Notwithstanding the benefits of globalisation, it is becoming increasingly clear that while many parts of the world are prospering, with good prospects for this year, South Africa is labouring under a unique set of circumstances sent to try us. Kevin’s From the Desk and Chris’ Training and Development pages paint in broad strokes, as do the stories in our local news section, which show a gloomy picture. These range from the drought falling poultry prices and to input costs rising, including record prices for maize thanks to US dollar-denominated import parity pricing in the face of a weakening Rand.
This only serves to illustrate the global divide between South Africa, Europe and the USA, who are eagerly looking forward to a year filled with growth and opportunity. We reflect this paradigm in our outlook for local poultry in the news section, the USA Today column and in our regular European feature, Northern Views.
Each month, the Bulletin carries a specialised focus on one particular area of poultry production associated with our country’s biggest agricultural sector. This month, we examine issues around poultry health, including a disease profile on coccidiosis control, reducing infectious process, and keeping bird flu at bay through effective biosecurity on the farm. In keeping with this theme, you’ll also find articles of interest on almost every page.
As February is Healthy Lifestyle and Pregnancy Awareness month, we feature a research article on the importance of choline during pregnancy. Also, our International News section carries the results of a UK survey showing eggs are the best breakfast for children – which is certainly not news to us!
Lastly, the call from Cosatu as reported in our News section is alarming from two perspectives. If, as alleged, price fixing and manipulation is taking place in the middle of a crippling drought, this is very serious indeed. On the other hand, if the pricing of maize is, in fact, largely influenced by Import Parity Pricing as reported elsewhere in the Bulletin, then the lack of knowledge displayed by the union on matters agricultural in favour of illinformed statements is more serious still. In these times of high temperatures and incendiary comments, it really is necessary for cool heads to prevail and for sensible voices to be heard.
Thank you all for your reaction to our January issue, especially around the biosecurity for small farms. We will continue to report on developments in this regard as a proactive biosecurity programme now can prevent so much damage later.¡