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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
December 14, 2009
In this issue:
  Mexico’s Pork Buying Edges Closer to Japan’s
  Sow Herd Reductions May Push Weaned Pig Averages Higher
  EPA to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
  Pfizer Receives USDA Approval For First Pandemic H1N1 Vaccine

Mexico’s Pork Buying Edges Closer to Japan’s
U.S. pork exports in October were 6% lower on a product weight basis than those of October 2008. The decline in the most recent month for which data are available is a bit of a disappointment, since September had seen exports go to the positive side of the year-on-year ledger for the first time since March. The October results put year-to-date exports of pork cuts at 2.543 billion pounds, 14.1% below last year’s record pace. Figure 1 contains year-to-date figures for key U.S. and global markets.

Mexico remains the clear leader in terms of 2009 export trade, growing 33% vs. last year. Total shipments to Mexico through October were 586.4 million pounds. That holds Mexico as our second-largest pork market, pulling the country within less than 160 million pounds behind Japan – the closest that relationship has ever been at this time of year. Given what I have heard about reductions in Mexico’s breeding herd since last spring, I would not be surprised to see shipments to Mexico surpass those to Japan in some months in 2010.

Mexico and Canada were the only major markets for U.S. pork that grew in October compared to last year. Monthly shipments southward totaled 67.2 million pounds of pork cuts, 10.6% higher than in October 2008, while 29.4 million pounds went to Canada – a 4.1% increase over 2008.

China was dead even with last year’s total, while all other markets were down. The good news is those percentage declines were smaller across the board than the declines in September. Part of that “less decrease” is due to comparing to October 2008 shipments that were smaller than in previous months.

Value-Volume Differential
The value of October pork cut exports was $315 million, 19.6% lower than last year. Even so, that number contains a positive as it implies that per unit pricing improved in October since value was down only 5.5% more than was volume. That value-volume differential was 18.3% in September and 9.7% in August.


Sow Herd Reductions May Push Weaned Pig Averages Higher
The Swine Management Services (SMS) database is seeing an artificial improvement in pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y). As we updated the “all farms” database at the close of the third quarter, we saw a 5-10% reduction in the number of females per farm and fewer total sows. About 30 farms closed. However, with new farms added to the SMS benchmarking database, the total number of farms increased.

When 10% of the sows are farrowed, weaned and then culled, a 5-10% increase in the standardized PW/MF/Y may result. There are many ways to calculate PW/MF/Y, so it is very important to review how your recordkeeping program calculates this number.

An example of how a change in sow inventory affects PW/MF/Y: A 2,500-sow farm is weaning 120 sows (1,200 pigs/week) with a PW/MF/Y of 25.03. As the farm reduces the sow inventory by 10% over a 16-week period, the farm continues to produce 1,200 pigs/week. After 16 weeks, the sow inventory will drop to 2,250 sows, but the “average” sow inventory over that 16-week period is 2,357 sows. This would calculate to 26.54 PW/MF/Y, which is a 6% improvement with no more pigs out the door. It will take a year after the sow inventory reduction starts for this number to come back to 25.03 PW/MF/Y, assuming reproductive performance holds steady.


EPA to Regulate Greenhouse Gases
EPA has declared greenhouse gasses (GHGs) a threat to public health and the environment. The announcement covers emissions from six greenhouse gases, including: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulfur hexafluoride. EPA’s announcement is in response to the 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision that greenhouse gasses fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants. According to EPA, “the findings do not in and of themselves impose any emission reduction requirements, but rather allow EPA to finalize the GHG standards proposed earlier this year for new light-duty vehicles.” The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) said, “We firmly believe any regulations dealing with global warming that could negatively affect our ability to produce food and fiber for our nation and the world should come through the legislative process. While more and more questions are being raised about the scientific validity of global warming models, it is not the time to begin making sweeping policy decisions based on the projections offered by those climate models.” The American Meat Institute (AMI), stating it does not support EPA’s announcement, said, “The final rule could expose large sectors of the economy to significant corporate liability for producing products that purportedly endanger health and welfare.”

Competition in the Food System — The Farm Foundation held a conference concerning the economics of structural change and competition in U.S. agriculture and food markets. The purpose of the conference was to provide objective information and independent research on the economics of structural changes and competition in the food system for stakeholders, policy makers and regulators prior to the Department of Justice and USDA competition workshops to be held next year. The presentations are available on the Farm Foundation’s website:


Pfizer Receives USDA Approval For First Pandemic H1N1 Vaccine
Pfizer Animal Health is the first biologics manufacturer to develop, manufacture and receive approval from the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA) for its new H1N1 vaccine.

Pfizer’s swine influenza virus (SIV) vaccine, pH1N1 Killed Virus, has been approved by USDA for vaccination of healthy swine, including pregnant sows and gilts, 3 weeks of age and older against the SIV subtype H1N1.

Earlier this year, the USDA provided a master seed of the pH1N1 (pandemic) strain to multiple manufacturing companies in anticipation of potential transmission in swine herds. So far pork producers have not detected widespread movement of the pH1N1 strain within swine herds.


Jan. 10-13, 2010: American Farm Bureau Federation Convention and Annual Meeting, Washington State Convention & Trade Center, Seattle, WA; contact: (202) 406-3600 or

Jan. 27-28, 2010: Iowa Pork Congress, Iowa Events Center, Des Moines, IA; contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (515) 225-7675 or go to

Feb. 2, 2010: Swine Profitability Conference, Forum Hall, Student Union, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS; contact:

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 news reports announcing the discovery of the H1N1 Flu Outbreak Virus on April 24, 2009 increased the urgency for proper biosecurity measures in hog operations. Producers continually face the challenge of managing the biosecurity of pigs, people, packages and pests as they redouble efforts to stave off costly swine diseases and retain their access to pork markets in this age of economic uncertainty. 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: 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.

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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