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
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.
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: www.aphis.usda.gov/.
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.”
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
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
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
Jan. 7-8, 2010: South Dakota Pork
Producers Council Annual Meeeting & Trade Show, Ramkota, Sioux Falls,
SD; contact: www.sdppc.org.
Jan. 10-13, 2010: American Farm Bureau Federation
Convention and Annual Meeting, Washington State Convention & Trade
Center, Seattle, WA; contact: (202) 406-3600 or www.fb.org.
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.
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