Options in short crop years

Last week I had the opportunity to work with a pork production system in Chile. On Thursday at the feed mill we compared corn and soybean prices. US corn and soybean prices were very comparable to the prices the mill had that day. Their corn came via ocean liner from Argentina and was transported by truck about 30 minutes to the mill. Their soybeans and soymeal came from Argentina, Brazil and the US to the same port. Obviously they were worried about the impact of the drought on world grain prices. Read More...

Leaking Propane Supply Lines

While it may be hot outside, it’s not too early for reviewing winter heating and ventilation details. This past week I was at a sow unit where the original 500 sow facilities were constructed in 1991 and the site has grown to 2500 females over the years. As we went through the site reviewing controller and inlet settings for both summer and winter, we got into a discussion of propane usage. Read More...

Will aflatoxin be an issue in this years grain?

If you’ve had any interaction with either grain farmers or livestock producers in the past few weeks, one of the first topics of conversation has been the worsening drought for much of the US grain production area. With another round of 100F temperatures and little/no rain predicted for this week it is a safe bet that everyone will continue to downgrade their yield expectations. Read More...

Why so many pig barns?

This past week I drove from Mankato, MN to Kearney, NE and back. While much of the US corn and soybean production areas are suffering severe drought stress, the area I drove through is fairing relatively well. Some of the corn was pollinating last week, but a large chunk appears to be on track for pollination this week. With cooler weather this region appears to be hanging on for a reasonably good crop yield. Read More...

Summer heat is here

Summer weather is upon us, with all the misery that comes with it for many of our production facilities. I’ve been doing quite a few meetings and presentations these past weeks with industry supplier sales forces and producer groups regarding recommended management practices for summer heat in production facilities. Read More...

At Pork Expo last week I sat in on the annual user group presentation on cost of production comparisons compiled for clients of Latta, Harris, Hanon & Penningroth, a CPA firm headquartered in Tipton, Ia. John McNutt did most of the presenting and interpretation of the data. Since this is a confidential peer group I can’t give you the exact costs cited by John, but I can share with you some of the more interesting trends. Read More...

An interesting question at Expo

At the World Pork Expo this week the hot topic of conversation (other than corn condition ratings and pig price expectations) was the ongoing gestation housing debate. While many producers were outraged at the decision process of McDonald’s, Kroger, Safeway, etc, the general consensus appeared to be a grudging acceptance of a move away from gestation crates over the next 8-10 years. Read More...