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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
November 29, 2010
In this issue:
  Hog Price Volatility Reaffirms 'Cash is King'
  A Closer Look at Mycoplasma-Related Lameness
  Thousands File GIPSA Comments
  Third Annual Passion for Pigs Seminar Is Dec. 16

Hog Price Volatility Reaffirms 'Cash is King'
Last spring, Dr. Michael Swanson, chief agricultural economist at Wells Fargo Ag Industries, addressed the National Pork Board’s Swine Management Conference on the topic, “Economic Volatility has Consequences.” The presentation was very informative and creative, shedding new light on a number of macroeconomic topics, as well as agricultural markets.

In his presentation, Swanson used a chart similar to Figure 1 (attached) that simply shows Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Lean Hogs futures prices for each contract month into the future on a series of given dates. In Figure 1, I used last week and 31-day intervals for six months in the past. This provides a picture of the outlook for the hog market in the eyes of the futures market at 31-day intervals since May 20, 2010. The set of lines is instructive regarding the past and current “thinking” of the market regarding hog prices.

Back in May, it was pretty clear that hog prices were going to be good during the summer. That positive outlook remained in place through July and the outlook for the fall months began to improve. On July 21, October futures were trading at just over $75 and December futures were at about $73, over $3 higher than they had been back in May.


A Closer Look at Mycoplasma-Related Lameness
Often, the declaration from your veterinarian, “these pigs have Mycoplasma,” is immediately followed with a question: “What does that mean?”

The confusion is understandable when we recognize that there are several quite different Mycoplasma species that very commonly infect pigs. Additionally, Mycoplasma infections do not always cause clinical disease.

Mycoplasma are bacteria-like organisms that have a long history causing disease in swine. The most well-known and most economically important is Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, a very common cause of pneumonia.

Three other species cause disease in swine: M. hyosynoviae (Mhs) causes arthritis (more below); M. hyorhinis can cause disease in young pigs; and, M. suis (formally known as Eperythrozoon suis or “Epy”) can cause anemia in pigs (Table 1). Importantly, none of these Mycoplasma are obligatory pathogens; pigs (herds) can be infected with no discernible clinical disease. In addition, there are at least six more species, including M. flocculare, that can be isolated from swine and sometimes can contribute to erroneous interpretation of certain diagnostic tests.


Thousands File GIPSA Comments
Thousands of public comments were filed concerning the proposed GIPSA (Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration) rule on buying and selling livestock and poultry. Many of the comments were from letters or electronic e-mails.

Some of the more detailed comments came from industry trade associations. The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) in its comments said that USDA lacked authority or “exceeded” it on certain provisions of the proposed rule, failed to support the need for the regulations with evidence of problems in the pork industry and didn’t consider its own studies showing that restricting contracts could harm the industry. NPPC said that the regulations were “bureaucratic overreach.” NPPC CEO Neil Dierks said, “In all my years in the pork industry, I have never seen a regulation proposed that would do as much harm to America’s pork producers as the GIPSA rule would do. There’s no justification for imposing this rule on pork producers. It’s based on anecdotes, not analyses.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said the proposed rule was a “pervasive invasion of government into private business.” NCBA said that the rule was offered by GIPSA with no meaningful economic analyses and without concern for its impact on producers, packers, retailers or consumers. The American Meat Institute (AMI) urged USDA to withdraw the proposed rule because it exceeds the congressional mandate in the 2008 farm bill; will eliminate more than 100,000 jobs; will destroy partnerships between livestock producers and meat companies that have improved product quality; and will raise meat and poultry prices for consumers.


Third Annual Passion for Pigs Seminar Is Dec. 16
Mike Brumm of Brumm Swine Consultancy, North Mankato, MN, keynotes the Passion for Pigs Seminar & Trade Show with “We Lose Too Many Pigs with Our Mistakes” in a discussion of emergency ventilation systems and pit pumping mistakes.

The conference is Dec. 16 at the Executive Center, Holiday Inn, Columbia, MO. To register, call Julie Lolli at (660) 651-0570 or e-mail

The morning program includes talks on preventing moldy feed, mycoplasma and swine influenza virus update, producing robust pigs, subclinical ileitis, circovirus, practical rodent control, ag law update and protecting 50% of your farm income with a simple semen thermometer.


Dec. 3-4, 2010: International PRRS Symposium, downtown Marriott Hotel Chicago, IL for more information contact:

Dec. 8, 2010: Workshop on Margins, Jefferson Auditorium, on Independence Avenue between 12th and 14th Streets, S.W. Washington, DC. For more information, contact:

Dec. 8, 2010: PorkCast Webinar on Air Filtration Systems. For more information, contact: Mark Whitney, University of Minnesota Extension educator at or (507) 389-5541.

Dec. 16, 2010: Passion for Pigs Seminar & Trade Show, Holiday Inn Select Executive Center Columbia, MO. For more information, contact: Julie Lolli at the Northeast Veterinary Service, Inc., Shelbina, MO (660) 651-0570.

According to a head-to-head trial1, LINCOMIX® (lincomycin) is equally as efficacious for ileitis control at 40 g/T as Tylan® is at 100 g/T. That means you’ll spend a whopping 40% less for comparable results. Contact your veterinarian or your Pfizer Animal Health representative to learn more.
1. Data on file, Study Report No. 768-9690-0-CPC-97-002, Pfizer Inc.


The October 15 Blueprint edition of National Hog Farmer provides guidelines for building a sound replacement gilt program, including nutritional considerations to maximize genetic potential and the importance of an effective herd health management program. In addition, the issue offers a special section on screening replacement gilt candidates for skeletal and reproductive soundness.

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.


The Nov. 15, 2010 edition of National Hog Farmer summarizes a four-year, University of Minnesota study to validate the effectiveness of air filtration as a safeguard against porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS). In addition, the swine health focus provides a report on periweaning failure to thrive syndrome (PFTS), a disease that continues to befuddle pork producers and swine veterinarians. The impact of foot health on sow culling rates, the return of rotavirus as a cause of baby pig scours, and the possible link between DDGS in sow diets and mulberry heart disease in young pigs are also featured.



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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