Information on global poultry, pig and animal feed markets.
Terrence O'Keefe

Terrence O'Keefe

Terrence O'Keefe is editor of Egg Industry and content director at WATT Global Media. To contact O'Keefe, email


Future of egg processing: Intelligent automation

With falling costs for sensors and computing power, more practical systems are being developed that promise to fully automate more egg processing tasks.
Relative to processing poultry carcasses, processing eggs has been relatively easy to automate. When it comes to washing, inspecting, grading and packing shell eggs at an inline facility, the vast majority of the eggs can make it from the hen to the egg carton without being touched by a human. It is expected that automation will move into even more areas of egg processing in the not-so-distant future.
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Transparency is the key to keeping hens in the house

If you aren’t completely transparent about how your hens and pullets are raised, millennial consumers will assume you are hiding something.
Millennial consumers' opinions can be changed by effective marketing campaigns, according to Richard Kottmeyer, senior managing partner, Farm to Fork Advisory Services.
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Future of poultry processing: Intelligent automation

With increasing sensor capabilities and falling costs for computing power, practical systems are being developed that promise to fully automate tasks as varied as breast deboning and carcass inspection.
Equipment companies have successfully automated virtually every task in first processing in modern broiler processing plants.
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US shift to cage-free eggs causing market disruption

It will continue to be a bumpy transition for the cage-free egg market unless major egg purchasers set and stick to interim goals for cage-free egg purchases.
If retailers are going to take away consumer choice, they will need to set and keep interim goals for cage-free egg sales to avoid a major supply mess.
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Housing systems should be designed around the animal

If your primary concern is housing the most laying hens or sows in the least amount of space, you probably won’t get the desired results
Just as egg producers are housing more cage-free hens, many pork producers are switching from gestation stalls to group pens for housing pregnant sows. The driving force for both of these transitions is purchase pledges by major foodservice and retail customers.
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Secure pork supply guide for producers expected in 2018

National Pork Board reports that the Secure Pork Supply plan has been developed to help pig farmers respond to major disease threats
The 2014-2015 highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreaks in the U.S. provided a sobering reminder to all of animal agriculture the severity of the economic impact that can result from the introduction of a foreign animal disease into the U.S.
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Vaccination not the ‘third rail’ for avian flu control

Experts on control and eradication of viral diseases of poultry say that vaccination to protect flocks from avian influenza should be better accepted in the future.
Reform of social security programs is often referred to as the “third rail” of American politics, in reference to the electrified high-voltage third rail used to power subway trains. Because of the reaction of trading partners, vaccination has become the “third rail” when it comes to avian influenza control, but it shouldn’t be.
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Broiler welfare: the conversation you need to have

Activists groups have successfully lobbied mainstream restaurant chains like Subway, Burger King and others to make future chicken meat purchase pledges that include breed selections.
Activist groups have been extremely successful at securing future purchase pledges from major retail and foodservice poultry buyers for chicken meat from birds that have been either raised without antibiotics at all or without use of antibiotics that are designated as important in human medicine. A similar campaign has succeeded in securing future cage-free egg purchase pledges that may very well lead to a complete conversion of the U.S. egg industry to cage-free housing for pullets and layers. Now, a third campaign is being waged to secure future purchase pledges from chicken meat buyers that would set new standards for how U.S. broilers are raised, stunned and even the breed of the bird that is raised.
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The impact of ‘pet parents’ on poultry welfare

Consumers’ closer bonds with pets may be a primary driver of changing attitudes toward how farm animals are cared for.
The U.S. layer industry is following in the footsteps of the European layer industry on the path away from conventional cages for housing hens. This conversion is coming about largely as a result of the lobbying of major retail and foodservice egg purchasers by animal welfare/rights groups. As someone who studied the behavior of laying hens in graduate school, but who also has a business degree and experience in large-scale meat bird production, I have been somewhat puzzled by these developments.
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