Tuesday, May 21, 2024

No Joy in Hog Town


Our sense is that the U.S.-Canada swine production sector is getting worn out by the markets and lack of profitability over the last couple years. The hog market has eaten producer equity. 

Producers see lean hog futures reflecting profitability, but there is a sense of mistrust if it will become reality.  All know about China but the attitude is “Show me the money.” 

We always hear about hedging and risk management using future options but we have never seen any data that indicate producer participation. Maybe it’s because most producers think of the lean hog futures as a Las Vegas Casino where the house always wins in the end. 

Whatever the reason, our sense, lots of producers are questioning their long term future.

Other observations:

  •  If Paylean makes hogs grow faster, the banning of Paylean (Ractopamine) by JBS and Tyson could mean 180,000 hogs per day grow slower. Will this cut carcass weights?
  • Feeder Pig break evens $70 for a 45 lb. pig. U.S. Cash Market $44. Spread as wide as we have ever seen. Never better time to buy pigs to put on feed.
  • The U.S. Sow price has had a big jump over the last month. See Below: (cents per pound)
Sow priceOct 3Nov 1
550 lbs. and up31.546.48
500-550 lbs.30.545.18
450-499 lbs.28.041.97
400-449 lbs.26.537.54
290-399 lbs.26.037.62

Big Sows have jumped (550 lbs.) $82 a head in a month. Shows how fast a market can change. Markets usually move when we least expect. No one, we expect, thought sows could jump $82 a head in a month. 

We believe at some point small pigs and market hogs, will have an unexpected jump.

The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act

(This from the National Hog Farmer)

A Legislative Act that addresses deceptive labeling, “The Real Marketing Edible Artificials Truthfully Act” would address deceptive labeling practices in alternate protein and require plant-based meat alternatives to be labeled as “imitation” meat. 

The legislation introduced by Congressman Roger Marshal (R-KS) and Anthony Brindisi (D-NY) will codify the definition of beef for labeling purposes, reinforce existing misbranding provisions to eliminate consumer confusion, and enhance enforcement measures available to the U.S.D.A. if the Food and Drug Administration fails to take appropriate action.

The National Cattlemen’s Association is supporting the bill.  As Pork producers we should too. It will only be a matter of time before “imitation” pork-meat will be marketed. 

Let the “initiators” call it what it is. Don’t “piggy back” on our product names.


Seems that the chlamydia- lack of estreus issue that has been a factor over the last while in some gilts is being recognised. We understand major credits are being offered as compensation for the problem. 
If you had problem best to get in line to get yours. 

U.S. Exports 

U.S. Pork Exports last week were the highest since July 2015, except for the two weeks earlier.  China Exports reported last week (10, 220 metric tons), Second highest week on record. (Highest two weeks earlier).  No doubt there appears to be more pork being exported. 

The ASF issue is going to lead to more exports to China, Viet Nam, Philippines and South Korea.


Metafarms is the leading Pork Production- Analytic System.  Below is the average of 270 farms, re: Sow production last quarter.

Sow production – July 1st to September 30th, 2019

Pigs Weaned/Mated female/Year26.7
Litters/Mated Female/Year2.36
Pigs Weaned & farrowing space154
Pigs Weaned lifetime female40.9
Average Total Born14.6
Pre-wean mortality11.9
Average Wean Age20.4
Culling Rate42.3%
Sow Death & Destroy Rate12.2 %
Replacement Rate50.7%

Couple Numbers jump out at us; Sow Death & Destroy Rate of 12.2% and Pig weaned lifetime at 40.9. 

Seems to us there must be lots of female breeding stock that are far from robust.

Get acquainted with the 
Global Mega Producer

A program of recognition led by National Hog Farmer sponsored by Genesus Inc.

Vall Companys Group

Vall Companys is recognized as a Global Mega Producer for 2019.

The Vall Companys Group story began in 1956 as an agri-food family-owned operation. The company’s operational model is based on the integration of all stages of the production process. With 213,000 sows in production, Vall Companys is the largest European independent Mega Producer swine company.

What has made Vall Companys unique is the development of an integration model, in which farmers provide facilities and labour. The rest of the services -animals, feed, veterinary control- are provided by the integrating company. The model was first used in the pork sector, and subsequently introduced in the poultry area. They are in all production chain

Key figures:

  • Total sales: 1.8 billion dollars
  • Production meat (thousand MT) 
  • Pork: 340 
  • Poultry: 135 
  • Beef: 13 
  • Cured ham: 13
  • Processed: 7
  • Sows in production: 213,000 
  • Production of pigs: 5.3 million heads 
  • Production of poultry: 72 million heads 
  • Production of feed: 1.79 million MT
  • Flour: 470 thousand MT
  • Associated farms: 2,100

Activities: feed manufacturing, meat industry, animal production (swine, poultry and beef), flour milling, veterinary medicaments, merchandising and transportation.

Mercedes Vega, General Director for Spain, Italy & Portugal; Luis Pico, Sow Production Manager Vall Companys;  and Jim Long, President-CEO, Genesus Inc.
Mercedes Vega, General Director for Spain, Italy & Portugal with Jose Quirino Cabañes – Production Director and Alfredo Castell – Genaral Manager at Agrocesa, part of Vall Companys Group

Hog Market, Compared to a Year Ago

Pork Commentary,  October 28th, 2019
Jim Long, President-CEO, Genesus Inc.

 Sometimes it pays to look at where we are compared to a year ago.  
· National Daily Base Lean Hog Price – 53-54%
– October 24, 2019_64.50 ¢ per lb.
– Oct 26, 2018_63.72 ¢ per lb.

·  This past week’s hog slaughter – 2,693,000. 
– A year ago, same week 2,563,000 or plus 5%

·  Pork Cold Storage- September 30 up 2% from a year ago
-598,899 million pounds compared to 589,403 in 2018

·  Year to date Sow slaughter on September 30
– 2018 – 2,242 million
– 2019 – 2,235 million
– Almost no change

·  U.S.D.A cash average 40 lb. feeder pigs
– This past week $44.
– A year ago, same time $40. 

Our Observation: 
More hogs to market (plus 5%) this year compared to last, but hog prices the same, reflecting better pork demand. Pork in Cold Storage and sow slaughter showing almost no year over year difference, while 40 lb. feeder pigs are 10% higher year over year. 

Of note – last year feeder pigs went from the $40’s to $70’s by mid-December.  We expect a similar scenario this year.    

Below is U.S. Direct Feeder Pig Chart 
 Get acquainted with the 
Global Mega Produce

A program of recognition led by National Hog Farmer sponsored by Genesus Inc.
Muyuan Group 
Muyuan Group is recognized as a Global Mega Producer for 2019.
Muyuan Group was established in 1992, its main business is hog farming (accounting for over 99% of its total revenue) which has been developed in coordination with other businesses including feed processing, swine genetics, hog slaughtering. Currently the total asset of Muyuan Group is 55.3 billion yuan with more than 40,000 employees and more than 150 subcompanies. The hog farming business covers 93 counties in 14 provinces all across China.
The subsidiary company – Muyuan Foodstuff Co., Ltd was listed in the stock market in January 2014, its current market value is over 150 billion yuan. In 2018, the company marketed over 11million hogs.
Facing with the severe situation caused by ASF, Muyuan Group has been dealing with it in a positive way and continuously groping for good experience and practice for prevention and control of ASF, which has resulted in a fast recovery and even further expansion in the number of sows in their production system. It is estimated that by the end of 2019, their sow inventory will reach 900,000 head. 
Let’s congratulate on the great achievement and all recognize Muyuan Group as an industry leader and 2019 Global Mega Producer..
Photo from left to right: Yaping Gu-GM for Genesus China; Lyle Jones- sales direct for Genesus China; Li Yanpeng-production director for Muyuan Group; Tian Fangping-Technical consultant for Muyuan Group

U.S. Pork Exports Soar


Pork Commentary,  October 21st, 2019
Jim Long, President-CEO, Genesus Inc

U.S. Pork Export Sales soared last week with 351,000 metric tons purchased. Of that number 152,600 tonnes were by China combined with the week before’s 142,200. 

China purchased 294,800 metric tonnes the last two weeks. Farmer arithmetic equates that to about equivalency of 3 million market hogs. 

To say things appear to be heating up is an understatement. 

The total collapse of China’s hog production base is leading to the need for massive pork imports. You only need to see the announcement by Tyson Foods and JBS, two major U.S. packers with a combined daily harvest of over 170,000 per day. They both announced in the last few days that they will not accept hogs in the future that have been fed ractopamine (paylean). China will not purchase pork fed by ractopamine. You don’t need to be an ag-economist to connect the dots on what’s happening. 

Neither company wants to miss out on China sales- they both want to increase profits. They see it’s here- record sales to China last two weeks. We expect we are about to see a surge in hog prices in the not too distant future. The promise of huge pork sales to China look like they are now a reality. 

To put the last weeks export sales in perspective- Total U.S. Export to Oct 10th, is 1.180 million metric tonnes. Of the 1.180 million, 210,900 metric tonnes were sold last week! We are at record breaking export numbers with not only China, but to Mexico, Japan, and South Korea pushing exports to record levels. 

When you look back over the last 10 days, market hogs have gone up over $20 per head. This was despite weekly hog marketing’s at record levels. Its obvious demand must have driven prices higher. 

We expect some buyers jumped in trying to get ahead of the reality of higher prices coming. 

Below is chart on U.S. Meat Export Federation- It says it all! 
Graph source: www.usmef.org

China Price Update

China National Average Market Hog Price36.4 rmb/kg = $2.33 U.S. liveweight a lb.
Highest Hog Price in Guandong41.5 rmb/kg = $2.65 U.S. liveweight lb.
Retail Pork Price40-44 rmb/kg = $2.60 – $2.85 U.S. lb.
Pork Belly PricePork Belly Price
60 rmb/kg = $3.84 U.S. lb.


As the world’s largest and most influential swine industry event, the Allen D. Leman Swine Conference was founded in 1985 and has a 34 years history. The conference was introduced into China in 2012. Leman China is now considered one of the most valuable meetings in the swine industry through providing scientific solutions to the complex challenges facing the swine industry.   

The 8th Leman China Swine Conference & 2019 World Swine Industry Expo was held on October 19-21, 2019 in the Zhengzhou International Convention & Exhibition Center.

Swine experts from North America, China, and Europe presented the latest information and scientific solutions in swine production. Much focus was given upon ASF and best practices to deal with the epidemic. It is expected this year’s Leman China has drawn about 6,000 participants.

Genesus exhibited at this year’s conference and Expo and found much interest in Genesus products and services as the Genesus Brand name has become quite famous in China.

Representing Genesus were: Yolanda Hou, Executive Assistant in China; Lyle Jones, Director of Sales China; Yaping Gu General Manager China; Edwiin Hong, Business Development China
(Pictured left to right) 

USA-China have Agreed to a “Phase One” Trade Agreement


Last week we wrote about Hope being a pre-requisite to being a swine producer.  Hope got a boost last Friday when it was announced that USA-China have agreed to a “phase one” trade agreement. 

This phase is supposedly to include $50 billion in agriculture purchases by China. Supposedly 30 million metric tonnes of soybeans and an unspecified amount of pork. In return the U.S. will not increase a planned tariff increase scheduled for October 15.

It appears to be less than clear if China as part of the agreement is dropping or decreasing the tariffs of close to 70% on U.S. pork. 

Let’s assume they start taking offal’s and other cuts, the key is removing pork from the U.S. domestic market. 
With hogs at $2.11 U.S. lb in China, U.S. pork can be over $1.00 lb. and still pay a 70% tariff. Point is, flowing pork to China at any significant level can put 10₵ lb. on U.S. hogs in a very short time. This is good news for U.S. swine producers.

China could use some pork. Last week China’s hog price jumped to 33.56 rmb a kg. That’s $2.11 U.S. liveweight. A 260 lb. hog is bringing $560 U.S. Doesn’t take an ag-economist to figure out that the price is a true reflection of demand out-stepping a short supply. 

With ASF still eliminating pigs in China there is little relief in sight for Chinese consumers without large scale imports of pork and other meats.

Another reflection of supply-demand in China is early wean pig price. Last week it reached 72.22 rmb. Or just over $100 U.S. each. In February this year they were $25 U.S.

U.S.D.A. confirmed last week record large sales of pork to China including 18,810 tonnes for shipment this year and 123,362 tonnes for shipment in 2020. Our farmer arithmetic tells us the total is equal to about 1.5 million market hogs in carcass equivalent.

We expect that as the new trade commitment moves forward significant pork will be exported. All good news for U.S. pork producers and indirectly Canada’s as the higher U.S. hog price will push Canada’s higher.

Also, Oct 14 China Ministry of Agriculture announced that China’s sow inventory is down 38.9 percent in September from a year ago and pig herd down 41.1 percent. Although these numbers are different than ours and many others estimates, it indicates massive decline. The number also indicates continual decline with the sow herd down 1.5% and pig herd 2.4% from a month ago.

Take home message – China’s supply of pork is going to decline continually over the next months and with hog prices already $2.11 U.S. lb., where is the high?


Last week we attended the Alberta Livestock Expo, held in Lethbridge. It was very nice to visit with many customers. In this region Genesus has over 50 plus customers.

Like the rest of the USA-Canada, industry producers are not happy with the current hog price. Current prices don’t work if you want to make money. Hope comes with future prices that show profits in the coming months.  Many producers at the Lethbridge conference were booking advanced sales to lock in future profits.

One of the highlights at the annual Lethbridge Ag Expo is the Carcass competition. Hogs are judged at Maple Leaf Foods- Lethbridge Plant. The contest is a combination of back fat, loin depth, belly color and marbling. Genesus customer Rosedale was No. 1, Big Bend No.2. While Elm Springs and Fairlane came after third place, Genesus 4 of top 5 is further confirmation by third party judge that Genesus has the World’s Best Pork.

Get acquainted with the 
Global Mega Produce
A program of recognition led by National Hog Farmer sponsored by Genesus Inc. Zhengbang Group Zhengbang Group is recognized as a Global Mega Producer for 2019. Founded in 1996, Zhengbang Group is a national agricultural industrialization-leading enterprise with headquarters in Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province, China. The main scope of business includes animal husbandry, crop planting, agricultural materials marketing, distribution and financing. Zhengbang employs more than 35,800 people and has 315 branches across China. In 2018, the company produced over 5.5 million hogs. In 2019, ASF hit hard and had a big effect upon all producers in China. Despite ASF, Zhengbang has plans for continued expansion will be looked upon to play a significant role in rebuilding the Pork Industry in China. Let’s all recognize Zhengbang Group for their impressive accomplishments as a 2019 Global Mega Producer. 
Photo left to right: Hu Song, Agribusiness Consultant, Lyle L Jones, Director of Sales China Genesus, Wang Chuang, Zhengbang Dean of Research Institute, Mike Van Schepdael, Vice President, Genesus Inc. and Yaping Gu, General Manager China, Genesus Inc. 

Hope – A Pre-requisite to be a Hog Producer!


The U.S. hog market has shown some life in the last week with lean hogs gaining about 5₵ lb., getting close to 60₵.  But what is there to say. Current prices mean a $15- 20 U.S. per head loss.  It’s not a pretty hog market for producers.

It’s once again good to be a packer. One estimate we read had Packer Kill and Cut Gross Margin at $22.00 per head.  Currently with 6% more market hogs compared to last year, packers have lots of options.  No one pays more than they have too.

Last week the U.S. Hog marketing’s were 2,669,000 up 169,000 from a year ago. The huge numbers of hogs have led to the finishing capacity to be maxed out. We expect current market numbers are far greater than the current small pig placements. This in itself is beginning to create finishing space. 

The lean future market reflects the expectation of less hogs and greater demand, Friday with October 62.40; Feb 74.47; and April 81.50.

Last week in conversations with different industry veterans, they all commented on the negative attitude in our production base.  Many producers wonder what the future is. They have lost money. They see the trade war hitting swine producers and them being sacrificial lambs for the bigger picture.  This is in both the USA and Canada. 

This concurrently with the real hope that a trade agreement can be made to fill the cavernous hole ASF has created in China’s production base.


Rabobank- the world’s largest Ag lender reported last week that China’s pork production will fall by 10%-15% in 2020, on top of the 25% drop in 2019. Rabobank also expresses the opinion that China Pig herd has decreased by half in 2019 and is still falling.

We agree with Rabobank’s sentiment on where the China pork and hog supply is heading from our own observations in China.

What you really have to ask, what does a further 10-15% drop in pork production do to China’s hog prices?

Currently, China’s average price is 28.52 rmb/kg or $1.81 U.S. liveweight a lb. (a 260 lb hog-$470 U.S.). A further 10% drop is at least one million fewer market hogs a week on top of the current market hog supply. 
It’s mind boggling. How high can prices go? 

The pressure to import pork will be even greater as every week China’s hog and pork supply declines.

This week new trade discussions between the U.S. and China resume. Maybe some resolution that benefits U.S. hog producers? There is hope.  Hope is necessary pre-requisite to be a hog producer.


Last week JBS – The second largest packer group in U.S.A. (93,000 per day capacity), announced they will now stop accepting swine fed Ractopamine (paylean), a growth promoter. China will not accept Pork fed Ractopamine. In our opinion this is a clear signal JBS is getting themselves in a position to sell large quantities of pork to China.

Smithfield Foods – the largest U.S. packer (130,300 per day capacity) has already banned Ractopamine usage. 

Combined Smithfield and JBS at 213,000 per day are over 40% U.S. total packer capacity.

Last week, Dr. Steven McOrist wrote an article in Pig Progress on ASF.  In Southeast Asia he estimates a drop in production from ASF – 30% on commercial farms and 80% of backyard farms. 

If you add up the estimate he made for decrease in the expected supply in Southeast Asia- Viet Nam, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, it comes to over 5 million metric tonnes.  If close to correct, there will be a large increase in local hog prices and there will be increased pork imports to all these Southeast Asian countries. A further pull and demand on the U.S. hog market.


  • It’s no fun losing money as a U.S. – Canada producer. 
  • As a pig producer, hope springs internal. This market could change on a dime. 

A major move for exports and the dog might not run out of chain for a long time.

Get acquainted with the 
Global Mega Produce

A program of recognition led by National Hog Farmer sponsored by Genesus Inc.

CP Foods 

CP Foods is recognized as a Global Mega Producer for 2019.

The Charoen Pokphand Group is a diversified transnational conglomerate that consists of three core businesses that operate in the agri-food industry, retail and distribution, and telecommunications, as well as involvement in 10 additional industries such as finance, real estate, pharmacy, etc. 

CP Foods conducts business in more than 100 countries and employs more than 350,000 employees around the world. CP Group’s revenue from the agri-food sector totaled $5,6 million, with 65.6% coming from China and 34.5% from Thailand and Vietnam.In 2018, CP China produced 2.8 million hogs. However, in 2019, China was hard hit by ASF which is forcing big changes within the pork industry.  CP Group have new plans for significant growth in China to help fill the void left by the shortfall in the countries production. Let’s all recognize CP Group on their role in the rebuilding of the pork supply in China and significant presence in the global food industry. 

Photo left to right:
Mr. Bai Yufei – Senior Vice Chairman Agro-Industry & Food Business China Area, CP Group;
Mike Van Schepdael – Vice President, Genesus Inc. 

Wild Ride – Market Gyration Continues


Pork Commentary, September 16th 2019 
Jim Long, President-CEO, Genesus Inc. 

Last Monday, December Lean Hog Futures were 59.72₵ lb. On Friday, 5 days later, they closed at 68.70₵ lb. That’s a 9₵ lb. increase or about $20 per head in 5 days. 

It’s a Wild Ride!

It seems our daily emotions go up and down with the lean hog futures. Since mid April, December lean hog futures have traded up and down in a 30₵ lb. range (89.8-58-77) 
It’s nuts. One day things look good-next day- What the heck?


It’s all about China! 

Daily, we watch the China market price? What are tariffs? 
How much pork is being exported to China?

This past week the market benefited from some positive talk on USA-China trade negotiations. Also, from the China announcing they would not add more tariffs on U.S. pork. 

Pork net sales to China last week of August were 10,880 metric tonnes, the highest since May. (our simple arithmetic: one tonne is 2200 lbs/200 lb carcasses = 11 hogs per tonne  meaning 10,880 metric tonnes ~ 120,000 hogs equivalency.)

U.S. Export Meat Federation

Year to date Accumulated Pork export
January 1 to September 5

CountryYTD 2017YTD 2018YTD 2019YOY
Hong Kong42,99234,56432,144-7%

There have been 35 weeks since January 1 to September 5. 

China has averaged just over 5,000 tonnes of imports per week from USA since January 1. Going forward that’s a number to watch- a bump to 10,000 tonnes per week is doubling sales. 

What we need is to send 20,000 tonnes a week (240,000 hog equivalency). 

With what is going on in China with total lack of pork supply, it’s a reasonable number if tariffs could get lowered.

Last Week:

  • China Average price 27.62 rmb – $1.76 U.S. lb. liveweight or 270-pound hog = $475 U.S. head.
  • USA Average Price 53-54% lean 58.81 = 202 lb. carcass = 270 liveweight = $118 per head

That’s a difference of $357 per head between China-USA last week . With that price spread you’d think there will be lots of buyers wanting Pork in China.

Other China News:

The China Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs monitors 400 counties for pig production. In July the number of pig inventory fell by 9.4% month on month from June. Number of sows decreased by 8.9% from June.

The sow number decrease would between 2.5 – 3 million sows. The pig inventory down 30 million head approximately. This is in one month! ASF is far from under control in China.

The two largest pig companies in China are Wens and Muyuan. They released their sales for August.


  • 1.173 million market hogs sold in August.
  • A decrease of 34% from July. A decrease of 42.68% from August last year


  • 711,000 market hogs sold in August.
  • An increase 4.6% from July, but down 36.86% from August a year ago

The numbers from the two largest swine companies in China reflect in our opinion, the reality of China’s ASF issue


We made a promise, to deliver results…and we did! 

TQLS (China)

‘‘The main reason for TQLS to choose Genesus as our genetic supplier is because Genesus’s many years professional expertise and experience in swine breeding. 

Genesus can help our company to improve the production efficiency, also Genesus has been focusing on meat quality selection for over 20 years, which can help us to provide better quality pork to Chinese consumers. 

The breeding pigs from Genesus Nucleus herd helped us to increase the litter size by 2 piglets per litter, and reduce cost of gain, while the finishing time is reduced by 10 days.’’

– testimonial received from TQLS representatives.  

Jim Long’s Pork Commentary Sept 2019



Pork Commentary,  September 9th, 2019
Jim Long, President-CEO, Genesus Inc.

U.S. July Net Pork Exports Up 35.6%

Some positive news for the U.S. pork industry is the increase in the Pork Exports and decrease in Pork imports in July. Some Points:China / including Hong Kong at 112.67 million pounds was up significantly. A year ago July China/Hong Kong U.S. imports 23.48. Up 380%Mexico imported 150.75 million pounds in July. The highest month since last October. Up 18% from last July.We need continued export growth. It’s good to see China’s increased imports. Now that China’s hog price has hit record highs. A true reflection of decreased supply, it is logical China will import more pork.
We understand face to face trade talks between USA-China will be held in October. It would be nice for both countries to come to a common ground. 

Gene Editing

 Below is the link to MIT technology review article on Gene Editing in cattle. It’s a wake-up call for all pushing to take Gene Editing oversight away from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It seems in the race to expedited Gene Editing there could be serious implications. 
How much do we want to risk consumer Pork acceptance and demand with risky attempts at altering nature by Gene Editing and GMO’s? Click to learn more about:  Recombinetics Gene Edited Hornless Cattle Major DNA Screw-up  (English)  


 Meat Packers in Canada are asking for compensation from Federal Government due to China Import Meat ban. They are claiming $100 million in damages to date.  This pales in comparison to the losses of production that have been suffered for many months from market damage due to China tariffs on U.S. Pork, lowering Canadian Market Hog Prices because of related U.S. basis prices. The Canadian Government should be matching the U.S. governments’ compensation of $11 U.S. per head to producers. Canadian producers have suffered at least the $11 that U.S. producers are being compensated.  Many Canadian packers own hogs; the compensation to all producers would also help packers in this way as well. Even better get market opened back up to China! 

China Prices

 Last week Average China Hog Market Price was 26.9 rmb/kg = $1.73 U.S. liveweight. Highest Price was in Henan Province at 32 rmb/kg = $2.06 U.S. lb. liveweight. There is no doubt China’s pork supply has fallen and will fall further.  This from South China Morning Post quoting Chenjun Pan- Senior Analyst for Animal Protein at Rabobank. “Given the situation, we can expect the price to continue to go up at the same time, consumption to go down.” “This basic mechanism will help to slow down the ride in pork prices.” In our opinion there will be increased imports of pork and all meats to China.
The U.S. increase of Pork to China/Hong Kong in July is an indicator of what’s coming. China’s hog price has close to have doubled since July 1st. The need for imports continues to rise.

Feeding Brassica juncea canola cake to weaned pigs

Anh M. H. Le1, Lifang Wang1, JoséLandero1,2, Eduardo Beltranena1,3, and Ruurd T.Zijlstra1*

1Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB;

2Gowans Feed Consulting, Wainwright, AB; 3Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, Edmonton, AB


Take home message

Feeding increasing inclusions of yellow-seeded Brassica juncea canola cake up to 24 per cent in substitution for soybean meal in diets for weaned pigs maximized feed intake at 12 per cent inclusion and weight gain at 18 per cent inclusion. Remaining oil in cake costs about one-third of liquid oil added to pig diets, so feed cost was ~9 cents per kg gain or $1.6 per pig cheaper feeding 24 per cent cake in 35 days than soybean meal-only nursery diets with equal energy value.

Cake vs. meal –what’s the difference?

Most people celebrate birthdays eating cake. Pigs like cake too, but not such a sugary treat. Let us explain. Cleaned canola seed with ~45 per cent oil is pressed (Figure 1) first to remove a large portion of the oil. ‘Cake’is what we name the resulting product, which depending on how good the press is, leaves some oil in it (10 to 20 per cent). If cake is washed next with a solvent to squeeze out nearly all the remaining oil and dried, that’s what we call ‘meal’. This solvent-extracted meal is what you buy for animal feeding from big crushers that refine oil for human consumption. But if seed is simply pressed, not washed with solvent, the remaining oil in cake has far greater energy value compared with oil-depleted meal for feeding pigs. And if you bought canola cake at nearly the price of meal, the remaining oil in cake would cost you about one-third per kg compared with stocking liquid canola oil to add to pig diets.

Figure 1. Expeller-pressing canola seed. The seed is pressed by a rotating screw with narrowing flight against a barrel made of steel bars. Oil drips at the bottom; cake comes out at the other end. Photo by E. Beltranena©.

Dark vs. yellow canola –what’s the difference?

Most canola cultivars grown in western Canada have a dark seed coat (Brassica napus). These cultivars grow well on organic matter-rich Black, Dark Gray and Dark Brown topsoils of the subhumid central plains. But yellow-seeded canola cultivars (Brassica juncea) grow better on the dryer, warmer Brown soils of the southern Prairies. Yellow-seeded canola seems more tolerant to heat and drought stress and offers greater resistance to disease. Yellow canola alsohas a thinner seed coat and thus lower fibre content than dark-seeded canola resulting in greater feed energy value. However, yellow-seeded canola contains about triple the glucosinolate content than dark-seeded canola, and it is specifically high in a very bitter one named ‘gluconapin’that is well known to reduce the feed intake of pigs.

The weaned pig trial

Given that cake with remaining oil provides more feed energy than oil-depleted meal and that yellow-seeded canola provides more feed energy because of its thinner seed coat and thus lower fibre, we decided to evaluate feeding increasing levels of juncea canola cake to the most sensitive pig, weaned pigs. Knowing too about the high content of bitter-tasting gluconapin in yellow canola, we thought to not just press the seed, but extrude it first and then press it to deactivate as much gluconapin as possible. To achieve this, we sourced the juncea seed from southern Saskatchewan and took it to Apex Nutri-Solutions Inc. in Edberg, AB to extrude and press. The resulting cake contained 17 per cent fat, 35 per cent protein and 1.6 per cent available lysine. However, it still contained 11 µmol total glucosinolates per gram, of which most (9.7 µmol/g) was the bitter-tasting gluconapin.

We conducted this trial at the Swine Research and Technology Centre, University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB). Starting seven days post-weaning, 240 pigs weighing ~7.5 kg housed in 60 pens, four pigs per pen, were fed Phase 1 diets for two weeks (day 1–14) and subsequently Phase 2 diets for three weeks (day 15–35). The 5 wheat-based test diets for each of the 2 growth phases included 0, 6, 12, 18, or 24 per cent juncea cake in substitution for soybean meal. Increasing inclusions of juncea cake reduced diet protein, and increased fat and fibre content slightly. Diets without antimicrobials or growth promoters were formulated to 2.4 Mcal NE/kg and 5 g SID lysine/Mcal NE in Phase 1 and 2.3 Mcal NE/kg and 4.5 g SID lysine/Mcal NE in Phase 2. Pigs had free access to the pelleted diets and water throughout the 35-day trial. Individual pig body weight, pen feed added and remaining were weighed weekly. Faeces were collected at the end of each feeding phase to determine total tract digestibility of feed energy and protein.

What we found

Increasing the dietary inclusion of more fibrous yellow-seeded canola cake replacing less fibrous dehulled, solvent-extracted soybean meal marginally reduced the total tract digestibility of both feed energy (from 86.3 at 0 to 83.3% at 24% cake inclusion) and protein (from 83.8 at 0 to 78.8% at 24% inclusion) for both phases. As a result, diet digestible energy (from 3.5 at 0 to 3.45 Mcal DE at 24 per cent inclusion) and calculated net energy values (from 2.5 at 0 to 2.46 Mcal NE at 24 per cent inclusion) linearly decreased for both Phase 1 and Phase 2.

For the entire trial (days 0–35), increasing the dietary inclusion of junceacake resulted in curvilinear growth responses (Figure 2). It maximized pig daily feed intake at 12 per cent with a slightly decrease at greater cake inclusions most likely because of the bitter taste of gluconapin in cake. Daily weight gain was maximized at 18 per cent cake inclusion with no appreciable decline at 24 per cent inclusion. The increased daily weight gain was reflected in the final body weight of pigs being 24.4, 25.5, 25.9, 25.9 and 25.5 kg for pigs fed 0, 6, 12, 18 and 24 per cent cake, respectively. Our previous study showed that feeding increasing dietary inclusions of juncea canola meal linearly reduced feed intake and growth in weaned pigs. That was not the case this time feeding cake instead. Extrusion prior to pressing the yellow canola seed might have helped reduce the negative effects of the bitter-tasting gluconapin in B. juncea seed on feed intake.

Icing on the cake

Increasing the dietary inclusion of canola cake drastically reduced the amount of liquid oil needed to balance the energy value of the diets. Based on assumed market prices ($/tonne) of wheat 250, soybean meal 510, juncea cake 330, canola oil 1,100, and L-lysine-HCl 2200, the dietary inclusion of 6, 12, 18, and 24 per cent cake in substitution of SBM reduced feed cost by $10.72, 23.52, 34.33, and 46.04 per tonne, respectively for both growth phases. That implied feed cost savings of 0.59, 3.66, 6.38, and 8.68 cents per kg of body weight gain, or 0.1, 0.65, 1.16, and 1.59 dollars per pig, respectively in weaned pigs for the 35-day trial. You could call that icing on the cake!


We produced ~20 million tonnes of canola and ~7 million tonnes of soybean seed in Canada (2019-2020). #1 and #2 seed are rightfully directed for human food oil consumption and most of the meal (~95%) is exported. The more tonnage we produce, the more lower-grade canola and soybean seed would be available for local production of cakes for animal feeding. Cakes not only provide protein but also have remaining oil that boosts feed energy complementing that from cereal starch in pig diets.

Results from this trial showed that feeding increasing inclusions of yellow-seeded B. juncea canola cake up to 24 per cent in substitution for soybean meal in diets for weaned pigs maximized feed intake at 12 per cent inclusion and weight gain at 18 per cent inclusion. Given that the remaining oil in cake costs about one-third of liquid oil added to pig diets, cost per kg gain was nearly nine cents lower at 24 per cent cake inclusion than feeding soybean meal-only nursery diets with equal energy value. The feeding value of oilseed cake is greatest for weaned pigs given that they have reduced gut capacity compared with finishing pigs and sows. Concentrating feed energy in every bite results in more growth when young pigs can only eat so much.

Figure 2. Growth performance of weaned pigs fed increasing inclusions of yellow-seeded Brassica junceacake in substitution for soybean meal in nursery diets.


We appreciate the funding from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the Canola Council of Canada. We thank Calvin Boese and the staff at Apex Nutri-Solutions Inc. for extruding and expeller-pressing the yellow-seeded juncea canola.

Mitigation of accelerated deterioration of pig buildings

B. Predicala1,2, J. Cabahug1,2, A. Alvarado1, R. Baah1
1Prairie Swine Centre Inc., PO Box 21057, 2105 – 8thStreet East, Saskatoon, SK, S7H 5N9
2Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK 


When we look across the Canadian pork industry it becomes apparent that due to the age of most facilities a large percentage will need to be replaced or renovated over the next few years. Most buildings average between 20-30 years old. The majority of hog barns are completely enclosed utilizing a negative pressure ventilation system to maintain pig comfort. In order to reduce heating costs during winter months ventilation is generally turned down to a minimum ventilation rate. The combination of minimum ventilation and, in some areas high winds, causes exhaust air to recirculate within the facility leading to poor air quality. This in turn increases deterioration due to increased exposure to moisture and corrosive gases.

This project set out to determine Canadian specific strategies for decreasing the current pace of barn deterioration. With the overall focus of this project being to combat the rate of deterioration of swine facilities a critical literature review was under taken that identified solutions that were applicable to Canadian pig barns. The second phase of the project included a survey which was presented to various stakeholder groups across Canada. The survey included producers, builders, material and equipment suppliers and academic and research and development organizations. The survey revealed that approximately 60 per cent of producers struggle with rapid deterioration. Specifically, the structural components that they had issues with were roofing (50 per cent of respondents), penning/ stalls (50 per cent), exterior walls (40 per cent), ceilings, trusses and/or attic, and feeding and drinking system (30 per cent). No significant issues with accelerated deterioration have been identified in partition walls between two rooms, manure and drainage system, and barn foundations.

Building maintenance improvement is both the simplest and least expensive strategy to increase the lifespan of production facilities.


Table 1 summarizes the issues encountered by producers and builders related to barn deterioration and their recommendations for mitigation. The most common issue was corrosion/rusting of barn roof, penning/ stalls, exterior walls, ceiling, trusses, and feeding and drinking system. Some respondents have pointed out issues related to moisture decay in trusses, and cracks in penning/stalls, and feeding and drinking system. Table 1.  Summary of responses from producers, builders and equipment supplier on current status of pig barns in terms of barn degradation and their recommendations to mitigate them.

Structural componentsIssues encountered(% of respondents reporting the issue)Mitigation strategies
1. Roofing– corrosion/rusting (100%)– use of a thicker gauge of tin- better screws- application of paint on both sides of tin- modification of ventilation system so that barn air does not  get in contact with the roof
2. Penning/stalls– corrosion/rusting (86%)- cracks (29%)– stronger support, use of heavier anchors (1/2” rather than 3/8”)- use of solid rod; avoid welds in wet areas- use of stainless steel for first 6” of post or anything that has contact with manure or the floor- use of plastic (if not costly) instead of concrete or steel
3. Exterior walls– corrosion/rusting (100%)– plastic walls filled with concrete- thicker tin- concrete construction- better exhaust fans; proper ventilation
4. Ceiling– corrosion/rusting (60%)– use of screws, not nails- application of paint- use of plastic or fiberglass products
5. Trusses– corrosion/rusting (80%)- moisture decay (60%)– installation of ridge ventilation- use of galvanized or stainless steel, protective coatings and insulation- better ventilation to avoid back drafting
6. Feeding and drinking system– corrosion/rusting (40%)- cracks (40%)– thicker PVC for drinking system- use of steel feeders- use of plastics above pig level and steel at pig level- all intake hoppers and drive units should be stainless steel

Mitigation Strategies

Among the solutions to improve the building life span such as surface treatments, new material, ventilation system, control and maintenance (guide information), the latest has been pointed out by the participants as the least expensive one and the easiest to adopt by producers. However, few consider maintenance improvement as the best option to improve building life span. If the cost would not be considered as a decision parameter, new building material and ventilation system improvement should be the priorities.  For producers, when the cost of the technology is not considered, an adequate ventilation system, sufficient insulation and high durability wall materials are the most attractive solutions to improve building life span.

Table 2.  Summary list of potential solutions to rapid barn deterioration and their applicability to Canadian swine barns based on literature review and survey.

Category/Potential SolutionDescriptionApplicability
A. Building Design
1. Wood  
Durable design– use of timber with bigger dimensions, well-seasoned and with good detailingApplicable
2. Metal  
Durable design– rigid or batt insulation (e.g. 4-6 mil polyethylene) plus vapour barrier especially on truss assembly- appropriate design gap between insulation and wall or ceiling for moisture drying in the event of penetration- good vapour barrier on areas in close proximity to fastenersApplicable
3. Ventilation (in general)– use of stacks or discharge tubes to release exhaust air away from the animal building- extension of insulation and vapour barrier from inside the building to underside of vented overhangs- chimneys installed intermittently between trusses for ridge ventilation- separate ventilation for barn interior and the atticApplicable; extent of current application in Canadian swine/livestock buildings not confirmed
B. Building Material Selection and Treatments
1. Wood– use of naturally durable wood 
Chemical preservation– oil-based preservatives (Creosote oil)- fixed water soluble preservatives- organic solvent preservativesApplicable
Impregnation of wood with polymers– improve the physical and mechanical properties of low grade wood species- use of copolymer derived from allyl alcohol and methyl methacrylate (optimum compatibility and compressive strength perpendicular to fiber increased by approximately 100 times while water absorption was reduced by 50%; biodegradation did not occur)Applicable; Further investigation of effectiveness against deterioration needed
Bio-control– wood treated with urea and ureolytic bacteria (Proteus sp. and Bacillus sp.)- combination of Proteus sp.and Trichoderma viride to inhibit growth and kill fungiFurther investigation of effectiveness needed
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles– used to prevent fungal Hypocrea lixii(white-rot) and Mucor circinelloides(brown-rot)) growth in wood- applied on surfaces by spraying or simple brushingFurther investigation of applicability/ feasibility for use in livestock buildings needed
2. Metal  
Stainless steel– known resistance to dry corrosion (oxidation) and attack of acidic condensatesApplicable
G90 hot-dip galvanized (G90 HDG)– treated with zinc phosphate- recommended by U.S Steel for metal connectors in animal housing, G90 zinc coating are typically used in Canada (G60 for US)Applicable
Duplex System– e.g. G90 Duplex = G90 connector + paint and G185 Duplex = G185 connector + paint- G90 duplex or G185 connectors with vapour barrier and separate ventilation for attic space is recommended in animal buildingsApplicable
Avoidance of galvanic corrosion– e.g. using stainless steel nails for stainless steel hangers and galvanized nails for galvanized hangersApplicable
Use of other materials such as ceramic materials and polymers Applicable
Galvanizing– zinc layer application on steel and iron structuresApplicable
Coatings – epoxy coating that is lead and chromate-free recommended for metal truss platesApplicable
Repair of corrosion-attacked metals– cleaning as a de-rusting method remains the advised method over use of rust convertersApplicable
3. Concrete  
Concrete mix composition– use of sulphate-resistant binder-like type 50 Portland cement (equivalent to CEM IIIB concrete based on CSA A3000, 1998) as most effective among 8 concrete treatments – use of other supplementary cementing materials such as slag, fly ash and silica fume to minimize tricalcium aluminate (C3A) content of concrete mix- use of additives for concrete top layers (e.g. product “S” based on ground tuff) to increase life of concrete compared to regular sand-cement mix for top layer of animal housing flooring- also applies for protection of steel reinforcementsApplicable; feasibility and cost analysis needed for application in livestock buildings
C. Building Management/Production Practices
Interior cleanliness and maintenance– proper cleaning and disinfection; high pressure washing and use of cleaners to effectively remove aggressive residues and manure on surfaces- periodic inspection for leaks through vapour barriers and corrosion on connectors and fasteners- removal of corrosive agents from the attic and additional protective coatings must be provided to connectorsApplicable
Feeding method– wet feeding method can make the degradation problem on barn floors worse- greater feeder-drinker distance to minimize lactic and acetic acid attack on concrete by the feed-water mixApplicable
Others– putting concrete or brick bin underneath nipple drinkers- protection of concrete floor itself by fibre cement-board, metal plate, rubber sheet, or a top layer “product S”Applicable


When considering all the potential strategies to mitigate building deterioration, it was apparent that considering appropriate ventilation, environmental control and air treatments, improvement of corrosion protection efficiency of building materials, and adequate building maintenance would have the greatest impact within Canadian swine facilities. These strategies still need to be evaluated in a barn to determine their full potential in increasing the lifespan of Canadian swine facilities. 

Your Daily Bacon Spring 2019

By Buddy Simmons

Hello there again, bacon connoisseurs! We’re back with another edition of Your Daily Bacon. We are hitting the newswires for material again like we did for our last rendition. That’s mainly because the trough was not dry, to our surprise. During a scan of the internet, we learned there were a few amusing – and somewhat unsettling – stories. While not late-breaking headline news, these are fairly recent, all things considered.

We do eat other meats, but wrapping them in bacon 
just makes them better! What doesn’t bacon make better?

Pigs are reputed to be pretty intelligent animals. This first pig tale leaves us wondering just how clever they really are…

In Champaign, Illinois, a tractor trailer carrying a load of pigs overturned on Interstate I-57 north, resulting in pigs on the interstate on the lam. Law enforcement was called, of course, who in turn brought in the University of Illinois Vet-med to assist and the pigs were herded into the median. The driver and another car that got involved in the crash were unharmed, but the story did not mention any pig casualties. 
What gives us pause is this. Did the pigs engineer this mishap? Did somebody slip up and mention the final destination within earshot of the pigs? Pigs are clever, but perhaps they’re even smarter than we gave them credit for.

You can probably figure out what happened next. It didn’t work entirely as planned and they were recaptured without incident. To paraphrase the poet Robert Burns, “The best laid plans of pigs and men go often askew.”

Not bad, but we’d change it to “Bacon is red, bacon is 
nifty. One strip is never enough, and neither is fifty.”

Next, this one is from a year ago, but simply too rich to pas up reporting.
A police dispatcher in North Ridgeville, Ohio received a rather unusual call from a man in the early morning. It seems that…hey, you know what? We’ll just copy a transcript of the call – it will do this story more justice.

Dispatcher: North Ridgeville police.
Caller: Uh, hi, I’m walking from the Elyria train station to my house in North Ridgeville and a random pig just came up and started following me.
Dispatcher: A pig, you said?
Caller: Yes. Short pause. “It seems very keen to stay with me, so…

Naturally, the cops were a bit skeptical and figured they were dealing with a very inebriated individual, to say the least. What would anybody think, really?
But police officers are duty-bound, so went to the location to see what was up. Upon arriving they discovered that a pig was, in fact, following the man who had placed the call. The man was not intoxicated, and the pig was not imaginary, but he was apparently lonely. The surprised police took the pig into custody. 

“We will acknowledge the irony of the pig in a police car so that anyone that thinks they’re funny is actually unoriginal and trying too hard,” the department said in a statement.
The pig was placed into the custody of the local dog kennel and the owner was tracked down eventually. How this was accomplished was not detailed, but it turns out the pig’s name was “Zoe” and she was returned to her home. All’s well that ends well!

Now, we are blurring the Daily Bacon lines a little to report a scientific breakthrough, if it can be called that. Given the normal tone of Your Daily Bacon, naturally it will be a bit flippant. This is such a major thing that it probably will not be news by the time you read this, but just in case, here it is.

Scientists have managed to reanimate deceased pig brain cells! Yup. They did. Now, this does not mean that they were able to create a fully functional pig by resurrecting its brain, but it is definitely a breakthrough that could have a lasting impact on medicine and the world. Mind you, reviving some cells and reviving a brain are two very different situations. But still, the implications could be staggering.

There’s innovation, and then there is sheer genius. 
This transcends both!

Now, whether that impact will be a cure for brain maladies, or the Earth being overrun with zombie pigs, remains to be seen. And while those brain cells were no doubt revived in a sterile laboratory and restricted to a petri dish, being “Your Daily Bacon”, we cannot help but imagine a Victor Frankenstein-type character strapping a deceased pig to a table and raising it into a lightning storm and then shouting, “It’s alive! It’s alive!”
Also in that scenario, there could be two very different results. Result A would be success, a Frankenpig! Result B might be a really well-cooked, tender collection of bacon, pork loin, etc. In other words a win-win for Victor Frankenstein.

Here are a few short-takes of other newsworthy pigs.
In the Bahamas, a Venezuelan model was posing was posing for a swimsuit photo shoot when a group of four feral pigs wandered over to take a closer look. One decided to sample the model and gave her an unexpected nibble. Understandably, the model gave a squeal, probably not a good idea considering the nature of her assailants, and when another pig decided to give chase, the hapless lady fled to some rocks. The model was unharmed and took it in good humour after the initial shock wore off.

A pig in Franschhoek, South Africa has entered the world of art. When it was discovered that the young pig liked to play with paintbrushes, the only toys she did not eat. The owners decided to provide some paint and a canvas to see what would happen…and what happened was the pig began to actually paint the canvas.  Her preferred style is abstract, and the paintings reportedly sold on the Internet for thousands of dollars. Her name, if you have not guessed it already, is now “Pigcasso.”

And that’s it for this time around. Don’t forget to send us any pertinent pig news you may come across!