I’m writing this weeks blog from the McDonald’s in Worthington. I was a speaker at the Nebraska Pork Producer annual meeting yesterday and the latest snow storm is preventing me from completing my journey home. Highways in southern Minnesota are closed once again and deliveries of market pigs and movements of weaned pigs are disrupted. The winter weather in the upper Midwest has made it tough for the market watchers among us to get a really good handle on the supply of pigs coming to market. Was the USDA correct or did they over/under count on the December 1 inventory?
The latest HSUS video of feedback being used at a Kentucky farm to aid in the control of PED virus appears to have had little market impact. In the release of the video HSUS claimed that pigs in outdoor facilities are ‘healthier’ and less likely to require such procedures as feedback. With the winter weather this year, I don’t look fondly at the outdoor methods of pig production that I grew up with. A winter such as this year would have been brutal for pigs, in spite of producers every efforts to provide for their needs.
Many of us remember the days of lame sows as a result of ice cuts on the soles of their feet, frozen underlines from lying on wet/frozen bedding, boars with frozen testicles etc. We all have too much experience in repairing rectal prolapses that resulted from pig piling in corners of shelters as they tried to retain body heat.