Allan Bentley, Sales, Genesus Genetics
Christmas holidays have never been an easy time to get market loads of butchers or cull sows to packers. The fact Christmas is on Saturday should help a little but it will still be challenging. There are some renegotiating of packer contracts. Most packers are still using the national average as part of the matrix to pay for butchers. The number of butchers used to determine the national average is very low. Sometimes as few as 3000 head per day. I question the logic of using such a low headcount that determines most prices. It appears to me, using so few of pigs is inviting price manipulation. Price discovery has been an issue for 25 years. I’m not sure we are there yet. I would like to see leaders of the industry come together and address this issue.
I visited with a pig broker that told me every sow herd has health challenges today. “Health trumps productivity potential”, Dr. Chad Beirman told me that once. I think that says a lot. Dead Sows or low-value sows, when selling to cull sow buyers, does not put money in your pocket.
I continually hear of death loss above 10 percent in grow-finish operations; death loss in sow herds above 20 percent; I’ve heard discussions about less sow slaughter. Well, that’s not hard to figure out when they are going to render instead of sow slaughter.
Now that the industry realizes the cost of each dead sow is $1,000, I understand Dr. Chad Beirman’s comment, “health trumps productivity potential”.