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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
October 10, 2011
In this issue:
  Corn Yield Reports Mixed, but Stay Tuned
  The Effect of Parity on Pigs Weaned Average
  Free Trade Agreements Could Boost Exports by $2.5 billion
  Report Reveals Ethanol’s Impact On Economy Greater than Thought

Corn Yield Reports Mixed, but Stay Tuned
By Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc., Des Moines, IA

As has been the case in every month for the past four years, analysts and market participants will be watching tomorrow’s USDA Crop Production and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates reports quite closely for any information that will clarify the market situation for corn, soybeans and other grains. The situation was made a bit more uncertain by the Sept. 30 Grain Stocks report, which indicated the Sept. 1 (i.e. year-end for the 2010-11 growing season) corn inventories were significantly higher than expected. That says high prices did their job of rationing available supplies over time.

Yield reports have been mixed with anecdotal information in the eastern Corn Belt indicating generally lower-than-expected corn yields, while those in the western Corn Belt indicate higher-than-expected yields. As Figure 1 shows, the analysts surveyed by the three major wire services last week are looking for a slightly higher national average yield (148.7 to 148.9 bu./acre) than last month’s 148.1 bu./acre estimate from USDA. But, they have the 2011 crop pegged slightly lower than USDA’s August estimate, presumably due to lower harvested acres. USDA did not change that number in the August report when many expected them to do so.

Drought conditions in the southwest and south and late-season dry conditions in the southern Corn Belt states suggest that the number of acres harvested for grain could well have declined.

Whatever Tuesday’s report says, it will not diminish this buying opportunity in my opinion. December corn futures have fallen from $7.75/bu. on Aug. 30 to $5.80/bu. last Tuesday. That is a 25% decline. July futures (Figure 2) fell from $7.94 to $6.06/bu. (down 24%) over the same time period. Ditto for soybean meal. And all of that happened as USDA’s corn and soybean crop estimates both got progressively smaller!


The Effect of Parity on Pigs Weaned Average
By Mark Rix and Ron Ketchem, Swine Management Services, LLC

For the next few articles, we are going to be using 94 farms selected from the farms that Swine Management Services (SMS) consults with on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. These farms are located in the United States and Canada. All have weaned 20+ pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y) for the last 52 weeks and have a mature female parity structure. These 94 farms had a total of 222,362 sows (2,365 breeding females, average) representing several different genetic companies.

The 94 farms averaged 25.70 PW/MF/Y the last 52 weeks, with 21 farms averaging over 27 PW/MF/Y. The average size of these 21 farms was 3,129 females.

We made a list of production areas to review over the next few months. This month, we will focus on how parity affects total born, PW/MF/Y, piglet survival, stillborns and preweaning death loss.

Chart 1 shows the 94 farms broken out by Parity (1-7+) and by total born/female farrowed. As you can see this chart is very busy indicating that there is a very large variation in total born by parity among the farms. The 94 farm averages were: P1, 12.90; P2, 13.36; P3, 13.94; P4, 14.02; P5, 13.80; P6, 13.13; and P7+, 12.90 total born/female farrowed, with an overall average of 13.47 pigs/litter.


Free Trade Agreements Could Boost Exports by $2.5 billion
By P. Scott Shearer, Bockorny Group, Washington DC

The White House has sent the pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with Colombia, Panama and South Korea to Congress for consideration. The three agreements combined represent almost $2.5 billion of additional agricultural exports to those countries and its estimated passage would create up to 22,500 jobs. On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee approved each of the FTAs. The FTA with Columbia was approved 24-12; the FTA with Panama was approved by a vote of 33-3; and the FTA with South Korea by a vote of 31-5. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the trade pacts this week. The largest of the agreements for agriculture is South Korea. Under this agreement, almost two-thirds of Korean imports of U.S. farm products will become duty free, immediately.


Report Reveals Ethanol’s Impact On Economy Greater than Thought
By Joe Vansickle, Senior Editor

A report issued last week by the National Research Council (NRC) found that the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has “contributed to upward price pressure on agricultural commodities, food and livestock feed since 2007.”

The NRC report concluded that the “(livestock) market has experienced increased competition from the biofuels market.”

The NRC discovered that while distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS), which is a byproduct of the ethanol production process that can be fed to livestock, can reduce some of the pressure, its use is limited because it impairs “efficient production and the quality of the (livestock) products.”


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:

Oct. 26-27, 2011: Antibiotic Use in Food Animals: A Dialogue for a Common Purpose, Hotel InterContinental O’Hare, Chicago, IL. For more information contact: National Institute for Animal Agriculture, or (719) 538-8843.

Oct. 27-28, 2011: Latinos in Agriculture: A Leaders’ Forum on Capitalizing Hispanic Talent El Tropicano Riverwalk Hotel, San Antonio, TX; ( For more information contact: Orlando Gil at (712) 240-0624.

Nov. 1-2, 2011: Meat and Poultry Research Conference, Kansas City Marriott Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, MO; To view the full agenda, go to To register, go to or contact AMI’s Vice President of Education and Professional Development Marie Ternieden, at


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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.



The Sept. 15, 2011 National Hog Farmer magazine takes a hard look at mitigating swine manure odors, EPA’s push to regulate CAFOs, new technology for curbing dust in hog barns, and a special report on the 2011 Environmental Stewards award winners. Find these articles and video clips of the 2011 Environmental Stewards at

The Strategic Investment Program (SIP) is the primary source of funds for the National Pork Producers Council. As an investor, you will help NPPC fight for reasonable legislation and regulation, develop revenue and market opportunities and protect livelihoods. SIP investors have a voice in NPPC policy development. 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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