We aren't sure Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker worries too much about criticism. But he's being criticized for his comments comparing teachers with football players. Football players and most workers are paid based on performance. Teachers union is critical of comments.

Indiana State Fair opening day is on his schedule. Aug. 5 will be full day there for Max. It's economic shot in the arm for the region in which fairs are held. $84 million to $86 million a year.

Fair time means racing pigs season. 

Consultation with Good Book might be in order. 


There sure was good reason numerous severe storm warnings were posted throughout Iowa last night. Near Cedar Rapids the town of Prairieburg sustained damages. Population less than 200 people.

There's been another high profile United Airlines incident. Mother feared baby would die in her arms because the airplane was so hot while waiting on tamarack. Baby had to be rushed by ambulance to emergency room. 

Monsanto's earnings looked pretty good when released yesterday.

Acreage figures posted tomorrow. Grain stocks figures come out tomorrow. Pork industry report out today.

A facebook comment promoted Ohio council meeting to adjourn. Happened in town of Loveland, Ohio.

Farm Progress America, June 29, 2017

Max Armstrong shares information about how a labor shortage has caused farmers to leave crops in the field to rot in Santa Barbara County, which cost famers $13 million last year. From strawberries to field greens, farmers ended up plowing the crop back into the field.

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: Sandy Huffaker/stringer/Getty Images

Wheat coproducts vary in protein digestibility when fed to pigs

Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images Wheat harvest

Source: University of Illinois
Research from the University of Illinois is helping to determine the quality of protein in wheat middlings and red dog, two coproducts of the wheat milling process that can be included in diets fed to pigs and other livestock.

Red dog consists mainly of the aleurone layer that lies between the bran and the endosperm, along with small particles of bran, germ and flour. Wheat middlings are granular particles of the wheat endosperm, bran and germ. They contain about three times as much dietary fiber as red dog.

“We have information about the digestibility of crude protein in some wheat coproducts produced in Canada and China, but only very limited information about the nutritional value of wheat middlings and red dog produced in the United States,” says Hans H. Stein, professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at U of Illinois.

“In addition, because wheat coproducts vary in terms of the conditions under which they are produced, their nutritional value may vary as well,” he says.

Stein and Ph.D. candidate Gloria Casas procured wheat middlings from 10 suppliers in Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Pennsylvania, along with red dog from a supplier in Iowa, and fed them to growing pigs.

Despite the variety in the sources of wheat middlings, the concentration and standardized ileal digestibility of crude protein were generally consistent. However, there was variation in the digestibility of most amino acids among sources of wheat middlings.

Red dog contained slightly less crude protein than wheat middlings: the mean protein concentration of the wheat middlings samples was 17.67%, compared with 17% in red dog.

However, the SID of crude protein and all but three amino acids — arginine, histidine and serine — was greater in red dog than in wheat middlings.

According to Stein, “The SID of amino acids is probably greater in red dog because it contains less fiber compared with wheat middlings. It’s also possible that excessive heat was used in the processing of the wheat middlings, causing heat damage.”

The SID of lysine, the amino acid most susceptible to heat damage, was 72.3% in red dog but averaged only 46.2% in wheat middlings.

Stein says the results of this study provide guidance to producers who hope to incorporate wheat co-products into diets fed to pigs.

“The amino acids in red dog are well digested, so there should be no problem with incorporating them into swine diets,” he says. “However, we would advise anyone feeding wheat middlings to add crystalline amino acids or other protein sources so that the diet will have sufficient digestible amino acids.”

The paper, “The ileal digestibility of most amino acids is greater in red dog than in wheat middlings when fed to growing pigs,” appears in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of Animal Science. The National Pork Board of Des Moines, Iowa, provided funding for the study.


Agriculture isn't the only industry with a labor shortage. About two thirds of contractors have a labor shortage. More than one third of contractors forced to turn work down. 58% putting in higher bids. Many are asking their employees to work harder.

Spring wheat is attracting plenty of interest. Few signs of upward movement stopping as it pushes close to $7 a bushel on Minneapolis exchange. Moisture concerns not expected to fade.

There was a time when pork producers struggled with what to do with pork bellies. That was before bacon was added to fast food restaurant breakfast menu. 


There's been a recall of some fireworks. Sold through major chain stories in Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois. Sold under TNT brand.

Farm organizations have made it clear how important NAFTA is. Farm groups say it has worked very well. Chip Councell said he's heard firsthand how important NAFTA is.

Corn is tall enough now in some places for me to share this warning. Even summer out there at rural intersection obscured by tall corn, there are accidents. Be careful.

Charlie Daniels very active on twitter. He recently tweeted If Congress were farmers, crops would fail, livestock would die and weeds would be over the top of the barn.

Farm Progress America, June 28, 2017

Max Armstrong offers insight into Cuba, its economy, and how it is providing limited economic reforms. The moves have opened some new opportunities in the country for future trade and other businesses. Farm organizations, however, are not happy that the current Administration has backed off from trade with the country.

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: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

U.S. pig farmers in best position for export market growth

National Pork Board U.S. pork

America’s pig farmers are producing more pork with a 3% jump in production this year. As the U.S. pork industry produces more it is reasonable to expect prices to drag, explains Dermot Hayes, Ph.D., Iowa State University economist, to an audience at 2017 World Pork Expo.

Yet, hog prices this year are still decent, and the main reason is strong pork demand. Looking at second quarter numbers, Hayes points out that pork production climbs 3.4% whereas pork demand is a net increase of 4%. The growth in pork demand is not domestically as it remains relatively flat in 2017. Exports account for the majority of the increase in pork demand so far into the year.

“As of April this year, exports are up 15%. So, when you have 15% increase in a market that’s responsible for almost one-third of your production that can explain why prices are high when production is high also, ” states Hayes. “It is as if we added 4-5% more pork-consuming Americans to the base.”

Looking at the big export picture, the United States is shipping more pork this year to its international markets except for China, which remains unchanged. Canada, on the other hand, is only up 5% from the previous year. Canada is exporting so much to China, up 123%, that all its other international marketplaces show negative gain from 2016.

China imported additional 3 million tons by the end of April 2017, making it the No. 1 pork importer last year. As a result, Hayes says it kept the European Union and Canada busy while the United States backfilled pork to the remaining countries. “We (U.S.) are getting the benefits of China without actually shipping a whole lot of product there,” notes Hayes.

Turning to the European Union, the growth in Spanish pork exports is often overlooked. Hayes says Spain’s pork exports to France and Italy are flat to down, but it is shipping substantially more to China. Currently, it is exporting 2,000 20-ton shipping containers to China monthly. Similar, Germany’s pork shipments are up for China, but down to its other traditional markets.

Hog production costs around the world
Hayes presents global hog production benchmarking data from a collaborative international project (accounting for exchange rates). With the exception of Mato Grosso, Brazil, the U.S. hog production costs are lowest, especially for finishing hogs. Although Mato Grosso production costs calculate lower, the country has less access to international markets due to foot-and-mouth issues.

In comparison, Canada beats the United States for sow costs, but the importing of grain to finish hogs drives its overall production costs higher.

China’s much higher production costs are a result of expensive feed costs. Also, productivity is less as biosecurity is challenging with a greater density of sows in a geographic area. Examining the data, Hayes explains even with the extra transportation costs and import fees, it is cheaper to bring in pork from the United States. However, ractopamine-produced pork continues as a barrier.

As for sow numbers, South America and North America are trending higher while China and the European Union show a decline presently. Hayes presents the sow numbers in the following chart.

Although China and the European Union appear to be on a downward trend for sow numbers, the decline in sow numbers is the reflection of removing unproductive sows from the herd. Early in year reports from China indicating expansion mode was starting, however, Hayes presents a statement release from China from two weeks ago that states the opposite.

“Implementations of strict environmental regulations will further constrain China’s sow herd recovery in 2017. Post is decreasing its 2017 sow estimates by 12% to 38 million head. This reduction will impact the 2017 pig crop, decreasing domestic pork production to 51 million metric tons.”

Hayes explains this pencils to 6 million reduction in China’s future sow numbers.

Hayes confirms that Ireland, Great Britain and Spain are adding sows to their herds. “The one thing that might concern you is if all Americas are expanding then we better have a market for all this product. You don’t often see all the countries expanding at once,” notes Hayes.

Overall, U.S. hog farmers are extremely competitive with low production costs and superior efficiencies. As reflected in the USDA long-term projection for pork exports by country, the United States is an excellent position for export growth (refer to figure below).


EPA proposes rule to repeal ‘WOTUS’

National Hog Farmer, Cheryl Day Waterway

The National Pork Producers Council hailed today’s announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will propose a rule to rescind a controversial Clean Water Act regulation that gave the government broad jurisdiction over land and water.

The proposal — expected to be published in the Federal Register in the coming days — will repeal the Waters of the United States rule, which ostensibly was implemented to clarify EPA’s authority over various waters.

Based on several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, EPA’s jurisdiction had included “navigable” waters and waters with a significant hydrologic connection to navigable waters. But the WOTUS rule broadened that to include, among other water bodies, upstream waters and intermittent and ephemeral streams such as the kind farmers use for drainage and irrigation. It also covered lands adjacent to such waters.

“This is great news for America’s pork producers,” says NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill. “The WOTUS rule was a dramatic government overreach and an unprecedented expansion of federal authority over private lands.

“It was the product of a flawed regulatory process that lacked transparency and likely would have been used by trial lawyers and environmental activists to attack farmers,” Maschhoff adds. “We’re extremely grateful to President Trump and EPA Administrator (Scott) Pruitt for recognizing the dire consequences this ill-advised Obama-era regulation would have had on pork producers and all of American agriculture.”

NPPC helped lead the agricultural community’s opposition to the WOTUS rule, including producing maps showing the extent of the lands affected by the regulation. (EPA’s jurisdiction in Missouri, for example, would have increased to cover 77% of the state under the rule.) The organization also led the legal efforts against the rule, filing suit in a U.S. District Court and presenting a brief to a U.S. Court of Appeals. The latter halted implementation of the WOTUS rule shortly after its Aug. 28, 2015, effective date.

Once the proposed repeal rule is published, it will be subject to a public comment period.

Feed lactating sows while saving energy

National Hog Farmer/Kevin Schulz Gestal’s Hyatt Frobose, right, explains to panel members (left to right) Aaron Lower and Pat Thome, the cost savings producers may realize by using the Gestal Quattro lactating sow feeding system.

Managing a lactating sow’s diet has proven to be a tricky thing, as has maintaining an ideal piglet environment. The Gestal Quattro attempts to tackle both issues in one system.

The patent-pending Quattro is an automated feeding system which simultaneously manages and controls the piglets’ environmental temperature for each crate independently, and allows individualized feed blending of multiple diets in lactation.

Hyatt Frobose, Gestal U.S. territory manager and swine nutrition specialist, says the Quattro is the fifth generation of the company’s lactation feeding systems, adding new technologies and capabilities to previous generations. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “We have a system that’s wireless, a system that’s waterproof, and can withstand the dust and pressure washing in a barn environment, so we kept the base model the same.”

Frobose says the new model builds on strengths of previous models such as reducing feed waste, stimulating feed intake and helping managers find the outliers to extend the value of the manager over a greater number of sows. Being able to easily detect the outlier sows, the sows that may be missing feedings, is a big benefit of the system to Pat Thome, hog producer on the panel.

This new model introduces a dual outlet so the piglets’ heat lamp can be controlled from the feed system. When the feed motor turns on to drop feed for the sow, the heat lamp is briefly shut off. Once the feed drop is complete, the heat lamp turns back on.

Joseph Darrington, New Product Tour panelist, thinks it’s nice to be able to use the same outlet for the feeding system and the heat lamp, “putting it in series like that, I think that’s smart.” Aaron Lower, veterinarian on the panel, says the wiring “seems like it should be easy, but in a farrowing barn it can be tricky.”

Using customizable heat curves and a temperature probe to adjust piglet area temperature daily, the Quattro will reduce electricity demands while improving litter performance.

The new model also offers Wi-Fi communication capability with handheld devices to facilitate rapid transfer of farrowing information and increase sow monitoring capacity. Also, if a barn is equipped with two feed lines, the Quattro can individualize lactating sow nutrition by custom blending multiple diets at different stages of lactation.

Erik Potter, Extension swine specialist on the panel, sees the benefit of this system, but wonders if the technical aspect may be a drawback. “Depending on the sophistication of the sow farm manager or how technically competent they are, I can see some sow farm managers running away from it, while others would really get into it.”

All operations can be managed remotely, from the producer’s office or elsewhere. The Gestal Quattro is unique among lactation feeding systems as it manages other areas of a lactating sow’s surrounding environment. It is the only stand-alone, wireless lactation feed system on the market.

“I liken this to what guys on the crop side are doing with precision planting and variable rates, etc. That’s where this product comes in on the sow lactation side,” Lower says. “Anything we can do on the feed side, which is a big expense, if we’re going to capture the value that’s good. … To make that thing pay for itself, you’re really going to have to figure out the feeding. In early lactation, can I cut calories, energy, etc. — they’re not suckling much off of her — without hurting her lactation, wean weight and subsequent breeding performance?”

To learn more, contact Frobose at 419-308-9053, or visit jygatech.com.