“Good” and “Bad” Sides of a Cheaper Dollar
As I begin this week’s column, I’m reminded of two
different “flip side” statements that may help characterize the
topic at hand. The first is the old Archie Campbell schtick –
“That’s good – no that’s bad,” which I have used before. The
second reflects President Truman’s frustration with economists’
incessant use of the qualifier – “on the other hand” – to
introduce the contrary opinion on a given topic. President Truman once
demanded in his usual colorful language: “Will someone please find me
At the risk of again being accused of being such an economist, let’s
talk about the value of the U.S. dollar and its implications for U.S.
To say the dollar is cheap is an understatement. Figure 1 shows the
weekly chart for the nearby dollar index futures contract. As can be
seen, the index has fallen by roughly 15% since March 2009, and is once
again approaching the lows of March through July 2008.
Profit-Robbing Non-Productive Days
The term “non-productive days” is readily used as a
measure of breeding herd performance, but in doing so, it is important
to standardize how the information is collected.
We have added two lines to the bottom of Tables 1 and 2 to include
non-productive days/female and non-productive days/mated female. The
tables provide 52-week and 13-week rolling averages for key performance
indicators (KPI) of breeding herd performance. These tables reflect the
most current quarterly data available and are presented with each
column. The KPI’s can be used as general guidelines to measure the
productivity of your herd compared to the top 10% and top 25% of farms,
the average performance for all farms and the bottom 25% of farms in the
Swine Management Systems’ database.
Following are a few definitions we use in defining non-productive days.
• BREEDING FEMALES are mated and unmated females kept
for breeding purposes.
• MATED BREEDING FEMALES are females that have been mated
at least once and have not been removed from the breeding herd.
• MATED BREEDING FEMALE DAYS are days from the first mating
until removal from the breeding herd.
• UNMATED BREEDING FEMALES are females entered into the
breeding herd but have not been mated.
• UNMATED BREEDING FEMALE DAYS are days between entry in
the herd and the first mating or entry into the breeding herd and
removal from the breeding herd having never been mated.
• PRODUCTIVE DAYS are days which a breeding female is
either gestating or lactating. Gestation days that do not result in a
farrowing are not considered productive days.
• NON-PRODUCTIVE DAYS are days which a breeding female is
neither gestating nor lactating.
• MATED FEMALE NON-PRODUCTIVE DAYS are days which a mated
breeding female is neither gestating nor lactating.
A key message at the House Agriculture Livestock
Subcommittee hearing on the economic conditions of the pork industry was
clear: “Our pork is safe to eat.” Congressional members, USDA
officials and pork industry representatives all emphasized that U.S.
pork is safe to eat and one cannot get infected with the novel H1N1
influenza virus from eating pork or pork products. USDA said that the
recent economic distress was due to overexpansion in response to higher
than normal profits in previous years, combined with recession-driven
declines in domestic and international demand. USDA expects the hog
sector to “improve substantially” over the next year as the breeding
herd continues to contract and domestic and international demand
improves. According to USDA, from October 2007 through September 29,
2009, the hog sector lost approximately $4 billion. Members of Congress
urged USDA to consider purchasing more pork products for federal feeding
programs and to work with various countries, especially China, to reopen
their markets to U.S. pork.
Pork Producers Asks Congress to Help — The National Pork
Producers Council (NPPC) at the House Agriculture Livestock Subcommittee
hearing called upon Congress to take steps to help U.S. pork producers.
NPPC stated: “To stop producer foreclosures and bankruptcies and for
producers to continue providing consumers around the globe with the
safest, most nutritious meat protein, we need to find a way out of this
two year-old crisis. Pork producers asked Congress to:
Blocks Neighbors’ Request for WTO Panel
The United States has blocked an effort by Canada and
Mexico to have World Trade Organization (WTO) experts examine new U.S.
labeling rules that the two neighboring countries allege are damaging
meat export sales.
Both Canada and Mexico told the WTO’s dispute settlement body that
U.S. country-of-origin labeling or COOL rules that require meat sold in
U.S. stores to identify which country it comes from is damaging to
North American trade.
“COOL is discouraging U.S. retailers, processors, feedlots and
producers from buying Canadian livestock and meat. The negative impact
on Canadian beef, pork and cattle exporters has been significant,”
Canada said in a statement to the dispute body.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nov. 9-11, 2009: Joint International Educational
Symposium on Animal Welfare, The Kellogg Hotel; Conference Center,
University, Lansing, MI; contact: http://www.avma.org/awsymposium.
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 email@example.com or for
programming, Katrina Turner at (573) 882-0378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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