Jim Long Pork Commentary, Road Trip to Spain, September 20th 2021

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Jim Long, President and CEO Genesus Genetics

As I write, we are somewhere over the Atlantic heading to Spain. This week the Genesus team will exhibit at Figan Event in Zaragoza, Spain. Figan is a biannual swine conference and exhibition for Spain’s swine industry. After Figan we will be visiting several Spanish pork producers. In the next couple of weeks, we will report our observations.

Spain is now the third-largest swine producer in the world. Spain has relentlessly grown in production over the last decade with now about 2.8 million sows. In the European Union, Spain has grown while several countries have declined or stayed much the same in the last decade. Spain has benefited greatly from its packers developed relationships with China capturing around 20% of China pork imports. It will be interesting to hear the observations in Spain now that China’s global pork imports have slowed.

It’s also nice to be traveling again. But it’s not easy with fewer flight options, Covid tests, and double vaccination needed. Even so, getting out to visit customers, Genesus production facilities, nucleuses, multiplication, A-I centres, and industry is invigorating.

Observations

Read a report translated from Danish that feeder pigs have dropped to 15-20 Euros range ($20-25) – cost of production 50-60 Euros ($60-70). Denmark Exports about 15 million feeder pigs a year to Germany, Poland, Italy, and Spain. High feed prices and market hog price prospects have driven down the prices. In Germany and Poland ASF issue to market access has compounded the problem.

PRRS 144 breaks still ongoing. Nasty production killers. What will happen when fall comes when we normally see major breaks?

Interesting the seminars and articles on the explosion of sow mortality. With a dead sow worth or costing a producer $1,000 plus it’s little wonder. Many of you have had sow barns for many years. Bet in same barn, same almost everything, sow deaths have jumped, lots of zero or low-value sows, why? What’s changed? Weak genetics?

We believe U.S. lean hog futures have dropped lower than should. We expect cash lean hogs to stay relatively strong through the fall. We don’t see hog numbers to be increasing relative to a year ago. Beef prices, Chicken prices are strong. This supports Pork.

CFAP 1 Top-Up

No further update from USDA since Ag Secretary Vilsack inferred it was to be paid. It was promised to producers in January with Cattle, Corn, Milk, Soybeans have all had top-up. Cattle has received $4.37 billion from CFAP. They suffered in Covid crises just like we have had no less no more. There Cattle lobby got job done getting $2.185 billion in CFAP 1 top-up.

The NPPC was MIA as their attack letter against us verified. They don’t care if the 60,000 swine producers they claim to support don’t get the $623 million promised by USDA. It’s a shame we have such poor bureaucrats at NPPC. It’s fortunate there is opportunity to bring in new leadership with the bureaucrats at the top retiring. When your claim to fame is “the other white meat” program, a disastrous promotion that saw pork lose market share, it’s time to move on.

Keep up the calls to Senators, Congressmen and US Ag Secretary Vilsack. It’s the only way this will happen. We can’t depend on the NPPC Washington per diem carnivores to push interests of us as producers. Sad but true. Their own words confirmed this unfortunate reality.