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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
September 19, 2011
 
In this issue:
  Retail Meat Prices Edge Upward, Feed Supplies Tight
   Pork Export Race Heats Up, Surprising Stars Emerge
  Livestock, Poultry Call for Ethanol Policy Changes
  Federal Agencies Lack Progress In Tracking Antibiotic Resistance

MARKET PREVIEW
Retail Meat Prices Edge Upward, Feed Supplies Tight
Retail meat prices are headed upward again as cutbacks in the chicken sector begin to take hold. Figure 1 shows the average monthly retail prices for major meat and poultry species dating back to 2000. The data come from USDA’s Economic Research Service and are based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data used in estimating the monthly Consumer Price Index.

The price of all fresh beef (which included Select grade and no-roll retail product) tied its previous record of $4.872/lb., which was set back in May. The price of Choice beef set a new record of $4.489/lb., and the average pork price set a new record of $3.512/lb. Growing exports and lower summer pork supplies were a main impetus for these higher domestic prices as per capita availability fell.

The other driver of higher prices across the board was some long-awaited traction for lower chicken supplies in pushing the composite broiler price higher. August’s average of $1.787/lb. is over 5% higher than the price in May – the highest monthly average price since last November. I expect this price to keep rising as the production cuts of this summer continue to reduce chicken supplies. Last week’s total slaughter was 5% lower than one year ago and egg sets, which will determine slaughter in 8-10 weeks, were down 8.6% from last year’s level. The “fly in the ointment” for lower chicken supplies remains average slaughter weights, which were 5.73 lb. last week, 3.6% higher than one year ago. The business is pretty locked in to these big birds and apparently unwilling to change the product mix, but I think it has to happen if they want to get breast meat prices back to profitable levels.

FULL ARTICLE

PORK EXPORT PREVIEW
Pork Export Race Heats Up, Surprising Stars Emerge
U.S. pork exports are on a blistering pace in 2011, exceeding the record numbers established in 2008, when total pork and pork variety meat exports reached nearly $4.9 billion in value. Through July, exports have already totaled $3.3 billion, an increase of 20% over last year and 18% above the record pace of 2008.

Some of the markets driving this growth come as no surprise. Japan, for example, has been a remarkable mainstay market for U.S. pork and has already surpassed $1 billion for the year. Exports to South Korea have surged with the help of short domestic supplies, but Korea has typically been a solid market for U.S. pork. Mexico, which is the largest volume market for U.S. pork, has been steady this year despite retaliatory tariffs from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) trucking dispute and extremely high imports of U.S. poultry into Mexico. Exports to China have also rebounded to record levels on a resumption of access for U.S. pork and high Chinese pork prices.

It has been rewarding, however, to see growth in markets for U.S. pork that were less prominent just a few years ago. Exports to Canada, for example, have been quite strong in 2011, growing by 9% in volume to more than 250 million pounds and by 13% in value to nearly $400 million. While the strength of the Canadian dollar has made U.S. pork more attractive north of the border, the U.S. industry is also seizing opportunities in the retail, foodservice and processing industries as Canada’s hog slaughter numbers have remained sluggish. While Canada’s total pork exports are up slightly this year, its net pork exports to the United States are down 17% as less Canadian pork is sent south and more U.S. pork is northbound. Canada’s hog slaughter through August was down 1.5% to just over 13 million head. Live hog exports from Canada to the United States were also down 1% to 3.77 million head.

FULL ARTICLE

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW
Livestock, Poultry Call for Ethanol Policy Changes
The House Livestock Subcommittee recently held a hearing to examine the issue of feed availability and its effect on the livestock and poultry industries. The United States’ ethanol policy is the main factor affecting feed availability, emphasized the livestock and poultry witnesses at the hearing. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) said that “subsidized ethanol has meant record-high corn prices and record-high costs of production for meat and poultry, resulting in lower per capita meat and poultry output.” The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) said, “The ethanol industry is using more and more of the nation’s corn supply. This year it is expected to overtake livestock and poultry producers as the largest user of corn. But its growth has been driven almost entirely by the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) mandate, which makes no provision for short corn supplies.” The National Chicken Council made the following recommendations for changing the nation’s ethanol policy:

FULL ARTICLE

NEWS FLASH
Federal Agencies Lack Progress In Tracking Antibiotic Resistance
The General Accounting Office (GAO) says federal agencies have collected some data on antibiotic use in animals and on resistant bacteria in animals and retail meat.

But without detailed use data and representative resistance data, Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cannot examine trends and understand the relationship between use and resistance.

Liz Wagstrom, chief veterinarian for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), says the report “does indeed call into question estimates of the amounts of antibiotics used in animals – or at the very least the doses, reasons and even the species of animals receiving antibiotics.”

As well, the GAO report is correct in pointing out that “there is no data to show a causal link from antibiotic use in animals and the trend toward increasing resistant infections in humans,” Wagstrom affirms.

FULL ARTICLE

PORK INDUSTRY CALENDAR
Sept. 20-21, 2011: 72nd Minnesota Nutrition Conference, Holiday Inn, Owatonna, MN. For more information contact:http://www.regonline.com/.

Sept. 21, 2011: Future Trends in Animal Agriculture Symposium, Jefferson Auditorium, South Agriculture Building (Wing 7), Washington, DC; e-mail PennsylvaniaB@aol.com.

Sept. 20-22, 2011: 49th annual Farm Science Review, Molly Caren Agricultural Center, London, OH. For more information, go to http://fsr.osu.edu.

Sept. 29-Oct. 5, 2011: 115th U.S. Animal Health Association/54th American Association of Veterinary Laboratory Diagnosticians Annual Meeting; Adam’s Mark Hotel, Buffalo, NY. For more information contact: www.usaha.org.

Oct. 19-20, 2011: The American Meat Institute Foundation Animal Care and Handling Conference for the Food Industry; Westin Crown Center, Kansas City, MO. For more information contact: http://meatami.com/ht/d/sp/i/11948/pid/11948.

FULL ARTICLE

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 BLUEPRINT

The April 15, 2011 Blueprint edition of National Hog Farmer offers details on creating stable herd health by developing a herd health profile, provides a review of basic immunology and gives details on how to select the right vaccine. The final article looks at efforts by a consortium of swine disease researchers to understand genetic disease resistance. www.nationalhogfarmer.com.

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 MAGAZINE HIGHLIGHTS

The Aug. 15, 2011 edition of National Hog Farmer magazine features several articles on protecting market access. The reports focus on verifying production, assuring pork safety, keeping pigs healthy and safeguarding herd health. Find these articles and more at www.nationalhogfarmer.com.

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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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"Documented effects of Levucell® SB include the ability to improve digestive transit which in turn helps the sow get on feed quicker the first week of lactation and increases feed intake through lactation, which helps reduce sow weight loss and produces heavier piglets at weaning. Studies show sows fed Levucell SB have fewer days to estrus."

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NPPC and the National Pork Board have launched a program, We Care, to promote pork producers' commitment to responsible pork production. From animal care and the environment to food safety and quality, pork producers demonstrate best practices daily. For more on continuing the tradition of doing what’s right, Click here

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