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February 22, 2010
In this issue:
  Canadian Sow Count Puzzling
  Hog Prices Stuck in a Range
  2010 Net Farm Income Up
  Pork Coalition Sounds Off On CBS Antibiotic Report

Canadian Sow Count Puzzling
Canada’s quarterly Hog Statistics Report, released last week, confirmed expectations that the swine herd continues to shrink, but the breeding herd reduction was smaller than I had expected given the Canadian herd buyouts of 2009.

Stats Canada estimates that Canada’s herd numbered 11.63 million head on Jan. 1, 5.5% smaller than last year’s 12.18 million head. The largest Jan.1 swine herd was in 2006, when Canadian farms had 15.11 million head in inventory.

The reduction was relatively balanced, with eastern herds having 6.974 million head, 5.2% fewer than last year, and western herds having 4.836 million head, 3.6% fewer than last year. Inventories declined in all of the major hog-producing provinces (Quebec and Ontario in the east and Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in the west). The smallest decline (1.9%) was in Manitoba and the largest decline (7.6%), interestingly, was in Quebec, the province with the highest levels of government support for producers.


Hog Prices Stuck in a Range
Over the past 3-4 weeks, hog prices have been stuck in a narrow range – hovering around $63-$66/cwt., carcass, or close to $125-$130/head. Although this is much better than we have seen for quite some time, producers are hoping we will get to a plain of $140/head or more.

During the third week of January, there was a huge run-up on pork cutout values. Since then, values retraced and have stayed in a range of $68-$70/cwt., carcass (see Figure 1, attached). When cutouts were close to $80/cwt., carcass, we were starting to get some resistance and packers started featuring items other than pork. The point was made that while we had a quick run-up, we needed to take a breath and settle into a range for a period of time. There are some favorable signs in the chart. The pork cutout value over the last month has shown strength that we have not seen since 2002 – with the possible exception of 2005.


2010 Net Farm Income Up
USDA is forecasting that net farm income will increase to $62 billion in 2010, up $6.7 billion or 11.8% from 2009. This is projected to be the fifth highest income earned in U.S. agriculture. USDA estimates that livestock receipts will increase $11.5 billion. Hog receipts are estimated to increase as a 2.8% decline in pork production is offset by a $3.77/cwt. increase in pork prices. USDA said, “Now that the U.S. economy has stabilized and is showing signs of improvement, consumers are expected to increase their consumption of animal products, thus firming up market prices and improving the earnings of livestock producers, led by dairy farmers and cattle producers.” USDA estimates that direct payments to crop producers will total $4.8 billion compared to $4.95 billion last year. Countercyclical commodity payments are estimated to be $895 million compared to $1.23 billion in 2009 – a 27% drop.

Fiscal Responsibility and Reform — President Barack Obama established an 18-member Bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. The commission is asked to put forward proposals to “balance the budget, excluding interest payments on the debt” by 2015. It will also examine the growth of entitlement spending and the gap between the projected revenues and expenditures over the long term. The commission is to make its recommendations by Dec. 1. Senate and House leaders have agreed that Congress will vote on the recommendations by the end of the year. Former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Erskine Bowles, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, will co-chair the commission.


Pork Coalition Sounds Off On CBS Antibiotic Report
A pork industry coalition has responded to CBS Evening News Anchor Katie Couric’s a two-part series on antibiotics in livestock.

The group sent a letter Friday to CBS News President Sean McManus which stated: “We were extremely disappointed with CBS’s recent Evening News story on antibiotic use in the livestock industry. The story lacked any attempt at balance and largely accepted the arguments of opponents of conventional agriculture that drugs are overused in livestock and are a major cause of antibiotic resistance.

“In fact, antibiotics are given to livestock strategically, when animals are sick, susceptible or exposed to illness. Modern livestock production facilities provide animals with an environment designed to keep them safe, healthy and comfortable. Also, there’s no proof that antibiotic use on farms significantly increases resistant bacteria in humans. Since antibiotics have been used in livestock for half a century, if there was going to be an epidemic of resistance related to antibiotic use in agriculture, it would have occurred by now. The fact that it has not means that antibiotic use in animals is not a major risk to human health.”


Feb. 24, 2010: National Swine Nutrition Guide distributed and explained in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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.

March 4-6, 2010: Pork Forum, Kansas City, MO; contact:

March 5, 2010: National Swine Nutrition Guide distributed and explained in Sioux City, Iowa. 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.

LEADR — NPPC’s grassroots organization — trains industry stakeholders to tell the story of U.S. pork. As a LEADR you will help lawmakers understand how their decisions affect your business, your family, your community and your ability to provide consumers with safe, affordable and healthy pork.
Click here to learn more.


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: Feeding
Gilt Development Program Improves Sow Performance
Early attention to gilt development pays dividends. To ensure that a sow becomes a productive member of the breeding herd requires close attention
Pork Industry Seeks Answers About Fat Quality
Pork producers and packers are concerned about carcass fat quality, but definitive guidelines remain elusive
Effects of Energy Intake on Gilt Development
Performance of energy-restricted and ad libitum-fed gilts were tracked through four parities

Social Networking For Pork Industry Professionals National Hog Farmer content is available on Facebook, a social networking tool increasingly used by pork industry professionals. Interact with readers and editors, participate in discussions and keep up-to-date with industry happenings. Become a fan of National Hog Farmer!
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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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U.S. pork producers must be able to compete in foreign markets without restrictive tariffs or sanitary barriers to trade. NPPC’s mission of gaining and expanding access to markets through free trade agreements is paramount to the continued success of the U.S. pork industry — click here to learn more.

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