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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
May 31, 2010
 
In this issue:
  Pork Demand Data Sends Mixed Messages
  Coughing Pigs? Check for Parasites
  Anticompetitive Business Practices
  Prevention, Control of PRRS Highlighted at World Pork Expo

MARKET PREVIEW
Pork Demand Data Sends Mixed Messages
Markets are sending some very mixed messages about the state of demand at various levels of the pork value chain. While there are a few good reasons for the differences, our current measurements may be suffering from some well-known data woes as well.

USDA’s retail price data for April indicate that the average price for a pound of retail pork was $2.919. That is 0.2% higher than last year’s $2.914/lb., but when inflation is factored in, the real retail pork price this April is 2% lower than last year.

Lower retail prices are not necessarily bad, except that this reduction happened at the same time that per capita pork disappearance was falling by 3.9% vs. one year ago. Lower price and lower disappearance can mean only one thing – lower demand. My calculations say demand was 5.3% lower this April than it was a year ago.

That number differs a bit from the -7% demand change computed by University of Missouri Agricultural Economist Ron Plain. The most likely reason is that we have made different assumptions about April exports and imports. The actual data will not be available until mid-June. I have simply plugged in March numbers for April, assuming exports were stable from month to month. I suspect Plain handled it differently. Data matters.

These changes at retail are in stark contrast to price and quantity changes at the farm and wholesale levels. April barrow and gilt slaughter was 3.9% lower than one year ago and the April national negotiated net price was 34.7% higher than last year. April commercial pork production was 4% lower than last year, but the average cutout value for April was 43% higher than last year. Both sets of numbers suggest much higher demand at both levels.

FULL ARTICLE

SWINE HEALTH PREVIEW
Coughing Pigs? Check for Parasites
Consider the case where a high percentage of 40-lb. pigs placed in a facility 10 days ago are now coughing, gaunt, thumping and overall feed intake is decreased. Serum samples and nasal swabs from five affected pigs are submitted to the diagnostic laboratory to rule out swine influenza virus (SIV) and porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) virus. The polymerase chain reaction test detects PRRS virus in serum, but SIV testing of nasal swabs turned out negative.

The purchaser of these pigs now has something (and perhaps someone) to blame, right? But does detection of PRRS tell the whole story? Be aware that PRRS virus acting alone does not cause pigs to cough.

To further the diagnosis, the veterinarian representing the pig source requested a complete necropsy and diagnostic workup. The gross necropsy findings 14 days after purchase confirmed the presence of numerous white spots on the liver, as well as multifocal hemorrhages and craniovental gray firmness (mycoplasma-like lesions) in the lung (Figure 1). A diagnosis of roundworm migration (liver-lung ascarid larval migration) is confirmed as the primary insult. PRRS virus is not identified as the cause of the clinical signs observed.

FULL ARTICLE

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW
Anticompetitive Business Practices
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack indicated that in June, USDA will be publishing proposed regulations concerning business practices in the meat and poultry industries. Indications are the proposed rule will provide a more precise definition of what constitutes an anticompetitive business practice. This proposed rule was authorized in the livestock title of the 2008 farm bill. The bill requires USDA to promulgate regulations concerning:

    • Whether an undue or unreasonable preference or advantage has occurred in violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act;

    • Whether a live poultry dealer has provided reasonable notice to poultry growers of any suspension of the delivery of birds under a poultry growing arrangement;

    • When a requirement of additional capital investments over the life of a poultry growing arrangement or swine production contract constitutes a violation of the Packers and Stockyards Act; and

    • If a live poultry dealer or swine contractor has provided a reasonable period of time for a poultry grower or a swine production contract grower to remedy a breach of contract that could lead to termination of the poultry growing agreement or swine production contract.


FULL ARTICLE

NEWS FLASH
Prevention, Control of PRRS Highlighted at World Pork Expo
A panel of experts led by American Association of Swine Veterinarians President Paul Ruen, DVM, Fairmont (MN) Vet Clinic, will address “Managing to Eliminate PRRS on the Farm,” at the 2010 World Pork Expo.

Ruen and the expert panel will discuss how to maintain a sustainable and healthy herd by providing information and symptoms on porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). Implementing a biosecurity plan, the effects of the disease, preventative measures, treatment options and area control projects for PRRS will also be covered.

PRRS is a very contagious virus that spreads quickly pig to pig, via contaminated transportation equipment and facilities, workers’ hands and clothing and fomites. It has also been shown to travel airborne for at least two miles.

FULL ARTICLE

PORK INDUSTRY CALENDAR
June 8-10, 2010"Sustaining Animal Agriculture: Balancing Bioethical, Ecnomic and Social Issues."
Jefferson Auditorium, USDA's South Agriculutre Building
Washington, DC
For more information contact: Dave Stender by phone (712) 225-6196, fax (712) 225-3173 or e-mail dstender@iastate.edu.

June 9-11, 2010: World Pork Expo, Iowa State Fairgrounds,
De Moines, IA;
For more information contact: www.worldpork.org.


June 23, 2010: Advanced Swine Reproductive Management Workshop Lifelong Learning Center
Norfolk, NE
For more information contact: Dave Stender by phone (712) 225-6196, fax (712) 225-3173 or e-mail dstender@iastate.edu.



FULL ARTICLE
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 BLUEPRINT

As positive margins return to pork producers’ ledgers, owners and managers are recounting the hard lessons learned as they redouble efforts to improve risk management skills, measure and manage production variance with greater precision, and produce quality pork in a safe and sustainable manner. At the heart of the 50th edition in the Blueprint series, published April 15th, 2010, is a focus on new and improved pathways to profitability.

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 MAGAZINE HIGHLIGHTS

The May 15 edition of the National Hog Farmer will feature the fifth class of the “Masters of the Pork Industry,” featuring personal and professional profiles of industry entrepreneurs destined to leave their mark on the North American pork industry. This special edition also features 21 products nominated for the National Hog Farmer’s World Pork Expo New Product tour and a full slate of WPX events and activities.

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It’s Expo time! Thousands of producers and industry professionals from all over the world will be in attendance. Don’t miss three jam-packed days of learning, networking and training plus discover the latest trends, products and innovations. And, don’t forget the fun — click here for all the details!

 POSTERS

FREE SELECTION GUIDES AND MANAGEMENT POSTERS
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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FOR ROBUST RESULTS, GO TO THE SOURCE.
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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