Musing about the events over the past 2 weeks in the industry

My many thanks to all in the industry who have reached out in many ways to touch my family and I with words and deeds of comfort and condolence. Thank you.

As I slowly emerge from the personal loss of my wife and re-immerse myself in the world of pork production, the obvious change is the purchase of Cargill Pork by JBS-Swift. Not a lot to be said after so many others have written about the impact of this merger on industry consolidation and competition.

The other big item is the continued rainfall in the eastern corn belt. I heard from friends in Indiana who really wanted to attend funeral services but were hoping for a few dry days to finish planting soybeans. I measured 2” of rain this morning and the majority of the corn in the local area that will be tasselling within the next 10 days to 2 weeks. The local price of corn has gone up $0.50/bu in the past 2 weeks and soy meal has gone up $50/t. There are reports of a lot of farmer selling of grain and reports of farm retirement sales suddenly having strong interest if there is a clean and well maintained line of equipment being offered.

The good news in all this is the on-going cancellation by China of DDGS orders (and lack of new orders) which is keeping DDGS prices relatively stable as corn prices rise. Three weeks ago DDGS was valued (lb/lb) at 140% the value of corn and last week it was closer to 100%. This is still too high relative to the feeding value (especially for the lower oil products) but it is getting closer to working back into diets.

With the relatively cool weather in the upper Midwest (only 1 90F day so far in Mankato, MN) and diets with relatively higher energy than previous summers (little if any DDGS in many diets right now), rates of gain have been outstanding so far this summer in this region. It looks like this weekend we could finally see some heat (temperatures above 90F for highs and dew points above 60F) so a review of summer cooling strategies is in order.

Late last week I reviewed the controller settings of a client and they had the controller set to turn off the cooling at 10 pm at night and turn it back on at 6 am. This is the wrong strategy. Facilities don’t get to the highest temperatures until about 5 pm on most days and they continue to be very warm at 10 pm. If you turn off your cooling systems for a period of time each day because of concerns about hoof integrity or other reasons, delay this turn-off until 2 am. You can then delay turning it back on until 8-10 am since the barn is the coolest just after sunrise each day.

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