Pork Commentary: Minnesota Pork Congress Report

US - Last week we attended the Minnesota Pork Congress held in Minneapolis, writes Jim Long.
calendar icon 21 January 2014
clock icon 4 minute read

Our report:

  • USDA reported as of 1 December, Minnesota had 580,000 breeding animals and 7.2 million hogs on feed. Minnesota is the third largest sow herd population by state after Iowa and North Carolina.

  • The main topic at the Minnesota Pork Congress was PED, PED and then PED. We talked to many that had it, that have it and that are afraid they will get it.

  • Lots of people have lost lots of pigs due to PED. It has been devastating to producers and their employees. Not only financially but the huge death losses have a hard effect on the employees hauling out the dead pigs.

  • Some Numbers we have seen reported are an average of 1800 pigs lost per 1,000 sows during PED breaks. Losses are greater when you factor in poorer breeding results due to sows weaned so soon after farrowing. The number 2.5 pigs lost per sow per annum seems to be about right. We expect 5 million pigs will be lost to PED in a twelve month period. 2 million sows time 2.5 pigs = 5 million. A true market mover.

  • Expansion talk at Minnesota was just that…talk. Nothing is happening, we discussed with several building and equipment people. Consensus is, nothing is happening (meaning building sow barns).

  • Also talked to Bankers, nothing happening on expansion. The equity loss in the last few years has left big holes to fill.

  • At the Pork Congress part of the PED discussion revolved around the cash price of early weans and feeder pigs (Cash USDA last week average early weans $86.33, 40lb feeder pigs $95.05). Many believe the PED breaks have created the need for small pigs at an unprecedented level to fill the empty barns and meet contract obligations. We believe it’s just a matter of a couple weeks for 40lb. feeder pigs to break $100.

  • Hormel last week announced they will begin purchasing Canadian born pigs raised in USA (B Pigs).

  • PED is big but talk is fewer PRRS breaks this year. We were told if you have PRRS and PED breaks at some time it’s one heck of a mess. We were also told that it will be very hard to make an effective vaccine for the PED virus as it is quite complex.

  • On the breeding stock front at Minnesota, it appears packer are backing off extremely lean hogs. Food Service and Retailers are looking for better tasting, marbled pork. This will increase the demand for Durocs.

  • PED breaks are chopping gilt supply of some of the breeding stock companies.

  • PIC’s push to new pricing schemes for A-1 Customers is getting resistance. PIC not has 10 boar lines? As we predicted almost all Genetiporc personnel at the time of PIC’s purchase are no longer with PIC/Genetiporc. PIC’s vision to cut almost $10 million in overhead after Genetiporc purchase has left lots of collateral damage on the people front.

  • This coming week we will be at the Iowa Pork Congress. Please visit the Genesus exhibit and join us for the Genesus reception, 4:30 PM – 8PM at the Iowa Events Center on Wednesday, 22 January 2014. Next week we will report our observations on the Iowa Pork Congress.
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