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October 19, 2009
In this issue:
  Pork Export Picture Not as Bad as It Looks
  Calculating Litters/Mated Female/Year
  Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passed
  U.S. Pig Tests Positive For Novel H1N1 Flu Virus

Pork Export Picture Not as Bad as It Looks
August exports totaled 307.573 million pounds, carcass weight, 18.4% smaller than one year ago but 27% larger than in August 2007. That makes this the second-largest August on record for U.S. pork exports. U.S. pork imports were 5.4% larger this August vs. one year ago, marking the first month this year that imports were larger than one year earlier.

August brings year-to-date (YTD) exports to 2.648 billion pounds, carcass weight, which puts the YTD total 19.2% lower than one year ago. The YTD percentage through July was 19.3% below the previous year. So far in 2009, the U.S. pork industry has exported 17.7% of total carcass-weight production. That compares to 21.5% for January through August 2008.

Figure 1 again demonstrates the point I have made many times this year: 2009 exports are disappointing only when compared to 2008. Recall that July 2009 exports were 25% lower than those of July 2008, but 61% larger than in July 2007. The numbers for August were not quite so dramatic, but were impressive nonetheless – down 18.4% from last year but 26.9% higher than two years ago.

If we compare this year to the 2004-2007 trend (the purple line in Figure 1), things look much better. While August did make the third month this year that exports have fallen short of this longer-term trend, YTD U.S. exports are still 3.8% higher than that 2004-2007 trend – admirable if not for 2008.


Calculating Litters/Mated Female/Year
Litters/mated female/year is a key number in measuring female productivity. It is behind only pigs weaned/mated female/year and tied with pigs weaned/female farrowed in importance in the Swine Management Services (SMS) Production Index.

The farms selected for the data set had to be in production for more than three years and weaning a minimum of 22 pigs weaned/mated female/year during the prescribed time period. There were 397 farms out of 619 (64%) that met these criteria.

The Swine Management Services, LLC data set was divided into four groups:


Agriculture Appropriations Bill Passed
Congress has completed action on the fiscal year 2010 agriculture appropriations bill. The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature. The bill totals $121.2 billion in discretionary spending ($23.3 billion) and mandatory program spending ($97.8 billion). A key item in the bill is the provision to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to proceed with a rule that would allow importation of processed chicken products from China. A prohibition had been placed on USDA for the past two years on proceeding with the rule. This prohibition had become a major trade problem with the Chinese.

Other key items in the bill include a one-year extension of child nutrition programs (school lunch, school breakfast, etc.). These programs were to expire on Sept. 30. Congress sent a warning to USDA by cutting the funding for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS). The conference report accompanying the bill states, “If significant progress is not made, we will consider eliminating funding for the program.” (National Hog Farmer Oct. 2 edition of this e-newsletter contains more details on the bill.)

Record Corn Yield and Soybean Crop — USDA is predicting the highest corn yield and the largest soybean crop in U.S. history for the 2009/2010 marketing year that began on Oct. 1. USDA predicts corn yields will average 164.2 bu./acre. This is an increase of 10.3 bu. compared to last year. Total corn production is estimated at 13.0 billion bushels. USDA predicts the largest soybean crop in U.S. history of 3.25 billion bushels. Soybean yields are estimated to average 42.5 bu./acre. This would be the third-largest soybean yield on record.

Congress to Review Economic Conditions of the Pork Industry — On Oct. 22, the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry will conduct a hearing on the economic conditions facing the pork industry. Witnesses will include USDA, pork producers and industry officials.


U.S. Pig Tests Positive For Novel H1N1 Flu Virus
The Agriculture Department’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory (NVSL), Ames, IA, has confirmed the presence of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in a pig sample collected at the Minnesota State Fair submitted by the University of Minnesota. Additional samples are being tested.

The sample is the first positive diagnosis of the novel flu virus in U.S. swine. The virus has circulated widely in the human population worldwide since it was first discovered in April 2009.

“We have fully engaged our trading partners to remind them that several international organizations, including the World Organization for Animal Health, have advised that there is no scientific basis to restrict trade in pork and pork products,” says Vilsack. “People cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products. Pork is safe to eat.”


Nov. 5-6, 2009: 17th Annual Swine Disease Conference for Swine Practitioners, Scheman Building, Iowa State University (ISU), Ames, IA; contact ISU by phone (515) 294-6222, fax (515) 294-6223 or e-mail

Nov. 9-11, 2009: Joint International Educational Symposium on Animal Welfare, The Kellogg Hotel; Conference Center, Michigan State University, Lansing, MI; contact:

Nov. 10, 2009: University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program’s Swine Institute, Courtyard by Marriott, Columbia, MO; contact: for registration, Erica Lovercamp at (573) 882-9552 or or for programming, Katrina Turner at (573) 882-0378 or

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


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.

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.


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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