Carthage Veterinary Service COVID-19 Pork Industry Update May 7, 2020

Producer Supply Chain Management Update

  1. We are continuing to monitor the situation with plant closures and reduced capacity.  Unfortunately, President Trumps executive order that all plants are to remain open has had little near term impact due to the infection rates that have been observed in the workforce at many of the packing plants.  Currently, slaughter weights across the industry are continuing to rise and slaughter numbers are at historic lows.  There were only 1.3 million head slaughtered last week compared to 1.9 million 2 weeks ago and 2.4 million the week prior to the beginning of this crisis.  These slaughter numbers are creating an enormous backlog of pigs and there are reports that multiple producers in MN and Northwest IA are euthanizing market hogs because they are too heavy and they have no outlet for them.

With these dynamics in mind, we strongly urge you to consider the following:

      1. Plan for slaughter disruptions and reduced kill at the packing plants until at least July 1.
      2. Implement growth restriction strategies immediately for all pigs over 60 lbs. CVS has resources and people that can help you determine the best strategy.  Please refer to our Supply Chain Management Recommendations during Plant Closures document to get started.
      3. Growth restriction for pigs 180 lbs and over should be very aggressive and include diet changes as well as physical restriction of feed intake.
      4. We have added a Slaughter Weight Prediction Tool on our COVID-19 Resource webpage that shows the impact of market load reductions and growth rate reductions on predicted weekly average slaughter weights. Multiple factors can influence this, but this spreadsheet can serve as a guide for planning. 
      5. There is little time to waste for implementing these growth restrictions measures.  If you have not already put a plan in place, please do not hesitate to reach out to CVS for help in developing and implementing a plan.