With a larger floor space, extension of target groups, more exhibitors and despite the general economic downturn the EuroTier exhibition in Hanover, Germany attracted a record number of visitors. The event has established itself as a not-to-miss one-stop-shop for European animal husbandry.
By Dick Ziggers and Stuart Lumb
Whether your clients moo, oink, cluck or swim, EuroTier was the place to be for gathering information on their performance and profitability. “EuroTier has impressively demonstrated its strong pulling power for animal farmers and experts from all over the world,” said Dr. Reinhard Grandke, General Executive Manager of the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (DLG) – German Agricultural Society and organiser of the exhibition. He drew this conclusion at the close of the world’s largest exhibition for animal husbandry and management held at the Exhibition Grounds in Hanover from 11 to 14 November 2008. Some 130,000 visitors (+11%) came to source information about machinery and equipment, genetics, farm inputs and services for modern animal husbandry as well as the potential in the fields of bioenergy and local energy supply. BioEnergy Europe has become established as a key exhibition for bioenergy and local energy supply.
Besides an increase in visitors, the number of exhibitors also grew by as much as 15%, totalling 1,764 direct exhibitors and 44 additionally represented firms from 46 countries. The high proportion of foreign exhibitors (42%) clearly verifies the international status of the EuroTier event.
Of the 130,000 visitors more than 22,000 visitors came from outside Germany – from over 80 countries. The largest contingents came from the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Denmark. Against the backdrop of the current financial crisis investors from Central and Eastern Europe sought above all orientation to help them steer their farms and businesses in the short term.
Feed and health
One of EuroTier’s hallmarks is its feed and animal health segment – the largest of any exhibition in the world. These components are key factors for successful animal husbandry. The Congress of the German Association of Veterinary Practitioners being held parallel with EuroTier provided optimal synergies for tackling current issues.
The aquaculture segment is a small but firmly established part of EuroTier. The high demands for information about the perspectives of this production branch were covered by specialist exhibitors as well as by an extensive forum programme.
The new German Minister of Agriculture, Ilse Aigner, in office for just two weeks, used the EuroTier Evening to outline her policy for the agricultural branch for the first time. She was also asked to give out the awards to the gold medal winners of the most innovative products.
|Restrictions on pesticides danger to home-grown feed prices
In view of efforts by the EU Commission and increasing pressure by NGOs, the German government has adopted a national action plan for the sustainable use of chemical plant-protection agents. The objective is to lower the risks posed by plant-protection products by another 25% by the year 2020, thereby enhancing the level of protection for humans, animals, ground water and the natural environment. In contrast to other programmes to date which targeted an overall reduction in the use of pesticides, the new action plan is intended to rate substance hazard by means of holistic risk assessment. However if substances will be judged on the basis of their general toxicity potential as opposed to their scientific risk from an application-based perspective, certain proven plant-protection agents may no longer be available in future. This could result in “therapeutic emergencies” for grain, rapeseed, potato and beet growers. Both yield and quality will suffer if other plant-cropping inputs are unable to offset these cut-off criteria. This would increase the cost of home-grown raw materials for animal feed and strengthen the demand for imports. German livestock farmers may then well find themselves facing yet another hike in production costs.
New way for Evialis
Apart from the general exhibition many companies used the event to bring specific items to the attention of the media and potential customers. One of these companies was Evialis who launched their new brand name Neovia to the public. Neovia represents the feed additives brand of the Evialis Group. With this name the French feed compounder follows a new path of branding for its products. This is apparent in the name origination; Neo is Greek for new, and via is Latin for the way, but also the method. Evialis wants to position Neovia as additives and difference. “Feed additives nowadays compete in such a crowded market that you have to set a strong benchmark and with Neovia we believe we can,” said Pierre Defalque, export director at Evialis. “The best reference comes from the use of our own plants. Neovia products are already used in Evialis feed and premixes representing 3.3 million tonnes of complete feed and in premixes equivalent to 4.9 million tonnes of feed.”
The feed additives should bring value to the producer, with respect for the environment and without disturbing ecosystems. They also have to answer to consumers’ growing demand for safe and natural ingredients. To back these values Evialis has a strong research department consisting of six R&D centres covering all farm animal species, shrimp, lab animals and companion animals. The main centre is located in Saint Nolff in France. The research budget extends €4 million (2008) and worldwide more than 100 people are involved in R&D. Over the first 10 months of 2008, 158 trial reports were finalised.
The Neovia portfolio now consists of five products: B-Safe, an alternative to AGP; T5X, a product against mycotoxins; Cap’Acid, encapsulated additives; Stimune, an immunostimulant and Oilis, an alternative to chemical coccidiostats. In the pipeline are among others, natural phytooestrogens, histomonostats, a natural decontamination of mycotoxins, alternatives to chemical coccidiostats and natural products against Vibrio in aquaculture.
“By developing cutting edge nutritional innovation programmes we raise agribusiness to a higher level and we intend to earn trust from users now and in the long term,” Defalque adds.
ForFarmers sells concentrates and complete feeds, 45% to the German market and 55% in the Netherlands. The company, which exhibited at EuroTier to generate more exposure is expanding by buying up other companies. ForFarmers established itself in Germany over the last two years after taking over German feed miller Bela.
Agroscoop was the company’s innovation at this years EuroTier. This programme involves data analysis at farm level for pig farmers and at the dairy, with 80% of ForFarmers dairy farmers already belonging to the scheme. Information such as lactation yields, health treatments and medication is relayed to an adviser via a software programme. Many dairy farmers are too busy to study their cow data in detail. With ForFarmers’ advisors also having the data they have time to analyse this information and highlight key problem areas which they can then discuss with the dairy farmer.
Zinpro fights sow lameness
Sow lameness is a big problem these days. 15% of sows are culled primarily due to lameness. Lameness is a contributory problem with 47% of sow culls (according to the US National animal Health Monitoring System). Sow claws have to be trimmed regularly to avoid lameness. The trend of loose housing, with sows often being housed on straw means that the claws don’t wear down as much as they do on concrete, hence the need for more trimming. However, trying to restrain sows to trim their claws is not easy. Because of this Zinpro have produced a unique sow chute which lifts and restrains the sow, making claw trimming a relatively safe and easy task. In addition, AvailaSRTmSow was being launched by Zinpro. This nutritional product contains a combination of zinc, manganese and copper specifically formulated to help optimise foot health and lifetime reproductive performance of sows, gilts and boars.
Reducing feed costs technically
Currently the livestock feed industry has to contend with high commodity and high feed prices. Feed manufacturing equipment company Amandus Kahl is looking to improve nutrient availability of the lower quality feed ingredients by means of expander technology, plus reduced energy costs. “Using expander technology we can improve the digestibility and increase the ME of tapioca, canola meal, bran etc. Also tapioca/cassava is difficult to pelletise. However this is less of a problem after this raw material is put through an expander,” an Amandus Kahl salesperson said.
The company is also using its pelleting technology to pellet wood chippings into high density pellets which can be burned to provide heat for domestic homes.
Improve litter size
Sows lose embryos during pregnancy, therefore if embryonic survival could be increased so would litter size. Any form of boosting litter size has to be a good thing, especially given the current difficult state of the world pig industry. Nutreco launched Progenos, a product that contains the amino acid Arginine and has been trialled for five years and been on sale in the USA for the last two. Progenos improves the vascularisation of the uterus thereby improving embryonic survival. Nutreco are at pains to point out that this is a specialist product for specialist producers. It’s only effective from days 16 through 28 of pregnancy – feeding too early produces negative results. Producers need to be on a batch farrowing system to benefit from Progenos and it will only be sold through specialist outlets.
Better feed conversions
German company Sano promoted its Butysan Protect product. Butysan is a butyric acid and calcium complex which improves feed conversion by 5% in growing/finishing pigs. Villi length in the small intestine is increased resulting in better nutrient absorption. For the farmers in the organic dairy sector that have problems with cow fertility and milk quality Sano introduced EkoKomplett. Fed at 1kg/cow/day it helps improve milk quality and fertility. It contains yeast to stimulate feed intake, maize to improve blood sugar levels, soy expeller as a good source of amino acids and vitamins and trace minerals.
Slow release urea
Alltech is well known throughout the world. They highlighted Optigen, their slow release urea product. Optigen has been available in the USA for five years and has been on sale in Italy and Germany since March. The product improves forage intake, fibre digestibility and a stable concentration of ammonia in the rumen helps the overall health of the cow. Acidosis is reduced and rumen health is improved, so reducing vet bills. Optigen is similar in price to soy plus re-formulation of rations is required when incorporating it into diets.
Selplex is another familiar Alltech product. It has recently been trialled on four highly productive German pig units with a combined total of 950 sows. In 3 out of the 4 units an improvement of 0.5 pigs/litter was noted. According to Dr Susanne Roth “research data showing the benefits of Selplex are now being confirmed in commercial practice.”
|Compound-feed industry in Germany restructures
Germany’s compound-feed industry is still in the process of restructuring itself. The number of compound-feed mills with an annual production of more than 500 tonnes in 2008 dropped by 2.5% against the 2007 figure to a total of 352 mills.
30 mills produce more than 200,000 tonnes each year, giving them a total market share of 44%. Production and turnover went up in the previous fiscal year from around 20 million to 21 million tonnes, i.e. from €4 billion to €5.5 billion. The increase essentially focused on pig feed, although there was also a rise in feed for cattle and fattening poultry, whilst feed production for laying hens dropped slightly. At around 45% the percentage share of grain in compound feed is still very high in spite of the increased prices. Alternative raw materials are scarce. Animal fats and proteins remain off limits as raw materials.
Agro Korn a/s is a Danish company specialising in soy products, feed ingredients and premixes. Agro Korn employs 20 people and is looking to expand export of their products. According to product manager Torben Hinrichsen Agro Korn is using EuroTier to launch a new soy product series AlphaSoy which can be used in baby pig diets. Initial trials have been carried out at the Foulum research centre in Jutland and on-farm trials are currently in progress.
The soy product is also being sold for use in cod and trout diets in Denmark.