NCSU Extension Swine Husbandry 1996

April, 1996 . Volume 19, Number 3


Although other programs may be facing cuts, the congressional appropriation for the pseudorabies eradication effort appears safe. In both the Senate and House budgets, funding for PRV eradication is set at approximately $8.5 million for the 1996 fiscal year, matching the appropriation for FY '95.

PRV Progress
Nov-Dec 1995


The summer of 1995 saw many changes and additions to legislation in North Carolina with regards to animal waste management. This article is intended to provide a brief summary of Senate Bill 974: An Act to Require A Person Who Performs The Land Application of Animal Waste From Swine Production To Be Certified. The stated purpose of the act is to reduce nonpoint source pollution.

Under the act all registered swine farm owners are required to have a certified waste treatment operator by Jan. 1, 1997. To be certified, the operator must:

The training program will be administered by the Department of Environment, Health, and Natural Resources in cooperation with the Cooperative Extension Service.

The training program will thoroughly cover what an operator needs to know about an animal waste management system in order to operate in a safe, environmentally sound manner that complies with all existing regulations. The 6 hour training course will emphasize the following topics:

WHY ARE WE HERE?: The section will address the legislation that requires operators to be certified in the land application of the waste. The need to prevent nonpoint source pollution from the industry and the impacts to water quality from problem facilitates will be briefly discussed.

SYSTEM COMPONENTS AND OPERATION: This section will describe the components of systems that collect, store, treat, and land apply animal wastes. The function and maintenance of the system components will be discussed to emphasize the need to keep the system hardware in good repair to prevent discharges of waste. Equipment calibration will also be addressed.

WASTE UTILIZATION PLANS: This section will explain the agronomic system and the importance of rate, timing, and placement of the waste products onto the land and/or cover crops. The entire cropping system must be understood and managed to make the waste management plan work.

TOOLS FOR THE PLAN will be discussed. These tools include the proper method to take waste, soil, and plant samples, and how to interpret the results to manage the agronomic system in an environmentally safe manner.

MAKING PROPER WASTE APPLICATIONS: This section will address the processes an operator must go through when making proper waste applications. These processes include the calculations necessary for making proper waste application based on waste and soil test reports. The operator will learn the importance of records of his waste management system operation. Record forms will be provided and an example using the forms will be discussed.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP AND CONSEQUENCES OF IMPROPER MANAGEMENT: This chapter will explain the water quality, regulatory, and community issues that arise when a swine facility operates its waste management system improperly. The operator should come away from the training with the feeling that he is in charge of his own destiny with respect to the waste management issues at a swine facility.

RESOURCES/TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE: An appendix of reference and resource materials for all relevant agricultural, environmental, and local agencies that may be involved in the design, operation, or spill response for animal waste management systems and plans. Each agency is described by its mission and its particular involvement in the field of animal waste.

D.A. Crouse and K. Shaffer
Soil Science Notes
February 1996


The Chicago Mercantile Exchange began trading the new carcass weight futures contracts in November, 1995. This contract has generated some confusion for those who missed the announcement of the new contract. Earlier this year, the contract was trading at $64 per hundred pounds carcass weight. Since newspapers commonly print the prices for futures contracts with 1997 delivery dates in the same table as the live hog contracts, some folks interpreted the 1997 prices as live hog prices. In fact, the $64 per hundred pounds carcass weight translates to about $48 per hundred pounds live weight (using a 75% carcass yield). Table 1 is a conversion table that can be used to "translate" carcass weight prices into live weight prices. Most producers are now being paid on a carcass weight basis. Most packers still report prices in both carcass weight and live weight terms for producers' convenience. While some research reports have reported costs in $ per pound of carcass weight, most costs and returns are still discussed in live weight terms.

Specifications of the Lean Hog Futures Contract

The following specifications were provided by the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The price quoted in the paper is for exactly what the specifications describe.

Several features of the new contract differ from the traditional live weight contract. First, it is a carcass weight contract rather than a live weight contract. Second, it is cash settled. Cash settlement means that a contract can be settled in the delivery month based on current cash prices. The traditional live hog contract had no cash settlement; instead sellers might have delivered hogs to a listed delivery point to settle an open contract in the delivery month. Under the new contract, the cash price used to settle open contracts in the delivery month is an average of the previous two days prices reported by the USDA for the Western Corn Belt, the Eastern Corn Belt, and the Mid-South direct carcass weight markets. Another new feature of the contract is that trading ends on the tenth business day of the delivery month for both the futures contract and the options on that contract. This feature is attractive since it allows option holders to keep their position until the futures contract stops trading. Under the traditional live hog contract, options expired well before the futures contract stopped trading.

Hedging with the Carcass Weight Futures Contract

The carcass weight futures contract and options on the new contract should be very useful hedging instruments for hog producers as well as packers and pork processors. Since most hogs are not bought on a carcass weight basis, the carcass weight futures contract will allow a more predictable basis for hog producers. Variation in the carcass yield from one load of hogs to the next and variation in the "standard yield" from one packer to the next created extra basis risk for hog producers using the traditional live hog futures contract. The new contract is based on a very specific range of backfat thickness (0.80-0.99 inches) and a specific carcass weight range (170-191 pounds). Hog producers can study the historical basis for hogs that fall in this range based on their packer's payment program. Hog prices and feed prices have been very volatile in recent years. With increased international trade and reduced reserves of feed grains, it is likely that prices will remain volatile. The new carcass weight hog futures contract offers producers the opportunity to offset some of the risk inherent in modern agriculture.

Table 1. Conversion of Carcass Weight Prices to Live Weight Prices at Various Carcass Yields

Carcass Weight
Price ($/cwt)
Live Weight Price ($/cwt)
@ 73% Yield @ 74% Yield @ 75% Yield @ 76% Yield ($/cwt)
80 58.40 59.20 60.00 60.80
75 54.75 55.50 56.25 57.00
70 51.10 51.80 52.50 53.20
65 47.45 48.10 48.75 49.40
60 43.80 44.40 45.00 45.60
55 40.15 40.70 41.25 41.80
50 36.50 37.00 37.50 38.00
45 32.85 33.30 33.75 34.20
40 29.20 29.60 30.00 30.40
35 25.55 25.90 26.25 26.60
30 21.90 22.20 22.50 22.80
25 18.25 18.50 18.75 19.00
20 14.60 14.80 15.00 15.20
15 10.95 11.10 11.25 11.40
10 7.30 7.40 7.50 7.60
5 3.65 3.70 3.75 3.80

Kelly Zering


Over the years, swine producers have been admonished not to overfeed gestating sows. Not only was overfeeding expensive, but overfat sows tended to have increasing farrowing difficulty, they tended to crush more pigs, and they were more prone to suffer heat stress.

However, when gestation feeding is too restrictive and sows are too thin at farrowing, other problems can occur. Failure to return to estrus, lower conception rates, and downer sows are frequently byproducts of overly thin sows.

One method of gauging the proper gestation feeding level is to monitor backfat measurements. It has been suggested (Minnesota Extension Service Publication BU-6496-F) that, for mature sows of lean genotype, backfat measurements taken at approximately the last rib would indicate the following conditions:

Backfat Body Condition
< 0.6 in. Emaciated
0.6-0.7 in. Thin
0.7-0.8 in. Ideal
0.8-0.9 in. Fat
> 0.9 in. Overfat

Charles Stanislaw


By now, most producers should be familiar with the Fat-Free Lean Index (FFLI). This index enables individual producers to utilize data from their packers' kill sheets and calculate the percentage of lean muscle in the hog carcass with all fat, including intramuscular fat (ie., marbling) removed. The equations used to calculate the index were developed by a checkoff-funded Uniform Lean Information Project and is in response to the concern over the lack of a single, industry-wide measurement system.

At least eleven packers representing 57% of the U.S. slaughter capacity now provide the FFLI on their kill sheets. Producers who do not have the FFLI listed on their sheets can call 1-800-456-7675 to obtain information on how they can calculate their own index.

The following table, prepared by the Uniform Lean Information Project, outlines how producers can compare their animals to the rest of the industry:

If your hogs' FFLI is: Then your hogs are among the:
< 42.5% Fattest 25%
42.5 - 45.0% Below average 25%
45.0% Equal to national average
45.0 - 47.5% Above average 25%
> 47.5% Leanest 25%

Charles Stanislaw


University of Illinois ag engineers Gerald Riskowski and colleagues set out to identify a universal and costly problem - corrosion of metal in hog buildings. They exposed six types of metal products for two years in a swine finishing building and in an environmentally controlled clean laboratory. The result was some surprising and some not-so-surprising discoveries.

"We fully expected dust and ammonia in the air to be two of the main causes of corrosion, but they weren't," Riskowski said. "The dust was not very acidic, so it was not very corrosive, and metals exposed to the highest levels of gaseous ammonia showed the least corrosion." Even anaerobic, sulfate-reducing bacteria typically found in swine buildings and known to cause severe corrosion in other situations did less damage than expected, Riskowski said. "Apparently the biofilm which the bacteria create sealed out oxygen and reduced corrosion, at least for the first two years."

The primary culprit? Relative humidity higher than 80%. The solution? "Choose the right materials and practice cleanliness," he said. Galvanized metal and painted galvanized metal showed the best resistance to corrosion. "Painting is not essential, but it does offer one more layer of protection," Riskowski said. "Maintaining the integrity of that protection is important. If you nick it, touch it up so that corrosion doesn't get a foothold."

And, no surprise here, he added, "Keep all surfaces clean and use ventilation to keep the atmospheric humidity below 70-80% and avoid condensation."

For more details, contact Gerald Riskowski at 217-333-4446.

Adapted from
March/April 1996

Number of accesses since March 27, 1996:
Last modified August 7, 2000.