>> Mobile Version    >> Web Version    >> Add to Safe Sender List From the editors of National Hog Farmer Magazine
National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
July 13, 2009
In this issue:
  Pork Exports Have Ups & Downs
  Detailed Breeding Records Can Help Boost Farrowing Rates
  Food Safety Working Group Reports
  Pork Exports Hang Tough Despite H1N1 Flu Fallout

Pork Exports Have Ups & Downs
U.S. pork exports for May were, as expected, significantly lower than one year ago, with shipments to virtually all major U.S. markets falling relative to last year. Total U.S. pork exports were 231.2 million pounds, product weight. That is 34% lower than last year, but remember, May of 2008 is the all-time record U.S. export month at 350.4 million pounds, product weight.

Shipments grew on a year-on-year basis for only two major U.S. markets: Australia (+22.1% vs. 2008) and, surprisingly, Russia (+8.2% from last May). The Russian figure is a surprise given the country’s ban on meat imports from several states in the wake of the H1N1 influenza virus outbreak. Those restrictions, however, always allowed shipments from some states with pork packing plants and Russian buyers apparently took advantage of those opportunities.

The largest year-on-year reduction was, as expected, in shipments to China. We shipped 95% less pork to China this year than we did last year in May. A bit of a surprise was the drop in shipments to Hong Kong (down 71% from last year) given that Hong Kong never officially stopped imports from the United States. Many observers, including me, had guessed that trade with Hong Kong had grown in order to satisfy buyers in China. But that was not the case – at least in May.


Detailed Breeding Records Can Help Boost Farrowing Rates
Farrowing rate is affected by three main variables – gilt or sow parity, semen source/quality and the technician doing the artificial insemination.

To improve farrowing rate and total pigs born, it is important to study your sow records. This column will take a closer look at the affect of female status/history at breeding, parity and the day of week that insemination took place. The data set used for this analysis is a composite of farms with excellent detailed records. This combination of farms has a 24.9 pigs weaned/mated female/year average and would rank in the upper 72 percentile in the Swine Management Services, LLC database.

The only way to improve reproductive performance in high-producing farms is through in-depth analyses of accurate records, to identify and address the weak areas.

Table 1 is broken down by female status and specific time periods (by week). For example, the type of female being mated is broken out by the day they return to heat, first service gilts, second service females (gilts and sows), and third service females (gilts and sows). The table shows the week bred and the groups farrowed (farrowing rate by status).


Food Safety Working Group Reports
The Obama administration’s Food Safety Working Group announced its recommendations to enhance the nation’s food safety system. The recommendations are based on three core principles: prioritizing prevention, strengthening surveillance and enforcement and improving response and recovery. The working group announced specific steps to advance the core principals:
  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and USDA are targeting salmonella contamination by developing tougher standards to protect the safety of eggs and poultry (chickens, turkeys).
  • To fight the threat of E. coli, USDA is stepping up enforcement in beef facilities and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is developing new industry guidance to improve protections for leafy greens, melons and tomatoes.
  • FDA will issue draft guidance on steps the food industry can take to establish product tracing systems to improve national capacity for detecting the origins of foodborne illness.
  • USDA will create a new position, chief medical officer, at the Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The Food Safety Working Group was co-chaired by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius.


Pork Exports Hang Tough Despite H1N1 Flu Fallout
U.S. pork exports in May 2009 were expected to be the most impacted by the H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus, but the negative fallout was less than some analysts predicted, according to an analysis of USDA data by the U.S. Meat Export Federation (USMEF).

All volume and value totals are for pork plus pork variety meat unless otherwise indicated.

Pork and pork variety meat exports for May reached 316.8 million pounds valued at $342.6 million. Totals are down 9% in value and 9.5% in volume from April, and down a substantial 24% in value and 27% in volume compared to May 2008.


July 23, 2009: Pork Checkoff strategic planning meeting, Holiday Inn Convention Center, Omaha, NE; contact: the National Pork Board at (800) 456-7675 or go to www.pork.org.

July 24, 2009: Pork Checkoff strategic planning meeting, Indiana Pork Producers office, Indianapolis, IN; contact: the National Pork Board at (800) 456-7675 or go to www.pork.org.

July 27, 2009: Pork Checkoff strategic planning meeting, Sampson Community College, Clinton, NC; contact: the National Pork Board at (800) 456-7675 or go to www.pork.org.

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The volatility of feed prices in recent years has heightened producers' awareness of the need for continual improvement in the efficiency of feed use. Click here for the complete Blueprint archive.

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This month's focus: Full-Value Pigs
The Right Diet At the Right Time
Diet formulation and feeding programs - traditionally formulated for group averages - short suits the lighter pigs and overfeeds the heavies.
Setting Pigs Up to Succeed
Investing in the first day of a pig's life can make a pivotal difference in its lifetime performance.
Goal: Producing More Quality Pigs
As average litter size continues to rise, extra effort must be focused on saving the best pigs.

leitis immunity is as easy as turning on the water. Enterisol Ileitis protects your pigs with long-lasting immunity. It’s there when you need it and it takes the guesswork out of ileitis control. Now that’s what we call a liquid asset. Call Boehringer Ingelheim at 1-800-325-9167.


National Hog Farmer offers 10 posters targeting key production areas, offering guidance in critical areas such as feet and leg soundness and reproduction traits soundness in replacement gilts. Others include pig anatomy, heat detection, sow condition, etc. All posters are in English. Select posters are translated to Spanish, Chinese and Japanese.


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