A Minute on My Soapbox

Hal Schmidt

By Hal Schmidt, Great Plains Family Farms, Inc.

In pork production, like the rest of life, we can control certain things and there are certain things we can’t control. As we wrap up the year and look toward the start of another, let’s resolve to spend more time on the things we can do and not worry so much about the things we can’t.

We can’t control the cost of our feed ingredients, which is these days controlled largely by the weather. What we can control includes our feeder settings and feed budgets. For instance, we can run models to determine whether fat pays at a certain price and to change our diet when it’s no longer effective.

We can’t control health in general. Neither producers nor their veterinarians could control the outbreaks of swine flu this past year. What we can control, in the nursery and growing stage, is the environment. We can take our pigs into clean barns with adequate ventilation and other aspects of comfort that minimize stress. We can also proactively keep antibiotics and aspirin on hand in case of illness.

In the finishing stage, we can’t control what the packer is paying. However, we can control when we market and what weight we market at. We can be aware that with the holidays coming up there will be fewer slaughter dates, and we need to get our pigs booked. We can also plan for new pigs coming in. Those are all things under our control.

In short, let’s take care of the things we can influence, whether it’s setting our feeders, getting our pigs off to a good start, or planning their sale. The rest of life—including the price of corn—will take care of itself.

Happy holidays!