Weekly global protein digest: Australia reported its first human case of H5N1, Hefty hog, poultry losses due to flooding in southern Brazil

Livestock analyst Jim Wyckoff reports on global protein news
calendar icon 24 May 2024
clock icon 10 minute read

Weekly USDA US beef, pork export sales

Beef: Net US sales of 21,500 MT for 2024 were up 42 percent from the previous week and 32 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases were primarily for China (5,800 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), South Korea (5,100 MT, including decreases of 400 MT), Mexico (2,900 MT), Japan (2,500 MT, including decreases of 300 MT), and Taiwan (1,600 MT, including decreases of 200 MT). Exports of 17,300 MT--a marketing-year high--were up 11 percent from the previous week and 15 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to South Korea (5,100 MT), Japan (3,300 MT), China (3,100 MT), Taiwan (1,500 MT), and Mexico (1,300 MT).

Pork: Net US sales of 26,300 MT for 2024 were up 24 percent from the previous week, but down 3 percent from the prior 4-week average. Increases were primarily for Mexico (10,300 MT, including decreases of 200 MT), Japan (4,100 MT, including decreases of 600 MT), South Korea (2,600 MT, including decreases of 800 MT), Canada (2,000 MT, including decreases of 600 MT), and Colombia (1,900 MT). Exports of 34,300 MT were up 3 percent from the previous week, but down 5 percent from the prior 4-week average. The destinations were primarily to Mexico (13,900 MT), Japan (4,700 MT), South Korea (4,300 MT), China (3,200 MT), and Canada (1,700 MT).

U.S. in ‘active conversations’ on potential H5N1 vaccine for humans

The U.S. is in “active conversations” with mRNA vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna about a potential H5N1 vaccine for humans, a Department of Health and Human Services official said Wednesday. That came after it was revealed a second human case of the virus was found in a farmworker in Michigan, as we reported in “Evening Report” on Wednesday. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reiterated risk from the virus to the general public remains low. CDC has not seen evidence of human-to-human transmission of H5N1 and has tested close to 40 people since March, including the Michigan worker. All the people who were tested were connected to or had exposures on a dairy farm, CDC said.

USDA reports on China dairy industry

USDA has increased its estimate of raw milk production in 2024 due to a larger dairy cow inventory. Imports of fluid milk, whole milk powder (WMP), and skimmed milk powder (SMP) are estimated to all decline in 2024 due to higher domestic milk production. Cheese and butter imports are estimated to decline moderately because of economic headwinds that continue influencing consumption. USDA estimates whey and whey product imports in 2024 to decline as demand shrinks in both food use and feed use owing to declining birth rates and a lower piglet inventory.

Australia reported its first human case of H5N1 highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI)

The case involves a child who contracted the virus in India and has since recovered. This marks the first detection of H5N1 in a human in Australia. Additionally, an unidentified H7 strain has been found on an egg farm in Melbourne, suspected to have originated from wild birds. The infected birds will be culled, and movement restrictions have been imposed around the farm. Victoria's chief veterinary officer, Graeme Cooke, highlighted the area's high poultry density and the uncertainty about potential spread to other properties. This incident follows an H7N7 outbreak in Victoria in 2020, emphasizing the connection between wild and domestic birds in virus transmission.

USDA reports on Mexico dairy industry

Mexico’s milk, cheese, and butter production are forecast year on year growth of two percent in 2024. Dairy farmers are expected to mitigate the impacts of prolonged drought and heat conditions with previously stored forage, increased feed grain imports, and water storage mechanisms. Cheese and butter imports are forecast to increase based on more domestic demand. Overall, milk powder imports are forecast to increase driven by demand from the dairy processing industry and for reconstitution into fluid milk for social programs.

Hefty hog, poultry losses due to flooding in southern Brazil

The Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul incurred extensive losses of livestock and poultry due to recent flooding. Hog farmers lost an estimated 12,600 head after floods submerged entire towns in the state, Valdecir Folador, head of a local hog producers lobby ACSURS, said. He noted some 30 farms were affected, including those of suppliers to BRF and JBS. ASGAV, a group representing local poultry processors and farmers, estimated 279,000 head of poultry destined for slaughter died, as well as 150,000 laying hens. Four meatpackers’ plants were halted, ASGAV said. Rio Grande do Sul accounts for 24.2% of overall Brazilian pork exports and for 16.2% of Brazil’s chicken exports, according to national industry lobby ABPA. The port of Rio Grande, also disrupted by floods and landslides that blocked roads and affected a rail link to its terminals, ships nearly 9% of Brazil’s overall pork exports and 6.3% of the country’s chicken exports, according to ABPA data.

China’s pork imports remain slow

China imported 90,000 MT of pork in April, the same as March but down 35.7% last year. Through the first four months of this year, China’s pork imports stood at 340,000 MT, down 48.4% from the same period last year.

Bird flu discovered in western China

Cases of bird flu have been confirmed among wild fowl in western China, the ag ministry said on Saturday. Two counties in Qinghai province confirmed 275 cases of H5 influenza among dead Pallas’s gull and other wild birds.

More than 50 US dairy herds confirmed with HPAI

Last week, five additional herds were confirmed, with two in Idaho and three in Michigan, bringing the total to 51 herds in nine states. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) revealed that ground beef cooked to 145- and 160-degrees Fahrenheit eliminates the H5N1 virus, ensuring the recommended cooking temperatures are effective. There have been no new detections of HPAI in U.S. poultry since May 10, but in the past 30 days, four commercial and seven backyard flocks, totaling 170,000 birds, have been affected.

U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF) Spring Conference kicks off

In Kansas City, the lineup of guest speakers includes CattleFax CEO Randy Blach. He will discuss the status of the U.S. cattle industry’s herd rebuilding efforts, as well as other factors impacting protein supplies in both the domestic and international markets. Kip Tom, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Food and Agriculture, will update USMEF members on policies being debated by international organizations and key trading partners, and the potential implications for red meat trade. The USMEF Spring Conference runs through Friday. Speakers also include USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Administrator Daniel Whitley and Anne-Marie Roerink, a meat consumer insight expert and author of the Power of Meat report.

Iowa 'fake meat' law

Under a new law signed by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, meat alternatives sold in the state, such as plant-based proteins, must be labeled clearly to indicate they are not meat. Additionally, state-supported schools are prohibited from purchasing lab-grown meat.

Peru, China to discuss beef exports

Peru’s President Dina Boluarte will travel to China in June to meet with her counterpart Xi Jinping, with beef exports to China among the topics likely to be discussed. Peru’s ag minister says beef shipments to China could provide a $3 billion to $4 billion boost to its economy.

Weekly USDA dairy report

CME GROUP CASH MARKETS (5/17) BUTTER: Grade AA closed at $3.0700. The weekly average for Grade AA is $3.0405 (+0.0190). CHEESE: Barrels closed at $2.1250 and 40# blocks at $1.9425. The weekly average for barrels is $2.0675 (+0.1700) and blocks $1.9360 (+0.0180). NONFAT DRY MILK: Grade A closed at $1.1650. The weekly average for Grade A is $1.1645 (+0.0330). DRY WHEY: Extra grade dry whey closed at $0.4150. The weekly average for dry whey is $0.3990 (+0.0155).

BUTTER HIGHLIGHTS: Retail butter demand ranges from steady to strong across the country. Food service demand is steady and meeting expectations. Although some industry participants say cream availability is tightening somewhat, cream is generally available throughout the country. Like domestic demand, butter production varies from steady to strong nationally. A few butter manufacturers note working to build stock prior to planned downtime in June. Unsalted bulk butter remains tighter than other butter types. Bulk butter overages range from 2 to 10 cents above market, across all regions.

CHEESE HIGHLIGHTS: Cheese production schedules are steady to stronger throughout the U.S. Farm level milk production remains strong in the East region, and contacts share cheese production schedules are seasonally steady. Cheese demand is steady to stronger, and retail demand, especially, remains elevated. In the Central region, cheese plant managers relay busy production schedules. Some plants have shifted from a five-day production schedule to a six-day work week. Some cheesemakers reported scheduled or unexpected downtime this week, which opened spot milk availability. Spot milk prices were reported at $4-under Class III to $1.00 over. Western contacts relay steady cheese production schedules, with some bringing in additional spot milk loads to boost production. In some areas in the region, however, Class III spot milk load availability is tightening. Export demand is currently steady.

FLUID MILK: Milk production is following seasonal trends across the country. In the hotter, drier states from Texas across to California, production is steady to slowing. Farmers in the Pacific Northwest through the mountain states of Idaho, Utah, and Colorado are seeing steady to strengthening production. In the Midwest and East, milk output is generally steady. Class I usage is beginning to wane as the school year nears its culmination in parts of the country, namely in the southern states. Spot loads of condensed skim are readily available in all regions, and demand is strong in the West. Cream demand is currently steady, but demand may increase as seasonal ice cream manufacturing increases. Processors across the country say they are comfortable with the current supply of cream and milk, but availability in the East and West is beginning to tighten as demand for some of the classes ticks up. Cream multiples for all Classes are 1.05 - 1.29 in the East, 1.08 - 1.28 in the Midwest, and 1.00 - 1.23 in the West.

DRY PRODUCTS: Nationally, low/medium heat nonfat dry milk (NDM) prices are being pushed up by rising domestic and export demand. Because of seasonally declining milk availability and solid cheese demand, some contacts in the Midwest expect more NDM will be moving to cheese vats. High heat NDM prices are mixed. Some manufacturers in the West are only running high heat NDM at customer requests. Dry buttermilk prices are mixed. Busy churning schedules are providing plenty of liquid and condensed buttermilk. Dry whole milk prices rose as inventories remain tight. Dry whey prices held steady in the East and are steady to lower in the West and Midwest. Contacts suggest dry whey demand is steady or nearing the seasonal low, and loads are generally available to meet most buyer needs. Lactose prices are steady to slightly higher. Demand remains strong for domestic and export use. Export loads are being offered at prices near the bottom of the range to remain competitive with loads produced in international markets. Whey protein concentrate 34% prices are steady to slightly lower. Production is focused on higher whey protein concentrates and whey protein isolate, keeping WPC 34% production limited. The rennet casein price range moved lower, and the acid casein price range rose with declining production internationally.

ORGANIC DAIRY MARKET NEWS: The USDA recently announced additional funding awarded to 23 grant projects through the OMDG Program. The USDA Secretary of Agriculture recently announced additional funding to expand markets for organic products and to help producers transition to organic productions. This funding will create programs supporting new and better markets for organic products, create training opportunities for transitioning farmers, and the financial burden of organic certification. Recently released survey data from a U.S. organization showed in 2023 domestic certified organic product sales were up from the prior year, reaching a new high. During the week 20 retail ad survey, more organic dairy ads were found than in week 19. The most advertised organic dairy product this week was milk. Organic yogurt was this week's second most advertised organic dairy product. Cream cheese saw the largest percentage growth of all organic products in week's survey, appearing in 2785 percent more ads than last week, and was the third most advertised organic dairy product in the Week 20 survey.

NATIONAL RETAIL REPORT: Total conventional dairy advertisements increased by 12 percent, and total organic dairy ads increased by 79 percent. Conventional ice cream in 48–64-ounce containers was the most advertised dairy product, with a weighted average advertised price of $3.94, down from $4.08 the week before. Conventional butter in one-pound packages had a weighted average advertised price of $4.03, up from $3.65 the week prior.

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