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Newsletter 3rd October 2005

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Monday 3rd October 2005
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Welcome to this weeks newsletter

* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

We start this week in the US where, in addition to the impact on the US economy from rising fuel prices, hurricanes Katrina and Rita have dealt a critical blow to American agriculture, which is already reeling from the worst drought in the midwestern states in nearly three decades.
     The destruction of crops, livestock and farm equipment, as well as the devastation of New Orleans - the key port in the export of US agricultural goods to the world market and the import of fertilizers, chemicals and industrial commodities - threatens to throw thousands more farmers into bankruptcy, not only in the storm-struck areas, but throughout the US, says wsws.org.
     Even before Hurricane Rita hit western Louisiana and eastern Texas on September 24 - wiping out several rural agricultural and fishing towns with the storm’s 120-mph winds and the storm surge that followed - initial estimates put agricultural losses from Hurricane Katrina at more than $3 billion.

On a more positive note, Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain report this week that the typical farrow to finish producer has now enjoyed 20 consecutive months of profits. This has been the best run for producers since 1990-91.
     USDA's September hogs and pigs report says the breeding herd, the market herd and the total swine herd were unchanged from a year ago on September 1, which by historical standards is a very slow herd expansion.
     In the markets, October lean hog futures contract ended the week at $67.20/cwt, up 85 cents from last Friday. The December contract settled at $63.35 today, up 45 cents for the week. February closed the week at $65.17/cwt.

Illinois swine producers will have the opportunity to attend two major swine conferences to be held in Springfield in November and December, said Rob Knox, University of Illinois Extension swine reproduction specialist.
     "A multi-state Professional Managers Conference will be held in Springfield on Nov. 15-16," said Knox. "This program is sponsored by the National Pork Board and is targeted to employees, owners, and managers of swine production units."

Any national swine identification system must build on the existing pork industry-state-federal partnership that has been in place since 1988, the US pork industry said in testimony today at a hearing before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Horticulture.
     The pork industry supports - and already has - an effective swine ID system modeled after the one used in the successful Pseudorabies Eradication Program, NPPC President-elect Joy Philippi told the panel. The species-specific approach is consistent with the USDA's recent animal ID announcement.

The giant feed lots and factory farms that have brought us cheaper meat also are fanning the spread of bird flu and mad cow disease, says a new report from a prominent environmental think tank. "Factory farms are breaking the cycle between small farmers, their animals, and the environment, with collateral damage to human health and local communities," says the Washington, D.C.-based Worldwatch Institute.
     "Mitigating the fallout will require a new approach to the way the animals are raised." In the report, 'Happier Meals: Rethinking the Global Meat Industry,' author Danielle Nierenberg says companies including McDonald's and upscale food retailer Whole Foods Market have begun to improve animal welfare standards in their supply chains.

Researchers from Buenos Aires, Argentina recently succeeded in developing a prototype vaccine for the Foot and Mouth Disease Virus in genetically modified plants, according to CheckBiotech. In many cases, the development of vaccines in transgenic plants is a highly efficient, inexpensive, and also environmentally friendly way to produce a vaccine when compared to conventional methods. Due to the reduced production costs, low, middle and high income countries stand to profit.
     Edible vaccines which are produced by molecular farming also offer the advantages of oral administration instead of injection, plus they are more stable and offer the possibility of dry freezing. This is another big advantage for developing countries where refrigerators are too expensive, or often not available, the report says.

Ivomec - Better products mean better results
Ivomec - Better products mean better results

In this weeks China piglet report, eFeedLink report that weaner prices have weakened further in the week ending Sep 29. The persistent decline in live hog prices has driven down profit for hog raisers. Most of them have become less optimistic over near-term price outlook and have reduced their animal inventories accordingly. As a result, weaner inventory replenishment activities have declined.
     Current sales of piglets would only bring in a low profit as feed prices have stayed firm and raising the piglets to fattened hogs would incur high costs. Given the uncertain live hog price outlook, many sow raisers are thus caught in a dilemma.
     In the Chinese hog market live hog prices generally continued moving lower in the week ending Sep 26. Pork consumption did not meet the expected surge in demand during the current Mid-autumn Festival and with the approaching National Day holidays in China.
     Due to a significant build up in live hog inventories, reserve inventories in frozen meat factories and slaughterhouses could not be effectively released. Fattening hogs also had to be undersold as a result.

In Finland, the Atria Group plc has decided to centralise pig slaughtering and cutting operations at its production plant. An extensive expansion and renovation project concerning the pig slaughterhouse and the related barn, refrigeration and storage areas began in Nurmo in the spring of 2004. The investment amounts to 21 million euro and will be completed in April 2006.
     Atria's increased pork processing volumes require more modern capacity. The capacity of the Nurmo pig slaughterhouse will nearly double, the processing volume of the new slaughterhouse is approximately 4,000 pigs per day.

Last week, the European Probiotic Association took part in the Pig Liquid Feeding Seminar hosted by IRTA, the Spanish Institute for Food and Agricultural Research and Technology in Lleida, Spain. This one-day technology transfer seminar was tailored for feed producers, farmers and technicians of the pork industry.
     Bruno Rochet presented the benefits of probiotics in liquid feed, a natural solution that insures at the same time hygiene and safety of the feed, health and well-being of the animal and protection of the environment; by controlling pathogenic bacteria development in the feed and the gut and regulating the natural microflora.

Ingelvac PRRS KV - for the control of PRRS in breeding sows and gilts
Ingelvac PRRS KV - for the control of PRRS in breeding sows and gilts

In the UK, an advertising campaign run by the British Pig Executive has won a major award. The pig in a tin run as part of a campaign to support the Quality Standard Mark has a Gramia award in the contest run by The Grocer magazine for the advertising and marketing industry.
     The 10cm plastic pig in a miniature cage was part of a £500,000 campaign seeking to encourage retailers to stock more produce meeting UK standards. The box illustrates that while illegal in the UK, it is still legal in Europe to keep sows in cages that allow them only six inches to move backwards or forwards.

In the interests of price transparency, the NPA is calling upon the Rural Payments Agency to urgently address abattoirs' method of calculating weight of carcases in Britain. "Our members deplore the current use of weights rounded down to the nearest 0.5kg," says Ann Petersson.
     "It is grossly unfair to producers, and distorts price accuracy. We know of no other country where this is regarded as accepted practice. Abattoirs should weigh carcases to the nearest 0.1kg."

Industrial action at a Suffolk abattoir and better supplies of UK slaughter pigs combined to push spot pigmeat quotes down last week. The Grampian Foods plant remained closed for much of Friday, 23 September, but further industrial action may be suspended after a legal challenge by the company. Average weekly slaughtering figures published by DEFRA have also shown a slight rise in clean pig availability during August with a weekly average of 171,000 compared with 166,800 in July.
     With UK carcass weights also on the up, home killed production levels rose from an average of 12,800t a week in July to 13,500t in August. EU mainland pigmeat prices have also rallied slightly after a four-week slide. The latest average producer price equivalent stands at 92.3p/kg.

As mentioned here last week, live pig exports from the UK to China can now resume after a five year standstill. BPEX have indicated that in the first year alone UK pig breeders could do £1m worth of live breeding pig export business. China is also considering approaches from DEFRA to settle their concerns on public health issues, which should also open up a major market for UK meat exporters. BPEX believe this will be a valuable initial step towards rebuilding the £50m of pigmeat exports that were lost to disease.

The outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis in India and Nepal has now claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people - mostly children - in one of the most serious occurrences of the virus in almost 30 years, officials said on Thursday. In just one month, the death toll has almost doubled, prompting aid agencies to describe the situation as “tragic and overwhelming”.
     JE mostly affects impoverished families, children, and the elderly and is transmitted by rice-field breeding mosquitoes that feed on domestic pigs and wild birds infected with the JE virus.

PIC Sire Lines - Get more value out of the Pork Value Chain

* Feature Articles Overview (link to features listings)

We have 7 new features this week:

Behind the Veil of Countervail - A Canadian Perspective
By Martin Rice and presented at the 2005 Banff Pork - On March 5, 2004, the USA National Pork Producers Council, a few state hog producer organizations and some individual farmers petitioned their government to initiate countervailing and antidumping duty investigations of imports of live swine from Canada.

Pork Central Hog Market Thoughts for September 2005
By Al Prosch, Nebraska University Pork Central Coordinator - The December futures contract is following the typical December seasonal pattern (chart below). If this continues, a typical October price change would be negative and drop to near the August (in this case late June) low.

USDA Quarterly Pigs and Hogs Report - September 2005
This quarter's quarterly Hogs and Pigs report from the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. The article provides the report text and graphs, and helps explain what it all means. Link also to the full PDF report.

Nebraska Swine Report 2005 : PRRSV Negative Herds: A Survival Analysis
By Locke A. Karriker and Ruby Destajo, Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine Department, Iowa State University and published by the University of Nebraska - Despite a significant body of research, interventions for PRRSV infection remain elusive. Traditional approaches to managing the risk of diseases have not been successful in many cases of PRRSV infection.

Vietnam Livestock and Products Annual - September 2005
By USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service - This article provides the pork industry data from the USDA FAS Livestock and Products Annual 2005 report for Vietnam. A link to the full report is also provided. The full report includes all the tabular data which we have omitted from this article.

Australia Livestock and Products Annual - September 2005
By USDA, Foreign Agricultural Service - This article provides the pork industry data from the USDA FAS Livestock and Products Annual 2005 report for Australia. A link to the full report is also provided. The full report includes all the tabular data which we have omitted from this article.

Impact of genetic selection on management
By J.A.B. Robinson and M.M. Buhr, University of Guelph - Boars in an artificial insemination centre have been selected for their superior genetic potential, with ‘superior’ being defined as having traits the customer wants transmitted to his herd.

MaxiVac Excell 3 - Don't let swine flu spook your herd!
Don't let swine flu spook your herd!

* This Weeks Practical Tip (link to weekly tips page)
Extracted from
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Topic: The Management of Infertility
Subject: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - An Overview

This weeks tip looks at Prolapse of the Uterus (womb).

This weeks tip: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - Prolapse of the Uterus (womb).

NEXT WEEK'S TIP: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - An Overview - Prolapse of the Vagina and Cervix.

* Finally...

Technical problems hit entry level scheme...again

UK - Technical problems are dogging the Entry Level Stewardship Scheme application process once again. The Rural Payments Agency has confirmed that there is currently a problem with the interface between its map system and the system operated by the Rural Development Service.
     The basic difficulty is that information about new field parcels is not being transferred across to the system used by the RDS to raise application packs.
     This means if the RDS prints off an application form it does not contain all the latest information.
     Fiona Howie, NFU countryside adviser, said she was advising farmers to get the RDS to talk through what fields it did have on its system before asking for another application pack.
     “Ask the RDS [employee] to work through what is on the screen in front of them. There is no point in the RDS sending out another pack if it doesn’t have all the fields on.”

That's all for this week.

Ed.

Vira-Matrix - Herd Health, Naturally.
Vira-Matrix - Herd Health, Naturally.


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