ShapeShapeauthorShapechevroncrossShapeShapeShapeGrouphamburgerhomeGroupmagnifyShapeShapeShaperssShape

Jim Long Pork Commentary: national pork industry conference report

Last week we attended the National Pork Industry Conference (NPIC) in Wisconsin. About 900 attendees from the USA. A good cross-section of producers and industry.

21 July 2021, at 2:30pm

NPIC event was well organized and the Kalahari Resort did a good job with food and rooms.

What type of industry are we portraying?

Speakers from the NPIC did not address the status of further CFAP payments. Money was announced for euthanisation. The money announced falls far short of money (billions) already received by cattle or crops for the coronavirus crisis. We continue to wonder about what the executives of National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) do for producers. They speak to issues but we have hard time seeing where they have wins for our industry. The good news, new executives are being hired, our hope for inspired leadership springs eternal.

Steve Meyer, Ag Economist, NPPC told us at the conference they take him to Washington to explain swine industry issues. Mr Meyer, when he spoke at NPIC, showed a graph illustrating chicken and pork per capita consumption over the last twenty years. Chicken has almost doubled in consumption, pork stayed around 50 lbs for the twenty years (flatlined). All things we already knew. What we found interesting is Mr Meyer's statement that it was probably good that pork had stayed at 50 lbs for twenty years. He explained the merits of steady! Strange to us the logic that zero-growth per capita in pork is good. If that’s the story that’s taken to Washington by NPPC executives and surrogates, what type of industry are we portraying?

We believe if you aren’t moving forward you are retreating. America wasn’t built on steady. Americans are eating more total meat and poultry than any time in history. It's reasonable, pork should aspire to be an ever-bigger piece of the protein pie. Let’s hope new leadership at NPPC can go on offense for the pork industry. We expect all would pitch in to grow our business.

PRRS 144 ripping through our industry

A big topic for every attendee at the conference was PRRS 144 ripping through our industry. Depopulations are ongoing as it appears hard to shut down. This is cutting pig production. Some farms at 40% pre-weaning mortality and another 40% in the nursery.

Further observations on record sow mortality and prolapse problems.

The genetics company with the issue continues to blame nutrition, health etc. Some feed companies getting agitated for being blamed for what is a prolapse genetic issue.

Keeping a lid on expansion

From NPIC conversations, we believe few if any sow units or finisher barns will be built in 2021. The cost of building, high feed costs, labor issues, PRRS 144, etc are all keeping a lid on any significant activity.

China

There was a Chinese speaker at NPIC, Jeffen Chen. His perspective was in line with the official numbers of China. Expansion and lots of pigs. There are lots of pigs but there might be some underlying issues. Let’s look at swine companies in China publicly traded. Below are some of the latest financial and production results.

According to Xinmu.com, in 2022 Muyuan, Zhengbang, Techbank dropped their slaughter weights from 140 kg (308 lbs) to 120 kg (264 lbs) - a decrease of about 44 lbs. That’s a way to obviously pull hog numbers up short term.

If you study the different numbers it’s easy to see how China can be confusing. A range from one company to another of Big Profit to Big Loss. The spread is extraordinary. The other thing to consider, for much of the six months January – June, hog prices were all better than they are currently. We calculate that the average price Jan – June was 26.16 RMB kg ($1.83 US liveweight) currently they are 15.90 RMB kg ($1.11 US liveweight a lb).

Point is things have got worse than these six months income statements reflect (a drop of $150 per head from average). The other seven public swine companies are between Muyuan and New Hope; half showing profit, half showing losses. These are all public companies. We still expect China’s hog price has bottomed the loss from ASF in the third wave. We expect as China’s supply decreases from third wave prices will rebound.