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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
September 28, 2009
In this issue:
  Hogs & Pigs Report Cautiously Encouraging
  Productivity by Farm Size Deserves Another Look
  A Call for H1N1 Outreach
  Veterinary Clinic Challenge: Eat Pork Each Night for a Week

Hogs & Pigs Report Cautiously Encouraging
Friday’s USDA Hogs and Pigs report indicates the pace of breeding herd liquidation may be quickening, generally agreeing with pre-report estimates. Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group Lean Hogs futures responded by moving $0.50 to $1.05 higher in early trading on Monday, with the largest gain being in the April contract.

Figure 1 shows the key numbers from the report as well as the averages of analysts’ pre-report estimates and the differences between actual and estimated year-on-year percentages. Some key numbers and implications include:

    • The breeding herd of 5.874 million head is 3.1% smaller than last year, marking an increase in the rate of reduction from 2.7% in June. That’s good news – especially since this survey captured Sept.1 inventories, only three weeks into this period of higher sow slaughter. The bad news is the June-September reduction is much smaller than in past liquidations. I believe that reflects the fact that clear liquidation signals did not come until the late-July break in CME Lean Hogs futures. I expect to see a larger year-on-year breeding herd reduction in the December report – even if profit prospects improve some. The cold, hard truth is that many producers are out of cash with no source of funds to support their operations.

    • The market herd was 0.5% smaller than expected. That should be mildly supportive to prices over the next few months, but note that the largest share of this shortfall is in the under-60 lb. category. Q4 slaughter is going to be very near the levels projected by the June report. As Figure 2 shows, I still have eight weeks with the federally inspected (FI) slaughter above 2.3 million head. That includes the past two weeks when actual FI slaughter has exceeded the forecast level by 0.3% and 1%, respectively. Readers should note that Figure 2 assumes that imports of Canadian market hogs will continue to be in the 10,000/week range, but imports of Canadian feeder pigs will continue to trend downward at about 30,000 head fewer than year-ago levels.


Productivity by Farm Size Deserves Another Look
We divided the Swine Management Services, LLC database into four groups:
    • Under 1,000 mated females (141 farms); average size is 650 females;
    • 1,000-1,999 mated females (130 farms); average size is 1,393 females;
    • 2,000- 2,999 mated females (94 farms); average size is 2579 females, and
    • Over 3,000 mated females (32); average size is 4,596 females.
Criteria also required that farms had to be in production for over three years and weaning average had to be 22 pigs/mated female during the time period. From the 397 farms in the four groups, 619 farms (64%) qualified.

Table 1 (52-week averages) provides a breakdown of production numbers for the four group sizes and Table 2 is a breakdown of the Top 10% farms for the four group sizes. Pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y) has a narrow range, between farms sizes – just 24.45 to 24.67. However, if we focus on the Top 10% farms, the range between farm sizes widens – 26.84 to 29.02 pigs – with the farms under 1,000 mated females reporting the highest PW/MF/Y at 29.02.


A Call for H1N1 Outreach
A number of agricultural organizations thanked the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations for its efforts to “clear up” public misinformation about the nature of the novel H1N1 influenza virus. In a letter to the FAO, the agricultural groups said, “The initial misnaming of the H1N1 virus as swine flu caused the North American pork industry to suffer significant losses. U.S. pork producers were losing just under $10 per head on April 24, the first day the H1N1 flu received wide media attention. That number soared to over $30 per head as consumer demand for pork fell and some U.S. trading partners closed their markets to U.S. pork despite the large body of evidence demonstrating that the virus is not transmitted through food. Even the U.S. beef and poultry industries, which weren't directly tied to H1N1, have suffered losses because export markets were closed in reaction to H1N1 in the United States.” Those signing the letter were the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Meat Institute, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, National Chicken Council, National Meat Association, National Pork Board, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, U.S. Meat Export Federation and the U.S.A. Poultry and Egg Export Council.


Veterinary Clinic Challenge: Eat Pork Each Night for a Week
To show support for a struggling U.S. pork industry, which has weathered two years of economic hardship and put some producers out of business, a northern Iowa swine veterinary consulting clinic has kicked off “Pork Week.”

Suidae Health & Production reminds that the recent misnaming of the novel H1N1 flu as “swine flu” has compounded the situation – making U.S. and foreign countries that import pork “fearful of eating this safe and healthy meat.”

The Algona, IA, clinic points out that the novel H1N1 flu virus hasn’t been detected in any U.S. swine herds, but if it were, pork would still be safe to eat.


Oct. 6-7, 2009: The Center for Food Integrity’s 2009 Food System Summit, Hilton Kansas City Airport Hotel, Kansas City, MO; contact: Jim Fallon at (816) 556-3129 or visit

Oct. 8-14, 2009: U.S. Animal Health Association Annual Meeting, Town and Country Hotel, San Diego, CA; contact for more information

Oct. 12, 2009: National Pork Board’s RFD-TV Show on the H1N1
outbreak and what it means to your operation, 7 p.m. central standard time; contact:

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. Ask your Fort Dodge representative or your animal health supplier about Suvaxyn PCV2.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.

Denagard® 10 gets pigs off to a fast start and keeps them healthy through the stresses of post-weaning, nursery and movement into the grow-finish unit, so they perform closer to their full potential. If you’re looking to achieve and maintain healthier pigs, call Novartis Animal Health at 1-800-843-3386 or visit today.


This month's focus: Manure Management
Paper Trail Documents Manure Application Practices
Iowa firm helps reinforce that pork producers are managing manure conscientiously.
Adapting to Smaller Margins
The pork industry has entered a new supply-and-demand paradigm, and cost-cutting measures may be needed to survive the current downturn.

Plus: 2009 Pork Industry Environmental Stewards
Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Iowa and North Carolina.

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.


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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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. Ask your Fort Dodge representative or your animal health supplier about Suvaxyn PCV2.Click here for more information.

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