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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
October 26, 2009
 
In this issue:
  The “Good” and “Bad” Sides of a Cheaper Dollar
  Targeting Profit-Robbing Non-Productive Days
  U.S. Pork is Safe
  U.S. Blocks Neighbors’ Request for WTO Panel

MARKET PREVIEW
The “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 a *!&%$*?>
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. pork producers.

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.

FULL ARTICLE

PRODUCTION PREVIEW
Targeting 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.


FULL ARTICLE

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW
U.S. Pork is Safe
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:

FULL ARTICLE

NEWS FLASH
U.S. 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.

FULL ARTICLE

PORK INDUSTRY CALENDAR
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 cepd-info@iastate.edu.

Nov. 9-11, 2009: Joint International Educational Symposium on Animal Welfare, The Kellogg Hotel; Conference Center, Michigan State 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 lovercampe@missouri.edu or for programming, Katrina Turner at (573) 882-0378 or turnerka@missouri.edu.



FULL ARTICLE
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 BLUEPRINT

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 MAGAZINE HIGHLIGHTS

This month's focus: biosecurity
Pinpointing the Principles of Biosecurity
A broad application of a comprehensive biosecurity program across farms may also aid in reducing viral spread within a region, and enhance the success of area-based control and eradication programs.
Building Functional Biosecurity Plans
Biosecurity efforts cost considerable resources, both human and financial, and must be predicated on economic considerations.
Routine Sampling Helps Keep Herd Health Stable
Biosecurity programs, designed to prevent new disease entry and control diseases that already exist, have two parts:

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 POSTERS

FREE SELECTION GUIDES AND MANAGEMENT POSTERS
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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