"Weathering the Storm..." 2008 Swine Institute on monitoring and managing costs
By Michelle Proctor, Senior Information Specialist
|Drs. Ron Plain, Marcia Shannon, John Lory, and Ray Massey|
The Commercial Agriculture Program's 2008 Swine Institute, "Weathering the Storm. was a great success," said Commercial Agriculture Director, Dr. Rex Ricketts. "We are happy to have revitalized the Institute last year. Its importance has been reinforced by this year's attendance."
The Institute attracted hog producers from Missouri, Kansas, Illinois and Iowa. The two day conference featured members of the University of Missouri Extension Commercial Agriculture Program's swine focus team, as well as nationally known speakers.
The institute began with a series of rapid-fire presentations from the CA swine focus team. Dr. Pat Guinan, climatologist, led the series with a synopsis of how this year's remarkable weather diff ered from that of previous years. There were five major precipitation events that drenched the entire state with record rainfalls.
Dr. Marcia Shannon, MU Extension swine nutritionist gave three presentations. In the first, Dr. Shannon explained the National Swine Nutrition Guide. Her second presentation was about how high feed efficiency and fertilizer prices have aff ected manure value. She concluded with a talk on how to optimize nutrition programs.
Dr. John Lory, MU Commercial Agriculture Program, environment nutrient management specialist, spoke on changes in Phosphorus nutrition and wastewater management objectives. Dr. Joe Zulovich, MU structures engineer, presented information on the importance of maintaining curtain quality in hog growfinish units.
Special guest speaker, Dr. Beth Young, swine veterinarian from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, presented her research on the outbreaks and treatment of PRRS and PCV2 disease in Ontario.
Concluding the first day's series of presentations was Dr. Tim Safrasnki, MU swine breeding specialist. Dr. Safranski, gave a hot-topic presentation concerning the politics of sow housing regulations. "Society is increasingly interested in how we raise pigs," said Safranski. "Science, including welfare scientists, has concluded that gestation stalls and group housing are both acceptable forms of housing pregnant sows." The AVMA Sow Housing Task Force report is available online at http://avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/sow_housing_tfr.pdf.
|Audience listens attentively during Swine Institute
"Regardless of the science, there are five states that have rules regulating sow housing, two by legislative action and three by initiative petition-most recently, California," stressed Safranski. "When the public voted to prohibit gestation stalls they did so by 54%, 65%, and 63%, regardless of the data. The industry needs to be aware of how these decisions are made in other states (or by companies and in the EU) and then do what is best for the industry. This includes being prepared to respond to an initiative petition drive in their state," Safranski told his audience. "In Colorado, livestock association-drafted legislation passed. It can be done."
A dinner featuring several varieties of pork was followed by keynote speaker, Trent Loos. Loos, a sixth generation farmer, has won numerous awards at state and national swine shows. He declares his mission, "To share the positive story of production agriculture with consumers and the world." In 2001, he launched "Loos Tales" on radio station KMZU in Missouri. Today, the show is heard daily by three million listeners on nearly 100 stations across the Midwest.
The Institute's second day began with featured speaker, Mike Brumm of the Brumm Swine Consultancy in Mankato, MN. Brumm has received numerous awards, including being named by National Hog Farmer Magazine, as one of the top 50 people influencing the swine industry in the last 50 years.
Brumm spoke on Ad Lib feed and water, as well as monitoring energy costs. In the first session, Brumm told his audience, "While every producer and grower likes to think they are providing feed and water ad libitum to the growing pigs under their care, this often is not the case." For example, feeders can be empty in growing pig pens due to empty feed bins, feed bridging in the bin or because feed augers have a mechanical problem.
"Pigs may have limited access to water due to plumbing mistakes such as improper hose sizing in water medicators." Brumm highlighted methods to reduce these sources of feed and water restriction so that pigs have the opportunity to eat and drink to their genetic potential.
Concerning the need to monitor energy costs, Brumm told his audience, "The cost of energy as electricity and propane used in growing pig facilities is increasing. For contract growers with fixed payment contracts, these costs must be absorbed by the grower." His presentation concentrated on the impact of the ventilation system on the use of propane and electricity, and how the system can be managed to minimize use of these inputs during winter weather.
Dr. Ron Plain, University of Missouri Extension, agricultural economist, spoke on several subjects: corn and ethanol production, as well as hog production efficiency. Plain said that corn is the key commodity in the United States. "We should use our fields to grow more corn-other crops are shorted and prices go up," he said.
On production efficiency, Plain told his audience, "Since 1930, the United States has reduced sow inventory by 42% and increased annual pork production by 221%. The demand side drives hog prices more than the supply side."
|Drs. Tim Safranski & Beth Young
The value of U.S. pork exports has increased from $29 per pig in 2007 to $40 per pig in 2008. Most of the world's pork consumption is in China. "When the US dollar is weak, our export demand figures are very strong," said Plain.
We import only about four percent of the pigs we eat. "Most of our imported pork comes from Canada," Plain said, "It is better for Canadians to ship pork meat south, rather than hogs, as the US consumes more pork than Canada. "
Plain thinks that the pork industry needs to grow at a rate of 1.5% per year, as the US consumes approximately 48 pounds of pork per person, per year. "Pork has a monopoly on meat consumption at breakfast- bacon, sausage and ham".
"Though the economy is getting worse and that is driving down the forecast, feed costs are going down which will cause an increase in prices." He said, "2007 - 2008 was a good year to hedge hogs." Regarding his forecast for the future, Plain predicted, "2010 should be a profitable year for pork producers."
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