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Dale Miller, Editor,
National Hog Farmer
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Crop Reports Offer
The focus of most of U.S. agriculture this week was the
monthly USDA Crop Production Report released on Wednesday. Some of the
- An even larger record corn crop than USDA had predicted in
June. USDA has now pegged this year's crop at 13.308 billion bushels,
up from the 13.1 billion predicted by the June report. That breaks the
old record of 11.8 billion bushels set in 2004.
- The second highest national average yield on record at 155.8
bu./acre. This is 5.8 bu. above the 1980-2006 trend yield and 1.7 bu.
above the 1996-2006 trend yield. That latter period covers the advent
of genetically engineered corn varieties, but does not include any years
with widespread adverse weather conditions. The longer trend period
includes some very tough weather years (1983, 1988, 1993) and the impact
of genetically modified crops.
- Some slight, but interesting, changes in projected usage. USDA
increased projected feed and residual by 100 million bushels (to 5.85
billion), reduced projected ethanol usage by 100 million bushels (to 3.3
billion) and increased projected corn exports by 100 million bushels (to
- The combination of higher output and slightly higher usage is
projected to leave 1.675 billion bushels of corn in storage at the end
of the '07-'08 crop year. That is up from last month's projection of
1.516 billion bushels and last year's 1.142 billion.
- USDA left its predicted range for the national average farm price
of corn at $2.80 to $3.40/bu. even though the projected ratio of
carryout stocks to total usage increased by roughly 1% (see Figure 1).
USDA's price forecast still reflects a significant increase in corn
- The projected soybean crop was reduced slightly, from 2.625 billion
bushels to 2.619 billion. After some adjustments to projected crush and
exports, year-end stocks were lowered slightly and USDA's projected
soybean price was increased to $7.35 to $8.35/bu., 10 cents higher per
bushel at both ends. Forecast soybean meal prices were increased to
$205 to $235/ton, $5 higher than they were in June.
Figure 2 shows my index of hog feed costs as of the close of Chicago
Board of Trade (CBOT) grain futures trading on Thursday. This graph
represents the cost of the corn and soybean meal to make a 16% crude
protein hog diet. The blue line is actual cost based on cash corn
(Omaha) and soybean meal (Decatur, IL) prices. The other lines are
forecasts based on CBOT futures prices on the dates shown.
Forecast feed costs for the remainder of 2007 and the first part of 2008
have dropped significantly since mid-June, when futures prices were high
before we knew whether this year's crops would receive enough rain. The
$18 to $20/ton reduction drove costs for this period down by roughly
$3/cwt. of live hog produced.
But the green line labeled "Sept. 13, 2007" also clearly shows the
challenges that lay ahead. The feed cost index increases by roughly
$16/ton by June as corn and soybean meal futures reflect the marketplace
competition for crop acres next year.
And let us not forget that ethanol production capacity is still growing
at a rapid clip. The latest count by ISU's Center for Agriculture and
Rural Development (CARD) shows that there are still 77 new plants under
construction and eight plants that are being expanded. When completed,
these plants will add the capacity for 6.65 billion gallons of ethanol
to our current capacity of 6.7 billion gallons. That means that the
annual rate of corn usage for ethanol will double by the end of 2008.
It is nice to have more affordable feed for now, but we have only dodged
one bullet so far.
Pork Exports Down, But Prices Are Up
July's pork export data was a bit more encouraging than that of the
previous few months. July exports were 2.4% larger than one year ago --
the first positive month since January. The growth was provided by
Canada, China-Hong Kong (up 227% from July 2006, which was supposedly
before the big China purchases) and Russia.
Shipments to Japan were 2.2% smaller than in July 2006 and shipments to
Mexico continued to be dismal -- though less dismal than in recent
months at -24.7%.
Total 2007 U.S. pork exports through July are now only 2.8% below last
year on a carcass weight basis, 4.9% on an actual product weight basis.
The value of those exports, though, is still nearly 5% higher than last
year, and I would argue that this is the most important figure when it
comes to exports' contribution to U.S. pork and hog demand.
So the news is better and I still have hopes that we will set our 16th
straight record for pork exports. Much of that will depend on China.
The futures markets still appear to have significant China business
built into prices since expected supplies and hog demand steady with
2006 do not provide forecast prices nearly as high as current futures
prices. The deferred contracts are all nearing contract life highs, so
I think Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Lean Hogs futures are still
providing some good pricing opportunities for producers.
Click to view graph.
Steve R. Meyer, Ph.D.
Paragon Economics, Inc.
Advancement in PRRS Research Award.
Boehringer Ingelheim is awarding $75,000 annually to fund three
research proposals to help solve the PRRS mystery.
Entries due January 1, 2008.
Intake is Critical
Measures to improve longevity of breeding females have
been accorded a high priority in swine breeding herds. Although a sow
may be removed from the herd at any time during its reproductive cycle,
from an epidemiological standpoint, lactation is a high-risk event.
A great deal of the challenge to longevity is related to ensuring
adequate feed consumption during lactation. The nutritional demands on
modern, highly prolific sows during lactation may not even be met with
ad libitum feeding.
The nutritional demands of lactation are further exacerbated in younger
parity females as they have the additional requirement to support
Inadequate lactation feed intake may affect sow longevity directly and
indirectly. The direct effects may be associated with excessive
depletion of body reserves to maintain lactation, while the indirect
effects are mediated by conditions that impair breeding performance.
Studies have indicated that highly productive sows may have physical
limitations in consuming the quantity of feed required to replenish the
minerals secreted during a heavy lactation. This may make them more
prone to conditions such as osteomalacia, which can lead to lameness and
removal from the herd.
Similarly, there is research evidence that a low level of feed intake
adversely affects vital reproductive performance indicators, such as
wean-to-estrus interval and embryo survival rate, during lactation.
Since reproductive efficiency is a prerequisite for retaining sows in
the breeding herd, any factor leading to a compromise in the sow's
reproductive performance can impair her longevity in the herd. Arguably,
a shorter lactation length means less body weight loss and less exposure
to higher nutrient demands in the short term. However, it also means
that sows with short lactation periods farrow more litters in the same
time frame and will have a greater metabolic demand.
Epidemiological evidence has linked shorter lactation length with high
risk of removal. When the length of lactation is short, the diet
therefore must ensure that milk production demands are fulfilled and
postweaning breeding performance remains unaffected.
A glance at the research literature on lactation feeding reveals two
interesting points. First, though inadequate lactation feed intake is
linked to inefficient reproduction and consequential sow removals, only
a few studies have evaluated the direct relationship between lactation
feeding and sow longevity. Secondly, the most predominant dimension of
lactation feed intake used in research has been the average quantity
consumed during the entire lactation.
Efforts to improve any production scenario must focus on the low
extremes. Translating this to lactation feed intake, producers should
focus on those sows consuming significantly lower quantities of feed
during any lactation day. The scientific proposition that there are
points during lactation when the physiological mechanisms controlling
reproduction are more sensitive to reduction in feed intake, such as
estrus after weaning, supports this argument.
A study at the University of Minnesota analyzed the direct link between
lactation feed intake and sow longevity. This research demonstrates
that sows consuming < 7.7 lb. of feed/day during the first two weeks of
lactation had a higher likelihood of removal from the herd before the
next parity. The likelihood of removal was the highest (odds ratio 2.36,
confidence interval 1.311- 4.261) for sows that consumed no feed in any
one day during the first two weeks of lactation compared to the rest of
Factors affecting lactation feed intake include parity, litter size,
pregnancy weight gain, mean room temperature, particle size and
digestibility of the feed, availability of ad libitum water, frequency
of feeding and feeder design. All of these parameters need to be
properly addressed to ensure adequate lactation feed intake.
It goes without saying, we cannot force a sow to eat if she does not
want to, but we can always look for options to prevent that from
happening. The strategies to achieve this may include early detection of
diseases and other conditions, and providing an environment conducive to
feed consumption during lactation.
by Sukumarannair S. Anil, DVM
Editor's Note: For all your agricultural news, markets and
commentaries, go to www.farms.com.
Make ileitis disappear?
Denagard® (tiamulin) 10 is approved to control ileitis in as little
as 10 days. And with its small dosage -- 35 grams tiamulin/ton -- and
less medication time, no other feed medication is as cost-effective for
on the Denagard logo to learn more.
The National Farmers Union and other organizations are
urging the Senate Agriculture Committee to include a "strong" livestock
competition title in the farm bill. Provisions being requested include:
- Give producers at least three days to review and cancel a
- Protect producers from prematurely terminated contracts if they
have made a sizable capital investment.
- Make poultry producers and processors subject to the authority of
the Packers & Stockyards Act (PSA).
- Require courts to award attorneys fees to successful producer
plaintiffs under PSA.
- Prohibit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts
between meat processors and livestock producers.
Payment Limitations -- Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), chairman of
the Senate Agriculture Committee, has proposed a limit of $250,000 per
farm household on commodity payments. Under the proposal, payment
limitations would be restricted for a farm household to $50,000 in
direct payments, $50,000 in countercyclical payments and $150,000 in
marketing loan gains. No household could receive more than $250,000 in
total payments. Under the proposal, a husband and wife will be
considered as one individual, "unless prior to marriage, each spouse was
engaged in unrelated farming operations and, after marriage, the farming
operations remain separate." Senator Harkin proposes that a married
couple filing a joint tax return showing an average adjusted gross
income of $500,000 over the last three years or a single person with a
three-year adjusted gross income of $250,000 would not be eligible for
commodity payments. The House of Representatives passed farm bill
prohibits payments to individuals with more than $1 million in adjusted
gross income. Last month, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Chuck
Grassley (R-IA) sent a letter to members of the Senate urging them to
support their payment limitations proposal. The Dorgan-Grassley
proposal would limit annual per farm commodity subsidy payments to
$250,000, end the "three entity" rule, and ensure that payments go to
people actually engaged in farming. In the letter, the Senators said,
"The current payment limits promote farm consolidation, artificially
increase land prices, and create barriers for a new generation of
farmers eager to enter the industry. By allowing this to continue, we
are wasting taxpayer dollars, abusing the public's trust, and
undermining the very farm safety net that our family farmers depend on
Farm Bill -- Agricultural Tax Package -- Senate Finance
Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) this week outlined his goals for
the Senate Finance Committee to provide $8 to $10 billion for farm bill
programs in the form of a trust fund for agricultural disasters, bonds
and tax credits. The Senate Finance Committee will consider this
package later this month. The package would provide:
Many hope that this package will help move the farm bill forward in the
- Permanent Agriculture Disaster Relief Trust Fund -- Provide an
ongoing program to offset farming income losses not covered by crop
- Conservation Tax Credits -- Participants in the Wetlands Reserve
Program, the Grassland Reserve Program and the Farm and Ranchlands
Protection Program currently receive cash payments for enrolling in
these programs. The proposal would allow participants to receive tax
- Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) -- Would clarify that CRP
payments made to certain farmers participating in mandatory conservation
activities are rental income and not subject to self-employment taxes.
- Rural Development Bonds -- Creates a new category of tax credit
bonds for projects such as rural electric and telemedicine, rural
broadband and other rural economic development community projects.
- Energy Conservation Tax Incentives -- Includes tax incentives for
wind and other forms of alternative energy.
P. Scott Shearer
Hermitage NGT offers their North American clients:
- Breeding Stock (GGP/GP/Parent stock)
- Semen-fresh & frozen
- Closed herd breeding programs
- Genetic monitoring through the Hermitage BLUP recording system
Talk with our team of specialists in genetics, reproductive physiology,
nutrition, veterinary medicine, pig production management and A.I. to
design a program to allow you to take advantage of these exciting
Pork Industry Calendar
Sept. 15-19, 2007--International
Symposium on Air Quality and Waste Management for Agriculture, Omni
Interlocken Resort, Broomfield, CO; contact: American Society of
Agricultural and Biological Engineers, Sharon McKnight by phone (269)
428-6333, fax (269) 429-3852 or e-mail email@example.com or visit http://www.asabe.org.
Sept. 15-18, 2007: Leman Swine Conference, RiverCentre,
St. Paul, MN; contact the University of Minnesota by phone (612)
624-3434 or (800) 380-8636, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.cvm.umn.edu/outreach.
Click here to get National Hog Farmer's
complete pork industry calendar.
Introducing the new PIC Camborough® Family
You asked for greater lifetime reproductive performance and longevity.
You asked for more pounds of pork marketed per sow. You asked for a
higher percentage of market pigs in the full-value pay box.
Take another look at our new Camborough family, we think you will like
what you see--after all, it is just what you asked for.
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