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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
August 24, 2009
In this issue:
  Canadian Breeding Herd Cutbacks Begin to Slow
  Maximize Total Born to Reduce “Per Pig” Costs
  Conservation Stewardship Program
  Three Groups Ask For Sow Buy-Out Program

Canadian Breeding Herd Cutbacks Begin to Slow
Canada’s breeding herd continued to shrink in the second quarter but it did so at the slowest rate since the fourth quarter of 2007. Statistics Canada’s Hog Statistics report, released on Thursday, showed the Canadian breeding herd numbered 1.3798 million head on July 1, down fractionally from the April 1 inventory of 1.383 million head and 4.6% lower than the inventory level on July 1, 2008. As has been the case for all of this large liquidation, the western provinces accounted for more of the decline (down 7.2%) than did the east (down 2.4%).

This reduction in Canada’s breeding herd, when combined with the 2.7% reduction in the U.S. herd on June 1, puts the Canada-U.S. herd at 7.347 million head, 3% lower than one year ago. The June-July count is 5.2% lower than the herd was at its peak of 7.752 million in October 2007. Several analysts, including me, believe that the combined Canada-U.S. herd will have to decline by about this same amount – 400,000 head – to balance supply and demand at price levels that will be profitable relative to higher costs.

Canadian producers intend to farrow 740,700 sows in the July-September quarter, 7.5% fewer than one year ago. Those intentions rise to 743,700 sows in the October-December quarter, only 2.5% lower than last year. Farrowing intentions in the eastern provinces for the two quarters are virtually unchanged (-0.5% and -0.6%) from last year, meaning virtually all of the future decline will come in the west.


Maximize Total Born to Reduce “Per Pig” Costs
With the current state of the swine industry, to be a low-cost producer, it is important to recognize that “total pigs born” has a big impact on the cost of weaned pigs.

Looking at the Swine Management Services’ farm benchmarking database, we find some very interesting trends. For example, Table 1 shows the top 5% of the 607 farms in the database have the potential for 35.33 pigs born/mated female/year, which calculates to 14.53 pigs born/female farrowed. There are a few farms that top 15 pigs born/litter. Pigs born drops 5.48 pigs/mated female/year to 29.85 in the All Farms’ average, which brings the per-female-farrowed average down to 12.69 pigs.

Graph 1 is even more eye-opening as to the potential and variation in total pigs born/mated female/year. We see a normal bell curve variation with the top farms at 39 pigs/mated female/year, but the bottom end comes in at just 20 pigs/mated female/year – a 19-pig difference!

We did not expect to see such a large variation in potential. Following are some factors that can affect “potential” total pigs born/mated female/year.


Conservation Stewardship Program
Producers can now sign up for the new Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). CSP is a voluntary program that encourages agricultural and forestry producers to maintain existing conservation activities and adopt additional ones on their operations. Eligible lands include cropland, grassland, prairie, improved pastureland, rangeland, non-industrial private forestland and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of an Indian tribe. Sign-up deadline is Sept. 30. More information is available at www.nrcs.usda.gov/new_csp.

Estate Tax Relief for Agriculture — Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-CA) and John Salazar (D-CO) have introduced H.R. 3524, the “Family Farm Preservation and Conservation Estate Tax Act.” This legislation will exempt working farm and ranch land from the estate tax, as long as the land is kept in production agriculture. If the land is used or sold for other purposes, a recapture tax would be imposed.


Three Groups Ask For Sow Buy-Out Program
Three pork producer marketing groups are requesting that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) institute a sow buy-out program to prop up the ailing pork industry.

Producers Livestock Marketing Association, National Farmers Union and Allied Producers Cooperative are calling on USDA to evaluate the pork market impact of a $200-million, federally funded sow buy-out program to reduce pork supplies. The groups say pork producers are losing more than $30/hog today and are projected to lose nearly $54/head this fall.

The marketing groups also expressed support for:
    • The National Pork Producer Council’s request to provide assistance for U.S. pork producers, including three separate $50-million pork purchase allotments and allocation of $100 million in program funds to address the H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus.

    • U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk’s efforts to reopen the Chinese market to U.S. pork.


Sept. 1, 2009: Carthage Veterinary Service (CVS), Ltd. 19th Annual Swine Conference, Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL; contact: CVS at (217) 357-2811 or visit www.hogvet.com.

Sept. 10, 2009: Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference, Indiana Farm Bureau Building, Indianapolis, IN; contact: Tip Cline at Purdue University at tcline@purdue.edu or visit www.swinenutritionconference.com.

Sept. 15-16, 2009: 70th University of Minnesota Nutrition Conference, Holiday Inn, Owatonna, MN; contact: http://www.ansci.umn.edu/mnc.html.

Ileitis 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.Click here for more information.


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.

Suvaxyn® PCV2 is proven to be a safe and efficacious way to control circovirus. And it controls viremia, too. Suvaxyn PCV2 also provides what no other circovirus vaccine can: the option of one- or two-dose regimen to meet the needs of your operation. Either way, you’ll take more pork to market. As your Fort Dodge representative or your animal health supplier about Suvaxyn PCV2.Click here for more information.


This month's focus: World Pork Expo New Product Tour
2009 World Pork Expo New Product Tour
Challenging economic times were reflected in the type of products introduced to the pork industry at the 21st annual World Pork Expo in Des Moines, IA.
Trials Study Divergent Sow Feeding Systems
Research goal is to provide pen gestation options for the future.
H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus Raises Questions
Iowa State researcher answers questions about the virus.

Denagard® 10 plus CTC. The right choice at just the right time.


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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Our breeding technology is delivering what your operation demands, high production results across a wide range of environmental conditions. Count on the industry leader. Go to the trusted source.Click here for more information.
Ileitis 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. Click here for more information.

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