Thursday, February 22, 2018

Chinese use cameras to track pigs

China’s leading technology company, Alibaba, is working with Chinese pig producer Dekon Group and feed manufacturer Tequ Group to develop artificial intelligence systems to track pigs.

The deal announced earlier this month is worth tens of millions of dollars and will rely on video monitoring to replace radio-frequency ID (RFID) tags.

The cameras will identify and track numbers tattooed on the animals’ bodies.

It will not only count pigs, but also in Alibaba’s plans is monitoring temperature readings from infrared sensors, daily movement and sound sensors to detect coughing to alert staff to the potential outbreak of diseases.

The aim is to lower production costs, and ensure production of “safe, tasty pork,” said Zhang Sheng with Alibaba.

The advancement of technology in agriculture is leap frogging.

Cargill recently started testing facial recognition for dairy and beef cows.

Blue River Technology’s See and Spray can detect and identify weeds in the field, spraying one and avoiding another.

Hendrix finds resistance gene

Hendrix genetics researchers have found a gene that triggers chicken’s immune response.

The news from Wageningen University in the Netherlands says the discovery is a receptor that is an important sensor for activating the chicken’s immune system, specifically natural antibodies that fight pathogens and viruses.

The team says this discovery may lead to improved vaccines, health-promoting nutrition and breeding of birds and animals with a higher general disease resistance.

They said the benefits would include less antibiotic use, lower costs for farmers, and improved animal welfare.

Hendrix develops Hypor hogs, Hybrid turkeys, trout and salmon.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Funds for produce disputes-settlement body

The federal government is investing more than $175,000 in the Fruit and Vegetable Dispute Resolution Corporation (DRC).

The DRC acts as a third party financial dispute resolution body for fruit and vegetable growers. It is getting $118,795 to deliver an outreach and education initiative on the impending Safe Food for Canadians Act (SFCA) and Regulations.

An additional $58,807 goes to support the industry to initiate work toward updating the Canadian grade standards for fresh fruits and vegetables in order to reflect current market and consumer preferences.

TPP deal lacks offensive U.S. demands

The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal has been stripped of a couple of provisions the United States insisted on having before Donald Trump won the presidency and pulled the country out of the negotiations.

Gone are clauses that favour pharmaceutical companies and increased the reach and power of U.S. intellectual property rights.

What remain are the market access gains for dairy and poultry.

There have been comments from negotiators that re-opening those terms would have led to another round of complex and tense negotiations.

But in Canada, supply management defenders say that Canada ought not have given up that much market access, apparently believing it was U.S. pressure that prompted the concessions.

There were, however, stronger objections from New Zealand and Australia to Canada’s protections for dairy farmers.

What is clear is that Canada’s grains, oilseeds, pork and beef sectors are all positioned now for major export gains, especially of premium-quality products for Japanese consumers.

The text of the agreement was released Wednesday.

China’s building huge hog barns

China is building huge hog barns in a drive to increase pork production and displace small family-scale production.

One example is a two-barn complex that will house 10,000 sows birthing 280,000 market hogs per year. It sits on a mere 180 acres near Zonguagan in southwestern China.

It is one of a record number of large-scale projects that will be built in China this year.

Some in the industry estimate it could build several hundred sow farms with about 5,000-8,000 head this year, even more than last year, accelerating the transformation of the world’s biggest pork industry.

“As more large firms enter the market, food safety will increase and costs will drop. Global competitiveness will increase and China will certainly export,” said Fang Shijun, chief researcher at research firm Huitong Data.

Fang predicts a growing surplus of pork from 2018 to 2020, as production grows amid slowing domestic demand.

The genetics are coming from PIC in the United Kingdom and Canada as well as a number of other Canadian and U.S. suppliers.

Feed depends on huge imports of soybeans.