Is you're operation prepared for a second wave?
Hello, as some of you know I haul hogs for a living. I just wanted to share a few things I have noticed while out on the road during COVID. First off it's been a frustrating time for agriculture as a whole, that includes us in the agricultural trucking industry. For me, it's been hurry up and get these hogs to market before the plants shutdown. During the worst of the outbreak we increased number of head per load, we stocked finishing barns at higher populations, and started hauling in hogs to market at lighter weights to stay ahead. So far it has been working, the operation that I haul for hasn't had to euthanize market hogs on a large scale. They have however euthanized fall back animals, or pigs that won't make a good finishing weight because plants that kill those animals are either shut down or the cost of feeding those animals is more than the animal is worth. So between hauling more pigs to market per load and the euthanasia of fall back animals I have had less overall loads, so less money in my pocket for now. I can't predict the future, will COVID mutate into a lesser form over the summer? Will a second wave be stronger this winter? Could another more serious disease be in our future? Who knows, here are a couple ways I see as possible ways to manage risk going foreword.
Plant diversity- If you normally send all of your market hogs to one plant, maybe consider making contracts with an additional plant.
Keep market weights reasonable- If you are shooting for finishing 310 pound market hogs, maybe you should be shooting for 290 instead, just to give you some flexibility in case a plant closes.
Most producers are probably already doing these things. Just sharing what Im seeing in the hog industry from the cab of my truck.
Re: Is you're operation prepared for a second wave?
Blacksand, I think this could be curtains for the "large scale" independent hog farm that owns the animals that they feed. If you custom feed, then there`s a loss of performance premiums or going a period with possibly empty pens.