Thanksgiving Thoughts

Regardless of your choice of radio stations, this week you can’t avoid commentaries regarding America’s Thanksgiving traditional protein source – turkey. As we have come to expect, HSUS and other anti-animal agricultural groups have weighed in with their own versions of commentary. Probably the most extreme comment that I saw from one group was the declaration that artificial insemination was animal cruelty as it denied the tom and hen turkeys from enjoyment of their natural functions. Read More...

Why are there fewer piles of corn this year?

Driving to a site visit this morning in Northwest Iowa I went past quite a few country elevators. In the past with ‘normal’ yields there have been huge piles of corn stored on the ground at these locations, often 1 million or more bushels in some of the piles. Even with the very dry August conditions in the region, most producers will tell you they had ‘average’ corn yields this year. Yet, there was very little corn stored in piles at the country elevator points I passed this morning. Read More...

Sale Weights are Rising Fast

I have tracked the Iowa-Southern Minnesota live weight at slaughter (www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/NW_LS720.txt) for many years. My original interest was in defining the impact of summer heat as measured by the significant annual decline in sales weight for barrows and gilts that always occurs between June 1 and September 1. On average, this decline from the January sales weight has been 8.5-9.0 pounds. Read More...

The smell of money

If you drive anywhere in the upper Midwest where there are pig production facilities you are bound to occasionally sense an ‘aroma’ in the air as producers apply a year’s worth of manure to agricultural lands. While there is still some ‘aroma’ associated with this annual task, producers have become more sensitive to their local community needs regarding this ‘aroma’. Read More...