Fieragricola will be the capital of milk production and livestock farming from 31 January to 3 February, when all the exhibitors in the so-called precision livestock farming industry will gather in Verona: milking robots and systems, automated animal feed preparation and distribution plants, software and microchips for the remote control of herds, ventilation systems and stable cleaning systems.
Three out of 10 halls will be dedicated to technologies and products for livestock farming, livestock farming production, renewable energy sources (hall 9); animal exhibitions and competitions, animal breeding and genetics (hall 10); Eurocarne, the trade show offering solutions for the short meat chain, which will closely interact with the entire animal breeding and rural hospitality segment (hall 12).
New digital technologies along with practices to improve animal wellbeing, corporate multifunctionality and the application of economies of scale (feasible perhaps by using outsourced services) will be a way to achieve products that are safer in terms of health and quality, and more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.
Three competitions, in particular, will focus on animals and be held, in collaboration with the Associazione Italiana Allevatori (Italian Breeders Association), a long-standing partner of Fieragricola. In addition to well-established events, such as the Dairy Open Holstein Show (an international event dedicated to the Friesian breed) and the national exhibition of the Italian Brown breed (participating in the European competition in Verona in 2020), the important new feature of 2018 will be the European Limousin competition, perhaps the most prestigious beef cattle reared in Italy.
A focus on pigs, beef cattle and poultry
Special events will also be dedicated to pig farming (organised by Crefis, the Research Centre for the pig meat supply chain, and by 3tre3), poultry farming, beef farming and nutrition, thanks to the participation, among exhibitors, of Assalzoo, the Italian animal feed producers association.
On 2 February, thanks to Fieragricola's partnership with NewBusiness Media, Milk Day will be celebrated, offering insights and studies dedicated to the entire dairy supply chain.
The future of milk
Just recently, Verona hosted a meeting between major international groups organised by Clal.it, the global reference portal for the dairy industry, whose statistics indicate an increase in milk deliveries in European Union countries of 0.08% on a trend basis for the period from January-August 2017. Therefore, while production has slowed down in Germany and France, showing a decrease respectively of 2.3% and 2.4% compared to the same period in 2016, a positive trend is shown, instead, in deliveries in Italy (+2.9%), Ireland (+8.1%), Poland (+4.5%), Czech Republic (+5%), Romania (+6.2%), Spain (+0.8%), Bulgaria (+11.8%), Austria (+0.6%), Belgium (+1.4%), Luxembourg (+0.4%) and Cyprus (+9.8%).
The overall level of production in EU-28 countries in the first eight months of 2017 reached 105,652,000 tonnes, 83,000 tonnes more on a trend basis.
According to analysts in the Clal.it team, the scenario should not have a negative impact on prices, which remain high throughout Europe (Friesland Campina, a Dutch cooperative and a world leader, with more than 18,000 member breeders, guaranteed the price of raw milk in October 2017 at 41.75 euros per 100 kg, with an increase of 1.25 euros compared to the guaranteed price for September; a price that rises to 49.50 euros/100 kg for organic milk).
The outlook for the demand and supply balance in milk equivalent for 31 December is expected to show a negative balance throughout 2017. However, Clal.it has observed a rebalance in the production of fats (a factor that might affect butter price lists) and a trend of increased milk production since June.
If exports were to come to a standstill and milk production were to significantly increase, it cannot be excluded that prices will be suppressed. For now, the balance is satisfactory. In the first eight months of 2017, an increase was seen in Europe in exports of cheeses (+6.8%), SMP (+43.3%), WMP (+1.9%), infant milk powder (+13.4%) and yoghurt (+11%). Exports of milk and cream (-8.1%) and butter (-18.8%) decreased in the first eight months of this year compared to the same period in 2016. This situation requires much caution on the part of breeders, who should now focus more on sustainable production than on quantity alone.