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Pork Demand Slows, But Live Hog Demand Remains Strong

Consumer demand for pork from January through June fell 2.3% from a year ago, according to University of Missouri agricultural economists Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.

In fact, all meats lost demand during the first six months of the year, with pork showing the smallest loss. Beef was down 4.7%, broilers were down 5.5% and turkey was down 5.1%.

On the plus side, live hog demand saw an 8.2% growth in January-June compared to the same period in 2007. Pork exports accounted for most of this growth, followed by population growth.

Pork product value has shown strong growth during July, the economists report. On July 1, pork product cutout averaged $78.81/cwt. On July 31, that cutout value rose to $88.23/cwt. That strength led packers to increase negotiated carcass price from $70.05/cwt. on July 1 to $79.01/cwt. on July 31. At the same time, pork production was up 7% in July, certainly reflecting the strong live hog demand, they said.

The economists stress there is no doubt that hog producers are responding to the high feed prices by marketing hogs a little lighter. Barrow and gilt weights in Iowa-southern Minnesota averaged 259.3 lb./head for the week ending July 26, down 0.3 lb. from a week earlier and down 2.4 lb. from the same week in 2007.

Pork Exports Post Exceptional Gains

May pork exports posted “phenomenal” gains with an increase of 98.2% above a year earlier, according to a recent Hog Outlook report from Glenn Grimes, University of Missouri professor emeritus.

Grimes says pork exports in May accounted for $43.62/head slaughtered, up from $25.06/head slaughtered in May 2007. Pork by-product exports in May were valued at $6.23/head slaughtered vs. $3.57/head slaughtered in May a year ago.

In total, pork exports in May were worth $49.85/hog slaughtered in 2008, up from $28.62 a year ago.

For January-May, 2008, the value of pork exports for each U.S. hog slaughtered was $33.51, compared to $24.73/hog slaughtered in 2007 for the same period.

The value of pork variety meat exports for January-May amounted to $4.80/hog slaughtered, compared to $3.42/head slaughtered last year, says Grimes.

In total, for January-May, 2008, pork exports were worth $38.31 from each hog slaughtered. This is a 36% increase from the $28.51/hog slaughtered in the first five months of 2007, he adds.

During January-May, U.S. pork exports were up 16.2% to Japan, up 19% to Mexico, up 25% to Canada, up 13.5% to South Korea, up 145% to Russia and up 401% to China and Hong Kong. Exports were down 5.8% to Taiwan and up 4.4% to Australia.

Net pork exports represented 16.96% of production for January-May, 2008. This compares with net exports for January-May, 2007 of 9.56%.

Pork Scholarships Designed To Build Industry Leaders

The pork checkoff has teamed up with industry leaders to address one of the industry’s critical needs – the development of human capital.

Partners are offering scholarships to sophomore, junior and senior level college students considering a graduate degree program in a swine science discipline or a career in the pork industry.

The Pork Checkoff Pork Industry Scholarships Program will offer a $10,000 scholarship to the top applicant, $5,000 award to the runner-up and $2,500 awards to at least 14 other students, during the 2008-2009 school year.

College students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year are encouraged to apply for the scholarships if considering careers in agricultural business, agricultural engineering, agronomy, animal science, animal physiology, environmental sciences, nutrition, livestock reproduction, veterinary medicine and other related fields.

“The competitiveness of our industry depends on a sustainable source of human capital,” remarks Steve Weaver, new president of the National Pork Board and a producer from California. “It is critical that we recruit talented young people into our industry at all levels. These scholarships will be granted to youth interested in production, management, research and veterinary medicine.

“These young students have taken the first step by choosing to enter agriculture, animal science or veterinary medicine for their studies,” Weaver says. “We hope to interest them in narrowing their field to the pork industry. This industry offers many great career opportunities.”

Weaver adds: “In 2006, the industry sponsored a similar scholarship program. The program was very successful and over 100 deserving young people applied. This year, PIC has joined us to offer an even greater program. We truly appreciate their support.”

Those interested in learning more can visit for information on how to apply and about the industry sponsors of these awards. Scholarship applications and supporting materials must be received by Sept. 15.

George Young Conference Convenes on Aug. 14

The 49th annual George Young Swine Health & Management Conference is set for Aug. 14 at the Marina Inn, South Sioux City, NE.

Register by contacting Sharon Clowser, University of Nebraska, by phone (402) 472-8550, fax (402) 472-9690 or e-mail [email protected].

Following are program highlights:

-- Investigation of High-Fever Disease in China, Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM, Iowa State University and Dick Hesse, DVM, Kansas State University;

-- Economics of disease and evaluating swine health interventions in an era of high feed costs, Derald Holtkamp, DVM, Iowa State University;

-- Common mistakes I’ve seen in wean-to-finish facilities, Mike Brumm, Brumm Swine Consultancy;

-- Current issues regarding swine ventilation, Joe Zulovich, University of Missouri;

-- Circovirus vaccine trials from the lab to the field, Raymond Rowland, Kansas State University; and

-- What we have learned about circovirus vaccination protocols, Jeff Feder, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN.

Missouri Governor Urges Action on Feral Hogs

Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt has called for strong action from a task force and the legislature to control feral hogs, reported in over 20 of the state’s 114 counties, with a population estimated at 5,000 to 10,000.

“Feral hogs pose serious threats to Missouri agriculture, natural resources and our economy,” Blunt says. “Controlling feral hog populations will help spare the state and Missourians from the damage to land and other property, as well as the associated economic losses that would escalate as the population of feral hogs grows in our state.”

Blunt issued an executive order to form the multi-agency Task Force on Feral Hogs. The group represents public, state, local, private, conservation and farming interests. A feral hog is defined as any hog not ear tagged and roaming freely on public or private land.

Feral hogs destroy property, potentially spread disease to people, livestock and pets. They also create risk to the pork industry through the potential transmission of disease to domestic swine.

The governor’s 10-member task force is charged with:

-- Developing an educational program about the negative impact of feral hogs;

-- Reviewing state laws regarding the illegal release of hogs;

-- Formulating and implementing voluntary disease-testing standards for feral hogs;

-- Establishing a contingency plan if disease poses a major risk to humans, livestock and/or wildlife populations in Missouri;

-- Implementing stringent steps to remove all feral hogs from public lands and encouraging the same effort on private land; and

-- Expanding enforcement efforts to eliminate sources of feral hogs (such as escaped animals from traditional hog operations).

The task force presented aggressive plans to deter the further development of feral hog populations in Missouri and is leading efforts to fund an eradication program.

Take Care Closing Manure Storage Structures

When producers decide to shut down their confined livestock operations, they must remember to properly shut down their manure storage facilities as well, according to Purdue University Agricultural Engineer Don Jones. In the process, producers should be able to recover some of the cost of closing the facilities, he adds.

Producers can convert earthen manure storage structures into freshwater ponds, pasture or cropland, Jones says.

But the conversion process requires careful planning and notifying the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), he says. IDEM is the agency that issues permits for livestock operations in Indiana.

A new Purdue University Extension publication helps walk producers through the process. Closure of Earthen Manure Structures, written by Jones, fellow Purdue professor Alan Sutton, and Ryan Westerfeld of the Indiana Department of Agriculture, is available at

High corn and soybean prices may force some livestock operations to close or suspend business, he acknowledges. “If they do that, they’ll have to do something with their manure storage areas.”

Manure lagoons are a common form of treated earthen manure storage structures, which are used to hold millions of gallons of liquid manure over time to decompose organic matter.

How a producer closes the earthen structure is less important to IDEM than is making sure the environment is protected, Jones says.

“If you’re going to close an earthen structure, you’ll need to clean it out – pump out the liquid – and then refill it with water,” he explains. “You’ll then need to agitate it thoroughly. You may have to complete the process of filling, agitating and emptying the earthen structure two or three times until tests show that you have fairly clean water. At that time, it can be used as a pond. However, this would only apply to structures which have some sort of watershed, such as an outside lot area that is no longer in use so that rainwater can refill the pond.”

The storage structure’s liner should be removed. With a clay liner, the top 6 in. or so of soil probably needs to be removed and, if rich in nitrogen and phosphorus, should be used as crop fertilizer.

A plastic liner should be disposed of in a landfill if the storage area will be converted to pasture or cropland, Jones says.

“Once all the manure has been removed from the storage structure, the producer has to notify IDEM within 30 days, so that IDEM can send an inspector to the farm and verify that the storage has been closed properly,” he says. “If approved, then the producer can finish closing the structure.”

Converting storage structures into usable farmland is a bigger task.

“That will entail the same closure process as turning the storage structure into a pond, plus diverting surface water away from the area,” Jones notes. “Then the area needs to be refilled with soil and mounded, so that it sheds rainwater. At that point, a crop or grass of some sort can be established on the site.”

Jones stresses producers should plan for proper use of the manure from their closed earthen structures.

“The manure has considerable value, especially in times of high fertilizer prices, and should be used for the cropping program,” he says. “If the operator cannot use manure as a fertilizer source in a cropping program, they should work out some sort of arrangement with the neighbors, by either trading the manure or selling it. It doesn’t make any sense to throw away fertilizer nutrients at this point in time in agriculture.”

For producers who expect to resume operations in the future, they won’t need to close the manure storage, but must maintain it as required by their permit. However, if an operation is not resumed within three years, closure procedures must be followed as outlined.

Producers must notify IDEM of closure and stoppage of operations.

For more information about the publication or earthen manure storages, contact Jones at 765-494-1178 or [email protected]

Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference Scheduled

Steve Pollman, Murphy Brown LLC, Ames, IA, will present the keynote address at the 8th annual Midwest Swine Nutrition Conference Sept. 4 at the Indiana Farm Bureau Building in Indianapolis, IN.

Other topics for discussion include tools to cope with current economic conditions, Natural Resources Conservation Service nutrition and management strategies, and efficiency of energy utilization from protein and fiber.

This growing conference is geared toward the feed industry, consulting nutritionists, swine veterinarians and producers interested in cutting-edge swine nutrition and feeding programs.

The conference registration fee is $100/person through Aug. 25 and $150 after Aug. 25 or on site.

For more information, contact Tip Cline at Purdue University at 765-583-2831 or [email protected].

Annual Swine Conference Planned for Sept. 9

The Carthage (IL) Veterinary Service’ (CVS) 18th Annual Swine Conference will be held on Sept. 9 at Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL.

This year’s conference reflects the dynamic changes in the pork industry, featuring reports on disease management, reproduction, economics, environmental management and biosecurity.

The conference features short science and practical presentations, with in-depth breakout sessions designed to appeal to staff, owners, lenders and suppliers. This year’s short presentations will cover porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, porcine circovirus type 2, auto-sort systems, employee management and cost of production.

The breakout sessions include wean-to-market, sow, ventilation and employee management.

A separate, all-day session in Spanish focuses on breeding and farrowing.

For additional program information, visit the CVS web site at

Midwest Pork Conference Slated for Danville, IN

More than 300 pork producers and industry representatives and 50 exhibitors are expected at the 2008 Midwest Pork Conference. This year’s event is set for Sept. 9 at the Hendricks County Conference Complex, Danville, IN.

The three concurrent sessions include:

-- Five biggest production mistakes made today, Ross Kiehne, DVM, Swine Vet Center, St. Peter, MN;

-- Alternatives to sow stalls with North Carolina producer Bob Ivey, Tennessee producer Jimmy Tosh and Indiana producers Terry Vanlaningham and Mark Legan;

-- Internal multiplication vs. purchased gilts by John Mabry of Iowa State University and Jon Hoek of Belstra Milling Co., DeMotte, IN; and

-- Piglet Care 101 – how to start ’em right.
Learn more by calling Indiana Pork at 317-872-7500 or visiting

Minnesota Nutrition Conference Moves to New Location