“In 2006, corn was $2.56 a bushel. In 2009, corn had reached a 'new normal' at $4.00 a bushel. In March 2011, corn was over $7.00 a bushel. This has added about 7 ½ cents per live pound production cost,” remarked Mike Donohue, Vice President for Agri Stats, during the 2011 Poultry Processor Workshop, sponsored by US Poultry & Egg Association's Poultry & Egg Institute.
Donohue went on to discuss that the future’s market is indicating corn will still be over $7 through the end of 2011 and into 2012. In addition, the cost of soybean meal is up, with the “new norm” at $380 per ton - adding another nickel a pound in live cost. He remarked that with 68% of live cost coming into the plant as feed and grain expenses, plants have to be good in all areas of production.
He also provided insight into other industry challenges, such as dealing with regional challenges in finding labor, issues with water consumption and water treatment, continuing emphasis on improving plant efficiencies, and yield. Donohue concluded his presentation by remarking, “Work on efficiencies, maximize yields, and we will work through this.”
Tom Wisvari, Plant Manager for Cooper Farms, provided a Case Study in Gas Stunning of Turkeys. Wisvari discussed Cooper Farms’ process of stunning its turkeys on transport trucks. With the help of Praxair, the company has implemented a gas stunning system that helped achieve its objectives, some of which are reducing physical stress on employees, eliminating live shackling of turkeys, increasing meat yields, and labor savings.
Other sessions included topics such as Energy Efficiency in the Processing Plant, Employee Retention and Development, Legal Challenges and Policies with Social Media, SIP-2011: An Industry Perspective, FSIS Update, Animal Welfare: A Worldly Perspective, New Processing Technology, Stunning Methods Comparison, and an Exports Update.
Source: US Poultry & Egg Association