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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
January 4, 2010
In this issue:
  Digging Deeper Into the Hogs and Pigs Report
  USDA Flu Surveillance Program – It’s a Good Thing
  Tenderized Meat Labels
  Renowned Market Consultant Glenn Grimes “Re-Retires”

Digging Deeper Into the Hogs and Pigs Report
First, we wish you all a happy and prosperous 2010! I’d like to say our economic woes were all behind us, but I cannot – even though it appears that 2010 will be far better for pork producers than were 2008 or 2009. Not saying much there, though, am I?

Due to the New Year’s Day holiday, a number of USDA reports for last week have yet to be published, leaving our weekly Price and Production Summary with many empty cells and not much useful information. It will return next week.

The reaction to Wednesday’s USDA Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report was as I expected – negative. The near-term contracts did not take huge hits and no contracts were near limit down, but summer contracts did lose about $1/cwt. on Thursday. That pattern was also as expected, given the Sep-Nov pig crop and winter and spring farrowing intention numbers.

As I have studied the report and my models, it appears to me that U.S. hog slaughter will very likely be less than 2% lower in 2010 than it was in 2009. The most critical assumption I make in arriving at that conclusion is that year-on-year litter size growth will continue at 2%. As Figure 1 shows, the number of pigs saved per litter in September-November was the largest on record for that quarter and the second largest quarterly figure ever, just 0.01 pigs/litter lower than the record-high 9.70 seen in the June-August 2009 period.

Can this growth rate be maintained much longer? I have my doubts, but until we see some lessening of the trend, I think we have to assume it will continue. I have heard of some pretty severe porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) problems in some areas since the cold weather set in and that could impact the number of pigs saved per litter this winter. But we have PRRS problems every year and unless this one is much worse than in the past, higher genetic capabilities in our maternal lines could well offset the impact.


USDA Flu Surveillance Program – It’s a Good Thing
For years, the USDA was planning a surveillance program for influenza virus in pigs. Unfortunately, the timing of the program announcement and launch coincided with the onset of the global pandemic of H1N1 influenza in people in the spring of 2009. Participation in the program was effectively squelched by the flu pandemic, but the USDA and other organizations, such as the National Pork Board and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, are encouraging producers to participate in the voluntary program.

How the Surveillance Program Works
Diagnostic samples for swine influenza (flu) virus testing submitted to any diagnostic laboratory that is a member of the USDA National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN) can be enrolled in the surveillance program. A list of the 36 NAHLN swine influenza virus (SIV) labs can be found at the following website: No cases will be enrolled into the voluntary program unless the submitting veterinarian or producer requests it.


Tenderized Meat Labels
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, has called for labels identifying mechanically tenderized beef and pork products. Congresswoman DeLauro said, “USDA has been aware of the E. coli risks associated with mechanically tenderized steaks as early as 1999, but has refused to act. The USDA should move immediately to require labeling that clearly identifies mechanically tenderized beef and pork products for all processing facilities, retailers and consumers. Restaurants, grocery stores, and consumers should be made fully aware of the products they are receiving so they can assure that they are cooked at the appropriate temperature.” Congresswoman DeLauro said this move was necessary because of National Steak and Poultry’s recall. The American Meat Institute (AMI) said, “Because blade-tenderized steaks have been found to be comparable in safety, we don't believe that special labeling declaring the mechanical tenderization process will provide meaningful or actionable information to consumers.”


Renowned Market Consultant Glenn Grimes “Re-Retires”
After nearly 60 years in agriculture as a student, teacher, advisor and consultant, University of Missouri agricultural economist Glenn Grimes “officially” re-retired at the close of 2009.

The University of Missouri agricultural economist retired the first time in 1985. From then through 2009, he served as professor emeritus, and worked part-time in the University of Missouri’s Department of Agricultural Economics.

Grimes began in 1951 as a county agricultural Extension agent in southern Missouri. From 1956 to 1985 he served as livestock marketing specialist for the Missouri Extension Service. He also taught livestock marketing courses and assisted with research projects in livestock marketing.


Jan. 7-8, 2010: South Dakota Pork Producers Council Annual Meeeting & Trade Show, Ramkota, Sioux Falls, SD; contact:

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. 15-16, 2010: The 13th Annual Ag Link conference program is being offered in Ames, IA. Two, 2-day programs, sponsored by Iowa State University's Beginning Farmer Center and Iowa State University Extension, are being offered for families involved in a multiple generation farm business.

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.


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.

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.


2009 Swine Research Review
Pigs in Bottom Nose Trailer Compartment Have More Stress, Lower Meat Quality Scores
Pigs hauled in the bottom nose compartment of a pot-belly trailer have much greater risk for higher levels of stress and poorer meat quality, according to a study at the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Higher Productivity Levels Tap Sows' Energy Reserves
Genetic selection for increased sow productivity, including number of pigs born alive, number weaned and litter weaning weight, has increased the demands for milk production during lactation. Without an increase in feed intake, lactating sows lose more body weight.
Low-Solubles Distillers Dried Grains Diets Improve Hog Carcass Fat Firmness
The rapid expansion of the U.S. ethanol industry has made dried distillers grains with solubles (DDGS) readily available for livestock feed. One challenge associated with DDGS feeding relates to soft fat that occurs in pork carcasses when high levels of DDGS are included in swine diets.

NPPC conducts public-policy outreach on behalf of its 43 state associations, enhancing opportunities for the success of U.S. pork producers and stakeholders by establishing the pork industry as a consistent and responsible supplier of high-quality pork to domestic and world markets. Click here to learn more and support your industry.


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.

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