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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
April 11, 2011
 
In this issue:
  Making Sense of Heavier Market Weights
  Size Matters in Sow Farm Productivity
  House Proposed FY 2012 Budget Cuts Agriculture $30 Billion
  Pork's Future Depends on Trade Expansion

MARKET PREVIEW
Making Sense of Heavier Market Weights
It appears we dodged the bullet on a USDA Market News shutdown on Monday. It would not have taken long to realize just how dependent we are on these government data sources. The situation would have become very sticky for anyone who might have carried April Lean Hogs futures positions into Thursday's close, since the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) uses weighted average national net prices to compute the CME Lean Hogs Index.

Whether you like the reports or not, we have the best information system in the world. We would certainly miss them if they were gone – at least in the short run.

Persistently Heavier Weights
A frequently asked question at producer meetings this winter was: "Why are market hog weights so persistently high?" As Figure 1 shows, average carcass weights for top barrows and gilts (the ones slaughtered by packers that are required to report under mandatory price reporting) have stayed near 208 lb. for most of this year. Last week's drop was the first of any significance since January.

The run-up in weights last fall is well documented – better corn, cool fall weather, weekly slaughter runs near capacity all equal bigger hogs, especially when compared to the results we saw when 2009 corn was being fed.

FULL ARTICLE

PRODUCTION PREVIEW
Size Matters in Sow Farm Productivity
In recent months, we have been getting questions on the size of farms as it relates to performance. Back in September 2009, we broke the size of farms into four groups: under 1,000 females, 1,000-1,999 females, 2,000-2,999 females and 3,000+ females with selected farms.

In a more recent analysis, we broke farms into 11 size breaks, starting with farms with less than 500 females on up to farms with more than 5,000 females, in size breaks by 500 sows (Table 1). The table represents 770 farms in the Swine Management Services (SMS) Farm Benchmarking data base, broken down by size and sorted by pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y). These farms are located in the United States and Canada and they represent several different genetic suppliers. We used production data from the most current 52 weeks available.

As you can see, there are eight farms at 30+ PW/MF/Y and all have less than 1,000 sows. The largest category is farms of 500-1,000 females (223 farms); ranking second are the 189 farms with 1,000-2,000 females. There were 61 farms with less than 500 females and 27 farms with over 5,000 females.

FULL ARTICLE

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW
House Proposed FY 2012 Budget Cuts Agriculture $30 Billion
Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House of Representative's Budget Committee, released the House Republican's proposed fiscal year 2012 budget entitled: "The Path to Prosperity." The proposed budget would cut $5.8 trillion from projected federal spending over the next 10 years. It would also cut the deficit by $4.4 trillion compared to the Obama Administration's proposed budget over the next 10 years. The top tax rate for businesses and individuals would be set at 25%. The proposal would cut $30 billion from commodity programs and crop insurance over 10 years. It would reduce fixed payments "that go to farmers irrespective of price levels, to reflect that soaring commodity prices are reducing the need for high levels of farm-income support." And, the proposal would reform crop insurance "so that agricultural producers assume the same kind of responsibility for managing risk that other businesses do." The proposed budget assumes that these savings would not take effect until the next farm bill and that it will ultimately be the Agriculture Committee's decision.

FULL ARTICLE

NEWS FLASH
Pork's Future Depends on Trade Expansion
The future of the U.S. pork industry and America's family hog farms are dependent upon continued expansion of pork exports, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said in testimony before Congress last week.

Testifying on behalf of NPPC before the House Small Business Committee, Harris, MO, pork producer Phillip Wise said the United States cannot afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to trade agreements, losing market shares to nations that are implementing trade pacts with other nations.

"Today, without exports, the price I would receive for my hogs would not allow me to remain in business," Wise said. "In fact, for every hog marketed in 2010, approximately $56 of the price was because of exports. It is this increase in profitability which has allowed local producers to expand their operations, and which ultimately saved small communities like mine."

FULL ARTICLE

PORK INDUSTRY CALENDAR
May 5-6, 2011: Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 10th Annual Stakeholders Summit, “United We Eat: Securing Animal Agriculture’s Future,” The Westin Arlington Gateway hotel, Arlington, VA. For more information contact: www.animalagalliance.org/register or (703) 562-5160 or summit@animalagalliance.org.

May 22-25, 2011: Alltech’s International Animal Health and Nutrition Industry Symposium, Lexington Convention Center, Lexington, KY. For more information contact: www.alltech.com/symposium.



May 24-26, 2011: Pork 101, hosted by the American Meat Science Association in cooperation with the National Pork Board, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX. For more information contact: Deidrea Mabry, program director, American Meat Science Association, 800-517-2672, ext. 12, dmabry@meatscience.org or www.meatscience.org.



FULL ARTICLE
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 BLUEPRINT

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. www.nationalhogfarmer.com.

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 MAGAZINE HIGHLIGHTS

"Weight Watchers" is the focus of the March 15 edition of National Hog Farmer. In this issue, pork producers learn that by doing a better job of picking the right market weight, they can add $3-5/pig in revenue. This issue also outlines eight factors to consider when making marketing decisions and how auto-sort systems challenge pigs' eating behavior. Go to www.nationalhogfarmer.com to view the issue.

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 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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