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.


It was a $20,000 grant they were seeking five years ago at Trinity Lutheran Church in Missouri for their playground. State of Missouri denied and U.S. Supreme Court said state of Missouri was wrong. 7-2 decision. Supreme Court Justice John Roberts wrote exclusion of Trinity because it is church can't stand.

Farm Bureau is out with its survey of what Fourth of July cookout will cost, it's down 1% from last year's price because of abundance of meat production.


Farm Progress America, June 27, 2017

Max Armstrong shares that stored grain can be a danger with the story of an Iowa man trapped in corn. The farmer was freed after two hours in the bin, but the local fire chief noted that not all of these incidents are rescues.

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.

2017 New Product Tour garners global interest

World Pork Expo attendees could vote for their favorite product at the National Hog Farmer’s booth. They could also read up on all the nominees featured on this year’s New Product Tour.

A highlight of World Pork Expo is the New Product Tour. This year companies nominated 31 products for the tour, and an esteemed panel of judges pored over the submissions and product information to narrow that list down to eight finalists that the panel determined to hold the most promise for application back on hog producers’ operations.

In the final round, the judges visited with company representatives and experts for an up-close look at each of the products making it to the final round.

Judges were allowed to question company personnel to get a thorough picture of each product and how it may apply to producers back at the farm. Click through this slides show of the eight products that made the final round, as well as the product that garnered the Producer’s Choice Award.

Temperature variability can be detrimental to boar semen

Boar pig and a sow in a pen

By W.L. Flowers, North Carolina State University Department of Animal Science
After collection, semen used for artificial insemination is exposed to some significant changes in its thermal environment. It leaves the boar somewhere around 38 degrees C and usually ends up being stored at between 16 to 18 degrees C. The general assumption is that it is best for semen to be cooled steadily from the time it is collected and then maintained at a relatively constant temperature during storage before it is inseminated. The sow’s reproductive tract is the perfect incubator for semen, so once it is inseminated there really isn’t much to worry about in terms of its thermal environment unless the sow, herself, is heat-stressed.

As semen cools and warms up, there are several metabolic and structural changes that occur. These are illustrated in Figure 1A. As semen cools down between 38 and somewhere around 25 degrees C, the metabolic activity of spermatozoa decreases. The main result of this is that their motility is reduced to the point that they often appear to be “quivering” in one place without any net forward movement. This is actually a good thing in terms of their survival during storage. Decreasing their metabolism prolongs their survival and reduces the amount of waste products that the extender has to neutralize. Somewhere around 20 degrees C the plasma membranes lose their fluidity. They change from being fairly soft and pliable (similar to gelatin) and become more rigid (similar to butter). This change occurs because much of the plasma membrane is composed of proteins and phospholipids. Both proteins and lipids become more rigid and less pliable as the temperature decreases. Finally, sperm cells from most boars would have increased susceptibility to cold shock at temperatures less than 15 degrees C depending on the type of extender that they were stored in. Cold shock produces irreversible damage to the spermatozoa that often significantly reduces their viability and fertility.

North Carolina State University

Figure 1: Theoretical good (Panel A) and bad (Panel B) temperature patterns for boar semen from collection to insemination.

As mentioned previously, the ideal situation for spermatozoa after collection is for them to be cooled steadily and then maintained at a stable temperature between 16 and 18 degrees C until they are inseminated. The worst situation is for them to be exposed to fluctuations in temperatures as illustrated in Figure 1B. Fluctuations that occur between 38 and 25 degrees C create situations in which the metabolism of the sperm cells is continually speeding up and slowing down. This typically reduces the viability of sperm cells in that their cellular machinery really isn’t designed to speed up, then slow down, then speed up again. A similar situation occurs with temperature variations around 20 degrees C, but they affect the physical state of the plasma membrane components. Rapid phase changes between a fluid and a semi-solid eventually will change the tertiary structure of both the proteins and phospholipids which, in turn, compromise the structural and functional integrity of spermatozoa and also reduce their viability and integrity.

These temperature changes have relevance to commercial operations based on the results of a recent study that was conducted in the southeastern United States. We monitored temperatures in 30 semen storage units on sow swine farms. Ten of the units had temperatures that decreased below 15 degrees C and eight of the units had temperatures that increased above 20 degrees C. Based on the information in Figure 1, the ones that decreased below 15 degrees C would be at risk for cold shock, while the ones with variability around 20 degrees C would be at risk for having damaged plasma membranes. Nearly 60% of the semen storage units studied exhibited thermal environments at some point that were not conducive for optimal maintenance of sperm viability.

There are many different ways to address undesirable temperature fluctuations of extended semen on sow farms and many of these are most likely situation or farm-dependent.

Nevertheless, it is important for every production system to develop a plan to monitor the temperature of semen arriving at the farm and while it is stored prior to insemination. It is especially important to track fluctuations that cause the temperature of the semen storage unit to consistently drop below 15 degrees C and increase above 20 degrees C. This probably is best done by a third party, i.e. — someone not actually working on the sow farm, but rather an individual who could periodically collect temperature and, perhaps, semen quality data on a regular basis throughout their system.



Gasoline prices in most areas keep falling, but some of markets in Ohio have seen price increases.

Leaders of National Farmers Union in Dakotas asked for it and they got. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is going to allow emergency grazing on CRP acres in North and South Dakota and Montana.

Tom Bernard from Minneapolis, Bobby Bones in Nashville, John Records Landecker and Bob Sievers are among those inducted into Radio Hall of Fame.



A U.S. Air Force Thunderbird pilot appears to be recovering well. Capt. Eric Gonsalves was extricated from airplane that overturned after crashing at Dayton International Airport.

The website for the governor of Ohio was hacked and displayed pro-ISIS propaganda.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is going to allow emergency grazing on CRP acres in North and South Dakota and Montana. Ranchers in hardest hit areas are already culling herds.

What's next in the Dakotas? Cold and frost. After record low temperatures over the weekend, farmers are out inspecting their crops as there might have been frost. It got to 39 in Pierre, S.D. Tomorrow should be over 90 degrees.

Tractor pull from Tomah, Wis., shows John Deere pulling tractor rearing up and collapsing down before falling on side. Driver was protected by roll cage on tractor.

Farm Progress America, June 26, 2017

Max Armstrong shares that the work of the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates is having an impact on agriculture. Max shares insight from a recent survey of farmers from Farm Futures showing that interest rate strain is starting to have an impact on their operations.

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.

Take PEDV biosecurity measures in barn loadouts

National Pork Board Packing capacity skimming by

Source: Manitoba Pork
In the wake of the recent rise in cases of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in Manitoba swine herds, Manitoba Pork urges producers to ensure that strict biosecurity procedures are practiced on-farm.

The maintenance of secure Controlled Access Zones and Restricted Access Zones is critical in preventing the spread of PEDV. Producers are asked to ensure that all staff, maintenance workers and utility vendors who visit production sites are familiar with how to maintain these zones through the use of proper equipment and sterilization procedures.

Producers must ensure that the procedures for barn loadouts are reviewed, in order to prevent contamination of barns.

• Positive pressure must be maintained in loadouts in order to prevent air from outside being drawn into the barn during loading.
• Care must be taken to prevent the tracking of possible contaminants back into the barn from the loadout area.
• Cleaning of loadouts must be done with equipment that will not re-enter the barn. The use of hoses, pressure washers or wands that are also used inside the barn to clean loadouts can allow contaminated material to be carried back into the barn.
• Staff must change their boots and coveralls from the loadout before re-entering the barn.

Visit Manitoba Pork’s biosecurity webpage to assist in devising an effective biosecurity program for your farm. For any biosecurity and animal care issues, contact Manitoba Pork at 204-237-7447.

When will the lean hog futures top occur?

National Pork Board Finishing pigs eating out of a feeder

My opinion, based upon experience and observation, is that the timing on the high in the summer hog market will likely occur around the middle of July. I’d say either just prior to or just after the expiration of the July lean hog contract. Price wise, well, that’s impossible to guess. August hog futures topped at $90 last year. I doubt the August contract goes this high, but there’s a very real chance the July contract will exceed $90 into its expiration.

Actually that’s not a really bold statement given the fact that as of June 23 the lean hog index stands at $90.17. This marks a new high for the index and is substantially above the June 23 settlement of July hog futures which was $85.30. So from a basis standpoint or from a convergence outlook, something has to give. Either cash comes down or futures go up or a combination of the two events.

Also on June 23, the pork cutout value soared to a new high for the year, quoted at $101.15. This is impressive for several reasons. First, we’re dealing with record large pork production. Year-to-date hog slaughter is up 2.7%. Second, the cutout is higher than this time last year, higher than this time two years ago and stands at the highest level since October 2014. Recall that 2014 was the porcine epidemic diarrhea year in which hog prices and cutout values rallied sharply.

The obvious (or perhaps not so obvious) conclusion reached from higher hog prices and cutout values in the face of record large production is improving or strong to very strong demand for U.S. pork. When producers decided to expand the herd a year ago, they were counting on strong demand and sure enough here it is. Speaking of expansion, the USDA will shed light on the pace of hog herd expansion in the quarterly Hogs and Pigs Report slated for release on June 29.

One of the bright spots on the demand side of the ledger in the hog market has been rising pork exports. The most recent data contained export figures for April. April pork exports were up 7.6% from last year. Exports to our largest customer, Mexico, were up 12%. Pork trade with Japan was increased by 1%, up 25% to South Korea and up 4% to Canada. U.S. pork exports have been growing to some smaller markets at an impressive rate this year. For example, April pork exports to Australia were up 11%, to Colombia up 82%, the Dominican Republic up 55%, the Philippines up 149% and to Chile up 186%. These are impressive trends for the industry.

What is even more impressive is the fact that exports are surging in the absence of the Chinese market. Pork exports to China in April were down 23% from last year. While data from China are always a bit suspect, sources indicate that hog prices in China are trending lower as they deal with an oversupply. The United States has recently lost market share of Chinese business to the European Union and now it appears the total slice of the pie is actually shrinking. While this was unexpected, it’s important to realize hog production in China can be quite variable and unpredictable.

So, returning back to the futures market and the hard questions of time and price, what should traders and hedgers be doing in the market? First, if you’re a producer and you don’t own some October puts and look to add some December option window strategies, before the Hogs and Pigs Report, you’re making a marketing mistake, in my opinion. Any time you can establish a price floor above your cost of production during a year of record large production, while leaving the upside open, you’d be wise to do so. From a speculative standpoint, approaching July 1 with the CME lean hog index above $90 and August futures near $78, a feller should consider purchasing some call options to hold past the July contract expiration. Use my rule of thumb. Purchase an even number of calls, a total premium outlay that you’re comfortable with. If/when the premium doubles in value, liquidate half of the options and then you own half of the original position at no cost. Feel free to contact me with questions.

Florence FFA, Florence, S.D.

Orion Samuelson profiles Florence FFA in Florence, S.D., which was chartered in 1990; member Callie Mueller shares some work she does as part of the group.

The weekly FFA Chapter Tribute is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the good work of your local chapter. Tell us about what you're doing, give us some history from your group and tell our viewers of the work you do in the community. FFA chapters across the country deserve recognition for the work they do, make sure we include yours.

To have your chapter considered for this weekly feature, send along information about your group by e-mail to Orion Samuelson at or to Max Armstrong at They'll get your group on the list of those that will be covered in the future. It's a chance to share your story beyond the local community. Drop Orion or Max a "line" soon.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of about 650,000 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters. The National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online, on Facebook at, on Twitter at