The End of Obesity is Just Around the Corner

If you imagine in your mind, the irrigated agriculture of California you probably can see a large valve sticking out of the ground with a wheel on top situated in the middle of a massive field with deep furrows.  As the valve is turned, water gushes out into the furrows, flooding them to provide water for the crops.  Alternatively, you might see large water guns irrigating the fields with booming sprays similar to a lawn sprinkler on steriods.  The way of the future will require a much more efficient approach if water use to produce crops in California is to be sustained.  Intensive approaches to irrigation have been developed for use in very dry climates where evaporation is heavy and represents a large waste of what little available water is there.  In these methods, drip irrigation delivers water right to the root zone in buried or partially buried plastic pipes with small holes to meter out the water.  This almost eliminates evaporation waste and the delivery of water to

Characteristics of Competitiveness are Changing in the Meat Complex

     Just as the landscape is changing on a global economic front as outlined in my previous blog, so then are the characteristics of competitiveness as we look out into the next five year horizon.  Many years ago, responding to the advent of scale in animal production, veterinary science in production agriculture moved from a focus on individual animal treatment to something widely referred to as herd health.  The change signaled a move from diagnosing and treating individual animals to defining the conditions within which the herd would be best served and proscribed culling for individuals that did not conform or adapt to the generalized conditions.  Defining the conditions best for the herd meant creating SOPs for bio-security, ventilation, average temperature at each day of age, average nutrition and a set of standard vaccinations as examples.  Not every individual animal prefers the average or thrives in the average conditions and the response in general was to allo

Swine Industry Update for March 2009

Mark Greenwood
March 2009

Reconfiguring the US Meat Industry: How Politicization is Beginning to Trump Economics

     The U.S. swine industry is about to be reshuffled in some extraordinary ways.  For the first time we are witnessing political ideas at work in the world and in this country which are gaining the upperhand in their attempt to slow down the natural execution of comparative advantage based on efficiency and market economics.  Since 1995 the US industry has enjoyed a steady and sometimes dizzying increase in total demand as net exports rose year after year.  This is a testament to the global effciency of the industry and its ability to deliver a consistent, safe and high quality product.  At the same time, the desire to slow down the expansion of the industry in the US has been building because of a long list of issues which have been slowing gaining political strength. 

SwineCast 0385, Ag Lender's Viewpoint with Kent Bang at Pigski

SwineCast 0385 Show Notes:

  • Special Pigski presentation with Bank of the West's Kent Bang looking at credit issues and offering his views of what's ahead.

2009 IPC: Pork Industry Economic Update

Managing Inputs and Marketing: Where Do We Go From Here? Dr. Steve Meyer, Paragon Economics, Inc., from the 2009 Iowa Pork Congress, January 28 - 29, Des Moines, Iowa, USA.

Feed ingredient costs have fallen from record highs last summer but supplies remain tight and costs remain very volatile as we enter the 2008-2009 crop year. Surprisingly good hog prices were a big help to pork producers' bottom lines in 2008 but can those prices remain in the face of the economic slowdown? Steve's session will address these issues and present some ideas and tactics to help you weather another potential economic storm in 2009.

This is the presentation slide set without audio

Optimal Exports as a Portfolio Problem

If you think about it, each dollar of expected pork revenue, as we look at 2009, has a variance around it. That is to say, not every lb of forecasted sales has the same likelihood of being realized. It is safe to say that the anticipated level of demand from domestic consumption is well known and relatively low variance. The demand which originates from the export markets is highly variable and can come from surprising places. Because of this, there is no doubt that the expected income variance is much higher for export sales than it is for domestic purchases and as you might suspect, it has a higher expected value. Those two attributes tend to go together.

Falling Exports Vs. Falling Supply: Which Will Win?

     The total demand for US Pork can be conveniently broken down into two components: domestic demand plus net exports.  Net exports is the excess of exports over imports of pork for the US.  We seem to know that US production of pork will be falling in 2009.  I say seem to know since this is based on projections by USDA (Hogs and Pigs Report).  What we do not know is if the projections are correct (what is their error variance) and what will happen to productivity increases to offset this decline in farrowing intentions from last fall.  We can surmise that the sows leaving the industry are the poorest performing ones (least productive) and that productivity gains from the remaining farms is likely to rise.

Swine Industry Update for February 2009

Mark Greenwood
February 2009

SwineCast 0375, Managing for profitable production and a look at the Canadian pork industry

SwineCast 0375 Show Notes:

  • Canadian correspondent Bruce Cochrane logs in with interviews from Banff.  Peace Pork's Rocky Morrell shares his thoughts on managing for profitable production.
  • Jerry Bouma of Toma and Bouma Consulting looks at the future of the Canadian industry and significant changes that will need to be made
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