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URBANA — Hog producers are
breathing a sigh of relief because, although they still face losses
this fall and early winter, it appears that these will not be as
severe as anticipated, said a Purdue University Extension marketing
"A return to break-even prices can be
anticipated by early spring, with some positive returns by late
spring and summer," said Chris Hurt. "If additional sow liquidation
occurs this fall and winter, hog prices should be strong in the last
half of 2003 and into 2004.
"For now, producers should calculate
their variable or out-of-pocket costs and continue to produce hogs
this fall, as long as they anticipate they can recover these
variable costs. In general, most will continue to keep animals in
inventory, but they should trim their least productive animals, keep
market weights moderate and continue to evaluate their long-term
strategies in this changing industry."
Hurt’s comments came as he reviewed the
USDA’s September Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report, which showed the
breeding herd to be down 1.7 percent as of Sept. 1, following a
slightly higher inventory in June.
"The panic selling of sows and
lightweight market hogs in July and August appears to have a silver
lining, as the breeding herd has shifted into liquidation and market
hog numbers will begin to decline later this fall," he said. "As a
result, the fears of insufficient slaughter capacity and horribly
depressed prices this fall have eased. Hog producers will still have
losses to face in coming months, but they will not be nearly as
large as was feared."
The decline in the breeding herd can be
attributed to rapid liquidation of sows in July (up 20 percent),
August (up 17 percent) and September (up 12 percent). During these
three months, a total of 120,000 more sows were slaughtered as
compared with the same period last year. Looking back to the spring,
sow slaughter in the months of April, May and June was also 5
percent larger than during the same period last year, representing
an additional 40,000 sows.
"Fewer sows meant that farrowings this
past summer were much lower than anticipated," said Hurt. "In the
June quarterly report, producers indicated they would farrow 2
percent more sows in the June-August period but actually reduced
farrowings by 1.5 percent.
"As a result of the smaller summer
farrowings, the inventory of market hogs was also much smaller than
anticipated. The number of pigs that weighed 120 to 179 pounds,
representing the bulk of October slaughter, was up 3 percent. But
slaughter of market animals should begin to drop below year-earlier
levels in November, as the 60- to 119-pound inventory was down
modestly. The number of pigs that will come to market in December to
February was down 1 percent."
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Hurt noted that producers indicated
that they intend to continue to reduce sow farrowings, and thus
market hog supplies, into 2003. Fall farrowing intentions were down
2.5 percent, and winter farrowing intentions were down 1 percent.
Marketing weights have also come down
sharply and are expected to help moderate pork supplies during the
next 12 months.
"The reason is high feed prices and low
hog prices," said Hurt. "The transition to lower weights occurred in
August. At the start of the month, slaughter weights were nearly 1
percent above the weights of the previous year but dropped below
year-ago weights by the end of the month. Weights have moderated
further in September, dropping as much as 2 percent below last year,
likely because of advance marketing of market hogs.
"For the fall, weights are expected to
remain slightly under those of last year but can be expected to
increase with higher hog prices into the winter. For the next 12
months, weights may be up only about 0.4 percent."
Hurt indicated the hog price tone
should improve immediately with prospects for less pork than had
been anticipated. Still, pork production in the fourth quarter of
2002 and first quarter of 2003 will likely be nearly unchanged from
production in the respective quarters in the previous year. However,
by spring and summer, supplies are expected to drop by about 2 to 3
percent. For all of 2003, pork production should be down about 2
"Fall prices for 51 to 52 percent lean
hogs are now expected to average in the $30 to $34 range," said
Hurt. "This is a substantial improvement over the mid- to higher
$20s discussed before the report. Prices should improve to the
higher $30s in the winter and keep marching higher into the spring,
when they are expected to average in the low $40s. Summer 2003
prices may reach the low to mid-$40s."
Because of the rapid liquidation,
financial losses are not expected to be nearly as large as feared
prior to the report. Total costs are currently estimated in the $39
to $41 range and have declined somewhat with moderation in corn and
meal prices since the Sept. 12 USDA grain updates. Losses in the
third quarter just completed are estimated at about
$20 per head but are expected to be
somewhat larger for the last quarter of the year, at $22 per head.
winter, losses should be reduced to about $5 per head," said Hurt.
"There is potential for a return to break-even prices by the spring
and some profits by summer. Lower feed prices by the fall of 2003
could drop costs back into the higher $30s."
of I news release]
for livestock producers
URBANA — Some parts of
Illinois are reporting moldy corn after a growing season marked by
heat and stress. Livestock producers need to exercise caution if
they are feeding corn possibly tainted by mold, said Michael Hutjens,
University of Illinois Extension dairy specialist.
"Illinois toxicologists report that the
moldy corn samples they are seeing appear to be Fumonsin and
recommended that producers have tests conducted for aflatoxins, DON,
zearlenone and fumonsins in representative samples of corn," he
said. "The cost is $65 per sample to screen for four mycotoxins,
while Fumonsin alone is $30."
Mycotoxin and Fumonsin contamination of
corn fed to livestock can cause a number of problems. To avoid
these, livestock producers should have grain tested before feeding
and, if grain is found to be contaminated, strictly follow U.S. Food
and Drug Administration guidelines for its use.
"Producers also need to remember that
proper handling of damaged corn is critical, as additional growth
and mycotoxin occurs if moisture, oxygen and warm temperatures exist
during storage and handling of the damaged feed," said Hutjens.
Based on FDA guidelines, Gavin Meerdink,
U of I Extension beef and feed safety veterinarian, recommends the
following levels in feed: no more than 300 parts per billion (ppb)
in corn fed to finishing beef cattle; 200 ppb for finishing (over
100 pounds) swine; 100 ppb for breeding beef cattle, breeding swine
and mature poultry; and 20 ppb for other animal feeds.
[to top of second column in
"Based on recommendations of U of I
Extension veterinarians, dairy cattle diets should not contain more
than 20 ppb in the total ration dry matter," said Hutjens. "This is
not because of a health threat to the lactating cow; rather it is
related to milk residues."
Hutjens said the aflatoxin is
metabolized by the dairy cow and some can be excreted in the milk.
Milk must be under the 0.5 ppb level, the maximum allowed by the
"In addition to losses from tainted
milk, dairy producers also can see decreased feed intake by their
cows, reduced rumen VFA production, increased liver damage, lowered
reproductive efficiency and less milk yield," said Hutjens.
livestock producers need to be aware of these potential problems and
exercise care in feed use of mold-damaged corn."
[U of I news release]
tool can map and
analyze any part of Illinois
[SEPT. 27, 2002]
URBANA — Everyone, from
farmers and natural resource experts to city planners and real
estate agents, has an innovative new Web tool at their fingertips,
thanks to the combined efforts of the University of Illinois, the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other agencies.
The tool is the Resource Management
Mapping Service, the RMMS, a new website that allows people to
create maps of any area within Illinois in a matter of minutes.
"The uses for the RMMS website are as
varied as the users," said Rick Farnsworth, natural resources
economist with University of Illinois Extension. "State staff uses
RMMS to track changes in natural resources and adapt management
plans accordingly. And farmers visit the site to get a bird’s-eye
view of production or calculate acreage needed for state and federal
"A long-distance runner once used the
website to measure and map a marathon route," Farnsworth added. "In
addition, real estate agents have used it to show prospective
clients the area in which they hope to buy property."
"City planners also benefit," he said.
"If a town wants to expand, they need information about the impact
this growth will have. For instance, where will this growth occur in
relation to the town’s existing boundaries? Will growth encroach on
the state’s mandated buffer around public wells or protected
habitat? They can start making decisions using the maps they create
on this website."
"One of the key strengths of RMMS is
that we have most of the data that is publicly available from state
and federal agencies," Farnsworth noted. "Users can come to one
site, locate the area of interest to them and create the maps they
Users can search by county, watershed,
town or ZIP code, or they can draw rectangles on the map to zoom to
an area they want to view, he said. Once there, they can choose a
base layer on which to lay all other data layers. There are more
than a dozen base layers, including cropland maps from 1998, 1999
and 2000 or aerial photographs taken in 1998 and 1999 that allow you
to see the land in question.
After a base layer has been chosen, any
number of other layers can be added. These include:
• Resource layers, which
identify county land, lakes, rivers, watersheds, wetlands and other
natural resource features.
• Administrative layers,
which include various Department of Natural Resources districts, as
well as townships, congressional and legislative districts.
• Economic layers, such as
state highways, county roads, wells and more.
[to top of second column in
After choosing the layers you wish to
see, simply hit the refresh button. One note of caution: Zoom in to
the area you want to map before overlaying data. Most of the data
sets are very large and take time to load. The smaller the area you
choose, the less time you will spend waiting to view your map.
When users are finished, they can
create their own log-in name and password, then load and save their
map for future reference. Maps can also be printed or e-mailed to
work associates, state agencies, family or friends.
According to Farnsworth, the next step
for the RMMS site is to create decision tools based on the
"During the first two years, our job
was to collect data and make it available over the Web," he said.
"Now we’re developing tools that will help agencies and the public
assess the impacts of land use change on the state’s natural
resources. Our partnership with IDNR and the other agencies is
focusing university research on the state’s resource problems and
providing the means in which it can be used shortly after it becomes
The Wetland Impact Review Tool, or
WIRT, is the first of several such tools that will come online in
"When someone wants to change land
use," said Farnsworth, "WIRT will alert the user to likely resource
problems. Click on the WIRT tool, zoom in to the land in question
and draw a line around it. Everything else is automatic. WIRT will
give you a head’s-up on the presence of nearby wetlands, nature
preserves, streams and flood zones, to name a few."
The RMMS website is funded by the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Council on
Food and Agricultural Research, C-FAR. Farnsworth believes it is a
noteworthy success story of cooperation that started with C-FAR
members setting a high priority on better resource management of the
state’s natural resources.
"C-FAR provided funds to collect data
and build new partnerships between the university and the state of
Illinois," said Farnsworth. "The end result will be a
state-of-the-art system that IDNR and the public can use to protect
the state’s soil, water, plant and animal resources."
website is located at
of Illinois press
application goes high-tech
URBANA — The
pick-a-gear-and-go method of manure application could soon be a
thing of the past.
Ted Funk, University
of Illinois agricultural engineer, is developing a high-tech,
low-cost slurry applicator that will supply a predetermined,
constant flow of manure that can be varied to provide a more precise
farmers have judged their rate of manure application by the speed of
their tractor. Go slow and the application is heavy. Speed up and
the application is light. Without the equipment necessary to measure
application rates, farmers cannot accurately judge the amount of
manure going onto their fields.
But ongoing concerns
over pollution risks from field runoff have resulted in stricter
government regulations, which are holding producers increasingly
accountable for their manure management practices.
So Funk has adapted a
pneumatic pinch valve to control slurry flow rates. The pinch valve
is connected to a computer and adjusts automatically to changes in
"We can measure the
pressure differences in the liquid streams, and by that we can
predict what the flow rates are," said Funk.
The valve, 6 inches
in diameter to match the discharge pipes of most tanks, is also
designed to prevent clogs in the system.
"It’s a wonderful
valve, because you can’t clog it," said Funk. "If it starts to
clog, you just release valve pressure and it opens up."
A radar gun on the
tractor senses how fast the equipment is going, and that information
is fed into the computer. Then the flow rate to the valve adjusts
"If we set our
application rate at 5,000 gallons per acre, it will measure the
field speed and keep it at 5,000 gallons, no matter how fast or how
slow you drive," said Funk.
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The next level of
development will incorporate the use of Global Positioning System
"A GPS unit can sense
when farmers are getting close to a stream or a well, someplace
where they can’t legally apply manure," said Funk. "That information
will shut the applicator off automatically."
More advanced GPS
technology will use maps that already have calculations done based
on field soil tests.
"How much manure
should go to various parts of the field, based on the fertility of
the field?" asked Funk. "Applying manure based on what the crop is
going to need — that’s the gold standard."
marketed that can control the rate of slurry applications cost as
much as $30,000. Funk hopes to provide this technology at a more
reasonable price for the small producer.
"Most farmers already
have a slurry tank," Funk said. "We’re trying to develop a system
for that farmer. We want to be able to tell him, ‘Here’s what you
buy. Here’s how you put it together.’" Parts for the system should
be on the order of $5,000.
Funk hopes to have
the system up and running within a year. "We’re still working on
getting some bugs out of the main hardware, but I think we have a
good picture on how we control the system itself."
Top Air of Cincinnati, Ohio, has loaned
the project a slurry tank and soil injection equipment. The research
is funded by the Illinois Council on Food and Agricultural Research.
[U of I news release]
ethanol byproducts as feed
URBANA — The rapid growth of
the ethanol industry in the Midwest has had a spinoff benefit for
the Illinois livestock industry — an increased quantity of potential
feed, according to University of Illinois Extension specialists.
Distillers’ grains are produced as byproducts of the fermentation of
grain into alcohol. The grains are fed wet or dried and sold as a
high-protein or energy grain feed.
"Historically, this product has not
been used in swine diets because of the low protein quality, low
amino acid digestibility, high fiber content and the nutrient
variability among the sources," said Gilbert Hollis, U of I
Extension swine specialist. "This left an image of an inferior
ingredient for swine diets."
However, recent University of Minnesota
research indicates that new ethanol plants are producing byproducts
with higher nutrient content and digestibility than that listed in
the 1998 National Research Council publication on swine nutrient
"Distillers’ grain should be positioned
as a protein supplement in the rations of dairy cows," said Mike
Hutjens, U of I dairy specialist. "Five pounds of dried distillers’
grain (DDG) or 10 pounds of wet distillers’ grain (WDG) is a
‘conservative’ upper limit. These levels could provide one-half of
the supplemental protein, with the remaining half from soybean
meal-based protein supplements."
According to Dan Faulkner, U of I
Extension beef specialist, DDG or WDG can be fed as up to 30 percent
of a beef cattle diet.
"Based on the energy content of
distillers’ grain for beef cattle, DDG’s break-even price was
reported at $94 a ton, and WDG with 45 percent dry matter was $47,"
For swine, Hollis said distillers’
grains have higher protein, fat and fiber content than corn due to
the fermentation process removing the starch component.
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"Distillers’ byproducts do have several
features that limit use in swine diets," he noted. "The high fiber
content may cause diarrhea in young pigs. Distillers’ grains will
have a lower metabolizable energy content due to less starch. The
crude protein content is relatively high, but the amino acid profile
is not well-balanced."
Hollis added that swine diets
containing distillers’ dried grain with solubles need to be
formulated on a digestible lysine and energy basis. Formulating the
diet on a crude protein basis will result in a lysine deficiency and
possibly a deficiency of other amino acids, which will reduce growth
All three specialists noted there are a
number of guidelines livestock producers need to follow when using
distillers’ grains in feed.
are available on the Web at
Click on the PorkNet icon and then on the "DDGS Feeding" topic.
Information about dairy and beef cattle feeding guidelines can also
be found at that site. Click on the DairyNet icon and then search
for "distillers." This will take users to a January report,
"Distillers Grain Opportunities" by Hutjens.
[U of I news release]