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Newsletter 10th October 2005

thePigSite.com's Weekly Swine Industry Newsletter thePigSite.com's Weekly Swine Industry Newsletter
Monday 10th October 2005
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Welcome to this weeks newsletter

* News Overview (link to ALL this weeks news)

We start this week in China, where live hog prices generally continued moving lower in the week ending Oct 3. Pork consumption was lower than expected during the Mid-autumn Festival, and dampened further after the festival. Farmers expecting hog prices to improve during the current National Day holidays have lost their confidence.
     Fearing that prices would fall even further after the holidays, many undersold their live hogs in local markets.

In Canada, a pork industry working group, under the direction of the National Offsets Quantification Team (OQT), has developed a draft protocol to calculate the amount of greenhouse gas offsets generated from hog farms. The first draft of the technical seed document is in the final stages of completion and should be released to the public within the next few weeks.
     Karen Haugen-Kozyra, of Alberta Agriculture Food and Rural Development (AAFRD) and the coordinator of the pork technical working group, describes the tool as, “A methodology to calculate the amount of Greenhouse gas offsets and reductions that can be done from changing practices on hog farms in Canada.”

Research conducted by the Prairie Swine Centre has shown over-crowding negatively affects the productivity of small and large groups of pigs equally.
     The one year study compared groups of 18 pigs to groups of 108 pigs under crowded and uncrowded conditions. Graduate Student Brandy Street says the focus was to compare the response of large and small groups to crowding.
     "Uncrowded pigs were always performing better than crowded pigs and small group pigs were always performing better than large group pigs but, when we looked at space restriction alone in the large and small groups, the end result of crowding in both groups was the same.

In their weekly review of the US hog industry, Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain say that the Hogs and Pigs report for September 1 came in close to trade expectations. All major numbers were within one percent of their estimate. The total number of hogs on farms and market hog numbers were the same as a year earlier.
     The breeding heard was 100.2% of a year earlier. This compares with our gilt and sow slaughter head estimates of 100.7%, they said. Neither set of data has accuracy within 0.5%, so they are quite consistent.

In his weekly report, Wayne D. Purcell says that the USDA quarterly hog and pig report was viewed as neutral to mildly bullish. The data was within expectations and some back-months experienced some measure of support because of surprisingly limited domestic herd expansion, he said.
     Many analysts believe there is a good chance the futures market is somewhat optimistic at this time. It is still recommended that all risk could be carried in the cash market while waiting on technical signs to place short hedges.

Pork producers must like making money, because they sure are not willing to rock the boat by expanding, says Chris Hurt in his commentary, reflecting that pork producers are content keeping numbers about where they have been.
     In fact, the breeding herd has changed less than one percent in each of the last five quarterly reports, the longest period ever with such small changes. However, the trend may be broken as producers are finally hinting at some expansion in the distant future.

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Steve Meyer in his commentary on the Quarterly Report says that the most important message of these numbers is that there has still been virtually no growth in the U.S. breeding herd. The herd is up a mere 0.2% from last September even after 20 months of profits with some of those monthly profits being near-record highs. USDA pegged the market herd as being even with last year.
     There are several potential reasons for the lack of expansion. First and foremost, he says, is still the fact that producers and bankers remember clearly the pain felt in 1998 and 1999 and have no appetite for more of that bitter medicine. Some fear of higher feed prices last spring could well have delayed expansion as well.

Estimates for the UK harvest, released last week by the NFU, show mixed results for farmers. While total tonnage for oil seed rape has risen, wheat and winter and spring barley are expected to experience some significant reductions.
     The UK wheat yield is expected to be up by 3%, with production, at 14.9 million tonnes, down 3.5% on last year, largely as a result of a decrease in planting.

Co-inciding with British Food Fortnight, a business pressure group last week used a simple sandwich to explode the myth that giant supermarkets offer better value and quality than small high street retailers. The Forum of Private Business compared a supermarket sandwich with one bought in a privately run sandwich shop.
     Using simple mathematics and geography, they illustrated how a chicken salad sandwich from a typical supermarket could easily chalk up several thousand food miles in bringing the ingredients to the shelf. In comparison, the equivalent sandwich bought in a high street shop cost far less and contained mostly locally sourced ingredients from British producers, clocking up only a few dozen food miles.

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More emphasis must be put on improving the eating quality of pigmeat rather than continuing to focus on costs of production. Jeff Wood, professor of food and animal science at Bristol University, said the public had begun to demonstrate a willingness to pay for quality and the pig industry should react.
     "On a recent trip to Tesco's meat aisle I saw smoked Wiltshire cured bacon, 250g, at £2.18 versus standard injected Danish imported product, again 250g, at £1.58." "People want quality and may be willing to pay - but what is quality?
     First and foremost it's taste, but also how it is reared; it's about creating a feel-good factor." The UK industry needs to adopt finishing systems to improve eating quality of pig meat, he suggested.

People affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis in 2001 suffered symptoms close to post-traumatic stress disorder for months afterwards, a report has said. Flashbacks, nightmares, and conflict in communities were among problems found by Lancaster University researchers.
     They studied weekly diaries kept for 18 months from December 2001 by 54 people including farmers, vets and doctors. Distress was experienced beyond the farming community, the report published in the British Medical Journal said.

In Australia, the pork industry's national representative body, APL announced last week that it will launch a High Court challenge of the Government's new quarantine protocols for pigmeat. APL CEO Andrew Spencer said the Board had, after closely considering the judgment of the Full Court of the Federal Court handed down last month, resolved to seek Special Leave to appeal that decision to the High Court of Australia.
     "APL is currently in the process of finalising the precise grounds of the application for Special Leave with its legal advisors. "In light of APL's ongoing concerns about the risks associated with PMWS, APL will be seeking to have the application for Special Leave heard by the High Court as soon as possible.

The Titan Boar from JSR Genetics


In Northern India, Japanese encephalitis claimed 15 more lives as a health official on Sunday expressed surprise that the recent outbreak - which had appeared to be fading - was spreading again. The outbreak has killed 1,038 people, mostly children, in the impoverished northern states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, according to government sources.
      The disease is easily preventable by vaccinations, but many medical facilities in the area are underfunded and understaffed. Reported cases of the mosquito-borne illness had been dropping with the end of the rainy season - when there’s more water for mosquitoes to breed - and officials had thought it was coming under control.

* Feature Articles Overview (link to features listings)

We have 4 new features this week:

Achieving Results Using AI: Could You Do Better?
By John Goss, PIC UK - This is the first of three articles by John Goss dedicated to the improvement of AI technique and results. The next two articles will follows over the next two weeks.

Benchmarking Indicates Production Improvement
By Stephanie Rutten, DVM, University of Minnesota and published by PigCHAMP - There is little doubt that the pig industry has changed dramatically in the last two decades - from changes in herd structure to changes in ownership to changes in the genetic base. Each year, benchmarks serve as “state-of-the-industry” reports that provide both motivation for change and recognition of how far the industry has come.

Managing Manure to Improve Air and Water Quality
By Marcel Aillery, Noel Gollehon, Robert Johansson, Jonathan Kaplan, Nigel Key, and Marc Ribaudo, Economic Research service, USDA - Animal waste from confined animal feeding operations is a potential source of air and water quality degradation from evaporation of gases, runoff to surface water, and leaching to ground water. This report assesses the potential economic and environmental tradeoffs between water quality policies and air quality policies that require the animal agriculture sector to take potentially costly measures to abate pollution.

Banff Pork Seminar 2005 Proceedings
By Banff Pork - This article links all of the 2005 Banff Pork Seminar reports.

V-Drinker - No More Height Adjustments
ARATO V-Drinker - No More Height Adjustments

* 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 Vagina and Cervix.

This weeks tip: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - Prolapse of the Vagina and Cervix.

NEXT WEEK'S TIP: Diseases/Conditions that can indirectly affect Reproductive Loss - An Overview - Sunburn.

* Finally...

Brave new grill: Is cloned food destined for menu?
     US - About 80 miles east of Austin, out where the fire ants bite and men still doff their baseball hats when greeting women, 20 cows pregnant with calves cloned by ViaGen Inc. have just arrived.
     Stampeding down a chute from a tractor-trailer, the cattle join a menagerie of cloned pigs and cows that include Elvis and Priscilla, calves cloned from cells scraped from sides of high-quality beef hanging in a slaughterhouse.
     The cloning of barnyard animals has become so commonplace and mechanized that ViaGen says it's more than ready to efficiently produce juicier steaks and tastier chops through cloning.
     It now looks like federal regulators will endorse the company's plan to bring cloned animal products to America's dinner tables.
     No law prevents cloned food, but ViaGen has voluntarily withheld its products pending a ruling from the Food and Drug Administration.
     Over the past three years it has worked to create elite bovine and porcine gene pools that can produce prodigious "milkers," top-quality beef cattle and biotech bacon. It has aggressively gobbled up competitors and locked up patents, including the one granted to the creators of Dolly the sheep.
     All that really stands in ViaGen's way, besides a nod from the FDA, are squeamish consumers and skeptical food producers.

That's all for this week.

Ed.

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