry customers.”  He added “Their software offers potential efficiency improvements for a wide variety of processing equipment including markets new to the CTB such as pork and beef.”

The founding partners of CAT Squared are Vernon Smith, CEO and Stephanus C. P. Schoeman, Chief Technology Officer. Smith observed “We have enjoyed our recent collaborations with Meyn, a CTB subsidiary, and we look forward to growth potential that our closer association will afford.”


Negotiations with Canada over NAFTA Unresolved


Despite intensive meetings between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland there has been no definitive progress.


The negotiations have been conducted in the light of a demand by the President that a satisfactory agreement should be concluded by early September with a threat of imposition of tariffs on automobiles and components.          .


Although Minister Freeland stated that “We are making good progress” a deal is not expected if at all before the late September deadline. Any agreement acceptable to the U.S. will be contingent on removal of protection for Canadian dairy producers. Other major issues include dispute resolution procedures especially impacting exports of lumber and paper products to the U.S.


Any bilateral agreement between Mexico and the U.S. or a re-negotiated NAFTA will require Congressional approval in a straight up-or-down vote.


Cobb-Vantress Completes Fifth Parent Stock Roundtable


Delegates from Cobb distributors in Germany, Spain and Sweden joined Cobb managers from Holland and the U.K. for the Fifth Annual Grandparent-stock Roundtable last month.

Topics considered included techniques to maximize performance, control of body weight and feeding to control male development.

Patrick van Trijp, senior account manager for Cobb Europe stated, “The Roundtable is an invaluable opportunity to spend time with people who are the experts in their field, comparing notes and sharing stories.”  He added, “Cobb Europe is proud to work with this distributors and we take great pride in knowing that our parent stock customers will receive high quality birds.”


For further information access www.cobb-vantress.com



Minnesota Farmers Not Appeased by “Handout”


According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune of September 10th, hog farmers in Minnesota who have suffered multi-million dollar losses as a result of embargoes are not appeased by the magnitude of the “compensation” offered by the Administration.

Concurrently soybeans farmers are also aggrieved given the 20 percent drop in the price of soybeans which at $8.30 per bushel represent a potential loss of $1 per bushel. In actuality many farmers sold their harvest forward or have hedged and others have crop insurance.

It is evident that with declining soybean prices that the basis (differential between elevator price and the CME quotation) is widening given the disappearance of the market in China.

The compensation as part of a $12 billion package is regarded as bridging finance for a wide range of agricultural products but resolution of what is now a trade war must be accomplished in the near future.


Noel White Succeeds Tom Hayes as President and CEO of Tyson Foods


In a September 17th release, Tyson Foods Inc. (TSN) announced the appointment of Noel White, formerly Group president of Beef, Pork and International and a member of Tyson Foods’ Enterprise Leadership Team, as president and CEO, effective September 30th 2018. White will a join the Board of Directors, succeeding Tom Hayes, who is stepping down as president and CEO for personal reasons.

John Tyson, Chairman of the Board of Directors, said, “Noel is a proven leader who has played an integral role in our enterprise leadership team for many years. He has run our beef, pork, and poultry businesses and is now helping Tyson Foods capitalize on international opportunities. His deep institutional knowledge and a stellar track record over his more than 30-year career at Tyson Foods and a predecessor company give the Board the utmost confidence in his ability to drive the business forward, accelerate global growth and create long-term value for shareholders.”

In commending Tom Hayes, Tyson continued, “Tom has accelerated the strategic transformation of Tyson Foods’ product portfolio and played an important role in the company’s continuing development. The Board and I thank him for his many contributions to the success of Tyson Foods and wish him well.”

In addressing his appointment, White stated “I am honored to serve as Tyson Foods’ next CEO, and I am excited by the many opportunities that lie ahead. It has been a privilege to contribute to this company’s evolution over the course of many years and to be a part of its becoming one of the world’s largest food companies. I look forward to accelerating the current trajectory of growth as a global modern food company through our operational excellence, innovative thinking and focus to sustainably feed the world.”

Tom Hayes stated, “It is a very difficult decision to leave Tyson Foods, but after careful consideration and discussions with my family and the Board, I know it is the right thing to do. I am appreciative of support from my family and the board for my decision and am confident that Tyson Foods has a bright future with Noel White, along with our enterprise leadership team, as its leader.”

White is a graduate of Bemidji State University and earned a Master of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in economics from Oklahoma City University. White has over 30 years of experience in the food industry and worked at IBP for nearly two decades prior to its 2001 acquisition by Tyson Foods. He has served in various leadership roles throughout his career with Tyson Foods, including as COO and president of Poultry from 2013 through 2017.


Hybrid to Open Beresford Hatchery in November


Hybrid Turkeys has announced that the Beresford SD. hatchery constructed by Henning Companies, will be formally opened on Tuesday November 27th.


Invitations are available by registering at www.hybrid-hatchery.eventbrite.ca



Cargill Acquires Broiler Producer in Poland


In a press release dated September 14th, Cargill Inc. announced acquisition of Konspol of Nowy Secz, Poland a producer of broilers and processor of food items. The Company operates a feed mill, five broiler farms and two processing plants.


In commenting on the transaction Chris Langholz, president of Cargill Global Poultry stated, “This acquisition allows us to serve our customers through a diverse portfolio of value-added products.”  He added, “Konspol is a strong and established chicken and value-added food company whose products are the preferred choice across Poland.


The founder of the Company, Kazimierz Pazgan stated, “Cargill is also a family-owned company that shares our values.  I am certain this is the best guarantee of a future for Konspol, a company I’ve expanded with my family for almost 40 years.”


Cargill currently has a presence in 22 locations across Poland employing 1,700.  The company operates 19 feed mills, a premix plant and other facilities.


Swill Banned for Hogs in China


Facing an escalating problem of African swine fever that has now been diagnosed in seven provinces, authorities in China are addressing long-standing practices which contribute to dissemination of the virus.  According to a September 13th report by Reuters feeding food waste to hogs has been banned.  Given the structure of hog production in China involving small, family-operated units, this restriction will be difficult to enforce.


It is also disclosed that pig blood presumably derived from processing plants and other byproducts may no longer be added to hog feed according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.



The reports of incident cases many of which are geographically separated by long distances presumes that the transport of live hogs, raw pork and byproducts is responsible for dissemination of the virus for which there is no effective vaccine at the present time. 


The introduction of a novel catastrophic virus into a nation with inherent defects in biosecurity and fragmented production and distribution centers will represent a challenge to authorities to control.  Eradication is probably impossible in the foreseeable future. The obvious outcome of restrictions on production methods and transport will inevitably lead to vertical integration.


The prospect of extension of the virus to neighboring countries in Asia is also a real possibility given the porosity of borders and the demand for inexpensive protein.


Cargill Settles Discrimination Lawsuit


Cargill Meat Solutions has reached a settlement to resolve Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charges. The case arises from alleged failure by Cargill management at a Fort Morgan processing plant in December 2015 when 150 Muslim employees walked away from the plant claiming that they were not allowed prayer breaks. The workers involved were terminated.


The settlement includes financial compensation of $1.5 million for 138 employees.


The lawyer representing the plaintiffs stated, “We are gratified with the settlement reached for the 138 former Cargill employees that we represented in this proceeding and applaud the Company for its ongoing efforts to consistently grant prayer requests to people of all faiths based on its long-standing policy and values. Qusair Mohamedbhai added, “We appreciated the collaborative efforts of Cargill and their commitment to communicate their long-standing prayer accommodation practices.”


Cargill refuted the basis of the EEOC complaint but settled the matter to avoid addition legal costs and presumably disaffection of a consumer demographic.  The company has committed to a policy allowing Muslim workers to take short breaks to pray.


Brian Sikes president of Cargill Meats Solutions stated, “Providing our employees with religious accommodation is an important part of engaging and supporting our employees and our policy has remained consistent for more than 10 years.”


African Swine Fever Detected in Belgium


Authorities in both Belgium and France have activated surveillance following isolation of the ASF virus from wild boars at their common border.


The potentially catastrophic infection has resulted in severe losses in Russia and Eastern-bloc nations.  Both Belgium and France are concerned over extension of infection from feral hogs to commercial farms.  The presence of ASF in either country will prejudice exports and various nations have embargoed pork from Belgium.


It is noted that African swine fever was transmitted from Angola to Cuba by soldiers returning from service in the civil war in the mid 1980’s.  The mid-Atlantic coastal region of the U.S has a large population of feral hogs which could easily become a reservoir of infection representing a danger to the U.S. industry given the proximity of Cuba and increasing commercial traffic and movement of people between the Island nation and Florida.


Joint FDA and USDA Meeting on Cell Cultured Meat


In a joint announcement, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Dr. Sonny Perdue and U.S. FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb have arranged a public meeting for October 23rd and 24th to discuss aspects of cell cultured technology.  The meeting will review safe production of food products derived from animal cells on the first day with labeling considerations on the second.


Dr. Perdue commented, “This is an important opportunity to hear from the agriculture industry and consumers as we consider the regulatory framework for these new products.”


Dr. Gottlieb stated, “We look forward to the opportunity to hold a meeting with our USDA colleagues as part of an open public dialogue regarding these products.”


The meeting will be held against a background of contentious debate over jurisdiction over cell- cultured meat and foods with the FDA initially claiming responsibility while industry groups favor the USDA-FSIS.


In a related issue, the various companies working the area of tissue-culture derived meats have agreed to form an industry trade association and to adopt the nomenclature of “Cell-Based Meat”.  This term will replace the absolutely unacceptable term “clean meat” which implies that food derived from animals is in some way “dirty”.  The transition from “clean meat” to “Cell-Based Meat” was supported by Dr. Seth Goldman Executive Chairman of Beyond Meat which has pioneered research in the field but is yet to market an acceptable product at a competitive price.


Shane Commentary

African Swine Fever outbreak in China Has Implications for the U.S.


Based on previous experience with African swine fever in the Iberian Peninsula and more recently in Russia and Eastern Europe, China will have great difficulty in containing the emerging epidemic of African swine fever.


Authorities in China have now admitted to eight distinct outbreaks in areas geographically separated by over 500 miles.  There is a presumption that transport of live hogs is involved in transmission.  The relatively primitive systems of hog production involving many thousands of relatively small-scale farms will contribute to outbreaks since there is no potential for effective biosecurity.


China imposed tariffs on U.S. pork in retaliation to U.S. tariffs on manufactured goods.  Given the demand for pork and obvious disruption of domestic production the Government of China may have to reevaluate their position on pork imports as domestic prices soar and public disaffection emerges.  Although the Administration of President Xi has promoted lower pork production in the interest of sustainability, health and conservation of foreign exchange, changes in dietary habits among the emerging middle class China predicates greater consumption of pork and chicken and beef for the affluent. 


If U.S. pork exports to China resume on a tariff-free basis, pressure will taken off the broiler and turkey industries. These segments of the domestic poultry industry would naturally benefit from removal of extra protein from the U.S. market.


It is ironic that a considerable portion of the pork produced in the U.S. and especially for export is derived from Smithfield Foods and affiliates which are subsidiaries of the WH Group of China.  Embargos, tariffs and now African swine fever have weighed heavily on the share price of the company since mid-year.



Intelia Advances Technology of Flock Management


Established in 1999 as an electronic design and development enterprise, Intelia located near Montreal in Canada has developed a range of unique sensors, monitors and software to facilitate flock management.  In the initial years of operation, Intelia developed electronic solutions which then were adapted to climate control and husbandry of livestock. 

Sensors include accurate bird-weight and feed-bin scales and controllers to operate lighting and ventilation installations. Data from monitors and sensors is incorporated into the Compass™ data analytical platform integrating inputs for ease of monitoring and control of flocks. This system characterizes the Intelia approach to data management exemplified in the motto, “We find the needles in your data haystack”.

The Unity™ controller will operate side curtains, air inlets, switch to tunnel ventilation and is capable of compensating for changes in weather including rain and wind direction. Intelia third-party sensors are capable of monitoring carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and ammonia in house air in order to make appropriate adjustments to operation of ventilation components.


Input from sensors including feed and house environment are correlated in the interior Farm Hub™ and Compass™ platforms.  Data is transmitted to the Intelia cloud for analysis and correlation to be reported in real time as accessible information.

Intelia systems are able to monitor the weight of broilers and turkeys in order to compile schedules for harvesting and feed delivery.  Financial decisions can be based on feed consumption in relation to cost, growth rate and value of product.


In a highly competitive industry, profitability is based on appropriate management decisions based on sound performance data. Intelia is the critical link between production systems and optimization of return from flocks.



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