Dear readers,

Some good things:

  • A team of researchers led by Kimberly VanderWaal from University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine was awarded a 4-year, $800,000 Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). The study aims to create an “integrative data science” platform to predict the ability of PRRSV-2 variants to provoke an immune response and spread across farms. The platform will use interconnected machine learning tools from structural biology, computational immunology, and genomic epidemiology.
  • Bulgaria organized a round table on the topic of African swine fever, inviting Balkan countries Serbia, Romania, Greece and North Macedonia, focusing on the ASF. According to the available information, the main conclusion reached by the participants is that it is necessary and important to join the efforts of countries in the region and ensure adequate resources to prevent, control and eradicate the disease. Experts agreed that biosecurity systems and compliance are critical to preventing the introduction and further spread of ASF in both commercial and non-commercial pig farms. Maybe it would have made sense to invite also Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia…
  • The leading French pork producer, Copperl, and Völur, a global software company that develops cutting-edge AI technology to optimize the meat industry, announced a partnership to maximize pork carcass sorting and cutting with AI technology at the Lamballe facility.
  • The RESILIENT AFRICA ship, with wheat on board, arrived at the entrance to the Turkish Bosporus strait on September 21. This bulk carrier became the first vessel that entered the Black Sea and left it through the temporary corridor established by Ukraine. RESILIENT AFRICA, which goes under the flag of Liberia, transports 3.000 tons of wheat to Israel.

Events calendar

  • Bucharest Food Expo is opening its gates in Hala Laminor on 28 of September and ends on 1’st of October. During the exhibition held in Romania’s capital city, also a butcher competition will be organized.
  • The POLAGRA takes place once a year in Poznan. This year it will take place on 3 days from Wednesday, 27 of September to Friday 29 of September 2023.Polish regional and national, as well as international exhibitors showcase their products ranging from meat, poultry of milk and milk products, vegetables and fruit to spices, herbs and beverages.
  • This year the Tallinn FoodFair takes place on 2 days from Wednesday, 27.09.2023 to Thursday, 28.09.2023. The fair emphasizes the Estonian food industry and spotlights the nation’s best products and innovations. The Unibet Arena in Tallinn, which hosts the event, is a contemporary and easily accessible expo center.

Get the Balance Right

Some more positive development I considered to move in the comment part of the weekly article.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in her annual State of the Union address on Wednesday, suggested a change of course in the current agri-food debate. She stressed the need to protect Europe’s nature, but added that this must be balanced with food security, which remains a ‘fundamental challenge’. „For us in Europe, this task – producing healthy food – is the basis of our agricultural policy,” she said, adding that another challenge is „self-sufficiency”. Last year there was no mention about farmers and food producers in her speech. With the end of Frans Timmermans (the father and main driver of the Green Deal), this seems to mark a very significant change in the direction of EU policy.

The 13 states with obligations of reporting pig numbers have delivered the figures. While the number of sows has increased somewhat in Spain and Italy, the statistics indicate still declining pig production in the EU. Breeding sows weighing over 50 kg fell by a total of 209,000, or 2.1%, to 9.59 million head in one year Main figures:

  • -100,000 sows, or -7.7% in Germany
  •  Denmark declared -68,000 sows, or -5.7%
  • the Netherlands -37,000 sows, or -4.0%
  •  Spain increased with +58,000, or +1.9%
  •  Italy has +35,000 sows, or +5.8%

The Covid crisis and the still raging inflation cleared, in my opinion, also another issue. The fake meat products, with all the support from the “dark green” politicians, proved to be some fancy hype, the market share is declining and more and more companies are reducing production or filing for bankruptcy.

These data are supporting the change in the speech of Ursula von der Leyen.

Still, there is one more issue… The power of the market chains is excessive, slaughterhouses and cutting plants find no way to fight with against the pressure to reduce prices. What can they do? Move the pressure to the suppliers, the hog farmers. So, meat alternatives are not working, market chains are often working with around 40% margin, but farmers are played against meat plants.

How can we get the balance right?!

European pig and piglet prices: HW= Hot weight; L= live weight;

GERMANY2,25 HW 77,5/25 kg  
NETHERLANDS2,04-2,27 HW 61,5/25 kg  
BELGIUM1,62 L 54/20 kg  
DANEMARK1,68 HW 72,5/25 kg  
FRANCE2,02 HW    
ITALY1,97-1,99 L115kg, 2,29-2,31 L160kg, DOC 126,5/30 kg    
SPAIN1,83 -1,85 L 62-71/20kg  
AUSTRIA2,22 HW 95/25 kg  
POLAND1,54-1,87 L 74-119/20-30 kg Partner info; no quotation
CROATIA2,05-2,25 HW 107 / 25 kg Partner info; no quotation
SERBIA2,42 L 110-120/ 25 kg Partner info; no quotation
CZECH R.2,25 – 2,33 HW 75,5-81,5/ 25 kg Partner info; no quotation
SLOVAKIA1,82 -1,88 L 97-102/25 kg Partner info; no quotation
HUNGARY1,84 – 1,98 L 97-102/ 25 kg Partner info; no quotation
ROMANIA1,65 – 1,95 L 97-102/25kg Partner info; no quotation

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