Swine Barn Analysis: Nursery mortality neutral

MetaFarms Production Index shows no "obvious negative effects of PEDV on nusery performance" and heavier final slaughter weights from finisher units.

For the Aug. 25 print issue of Feedstuffs, Dr. Tom Stein of MetaFarms Inc., provides an exclusive update of the MetaFarms Production Index for the second quarter of 2014 based on closeout performance for nursery, finishing and wean-to-finish groups and shows the comparison with the same period a year ago.

In the quarterly "Swine Barn Analysis" column, Stein said looking at nursery performance, the big story is a 4.5% improvement in average daily gain (ADG) compared with 2013. That's the main reason the 2014 second quarter shows a 5% heavier pig leaving the nursery (56.7 lb. versus 53.9 lb.). Days on feed went up by about one day, which contributed somewhat, but the heavier out-weight was due mostly to an improvement in growth rate.

Stein reported that his group keeps looking for potential negative effects of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) on nursery performance, but we just haven't seen anything, at least as measured by mortality levels in the nursery. In fact, there haven't been any obvious negative effects of PEDV on nursery performance for the past four calendar quarters. Nursery mortality is the same as a year ago. Maybe it's time to stop looking (for PEDV effects in the nursery)?

Bottom line: Overall nursery performance in the second quarter of 2014 was better than in the second quarter of 2013.

In finishing closeouts, Stein noted that the average market weight (i.e., weight out) took a huge jump, from 271 lb. to 285 lb., showing the same thing that the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported, i.e., selling weights are up (a lot) on a year-over-year basis.

The same pattern can be seen in wean-to-finish closeouts: a big jump in average market weight, mainly due to seven more days on feed (168 versus 161 days), Stein said. However, in contrast to the nursery closeouts where mortality was the same, in wean-to-finish barns, mortality was down almost 10% from a year ago (5.9% versus 6.6%).

Stein noted that he saw something similar in last quarter's results, where nursery mortality in the first quarter of 2014 was down 6.1% compared with last year.

Looking ahead, Stein expects market weights to be somewhat lower in next quarter's results but assume that they will still be substantially heavier than a year ago.

The data come from pork producers using the MetaFarms software system and represent more than 500 pork production companies located in both the U.S. and Canada. These data have been scrubbed and made anonymous to protect the confidentiality of the software users.

The nursery data represent more than 1,000 closeouts, the finishing data include more than 1,800 closeouts and the wean-to-finish data include more than 300 closeouts.

Additional data and comments will be included in the Aug. 25 issue of Feedstuffs.

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