National Hog Farmer is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Articles from 2004 In March

Pork Production Forecast

Pork production is expected to set a new record of 20.1 billion lb. in 2004, exceeding 2003’s record of 19.9 billion lb., says Joel Green, livestock analyst for USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board.

Hog slaughter will increase this year, but fall about 300,000 head short of 1999’s record 101.5 million, he reports at USDA’s Annual Outlook Conference, Arlington, VA.

U.S. pork supplies will continue to be strongly impacted by large numbers of imported hogs from Canada. Last year, says Green, Canada shipped 7.4 million head to the U.S., two-thirds of which were feeder pigs.

“In five years, the share of imports that are feeder pigs has increased from 50% to an expected 70% this year,” he says. “Available grain, slaughter capacity and established business relationships are expected to continue to see feeder pig movement from Canada to the U.S.” Canadian hog imports to the U.S. in 2004 are expected to equal last year’s levels.

Pork exports are projected to rise about 3% to 1.77 billion lb., bolstered by countries banning beef due to BSE and banning poultry due to avian influenza. The weaker U.S. dollar also favors U.S. pork exports over competitors Canada and Denmark – especially to Japan.

Pork imports are pegged at 1.2 billion lb. in 2004, 3.5% higher than 2003, with growth expected to slow because the weaker U.S. dollar raises the cost of imported pork.

Delegates Poised to Lower Checkoff

National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) delegates voted at Pork Industry Forum to reduce the mandatory checkoff rate by a nickel to $0.35/$100 of value of hogs sold.

The reduction would increase funding for regulatory issues, but would only kick in when voluntary producer investment in the NPPC’s Strategic Investment Program reached $4.5 million on an annualized basis.

The delegates also:

  • Encouraged the National Pork Board to work together with a coalition of selected commodity and farm groups to develop action plans and a plan of work to address the future of the pork industry.

  • Requested that the National Pork Board broaden efforts to expand exports through the U.S. Meat Export Federation.

Nutrient Value Software CD

A new software program from Iowa State University (ISU) can help determine nutrient values from all types of manure.

The Manure Nutrient Value Calculator is a spreadsheet program that works with Microsoft Excel 95 or newer. It’s available on floppy disk from ISU’s Iowa Pork Industry Center.

ISU Animal Scientist Ken Stalder and program specialist Garland Dahlke developed the software.

“This software asks for information on what form and quantity of manure you’re using and its handling cost,” says Stalder. “You can also enter soil and nutrient analysis results, along with the desired application rate and price of commercial fertilizer, and the program can tell you how many acres your manure will cover, how much commercial fertilizer you’ll need to apply and the total cost of applying all necessary fertilizer to that specific piece of land.”

To learn more or to order a copy, contact Stalder at (515) 294-4683 or in Iowa, (800) 808-7675.

Non-Antimicrobial Production Enhancers

The National Pork Board has produced an informational booklet on non-antimicrobial production enhancers.

The booklet reviews several classes of alternatives to the use of antimicrobials for enhancing production, and summarizes pork checkoff-funded research in this area.

Copies can be obtained by calling 800-456-PORK and requesting the NAPES Booklet #04040 or go to the Web:

Environmental Web Site

Demand for environmental information has prompted the National Pork Board to create a new section of that provides a one-stop shop for key information and resources on environmental issues, technologies and compliance.

“We’ve seen a need to improve delivery and access to environmental information by producers,” explains Carrie Tengman, director of Environmental Services for the Pork Board.

Informational topics include best management practices, air quality, odor control, diet manipulations, manure management, mortality management, recordkeeping, emergency and safety planning and regulatory compliance information. Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan education, the Environmental Steward Awards and research projects are also available on the Pork Board site. Click on Environmental Issues on the left-hand menu.

NPPC Offers Limited Support

National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) President Jon Caspers says the release of Australia’s final risk assessment on pork imports moves the NPPC very close to supporting the recently approved U.S.-Australian Free Trade Agreement.

“Unfortunately, the Australian government is recommending that U.S. pork imports be restricted because of concerns about the transmissibility of porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) and postweaning multisystemic wasting syndrome (PMWS) through imported pork to Australian hogs,” says Caspers. “The risk assessment limits the U.S. to the Australian market for processed pork or unprocessed pork for further processing in Australia. We are not being permitted to sell unprocessed U.S. pork to the Australian consumer.”

The U.S. should have complete access to the Australian market because there is no significant risk of spread of PRRS and PMWS from imported pork to domestic livestock.

Pork Board Funds Research

The National Pork Board has designated $135,000 in supplemental funding to increase pork demand and margins by supporting efforts to improve pork quality.

Action will focus on identifying ways that producers can impact meat quality during production and transport, and further evaluate the link between physiological characteristics of muscle and meat quality.

This work will be under the direction of the Pork Board’s newly formed Animal Science Committee which “will oversee programs closely related to on-farm production,” explains Mark Boggess, director of animal science for the Pork Board.

The Pork Board also approved new funding:

  • To increase consumer demand for pork, notably for consumers interested in low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets. The $750,000 will fund several efforts to encourage the 24 million adults who are on a low-carbohydrate diet to pick pork as their source of protein. About 44 million consumers are expected to try one of these popular diets in the next two years.

    A new advertising campaign will be built around the slogan, “Not all proteins are created equal.”

    The Pork Board’s consumer-oriented Web site has about 1,400 recipes available to sort by key word. Funding will provide means to develop a new section to highlight low-carbohydrate recipes available.

  • To expand the Hispanic marketing program from five to a dozen markets. “This additional funding ($2 million) will expand the reach of our award-winning marketing program to more than half of the U.S. Hispanic population,” says Craig Christensen, Pork Board president and Ogden, IA, producer.

During its first two years, the Hispanic marketing program, which focused on markets in Phoenix, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Chicago, saw a 200% increase in awareness and 62% of the consumers are more comfortable buying pork. Consumers exposed to the campaign are buying about 43% more pork. The expanded pork program will continue to be based on the “El Cerdo es bueno” message (which means Pork is Good).

The 41 million Hispanic consumers are the largest minority in the U.S., comprising 14% of the population. While Hispanics represent 8.4% of U.S. households, they buy 12.3% of pork sold in the U.S.

Pork Board Selects Research Priorities

National Pork Board committees have selected 22 research projects for funding in 2004, pending full approval by the Pork Board.

“Research funding is an important part of what the pork checkoff does,” says Paul Sundberg, DVM, vice president of Science and Technology. “Sound science is the basis for which checkoff addresses issues within our industry, and this research funding will help get science-based answers.”

Among priority topics for this year are odor measurement methods, the porcine respiratory disease complex including porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, Mycoplasmal pneumonia, swine influenza virus, sow gestation housing and production-enhancement alternatives to antimicrobials. A complete listing of research priorities can be found at in the research section.

Legislative Alert

The National Pork Producers Council has launched a Web site to generate more interest in legislative activity.

The Legislative Action Center alerts producers to legislation and Congressional issues that impact their business. The site provides prepared messages that can be e-mailed to their legislative representatives.

The action center also provides a database of media outlets, background information on congressional representatives and election information.

Producers can access the site by logging onto

Checkoff Analysis of USDA Price Data

Hogs sold through the spot market (daily-negotiated transactions) continue to spiral downward, according to a pork checkoff-funded study of Agriculture Department price data.

“The continued decline in the negotiated or spot market hogs increases the urgency for the industry to find another form of price discovery for most of the contracts,” says Glenn Grimes, professor emeritus, University of Missouri. “One possibility is to have mandatory price reporting of meat and tie the contracts to meat prices.”

The analysis was conducted by Grimes; Ron Plain, University of Missouri agricultural economics professor; and Steve Meyer, president of Paragon Economics, Adel, IA.

Data was collected from the Livestock Mandatory Reporting Act of 1999. Studies show the percent of hogs sold at negotiated prices has fallen from 35.8% for 1999 to 11.6% in January 2004. When hogs sold on the spot market are added to those purchased on hog or meat market formulas, the current study indicates that the negotiated market directly determined the price of at least 53% of U.S. hogs.

“The true percent is higher because a high number of packer-owned and packer-sold hogs are priced with a market formula,” remarks Plain.

“About 27.8% of the hogs in January 2004 were bought under some system that supposedly reduces price risk to producers,” says Meyer. “Some of the pricing systems do not actually affect the variance of price received by the producers. Only cash contracts usually tied to futures and contracts without ledgers reduce producers’ price risk. Other arrangements may or may not result in a realized average price that is different from the actual average negotiated price.

Mandatory price legislation requires packers to report percent lean, carcass weight, base price and net price for each type of marketing arrangement.