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November 23, 2009
In this issue:
  Pork Exports on the Rebound
  Key Steps to Improve Piglet Survival
  FDA Food Safety Reform Passes Senate Committee
  Wet Weather Promotes Growth of Mycotoxins

Pork Exports on the Rebound
Last week brought two more pieces of positive news for the U.S. pork industry: September exports exceeded year-earlier levels, and Oct. 31- frozen pork stocks were smaller than both year-earlier and month-earlier levels.

The September export data marked the first month since March that U.S. pork exports have exceeded year-earlier levels. September exports of 352.5 million pounds, carcass weight equivalent, were 3.8% larger than one year earlier but 46% larger than in September 2007 (Figure 1). The September total puts monthly exports above the 2004-2007 trends for the sixth time this year, again making my point that 2009 exports have been remarkably good when compared to anything but 2008 exports.

Year-to-date exports are still 17% lower than last year, but they are 4.7% higher than the 2004-2007 trend.

When we look at individual export markets, Mexico is the shining star in spite of all the H1N1-related difficulties that have been encountered there (Figure 2). September shipments to Mexico were 60% larger than last year and bring the year-to-date (YTD) total back to +38% for 2009. Exports to Mexico remained just over 12 million pounds smaller than Japan in September. That marks the second straight month that Mexico has been that close to becoming our largest export customer in terms of tonnage. Japan remains the clear leader in terms of value, however.

Shipments to Canada increased 9%, year-on-year, in September primarily due to Canada’s stronger dollar.

Exports to China-Hong Kong were 13% larger than last year, but remember that exports to China-Hong Kong had returned to earth by August and September 2008. Shipments to Taiwan were nearly 200% larger this year as well.


Key Steps to Improve Piglet Survival
We recently spent a couple of days with a group of producers. During the discussion, this question was raised: “What are three things we can do to improve piglet survival?”

Logically, piglet survival is total pigs born/litter minus stillborns and pre-weaning mortality. In the Swine Management Services’ database, average piglet survival (%) is 79.9%. In that mix, one farm has achieved over 95% survival rate, but several farms are below 66% (see Chart 1).

To save more pigs, the first priority is to reduce stillborns. These four steps could help achieve that goal:

    Step #1: Make sure the farrowing crew is identifying stillborns accurately. The easiest and most accurate way to identify stillborns is to post some of the stillborn pigs, remove a piece of the lungs and drop in a glass of water. If it sinks to the bottom of the glass, the pig has not taken a full breath, so it is classified as a stillborn. If the lung sample floats, the baby pig took a breath and then died and, therefore, should not be classified as a stillborn.


FDA Food Safety Reform Passes Senate Committee
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP) passed unanimously S. 510, “The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” introduced by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Judd Gregg (R-NH). This legislation places more emphasis on prevention of food-borne illness and gives the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new and modern authorities to address food safety issues. The bill includes:

    • Hazard analyses and preventive controls: Requires all facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food to have a risk-based preventive control plan to address identified hazards and prevent adulteration; gives FDA access to these plans and relevant documentation.

    • Imports: Requires importers to verify the safety of foreign suppliers and imported food.


Wet Weather Promotes Growth of Mycotoxins
This year’s cool, wet growing season and rainy fall have delayed grain harvesting and increased the risk for mold development on grain. Mold development can lead to mycotoxins, which can be toxic to humans and animals.

Grain samples submitted to the Iowa State University’s veterinary diagnostic laboratory bear out a higher than normal incidence of affected corn across Iowa and in samples received from Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin. Samples submitted from most regions of Iowa have tested positive for mycotoxins.

“The wet summer and harvest season have caused a greater incidence of fungi in grains typically used in livestock feeding,” reports Steve Ensley, toxicologist with the diagnostic lab. “We are receiving samples from throughout the region with elevated mycotoxin levels, particularly vomitoxin, zearalenone and some fumonsin.


Nov. 23-24, 2009: International Swine Flu Conference, Toronto, Canada; contact: Sylvia Torres, Swine Flu Task Force at (202) 536-5000
or or visit

Dec. 1, 2009: Ventilation Systems Workshop, Animal Sciences Building, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH; contact: Dale Ricker at (419) 523-6295 or

Dec. 4-5, 2009: 2009 International PRRS Symposium: Molecular, Immunological, Genetic and Epidemiological Approaches for PRRSV Control,
Downtown Marriott, Chicago, IL; 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: Viral Swine Diseases
Straight Talk About Hog Barn Ventilation Screw-Ups
In the last 12 months, the Mankato, MN-based specialist says he has spent a great deal of his consultancy time on what he describes as the “screw-ups that happen with ventilation.”
Now May be the Time For PRRS Eradication
Through trial and error spanning more than 20 years, the pork industry has fought to get rid of the elusive porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus. On-farm control programs have been improved, pilot regional control programs are expanding, and pork industry groups are beginning to build support for a grassroots effort to finally stamp out the costly virus.
Risk Assessment Tool Helps Fight PRRS
It has been almost three decades since the PPRS virus was first recognized as the infectious agent responsible for reproductive failure in sows and severe pneumonia in piglets.

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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When two leaders come together, expect great things to happen. One-dose protection from wean to finish. That’s Ingelvac® CircoFLEX-MycoFLEX™. The only circovirus and Mycoplasma vaccines USDA-approved for mixing. The result? A true dose of confidence from two powerful leaders. Call Boehringer Ingelheim at 1-800-325-9167or click here for more information.
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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