1. Bird flu impacts on U.S. markets
Supplies of chicken in U.S. freezers and warehouses surged to nearly 752 million lbs in March due in part to a number of countries banning imports of U.S. chicken because of the recent cases of avian influenza, commonly called bird flu, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council said.
That supply is up 160.3 million lbs from a year earlier. Chicken companies have had to shift production to states not affected by the export bans and as part of those shifts meat had to be stored before being exported, Jim Sumner, USAPEEC president, told Farm Futures.
In addition China, South Korea and South Africa have banned imports of all U.S. poultry and poultry products. Those three countries bought a combined $36 million worth of U.S. chicken per month, Sumner said. Other countries have limited their bans to regions or to specific states.
The strong dollar also contributed to a slowing of chicken exports, Sumner said.
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"It is like nothing we have ever experienced before," Sumner said of the magnitude of the U.S. outbreaks. "Every country in the world is now susceptible to AI. We will never be able to get it out of the migratory flocks."
It is believed the influenza is spread by migratory birds.
Brazil truckers strike>>
2. Brazil truckers strike again to raise pay and lower fuel prices - Reuters
Truckers in Brazil blocked roads in the country's main farm belt on Thursday in a new attempt to force higher wages and drive down diesel fuel prices, Reuters reported.
A similar strike, which choked off deliveries of food, fuel, exports and industry supplies for more than a week beginning in late February, ended in early March after entering talks to secure a national scale for freight rates and a reduction in diesel prices.
Transport and logistics companies resisted accepting set rates for freight in the negotiations with truckers. The government also said it would not lower diesel prices.
Highway operator Rota do Oeste said in the story that striking truckers had blocked the movement of cargo on three roads in the main grain state of Mato Grosso. Passenger cars and critical services such as police, fire and ambulances are moving normally through the blockades.
Trucks carrying dry bulk such as soybeans, corn, fertilizer and other non-perishables risk vandalism to their vehicles if they try to drive by protesting truckers. Across Brazil's center-south agricultural region, roads in other farm states including Parana and Rio Grande do Sul were also being blocked by protesting truckers.
So far, Brazil's main southern ports were not affected, they said, receiving trucks normally for unloading and loading ships with exports.
Canadian farm plantings >>
3. Canada farmers to plant more wheat, less canola and soybeans
Canadian farmers intend to play fomr wheat, oats and barley this year and few canola and soybeans, Statistics Canada said on Thursday.
In the March survey, farmers said they expect to plant 24.8 million acres of wheat, up 3.9% over 2014. Specifically, spring wheat may be up 3.4% at 18 million acres, while durum acreage may reach 5.5 million acres, up 15.8%.
Canola planting intentions were put at 19.4 million acres, down 4.5% from 2014. Saskatchewan historically accounts for about half of Canada's canola acreage and this expects a 4.2% decrease compared to 10.2 million acres. Alberta farmers said they plan to seed 7.7% fewer acres to 6.0 million, while Manitoba may plant 1.7% more to 3.1 million.
The soybean area is expected at 5.4 million acres, down 3.4% from 2014's record 5.6 million acres. Ontario acreage was seen at 2.9 million acres, down 6.5% and Quebec's at 778,400 acres, down 9.5%. Manitoba acreage was seen up 2.4% at 1.3 million and Saskatchewan's up 24.1% to 335,000. All four provinces had record soybean acreages in 2014.
Barley seeded area was seen up 10.2% at 6.5 million acres, while oats should be up 30.3% at 3.6 million.
Nationally, corn for grain acreage was seen up 6.2% at 3.3 million acres, with Ontario farmers plan 2.1 million acres, up 11.5%, and Quebec 952,600 up 8.6%.
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