Farm Land Value increase supports Swine Industry

The North American Swine Industry is mostly situated where grain and soybeans are grown. The high price of these crop commodities has increased farm land values in North America in there grain and oilseed growing areas.  It’s been estimated that in 2011 U.S. prime farmland has increased in value 25 – 30%. E.g. Iowa $6,500 an acre.

            The U.S.D.A. estimated that 236 million acres of the following crops were harvested in 2011.  This included 92.3 million acres of corn, 75.2 million acres of soybeans, all wheat 56.4 million acres, and cotton 13.7 million acres.  Let’s assume an average appreciation in the last year of $1000 per acre for the 236 million acres.  This is our estimate, but we believe it is reasonable.  Some land increased over $1000 per acre in market value and some less.  If we use the $1000 per acre figure, it would calculate to a $236 billion dollar appreciation in U.S. farm land value in one year!  It is not cash but it is creating wealth, equity, and borrowing power.

            As we said earlier, the USA and the Canadian Swine Industry is situated primarily where there grain and oil seeds are grown (Canada has about 60 million acres of crops if we use $500 per acre gain, this year $30 billion wealth appreciation in farmland).

            We believe the wealth creation in farmland value is a factor buffering the low margins that the swine industry has been experiencing.  It’s one of the reasons that despite hog to corn ratios below 15 to 1 for several months that we have not seen breeding herd liquidation.  On the flip side the land value increase is not as prevalent for the poultry and cattle industries.  Poultry is mostly raised by integrators who own little farmland.  Chickens are also mostly in less prime crop areas.  The huge losses of up to $100 million per week in the chicken industry have not been softened by farmland appreciation.  Huge cattle feedlots have a similar scenario, being primarily outside the prime growing area.

Bottom line:

            Increased U.S. land value in cropland of over $200 billion in the last year is helping underpin the U.S. swine industry.  Going forward we expect this wealth creation to stimulate some sow expansion.  Land values increasing will at some point top out and probably retreat.  We were farming in the early 80s when farmland prices exploded higher they then retracted.  Many farmers were hurt.  The most dangerous words in the English language continue to be ‘This time it will be different!’


            We have had our holiday season; holidays never seem to be good for hog prices as packers with fewer days to work have less pressure to bid.  At the end of last week 53 – 54% National Daily Base Lean Hogs were 82.57 cents per pound.  At current feed prices no one can make money at that price.

            Going forward we expect Cash Hog prices to get stronger as hog marketing’s decline seasonally.  Summer month futures are in the mid 90’s and we expect they will recover to a $1.00 plus lean per pound.  We believe this because of several factors:  A real good chance of less beef and poultry tonnage in the coming months, as total U.S. per capita meat supply decline. Continued strong if not record pork exports.  While at the same time not a significant change in hog supply relative to the various demand factors. We believe 2012 hog prices will be strong – the wild card is what will feed prices do?

            “As soon as there is life there is danger.”

                        Ralph Waldo Emerson  


                Genesus is pleased to announce Glen Kuhn is joining Genesus starting January 4, 2012.

                        Employment History

                        December 2001 – December 2011

                        PIC – Aurora Nucleus Site 1 and Site 2 Manager

                                                Kipling Saskatchewan

Duties: responsible for day to day operations of the breeding, and farrowing departments of a 2800 Sow Nucleus.  He also acted as a liaison between Senior Management, the Technical and Development Manager and Department Heads in implementing and supporting the PIC Genetic Improvement Program.  He also oversee all aspects of production as well as staff recruitment, training and rotation.

            Glen was responsible for overseeing the day to day operations of a 7,000 head Genetic Nucleus nursery as the production of a 4,000 head boar testing facility which included management of 84 FIRE (Feed Intake Recording Equipment) feeders manufactured by Osborne Industries.  Duties included gilt testing and selection for Genetic Nucleus replacement as domestic and export selection and sales.

            Glen, his wife Teena, and their five children have moved to Portage La Prairie, MB.

Glen is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan.   Glen also worked several months in Denmark in Swine Production with the International Agriculture Exchange Association.

            Glen will report to Lambert Houwen and be based out of the Oakville office. Glen will be involved in Nucleus, Daughter Nucleus, and technical support.

            It is a real positive for Genesus that a ten year manager of PIC’s primary nucleus for the world has joined Genesus.  We welcome Glen!

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