World in brief

Conservation

U.S. Conservation Reserve smallest in 25 years

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Reuters) — An American program that pays farmers to idle fragile cropland soon will protect the smallest amount of land in a quarter century, the United States government said.

It cited high commodity prices that have encouraged farmers to plant as much as possible.

The Conservation Reserve will hold roughly 25.3 million acres on Oct. 1, down in size by one-third from its peak of 36.8 million acres in 2007.

It would be the smallest area in the long-term set aside program since 1988, when the program was two years old. Some 26.9 million acres is enrolled at present.

Contracts on 3.3 million acres expire at the end of this fiscal year and 1.7 million acres are approved for entry on Oct 1.

Enrollment has fallen during the agricultural boom that began when global demand for crops surged.

New Feed

Bugs a possible soybean alternative

PARIS, France (Reuters) — French start-up company Ynsect has identified a cheap, nourishing and locally sourced alternative to soybeans as a source of protein in animal feed.

Jean-Gabriel Levon, co-founder of Ynsect, said new protein sources are essential in a market where costs are set to climb.

The company, which has around 10 rivals globally, is raising funds to build the first European insect meal production unit by 2014-15. One well-heated part of the plant would breed insects and the other would crush them into powder.

It aims to focus on using flies and beetles and Levon says a great advantage is that they can eat just about anything, such as human food leftovers.

Once crushed, co-products such as shells can be used in the pharmaceutical sector, for cosmetics and waste-water treatments.

As well, insect droppings make good fertilizer.

According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, protein such as meat meal, fish-meal and soybean meal now make up 60 to 70 percent of the price of feed.

 

Animal health

Funds for pork virus

CHICAGO, Ill. (Reuters) — A leading U.S. pork association plans to spend an additional $350,000 to combat a virus that kills young pigs, bringing the U.S. pork industry’s total outlay this year to nearly $900,000.

The National Pork Board said the $350,000 is in addition to the $527,000 provided by the Pork Board and the Iowa Pork Producers Association in early June.

As of mid July, 346 farm sites in 14 states have reported cases of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV), with most in Iowa and Oklahoma, according to the National Animal Health Lab Network.

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