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Newsletter 6th March 2006

Monday 6th March 2006
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Welcome to this weeks newsletter

*Latest News (link to all this weeks news)

We start this week in the US where research at the University of Illinois is one step closer to opening up a billion-dollar market to the hog industry and reducing U.S. dependence on crude oil imports. U of I scientists have teamed with industry partners to design a pilot plant for a large commercial livestock farm that will convert swine manure to crude oil.
     The pilot plant is based on research led by Yuanhui Zhang, an agricultural and biological engineer at the U of I. Zhang and colleagues developed a system using thermochemical conversion (TCC) to transform organic compounds (like swine manure) in a heated and pressurized enclosure to produce oil and gas.

Rising fuel prices have pushed up the value of hog manure, making the unpleasant byproduct of hog production a bit more palatable says the Cedar Rapids Gazette. The value of hog manure has increased 50% in the past two years, prompting more farmers to consider raising hogs.
     Farmers who have concentrated on growing corn and soybeans are now interested in raising livestock, said Greg Brenneman, an Iowa State University ag engineering specialist. The 1,000 gallons of hog manure that was worth $20 just a couple of years ago is now valued at $30, he said.

In their weekly review of the US hog industry, Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain report that hog prices dropped early in the week but rebounded on Friday to end the week slightly higher in the west than seven days earlier, but $1.50/cwt or so lower in the east.
     This week's prices are above the live hog breakeven price of 39 cents per pound, but $10-12/cwt below year-ago levels. USDA is forecasting 2006 per capita meat supplies will be 3 pounds more than last year.

The fall in U.S. poultry exports due to the international bird flu scare has lowered domestic prices, making chickens more attractive to consumers and cutting into the bottom line of the U.S. pork industry. "Bird flu's having a real negative impact on the hog industry in the States right now," said Ron Plain.

The Director of the University of Minnesota Swine Centre suggests the animal welfare debate needs to focus more on the needs of animals as opposed to their rights and freedoms, according to Farmscape.
     The provincial pork organizations on the Prairies have started collecting the information that will ultimately lead to the establishment of a new national identification and traceability system for swine.

Meanwhile, a new scientific report released by the Canadian Coalition for Farm Animals (CCFA) has condemned the widespread use of "sow stalls" in Canada's hog industry, and says the practice threatens foreign markets for Canadian pork.
     Jointly funded by CCFA and the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA), the report entitled Gestation Stalls and the Welfare of Sows in Canada reviews the scientific literature pertaining to the use of sow stalls and the implications for pig welfare.

Elsewhere in Canada, Ontario farmers are looking to Prof. Claudia Wagner-Riddle and other researchers at the University of Guelph for detailed information that will help them determine how much manure to use.
     As little as 20 per cent of the nitrogen applied in swine manure is actually used by crops. This study will measure nitrogen losses and provide information for Ontario's Nutrient Management Plan.
     "Farmers would change their practices if they knew how much fertilizer is environmentally acceptable," says Wagner-Riddle. "Our challenge as scientists is to provide them with that information."

Porcilis APP - The four-way vaccine against pleuropneumonia
Porcilis APP - The four-way vaccine against pleuropneumonia

Forces impacting swine production, handling diseases and international pork production will be some of the highlighted topics next month at the London Swine Conference. The sixth annual London Swine Conference will be held April 5-6 at the London Convention Centre. Organizers are expecting another record crowd of pork producers, industry representatives and researchers who will look to gain new information impacting the industry.

In this weeks China Hog Market Weekly, eFeedLink report that live hog prices continued to move lower during the week ending Feb 27, except in the provinces of Shandong and Hebei. Losses made by many livestock farmers have dampened the near term outlook of the domestic hog market.
     Hog prices in southern China fell by a smaller extent compared with those in northern regions. This was mainly due to more workers relocating to the southern regions, which lent some small support to pork demand there. With the resumption of regular deliveries to Hong Kong and Macau, hog export prices were relatively higher, with only minimal impact from weaker domestic prices.

Over 2,000 pigs have died of an unidentified disease in some villages of Morang district in Eastern Nepal in the past two months, an official said Sunday. The disease claimed the lives of over 1,000 pigs in Letang village alone, an official said.
     "The disease is believed to be air borne but we have not launched any investigation into it," the official noted. Earlier, it was suspected that swine fever was the cause of the deaths.
     Farmers have been disposing the carcass of diseased animals in the nearby forest and the environment has been polluted there, according to Yadav. Fever, dysentery, yawning and lack of appetite are the symptoms of the disease, Yadav added.

In Germany, authorities have ordered the slaughter of some 2,600 pigs following an outbreak of classical swine fever, officials said. The disease, contagious among animals but not transmissible to humans, was identified in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
     On Friday 300 animals were killed at Haltern, in the Ruhr, after the outbreak, the first in Germany for almost three years, was discovered on two farms, the regional ministry said. On Saturday 1,300 more animals on four farms were killed while a further 1,000 are due to be slaughtered on two nearby farms.
See Also: Classical swine fever in three pig farms in North-Rhine Westphalia

The Titan Boar from JSR Genetics

In the UK, applications of slurry are likely to have higher levels of nitrogen this spring due to low winter rainfall, leading to calls for producers to recalculate top-up rates for crops. Met Office figures suggest most UK regions had just 70% of rainfall normally expected for Dec/Jan, and this has had a knock-on effect on dilution of manure and slurry in open farm stores.
     Typically, nutrient values for slurry are based on 6% dry matter. But it is likely that many will be higher - increasing amounts of available nitrogen, according to Gillian Young, dairy consultant with Devon-based The Dairy Group.

Farming leaders have accused supermarkets of making a concerted effort to break the back of the British pig industry, reports FWi. Stewart Houston, chairman of the NPA, claimed processors would begin tearing up contracts with producers as early as next month because of retailer price pressure and falling volumes.
     "The retailers want to cut pig prices to levels they know are unsustainable for British producers and processors. That would enable them to stock their shelves with cheaper, lower-welfare imported pork," said Mr Houston. Pig prices should be rising at this time of year, as post-Christmas demand builds up, but there has been little recent movement in contract or spot prices, they say.

Reports of bird flu in France and falling chicken consumption in many EU countries have not lead to an increase in demand for pigmeat says Peter Crichton on FWi. As a result, British spot and contract prices have remained flat with the Deadweight Adjusted Pig Price falling slightly to 100.69p/kg and spot bacon prices in the 100–102p/kg range.
     Most processors are reporting demand for pigmeat to be dull at a time of year when uptake and prices normally rise. Spot bacon prices in late February 2005 were running at 108p/kg and unless demand improves in the run up to Easter, there is little likelihood of the DAPP moving from its present low base. EU prices have also followed a similar static trend with the mainland ‘big six’ producer average equivalent to 92.5p/kg.

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

In a similar vein, the Herald reports the Scottish pig industry, whose standards of production and welfare are among the highest in the world, is in danger of collapse, with prices to farmers under increasing pressure. Within the industry, supermarkets are perceived to be at the centre of a price war in which they can make a higher margin from imported pork.
     Scottish consumers have been willing to pay a higher price for pork at £4.51 per kilo than the English average of £4.20 per kilo, but returns to producers have been meagre because they face tough competition from cheap imports. Last year total imports of pork into the UK amounted to 422,169 tonnes, compared to 383,383 tonnes in 2004 and 380,000 tonnes in 2003.

Company news

It is a sad fact of life that as soon as something acquires substantial value there will be those who would seek to create forged copies. It is not uncommon therefore to hear of forged works of art, fake currency, even stolen identities but only recently has the latest form of copying come to light, forged pigs. JSR Genetics has issued a warning to farmers in both Asia and Europe about the risk of buying stock which has falsely been labelled with the highly desirable 'JSR' brand.

JSR Genetics and their South Korean partners Darby Genetics have combined their research resources, under the joint leadership of JSR's Director of Research Dr Grant Walling and Darby's leading geneticist Il Joo Lee, to pioneer a brand new mechanism for including marbling scores in genetic evaluations of pork lines.
     The new scoring has been applied to Darby's Duroc nucleus in South Korea and the resulting product, the 'Marbler-S Boar' is expected to show significant improvements for this important trait in the Korean marketplace.

DuPont Animal Health Solutions - bringing new life to biosecurity.
DuPont Animal Health Solutions - bringing new life to biosecurity.

Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., (BIVI) have announced in the US they are offering a 20 percent discount from the list price on all orders of Ingelvac® ERY-ALC for control of swine erysipelas, when shipped with an equal dose amount of Enterisol® Ileitis FF.
     The special combination price for the two BIVI oral vaccines will run from March 1 until May 31, 2006.

Against a contracting national herd in the UK, pig-breeding company ACMC has reported a sharp increase in sales of breeding gilts, between January 2005 and January 2006.
     The company, which only started supplying breeding stock in 2002 has steadily increased its proportion of the replacement gilt market and now has an estimated 15 per cent share of the market. It claims to be Britain's fastest-growing pig-breeding company.

*This Week's Feature Articles

We have 4 new features this week:

Long Term Meat Production and Consumption Trends
By John Lawrence - We often spend a lot of time focusing on short term market situation and outlook. These quarter-to-quarter and year-to-year supply and price forecasts are important for business planning. It is also important to step back and take a longer term perspective on occasion, not only where we have been but what factors will carry us forward.

OUTLOOK: Ethanol, Animals and Animal Feed
By Amanda Barth, University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences - The growth of ethanol production would seem to have positive benefits for cattle feeders, and perhaps the dairy industry, said a Purdue University Extension marketing specialist, but the outlook for Hogs and Poultry is not so clear.

Pork - Cost of Production
By Graeme Taylor and Greg Roese, Livestock Officers Pigs, Intensive Industries Development, Tamworth - This Primefact provides a brief overview of the importance of knowing your cost of production, and benchmarking to monitor business profitability plus how to use financial ratios to gauge future viability.

USDA Livestock and Products Semi-Annual Reports: Korea
By USDA, FAS - This article provides the pork industry data from the USDA FAS Livestock and Products Semi-Annual 2006 reports. This week we have a report for the following country; Korea.

Aurofac / Aureomycin - Justified, Reliable
Aurofac / Aureomycin - Justified, Reliable

That's all for this week!

Ed.


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