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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
December 28, 2010
In this issue:
  No Surprises in Pig Crop Report
  Looking Back
  Sixty-Thousand-Plus GIPSA Comments Filed
  FDA Calls for Voluntary Limits on Antibiotic Use

No Surprises in Pig Crop Report
USDA’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report, released Monday afternoon, indicated hog inventories quite close to expected levels, but also contains production forecasts that will likely be viewed as bullish in Tuesday’s trading. Analysts are calling the report anywhere from neutral to moderately bullish. The key data from the report appear in Table 1. Here are a few highlights:

    • Inventories of market pigs and breeding stock were within 1% of the average of analysts’ pre-report estimates. Differences of that magnitude usually mean a neutral report, but note that all but one of the actual year-on-year percentage numbers is smaller than the analysts predicted. That fact may lead to some strength for Lean Hogs futures on Tuesday.

    • While federally inspected (FI) hog slaughter has run ahead of year-ago levels for much of the fourth quarter, that is not true of December. Comparing equal numbers of weekdays and Saturdays for 2010 to 2009, FI slaughter this December has been only fractionally higher than last year, which agrees with USDA’s 180-lb. and over inventory and that is virtually equal to that of December 2009.


Looking Back
Since I have been continuously shoveling and snow-blowing my driveway this past month, I have had a lot of time to reflect. Thinking back to the mid-’70s when I was in high school, believe it or not the Minnesota Vikings football team was in the Super Bowl. Of course, those of you under the age of 40 wouldn’t remember that.

I also reflected back to 1975, when a tremendous blizzard hit the Midwest. I remember my father and I had to get to the hog barns to check on the pigs. One barn had the feeders and waterers outside. As my dad and I were walking, I told him we were standing on the roof of the barn! He didn’t believe me at first, but as we started digging, he realized that’s exactly where we were. We did not have electricity for several days and, since water and feed were outside, the pigs struggled and we unfortunately lost a few. We worked as hard as we could to get feed and water to the hogs, but the snow and the cold were too much. I remember how stressed my father was in trying to take care of the pigs and the hours we spent digging and shoveling snow. The only good thing I remember from this timeframe is I didn’t have to watch another Vikings loss.


Sixty-Thousand-Plus GIPSA Comments Filed
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said at a briefing on the proposed GIPSA (Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration) rule regarding livestock and poultry marketing practices that the department had received more than 60,000 public comments. USDA will take time to analyze and evaluate the comments. He also said that a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis will be conducted on the proposed rule. Last September in a letter to USDA, 115 congressmen had asked that an economic analysis be conducted on the proposed rule.

Ethanol and Biodiesel Tax Credits Extended — The recently passed tax cut/stimulus package extends the 45 cents-per-gallon ethanol blender credit and the tariff on imported ethanol for one year. The $1.00/gallon production tax credit for biodiesel is made retroactive to Jan. 1, 2010 and has been extended through 2011. The ethanol trade association, Growth Energy, said that extending the ethanol blenders tax credit will “provide certainty in the marketplace and give us a chance to work with Congress and the administration to enact longer term tax policy reforms that will level the playing field in the fuels market.” The American Meat Institute, which opposed the extension, said, “For 30 years, the American taxpayer has been subsidizing corn-based ethanol and unfortunately the Senate has failed to break that dependency relationship once again, even as this country teeters on the brink of a budgetary abyss. For yet another year, $6 billion U.S. taxpayer dollars will be diverted from hardworking families to the pocketbooks of the ethanol industry for production that is mandated by the federal government, despite the fact that the American people are crying out for fiscal responsibility.”


FDA Calls for Voluntary Limits on Antibiotic Use
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently requested that producers and veterinarians voluntarily restrict use of antimicrobials in food-producing animals for growth promotion.

FDA says the approach is more prudent than attempting to regulate their use in the agency’s quest to stave off antibiotic resistance in humans.

Tom Burkgren, DVM, executive director of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV), says this request is nothing new. Over the last couple of years, the agency has been in conversation with AASV and other industry groups to encourage veterinarians to voluntarily restrict use of antimicrobials, and also to lobby drug company sponsors to change their labels to discourage routine growth promotion use.


Jan. 19-20, 2011: Minnesota Pork Congress, Minneapolis Convention Center. Minneapolis, MN.
For more information contact; Minnesota Pork Producers Association by phone (507) 345-8814, e-mail or go online

Jan. 25-27, 2011: Iowa Pork Producers Association Annual Meeting and Iowa Pork Congress, Iowa Events Center. Des Moines, IA.
For exhibitor information, contact Doug Fricke by e-mail or call (515) 225-7675
for seminar information, contact Tyler Bettin by e-mail or call (515) 225-7675.

Jan. 31, Feb. 7 and 14, 2011: Employee Management Workshop for Agricultural Operations (three-part workshop), Hardin County Extension Office. Iowa Falls, IA.
For more information contact: Russ Euken, extension livestock specialist, by phone (641) 923-2856 or e-mail or Mark Storlie, swine field specialist, by phone (563) 425-3331 or e-mail



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.



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.

Click here to learn more.


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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