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Jim Long Pork Commentary: Hog market shows strength

17 October 2017
Jim Long on ThePigSite

Jim Long is President &
CEO of Genesus Genetics.

This past week the US hog price moved up, each and every day, going from 54c to 58c lean for 53-54% hogs. The real strength shows when compared to last year. Last year the US marketed 2,305,000 hogs in this weekly time frame, and hogs 53-54% lean were 52c; this year the US marketed 2,516,000 (210,000 more) at the price of 58c lb for 53-54% lean.

More hogs- higher price = good demand

Despite the huge deluge of hogs, USDA pork carcass cut-outs show wholesale pork is averaging 74.44c lb. With the spread between hog market price of 58c and pork cut-outs of 74c, packers are making good money.

We believe that we can thank the start up of the new packing plants and the grater capacity that it has brought for helping the hog price be stronger this year compared to last. As the three plants, Seaboard-Triumph, Coldwater and Prime, ramp up, we expect to see a narrowing of the spread between US pork cut-outs and hog prices.

A year ago, US 40 lb feeder pig were averaging $25. This past week they averaged $43.14. Must be because of better optimism and demand, because its not less supply of pigs.

Gene Edited Pigs

We received a copy of Pig Improver from PIC, dated September 26, 2017

PIC reports that the first gene edited piglet were born in the PRRS resistance program. On September 19, the first sow gave birth to a litter at a PIC farm in the US.

“Over the next years, we will further optimize and validate the technology, which will start with testing the pigs that were born last week. We will continue to edit more pigs and breed offspring of gene edited pigs to establish populations that will enable further evaluation of the technology, and ultimately serve as commercial founders. The test plan we conduct over time from these pigs will assure us that there are no unintended consequences to the pigs, that the PRRS-resistance trait is effective and heritable, and that the pork from offspring of gene edited animals is safe and nutritious. Further studies will be required to support the regulatory approval process as well as pork chain adoption and consumer acceptance.” -Pig Improver from Pic, Sept 26, 2017 -

As they say, “Genie is out of the bottle”. The battle will be to see if Gene Edited, or what will be labeled Genetic Modified Pigs (GMO), will be acceptable in the food chain. We certainly wonder if GMO pork will be acceptable. First it must go to FDA.

Attached is the document that FDA prepared as guidance for updating the approval of GE animals. It was released in January and was available for public comment until June. So now I presume FDA is reviewing what they heard.

View or Download FDA document (English version)

One point is that the guidance does not change how Gene Edited animals are currently regulated, the approval is under the concept of a “drug”. Also, as per current regulation the animals will not be able to be sent into the food chain unless they have specific approval from FDA. We believe it also says that any GE animal that is transferred to another location must come with accompanying documentation.

If you are interested here is a web link to an FDA page with the draft guidelines and a section at the bottom for industry and consumer Q&A.

This is not a simple process. We understand that it could take a decade to get research done and get FDA approval, if indeed it actually gets approved? Certainly, any inference this technology would be available in market place anytime soon, is erroneous

Then what about market acceptance. We have seen how China reacted, by banning pork that have had ractopamine residue (paylean) has effectively stopped use almost in all places. Would gene edited (GMO) be different?

Then we get to retailers, food service and packers. We have spoke to none that wish to purchase Gene Edited Pork (GMO). You can have the greatest product in the world, but if no one will eat it, its worthless.

Ask any Packer, what their position is? Maybe resources spent on better Biosecurity and Vaccines are better health solutions then editing the Genes of Pigs.

Author: Jim Long, President & CEO, Genesus Genetics

To find out more about Genesus Genetics,
please take the time to visit their website at
www.genesus.com.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are entirely those of the author and can not taken to represent the views of ThePigSite.com, its owners or its management.



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