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Hog Market Update, from Dr. Lee Schulz, ISU Extension livestock economist

2016 Hog Production, Disposition and Income

In Iowa, the pork industry is a significant part of the state’s agricultural sector and Iowa’s overall economy. Iowa’s hog operations represent over 25% of all cash receipts for Iowa agriculture.

Recently, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service released the Meat Animals Production, Disposition, and Income 2016 Summary. The report is a breakdown of inventory changes and marketings of cattle and swine by state for the most recent two calendar years. For swine, the pig crop and inshipments are added to beginning inventory. Then marketings, farm slaughter, and deaths are subtracted leaving ending inventory. Estimates of aggregate production (in pounds) and its value at the state level are also given. The inventory totals match USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service inventory levels in the Hogs and Pigs Reports. The breakdowns are the new or additional information. The report is useful for gaining a general understanding of the important segments across states. Also, the statistics are useful to quantify regional economic drivers. Some highlights are:

  • Last year set a new record of 35,611 billion pounds of hogs produced. That figure is 2.2% larger than 2015’s 34.856 billion pounds, and marks the second straight year in which hog production has been record large.
  • Total cash receipts from hogs and pigs slipped in 2016 amid the larger production, falling to $18.857 billion, 8.6% lower than 2015’s $20.624 billion and 28.9% lower than 2014’s record $26.518 billion. The last time hogs and pigs cash receipts were this low was in 2010.
  • The total value of U.S. pork production also eased in 2016 to $17.215 billion, down 8.8% from 2015’s $18.877 billion. Value of pork production removes the value of sales between producers (predominantly weaned and feeder pigs) leaving just net value added by pork producers.
  • Iowa continues to be the far-and-away leader in hog production, having 2016 cash receipts and production value of $6.351 billion and $5.516 billion, respectively. Those represent 33.7% of total U.S. cash receipts and 32.0% of total U.S. hog production value.

  • Minnesota maintained, over North Carolina, the number two ranking for cash receipts from hogs. In 2016, Minnesota’s producers generated $2.277 billion from hog sales while North Carolina’s industry realized $2.103 billion in receipts. North Carolina has led Minnesota for several years in value of production since a higher proportion of Minnesota’s total output is produced from purchased weaned or feeder pigs whose value is deducted from cash receipts to arrive at production value. Those value of production figures for 2016 were $2.074 billion and $1.974 billion, respectively.

The Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) is in effect.

See our updated VFD questions and scenarios with responses from FDA (May 2017)

General and specific VFD information on our website.

This ISU publication provides an overview of the veterinary feed directive and how to comply with the law: Veterinary Feed Directive

View the recent Veterinary Feed Directive: "What You Need to Know" webinar provided by Iowa Farm Bureau in two parts: segment #1 (25:14) and segment #2 (44:36)

Background: In 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began issuing Compliance Policy Guides (CPG) regarding antibiotic usage in animal agriculture. Compliance Policy Guide 209 established FDA’s position that medically important antibiotics should not be used for production enhancement (rate of gain or feed efficiency) and that veterinary oversight should be required when using medically important antibiotics for treatment, prevention or control.

Manure pumping and application safety


By Dr. Dan Andersen, excerpt from IMMAG newsletter

Hydrogen Sulfide Safety
When working around manure, safety should be practiced all year. Manure decomposition releases methane, ammonia, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. During agitation and pumping we are particularly concerned with the release of hydrogen sulfide, when levels of the gas can reach deadly levels in a short amount of time. At low levels, hydrogen sulfide is recognized by its rotten egg smell, but after a short period of time you lose the ability to detect the gas. Even at low concentrations hydrogen sulfide can have serious health impacts.

During the 2016 Manure Applicator Certification programs, commercial and confinement applicators were surveyed about the usage of hydrogen sulfide safety equipment. At this time, five percent of commercial applicators and two percent of confinement applicators were using hydrogen sulfide monitoring equipment. Monitoring equipment, which ranges in price from $99-$800, will alert you when the gas has reached dangerous levels, making you aware of your surrounding and the need, if necessary, to remove yourself from the potential danger.

Good management practices to follow when agitating and pumping manure include:

  • Verify all fans are working and air inlets are open
  • Place a tarp over pump-out to protect the applicator
  • Communicate with farmer and crew
  • Listen for pig distress
  • Be aware and alert as dangerous conditions can develop quickly

Watch: "Foaming and Deep-Pit Manure Pumping Safety" video (17:11)

Leon Sheets, northeast Iowa producer, shares his story about a flash fire at his barn. His message, “Farmers need to be careful whether they are pumping, power washing, or doing maintenance, when it comes to these accidents, we want no more, nobody else.”

Watch: Leon Sheets Manure Safety HD (12:25)