Autumn 2017

I must start by apologising for having been a little tardy getting this Edition of SPESFEED News finished. I suppose I have been caught up in the general malaise of the industry and the country as a whole. Hopefully the excellent maize crop this year will give us all cause for some optimism.
May saw the running of the 21st European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition (ESPN 2017) which was held in Tarragona, Spain. This is a popular event (for good reason), and I was only able to register after having joined a waiting list. In total, some 1600 people interested in poultry nutrition attended, amongst whom were many South Africans. Some of the more innovative, interesting and practical (in my opinion) parts of the meeting are covered in this newsletter.

Spring 2016

Tough economic times have led to a changing agribusiness landscape. Some companies are officially in financial distress, and while some consolidation has already occurred, this is a trend that is likely to continue. Of interest is the fact that Nutreco has entered the South African market through the purchase of Advit. Some of you may well remember that one of the previous owners of Advit, Christél Coetzee worked for SPESFEED. We wish her and her husband Ollie all the best for their new lives down at the coast.

I am often asked why I persist with the SPESFEED News. The answer is fairly simple. I find that writing things down in some sort of logical order straightens out my thinking and consolidates my knowledge. This was brought home to me yet again when I started my report on the Poultry Science Association meeting covered in this newsletter. I found that I had to return to my notes (some of which I managed to mislay) and/or the abstracts a scant two days after the event to remember what was said. That having been said, the PSA meeting was most worthwhile, and the friendliness shown by everyone was amazing.

Whilst on the subject of writing, I attended that AFMA course on technical writing organised by Dr Pieter Henning which I really enjoyed. I learnt a few things for sure! I would suggest that if you write magazine articles or marketing material that you attend any future event.

1 General News 1 -On-line Course
2 -Drug free poultry production
2 -Misconception and poultry production
2 -Format pricing 3 -Formulating with Phytase 3 Dietary Nutrient Density 5 PSA 2016
5 -Enzymes
6 -Split feeding
6 -Methionine

Winter 2016

2016 is proving to be as difficult a year as was expected. Despite the fact that global prices of grain and soya beans is moderate, supply problems and a weak currency have meant we have not seen this in South Africa. Interestingly, SAPA predict that the egg price is likely to increase before the price of meat.

Our industry will continue to evolve and the way we conduct business will need to adapt. In this edition of the SPESFEED News, I have included two views of the future. Firstly, a view of the major trends that will likely impact agriculture in the not too distant future are discussed. Secondly, the impact of antibiotic use will have on have on human medicine, and how we need to deal with this are considered. This is of major consequence to agribusiness.

Summer 2016

2015 was a busy year for me, and resulted in my missing the deadline for the third newsletter of the year. I visited 35 countries (if you include the Western Cape that is) last year, and was involved in feeding poultry from the Sahara desert where the temperature often exceeds 40 degrees plus to the Russian steppes where temperatures can drop to minus 40. It says a lot for our ability to manage modern genotypes when I see the similarity in performance across all of these conditions.

Despite the fact that many of the large agribusiness giants in our country have been reporting record results, this happy state of affairs is not set to last. It is true that “physical” maize is in short supply because of last year’s small crop. More worrying tough is the looming drought this growing season, and a rail infrastructure that is only able to transport about a quarter of our raw material requirements.

I guess I do not need to feel too bad about missing an edition of the newsletter. My records show that the first edition SPESFEED News was published in Spring 1996 – so we have kept it up for 20 years.

Winter 2015

General News
2015 has been the busiest year that SPESFEED has ever had – so much so that producing a newsletter proved to be very difficult. In addition, the growth of our subsidiary company, Avi-Products has been excellent, with the products we manufacture for the SPAR group becoming their leading sellers in each of the three major pet food categories (Premium, Standard and Econo). I do need to communicate the fact that we will be closing our office in Rivonia, and although Bianca will remain in the services of my brother Russell and his partner Roger Graham, she will effectively be leaving us. Thank you Bianca for 12 years of loyal service. The phone number that we have had since the inception of the business will continue to function for a period of six months. It will be replaced by a line into our switchboard in the Avi-Products factory in Durban. Our new landline number will be + 27 31 766 0016.

Lastly, we are in the process of changing internet service provider (from MWEB to Afrihost). There may be some interruption in service, but the 90% cost saving will make it a small inconvenience.

Summer 2015

General News
The year has begun with a dramatic decrease in the oil price. Globally, the prices of oil and grain have become linked – which can only be good for animal agriculture. Sadly though, US fuel makers have to include a fixed percentage of ethanol in their products so demand formaize ethanol production is unlikely to decrease. On a less positive note, oil has regained some of its lost ground, and the minister of finance has increased the taxes we pay on fuel. In January and February, I did an extended trip to Europe, visiting countries and companies in both the West and East. The Eastern Europeans tend to used maize and sunflower based diets, very similar to those in South Africa. Western European diets are based on wheat and contain a fair amount of rapeseed. A Dutch nutritionist explained to me how some German supermarket chains have set a date by
which all imported soya products should be removed from layer diets. It is disconcerting that supermarkets are dictating how we should feed poultry, and our European colleagues are in for a challenging time.

1 General News
1 -Poultry Master Class
2 -A new soyabean variety
2 -Hatching broilers on the farm
2 -Feeding Frenzy
3 – Rearing Pullets
3 Impact of Nutrition on Gut Health in Broilers
6 Snippets from APSS 2015

Spring 2014

General News
Our industry has gone through a tough couple of years. Feed prices have been high and there have been reductions in the number of broilers produced and the size of the national laying flock (SAPA, 2104). Demand for feed has declined, while new milling capacity has come on line, meaning that margins in the feed sector are likely to be under pressure for some time. The good news is that ingredient prices are down, and the government appears to have a will to offer the industry some protection from cheap imports. I hope that this will allow us to go through a phase of consolidation and possibly growth.
Spare a thought for Zimbabwean animal producers though. The government in that country has set the maize price at $ 390.00/ton – and banned the importation of feed from Zambia and South Africa. This effectively means that Zimbabwean poultry products can not be competitive in the African market in general.

1 General News
1 -New book
2 -Feedipedia
2 -SPESFEED Express
2 – Rearing broiler breeders
3 – ABF broilers
4 Feeding the laying hen of the future

Winter 2014

General News
I keep vowing not to travel as much as I have been but this just does not seem to happen. Although tiring, seeing new things and learning about new systems is very stimulating. In May, I attended an event run by DSM on the use of exogenous protease in pig and poultry diets. In this edition of SPESFEED News, I have included an article on what I have learnt about protease over the past few months.
I continue in my quest to ensure that suppliers provide us, the users, with the correct information about their products. I have included a short article on the “tricks of the trade” in this regard.
Lastly, I have been invited to speak on laying hen nutrition in New Zealand in October and have had to prepare a written document for this. All my efforts have only confirmed one thing – we are still not sure what the amino acids requirements of a flock laying

1 General News
1 -Courses
1 -ABF Broilers
2 The use of Exogenous protease
3 Tricks of the Trade
5 The protein requirements of layers

Summer 2014

1 General News
1 Courses and Publications
2 Some Impressions of India
2 Australian Poultry Science Symposium
3 Early chicken nutrition
3 Feed ingredient quality
5 Gut health and poultry production
6 Leg Health
  This year marks the 25th year of SPESFEED’s existence. This milestone
would not have been possible without the support of all of our clients,
colleagues and friends. Thank you all.
Sadly, as things stand at the time of writing, ingredient prices (closely
linked to the weakness of the Rand) are higher than we would have
expected and perhaps will stay high for a while yet. The goods rains
we experienced in March should make a difference. Never the less,
2014 will be a challenging year for all companies involved in

Spring 2013

1 General News
2 Pre Congress Meetings
3 Developments in Feed Raw Materials
3 Protein Scarcity and Utilisation
4 Feeding Strategies
5 Feed and Water Intake
6 Trends in Layer Nutrition
  It is said that the dilemma of the modern era is not to find relevant
information, but rather to know what information can be safely ignored. I
attended the 19th European Symposium on Poultry Nutrition (ESPN) in
Potsdam (near Berlin) during August. Knowing what information is relevant
at a conference such as this is difficult, as so much information is
presented. In this the final edition of SPESFEED News for 2013, I have tried
to extract some of the relevant information from the meeting. The ESPN has
a unique format. Plenary sessions are themed, and each session is followed
by breakaway group discussion. The groups formulate questions for the
speakers, and these questions are discussed in a general forum. I will deal
with each of these sessions separately. Should you require more information
on any topic, please let me know and I will gladly pass on any information
that I can.

Contact: / +27 31 766 0016.