Passing of a much respected industry figure

It is with deep regret that we report that Leslie A. Watt, the man who made Watt into an international force in agri-food publishing, has died in Illinois, USA, at the age of 94. His son, James W. Watt, is the current chairman of the company and grandson Gregory A. Watt is president and CEO.

When Les Watt succeeded his father, J. W. Watt, to become president of the family-owned company in September 1949, each of its five publications at the time reflected the links to the poultry industry that had started in 1917 with the purchase of Poultry Tribune. Also, each one was for the domestic US market. The devotion to the poultry business was equally strong by the time of Les’s retirement on 31t December 1989, but now the company was publishing 20 magazines on a regular basis and several of these titles circulated internationally or even globally.

“Les had an amazing vision for this industry as he took Watt into the international marketplace in the late 50s with the acquisition of Industria Avicola, followed by the launch of Poultry International in the early 60s,” says Greg Watt. “Even today, many specialised business media companies are trying to take their portfolio outside North America while Watt has been doing it for 50 years.”

Early promise

Leslie Allen Watt had graduated in economics at the University of Illinois before joining the then Watt Publishing Company two years later, in 1935, at first in the role of circulation manager for Poultry Tribune and afterwards during the period 1943-1949 as vice-president and publisher. Besides his work at Watt Publishing, he also managed a MacGregor Magazine Agency periodicals distribution business that was located in the same US town of Mount Morris, Illinois, and had been purchased by the Watt family in 1942. The agency remained under the family’s ownership until divested in 1985.

He was only 36 years old when elected Watt Publishing’s president but by then (1946-49), he had already served as president of the Agricultural Publishers Association, remaining as a director of the association until 1961. Between 1961 and 1964, he was on the Board of Directors of the National Business Publications Association. His championing of the concept of having independently audited circulation figures for each magazine led to his election to be a director of the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) for 10 years from 1949 and also (1967-70) of Business Publication Audit of Circulation (BPA).

First interests outside the US

A pivotal event in his business career occurred in 1957. As company president, he decided to buy an annual guide to the poultry industry of Latin America that was called Guia Standard de la Industria Avicola and had existed since 1953. Les re-named the publication Industria Avicola (Poultry Industry) and soon increased its frequency, initially to two editions in 1958 and later to four and then six times per year before the Spanish-language magazine finally became monthly from 1968. It continues to be an important part of the WATT stable, with associated digital titles for the Latin American market.

In 1957 Watt Publishing was already 40 years old and, before adding Industria Avicola, its six different poultry magazines had been directed exclusively at the USA. Les Watt gave credit to others at the company for the idea of entering the international arena, with editorial director Harold Florea particularly enthusiastic about the potential for doing business in Latin America. A short time later, Mr Florea joined other people from Watt in visiting one of the many national poultry shows then staged in Europe. Out of this visit was born a proposal that the company should start an international poultry magazine to cover the area outside the Americas. This became a reality in 1962 with the publication of Poultry International.

“The timing was good because a European Common Market was just being launched,” recalls Nico Toonen, at that time working for Dutch poultry breeder, Euribrid. “The idea for the magazine fell on good soil with Les, not just because he had already bought Industria Avicola to help US exporters and doing the same for Europe made sense. No less important was that Les Watt had a really cosmopolitan outlook. He took a keen interest in what was happening outside the borders of the USA.”

Les was helped and encouraged in this by his wife Kathryn, whom he had married in 1933. She smoothed out the road to the formation of a Watt international group and became instrumental in its success. Les and Kathryn travelled together to many parts of the world, meeting and forming friendships with many of the people at the top of the poultry industry, until her death in 1986.

Looking to Europe and China

Their 1966 visit to the World’s Poultry Congress in Kiev, Ukraine, coincided with the appointment of Nico Toonen as the company’s first European employee. A sales office was opened in the Netherlands in 1967. During the 1970s, the Watt business also grew by acquiring American publisher, Garden State, with its poultry titles, not least Broiler Industry, and other periodicals which were to form the basis for further development in the sectors of animal feed and petfood. Pig International had been added to the global magazines in 1971. From 1981 onwards, there was Feed International alongside its North American counterpart Feed Management and also an expanding array of Spanish-language titles for Latin America.

A trip to China by Les and Kathryn Watt in 1981 brought the next step, in the shape of editions of Watt magazines especially for the People’s Republic of China, started at the direct request of the Chinese government’s Bureau of Animal Husbandry. “Ultimately,” says Greg Watt, “Les regarded his proudest achievement as the publication of Chinese-language editions of Poultry International and Pig International with total distribution in China. His vision to create these Chinese editions made Watt one of the first publishers from abroad to launch a business-to-business local language publication in China.”

Lifetime achievements recognised

A number of organisations in poultry and agriculture honoured Les Watt with awards over the years. He was elected to the US Poultry Hall of Fame. In 1992, at a luncheon at the VIV Europe show to celebrate several notable anniversaries – 75 years for Watt Publishing, 30 years for Poultry International and 25 years for the company’s European offices – he received an honorary knighthood of the Order of Orange Nassau, presented to him by a Dutch government representative on behalf of Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. The citation for the award spoke of his contribution to the international marketing of poultry products and services. Four years later, at the EuroTier exhibition in Germany, the German Agricultural Society (DLG) presented him with its Silver Medal ‘for special merit in the service of international co-operation’.

While stepping down as company president in 1986, Les continued as international publisher and Chairman of the Board, becoming Chairman Emeritus in 1994 when James W. (Jim) Watt was named Chairman. Les Watt at the time of his retirement had been a member of the board of directors of Watt for 65 years.

At VIV Europe in 1992, Les Watt (then Chairman of the Board of Watt Publishing) received an honorary knighthood of the Order of Orange-Nassau from Dutch Ministry of Agriculture trade and industry director, Dr K.A. de Jong, for services to the international marketing of poultry products .

Cobb expands in the US for world markets

Cobb-Vantress, Inc. has purchased a new farm complex which will go into full production in 2009 to meet the increased global demand for its products.

The new facility – Timberlake Farm – is located in Timpson, Texas, USA, covering 108 hectares, will house great grandparent level multiplier flocks to supply grandparent needs for the US and distributors abroad.

Currently, there are 14 houses on the property. Updates to the farm will begin immediately, including a new office and a shower facility to comply with the company’s strict biosecurity programme.

Ultimately, the location will have 35 to 40 employees and is expected to be at full production capacity by the autumn of 2009. Plans are to begin placing birds by July with the first production in January.

Dean Creasey, director of great grandparent production commented, “We welcome the acquisition, and particularly its timing, so we can rapidly put the new facility into production to keep up with the overwhelming response from customers to our Cobb 700 and Cobb 500 product lines.”

Industry conference scheduled

Driving growth and ensuring supplies of poultrymeat on world markets are the focus for Agra Informa’s World Poultry conference in London in May. It takes place at a time of industry rationalisation, high feed and energy costs and continuing avian flu outbreaks, but there are clear signs of promise as global poultrymeat demand is on the rise.

Recent figures reveal that Brazil will be stepping up production by some 10% in 2008 and the USA will also see a rise in production in the first half. China, meanwhile, raised poultrymeat imports by a significant 35% in 2007, while Europe continues to struggle to maintain its profile in world markets.

Speakers from the main production and trading regions will discuss this year's challenges and trends. They include Mark Han (DaChan Food Asia), Richard Maxfield (Sun Valley Europe), Guy Odri (Doux Group Worldwide), Philip Wilkinson (2 Sisters Food Group), Naum Babaev (Raevskaya Poultry Farm) and Nan-Dirk Mulder (Rabobank, Netherlands) as well as speakers from the European Commission, food service and feed companies.

World Poultry 2008 will be held in London on 20-21 May 2008. .

Plan ahead for SPACE 2008

The next SPACE exhibition will take place a tits usual venue in Rennes, France on 9-12 September 2008. At the 2007 event, there were 373 international exhibitors and a total of 110,000 visitors, of whom 9000 visitors came from 106 other countries, making it one of the leading international events of last year. The poultry sector is always well represented, and more than 8000 poultry producers attended the show last time. The organisers are planning for another successful event this year. 

VDL Agrotech’s distribution agreement in Pakistan

VDL Agrotech and Vetline International have agreed on a distribution agreement for the Pakistan market. Vetline International has been selling VDL Agrotech equipment successfully in Pakistan for the past 3 years and has successfully established the brand there. The Fittra broiler pan feeding system has been well especially received.

The picture shows Dr Syed Mohsin Raza (managing director, Vetline International) and Brian van Hooff (managing director, VDL Agrotech).


Chore-Time’s new web site


Chore-Time Egg Production Systems has introduced a new web site: . The site features information to help customers learn about the company and its egg production products. Among the features are products for cage and non-cage egg production as well as product specifications and operating manuals.

Tom Lippi, vice president and general manager of Chore-Time Egg Production Systems, commented, “The new web site provides an easily accessible way to keep commercial and specialty egg producers informed of the newest innovations in egg production systems. The new site will provide information virtually instantaneously as it becomes available, and we plan to continually broaden the data that is offered.”

Attendance up at IPE / IFE

The 2008 International Poultry Expo/International Feed Expo drew over 20,000 people from more than 100 countries to see the latest products, services, and technology offered by 894 exhibitors. Acknowledged as the world’s largest trade shows for the poultry, egg and feed sectors of the industry, IPE/IFE took place in Atlanta in January.

The domestic attendance increased to 16,043 – 559 more than the previous show. There were almost 4000 international attendees, with the largest delegations from Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela. Two countries adding at least 50 delegates to their previous total were Brazil and India.

The next IPE/IFE will take place on 28-30 January 2009, at the same venue.

American Coolair celebrates its 80th anniversary

Throughout its 80-year history, American Coolair has been a leader in bringing new products to market. Among industry firsts, American Coolair was the first to develop a line of G90 galvanised fans, to use electrostatic powder paint, and to develop a single panel 48/52-inch shutter. It was also the first to develop a 52-inch line of fans, to use 50/60Hz motors, to make fibreglass fans in the slant-wall design, and to make a 60-inch slant wall fan.

Another key to the company's success is the exclusive Coolair static shaft design, which extends belt life and bearing life. The design delivers five times the bearing life for fans. The company continues to introduce new products and improve its existing product line.

American Coolair was founded in October 1928 by father-and-son team, James E. Graves, Sr. and James E. Graves, Jr., in Jacksonville, Florida, USA. Over the last eight decades, the company has grown from producing commercial, attic, and wall fans in the south-east USA during its early years to offering comprehensive product lines for the world's agricultural, horticultural, commercial and industrial ventilation markets today.

American Coolair really began to grow and expand under the leadership of Harry Graves, Sr. in the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, Harry Graves, Sr. passed his knowledge on to his children, Harry, Jr., Robert B. and Sara, who are the fourth Graves generation to lead the company. The 1990s saw rapid expansion with the facility, more than doubling in size. Computer-controlled machines became commonplace.

Today's Coolair products are fabricated in the company’s 19,500m2 manufacturing complex located in Jacksonville.

Giordano’s new partner for the Middle East

Giordano Poultry Plast – together with its Egyptian partner, Dr Edward Bassilli of Eddygypt Company – has opened a new factory for local production in Cairo. The company says that this will better serve its dealers and customers in the Middle East. Transport costs and custom duties will be reduced, whilst maintaining the company’s Italian quality products.

Dr Edward Bassilli, Giordano’s agent and partner in Cairo

Hy-Line’s latest seminar in the Dominican Republic

In February, Hy-Line International representatives Tom Dixon (regional business manager to Latin America) and Dr Douglas Grieve (global technical services director) partnered with local contacts to hold the first annual Hy-Line technical seminar in Santiago, Dominican Republic. More than 90 local producers attended. Presentation topics included an overview of the company’s worldwide commercial interests, management of its white layers and control of respiratory diseases. Local consultants, Drs. Sergio Ibarra and Manuel Santos, presented information on nutrition, common field challenges and vaccination techniques.

Tom Dixon, Dr Sergio Ibarra and Dr Douglas Grieve at Hy-Line’s first seminar in the Dominican Republic

Evonik’s latest publication

The Health & Nutrition Business Unit of Evonik Industries has now published the latest edition of its customer magazine, AminoNews, for the compound feed industry. From now on, the customer magazine will also be available as a French version in addition to English, Spanish, German and Chinese.

There are two articles in this edition for poultry producers: ‘Evaluation of amino acid requirement for ducks’ by Dr S.S. Hou and ‘The importance of valine and isoleucine in broiler feed formulation’ by Professor Alex Corzo (University Mississippi, USA).


Big Dutchman’s exhaust washer passes the test

The Big Dutchman exhaust air washer MagixX is one of the best so-called combi-systems for the reduction of dust, ammonia, and odour emissions originating from livestock houses. This has recently been confirmed by an independent scientific study in pig houses, carried out by the renowned Wageningen University, in which the Big Dutchman system was tested in direct comparison with other air washers. Thanks to the excellent results MagixX passed the official Dutch certification procedure with flying colours. According to the scientists at Wageningen, the washer reduced fine dust (PM 2.5) by more than 90%.

MagixX development team, consisting of Dr. Ralf Kosch, Andreas Kerssens and Felix Penkhues, poses with the Dutch certificate

CFS expands in USA

In response to the increasing demand in North America, CFS is expanding its manufacturing and assembling of equipment at its facility in Frisco, Texas. In addition to remanufacturing and the production of parts and tooling, CFS has started production of mixing equipment.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony in December, with David Ryan (CEO of CFS) and Tony Bayat (president, CFS Americas)

Kiotechagil’s distribution agreement in Vietnam

Kiotechagil, which manufactures a range of products for the feed industry, has successfully concluded a new distribution agreement for Vietnam. The agreement is with JJ- Degussa, a joint-venture between Jebsen & Jebsen and Degussa. Established in 1997, JJ-Degussa is headquartered in Singapore and has a number of offices in the region in addition to Vietnam.

Pancosma reports increased use of extracts and essential oils

In January 2006, European Union banned antibiotic growth promoters in animal feeds. The use of plant extracts and essential oils as AGP-alternatives have risen from an average of 55% in 2005 to 70% in poultry feed snow. Outside the EU, 61% of poultry feeds include these products.

These figures come from a survey of 94 feed manufacturers in 13 countries carried out by Pancosma. In broiler feeds, extracts are more widely used than any other AGP alternatives while in other poultry feeds, they lie a close second behind organic acids. Of all manufacturers using extracts in poultry feeds, 92% use them for broilers, 42% for layers, 32% for turkeys and 30% for breeders.

TraceTracker launches ‘food passport’

Trading partners in the global food industry can now create ‘food passports’ that trace every stage of food production, processing and distribution from source to supermarket shelf. TraceTracker has just commercially launched GTNet, the first global online information exchange for food traceability.

GTNet is a subscription-based online service that provides all the data management and process automation needed by trading partners in a supply chain to exchange traceability information and regulatory documentation. It can be quickly and easily tailored to the needs of individual supply chains. 

Nepal: Pro Biotech feed approved

Pro Biotech Industries P. Ltd is an industry dedicated to the development of poultry and farming industry in Nepal. The prestigious NS Mark has recently been granted to its Shakti brand pelleted poultry feed. It is the first time that any company in this industry has received an NS Mark. The company’s mission is to produce quality feed that will benefit consumers of high-quality poultry products, as well as local grain producers.

The company has started the feed production from pellet technology four years ago, and its factory in Birgunj produces more than 160 tonnes of feed daily, selling through a network of 60 dealers and more than 150 sub dealers throughout the country.