Jim Long Pork Commentary, Prairie Livestock Expo Winnipeg, December 17th 2018

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Jim Long, President and CEO Genesus Genetics

Last week we participated at the Prairie Livestock Expo that was held in Winnipeg Manitoba Canada.

Our Observations:

Manitoba is where Genesus has over twenty swine breeding stock production units. It is the Genesus platform base for our Global Nucleus Production.

The province of Manitoba has 330,000 sows in production. It has the benefit of a large arable land base and the opportunity of isolation that enhances high health pig production. Manitoba with the combination of production expertise, health and swine genetics has the highest pigs weaned per sow of any region in North America.

The attitude of the customers and producers we talked to at the Prairie Livestock Expo was positive. Most are optimistic when they look at the lean hog futures for 2019 as they realize there could be profit in the range of $25 per head for the coming year.

Expansion of the Manitoba sow head we believe will be minimal. We only know of two herds expanding and they both are Genesus customers. Consequently we see little growth in Manitoba production. This is in spite of excess packer capacity available at the Maple Leaf Brandon Manitoba plant.

Manitoba produces more small pigs than it has finishing barn capacity with an excess of 50,000 small pigs being shipped weekly to the U.S. or other Canadian provinces. Last week just weaned pigs were selling U.S. $62 (82.50 Canadian). The Canadian dollar is currently trading under .75 to the U.S. dollar. This in itself encourages small pig exports to the U.S. market.

Manitoba’s large arable land base and closeness to the Minnesota and the U.S. Dakotas farm land allows Manitoba to have some of the lowest priced feed costs in the world.

African Swine Fever (ASF) 

Like everywhere we go the conversation on African Swine Fever (ASF) and its possible side effects was a regular topic of conversation at the Prairie Livestock Expo. All know it has huge ramifications. The question is how much pro and how much con? Crap shoot.

China Update

We do business in China. Genesus exports more breeding stock to China than any other genetic company. Last week a good source in China’s feed industry told us that the estimate swine feed tonnage country wide is down 10% from a year ago.

This we expect in a combination of 1.5-1.7 million sows liquidated due to low prices prior to African Swine Fever (ASF) break. The rest we expect is from ASF complications. 10% would be roughly 60 million less pigs over a year – Big Number

As we go forward the hog prices in China will be the indicator of supply. Currently at about 13.3 rmb per kilogram (93₵ U.S. lb). Any price surge would indicate further cut in supply in China due to transport restrictions. There is a range 10 rmb to 19 rmb from province to province. A $150 U.S. per head difference. Some provinces are making huge profits; other provincial producers losing their ass. We expect major liquidation ongoing in low market price provinces.

It’s like Real Estate… Location, Location, Location

Gene Editing

Below is an Article from the Wall Street Journal. It is about Gene Editing. We expect Gene Editing and it’s future will be decided in the court of public opinion.


Big Tongues and Extra Vertebrae:

The Unintended Consequences of Animal Gene Editing

Unintended consequences have included enlarged rabbit tongues and extra pig vertebrae, as bioethicists warn of hubris.

An experiment in China to change the colors of Merino sheep gave some spotted fleeces akin to a panda.

Photo: Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Xinjiang Academy of Animal Science By Preetika Rana and Lucy Craymer

The purported birth last month of the world’s first gene-edited human babies, claimed by a Chinese scientist, spurred a wave of global outrage. Scientists denounced the (as yet unconfirmed) experiment as irresponsible, and the development reinforced fears that the redesigning of DNA is moving ahead too fast and without necessary oversight.

The proliferation of similar experiments on farm animals in recent years supports those concerns. Though rapid strides have been made to map genomes—the full set of genes for humans, animals, insects and plants—scientists have only begun to understand what the tens of thousands of individual genes do. Moreover, they are far from unraveling how those genes interact with each other.

Scientists around the world are editing the genes of livestock to create meatier pigs, cashmere goats with longer hair and cold-weather cows that can thrive in the tropics. The goals are to improve agricultural productivity, produce hardier beasts and reduce practices that are costly or considered inhumane. But amid some successes, disturbing outcomes are surfacing.

“ Even the genes that we think we know very well, there’s a lot to learn. ”— geneticist Se-Jin Lee

When Chinese researchers deleted a gene that limits muscle growth in mammals so that rabbits would grow leaner, their creations exhibited an unusual characteristic: enlarged tongues. Similar experiments on Chinese pigs led some to develop an additional vertebrae. Gene-edited calves died prematurely in Brazil and New Zealand.

The stumbles show the risks of racing ahead with such experiments, even as many governments work to clear regulatory pathways to bring meat, eggs and dairy from gene-edited animals to store shelves. Bioethicists and many geneticists have raised doubts about applying the gene-editing technology to animals and especially humans, given the continued uncertainties in both the science and the lab and field results.

“Humans have a very long history of messing around in nature with all kinds of unintended consequences,” said Lisa Moses, an animal bioethicist at Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics. “It’s really hubris of us to assume that we know what we’re doing and that we can predict what kinds of bad things can happen.”

The belief has spread that scientists know how gene editing works “all the time, under all conditions,” says Odd-Gunnar Wikmark, a researcher at the Norway-based foundation GenOk, which studies the consequences of genetic engineering. “We of course do not.”

Critics say that editing animal DNA could introduce unwanted mutations that pose a threat to human health when consumed, and they fear that mutated genes may spread unchecked as animals breed. Proponents say they are engineering mutations just as traditional crossbreeding does, only faster. Though no gene-edited animal products have reached markets yet, the potential benefits to farming have led many big agricultural nations to join the race.

Crispr-Cas9, the tool introduced in 2012 that was used to engineer the human babies, is cheaper than older techniques and enables scientists to add, delete and rearrange DNA with greater precision. But an article published in the journal Nature Biotechnology in July suggests that Crispr might cause greater damage than previously understood—including changes in genes other than those intended. When DNA is cut, “a lot of odd things can happen,” study leader Allan Bradley said in July.

Take the gene called MSTN. Since 2012, Kui Li, a scientist with the state-run Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, has reverse-engineered cells from adult Chinese pigs to their embryonic stage, which is a common process when cloning animals. Then, using an older editing tool, he deleted MSTN, which limits how large muscles grow in mammals, including in humans. The edited cells are infused into eggs, chemically fertilized in a lab and implanted into the womb of a surrogate. At a farm 70 miles southeast of Beijing, dozens of pigs rest in metallic cages and glass enclosures; their meat is up to 12% leaner if both copies of their MSTN gene are deleted.

source: Wall Street Journal

More pigs. Better Pigs
Genesus Duroc

Genesus is pleased to announce the expansion of our Registered Duroc Nucleus Production, as we continuously strive to improve our Research and Development programs on our sire line with enhanced focus on cost of gain, growth, carcass, and meat quality.

This also corresponds with the increased demand for our sire line that reflects the recognition of Genesus as a leader in meat quality and growth.

Duroc Genetic Improvement (DGI) nucleus, located near Lockport Manitoba, is an 800 sow farrow to finish unit that was specifically designed for Duroc production, including Fire Feeder room,  “hardening off” areas, show and probe area.

The Genesus DGI unit was built by Design Genetics Inc. an early market leader in Duroc production.

After Design Genetics was sold to Hypor, it operated as a production unit until Hypor sold the operation.

The DGI unit has been subsequently depopulated and repopulated with high health Genesus registered Durocs

Genesus has done weekly meat quality assessment, focused on our Durocs, since 1998. We have long felt that the pork industry needs to make a better product, a product that more people want to eat more often.

Genesus has the world’s largest registered purebred herd and is the leading exporter of swine genetics in North America. Currently, Genesus has 4000 duroc sows globally, making Genesus one of the largest, if not the largest, Duroc breeder in the world.

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