Archive for June, 2014

hog prices


To subscribe to receive the Ontario Market Hog Price Trend Report email John Bancroft.

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We may not be quite experiencing a heat wave yet, but there is sure to be hot weather coming. Anyone caring for livestock needs to be prepared for high temperatures.

OMAFRA has produced a free Heat Stress in Livestock and Poultry app for smartphones that can help determine when livestock are at risk of heat stress on the spot, either in the barn or at time of transport.

By entering the current temperature and relative humidity on your smartphone you can estimate heat stress risks quickly and easily. The app also suggests steps to take to reduce heat stress to maintain feed intake and productivity.

appCheck it out here.

The app is useful in assessing a whether a crisis is imminent, but routine maintenance can help avoid risk too. This would be a good time to clean fans, check that louvers and inlets are moving freely, and clean up the sensors and controllers. Ventilation systems need to be working at maximum efficiency and need to be tuned properly to maintain temperature and humidity at acceptable levels. A ventilation system failure can be catastrophic. Even alarm systems can fail so constant vigilance is required when things get hot.

When it it does get really hot outside, ventilation alone can’t provide adequate cooling. When pigs are too hot, they don’t eat. Pigs that don’t eat don’t grow. This is most apparent in heavier pigs nearing market, when the upper preferred temperature of the pig is only around 21C.

There are a few things that can be done to help keep pigs from overheating. Pigs need to lose heat either by contact with a cold surface, or through evaporation of water from their body surface. Since they don’t sweat, that moisture must come from somewhere else. Water sprinklers or drip systems are effective ways of providing relief from heat stress. 1-2 minutes of sprinkling every 20-30 minutes is all that is needed. Time it so that the water is nearly all evaporated before reaching the floor, and so that the ventilation system has time to clear the humidity before the next application.

Adequate drinking water is absolutely critical. Make sure there are enough drinkers for your animals. Go get wet and cool off yourself by thoroughly inspecting every drinker in your barn.

If you can’t make use of the Heat Stress app, this table can be used instead. The intersection of current temperature and humidity indicates the level of stress pigs may be facing, and the level of response that needs to be taken to reduce it (see below for some more options).


Signs of heat stress
• Evident discomfort/distress, pigs lying apart, body stretched out
• Manure patterns change, pen floors become wet/dirty, pigs all dirty
• Increased water consumption (up to 6x normal)
• Noticeable decrease in pen activity, slowness and lethargy
• Muscle trembling
• Rapid fall in feed consumption/reduced weight gains, pigs seem to stall out
• Very high respiration rate (panting)

Pigs will try to increase heat dissipation and decrease body heat production. Producers can aid this by making sure that:

• Pigs have unrestricted access to a good supply of clean water
• Timed water sprinkler/mister system triggered by room temperature
• Proper ventilation for the size of room/weight of pig/time of year
• Enough pen space for size of pigs, do not overcrowd (all the pigs can lie down without touching each other and still access feeders/waterers/dunging area without stepping on pen mates)
• Diets can be reformulated in the summer to be more nutrient dense, while ensuring
nutrient needs (amount/day) are still being met.

Transport during any season is also an area the can cause heat stress in pigs and may result in death loss. When possible try to:
• Load animals in groups less than five
• Adjust transport to early morning or at night (summer)
• Load fewer pigs per load on hot, humid days
• Provide wet shavings when temperature is over 15C, do not use straw
• When temperature is over 27C, sprinkle pigs with a course spray of water prior to loading
• Do not pour large amounts over cold water over on an overheated pig as the shock may kill it
• Load and unload promptly to avoid heat buildup
• Death loss due to heat stress is most often attributed to power outages in hog barns when there is no alternate power source or power loss back-up plan. Test your alternate power generation and power outage alarms monthly for fan operated barns
(static pressure barns). Check panic doors/drop curtain releases for natural ventilated barns. Heat build-up non-ventilated barns can cause fatalities in all seasons.

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Thank you to everyone who stopped by the OMAF and MRA booth at the Ontario Pork Congress.

If you missed completing the sheet for the Hog Market Challenge or did not get to the Ontario Pork Congress, here is your opportunity to join in the fun and participate. All you have to do is complete the chart at the end of this post with your marketing decision for the 1st round and  email to me by Monday, June 23. The second round information will be emailed to everyone who signs up next Thursday afternoon.

Hog Marketing Challenge

To help understand how some marketing tools work the following simple hog marketing case study has been developed. It is meant to be a learning experience on paper only with no money or pigs involved (just your market knowledge and expertise). Participation is open to anyone.

The Situation:

  • On June 12th 1000 feeder pigs (@ 25 kg) valued at $112 each are targeted to be marketed the week of Sept. 29th to Oct. 3rd
  • On June 12th the estimated feed cost was $86 per pig with an estimated margin after feed and feeder pig costs of $52 per pig based on a projected $252 market pig value (estimated price of $223.94/ckg, 100 index).
  • The cash contract value of the market pigs will be determined using 101% of the base formula price for the week of September 29 to October 3, 2014 with an assumed index of 110, a dressed weight of 100 kilograms and a premium of $2 per market pig.
  • A death loss will be determined at the end by rolling one dice. Therefore the death and morbidity loss will range from 1% to 6% depending on which number is rolled.

The Marketing Challenge:

  • You will have four (4) opportunities to make marketing decisions prior to shipping week of September 29 to October 3.
  • Each time you may choose to do nothing, hedge with a lean hog future contract, hedge with a lean hog put option and/or forward contract.
  • The first marketing opportunity is outlined below. The second marketing opportunity will be emailed June 26th. The third and fourth marketing opportunities will be emailed in July and August.
  • The final outcome and results will be emailed in October.

The following assumptions are being used:

  • One lean hog futures contract or put option contract is assumed to be 180 market hogs. The noon hour Bank of Canada exchange rate will be used to convert U.S. funds to Canadian funds.
  • A maximum of 75% of the hogs can be forward contracted.
  • To determine the final outcome, market information on Thursday, October 2nd will be used.

For further information or questions contact:


Round #1 – Marketing Decision – June 18/19 (Mark X beside your choice and indicate the number of pigs if choosing to hedge or forward contract.)


Marketing Choice X Number of Pigs
Do Nothing    
Hedge with Futures by selling October 2014 Lean Hog Futures @US$108.40/cwt    
Hedge by purchasing October 2014 Lean Hog Put Option @ strike price US$108/cwt @ premium US$5.000/cwt    
Forward Contract @ C$220.86/ckg, 100 index with a historical basis range of -$7 to $6    



  • Hedge with futures – 180 pigs per futures contract
  • Hedge with put options – 180 pigs per put option contract
  • Forward Contract – maximum of 75% of the pigs can be forward contracted (i.e. 750 pigs)
  • 1,000 pigs with a potential death loss/morbidity of 1 to 6%
  • There will be 3 more rounds to make a marketing decision via email



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Group Sow Housing Workshop, one-day September 2 or 3, 2014

The workshop will feature:

  • Three producers describing their experiences transitioning to group sow housing systems. Hear their challenges and opportunities and gain practical advice you can apply on your farm.
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of sow housing systems? Dr. Jennifer Brown and Dr. Yolande Seddon, Prairie Swine Centre Group Sow Housing Researchers, will discuss the merits of each system.
  • Dr. Kees de Lange, University of Guelph, will explain how your feeding systems need to change for a successful transition to feeding sows in group housing.

Registration is limited to 45 producers each day.
For more information or to register contact Sandra McCann
at 519 482-3333 or sandra.mccann@ontario.ca.

For more information visit the OMAF booth in the Agriplex at Pork Congress.

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Visit the OMAF/MRA exhibit at the OPC for information about environmental enrichment for pigs, the Ontario Grading Data Explorer computer program, hog marketing, and more.


What are enrichment toys?
Materials and objects suitable for chewing and rooting are often called enrichment toys.
Why do pigs need enrichment toys?
All pigs have a need to chew and root. By providing en-richment toys this need is satisfied and tail and ear biting may be reduced.
How many toys do I need?
Too few toys will result in competition. Have enough toys in different locations so that as many pigs as possible can easily use them at the same time.
Can I make them myself?
Yes, you can make your own enrichment toys. Pick up our flyer with links to websites that provide instructions and information on enrichment toys.


Easy access to online grading data to help in decision making and in hitting production targets to improve revenue. 

Ask to arrange for a demonstration, or pick up a brochure for more information.


Take on the Hog Marketing Challenge. It is meant to be a learning experience on paper with no money or pigs involved but using real time market information. Put your market knowledge and expertise to work and learn how some marketing tools function.

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Enrichment toys for pigs satisfy the pigs need to chew and root.  By providing enrichment toys this need is satisfied and tail and ear biting may be reduced. Visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food booth (A3/A4 in the Agriplex) at the Ontario Pork Congress forpenning with pig toys attached more information and a demonstration.


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Stop by the OMAF and MRA booth (A3/A4 in the Agriplex) at the Ontario Pork Congress for a visit and take on the Hog Marketing Challenge. It is meant to be a learning experience on paper with no money or pigs involved but using real time market information. Put your market knowledge and expertise to work and learn how some marketing tools function.

You can choose from four potential marketing decisions based on pigs put on feed (theoretically) this week (June 12th ) to be marketed late in September. There will be 3 more times for potential marketing decisions emailed to those who participate. Each time you will be able to decide to:
• choose to do nothing
• hedge with a futures contract
• hedge with a futures put option
• forward contract

The final outcome and results will be emailed in early October.

Put your marketing expertise and knowledge to work and stop by the OMAF and MRA booth (A3/A4 in the Agriplex) at the Ontario Pork Congress.


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The following is from an Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board (OPIC) update:


OSHAB has included PED (Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea) in the ARC&E (Area Regional Control and Elimination) format and has been working actively to initiate this program. Support for this program includes funding provided by Ontario Pork to advance on-farm actions in the control and elimination of PED and funding provided through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.

The PED ARC&E will enroll and map sites across all of Ontario with all PED positive sites encouraged to enroll. Diagnostic costs and some support for veterinary costs associated with monitoring, control and elimination at these sites will be supported by this program. The program will communicate about the status of these sites and information learned about control and elimination strategies. The goals of the PED ARC&E are: To contain and reduce the prevalence of PEDV from pig farms in Ontario.
Actions will include:
– Investigate current and new cases
– Request participation of these producers in the ARC&E program
– Identify and solve primary biosecurity gaps
– Develop a farm or system specific containment plan
– Develop a farm or system specific elimination plan
– Communicate with producers and the industry
To date, over 60 sites diagnosed as PEDV positive, or related by pig flow have enrolled in the PED ARC&E and efforts continue to enroll remaining sites. An OSHAB PED ARCE workgroup has been struck. All veterinarians who work with PED positive sites in Ontario are invited to participate in this workgroup.


To date, this group has:
– Reviewed sites enrolled and initiated data collection and mapping of the PED positive sites across Ontario
– Developed methods to track the progress of farrowing sites in return to production (for example analysis of pigs weaned per week to assess return to production)
– Developed sampling criteria to assess the status of sites as they work towards elimination
– Developed 3 research proposals submitted under the Ontario Pork call for proposals for Applied On-Farm Research Proposals related to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus and Porcine Delta coronavirus. These proposals were related to development of control and elimination strategies for farrowing sites with growing pigs, development of strategies to enhance PEDV containment in positive growing pigs and assessment of the duration of PEDV antibodies in sows and growing pigs post-infection.

What do we know about the control and elimination of PED to date?
Work to understand PED control and elimination has been underway in the U.S. and the knowledge base in Canada is growing.

Ontario Progress

To date, we have had:
– two successful PED elimination in all in all out nurseries with subsequent fill remaining PED negative following barn clean and disinfect
– one successful PED elimination in an all in all out finisher with subsequent fill remaining PED negative following barn clean and disinfect
– one successful Delta coronavirus elimination in a sow herd based on a herd depopulation
– one successful sow site PED elimination, also based on a herd depopulation
– a number of nursery and finisher sites working on PED elimination over the next two to three months

Information from the United States

The following information has been summarized from the American Association of Swine Veterinarians 2014 proceedings (Morrison, Goed and Connor)
– PEDV is highly infective with a 10-8 dilution of mucosal scrapings able to cause infection – this means approximately 1 pencil eraser of diarrhea diluted in 130 cubic yards can still cause infection, making fecal-oral the principle route of infection. As well, infective PEDV has been found in fecal slurry after >14 days at room temperature.
Message: stringent clean and disinfect protocols are essential
– Analysis of number pigs weaned per week suggests it takes 6 weeks on average to return to normal production at farrowing sites
– The majority of protection to piglets is expected to come for colostrum IgA antibodies; this is a passive immunity and will quickly reduce after weaning. These antibodies do not protect against infection with PEDV.
– Proximity to an infected site and size of herd may be factors that impact the risk of PEDV infection.
– Control of PEDV is not the same as elimination of PEDV and not eliminating the virus can result in the risk of repeated outbreaks of clinical disease.
– PEDV elimination at sow sites should be done in consultation with your veterinarian. Consideration of other disease issues in the herd is essential before initiating an elimination program.
– Work to date suggests the following actions are required to eliminate PEDV at sow sites:
o loading with replacement animals
o herd closure for a minimum of 3 months (and perhaps as long as 5 months)
o infection of the entire herd through feedback procedures
o strict all in all out and uni-directional flow of pigs and people
o strict sanitation and McRebel protocols
o do not introduce negative replacement animals until the flow is verified negative (testing and sentinels)
– Evidence suggests PEDV is more highly transmissible than PRRS, has a higher stability in the environment and shows lower levels of sow immunity. However, duration of clinical signs is dramatically shorter.

Updates and biosecurity tips will be issued regularly as we gain knowledge and experience in the control and elimination of PED in Ontario.

OSHAB ARC&E web page: opic.on.ca/biosecurity-resources/prrs-arc-e


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If you would like to have input into the program of the 2015 LSC, please read on:

June 9th      10 am  OMAF Resource Center Woodstock

Producers, sponsors and industry stakeholders, please bring your list of topics and speakers for the 2015 London Swine Conference.

A planning meeting will take place on Monday June 9thfrom 10 am to noon at the OMAF Resource Center Woodstock (401 Lakeview Drive).

All are invited so please plan to attend and help shape next year’s 2015 London Swine Conference.

If you cannot attend please send your ideas to jaydee.smith@ontario.ca

For more information: visit www.LondonSwineConference.ca

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The Ontario Swine Health Advisory Board (OSHAB) is providing resources and tools to assist the swine industry in dealing with the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea virus (PEDv).  The Pig Site provides a list of areas where funding is currently available from Ontario Pork to perform investigative sampling and analysis at confirmed PEDv-positive sites.

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