Why do we raise pigs?

In the past couple of months I’ve had discussions with several producers in the upper Midwest regarding their swine operation. The producers were very traditional in that they owned a fair amount of crop land growing corn and soybeans in addition to their swine production. They were growing pigs fed diets that were mixed on-farm using mostly corn that they grew each year. Read More...

Crop prospects and the breeding herd

This week’s travels let me see quite a bit of southern Minnesota and Northern and Eastern Iowa. While Waseca, MN had the 4th driest August on record, much of this region has had very timely rains. For many, unless the crop suffered damage from recent wind storms, prospects for a decent crop look good. Northwest Iowa looks like the garden spot to me and stories of land prices in that area reflect producer optimism with this year’s crop. In the Mankato, MN area, due the lack of rain, it appears to me that most producers will be combining corn before the beans are ready. I suspect some corn will be coming out in the next 2 weeks on the lighter ground. Read More...

Packers as Food Processors

When producers sell pigs to slaughter, we all talk about selling to ‘packers’. USDA even has a Packers and Stockyards division to monitor payments, etc. As the food industry has evolved, we need to recognize that we now sell out pigs to large food processors, many of whom have pork as one of many divisions within their company. For some, pork slaughter, processing and sales is only a minor component of their overall business strategy. Read More...

Contracts to sell manure to neighbors

Yesterday I worked with 2 producers who were negotiating contracts to sell some/all of their swine manure from their grow-finish facilities. In one case a neighbor approached the producer about buying manure from a producer who had some fields receiving manure some distance from the storage unit. In the other instance, the producer was constructing a new facility and didn’t have an crop production ground near the new site. Read More...

Corn basis and heat

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the difficulties of sourcing corn for diets in late August and September. The problem continues to grow. The Farmers Coop Society in Sioux Center, IA is now bidding +$0.30 for August delivery and +$0.33 for September delivery. This compares to -$0.39 for October corn. These positive basis numbers are in a region which has a strong livestock industry because of the historic negative basis relative to Chicago. Read More...