2012 Boehringer Ingelheim North Carolina Swine Health Seminar This conference is a welcome late summer recharge opportunity for growers in the eastern U.S. A full day of outstanding speakers wrapped around a weekend on the beach with family and friends leads to valuable conversations and considerations. Highlights include Laurie Hueneke - on how are pork free trade agreements work plus Dr. Keith Kinsley on nursery enteric diseases and how to manage it.
The dream of showcasing pork production in a world-class, consumer-friendly facility has broken ground in Indiana. Malcolm De Kryger of Belstra Milling introduces Legacy Farms in conjunction with Fair Oaks Dairy Farms.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO, Bob Dinneen, responds to requests for a waiver of the renewable fuels standard mandate by a consortium of livestock organizations. The groups say the grain is too important as feed in this drought-tightened supply scenario.
Cities and Swine Seemingly everywhere one looks China offers two views of today. Outside the Weifang train station, open spaces and modern, even futuristic buildings give the appearance of a prosperous nation ready to lead on the world stage. In truth, many of the offices and apartments we observed were empty. The leaders use construction to employ the people on the assumption that it's cheaper to build today than it will be tomorrow. Inside these buildings are cement walls and roughed in plumbing. Around the corner you see workers on a bamboo raft clearing algae from a retention pond, using technology of decades past.
My recent China sojourn, with JBS-United, was a reminder of the massive changes our North American swine industry has embraced. Internal issues (genetics, disease, feed quality) and external issues (feed costs, blasted hot weather, immigration) have been dealt with and cataloged for future "black swan" events. The overwhelming sense of purpose, unity, vast resources that I viewed as we traveled is offset by flexibility, adaptability, hygiene and husbandry here at home. It's easy to be awed by the China machine but we have the lead and the know-how to maintain it [Editor note: text and photo Ned Arthur, SwineCast].
Regions Agriculture is alive and well in China as I see it today and will be changing tremendously over the next century. It sure is nice to see the Chinese Government behind citizens and businesses, building the infrastructure and supporting ( tax wise ) food production for the masses. We (in the USA) might need to have a population explosion to create enough demand for food, so that the politicians quit listening to the naysayers of our industry [Editor note: text Jim Lease, JBS United]!
Animals and Food The primary concern on disease has been pig scours. Foot and Mouth are not much of an issue where I have been so far. Lower slaughter weights are an issue, just like in the US.
Food prices are higher here (China) now, everyone says. However, we can still eat a large meal for under $10 most anywhere except the western fast food places. KFC has a pork burger sandwich over here. Why can’t we get that done in the USA ????? It is not bad but could have improvement for my tastes. The local Pizza Hut has some good pizza similar to the US, with 3 pizzas costing about $45, which is probably about the same as the US or a bit less.
Hot / Humid and the Price of Feed The Chinese farmers are aware of the US drought conditions and had lots of questions on how bad it might be and where it drought is occurring in the United States. Corn prices in China (Shandong province, China) are about $10.50 and soybean meal (SBM) prices are around $540/ton. Pigs are at break-even levels for the year or even less for some. Excellent producers are now making less than $15/head. It is possible that corn in China will go to $15/bushel this next year and SBM to $600/ton.
Much of the poultry industry is failing and falling fast. Most of the feed companies are not making money this year at best and losing a load at worst! The weather has been mild in their eyes, but I find that heat and humidity are pretty much like the worst in the Midwest. Corn looks real good and everything is green! They use irrigation and can do that with individual water hoses that are dragged from row to row by the owners. This is best described by a clear plastic tube that looks to be about 2 ½ inches and pretty light plastic (we ran over one on the driveway and it started a nice water shooting display) [Editor note: text Jim Lease, JBS United].
Equipment This tractor (larger image) is from the Shifeng Group, the world’s largest farm equipment company in Gaotang, Shandong, China. We took a tour of the manufacturing plants where they build engines, motors, tires and batteries to support the vehicles. The Shifeng Group builds all kinds of trucks, motorized carts, tractors and combines and they have been building electric cars since 2007. They are looking to add new factories to expand on the demand in China. Their market internationally is the developing countries, focusing on South and Central America, India and Africa [Editor note: Combine image, small electric car; text and photos Jim Lease, JBS United].
China Food and Mill Tours We did a duck farm so duck head redux. Also cicada's on the hoof and eggs buried in lime until they turned green. Yum, Yum!
Since I'm traveling with JBS United, we see a lot of feed mills and look at a lot of grain. Mycotoxins are a continuing issue and mills manage the flow by adding 'fixers', blending good corn with infected grain and adjusting that ratio based on what they're feeding. Slow infield and on-ear drying exacerbate the development of the molds and we understand that it's an ongoing problem for the mills. Mixing is done in the states anytime you have bad corn. You can mix more bad in with finisher ration than you can in sow feed or starter.
Interesting conversation at dinner last night about Chinese who leave for U.S., U.K., Australia, etc. for continuing education and the "filtered" media they receive here at home. Many of those students return to China because of family, easier to enter the workplace and return to values and customs the know. And its no problem that they've had access to 'unfiltered' media because they have more of a world-view. However, for most of the people, its better that media be managed because they're more "settled" and happy.
Observation is that they are indeed happy. Very family-centered and generally health conscious. At the mills and large farms workers stay in dorms, receiving free room and board. And the company cook is a great recruitment tool, if he's good.