This week is the 25th World Pork Expo in Des Moines. I look forward to visiting with many of you at this event. If the rains hold off I expect many of you with plans to attend will change those plans and be spending time trying to catch up on corn and soybean planting. In this region I did see a planter operating on Friday afternoon so there is hope yet that we will get this years crop in the ground.
In spite of all of the spring rains, a review of soil moisture readings from the University of Minnesota Research and Outreach Centers at Lamberton and Waseca shows both sites still short of the historic crop available water in the upper 5 feet of soil by 1 to 3 inches.
Once we get the crop in the ground I’m sure the next issue the trade will focus on will be heat units to get the crop to maturity. At Redwood Falls, MN, about 60 northwest of Mankato they were at 381 degree days as of June 1, a deficit of 192 days from normal. I’m sure other sites in the entire Midwest are lagging heat units in a similar manner.
While we’re short of heat so far this growing season, we’re becoming long on swine facilities. The reports of open wean-finish, nursery and grow-finish facilities being offered to pig owners are increasing. This suggests a shortage of pigs to fill facilities in coming months.
At the same time we continue to see construction of new facilities. In many cases pig owners are seeking contract growers to build facilities according to their specifications. They are seeking to standardize facilities as much as possible across their production flow so that management decisions are applicable to more of their facilities with less individual ‘tuning’ of decisions by individual growers. I continue to walk facilities where the primary interest of the contract grower is the manure from the facility. In these situations, the more standardization by the pig owner, the more likely the service people from the production system will be to recognize deviations in protocol and correct these deviations.