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November 28, 2011
In this issue:
  Sow Count Steady, but Production Trends Upward
  Haemophilus Parasuis a Triple Threat
  Partisanship Stalls Super Committee Outcome
  Iowa Select's Howard Hill Receives Award from Iowa State

Sow Count Steady, but Production Trends Upward
By Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc., Des Moines, IA

What is happening to the U.S. breeding herd? That is a frequently asked question these days. USDA will begin surveying producers this week for the December Hogs and Pigs report, which will be published on Dec. 23.

In the meantime, let’s look at some recent data to see if any conclusions can be drawn about the probable direction of the industry.

Sow slaughter certainly isn’t what it once was (Figure 1). Weekly runs of over 60,000 head have been rare since mid-2009. And 60,000 was about the minimum level of weekly sow slaughter before 1997. It is clear that the major driver of lower U.S. sow slaughter has simply been the existence of fewer U.S. sows. The same is true in Canada. We can’t slaughter what’s not there.


Haemophilus Parasuis a Triple Threat
By Kent Schwartz, DVM, Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory

Haemophilus parasuis (HPS) can contribute to clinical disease in pigs in three major ways: joint problems, pneumonia and multisystemic disease (Table 1). Although HPS is a common resident of the upper respiratory tract of pigs of all ages, most pigs can harbor HPS in their nose with no ill effects. However, when this organism invades and becomes blood-borne, it can localize in different organs causing a variety of clinical signs. It is also an important contributor to pneumonia.

Clinical signs can look quite different, depending on whether it is acute or chronic, or whether it is primarily affecting the brain, spinal cord, lung, lining (serosa) of body cavities or joints. Clinical signs and onset of disease can be explosive, with sudden mortalities sometimes being the first signs noted.


Partisanship Stalls Super Committee Outcome
By P. Scott Shearer, Bockorny Group, Washington DC

Congress' Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction failed to reach an agreement to cut $1.2 trillion in total spending over 10 years to begin reducing the national debt. The ongoing partisanship in Congress was a key factor with some not wanting to raise taxes and others wanting to exempt social security and Medicare from potential cuts. Because of the super committee's failure to reach an agreement, automatic spending cuts are scheduled to begin in January 2013, with half coming from defense spending and half from domestic spending. There are a number of programs that are exempt from these automatic cuts, including Social Security, Medicaid, civilian and military retirement, Conservation Reserve Program, Child Nutrition Programs, Commodity Supplemental Food Program and Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP, formerly known as Food Stamps). Already various congressional members are planning on offering legislation next year to limit or exempt the Pentagon from these cuts. We can expect the issues of taxes and federal programs to be debated throughout the 2012 campaign as each party tries to gain leverage in next year's election. As the Senate's bipartisan Gang of Six and the Bowles-Simpson Committee each noted in their proposals earlier this year, everything has to be on the table – taxes, defense spending, domestic spending and entitlements – if the deficit is going to be resolved.


Iowa Select's Howard Hill Receives Award from Iowa State
Howard T. Hill, DVM, received the Science with Practice Award from Iowa State University's College of Veterinary Medicine. The award, presented at the 19th Annual Swine Diseases Conference in Ames, IA, Nov. 10-11, recognizes exemplary integration of science and the art of veterinary practice to benefit swine productivity and welfare.

In presenting the award to Hill, Jim McKean, DVM, conference chair and Iowa State University (ISU) Extension veterinarian said: "Dr. Hill has worked for his entire career to put swine practice and pork producers in the forefront of science and its practical application. He represents the practical demonstration of what this award recognizes. He has been pivotal in Iowa and national disease control and eradication efforts in both the production and program development arenas."

Hill is the director of external affairs for Iowa Select Farms, an Iowa-based pork production company. Hill has been with Iowa Select since 2000, when he joined the company as director of production. In 2001, he was promoted to chief operating officer, continuing in that role until 2009.


Dec. 1-2, 2011: National Swine Improvement Federation Annual Meeting, Lincoln, NE. For information contact Jim Schneider at

Dec. 2-3, 2011: International PRRS Symposium, Chicago Marriott Downtown, Chicago, Il. Contact:

Dec. 6, 2011: Midwest Pork Conference, Hendricks County Conference Complex, Danville, IN. For more information contact:

Dec. 6, 2011: Risk Management Educational Seminar, Northwest Iowa Community College, Sheldon, IA. For more information contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (800) 372-7675 or Tyler Bettin at

Dec. 7, 2011: Risk Management Educational Seminar, The Borlaug Learning Center, Iowa State University Northeast Research Farm, Nashua, IA. For more information contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (800) 372-7675 or Tyler Bettin at

Dec. 8, 2011: Risk Management Educational Seminar, Johnson County Extension Office, Iowa City, IA. For more information contact: Iowa Pork Producers Association at (800) 372-7675 or Tyler Bettin at

NPPC works diligently to protect and promote the interests of America’s pork producers who in turn provide safe, nutritious pork to domestic and foreign markets, generating thousands of jobs and more than $30 billion of gross national product to the U.S. economy. Click here to see how NPPC is working for you.


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.

"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."


The November 15, 2011 edition of National Hog Farmer takes a hard look at porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS), the most costly disease in the global swine industry. This edition profiles production systems that have eliminated the persistent virus, plus guidance on keeping the pesky disease out. This edition and more are posted at



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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