Roundup: Barentz on the asset trail, Japfa buys dairy farms in China, federal funds for US carbon capture project, high feed prices hurting UK pig sector

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/alphaspirit
© GettyImages/alphaspirit

Related tags carbon capture feed prices trace minerals China raw milk

We look at some relevant, wider industry developments over the past week.

Barentz International is expanding its activities in North America.

The company has entered into an agreement to acquire Pestell Nutrition Inc, a distributor of feed additives, nutritional ingredients, macro and trace minerals, and pet specialty ingredients for the animal health, animal nutrition, and pet food sectors across Canada and the US.

Headquartered in New Hamburg, Ontario, Canada, Pestell Nutrition has a significant position in Canada and a fast-growing expansion into the US animal nutrition market, said Barentz.

With over 20 warehouses and transloading facilities throughout North America supporting its distribution capabilities, the Canadian company had a turnover of around €200m (US$237m) in 2020.

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions including merger control clearances.

Singaporean feed player bolsters footprint in China 

Japfa, the largest poultry producer and feed producer in Singapore, through its 75%-owned subsidiary, AustAsia Investment Holdings, is buying two dairy farms in Shandong, China, according to local media​ reports.

AustAsia, which operates the group's dairy and beef farming businesses in China, is acquiring Falcon Dairy Holdings for about US$123.4m; Falcon holds 100% of Pure Source Farm Company, which owns the two dairy farms in Shandong province.

The farms in question produce raw milk, and the acquisition will reportedly enable the group to take advantage of the favorable raw milk price environment due to the current supply shortage in the Chinese market, and also boost AustAsia's capacity and accelerate its expansion in China.

The farms have a total capacity of about 16,000 heads of cattle and will increase the group's production capacity in a shorter time compared with building new farms from scratch, Japfa said.

Carbon capture

Global Algae Innovations, based in San Diego, California, had received funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE), to the value of US$2m, to develop a technology suite to lower algae production costs, making algae derived products such as protein and fatty acids competitive in the food and feed sectors as well as in the chemical and polymer markets.

The funds will advance the company’s efforts in progressing and deploying technology that enables economical, sustainable production of algae products, said US congressman, Scott Peters. "We must continue to invest in these kinds of innovative projects so that we can take advantage of the many benefits algae has to offer, including to combat the climate crisis."

The DOE's Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM) is granting US$8m in total in federal funding for four projects, the Global Algae Innovations initiative and three others, to develop and test technologies that capture and utilize carbon dioxide (CO2) from power systems or other industrial sources to create valuable products and services, biomass and bi-products.

Using algae, the selected projects will develop conversion technologies to decrease emissions – the idea is to support the Biden-Harris Administration’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.

“Capturing and utilizing CO2 from sources across power and industrial sectors is critical to fighting climate change — and to creating new jobs and opportunities in hard hit communities across the country,”​ said Dr Jennifer Wilcox, acting assistant secretary for fossil energy and carbon management, FECM. “These projects represent an important step in those efforts.”

High costs and labor shortages hurting UK pig sector

High feed prices and a shortage of straw are challenging the UK pig industry, and, as margins remain under pressure, some pig producers are left with no choice but to exit the sector, according to the UK’s National Pig Association (NPA).

Brexit-related issues, including new conditions for EU migrant workers imposed by the UK Home Office, are compounding labor shortages and also impacting the sector, said the trade group.

Though pig prices have increased over the past three months, input costs remain at record levels. Wheat and soy prices are high, taking a heavy toll on producers, according to the industry representatives. 

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