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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
February 8, 2010
In this issue:
  Rehashing Hog Pricing Categories
  Number Born Edges Upward, but Piglet Survival Continues to Decline
  Administration Proposes $3.8 Trillion Budget
  Rising Pork Exports Add to U.S. Jobs

Rehashing Hog Pricing Categories
On March 12, the USDA and the Department of Justice will launch a series of “Competition Workshops” in Ankeny, IA. The focus of the first workshop will be crops and seed, but the session will also include hogs and pork. The hogs and pork segment will also be included in a livestock workshop planned for August in Fort Collins, CO. A schedule of all workshops can be found at:

One topic that will almost surely be addressed in the hog/pork workshops will be the changing mix of pricing mechanisms for barrows and gilts. Figure 1 shows the percentage of total weekly barrow and gilt sales accounted for by the four different pricing mechanisms, as well as packer-owned and packer-sold pigs.

The pricing categories were defined in the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999, and the rules that USDA promulgated to enforce that act. As they stand now, the categories include the following:


Number Born Edges Upward, but Piglet Survival Continues to Decline
Piglet survival is defined as 100% minus the percent stillborns minus the percent preweaning death loss. Mummies are not counted in the total born, but fully formed stillborn pigs are counted. We created this “piglet survival” calculation at Swine Management Services (SMS) four years ago to eliminate the games that are played with how stillborns are counted.

To improve preweaning death loss by 4% and hit the bonus targets set by the farm management, farm employees need only raise the number of pigs counted as “stillborns” by just half of a pig per female farrowed.

It is surprising how many people do not know the true definition of a stillborn or how to test whether a pig was truly stillborn vs. dying after birth. A postmortem confirmation of stillbirths is easily done by removing the piglet’s lungs and immersing them in water. If the lung sinks, the pig had not taken a breath and therefore may be classified as stillborn. If the lung floats, the pig was not stillborn. Once this is pointed out to employees, many will realize that it was a live born pig and a potential bonus pig at weaning time.


Administration Proposes $3.8 Trillion Budget
The Obama administration is proposing a $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal year 2011. The new budget goals are to combat high unemployment and assist the middle class, according to the administration. The proposed budget would spend nearly $100 billion on a jobs bill that would include tax cuts for small businesses, social safety-net programs and aid to state and local governments. The budget would impose new fees on some of the nation’s largest banks and permit various tax cuts to expire for families earning more than $250,000 a year. The deficit for this budget is estimated at $1.267 trillion, down from the FY 2010 deficit of $1.556 trillion.

USDA Proposes Increases for Nutrition, Research and Food Safety — USDA’s proposed FY 2011 budget of $149 billion provides $123 billion in mandatory spending (farm programs, nutrition, etc.) and $26 billion in discretionary spending, which is approximately $1 billion less than last year. A large portion of the budget is for nutrition programs, as a result of the increased demand for National School Lunch Program, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or formerly Food Stamp Program) and Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The administration is proposing $50 million for a new “Healthy Food Financing Initiative” to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved communities. The budget calls for $429 million for competitive research grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative and $1.046 billion for Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Other items in the budget include:


Rising Pork Exports Add to U.S. Jobs
As U.S. pork exports climb, pork production increases and so do pork prices, which in turn creates jobs, according to a recent analysis conducted by Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes.

For every additional 1% of U.S. pork production exported, $3 is added to the price producers receive per hog, and those higher prices eventually stimulate more pork production.

For each 1% increase in pork production, 920 direct pork industry jobs are generated and 4,575 total jobs are created.


Feb. 10, 2010: Missouri Pork Expo, Holiday Inn Select Executive Center, Columbia, MO; contact: (573) 445-8531 or

Feb. 11, 2010: National Swine Nutrition Guide Training Conference at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC - Details TBA.

Feb. 11, 2010: National Swine Nutrition Guide distributed and explained in Raleigh, N.C. The guide consists of nutrition fact sheets, nutrient recommendation tables and diet formulation and evaluation software and will be included with an $80 conference registration or available for purchase separately for $125.

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.


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.

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.


This Month's Focus: Making Solid Business Decisions
Later Weaning Bumps Sow Herd and Pig Performance
Increasing weaning age while reducing breeding herd inventory may help cut losses.
Sensitivity Analysis Projects Impact of Economic Variables on Pork Production Systems
Assessment tool helps prioritize investment and management plans. Sensitivity analysis in the context of this article does not refer to a personality.
Start Pigs Right to Boost Market Value
Iowa swine veterinarian’s program targets 95% full-value pigs. The path to top-notch postweaning pig growth performance begins in the breeding-gestation

NPPC and the National Pork Board have launched a program, We Care, to promote pork producers' commitment to responsible pork production. From animal care and the environment to food safety and quality, pork producers demonstrate best practices daily. For more on continuing the tradition of doing what’s right, click here.


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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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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