Feedstuffs - August 2022
We hope you are enjoying the new Feedstuffs. With every edition, we aim to bring the latest in news, insight, nutrition and health research and...
We hope you are enjoying the new Feedstuffs. With every edition, we aim to bring the latest in news, insight, nutrition and health research and livestock production content to life — dynamically. You will find engaging video, podcasts, slideshows, animation and more. You also will have the opportunity to engage, share and download content. Feel free to share your thoughts below or to reach out directly to us. We'd love to hear what you think and ideas that you might like to share.
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New year ahead
September 1 marks the beginning of a new crop year for corn and soybeans. It couldn’t come any too soon.
By Richard Brock, Brock Associates
September 1 marks the beginning of a new crop year for corn and soybeans. It couldn’t come any too soon. The marketing year for the 2021/22 crop has been a roller coaster ride.
One year ago, nearby corn futures were at $5.38/bu. and then peaked in April at $8.27 only to fall all the way back to $5.62 in July. Soybeans had a similar ride rallying from below $12.00 in September of 2021 to $17.84 in June and before July was over, prices had dropped back to nearly $14.00. Plenty of excitement for everyone.
On the surface, the next 12 months do not appear to be nearly as volatile. Corn harvest in the south is well under way. Clients of ours in the northern Delta are reporting corn yields down about 10% from a year ago as a result of heat and dry weather. Some states have been hurt considerably, specifically Kentucky, Tennessee, and Arkansas. However, none of those states fall into the top 12 corn-producing states.
Nationally, this will not be a record corn crop. As the Table from the USDA indicates shows, the state-by-state breakdown is a mixed bag. Iowa is in good shape but will still only match last year’s corn yield. Illinois is in a similar spot whereas Nebraska has been hurt by both drought and hail.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s estimated yield of 175.4 bu. per acre will likely be close. As the Figure shows, U.S. corn ending stocks and the end of the 2022/23 marketing year will be more than adequate. Slightly less than 2021/22, but well above the carryover in 2020/21.
War in Ukraine
The history books will likely indicate that Putin made a significant mistake invading Ukraine. Estimated Russian casualties are over 60,000 and for what? To pick up a small sliver of land that with the bridges torn down, now Russian supplies cannot even get there. Nevertheless, geographically, because of the ports, the move has strategic benefits for Russia, but at a big cost.
But even the impact on the corn and wheat market has been far less than what the press would like people to believe. Currently USDA is estimating this year’s Ukrainian corn production at 30 MMT versus 42.1 in 2021/22. Ukrainian's exports will also be down but will have negligible impact on the market.
With a projected ending stocks-to-use ratio in the U.S. of 10%, the expected average price should be approximately $6.00/bu. give or take 30 cents basis central Illinois. There will of course be some surprises along the way. It always happens. But overall, this would appear to be a much calmer year ahead in grain prices than what we suffered through these past 12 months. We could all use a more normal market.
The world is a much different place than it was three years ago. The word “normal” has taken on a new meaning. The good news is that people will continue to eat and that is certainly good for our industry.
Commodity trading involves substantial risk of losses as well as profits when trading futures and options and past results are not indicative of future results. This brief statement does not disclose all risk aspects of derivative trading therefore careful study of Brock Associates Disclosure Document as well as carrying FCM’s Risk Disclosures is strongly encouraged. Redistribution or reproduction of this content is strictly forbidden.
U.S. hog industry undergoes transformation
New report sheds light on how industry has evolved since the 1990s.
By Krissa Welshans
A major transformation of the U.S. hog industry began in the early 1990s bringing with it productivity growth and structural change, increased output and expanded exports. Although the number of hog farms has declined over time, farm size has increased, and the regional pattern of production has changed. These are findings in a newly released USDA Economic Research Service report compiled by a group of USDA economists.
The comprehensive report, “U.S. Hog Production: Rising Output and Changing Trends in Productivity Growth,” found that the number of hog operations with inventory declined by approximately one-third between 1997 and 2002 and then began to level off. However, the average farm size, measured by hogs per farm, roughly doubled between 1997 and 2012 but remained relatively stable afterward. Further, production shifted from farms with fewer than 5,000 head to those with 5,000 or more head, the economists found.
“As of 2017, roughly 93% of hog inventory was on farms with 2,000 or more head, a change largely driven by the increase in the share of inventory on farms with 5,000 or more head from 40% in 1997 to 73% in 2017,” they noted.
The average number of hogs sold or removed per farm rose from 945 head in 1992 to 8,721 head in 2015 while average slaughter weight also increased from 256 to 289 pounds. USDA reported that each hog weighed an additional 33 pounds at slaughter in 2017 compared with 1997, and the overall weight of the hog inventory grew 34%. These two factors—more hogs and larger hogs—contributed to an increased supply of U.S. pork, although exports have helped absorb some of the growth.
As the industry has undergone change, it has not been without challenges. To name a few, the 2008-09 recession, the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus outbreak, export tariffs and COVID-19 have each required hog producers to adapt to changing conditions, the USDA economists noted.
Industry undergoes transformation
The report also delved into how the U.S. hog industry has evolved. The economists found that hog production throughout most of the 20th century was concentrated in the Heartland Region near feed crop producing regions and interregional transportation systems. During the 1990s, however, larger numbers of hog farms began locating in the Southern Seaboard Region, primarily in North Carolina, with increased use of production contracts. This evolution has been attributed to a familiarity with poultry contract production in the Southern Seaboard Region.
Growth in Western regions also occurred, likely due to proximity to commercial feed, the economists suggested.
Meanwhile, another key transformation occurred as the hog sector shifted from independent hog production to contract production. USDA found that nearly all hog operations were independent in 1992 (97%) but that this had declined to less than half of all operations (47%) by 2015. An even more dramatic shift was found in the percentage of hogs produced under contract—in 2015, 69% of hogs were raised on contract operations compared to only 5% in 1992.
Spurred by greater use of production contracts and
technological innovation, the report pointed out that the hog industry gradually moved to more specialized operations.
“Rather than raising hogs from birth to slaughter weight, more farms are specializing in fewer phases of production,” the economists noted. In 2015, 60% of hog farms were feeder-to-finish operations, producing 83% of all market hogs.
Additionally, greater housing capacity for hogs at all phases of production provided infrastructure for the adoption of all-in/all-out management and phase feeding. These innovations were adopted to reduce the spread of disease and improve feed efficiency, the economists explained.
Along with the operational changes that occurred, USDA found that labor use on hog farms declined by 83% between 1992 and 2015, the bulk of which occurred between 1992 and 2004. The number of hours required to produce 100 pounds of weight gain also shrank from 1.2 hours to 0.2 hours. For all types of hog farms, 100 pounds of weight gain required six times the number of labor hours in 1992 than in 2015.
Producer at a glance
The U.S. Census of Agriculture indicates that the average age for all U.S. producers was 58 years in 2017, and 34% of all producers were 65 years or older. In comparison, the 2015 ARMS data indicate that hog producers were 55 years of age, on average and 22% were 65 years or older.
In 2017, only 2% of farms were operated by a beginning producer— one who has spent 10 years or less operating any farm or ranch—specialized in hog production, down sharply from 2015 ARMS data that showed 17% were operated by a beginning producer.
“Startup costs for hog production can be significant, particularly for beginning producers,” the USDA economist noted.
Alternative protein set to change feed market
3 game-changing trends in North America alternative protein market for animal feed
According to a recent study from market research firm Graphical Research, the North America alternative protein market for animal feed is gaining impetus from the growing meat prices across the U.S. and surrounding nations. By 2026, North America alternative protein market size is expected to be worth $725 million, thanks to the augmenting consumer preference for high quality meat. With the growing importance of digestive and immune health, muscle development, as well as high productivity of animals, plant-based alternative proteins are attracting attention of livestock owners across North America.
Having a strong supply chain, grain protein products have penetrated the regional market to a considerable extent. With new start-ups such as FYTO, a U.S.-based ag tech company introducing protein-rich alternatives to traditional animal feed, the focus toward carbon footprint reduction has heightened. The company claims that over 40% of carbon footprint of a dairy operation can be reduced with its aquatic plant-based feed products. The concerns over human-induced GHG emissions from livestock are likely to be addressed by several other companies as well.
Soy protein isolates registering revenue expansion
As soy protein isolates contain lesser fat and cholesterol, these ingredients are considered healthier alternatives to their conventional counterparts. Animal growth can be accelerated through the addition of these substances as they contain the essential nutrients, including amino acids.
Animal feed products for pigs, piglets, and calves have started to incorporate soy protein isolates o
wing to the advantages such as:
1. Metabolic disorder treatment
2. Weight control
3. Prevention of urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Alternative protein sources for poultry feed
The growing consumption of ready-to-eat and ready-to-heat meals (or frozen meals) has been one of the factors responsible for the expanded demand for poultry protein. By livestock, the alternative poultry protein industry size accounted for the largest share in North America due to the following factors:
1. Increased demand for chicken from restaurants and fast-food outlets
2. Investments by poultry farmers in nutritional chicken feed
3. Expansion of broiler chicken production
Pork consumption surge in Canada & U.S.
As numerous new quick-serve joints have cropped up across Canada during the pandemic, pork savories have particularly become regional favorites of the population. Due to an expected boost in hog prices across the nation, the seasonal demand patterns are likely to fuel Canada alternative protein market share for animal feed.
Recently, in an international event held in October 2021, the U.S. National Pork Producers Council advocated for animal protein consumption. The regional meat and pork industry are likely to gain momentum as issues like access and affordability of healthy foods are being addressed by regional governments.
Since the African Swine Fever (ASF), a deadly pig disease, has recently started to infiltrate several countries closer to the US, opportunities can surface from the unavoidable reorganization of the regional pork industry. The U.S. pork industry had been registering a progressive curve amidst the pandemic, with hygiene and nutrition standards likely to be raised to mitigate the disease penetration, proliferating product use.
Nordic Soya, Cargill Incorporated, Prinova Group, DuPont, Ynsect, InnovaFeed, Archer Daniel Midland Group, The Scoular Company, Darlington Ingredients, and Calysta Inc. are a few companies manufacturing alternative protein market in the regions. These companies are providing feed protein products for cattle, swine, poultry, aquaculture, and pets.
Study finds in-person grocery shopping still preferred during pandemic
Rates of indoor dining decreased in December 2020 for those 55 and older, also declined significantly in Midwest compared with other regions of the country.
A new study examines how Americans acquired food at various points during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how those activities changed over time as case numbers fluctuated and vaccines became available.
"In addition to food acquisition and the restaurant and grocery industry, this also tells us how people behave in a time of crisis. It helps us prepare for the next crisis," says Melissa Ocepek, a professor of information sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign whose work looks at the intersection of information and culture with a strong emphasis on food.
Ocepek worked with Brenna Ellison, a former Illinois professor of agricultural and consumer economics who is now at Purdue University, and Illinois doctoral student in agricultural and consumer economics Maria Kalaitzandonakes. The researchers reported their findings in the journal PLOS ONE.
They analyzed eight food-acquisition activities – in-person grocery shopping, online grocery shopping, ordering from a meal kit service, indoor restaurant dining, outdoor restaurant dining, ordering takeout from a restaurant, visiting a food bank and visiting a farmer's market.
They used data from survey responses in September 2020, December 2020 and March 2021 – points after the initial panic buying and stockpiling early in the pandemic. In September 2020, new COVID-19 case rates were relatively low, but there were concerns about cases rising in the winter and uncertainty about the timing of vaccines. In December 2020, the country was experiencing its first large surge in cases and the first vaccines were becoming available to certain people. In March 2021, cases were falling, with the expectation that widespread vaccine deployment would continue the downward trend.
"We wanted to understand what happened when people were on the other side of the panic mindset and see how people were behaving. Once people started to become familiar with the new normal, how was food buying changing?" Ellison says.
One of the most surprising findings was that in-person grocery shopping remained extremely common throughout the pandemic, even as online grocery shopping increased. According to survey data, more than 90% of people reported shopping in person across the three time periods.
"This finding suggests that brick-and-mortar grocery shopping is not going away in the near future, as has often been predicted, even before the COVID-19 pandemic," the researchers wrote.
Ocepek, who has studied online grocery shopping in the past, said there is something unique about shopping for food in person. "People like looking at the meat, they like looking at the produce, they like seeing what's in season. Those are things we aren't very good at replicating online," she says.
Activities requiring less in-person contact – online grocery shopping, ordering takeout and using a meal kit service – peaked in December 2020, likely due to the surge in cases then, the researchers reported. Visiting a food bank or farmers' market also peaked at that time. The increased use of online grocery shopping and shopping at food banks continued through March 2021.
The survey results indicate a rising class of hybrid shoppers who buy food both in person and online, with online shopping a complement rather than a substitute for in-person shopping, Ellison says. Grocers will need to examine their marketing strategies and engage with consumers in a way that gets them to shop with the company for both experiences, she says.
Before the pandemic, Americans spent more than half of their food dollars on food consumed away from home, the researchers wrote. As states restricted access to restaurants, they shifted to increased takeout, and about 80% of full-service restaurants added curbside pickup options.
Takeout ordering peaked in December 2020, but it was a common activity for all three periods, the survey results showed.
Just under a third of the survey participants reported eating indoors and outdoors at restaurants in September 2020. The rate of indoor dining increased across the time periods, with a noticeable increase in March 2021, while outdoor dining experienced a consistent decline across those times.
The youngest survey participants, ages 18-34, were significantly more likely to eat at a restaurant, both indoors and outdoors, than the oldest individuals, ages 55 and older. The rates of indoor dining decreased in December 2020 for those 55 and older. It also declined significantly in the Midwest in December 2020, compared with other regions of the country.
Restaurants were more vulnerable to surges in COVID-19, with rates of on-site dining more variable. They need to find ways to get people comfortable coming back to restaurants, the researchers said, as well as find options for when people don't feel safe eating inside – for example, encouraging outdoor dining by closing streets, as some cities did. They also need to market themselves to those most willing to dine out.
Ocepek and Ellison plan to use the survey data to answer other questions about food acquisition, including more specific ways in which shopping behavior has changed. They want to know if shoppers are making fewer trips per week to the grocery store than before the pandemic, if they are comparison shopping at multiple stores or just visiting one store, and what items they are buying in person and online. They also are interested in consumers' emotional responses to shopping.
“Everybody has feelings about grocery shopping. It creates a really great environment to understand so much else about our culture and society," Ocepek says.
Meat department performs as alternatives falter
Both units and volume of meat alternatives fall behind year-ago levels
By Krissa Welshans
Meat continues to be one of the strongest departments in stores despite inflationary pressures, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, president of 210 Analytics LLC. However, seafood and meat alternatives remain severely down.
The July edition of market research company IRI’s monthly survey of primary shoppers found the average price per pound in the meat department across all cuts and kinds, both fixed and random weight, stood at $4.56 in July 2022, up two cents from the June level but up 7.0% versus year ago.
“This means meat had below-average inflation compared to totals food and beverages,” Roerink noted. “In the past few months, meat inflation has been milder than the 52-week average, indicating that the increases are moderating.”
However, inflation in processed meat stayed in the double digits, up 12.8% in July 2022.
Overall, meat volume was a mere 1.3% behind year ago levels in July.
Total fresh meat sales were up 4.0% in July, and processed meat dollars were up 8.8% year over year in July.
“Poultry delivered big, but this was inflation driven. The impact of the very inflationary levels in poultry is clear with beef and pork growing pounds year-on-year versus declines for chicken and turkey,” Roerink reported.
On the ground meat side, July was a good month for ground beef with dollar growth versus year ago, two years ago and the pre-pandemic 2019. The second-largest seller, ground turkey, also grew as did chicken. Areas that lost a little ground in comparison to last year’s sales were ground lamb and veal. Roerink called ground pork a “winning story” due to a year-on-year volume increase of 16.8%. Ground pork was up 30.1% in pounds versus 2019.
Plant-based meat alternatives fall behind
Combined refrigerated and frozen plant-based meat alternatives generated $120 million in the five weeks ending July 31, 2022. While this was a year-over-year increase of 7.6% in dollars, both units and volume fell behind year-ago levels.
Roerink said the dollar gains were mostly boosted by inflation predominantly seen in frozen meat alternatives.
“While refrigerated plant-based meat alternative buyers are spending a bit more, it is the drop in household penetration that is driving the sales declines seen since the third quarter of 2021.”
Sales for refrigerated plant-based meat alternatives were down about $3 million between the first and second quarter of 2022. Sales totaled $109 million, which was down 14.5% versus year-ago. June 2022 generated $39.2 million in sales, which was down 14.3% year over year, and as sales are lapping a period of stagnant growth, gains versus 2020 were down 14.3% as well.
From the editors of Feedstuffs
Cattle prices resilient as feedlots defy gravity again
Aided and abetted by the drought, feedlots put together another month of large placements in July, according to Oklahoma State University Livestock Marketing Specialist Derrell Peel.
USDA’s July “Cattle on Feed” report showed placements were 101.8% of last year, despite growing indications that feeder supplies are declining. July 1 estimated feeder supplies outside of feedlots were down 2.7% year over year.
“Drought continues to force cattle to market sooner than planned,” Peel noted. “Oklahoma auction volumes of feeder cattle for the past six weeks are up 10.9%, consistent with the unexpectedly large placements in July.”
July feedlot placements included a 2.5% decrease in feeders weighing over 700 pounds, which was more than offset by a 9.5% increase in feeders weighting less than 700 pounds. Peel noted that this is the third month in a row with increased placements of lightweight feeders and decreased placement of heavy feeders.
Study finds organic dairy farming can reduce GHG emissions
A new study in the August issue of the Journal of Cleaner Production reveals that it is possible for farms to sequester carbon and reduce their overall greenhouse gas emissions. A University of Wisconsin Madison research group unveiled a dairy lifecycle assessment conducted on Organic Valley farms that shows small organic dairy farms, which focus on grazing and organic production techniques, are low greenhouse gas champions.
Pork supply chain invests $6.5 million in novel vaccine platform
Genvax Technologies, a startup dedicated to bringing advances in self-amplifying mRNA vaccine production to animal health, has secured $6.5 million in series seed funding. This funding moves the company toward USDA and international regulatory approval of its vaccines in anticipation of any foreign animal disease outbreak in order to increase health and profitability in livestock production. The company's proprietary saRNA platform allows for rapid development of herd or flock-specific vaccines matched 100% to the variant strain circulating in an animal-production operation. By inserting a specific transgene or "gene of interest" matched to the variant strain into the platform, the saRNA can generate an antibody response without requiring the whole pathogen. Read
More and Watch our interview.
Steakholder Foods Ltd., an international deep-tech food company at the forefront of the cultured meat industry, is pleased to announce that it will begin developing cultured pork products from a new line of induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) porcine cells.
The new stem cell line was derived from sampled cells that were reprogrammed back into an embryonic-like pluripotent state. This enables one cell bank to become an unlimited and highly scalable source for developing any type of muscle or fat cells for cultured meat production.
Steakholder Foods has partnered with a leading iPS cell line provider in order to shorten its development timeline for structured pork products, such as bacon, pork chops and ham.
Through a unique process of cell cultivation and 3D bioprinting, the company expects to achieve the taste, texture and mouthfeel of conventional pork.
Steakholder Foods’ proprietary 3D-bioprinting technology can produce structured meat with any muscle-to-fat ratio at an industrial rate of production and with pinpoint precision based on any desired shape, width or design.
Steakholder Foods’ venture into cultured pork adds to the company’s already diverse product development activities which include cultured beef, chicken, fish, and seafood.
Steakholder Foods Ltd., formerly MeaTech 3D Ltd., initiated activities in 2019 and maintains facilities in Rehovot, Israel and Antwerp, Belgium. The company is currently in the process of expanding activities to the U.S.
Study finds pulsed light technology kills pathogens in food
A light-based, food sanitization technique successfully eliminated multiple harmful pathogens in a new study carried out by Pennsylvania State University researchers. The pulsed light technique shows promise as an effective alternative to the chemical, heat and water-based antimicrobial technologies commonly used in the food industry — and could be applicable more generally in sanitized environments such as hospitals, water treatment facilities and pharmaceutical plants, according to the researchers.
Tyson Foods invests $200m in Amarillo beef plant
Tyson Foods announced it is investing $200 million at its Amarillo, Texas beef plant to expand and upgrade operations and build a new team member well-being area.
The project will begin this fall and involves construction of a 143,000-square-foot addition to the existing beef complex to house upgraded team member well-being areas.
The project will also expand and enhance the facility’s existing operations floor.
J.M. Huber Corporation acquiring Biolchim Group
J.M. Huber Corporation (Huber), a global, family-owned specialty engineered materials manufacturing company, announced this week that it has signed a binding agreement to acquire full control of the Biolchim Group from NB Renaissance, Chequers Capital and the Biolchim Group management team.
The Biolchim Group, managed and headed by Galileo Quattro SARL, has its main operating base in Italy and is a leading producer and distributor of a full range of specialty plant nutrition and biostimulants.
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Recently on Feedstuffs 365
Brad Schwan, Vice President, Marketing for ADM, joins us to discuss the latest in global trends, innovation and solutions being brought forward in the food industry. We'll gain insight on what's hot as well as how consumers interest in such things as plant-based and gluten-free foods are trending.
Joining us to discuss sustainability in the food and ag space is Andrew Utterback, Senior Manager, Sustainability with Ingredion. How important is sustainability to consumers and investor community? What do you need to know when it comes to sustainability in your business model? Utterback shares his thoughts.
INSIDE WASHINGTON: USDA broadens targeting of disaster assistance
More than 18,000 producers could qualify for disaster payments under Emergency Relief Program.
By Jacqui Fatka
USDA has paid out $6.37 billion in Emergency Relief Program payments to a total of 261,017 applicants for losses experienced in 2020 and 2021. In continued efforts by the agency to simplify the application process, USDA announced Aug. 18 that it was sending new or updated pre-filled disaster applications to offset losses to more than 18,000 producers.
Before applying any program payment factors or eligibility criteria, it is estimated that this next installment may generate about $756 million in assistance, the agency estimates.
By breaking-down agency barriers, using existing data across USDA and pre-filled applications, USDA’s Farm Service Agency in cooperation with the Risk Management Agency has been able to expediently provide economic relief and save producers and staff over a million hours of time.
Related: New USDA disaster assistance program finds success
“We knew when we announced ERP in May that we would have additional applications to send toward the end of the summer as we received new information, and we came to know of producers who were inadvertently left out of the first data set we used,” explains USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Robert Bonnie. “I am proud of our team's continued effort to capture additional insurance records to enable over 18,000 producers to receive new or updated pre-filled disaster applications to provide much needed financial relief.”
FSA says it will begin mailing pre-filled applications in late August to producers who have potentially eligible losses and:
- Received crop insurance indemnities for qualifying 2020 and 2021 disaster events after May 2, 2022.
- Received crop insurance indemnities associated with Nursery, Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), Stacked Income Protection Plan (STAX), Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO) and Margin Protection (MP) policies.
- New primary policyholders not included in the initial insured producer Phase 1 mailing from May 25, 2022, because their claim records had not been filled.
- Certain 2020 prevent plant losses related to qualifying 2020 disaster events that had only been recorded in crop insurance records as related to 2019 adverse weather events and, as such, were not previously provided in applications sent earlier this year.
- New Substantial Beneficial Interest (SBI) records, including SBIs where tax identification numbers were corrected.
Producers are expected to receive assistance direct deposited into their bank account within three business days after they sign and return the pre-filled application to the FSA county office and the county office enters the application into the system.
Payments to date
ERP and the previously announced ELRP are authorized by the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act, which President Biden signed into law in 2021. The law provided $10 billion to help agricultural producers impacted by wildfires, droughts, hurricanes, winter
storms and other eligible disasters experienced during calendar years 2020 and 2021.
This emergency relief under ERP complements ERP assistance recently provided to more than 167,000 producers who had received crop insurance indemnities and Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) payments for qualifying losses. USDA has processed more than 261,000 applications for ERP, and to date, has made approximately $6.4 billion in payments to commodity and specialty crop producers to help offset eligible losses from qualifying 2020 and 2021 natural disasters. Also, earlier this year, staff processed more than 100,000 payments through the Emergency Livestock Relief Program and paid eligible producers more than $601.3 million for 2021 grazing losses within days of the program announcement.
Corn producers have received $1.9 million in payments, followed by soybean producers receiving $1.1 million and wheat at $921 million. North Dakota producers have benefited the most with a total of over $1 billion in payments, followed by Texas with $786 million.
The second phase of both ERP and ELRP will be aimed at filling gaps and provide assistance to producers who did not participate in or receive payments through the existing risk management programs that are being leveraged for phase one implementation. USDA will keep producers and stakeholders informed as program details are made available.
For more information on ERP and ELRP eligibility, program provisions for historically underserved producers as well as Frequently Asked Questions, producers can visit FSA’s Emergency Relief webpage. A new public-facing dashboard on the ERP webpage has information on ERP payments that can be sorted by crop type – specialty or non-specialty– specific commodities and state. FSA will update the dashboard every Monday.
Names in the News
New hires, promotions, retirements
Conagra Brands promotes Tracy Schaefer
Conagra Brands Inc. has announced the appointment of Tracy Schaefer to senior vice president and chief information officer, effective August 22, 2022.
"Tracy has a strong track record of delivering excellent results in finance, information technology and global business services," said Dave Marberger, chief financial officer, Conagra Brands. "Her deep understanding of the business, strategic mindset, and exceptional leadership skills will all be critical as we continue to work across the enterprise to deliver on our strategic plans."
Thompson promoted at Brock Grain Systems
Tauren Thompson has been promoted to product technical group manager for Brock Grain Systems, according to Mark Dingeldein, new product development director for the CTB Inc. business unit. Thompson’s new responsibilities in this position include managing the product technical group, supporting the Brock dealer network, and working with sales, customer support, engineering, and dealers to improve Brock products.
AAFCO selects new executive director
After an extensive process, AAFCO announced it has hired Austin Therrell as its new executive director, effective September 6, 2022. The AAFCO hiring committee evaluated applicants based on government and regulatory experience, food chain and industry knowledge, feed regulation material comprehension, strategic planning and leadership skills.
Tim Brown joins Grain States Soya/SoyBest
Grain States Soya Inc. announced this week that Tim Brown has joined the company as the new nutrition technical service manager.
In this role, Brown will work with current and future customers on their dairy cattle nutrition needs.
JBS announces key leadership changes
Three JBS executives are transitioning to new leadership roles within the company. Michael Koenig has been named global chief ethics and compliance officer of JBS. Denilson Molina has been named global chief financial officer of Wild Fork Foods in North America and Swift in Brazil, a newly-created position to support this growing business. Victor Machado, current chief financial officer of Swift Prepared Foods, has been named chief financial officer of JBS USA.
Nutrien announces Ken Seitz as president, CEO
Nutrien Ltd. recently announced the appointment of Ken Seitz as its president and chief executive officer (CEO), effective August 8, 2022. Seitz will also join the Nutrien Board of Directors. The announcement follows an extensive seven-month global search including internal and external candidates led by the board and supported by a world-class executive recruitment firm with a dedicated agriculture and chemical practice.
GreenStone Farm Credit Services appoints CFO
GreenStone Farm Credit Services is pleased to announce the promotion of Kimberly Brunner as its executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO). Brunner assumed the new role on August 1, 2022, in sync with the previous announcement of former CFO Travis Jones transitioning to the chief executive officer leadership position for the association.
Michael Torrey Associates
adds policy coordinator
Michael Torrey Associates (MTA) welcomes Caroline Snell to the policy team. The Washington, D.C.-based firm offers government relations, strategic communications, and issue advocacy as well as full-service association management to a growing number of clients in the food, agriculture, and forestry sector.
Snell serves as policy coordinator for Michael Torrey Associates, where she provides policy research, communications, and administrative support for the team. Prior to accepting this position, Snell served as MTA’s intern.
Reese to lead UMN West Central
Research and Outreach Center
After serving as the director of operations at the University of Minnesota’s West Central Research and Outreach Center, Morris, for the last 12 and a half years, Professor Lee Johnston returned fully to his research work in the University of Minnesota's Department of Animal Science, where he has been a faculty member since 1988. He will continue to base his research out of the WCROC.
Johnson has garnered much appreciation throughout the UMN system for his outstanding work in delivering educational programs to pork producers and other industry professionals, conducting swine nutrition and management research, and supervising the WCROC's swine research unit while serving as director.
Mike Reese, who has served as the center's renewable energy program director since 2001, assumed WCROC's leadership role as the new director of operations.
As the WCROC's renewable energy director for more than 20 years, Reese has overseen the development of the renewable energy program at Morris and participated as principal investigator or project manager on more than $30 million of research and demonstration projects.
FACILITIES: Empowering employees through training
Whether it be related to manufacturing, quality, food safety or management principles, training is an incredibly important part of a facility’s successful operations.
By Adam C. Fahrenholz, Wilmer Pacheco and Charles Stark
Summer months at our universities are often full of training, through both formal courses and conferences and informal conversations with facilities as we travel in between the teaching, research, outreach and administrative responsibilities of the spring and fall semesters. Whether it be related to manufacturing, quality, food safety or management principles, training is an incredibly important part of a facility’s successful operations. And so, with that in mind, we’re borrowing from a topic originally discussed in this space in 2014, empowering employees through training.
All animal food manufacturing facilities should have effective training protocols in place. This is important in order to comply with regulations, to mitigate safety and economic risks, and to provide employees with knowledge that they can use to improve performance in their current role as well as to grow and develop professionally. Any effective training program should include both instruction and documentation, and should include all relevant areas of production, from order entry to delivery, from employee safety to customer service. And while training takes time and effort, it truly is an investment worth making. Consider the current labor market and it is painfully evident that anything we can do to retain employees will probably have a pretty good ROI.
It is also interesting to consider that the most indispensable employees on payroll in a facility may very well be the least paid. They are the ones doing the day-to-day tasks that can’t be delayed and are often the first line of defense when it comes to communicating that a problem has occurred and asking for help from upper management. If they are not there or fail to be observant and communicate effectively, the chance of catching mistakes in time to stop the process or make a correction is greatly reduced.
Of course, the highest paid management staff also have a significant impact on facility success due to the decisions they are required to make and the processes they oversee. While training at this level looks different, it is no less valuable in order to build a successful operation. Therefore, it is important to train all members of the team and to fully utilize all of the available resources to develop effective programs.
Programs should be developed based on job and training requirements of the employee. The learning styles of the employees should also be taken into consideration and a variety of delivery methods may be employed, all while ensuring that employees are given enough time to complete their training. Employees are more apt to be successful throughout their training when specific time is allotted and/or they are given the opportunity to interact with other participants. On-line training can be an efficient method of delivery, but generally must include some sort of interaction or assessment (e.g., quizzes, follow up discussions, practical examination) to ensure comprehension of the content presented in the training. Advances in training media and platforms have improved the ability to offer web-based training to individuals and groups. In comparison to earlier book and videotape methods, training can be more customized and dynamic. Additionally, the use of animation, virtual blackboards and other innovative media make trainings more interesting and lead to an overall greater impact.
Three common web-based training methods are webinars, training “toolboxes,” and comprehensive on-line courses. Webinars are now quite familiar to most of us due to a global pandemic and other travel restrictions, and are generally good platforms for presentations to large groups. The fact that webinars can be hosted by multiple individuals, include multiple media types, and be recorded for further dissemination are all significant advantages.
Training “toolboxes,” which are often a group of single-topic presentations, are popular for self-paced new employee and safety training. Presentations are typically a mix of audio-over-slide and video, and often include quiz questions throughout or at the end to evaluate employee comprehension. Documentation of the training is automatically generated, satisfying recordkeeping requirements and allowing supervisors to monitor progress and comprehension. Systems using these methods are also useful because they can automatically generate reminders when training needs to be re-taken after a certain period of time.
The most robust on-line trainings are multi-topic “courses” housed within a learning management system (LMS). Topics may be presented as audio-over-slide, recordings of a live classroom session, or a number of other multimedia methods. Because instructors can upload electronic or scanned documents, provide access to relevant web assets, include or link to videos or other media, and capture on-screen notations, these trainings tend to be the most interactive and useful for complex topics and those specifically targeted for professional development. Trainings may also include short assignments as well as quizzes, allowing for more flexibility in the evaluation of employees.
Perhaps the greatest advantage of any of the platforms described is the ability to collect data on users’ preferences and performance and then implement changes relatively quickly. This dynamic evolution is key to developing and providing the feed industry with the training it requires.
While there are a number of opportunities to engage with training developed by regulatory agencies, trade associations, universities, and private training organizations, educational programs can be created and accomplished internally as well. This could be through dedicated and customized training programs, or through open conversations that allow employees to ask relevant questions and get direct answers. Regardless of the method, making sure employees are engaged in training and that they understand why it is important is the key to empowering them to use the information for their own good and the good of the facility. When employees believe they are adding value, simply because they know why something is done in a certain way, they will almost certainly be more likely to buy in to the goals the training set out to establish and meet.
NUTRITION & HEALTH: Researcher explores using peanut skins in food, livestock feed
On the livestock feed front, Toomer and collaborators are exploring the benefits of adding peanut skins to the diets of poultry.
America's fondness for peanuts accounts for 65% of all U.S. nut consumption. Per person, that equates to nearly 8 pounds of goobers annually.
But what's to be done with the estimated 40 million to 70 million pounds of peanut skins that are stripped from the nut in the process of turning it into peanut butter, snack food, candy ingredients, oil and other products?
Ondulla Toomer, a research chemist with the Agricultural Research Service in Raleigh, North Carolina has some ideas.
Her studies at the agency's Food Science and Market Quality and Handling Research Unit in Raleigh suggest a range of food and livestock feed uses that could potentially open the door to new, value-added markets for peanut skins.
Instead of landfill waste, Toomer sees untapped nutritional potential in the paper-thin skins, which are chock full of protein, carbohydrates, fats, fiber and minerals and vitamins. Peanut skins also contain bioactive compounds, including antioxidants that help neutralize cell-damaging molecules in the body called free radicals. Some, in fact, have antioxidant activity levels equal to those of green tea, grape skins and other sources.
On the livestock feed front, Toomer and collaborators are exploring the benefits of adding peanut skins to the diets of poultry. However, peanut skins contain tannins, which can reduce the digestion of protein from feed. The researchers have begun evaluating low inclusion levels (4%) of peanut skins with a view to determining the optimal amount that can be added.
Aware of peanut sensitivities in some consumers, the researchers also checked for the presence of allergenic peanut proteins in egg and meat samples produced from birds fed peanut-containing diets. However, no traces of peanut allergens were detected. Another interest: determining whether birds fed peanut skins shed fewer Salmonella bacteria, which can pose a human food safety concern with the consumption of poultry meat or eggs.
On the functional food front, the researchers are comparing concentrations of bioactive compounds in different colored peanut skins, which range from red, tan and brown, to white, black and variegated.
Toomer said profiling the nutritional chemistry and properties of peanut skins is a key step towards figuring out how best to use them, with potential benefits to producers and consumers. More broadly, Toomer's efforts dovetail with the ARS lab's overarching mission to improve the productivity, processing, end-user quality and nutritional value of not only peanut, but also cucumber, sweet potato, pepper and cabbage crops.
NUTRITION & HEALTH: Heat stress indicators in non-lactating dairy cattle
Heat stress breakpoints for non-lactating cattle will vary by climate, heat abatement, and maturity.
By Dr. Bethany Dado-Senn, Dr. Veronique Ouellet, and Dr. Jimena Laporta
It’s no secret that this summer has been a challenging one for dairy cows. It seems like nearly every week in most parts of the U.S., bulk tank averages and milk components struggle as dairy farmers combat heat stress in their lactating cows. Notably, there are other cattle in the herd that don’t contribute to the bulk tank but still struggle with production, welfare, and health under elevated ambient temperatures. These include non-lactating, dry dairy cows and young stock.
In a recent presentation at the 2022 Four State Dairy Nutrition conference, Dr. Jimena Laporta discussed some of the consequences and benchmarks for heat stress detection and prevention in dry cows and pre-weaned dairy calves. These benchmarks were established based on research conducted by our group in both the Southeastern and Midwestern U.S. regions. The Southeastern U.S. is a subtropical climate characterized by sustained and severe levels of heat stress across the entire summer, whereas the Midwest is a temperate, continental climate characterized by substantial diurnal and season temperature variations. Therefore, establishing customized benchmarks for each region deems necessary and will allow for more accurate and timely heat stress detection and intervention on-farm.
Dry period heat stress - When dry cows are exposed to heat stress in the late stages of gestation, they make less milk in subsequent lactations, and their calf is born earlier, smaller, and more immunocompromised. Further, the in utero heat-stressed heifer calf will have a slower developing mammary gland that will make less milk at maturity almost two years later.
In a recent study, we determined thresholds at which dry cows begin to display signs of heat stress in a subtropical, Southeastern U.S. climate (Ouellet et al. 2021). We analyzed the thermoregulatory and environmental records of 218 dry cows experimentally exposed to either heat stress or heat abatement (i.e., cooled via fans and water soakers) during the entire dry period (Figure 1). Using segmented regression models, we assessed environmental “breakpoints” at which respiration rate or rectal temperature began to abruptly rise in both heat-stressed and cooled dry cows. At a temperature-humidity index (THI) of 77, heat-stressed dry cows had a sharp rise in respiration rate and rectal temperatures (Figure 2). Meanwhile, respiration rates began to abruptly rise at a THI of 75 in dry-cooled cows, yet the overall respiratory rates never rose above 60 breaths per minute (Figure 2). Research in both dry and lactating cows suggests that 60 breaths per minute is the target respiration rate benchmark at which these cows begin to experience heat stress (Toledo et al. 2020).
Pre-weaned heat stress - Although dairy calves are more thermotolerant relative to mature cows, they are still susceptible to welfare and productive impairments under heat stress. Under elevated ambient temperatures, pre-weaned calves may have reduced feed intakes, impaired growth, altered thermoregulatory behaviors, and increased stress responses. Identifying heat stress in young stock can be challenging, as calf productive and vital/thermoregulatory responses are rarely measured on-farm. By developing environmental thresholds for pre-weaned calves, we can aid dairy farmers in early detection and monitoring of heat stress to prompt further monitoring and implementation of heat abetment strategies. We conducted two separate studies in a subtropical (i.e., Florida) and temperate/continental climate (i.e., Wisconsin) where we collected summer environmental and thermoregulatory responses in pre-weaned dairy calves to establish environmental breakpoints.
In the summer of 2018, we evaluated 48 group-housed auto-feeder calves under natural ventilation (heat-stressed) or active ventilation via fans (cooled, Figure 3) in Florida. We measured respiration rates and rectal temperatures thrice daily between 21 and 42 days of age, and milk intakes were collected daily (Dado-Senn et al. 2020). Through correlation analysis, we found that THI was the optimal environmental indicator in a subtropical climate to monitor the onset of calf heat stress. We implemented segmented regression to determine breakpoints. We found that heat-stressed calves abruptly increased respiration rate and rectal temperatures at a THI of 65 and 67 respectively, while cooled calves saw a rise in respiration rate at a THI of 69 and saw no breakpoint for rectal temperature (Figure 3). Interestingly, we also found that there was a sudden drop in milk replacer intake for heat-stressed calves at a THI of 82 (Figure 3).
To better understand the nuances of calf heat stress responses in the more variable, temperate Midwestern climate, we conducted a similar study in the summer of 2021 in Wisconsin (Dado-Senn et al. in review). We assessed thermoregulatory responses from 63 hutch-housed calves twice daily between 14 to 42 days of age, but in this study, we did not provide any active cooling (Figure 4). Correlation analysis in this experiment identified ambient, dry bulb temperature to be the optimal environmental indicator instead of THI. This finding makes sense, as the humidity contribution of the THI equation is not as constant or severe in a temperate relative to subtropical climate. We found a sharp rise in calf respiration rate and rectal temperate when THI reaches 69 or when dry bulb temperature reaches 21 to 21.5 °C (Figure 4).
NUTRITION & HEALTH: Feeding concept improves pig gut microbiota, reduces methane
Impact of the enzyme on pig growth performance, feed efficiency, gut health and immune response will also be investigated.
A new research and innovation project will develop a feeding concept to improve pig gut microbiota i.e., the microorganisms living in the gastrointestinal tract in pigs. The aim is to improve pig health, reduce methane emissions and improve pig growth performance and thus the overall production economy.
Danisco Animal Nutrition & Health, part of IFF's Health & Biosciences division, and Aarhus University will develop the concept. The collaborators says the preliminary results are so promising that Innovation Fund Denmark decided to grant 14 million DKK to the project.
"The concept builds on a new approach in which a supplemented enzyme is added to the feed. This enzyme will release so-called prebiotic substrates in the gastrointestinal tract in pigs," says Project Manager Charlotte Horsmans Poulsen, Health & Biosciences, IFF.
The prebiotic substrates will increase the development of a desirable gut microbiota composition with higher numbers of growth-promoting beneficial bacteria and fewer methanogenic archaea, which produce the climate gas methane.
"We expect that the new feeding concept will reduce methane emissions from pig production, improve pig growth and performance and increase the general health status in pig herds," says Poulsen.
Danisco Animal Nutrition & Health will be responsible for developing the enzyme concept, and Aarhus University will investigate the impact on pigs' methane emissions. In addition, the impact of the enzyme on pig growth performance, feed efficiency, gut health and immune response will be investigated.
"Compared to cattle, pigs emit far less methane per animal, but due to the considerable pig population size in Denmark, it is important to consider the possibilities of reducing emissions from pigs," says Senior Researcher Ole Højberg, Department of Animal Sciences at Aarhus University, who is also the coordinator of the university's part of the project.
He further points out that one of the major potentials of the new feeding concept is a reduced climate footprint together with an improved pig health as well as a reduced dependence on antibiotics and other antimicrobial substances in production.
A high consumption of antibiotics results in resistance in the microorganisms at which the antibiotic treatment is targeted. Antimicrobial resistance is an increasing problem and is considered a major global threat to public health. Denmark has a huge pig production, and this means that approximately 75% of the antimicrobials used for livestock in Denmark is applied to pigs.
NUTRITION & HEALTH: Predicting dairy cow feed intake
Can we do better than the weatherman?
By Billy Brown, Malia Caputo, and Heather White
Feed is the primary expense on dairy farms, so identifying cows that are more feed efficient can pay dividends for dairy farmers and improve sustainability of dairy production. Determination of feed efficiency for individual cows requires feed intake measurement capabilities; however, this is not possible in group-housed dairy cows today. In the absence of having individual intakes, how could we identify cows that are feed efficient (or inefficient) using markers that could easily be accessed from existing data streams on dairy farms? If we could determine individual cow intakes, could we manage cows differently based on their feed efficiency? Are there other benefits to knowing a cow’s feed intake, such as predicting disease or estrus?
Feed intake prediction models currently are not precise enough to predict intake for individual cows, but function well to formulate rations for groups of cattle. These models utilize basic cow descriptive factors, such as milk production and components, body weight, stage of lactation, breed, and parity. There has been a recent effort to strengthen feed intake prediction models with new data sources that are becoming available on dairy farms, and predicting feed intake accurately on the cow-level will require incorporation of novel data streams. A multitude of possibilities exist (Figure 1).
Metabolism and smart technologies
Technological advancements in the dairy industry have given dairy farmers access to a variety of precision management technologies, including activity monitoring systems and real-time blood analysis devices. These technologies generate information that could be considered as predictor variables. A recent publication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison looked at the value of adding sensor-derived behavior variables and blood metabolites as novel data streams to traditional feed intake prediction models (Martin et al., 2021; J. Dairy Sci. 104:8765-8782). In addition to collecting blood samples, a commercial ear tag sensor system (SMARTBOW; Zoetis) was used to measure activity, rumination, lying time, and location. The researchers used a sequential approach to adding different predictor variables to their models based upon the ease of obtaining each predictor type. Adding the sensor-derived behavioral variables to the traditional predictor variables explained additional 2% of the variation in intake. While nominal, this improvement highlights a unique contribution that alternate data streams have on explaining variation in intake. However, further addition of blood metabolites that are relevant to body energy status did not improve precision nor accuracy of the predictions. Overall, these researchers were predicting feed intake with 82% precision.
Milk fatty acids and predicted transmitting abilities
On-farm DHIA milk testing programs may be another source of novel predictor variables. Milk fatty acid analysis is growing in popularity and availability through milk testing organizations. Milk fatty acids are indicative of nutritional and metabolic status and may present a snapshot of the cow’s feed intake patterns. Brown et al. (2022, as recently accepted in JDS) tackled their usefulness as predictor variables in a study using data from 350 cows at the University of Wisconsin-Madison dairy herd. Excitingly, new variables like preformed and de novo fatty acids improved prediction of feed intake over traditional predictor variables by 4 to 8%. Similar results were obtained by other researchers using milk mid-infrared spectroscopy wavelengths (Dórea et al., 2018; J. Dairy Sci. 104:8765–8782).
Perhaps one of the most easily accessible candidate predictor variables for feed intake prediction models has been overlooked entirely until this year. Predicted transmitting abilities (PTA) are a measure of the animal’s genetic capability. While traditional PTA for milk production and components have been available for decades, recent work has enabled the development of new PTA related to feed efficiency – notably, PTA for residual feed intake and body weight composite. When offering these PTA for inclusion in prediction models, the PTA for milk and residual feed intake were routinely retained in the final models (Brown et al., 2022) and increased precision of prediction by 3 to 12% over traditional predictor variables. This is an exciting development, and validates the previous work conducted on research farms (where individual feed intake can be determined) to evaluate the genetic aspect of feed efficiency.
When combined, traditional predictor variables in addition to milk fatty acids and PTA in feed intake prediction models explained 67% of the variation in daily feed intake (Brown et al., 2022). The unique aspect about the models developed by these researchers is that they were derived from data on a single day rather than the normal approach of averaging data over a period of weeks or months. This is promising, because it suggests we can accurately predict individual cow feed intake at a single moment in time without having to collect animal data for days or weeks on end. We could theoretically determine feed intake for cows on a routine basis on the farm.
Future approaches and considerations
As a part of their efforts, the team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison created a suite of models based on different combinations of data sources, which allows the farmer to use the model that best reflects data streams available on their farm (Table 1). For example, if the farmer in a robotic herd has access to body weights and routinely assigns body condition scores, but the DHIA does not include milk fatty acid testing, they could use model 5 based on those needs (Table 1).
The fact that a farmer could predict feed intake on the dairy farm could open a world of possibilities for management aspects on the farm. Could it be used to more accurately inform dairy nutritionists to estimate feed intake when balancing a ration for a group of cows? If a pen of cows is consuming more feed than can fit in one mixer wagon, can we adjust grouping by moving a few cows that are eating the most to another pen so we can ensure feed is mixed appropriately? Could this help predict disease in cows that are not yet showing clinical signs but have unknowingly started to drop in feed intake? Clearly, one of the greatest opportunities is to identify the most feed efficient cows and make management and breeding decisions based on those metrics. The potential of these models to be used is only limited by the creativity of industry.
More work is needed to improve the accuracy of predicting feed intake. The use of smart technologies, milk fatty acids, and PTA as predictor variables indicates there is probably a wealth of data available to us today or in the near future that could prove useful for predicting feed intake. Overall, it appears that continued integration of data streams on dairy farms may help to better monitor and manage our cows in the future.
Brown, W.E., M.J. Martin, C. Siberski, J.E. Koltes, F. Peñagaricano, K.A. Weigel, and H.M. White. 2022. Predicting feed intake using point-in-time data streams readily available on dairy farms. J. Dairy Sci. Accepted.
Dórea, J. R. R., G. J. M. Rosa, K. A. Weld, and L. E. Armentano. 2018. Mining data from milk infrared spectroscopy to improve feed intake predictions in lactating dairy cows. J. Dairy Sci. 101:5878–5889. doi:10.3168/jds.2017-13997. Available from: http://dx.doi.org/10.3168/jds.2017-13997
Martin, M. J., J. R. R. Dórea, M. R. Borchers, R. L. Wallace, S. J. Bertics, S. K. DeNise, K. A. Weigel, and H. M. White. 2021. Comparison of methods to predict feed intake and residual feed intake using behavioral and metabolite data in addition to classical performance variables. J. Dairy Sci. 104:8765–8782. doi:10.3168/jds.2020-20051.
The authors are, respectively, a postdoctoral research associate, PhD candidate, and associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since submitting this manuscript, Dr. Brown has transitioned to assistant professor at Kansas State University.
NUTRITION & HEALTH: Byproduct feeds in dairy diets provide evaluable nutrients and environmental benefits
Negligible long-term non-CO2 GHG emissions are created by feeding byproducts to dairy cows.
By Dr. Mary Beth de Ondarza
Almost 30% of the world’s agricultural products actually end up as “byproducts”. Dairy cows recycle nutrients from feed byproducts into nutritious milk and dairy products. Feeding byproducts to animals greatly reduces the need for alternative disposal, such as burning or landfill dumping. Although, byproduct feeds have been fed to dairy cows for decades (Ajila et al., 2012), previous surveys do not adequately put a figure on their use in today’s US dairy diets.
As with everything the cow eats, a portion of byproduct feed is converted into methane and nitrous oxide. Enteric methane emissions are highly dependent upon rumen digestibility of feeds, while manure methane and nitrous oxide emissions vary in regard to excretion of undigested nutrients and manure management. These non-CO2 greenhouse gases (GHG) contribute to global warming. But, since byproduct feeds replace forages and grains that would otherwise be included in the dairy cow’s diet, minimal additional non-CO2 GHG emissions are generated.
Documenting the extent of byproduct feed inclusion in US dairy diets and discerning the impacts of byproduct feeding on GHG emissions will help further establish the environmental sustainability of the US dairy industry. For this reason, Dairy Management Inc. sponsored a research project (de Ondarza and Tricarico, 2021) to achieve the following objectives:
1. Understand what types of byproducts and how much of each type are fed per US milking cow (A “milking cow” was defined as a lactating cow in addition to associated dry cows and replacement heifers).
2. Quantify the enteric and manure-related GHG emissions resulting from feeding byproducts to milking cows and compare these emissions to those of other byproduct disposal methods.
3. Quantify the nutritional contributions byproducts make to US lactating cow diets (dry cows and replacement heifers excluded).
Byproducts feeds survey
Questionnaires were sent to dairy nutrition consultants and feed industry representatives in the US regarding their usage of 63 different byproduct feeds as well as the number of lactating cows and milk production of the dairies they served. Survey results described 33.5% of US lactating cows and 35.7% of US milk production in 2019, making this the most comprehensive survey of US byproduct usage in dairy cows.
Consumption of each byproduct and byproduct type on a regional and US basis were determined using questionnaire answers weighted according to 2019 USDA regional milk cow numbers and milk production.
Each day US dairy cattle consume 12 kg AF (8.2 kg DM) byproduct per milking cow (lactating cow in addition to associated dry cows and replacement heifers) or 319 g AF (219 g DM) byproduct per kg milk produced (Table 1). Cows in the West consume the most byproduct followed by the South, Northeast, and the Midwest, reflecting regional variations in byproduct cost, availability of byproduct and whole grains, as well as ability to manage feed byproducts on the farm. In 2019, US milk cows ate 32 to 41 million Mt (As-Fed) of feed byproduct based on extrapolation from either USDA milk production or USDA milk cow numbers (Table 1).
The 63 feed byproducts included in the survey were categorized into 18 feed byproduct types (Table 2). Daily consumption of feed byproduct types per milking cow in the US in 2019 is presented in Table 3. Corn distillers’ grains are fed at the highest rate of all byproducts at a US average of 1,404 g DM/milking cow/d with cows in the West consuming the most (2,289 g DM/milking cow/d). Canola meal was ranked second at a US average of 1,359 g DM/milking cow/d with cows in the West consuming the most (2,374 g DM/milking cow/d). Soybean meal was ranked third in US byproduct usage at 1,229 g DM/milking cow/d. Feed byproducts provide valuable nutrients, with the US average byproduct blend containing 30% CP, 30% NDF, 11% sugar, and 7% fat on a DM basis.
Non-CO2 GHG emissions from byproduct feeds
The 100-year Global Warming Potentials (GWP100) of 34 and 298 were used to express methane and nitrous oxide emissions, respectively, in terms of “CO2 equivalent emissions” (CO2-eq) (Myhre et al., 2013). The equation of Niu et al. (2018) based on a dataset containing 1,084 observations across 45 studies conducted in the US between 1962 and 2016 was used for estimating enteric methane (g/d) from feed byproducts.
On average, US milking cows produced 7654 CO2-eq, g/d of enteric methane from 8.2 kg DM byproduct daily in 2019 (Table 4). Enteric methane production from byproduct is greatest for the South and West (8080 and 8933 CO2-eq, g/d) given their greater byproduct feeding rates (9.6 and 10.9 kg DM/d). Average US milking cow enteric methane yield is 932 g CO2-eq per kg byproduct DM. Mean US enteric methane intensity is 207 g CO2-eq from byproduct/kg of milk.
Methane emissions from manure were calculated using an Environmental Protection Agency equation based on manure volatile solids (EPA, 2011). Direct nitrous oxide (g/d) from manure and indirect nitrous oxide (g/d) from manure were calculated using equations based on fecal nitrogen (EPA, 2019). According to EPA (2019), US dairy manure is managed as follows: 40% anaerobic lagoons, 24% liquid/slurry systems, 18% solid storage, 12% daily spreading, 4% pasture, range, or paddocks, and 1% deep pit storage. These waste management system usage estimates are based on state or regional usage data from various sources (e.g. Census of Agriculture, EPA’s Office of Water, USDA, and opinions from experts) and not from farm-level estimates. Although this represents a limitation, it is currently the only available source of data on the percent manure distribution among waste management systems by operation on a state level. The collection and summarization of primary farm-level data is needed, for example through an updated and more comprehensive survey, to provide a better representation of how manure is managed on US dairy farms.
On average, US milking cows produced 5,580 CO2-eq, g/d from manure methane and manure nitrous oxide arising from 8.2 kg DM byproduct daily in 2019 (Table 4). Manure emission intensities averaged 151 CO2-eq/milk (g/kg) from byproduct. Regional production of manure methane followed byproduct consumption, but it was greatly affected by regional differences in waste management systems, with a predominance of liquid manure handling and storage (e.g. anaerobic lagoon and liquid/slurry) in the West compared to the other regions. The low predicted manure methane values for the Northeast are largely due to the predominance of the daily spread manure management system suggested by EPA (2019) for that region.
Dietary nutrients, GHG emissions from byproduct feeds in the lactating diet
Using the dairy nutritionist survey data only, byproduct feeds consumed by lactating cows (dry cows and replacement heifers excluded) were calculated for the US and its four regions (Table 5). Lactating diets were formulated with byproduct feed blends for each region and the US and using typical regional forages and whole grains.
Daily feed byproduct consumed ranged from 8.65 kg AF (6.41 kg DM) for the Northeast to 12.46 kg AF (8.54 kg DM) in the West with a US average of 11.04 kg AF (7.62 kg DM). This represents a US average feed byproduct inclusion of 32% of the lactating diet with regional values ranging from 27% in the Northeast to 36% in the West. On average, feed byproduct supplies 54% of the crude protein needed by US lactating cows, ranging from 44% in the Midwest to 66% in the South. Feed byproduct is used to supply 61% of the sugar in lactating cow diets, ranging from 52% in the Midwest to 72% in the South. Lactating cows also receive an average of 46% of their dietary fat from byproduct sources, ranging from 33% in the Northeast to 56% in the West.
On average, 36% of non-CO2 GHG emissions generated by US lactating dairy cows result from the fermentation of byproduct feeds. Due mainly to high byproduct usage, the West region has the highest percentage (38%) of lactating cow non-CO2 GHG emissions from byproduct while the Northeast has both the lowest percentage of lactating cow non-CO2 GHG emissions from byproduct (34%) and the lowest byproduct feeding rate.
GHG emissions from byproduct feeds disposed by alternate methods
Greenhouse gases are generated when byproduct disposal occurs by alternative means other than feeding to animals. Landfill disposal involves a combination of anaerobic and aerobic fermentation resulting in 50% of the carbon converted into methane with the remaining carbon converted into biogenic CO2 (EPA, 2010). Methane from landfill disposal was calculated based on kg of organic carbon (IPCC, 2019). Composting emissions were estimated using emissions factors from EPA (2010). Emissions from direct combustion of byproducts were calculated using stationary combustion emission factors for agricultural byproducts (EPA, 2014).
Byproduct feeds contribute to enteric and manure non-CO2 GHG emissions like all other feeds in the cow’s diet. Since byproduct feeds replace forages and grains in the diet, their impact on non-CO2 GHG emissions is obtained after subtracting the emissions from the forages and grains they replace (Table 6). Feeding byproducts to dairy cows results in considerably less non-CO2 GHG emissions than landfill disposal (49-fold) and composting (4.7-fold) while supplying valuable nutrients for milk production. The US EPA (2020) considers recycling food surplus and byproducts into animal feed as a preferred choice over composting, burning, and landfill (Papargyropoulou et al., 2014) (Figure).
This study describes the use of byproduct feeds by US dairy cows based on the most thorough survey conducted on this topic so far. Dairy cattle utilize considerable amounts of different types of byproduct feeds, following current recommendations for the sustainable management of unavoidable food waste. Dairy cattle recycle important nutrients from agricultural byproduct streams into milk and dairy foods producing considerably less non-CO2 GHG emissions than landfill disposal and composting. Negligible long-term non-CO2 GHG emissions are created by feeding byproducts to dairy cows since they substitute forages and grains in the diet.
Available upon request.
Dr. Mary Beth de Ondarza is with Paradox Nutrition, LLC, West Chazy, NY.
Researchers seek to improve economic sustainability of beef producers
UTIA receives grant to analyze and develop price risk management tools.
Beef cattle producers are all too familiar with economic losses stemming from uncontrollable events such as drought and disease; however, losses due to rapid price declines have historically been the primary source of economic losses for U.S. cattle producers. While studies have shown price risk management tools can be effective in reducing price-decline losses, these tools are seldom used, especially by producers with small- and medium-sized operations.
In an effort to improve the economic sustainability of these producers, a University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture research team has been awarded a $650,000 grant to explore innovative price risk management tools and ultimately help producers make informed and effective risk management decisions.
The researchers will conduct a national survey of beef cattle producers to identify barriers to adopting price risk management tools, assess perceptions of tool effectiveness and learn how these tools could be changed to be more usable — the first known study to ascertain this vital information. Beef producers will also be asked how hypothetical changes to risk management tools would affect subsequent adoption.
Survey results will inform the data-driven development of a free mobile application containing information needed for making informed and effective risk management decisions. The long-term goal of this project is to improve U.S. beef cattle producers' economic sustainability through research on and education of price risk management, especially for producers with small- and medium-sized operations.
"We are thankful for the opportunity to ask U.S. beef cattle producers about ways to help them reduce losses from sudden price declines," says Chris Boyer, associate professor and lead researcher in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. "This survey is simply about gathering information to better serve U.S. beef producers through education, policy design and making information easily available through a mobile application."
In addition to Boyer, team members include Karen DeLong, Andrew Griffith and Charley Martinez, all from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
The three-year grant is funded by USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which provides leadership and funding for programs that advance agriculture-related sciences. Hongwei Xin, dean of UT AgResearch, praised the researchers for focusing their efforts on tools that will help small- and medium-sized operations. "These ranchers are the backbone of the U.S. beef economy," he says. "Anything we can do to help their profitability helps all U.S. producers and consumers."