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Articles from 2020 In November

Performance, economics of feeding of DON-contaminated diets

National Hog Farmer/Kevin Schulz Hogs in a finishing barn

Mycotoxin contamination of feedstuffs used in swine diets continues to be a problem for producers. Research recently conducted at the Prairie Swine Centre in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, has specifically focused on deoxynivalenol, also known as vomitoxin, as it commonly contaminates corn, wheat, barley and other important feed ingredients.

According to Biomin (2019), 85% of all grain samples and 90% of finished feed samples in North America contained DON. Data for wheat in Saskatchewan show an increase in the incidence of fusarium, with 80% to 90% of wheat downgraded due to DON contamination. With advances in mycotoxin analysis it has become clear that the mycotoxin problem is much larger than thought and the costs associated with mycotoxin contamination will continue to increase.

Contaminated grains are commonly downgraded for use in livestock feed and, while the best strategy for livestock producers is to avoid feeding mycotoxin-contaminated grain altogether, with the increased incidence and level of contamination this is no longer a viable option. Therefore, many strategies have been proposed to eliminate or reduce the negative effect of mycotoxins in animal feeds. Most of these strategies are based on deactivation of the mycotoxin through binding of the mycotoxin using adsorbents, such as silicate clays and activated carbon, which can be included in feed as non-nutrient additives.

In general, however, current feed additives are relatively ineffective in mitigating the negative effects of mycotoxins and may not be effective for all mycotoxins. For example, some adsorbent agents have proven effective at reducing the negative effects of some mycotoxins, such as aflatoxin, but have shown little or no impact in pigs fed DON-contaminated diets.

Recent studies have examined the use of additives consisting of different blends of yeast/yeast product, preservatives, antioxidants, amino acids and probiotics which have shown potential for success in DON-contaminated diets in grower-finisher and weaning pigs. There are currently no additives available in Canada for use to mitigate the effects of DON.

As swine are one the most susceptible livestock species to the negative effects of DON, there has been an abundance of research on DON in pigs. In general, however, the majority of studies have been performed in young animals with the assumption that the negative effects of consuming mycotoxin-contaminated feed are highest in the young animal. Moreover, previous studies have examined the impact of mycotoxins over a relatively short period of time. Therefore, we sought to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the long-term effect of feeding DON to grower-finisher pigs?
  2. Is the effect of DON different in grower versus finisher pigs?
  3. What is the economic impact of feeding DON-contaminated diets to grower-finisher pigs?

What did we find?
Two growth performance studies were conducted to examine the impact of long-term feeding of graded levels of DON in finisher (75 to 120 kilograms) and grower-finisher (35 to 120 kilograms) pigs.

In Study 1, 200 finishing pigs with an initial body weight of 76.6 ± 3.9 kilograms were group housed in pens with five pigs per pen. In Study 2, 240 grower pigs with an initial body weight of 35.9 ± 1.1 kilograms were group housed in pens with six pigs per pen. In both studies, pens were assigned to one of four dietary treatments (n=10 pens per treatment).

Dietary treatments consisted of a control diet (CON) containing no DON or a diet containing 1, 3 or 5 parts per million DON (DON1, DON3 or DON5). The basal diet was wheat-barley-soybean meal based and formulated to meet or exceed nutrient requirements. The dietary DON levels were achieved by replacing DON-free wheat with DON-contaminated wheat and wheat screenings. Individual pig body weight and per pen feed intake were measured weekly for the duration of the studies (42 days for Study 1 and 77 days for Study 2) for determination of average daily gain, average daily feed intake and feed efficiency.

In finisher pigs, we found that there was a rapid negative response to >1 part per million DON intake, resulting in a decrease in average daily gain and feed intake as well as reduced body weight within the first week (Table 1). The reduction in body weight was maintained throughout the study, however, after a period of approximately four weeks, the feed intake and average daily gain of all pigs had recovered.

Prairie Swine Centrenhf-sask-columbus-table1.jpg

Table 1: Growth performance of finisher pigs (75-120 kg) fed graded levels of deoxynivalenol

In grower-finisher pigs, the response to DON intake was less pronounced and not as rapid, resulting in variability in the response over time and across treatments (Table 2). Overall, there was reduction in average daily gain, feed intake and body weight in pigs fed >1 part per million DON, however, this negative effect was less than observed in finisher pigs.

Prairie Swine CentreTable 2: Growth performance of grower-finisher pigs (35-120 kg) fed diets with graded levels of deoxynivalenol

Table 2: Growth performance of grower-finisher pigs (35-120 kg) fed diets with graded levels of deoxynivalenol

There was no impact of dietary DON content on feed efficiency in either study. Overall, these studies provide further evidence for an upper limit of 1 part per million DON in finished feed to avoid reduced performance. While there was an initial reduction in performance, pigs seem to be able to adapt to DON intake of >1 part per million and <5 parts per million.

What will this cost you?
The Prairie Swine Centre Enterprise Model was used to assess the economic impact of feeding DON-contaminated grain to pigs. It is important to note that the following assessment was based on the results of the current studies as well as a number of other assumptions (e.g., grid, market weight, current market prices). Therefore, these results are meant only as an indicator of the potential economic impact and the specific economics will be dependent on individual production parameters.

Producers need to weigh several factors when considering feeding DON-contaminated grains in their operations, the most important being — What are the costs associated with it?

Results from this project have shown, that pigs consuming high levels of DON, in complete diets, will be 5 to 8 kilograms lighter by the time they reach market weight. However, these pigs also consumed less total feed. Does this drop in feed consumption and total feed cost, outweigh the drop in market revenue from the sale of hogs at a lighter weight? The simple answer is no, however it depends when pigs are introduced to DON in their diets.

Figure 1 shows the margin over feed cost when pigs (at average market conditions) are fed varying levels of DON in complete diets and when DON is introduced at different stages in the production cycle. Results indicate little to no change in returns when pigs are fed diets containing 1 part per million of DON, regardless of when it was introduced. In both studies, no significance was found in final market weight between control and diets containing 1 part per million of DON.

Prairie Swine CentreFigure 1: Margin over feed cost for diets containing various levels of DON

Figure 1: Margin over feed cost for diets containing various levels of DON

Results also indicate an inverse relationship between margin over feed cost and the level of DON in the diet for both studies. In other words, increasing DON reduces producer returns. However, the negative impact on margin over feed cost is far greater when pigs are first introduced to DON in the finishing period. This indicates the negative impacts of DON are less when introduced earlier to pigs in the production cycle. Based on the results of this study we would estimate between a $2 to $7 per hog drop in revenue under average market conditions. Therefore, it would be in the producer's best interest to avoid contaminated grains when possible.

In order to balance the drop in returns (margin over feed cost), producers will need to buy DON-contaminated grains at a discount, compared to clean grain, in order or make feeding DON-contaminated grain a viable option. Figure 2 shows the estimated drop in finished feed cost (per metric ton) for various levels of DON-contaminated diets required to have no impact to margin over feed cost (returns) to the producer. The finished diet will need to drop in price between $11 and $63 per ton, depending on level of contamination and exposure to DON, in order to have no change in margin over feed cost.

Prairie Swine CentreFigure 2: Diet cost required to maintain margin over feed cost to uncontaminated diets.

Figure 2: Diet cost required to maintain margin over feed cost to uncontaminated diets.

Figure 3 displays the drop in (DON-contaminated) ingredient price required when that ingredient would make up 40% of the total finished diet. If we assume clean grain can be purchased at $225 per metric ton, producers will need to purchase the DON-contaminated ingredient at a significant discount, up to $155 metric ton, in order to justify feeding 3 or 5 parts per million of DON in a diet.

Prairie Swine CentreFigure 3: Ingredient price of contaminated grain, at 40% of the diet, required to maintain margin over feed cost at uncontaminated levels.

Figure 3: Ingredient price of contaminated grain, at 40% of the diet, required to maintain margin over feed cost at uncontaminated levels.

It is important to remember an ingredient containing 2.5 parts per million making up 40% of the diet translates to 1 part per million in the final diet, and it would take 12.5 parts per million of DON in an ingredient to achieve 5 parts per million in a diet.

There are additional considerations that producers must take in account when feeding DON-contaminated. In theory, if we could simply purchase DON-contaminated grains cheaper we could maintain margin over feed cost, however, it is not that simple in practice and may not be possible. If these savings cannot be achieved, pigs fed DON-contaminated diets will need to be kept in the barn longer due to slower growth, increasing costs and reducing throughput. Adding five days to market adds approximately 4.5% to fixed costs, as fewer pigs can be marketed from the barn in a year. In farrow-to-finish operations, many facilities simply cannot afford to keep pigs five days longer. Logistics are another important consideration. If farms do not have the ability to separate the DON-contaminated ingredients from clean grain, the entire herd would receive the DON ingredient — perhaps creating additional challenges in other parts of the production system. It is also important to note that this economic analysis examines the impact of feeding DON based on one specific grading grid. As packers have different requirements, the change in margin over feed cost would be packer specific and shipping at lighter weights (associated with higher levels of DON) may be more detrimental in some cases.

Finally, the use of DON-mitigating feed additives, while potentially effective, also result in increased feed costs, therefore, producers would need to weigh the potential benefits against the costs of these products.

Take home message
In finisher pigs, feeding of diets with >1 part per million DON results in an initial reduction in feed intake and average daily gain. This results in a reduction in body weight which is sustained over time. Growth performance recovers after a period of time, indicating that pigs may be able to adapt to DON intake. The response to DON appears to be reduced and more variable in grower pigs than in finisher pigs.

  1. The negative effects of DON intake appear to be due largely to reduced feed intake. This is supported by lack of negative effects of DON intake on nutrient utilization, health status and carcass quality.
  2. Feeding diets containing >1 part per million DON will result in reduced margin over feed cost. This reduction is greater when DON is first introduced in the finisher period compared to the grower period.
  3. Producers may be able to feed DON-contaminated diets, up to 5 parts per million, while making adjustments (e.g., reduced ingredient/feed cost, increased days to market, mycotoxin mitigating feed additives) for the negative impact of DON intake on growth performance.

These studies were supported by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture and the Canada-Saskatchewan Growing Forward 2 bilateral agreement, the Barley Development Commission of Saskatchewan, Biomin Holding GmbH and Mitacs. General program funding for the Prairie Swine Centre is provided by the Government of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, Alberta Pork, Manitoba Pork and Ontario Pork.


Wellington M.O., Bosompem M.A., Petracek R, Nagl V, and Columbus D.A. (2021) Effect of long-term feeding of graded levels of deoxynivalenol on growth performance, nutrient utilization, and organ health in finishing pigs and DON content in biological samples. J. Anim. Sci. In press. doi:10.1093/jas/skaa378.


Sources: Dan A. Columbus, Michael A. Bosompem and Ken Engele, who are solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly own the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

December slaughter below year ago?

Getty Images/iStockphoto Hogs hanging in a cooler

Slaughter capacity appears to be quite close to last year's level. The biggest daily hog slaughter thus far in November is 497,000 head. The biggest in November 2019 was 498,000.

In the last 13 weeks (roughly September through November) U.S. federally inspected hog slaughter was down 0.8% year-over-year. This was far below the 6.1% increase implied by the market hog inventory in the September hog survey.

Chart: Hog slaughter, federally inspected (Weekly)

This was the third consecutive quarter that hog slaughter has been well below the level implied by the market hog inventory.

March-to-May slaughter was down 2.89 million head; June-to-August was down 1.56 million head; and September-to-November hog slaughter was down 2.33 million head from the level implied by the September market hog inventory.

This implies that a lot of hogs are missing their planned slaughter date and are being backed up on farms. The shortfall is due to a problem with slaughter capacity, not with a shortage of hogs. Packer problems with COVID-19 among workers has restricted slaughter capacity.

The September Hogs and Pigs Report implied December-to-February hog slaughter will be down 3.5% year-over-year. Since weekly hog slaughter has been running close to year-ago levels, this should give packers the opportunity to catch up on the apparent backlog of 2-plus million hogs.

As one would expect, hog weights have increased as slaughter has fallen short. Thus far, there has been only one week this year with lighter hog dressed weights than a year ago. The average dressed weight in 2020 is down 2 pounds compared to the same weeks of 2019.

Chart: Barrow and gilt dressed weight, federally inspected (Weekly)

Although hog slaughter was down 0.8% over the last 13 weeks, because of heavier weights pork production was up 0.7%.

The average price of pork in grocery stores during October was $4.084 per pound, up 3.1 cents from the month before and up 17.2 cents from October 2019. Marketing margins are extremely wide this year. It is quite likely the average retail pork price will be a record this year. Yet, the average hog price is likely to be the lowest in several years.

Chart: Retail pork price (Monthly)

The average live price for 51-52% lean hogs during October was $55.92 per hundredweight, the highest of any month since June 2019. The 2020 national average negotiated price through the days before Thanksgiving averaged $46.21 per hundredweight, which is 24.5% lower than the same period in 2019.

Chart: Barrow and gilt prices, Iowa-southern Minnesota carcass base price (Weekly)

International trade has been a positive factor this year. Through September, U.S. pork imports were down 9.1% (65 million pounds) with the biggest decline in imports from Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Through September, U.S. pork exports were up 20.7% (929 million pounds) thanks to a 200.3% (1.08 billion pounds) increase in exports to China. It appears likely that U.S. shipments to China will drop below the year-earlier level during November and December.

Chart: U.S. pork exports to major Asian markets, carcass weight (Monthly)

During January-to-September, 25.5% of U.S. pork production was exported and pork imports equaled 3.1% of production. USDA expects both pork imports and pork exports to increase a small amount in 2021.

Live hog imports were up 0.4% during the first nine months of 2020 and are expected to total around 5.1 million head for the year.

Iowa State University's Lee Schulz's calculations show Iowa farrow-to-finish herds earning a profit of $29.24 per head for hogs marketed in October, making it the most profitable month since June 2019.

Omaha corn prices have risen above $4.10 per bushel, more than $1 higher than they were in early August and the highest since the summer of 2019.

Chart: Omaha corn prices (Weekly)

The stocks of pork in cold storage have been extremely low each month since April. For January-to-April, the quantity of pork in cold storage averaged 23 million pounds (4%) higher than last year. For May-to-October, stocks have averaged 152 million pounds (25%) lower than last year. These tight supplies are keeping retail pork prices high.

In the last 13 weeks, U.S. sow slaughter was up 6.6%. This was despite a 4% decline in sow imports from Canada. Thus, net slaughter of U.S. sows was up 8.1%.

In the September Hogs and Pigs Report, USDA said the breeding herd was down 1.5% from the year before. The large sow slaughter this fall implies the breeding herd will be even smaller in the December survey.

Chart: Sow slaughter, federally inspected (Weekly)

The lean hog futures contracts are predicting a typical seasonal pattern for hog prices in 2021. The futures market indicates carcass hog prices will increase from their current level to $81.50 per hundredweight by mid-summer then decrease to a dollar lower than the current level by the end of 2021.

Corn futures prices currently expect a price increase through spring to a peak of $4.37 per bushel in mid-summer then declining to $4.14 by the end of 2021. Soybean meal is expected to hold steady around $395 per ton until mid-year then decline to $350 per ton by the end of 2021.

Source: Ron Plain, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

Feedstuffs Precision Pork: Special Report - Mycotoxin risks when using byproducts?

In this special episode of Feedstuffs Precision Pork, we explore the benefits and risks associated with the use of corn distillers dried grains (DDGS) in pig diets.

Feedstuffs editor Sarah Muirhead talks with  Erin Holmes, technical swine nutritionist with Provimi, and Don Giesting, micro nutrition innovation lead for Provimi, about the economics of feeding corn DDGS and what can be done to minimize the risk of mycotoxin contamination and its negative influence on performance and the bottom line. Take a listen.

Use this link to sign up for Provimi’s Mycotoxin Minutes:

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21 Wishes for the U.S. pork industry in 2021


Have you seen the "if 2020 was a meme" jokes circulating around social media? For example, if 2020 was a bag of chips, it would be Lays' flavored Orange Juice and Toothpaste; if 2020 was a draft beer, it would be all head; or if 2020 was a scented candle, it would smell like a port-a-potty on fire. These are just a sampling of the memes that made me chuckle the last few months, but in all honesty, I am ready, as I am sure you are, to retire 2020 and move full force into 2021.

Last year around this time, we put together a list of 20 wishes for the U.S. pork industry in the new year. Keeping out African swine fever, gaining unrestricted market access to key exporting countries and eliminating unnecessary and unfair regulatory oversight on several areas of production were top of mind then. While these issues are still a priority for the U.S. swine industry, they have unfortunately taken a back seat to the many challenges brought on by the 2020 pandemic.

Here's a new list, updated after listening to the concerns from the National Pork Producers Council, the National Pork Board, the Swine Health Information Center, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the North American Meat Institute, the U.S. Meat Export Federation, the American Feed Industry Association, the USDA, and everyone in between. While we could have made this 2021 U.S. pork industry wish list much longer, we decided to narrow it down to the top 21 we have heard most often. We hope we have captured your sincere wishes for a better year to come.

  1. A COVID-relief package that includes compensation for euthanized and donated hogs, additional funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, modification of the Commodity Credit Corp. charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding, additional funds for direct payments to producers without restriction and extension of the Paycheck Protection Program with modifications to make it accessible to more producers.
  2. Food and agriculture workers be given the next highest priority for getting the COVID-19 vaccine behind healthcare workers, first responders and high-risk individuals.
  3. The U.S. swine population remains ASF-free.
  4. A commercial DIVA (Differentiating Infected from Vaccinated) compatible vaccine for ASF that is ready for market.
  5. The United States gets China to drop its various market access barriers, including COVID-19 related measures and the 25% retaliatory duty on U.S. pork.
  6. U.S. export destinations remain diversified and the industry continues to pursue this goal aggressively, both in the Asia Pacific region and the Western Hemisphere.
  7. Barriers are eliminated that greatly limit U.S. red meat access in the European Union, including high tariffs, restrictive quotas and sanitary measures.
  8. There are optimal conditions for the 2021 planting and growing season.
  9. Regulatory oversight of gene-edited livestock is moved from the Food and Drug Administration to the USDA.
  10. A trade regionalization plan is implemented with key customers for U.S. pork products, that can be used in the case of a foreign animal disease outbreak.
  11. There is adequate funding for Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Program at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection which plays a critical role in protecting U.S. agriculture from plant and animal pests and diseases.
  12. The industry finds a solution for livestock agriculture's labor shortage.
  13. California's Proposition 12 is struck down.
  14. Should ASF or another FAD be diagnosed in the United States, a plan to assess and mitigate contamination within the feed supply chain.
  15. Mandatory labeling for cell-cultured and plant-based meat.
  16. Depopulation research is conducted to be more prepared for large-scale emergency response FAD outbreaks.
  17. The spread of wild boar across the United States is halted.
  18. U.S. pork producers register for AgView, a technology solution to help the U.S. pork industry respond faster in the event of an FAD outbreak.
  19. Science trumps emotion in nuisance lawsuits against livestock operations.
  20. Consumers, domestic and internationally, realize the value and versatility of U.S. "Real Pork" and make it a household staple.
  21. U.S. pork producers have a healthy, safe and productive 2021.

Farm Progress America, November 30, 2020

Max Armstrong shares that corn growers have been at odds with EPA. Corn growers and a coalition of ethanol producers recently went to court to push the agency to act on a 2016 court order regarding renewable fuel use. Max shares more details on the court motion filed by these groups.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Joe Readle/Getting Images News

This Week in Agribusiness, Nov. 28, 2020

Max and Mike talk about what farmers are thankful for this year, as well as tax planning strategies.

Matt Roberts, The Kernmantle Group, joins Mike to talk about grain markets, including ethanol, China's corn crop and imports, impact of the U.S. dollar, interest rates.

Mike talks to Chad Colby about some tech gift ideas, including a tripod, paint markers and a Bluetooth radio and a new drone.

Jamie Johansen reports from Wisconsin about cranberries and harvest.

Max shares a visit with Randy Bodine, Auburn, Alabama, talking about old International Harvester equipment, including a cotton picker.

Collin Miller, Pivot Bio, talks to Max about plant and yield differences when using Pivot Bio Proven.

Greg Soulje is in with the weather forecast for the week, and the upcoming month.

What's in Max's Tractor Shed? A 1947 Allis-Chalmers WD.

Mark Stock shares what's coming to the block for Big Iron Auctions.

The FFA Chapter Tribute continues to spotlight the national officer team, as Mike talks to Artha Jonassaint, VP of the southern region.

Orion thanks farmers, ranchers and food producers across the nation.

Enjoy a look at the Great Plains Terra Max tillage implement, featured at FPVX (


This Week in Agribusiness features market news, ag technology, weather and farm management and equipment information and opinions. This leading ag news program airs weekly on RFD-TV, and can be found each week on

Farm Progress America, November 27, 2020

Max Armstrong passes along some insight offered by David Kohl, emeritus professor of economics, in a recent column in Farm Futures. Kohl shares insight on different types of business operating strategies and how best to capitalize for the future. His insight covers operating styles and personality types that can impact your farm.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: Farm Futures

Farm Progress America, November 26, 2020

Max Armstrong shares insight on the one question that might be asked during Thanksgiving regarding succession. Max offers insight from a recent Timely Tips column exploring that question including insight on some key issues to consider as you work to bring in the next generation on the farm.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Max Armstrong, veteran farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

Photo: ablokhin/iStock/Getty Images Plus


Food supply chain needs vaccine priority

Getty Images Vaccination

With success in clinical trials of a coronavirus vaccine and pharmaceutical companies waiting on approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the administration and states continue to finalize plans on who will have priority access to the vaccine.

A group of food and beverage organizations are requesting that priority be given to protect food processing and agricultural workers which will help protect workers and keep the food supply chain running.

The groups say in a letter to President Trump, "Our members have been on the front lines of the response to the pandemic by continuing operations and ensuring Americans have access to safe, nutritious and affordable food. Challenges have taxed the food supply chain over the past eight months, but the food, agriculture, manufacturing and retail industries are resilient, and the supply chains have not broken.

"Prioritizing vaccinations for food, agriculture, retail and CPG workers will be a key intervention to help keep workers healthy and to ensure that agricultural and food supply chains remain operating."

Those signing the letter include American Bakers Association, FMI-The Food Industry Association, International Dairy Foods Association, National Grocers Association, National Restaurant Association, North American Meat Institute and United Fresh. A similar letter was sent earlier this year.

A similar letter was also sent to President-elect Joe Biden.

In October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an interim guidance on priority populations in the initial distribution of COVID vaccines. They are health care workers who have contact with COVID patients or infectious materials; non-health care essential workers; adults with high-risk medical conditions; and people 65 years of age and older.

FY '21 ag exports estimated at $152 billion
USDA's latest "Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade" report is estimating fiscal year 2021 U.S. agricultural exports will reach $152.0 billion. Much of the increase is because of increased soybean and corn export values.

USDA is projecting that China will import $27 billion in U.S. agricultural products which will make China the top export market for U.S. agricultural exports. The last time China was the top market was in FY '17.

The report estimates exports for various commodities at:

  • Grain and feed: $35.6 billion due to higher corn, sorghum and wheat exports.
  • Corn: $13.2 billion because of reduced competition from Ukraine and higher values and record volumes.
  • Soybeans: A record $26.3 billion because of strong demand from China, higher values and record volumes.
  • Wheat: $6.2 billion.
  • Beef: $7.1 billion with higher volumes offsetting lower unit values.
  • Pork: $6.8 billion with slower demand from China.
  • Poultry: $5.2 billion.

Agricultural imports are estimated at $137.0 billion due to increased imports of horticultural products, sugar, tropical fruits, livestock, and oilseeds and oilseeds products.

Biden begins to name cabinet members
President-elect Biden began naming members of his cabinet this week.

Those announced include Tony Bliken, secretary of state; Janet Yellon, secretary of the Treasury; Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of Homeland Security; Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; and former-Sen. John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate.

The General Service Administration acknowledges Biden as the apparent winner which formally begins the transition process. Biden's transition teams will now be able to make contact with federal agencies, review information and will be provided office space in federal agencies. This will also allow for background checks to begin on Biden's White House appointments and cabinet nominees.

2021 ag outlook conference registration open
USDA's 97th annual Agricultural Outlook Forum will be held Feb. 18-29 and will be held virtually because of COVID-19 restrictions in the Washington, D.C., area. Registration is free.

"Building on Innovations: A Pathway to Resilience" is the theme of the forum. There will be a panel of distinguished speakers and 30 breakout sessions. Topics will include food price outlook, innovation in agriculture, U.S. and global agricultural trade developments, sustainability and conservation.

Click here for registration information.

Source: P. Scott Shearer, who is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.

Importance, effectiveness and cost of sow farm filtration

National Pork Board Exterior of a filtered hog barn

While the use of air filtration systems on sow farms has been proven to reduce the incidence of airborne illness such as porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, there are still many swine operations that operate without it.

While the design of physical structures varies, most if not all operations can reduce overall cost per pig if the correct filtration system is used in conjunction with current biosecurity standards.

Physical operations can be structured as either positive or negative pressure set-ups.

Spencer Wayne and Hannah Walkes, president of Pipestone Veterinary Services, discuss Pipestone's utilization of filters on their negative pressure managed farms and how their adoption has reduced overall cost per pig during a recent SwineTime podcast. Overall, the use of filtration systems dramatically improved overall pig health consistency when compared to data obtained prior to its implementation.

Hosted by Wayne with Pipestone Veterinary Services, the SwineTime podcasts contain pork industry news, advancements in animal care and how to enhance your productivity.

Monthly podcasts are available on Spotify, Google Music, iTunes, Anchor and on                      

Source: Pipestone Veterinary Services, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.