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National Hog Farmer Weekly Preview
February 6, 2012
 
In this issue:
  Bigger, Leaner, Better Hogs Coming to Market
  Eight Performance Indicators Drive Production Index Summary
  Labor Department to Reconsider Child Labor Restrictions
  Study Offers Insights Into Antibiotics, Feed
  Career Opportunities

MARKET PREVIEW
Bigger, Leaner, Better Hogs Coming to Market
By Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc., Des Moines, IA

We like our sayings in threes. Blood, sweat and tears. Mo, Larry and Curly.

I believe a three-word phrase also describes the market hogs of the past few years: Bigger, leaner, better. Following are the reasons I chose those descriptors.

First, “bigger” is pretty much a no-brainer. Hog carcass weights have gained from an average of 186 lb. in 1986 to 205 lb. last year. That’s a 19-lb. gain in 25 years. The growth of barrow and gilt carcass weights has been even more striking, moving from 170 lb. in 1986 to 203 lb. last year – 33 lb. in 25 years. Death, taxes and 1% heavier hogs are all pretty good bets.

There are lots of good reasons for this shift to heavier weights. Genetic improvement for growth rate and leanness is a key one, but the true incentive is still the fact that the buildings at both the producer and packer levels hold “heads” of animals and the businesses sell “pounds” of product. The best way to improve efficiency is obviously to increase pounds per head. Producers and packers spread fixed and quasi-fixed costs, such as labor (which cannot be cut quickly and then added back because workers have a nasty habit of taking work elsewhere or just plain leave) over more and more units of output.

FULL ARTICLE

PRODUCTION PREVIEW
Eight Performance Indicators Drive Production Index Summary
By Ron Ketchem and Mark Rix, Swine Management Services LLC, Fremont, NE

Swine Management Services (SMS) launched the farm benchmarking program in 2005 with about 150 farms, totaling 250,000 sows. The program has grown to more than 750 farms with an inventory of 1.3 million breeding females in the United States and Canada.

At first, we ranked the farms by pigs weaned/mated female/year (PW/MF/Y) using the equations developed and finalized by the National Pork Producers Council in 1999. Over the years, we have had many conversations with veterinarians, consultants and producers about the need for an index that included more than just pigs weaned/mated female/year.

Three years ago, we introduced the SMS Production Index. In developing the index, we started with the production numbers we look at first when analyzing a farm, then tested them to see how strongly they correlated with a farm’s performance.

FULL ARTICLE

LEGISLATIVE PREVIEW
Labor Department to Reconsider Child Labor Restrictions
Yielding to growing pressure from farmers, ranchers and members of Congress, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it will re-propose the portion of its regulation on child labor in agriculture interpreting the “parental exemption.” The rule proposed last September would have changed a statutory exemption to child labor laws that currently allow children younger than 16 years old to work for a parent. The change would have limited the exemption to farm operations wholly owned by a parent, raising concerns that children would no longer be able to work on farms owned by neighbors or relatives. DOL said, “The re-proposal process will seek comments and inputs as to how the department can comply with statutory requirements to protect children, while respecting rural traditions.” The House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade held a hearing on the proposed rule and its effect on agriculture youth. The National Future Farmers of America testified by saying, “We are concerned about the limits these rules provide on the ability and opportunities for our students to learn by doing. Learning by doing is a critical part of the preparation and education through which we prepare students for careers in agriculture and related occupations.”

FULL ARTICLE

NEWS FLASH
Study Offers Insights Into Antibiotics, Feed
By Joe Vansickle, Senior Editor

Antibiotics in pig feed increased the number of antibiotic-resistant genes in gastrointestinal microbes in pigs, according to a study conducted by Michigan State University (MSU) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Research Service. Published in the current edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the comprehensive study focused on understanding the effects of conventional, in-feed antibiotics in U.S. hog farms.

For decades, many producers of pigs, chickens and other farm animals have used antibiotics not only to protect their livestock from disease, but also to boost growth rates and enhance feed efficiency, a measure of how well animals convert feed into weight gains.

FULL ARTICLE

PORK INDUSTRY CALENDAR
February 8-9: The Missouri Pork Expo kicks off Feb. 8 with a talk on Global Markets, Domestic Impact by Joseph Kerns of International Agribusiness Group, LLC, Ames, IA. For more information, contact MPA by phone at (573) 445-8375, e-mail Angela@mopork.com or visit www.mopork.com.

February 8: Central Indiana Pork Conference, Rossville High School, Rossville, IN. Registration costs $20 per person. The fee includes materials, refreshments, and a lunch. For more information or to register online, visit http://www.ag.purdue.edu/counties/clinton/Pages/cipc.aspx   or contact Emanuel at (765) 659-6380 or cemanuel@purdue.edu.

March 19-21: Annual meeting of the Midwestern Sections of the American Dairy Science Association and the American Society of Animal Science, Hy-Vee Hall and Veterans Memorial, Des Moines, IA. For more information contact: http://adsa.asas.org/midwest/2012.asp.



FULL ARTICLE

Career Opportunities
Swine Health Outreach Assistant/Associate Professor
The Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine is seeking applicants to fill a fixed term faculty position in Swine Health Extension. The successful candidate will become part of a team that is committed to world-class research and training to meet the needs of the food animal industry.

Click here for full position description and application details. Posting #5712.

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Genetiporc USA is introducing new terminal sire lines that are clearly differentiated and documented in controlled research trials and large commercial systems. These new lines have a competitive advantage in feed efficiency and carcass meat yield without sacrificing growth rate and pork quality. Call 800-LEANPIG for exciting details.

 BLUEPRINT

The October 15, 2011 Blueprint edition of National Hog Farmer tackles the new industry target of 30 pigs/sow/year (P/S/Y). As producers strive to achieve the lofty milestone, new challenges and new debates arise. With the push to increase reproductive efficiency, the health and dietary demands on sows becomes increasingly important, the impact on pig flow and facilities is magnified, and the bar to capture full genetic potential is raised. This special edition and more is posted at www.nationalhogfarmer.com.

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 MAGAZINE HIGHLIGHTS

All facets of the pork industry are being challenged to maximize lean growth while finding new ways to utilize a broad array of feed ingredients without sacrificing growth, feed conversion or carcass quality. The January 15, 2012 edition of National Hog Farmer takes a hard look at the relationships between gain, feed efficiency and optimal profitability. Those articles and more are available at www.nationalhogfarmer.com.

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The PigTek® Pig Equipment Group can help supply the feeding system tools pig producers need for maximizing feeding efficiency and for gaining management flexibility. This collection of well-known brands – Chore-Time®, Laake®, Mannebeck® and Porcon® – offers a combined total of over 200 years of success in the pig production industry.
For more information click here.


 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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NPPC's grassroots organization trains industry stakeholders to tell the story of U.S. pork. As a LEADR you will help lawmakers understand how their decisions affect your business, your family, your community and your ability to provide consumers with safe, affordable and healthy pork. Click here to learn more.
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