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Global Bacon Shortage 'Unavoidable' Next Year, Says U.K.'s …

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  • #17041 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    Global Bacon Shortage ‘Unavoidable’ Next Year, Says U.K.’s …

    Huffington Post

    I saw this yesterday on yahoo, so I shamelessly gave J&P hogs and the LBHA

    a plug, let all the poor folks in the U.K. that we will take care of all their Pork needs.

    I’m posting this out of Humot, I don’t know what it take to ship meat, or if one can to the U.K.

    #18213 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    OOPS Humor

    #18214 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    I have read several stories in the news lately about hog futures going up in the US because of the drought in the midwest. They are warning that bacon prices are going to go through the roof. I suppose that means it was a good time to start raising pasture fed pork. We can bring them to market for much much less than a commercial hog. Feed prices won’t affect us as badly. It is a good time to be in the LBH business!

    #18215 Reply
    Member: TX Epps
    Epps
    Participant

    I am confused! Please share some information on how you can sell bacon for less than a “Commercial hog”. I buy bacon at the store for $1.99 a pound, yes I know it is full of some pretty horrible stuff but we are struggling to make a living. We have been with out running water for over a year, so our budget is tighter than most of y’all. I sell my Bacon for $13.00 per pound and it sells so fast that it leaves me with the lesser cuts to sell before I can butcher another hog. You are obviously doing something much better than I can imagine. The commercial hog business can not compete with the quality that we provide and my customers really appreciate our quality which they rely on.

    #18216 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    Well, I don’t know where you are, but bacon here in SE Alabama is almost $4 a pound and it is horrible stuff as you noted. A commercial hog requires a lot of feed on a daily basis to bring to slaughter weight. A LBH requires minimal feed and good pasture to bring to slaughter weight. We spend money on good pasture and graze and some on feed, but it is much less than is spent on a commercial hog. My large blacks get 3-5 lbs of feed a day/hog. A commercial hog operation concievably feeds upwards of 20 lbs of feed to a hog/day. It stands to reason that I have less than half the actual feed cost in a 300lb hog that a commerical hog grower has. Therefore, even though it takes longer for a LBH to reach 300lbs, we can do it less expensively and the quality is much better. I hope this makes sense.

    #18217 Reply
    Member: MO chhogs
    chhogs
    Participant

    I have to agree with Frank. Not pointing fingers at anyone but when most folks price out their pork they do not take into account the price of feeding the sow & boar for 6mths (average cycle of pregnancy & lactation.) Although these pigs are all raised on pasture & yes, ours only get 3-4lbs of grain a day (more when lactating) it still costs a lot of money to raise these pigs & there is NO way we can compete with the commercial guy & quite frankly no way would we ever want to. If you try to do that you will go bust before you even start.

    The key here to raising the Large Blacks is that we are raising a superior breed, that is healthier, hardier, not full of junk & tastes WAY WAY better. That is the difference & that is what folks will pay for.

    If there is a bacon shortage it will not affect those of us raising these great pigs as our buyers will still be there & in fact more people will want to raise them.

    I know there is talk of subsidizing the pig farmers. No way should that be done. This is a free market – food prices need to be realistic. The only way the commercial guy is making money is due to selling so many pigs per week. Just like a McDonald’s hamburger. The percentage they make on each burger is minimal, it’s the fact that they are selling thousands each day that they are making money.

    If you haven’t already done so, figure how much grain you feed each year – be realistic – then add in the cost of hay etc. Divide that by the price you are charging for a registered piglet OR a fully grown butcher hog (your market will determine that as everyone is different). That will show you how many pigs you have to sell each year just to break even. I think you’ll be in for a surprise. I know we were when we did it first. Now we do it on a regular basis as feed goes up!

    Liz

    http://www.cornishheritagehogs.com

    Missouri

    #18218 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    Respectfully, I am going to have to disagree with you both. If you honestly run the numbers on feeding out a large black versus a commercial hog in a grain fed operation, you will feed a LBH out on 61% of the grain that it would take to feed out the commercial pig. This is taking into account that your LBH is running on QUALITY forage and pasture. This also takes into account the longer growing times for a LBH. Assuming feed costs are the same or similar.

    Now if you are feeding certified organic feed or another high cost bag feed, this scenario would not be accurate. Additionally, if you are talking about a commercial hog farm that feeds extremely low quality and cheap grain or God knows what, the scenario would also not be accurate. Also you should realize that I am describing the situation on my farm in my area of the country. I am sure it is much different in other areas of the country. I can only speak for the situation here in SE Alabama.

    We actually had a really good amount of rainfall at the correct times and produced ridiculous yields of corn, grain, hay and pasture/forage this year. The farms on both sides of mine harvested over 230 bushels per acre of corn a few weeks ago and got top price for it.

    My ultimate point is that in this area, I feel that I can bring a 300 pound to slaughter for much less that any other reasonably small pork producer in this area. Therefore, I feel that I am putting a much higher quality product in the market for much less and can command a better price equalling profit.

    #18219 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    “At $9.00 per pound for bacon we don’t make a penny.” – Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms

    Joel doesn’t raise heritage hogs, but he does pasture his hogs and grows his own feed.

    While your reasoning is good, pastured hogs eat more grass and less grain therefore they should cost less to raise, I question whether or not you are really getting an accurate Cost of Goods Sold in your equation.

    There is absolutely, unequivocally, zero percent chance you can raise a Large Black Hog from birth to market at less than the cost per pound of any commercial production hog farm in the country.

    Here is why.

    Commercial hog farms raise hogs inside for a reason. Climate control, easy access, better utilization of square footage and labor costs. The efficiency of a mass production environment is proven. That is why all our major products in the US are outsourced to factories where labor is cheap and building thousands can save you millions. The fact that they feed so much grain is irrelevant because they are purchasing corn at a fraction of what the average small hog farm can get it and they are getting money from the government to purchase that grain. Even if you grow it yourself. No comparison.

    Even in a perfect situation where you describe with an overabundance of corn and grass, you still have to calculate all costs in getting that corn to harvest. Just because you grew the corn doesn’t mean you don’t calculate your cost at being wholesale or retail from the corn production otherwise you are not getting an accurate profit margin. If you are growing the corn only to serve the LBH production you are saving money, but you are extending more labor than purchasing finished product. These costs also must include a portion of the cost of your initial breed stock, fencing, marketing, shelter, predator control (i.e., if you have guard dogs, this costs is part of your CGS), processing fees, transportation, licensing, permits, labeling fees, anything that is a direct result in getting that hog to market.

    The average commercial farm raises a hog to market weight at about $0.40 per pound. How is that possible? Mass production, extreme buying power, government subsidies, and spreading all those costs over millions of pounds per year versus hundreds. Our hogs are eating grass or hay for about 90% of their diet and my cost per pound is nowhere near 40 cents.

    Where the savings lies is in the finished product. My price per pound retail might be 4-5 times higher than the production pork, but your health will benefit from eating it.

    Kudos to you for raising a great product. But when you are costing and pricing do your farm justice and calculate everything before you set your pricing structure. If farms like ours succeed, more people will raise pastured pork and more of these lovely animals will thrive.

    Regards,

    Kelley

    South Texas Heritage Pork

    #18220 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    Kelley,

    While I really have no interest in continuing the debate, I will post a few points just for someone else who may be reading and wanting to get into the Large Black hog business. I would not want them to be discouraged. I can quickly accept that we will have to agree to disagree, respectfully, but:

    In my post, I didn’t state that I was raising my own corn for feed and I stated with feed cost being equivalent. My direct competition is a grower of commercial hogs who has less than 100 or so. I can buy feed at the same price that he/she can. My competition is not a huge hog operation with thousands of hogs being fed out every day. Again, this would be because of my locale versus Texas or the midwest. One key point is any business is to understand who you are really competing against. I was discussing apples and you are descibing an orange operation. Maybe I was unclear in my description of my competion, if so, I apologize.

    I did include all costs and overhead. Also, take into account that the government grant oportunities available through NRCS and other agencies that assisted my farm over the past few years. Livestock guardians, fencing and other costs are included and shared with our sheep operation and goats.

    I will be glad to let you know in a year or so how my business plan is working for me here. It may not work for everyone everywhere, but I believe it will in my circumstances.

    #18221 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    Debate lends the idea that one has to be right and the other wrong. I’m not trying to make anyone wrong or right here. I think my confusion was in the statement of “commercial hogs” versus pastured hogs, yet I see you are saying they are a local small producer that has less than 100 hogs. I’m assuming from the description of commercial hogs they are raised in pens on grain (or in barns/warehouses). In that case, your assessment that you can do so more effectively and efficiently on grass has merit. But I would not classify them as a commercial hog farm either.

    I do not want to discourage anyone that wants to make a go of raising hogs on pasture. But over the years I have seen a lot of folks who take a look at pastured hogs and see how beautiful they are, then they see price lists for what some folks are charging for the pork and they put on their “pig calculator” glasses. They start calculating how much money they are going to make before really understanding all the costs that are associated with raising hogs outdoors.

    Its definitely a topic for more discussions!

    #18222 Reply

    largebla
    Keymaster

    Kelley,

    I think we are finally understanding each other. Apparantly I didn’t clrify what we consider commercial hogs in this region of the country. As you stated, I was referring to commercial breeds of hogs that were raised in small pens and primarily grain fed. I wasn’t referring to a huge commercial hog operation like you have in your part of the country. Those types of farms have all but disappeared in this area.

    My market is to sell a half, quarter or whole hog which I will deliver to the one of the local butcher shops in the area and the client will pay by the pound for the pork to go in their freezer and they will pay the butcher. My main competition is the afformentioned hog producers who have a small operation of grain feeding “feeder pigs” out to sell to my client. There are quite a few of those in this area and I believe the higher feed prices will force many of them out.

    With this clarified, I believe I can produce higher quality and more desirable pork for the client than my competition. None of us can compete with the huge “factory” pork farms and don’t want to.

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