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This Week's Poultry News Round-Up

9 February 2012, at 6:15pm

ANALYSIS – If the forecast US maize plantings are harvested successfully, it is likely that US stocks-to-use levels could climb higher, which would help to stabilise the market and prices look likely to be around $5.50 to $5.75 a bushel, writes Jackie Linden, senior editor of ThePoultrySite. Mexico's agriculture ministry is investigating the cause of death of 600 cattle, which are thought to be linked to the consumption of poorly processed poultry litter. Around 2,000 tonnes of poultry and 160t of egg products were irradiated in the EU in 2010. H5N1 bird flu in India, Nepal and Viet Nam is causing large poultry culls.

The US needs a high corn harvest in 2012 to be able to compete in global markets, said the CattleFax team at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Convention held last week in Nashville, Tennessee. US projected plantings look positive, with 2012 estimated plantings expected at 94 million acres – two million more than last year. If these plantings are harvested successfully, it is likely that US stocks-to-use levels could climb higher, which would help to stabilise the market.

Outlook prices for corn are resisting $6.50 to $6.75 a bushel, and looking likely to be around $5.50 to $5.75 a bushel.

Mexico's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (SAGARPA) has identified the cause of death of 600 head of cattle in Actopan, in the central-eastern region of the country, as high levels of urea in the feed, reports one source.

The urea was thought to come from poorly processed poultry litter, which is an acceptable feed ingredient for ruminants when properly processed, and is reported to have been included in the feed blamed for the deaths.

Whilst not wishing to cast doubt on the official findings, there is another possible explanation which has not yet been ruled out, according to the reports received.

Botulism is a potentially fatal disease of cattle, caused by toxins produced by the bacterium, Clostridium botulinum. It has been associated with the consumption of poultry litter, which has either not been properly processed or where the cattle or sheep have grazed pasture on which untreated litter had previously been spread.

A new report published by the European Commission (EC) recently reveals that more than 9,000 tonnes of food were irradiated in the European Union in 2010.

The process was used in 11 member states for a whole range of foods, which included poultry and egg products. The quantities treated are very small compared to the total volume of food produced in the EU and there are strict controls on its use.

In total across all 11 countries, 9,263 tonnes of food was irradiated in 2010, 48 per cent of which by volume was frogs’ legs and a little over 2,000t was poultry and 160t of egg white/powder.

Of the total, 63 per cent was irradiated in Belgium, 17 per cent in the Netherlands and 11 per cent in France – the only three countries that irradiated any poultry.

Drew Lerner, president and senior agricultural meteorologist of World Weather, recently presented global weather expectations for 2012 to US grain farmers and livestock producers at the Allendale Ag Leaders Outlook Conference held in the US.

Turning to bird flu news, there have been reports of large culls in Nepal, Viet Nam and the Indian states of Tripura and Orissa in the last week or so as a result of the H5N1 highly pathogenic form of the disease.