ANALYSIS - EuroTier 2012 has been the focus of our attention this week. The trade show has plenty to offer visitors interested in the poultry industry, with special conferences as well as a large exhibition area giving a glimpse into the future of the business in the coming years. Despite a number of challenges - not least, continuing high prices - there is a strong feeling that the industry has good prospects for continued growth in the future.
EuroTier, one of the leading trade shows for the livestock industry, is being held in the northern German city of Hanover this week. The organisers, DLG, are hailing it as great success with the number of exhibitors (2,445) and exhibition area up from the previous event two years ago, and visitor numbers also expected to be higher.
Comprising two halls, the World Poultry Show is almost a show-within-a-show and there have also been a conference and other presentations specifically for the poultry industry, as well as general livestock production.
The European Poultry Club celebrated its 10th anniversary by holding the International Poultry Day earlier this week. Taking a look at its first decade, the meeting also looked ahead to 2022 and the prospects for the industry in the years to come.
Attendees at the event heard from Dr Jim McKay, poultry geneticist with EW Group, about the key aspects for the poultry breeding sector in the future, which include selection for robustness and the maintenance of genetic diversity.
On the subject of feed prices, consultant, Dr Paul Aho, predicted that feed and grain prices reached their peak in 2012 and that they will fall back in the coming years to a new but high plateau. World poultry production will continue to grow over the next decade, he said, but at a slower rate of around 0.5 per cent annually. Most of the growth will be in Asia, Latin America and Africa, he predicts, as the result of growth in both the human population and the local economies.
The internet age has had great impacts on retailing in recent years and this is likely to intensify in future, according to Josef Sanktjohanser, President of the German Retail Federation. He added that social media are increasingly being used by consumers to share information on, among other topics, food and farming.
According to the German poultry statistics agency, the most turbulent times for EU's egg industry are over.
Market disruption following the EU-wide ban on conventional battery cages from 1 January this year has largely abated, according to Margit Beck of MEG, at one of the forum events.
The ban caused turbulence in the egg market in the region but it was not as disastrous as some had predicted, she said.
Most of the EU Member States are now reporting complete compliance with the ban. Those that are not are making steady progress on transition, she added but there are still concerns over Italy and Greece, where much of the production is still thought to be from battery cages.
The importance of animal health and the veterinary profession are key to reducing the use of antibiotics in the livestock industry, according to the President of the Federal Association of Practising Veterinarians in Germany, speaking at a press conference at EuroTier.
A range of new feed materials could soon be expanding the way livestock and fish are raised and finished. Everything the livestock producer, animal nutritionist and feed manufacturer could ask for in the range of raw materials and ingredients for animal feed have been made available by the German agricultural association, DLG at EuroTier.
And finally, in other news, sales of antibiotics licensed for use in animals in the Netherlands have exceeded national policy targets set for 2013 by dropping 51 per cent since 2009.
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