Pork Commentary: World Pork Expo Report - Part 1

US - This past week we were at the World Pork Expo in Des Moines, Iowa, writes Jim Long. Held annually, the World Pork Expo (WPX) was well organized and was well attended. The weather was ideal with moderate temperatures and no rain. It was especially good weather, when you spend most of the time as we do outside in an exhibit tent.
calendar icon 10 June 2014
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Our Report

  • Profits make for happy producers – many happy producers.
  • There is sow herd expansion – Units that were empty are getting filled back up.
  • At this point talking to builders and others, there are very few new sow units being built presently. Some talk but shovels not in the ground.
  • PED from many of our discussions, in our opinion, is slowing down. It’s not stopped but for whatever reason breaks seem to be less frequent.
  • Some people say its PED has slowed down because we’ve got warmer weather. If it’s because of warm weather can someone explain how Mexico got tore up by PED? Mexico is not Minnesota.
  • Principals from vaccine maker MJ Biologics told us that they see very promising developments on a killed virus vaccine for PED. If all goes good the vaccine should be available late 2014.
  • US Ag Secretary Vilsack showed up at Expo on Thursday to announce mandatory reporting of PED (not sure what that means) plus funding of over $20 million. Secretary Vilsack obviously not a part of US rapid response team as PED has already been active for a year. Our Grandmother always told us about farmers that closed the barn door after the horse got out. Not sure if there are barn doors or horses in Washington.
  • Producers from around the US who farm crops were optimistic in their crops – planted – and have moisture – early yet, but a good start. Dec Corn has declined 50 cents per bushel in the last month, reflecting a good start to the crop season.
  • Producers seem to believe the hog market will be good through 2014 but many question 2015. Too early to tell we say, there is some expansion, will PED slow down? Market weights stay up? Exports? We have an industry making money but most of the participants are survivors of past hog cycles and worry about the future.
  • August closed at life of contract highs Friday at $129.70. Packers we talked to are apprehensive of summer hog supply (meaning low). The August close is 30 cents plus over August futures in January - a huge increase of over $60 per head.

Next week, we will comment further on our observations from the World Pork Expo, added Mr Long.

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