Photo via Agriland/ie
Photo via Agriland/ie

E.U. to curb use of antibiotics on farm 


The European parliament has approved a suite of restrictions on the use of antibiotics on healthy farm animals in a bid to halt the spread of superbugs resistant to medical treatment.

Europe’s animals consume more antibiotics than humans on average, often via livestock feeds on factory farms, where farmers routinely use them as a prophylactic against the occurrence or spread of disease, reports The Guardian.

But with at least 25,000 people dying across Europe every year from antimicrobial-resistant infections, scientists have warned that without reform, routine medical interventions could soon become impossible.

The new legislation, which will become law by 2022, bans the use of human reserve antibiotics in veterinary medicine and the use of unprescribed animal antimicrobials.

Vets will have to provide data on volume and sales of antimicrobial medicines, and imported foods will need to meet EU standards, particularly on growth enhancement.

Quebec to be compensated for losses from USMCA deal

Quebec dairy farmers will be compensated for losses they might suffer in the new trade deal  between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. reports that this week, the federal government announced a working group to decide how much money producers will receive as a result of the USMCA, following a promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We indicated that it would be fully and fairly supported and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” said Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay. “But to do that, you have to deal with the people that are affected and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the farmers and with the processors.”

The provincial government defended the needs of Quebec dairy producers, throwing its support behind the working group.

“It has to come with an ending that will be satisfactory for our producers and processors,” said Quebec Agriculture Minister Andre Lamontagne. “That’s very important.”

Half of Canada’s dairy farms are in Quebec and producers in the province are responsible for almost 40 percent of Canadian milk production.

That could change after the new deal is signed. Ottawa needs to act quickly, said Lamontagne.

“They will have to come up with a fair program for our people in a short period of time, but at the same time to make a right and fair evaluation of those impacts. It’s not something that’s going to be done within the next two or three weeks,” he said.

Wendover dairy farmer Jean-Francois Janelle said he’s heard it before.

“It’s not new. They repeat the same song,” said Janelle, whose farm near Drummondville is home to 44 cows.

Janelle said his grandfather started the business five decades ago. He estimates that under the new trade deal, he’ll lose close to $30,000 per year.

“I feel like my government just dropped me,” he said.

The USMCA opens up Canada’s dairy industry to almost 4 percent more American competition, which could mean Canadian farms lose up to 10 percent of their revenue.

The dairy farmers’ union is fighting for the government to make up that revenue.

“It’s not enough. It’s just the beginning. It will be enough when we are satisfied with the commitment of this committee,” said Bruneau Letendre chairman of the Quebec dairy farmers’ association.

The group is expected to come up with a compensation plan by the time the federal budget is tabled at the beginning of next year.

Global food prices dip in October

International food commodity prices dipped in October, as falling dairy, meat and vegetable oils prices more than offset a surge in sugar prices, the United Nations reports. 

The FAO Food Price Index, a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities, averaged 163.5 points in October, down 0.9 per cent from September and 7.4 per cent below its level a year earlier.

The FAO Dairy Price Index led the overall decline, slipping 4.8 per cent from the previous month and 34 per cent below the peak reached in February 2014. The weaker prices reflect increased export supplies across all major dairy products, especially from New Zealand.

The FAO Meat Price Index declined 2.0 per cent from September, with ovine, pig, bovine and poultry meat all posting drops due mostly to abundant export supplies.

The FAO Vegetable Oil Price Index fell by 1.5 per cent, its ninth consecutive monthly drop, to reach its lowest level since April 2009. The latest slide was mostly driven by sluggish global import demand for palm oil and large inventories held by the commodity’s major exporting countries. International soy oil prices increased slightly.

The FAO Cereal Price Index rebounded, rising 1.3 per cent from September, mostly due to firmer maize quotations from the United States of America. Rice prices, by contrast, fell, partly influenced by currency movements weighing on Japonica and fragrant varieties.

The FAO Sugar Price Index surged 8.7 per cent, mostly as a result of negative climate-related production prospects in India and Indonesia as well as indications of an increasing share of Brazil’s sugarcane output being used to produce ethanol.

World cereal output forecasts raised

FAO has also raised its forecast for global cereal production in 2018 to 2 601 million tonnes, primarily due to higher estimates for wheat production in Canada and China. Nonetheless, the new forecast remains 2.1 per cent below the record level achieved in 2017.

Global rice output this year is expected to surpass last year’s all-time high by 1.3 per cent, reaching 513 million tonnes, according to FAO’s latest Cereal Supply and Demand Brief, also released today.

World wheat production in 2018 is now forecast at around 728 million tonnes, marking a 4.3 per cent decline from the previous year. Winter wheat crops, to be harvested in 2019, are currently being sown in the Northern Hemisphere, while in the European Union, the United States and India generally remunerative prices are expected to stimulate an increase in plantings.

Worldwide output of coarse grains is forecast at 1 360 million tonnes, a 2.2 per cent drop from 2017. Coarse grain crops are currently being planted in the Southern Hemisphere countries, and early prospects indicate an expansion in maize plantings in South America.

FAO expects world cereal utilization to rise by 0.2 percent to a record 2 653 million tonnes, spurred by higher feed and industrial uses of maize, especially in China and the United States. The use of wheat for food consumption is anticipated to rise by 1.0 percent, while that for rice to increase by 1.1 percent.

Worldwide cereal stocks at the close of seasons in 2019 are now forecast to reach almost 762 million tonnes, some 6.5 percent below their record-high opening level.

Total inventories of coarse grains are expected to fall for the first time in six years, while those of wheat are set to decrease by 4.5 percent, with drawdowns to be led by major exporters. World rice stocks, by contrast, are expected to rise by 2.6 percent to 176.6 million tonnes.

International trade in cereals is now forecast to decline 1.1 percent from the 2017/18 record level, with trade in both wheat and rice contracting. World trade in coarse grains is still forecast to remain close to the previous year’s record level, at around 195 million tonnes, with maize volumes increasing while those of sorghum declining.