Is expansion coming?

This week has meant a lot of hospital time for me. Our daughter has been hospitalized since Tuesday with a high fever of unknown origin. Yesterday she began responding to generalized treatment (IV antibiotic) so some relief, but still concern as to the cause of the fever. I obviously have been out of the loop on a lot of industry issues this past week and thank those of you who have already expressed concern and prayers for her recovery.

In the past 2 weeks the official WTO decision on COOL was announced. It was interesting to note that the FMI (Food Marketing Institute – the retail grocery trade group) came out in support of the WTO decision. The final burden of COOL was on their shoulders and they struggled over appropriate labeling of not only pork and beef, but fruits and vegetables. Enforcement of COOL labels has been limited by USDA due to budget restraints but they remained worried about the specifics of enforcement.

With grain prices continuing their downward trend, the profit prospects for next year continue to climb. I am aware of several building projects being planned, with a large number of new wean-finish barns and some nursery and grow-finish projects also being planned. Sow expansion talk is still limited, although there is some talk of older sow facilities being replaced with new sites located in non-PRRS areas, with the new sites being larger (expansion).

I continue to get asked about wean-finish versus nursery moved to finisher – which is best? Properly done, wean-finish has proven to work very well. Improperly built and managed, wean-finish is a disaster with pigs that face health challenges. Included in this whole discussion is what will lenders lend money for – their bet is on the side of wean-finish as the financial risk is much less to them.

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