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.

At the Pipestone Clinic Pig Care Conferences in Pipestone, MN and Independence, IA, I was asked by producers how many new buildings are going up. While we aren’t seeing the building boom of 3-5 years ago, builders tell me that there are quite few new hog facilities in progress. At the Conferences, I spoke with several producers who will be filling new wean-finish facilities in the coming months. I’ve been working with several clients who are making construction plans for 2012 already.

I am aware of only a couple of new sow units. This matches with USDA data suggesting producers are still reluctant to expand the breeding herd. Instead, we are all getting better production from the existing herd. As one producer told me one day –“ Imagine how much profit I would have made if I was as good at production 10 years ago as I am today!” What are you doing today to be sure you are among the most profitable producers in the industry?

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