Will 2013 be a good year?

It’s Friday before New Year’s and as I work in my office, snow is falling. Winter has been late in arriving in Minnesota. How late – yesterday I saw a producer installing plastic drainage tile lines at the Iowa-Minnesota border. Normally the frost should be at least 1-2 foot deep by this time of year, and getting deeper rapidly. With warm temperatures and no soil moisture, frost is reported to be no more than 1-2 inches deep in many area fields. Read More...

Some random thoughts and thanks

Last week the average barrow and gilt slaughter weight in the Iowa and Southern Minnesota market region was 276.2 lb, the heaviest on record. Sales weights are higher for 2 reasons. The first is full slaughter schedules at all of the major packing plants – producers continue to deliver enough pigs to have daily kills in the 420-430,000 head range, very close to the estimated total slaughter capacity.  Read More...

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. Read More...

Corn basis patterns

This week I was reviewing DDGS pricing and nutrient assays from a number of ethanol plants in southern Minnesota and Northern Iowa. It was interesting to note the wide variation in grain pricing for December delivery to the various plants. December basis ranged from -$0.25 to -$0.10. For many of the plants with a -$0.10 basis for December delivery, the basis widened to -$0.25 or more for January deliveries.  Read More...

North American Pig Inventory and Value

Today USDA and Statistics Canada released their joint report on the combined hogs and pigs inventory of the 2 countries. This is important since our industries are so closely linked. Not only do we have similar genetics, but Canadian producers ship approximately 90,000 weaned pigs per week to US production sites for growth to slaughter, 10,000 barrows and gilts to slaughter plants in the US and 8-9000 cull breeding stock to slaughter plants in the US. The weaned pigs show up in the kept for market inventory of US producers in the quarterly USDA Hogs and Pigs report, and the slaughter animals show up in daily and weekly slaughter numbers. Read More...

Optimism in weaned pig prices

You can’t pick up a magazine associated with the pork industry without reading an optimistic story or column about the potential for profits in the coming 12 months. This optimism is now in the weaned pig market. In the past 3 weeks the average spot market price for weaned pigs reported by the USDA has risen $13.52 per pig. This past week the spot market averaged $30.92/pig delivered, up from $17.40 per pig for the last week of September. This rapid rise in price occurs every fall but this year the rise is 2-4 weeks earlier than historic records. Read More...