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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
November 16, 2009
 
In this issue:
  New Rules for Risk Management
  Filing Livestock Loss Insurance Claims
  H1N1 in Animals No Cause for Alarm
  Pork Industry’s Losses Exceed Those of 1998-99 Disaster

MARKET PREVIEW
New Rules for Risk Management
Risk management, it seems, has always been viewed favorably by pork producers. Problem is, it’s rarely practiced to any great degree.

A key reason, of course, is that hogs have generally been profitable – especially for those whose cost of production is better than average. You don’t get the name “mortgage lifters” without actually generating the cash needed to pay off mortgages!

But it looks as though the future may require more risk management action on the part of pork producers. The primary reason is there is very little cash or equity to handle any future losses.

The severity of the industry’s cash/equity situation was driven home again last week with the announcement that Coharie Farms of North Carolina had sought bankruptcy protection as it liquidates its assets. Coharie was founded by Nelson Waters and Lauch Faircloth in 1972. Faircloth served as a U.S. senator from North Carolina in the 1990s. His daughter, Ann, had been running the business for several years. Her statement regarding the filing sounded like this (paraphrasing): “We aren’t throwing any more of our money at this thing.” It’s probably a position being contemplated by many pork producers these days.

The most recent Pork Powerhouse rankings from Successful Farming listed Coharie as having 30,000 sows. I have heard reports that at least 9,000 of those sows would be purchased by other producers or contract growers and never go out of production. My guess is that more will be added to that number, making the net reduction in the U.S. sow herd closer to 15,000 vs. 30,000.

FULL ARTICLE

SWINE HEALTH PREVIEW
Filing Livestock Loss Insurance Claims
The delayed fall harvest this year is adding pressure to nutrient management work that is also an important task every fall. This pressure can add risk to both people and pigs during nutrient application. This isn’t news to anyone who has been stuck watching the manure pits filling while the grain bins were not.

Safety practices for pit pumping have been outlined from multiple sources, and two are listed here as references: www.extension.umn.edu/Swine/components/pdfs/PorkCast-PitPumpingGuidelines.pdf, nationalhogfarmer.com/facilities-equipment/manure-handling/0909-agitating-manure-pits/.

Unfortunately, we have a few instances every year in which small or large groups of pigs are killed by pit gases in confinement buildings during the agitation and pumping of manure storage pits.

From a diagnostic laboratory standpoint, we help veterinarians as they prepare materials for insurance claims against losses that result from ventilation failures or pit gas exposure by performing diagnostic tests on samples submitted from affected pigs.

FULL ARTICLE

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW
H1N1 in Animals No Cause for Alarm
The World Organization for Animal Health Office of International Epizootics (OIE) said there is no evidence suggesting that animals play any role in the spread of H1N1 virus to humans. Therefore, the international trade of live pigs and other susceptible animal species and/or their products should continue uninterrupted. OIE Director General Bernard Vallat stated: “Pandemic H1N1 2009 virus infections in pigs and other susceptible animals were assessed as probable from the very first days after the virus was detected in humans. So, it does not come as a surprise that notifications of infection in new animal species are received; on the contrary, it demonstrates animal disease surveillance is efficient and functioning to the benefit of all.”

CDC Provides Guidance to Producers Concerning H1N1 — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published interim guidance for workers employed at swine farms to help prevent the spread of influenza A viruses, including the novel H1N1 influenza virus. The interim guidance provides information about recognizing the signs of influenza in pigs, the steps to take to prevent the transmission of influenza viruses from pigs to people and from people to pigs, surveillance and monitoring of workers’ health, indentifying high-risk groups, administering influenza antiviral drugs and vaccinating swine workers.

Senate Environment Committee Passes Climate Change Bill — The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry’s (D-MA) climate change bill, S. 1733, which would require a 20% cut in emissions by 2020, compared to 2005 levels. The committee Republicans boycotted the mark-up because of Chairwoman Boxer’s refusal for additional economic analysis of the legislation. Under the rules of the Senate, the committee was not able to consider any amendments to the bill because of the boycott. The bill now awaits consideration by other committees, including agriculture and finance.

FULL ARTICLE

NEWS FLASH
Pork Industry’s Losses Exceed Those of 1998-99 Disaster
U.S. pork producers have now lost more money than they lost in the pork price disaster of 1998-99, says Ron Plain, University of Missouri Extension livestock economist.

“Hog farmers are losing more money than they did in what they thought was a once-a-lifetime crunch just a decade ago,” Plain says. He spoke at the annual Swine Institute held in Columbia, MO, by the Missouri Pork Association and the University of Missouri Commercial Agriculture team.

“From October 2007 to October 2009 the average hog was marketed at a loss of $19.18/head,” Plain says. Farmers lost money raising hogs in 23 of the last 25 months.

FULL ARTICLE

PORK INDUSTRY CALENDAR
Nov. 15-18, 2009: American Bankers Association’s National Agricultural Bankers Conference, Grand Hyatt San Antonio, San Antonio, TX; contact: Margot Mohsberg at (202) 663-5470 or mmohsber@aba.com.

Nov. 17-18, 2009: Saskatchewan Pork Industry Symposium, Saskatoon Inn, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; contact: info@saskpork.com or www.saskpork.com.



Nov. 19, 2009: Kansas State University Swine Industry Day, Alumni Center, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS; contact: Jim Nelssen at (785) 532-1251 or jnelssen@ksu.edu or Lois Schreiner at (785) 532-1267 or lschrein@ksu.edu.



FULL ARTICLE
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 BLUEPRINT

MORE EFFICIENT USE OF FEED
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.

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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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