Ag Briefs: China raising pigs in high-rise buildings

Wisconsin State Farmer
National briefs


WPA recognizes outstanding pork industry leaders

The Wisconsin Pork Association recognized four individuals selected for their leadership in the pork industry during the organization’s annual meeting in Wisconsin Dells.

Friend of the Industry: DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski; Agri-Communicator Award – Extension Livestock Specialist Bernie O’Rourke; Distinguished Service Producer Honoree – Silver Creek Family Farms, a sow farrow to finish operation in Darlington, WI; and Distinguished Service Industry Honoree – Dr. Tara Donovan, DVM of the Hanor Company headquartered in Spring Green.


WI Corn Growers name yield contest winners

Wisconsin Corn Growers Association (WCGA) named the 2022 Wisconsin Corn Yield Contest winners. The winning entries had the highest corn yield based on bushels per acre.

Northern WI: Jeff Laskowski, Plover – 298.3897 bu/acre; Steve Wilkens, Random Lake – 287.0565 bu/acre; Bill Patoka, Amherst – 279.5023 bu/acre. Southern WI: Reginald Kamps, Darlington – 324.0593 bu/acre; Jared Ripp, Dane – 324.0202 bu/acre; Jim, Chuck & Mark Fahey, Belleville – 321.6800 bu/acre.

Rock Co. Growers: David Arndt, Janesville – 278.0836 bu/acre. Columbia Co. Growers: Zachary Mickelson, DeForest – 253.8100 bu/acre; Ben Dowdell, Pardeeville – 251.2060 bu/acre; David Mickelson, DeForest – 244.7900 bu/acre.

PARIS, France

Farmers drive tractors to protest pesticide ban

Hundreds of farmers have driven their tractors to Paris to amplify their demand to be allowed to use banned pesticides on sugar beets to help ensure “food sovereignty” for France, Associated Press reported.

Farmers were protesting what the national farming union FNSEA claims will be the disappearance of French farmers facing multiple challenges. The French government decided last month to ban the use of neonicotinoids, which are chemicals used to killing infects that eat plants. The move followed a European Court of Justice ruling to end a dispensation granted for the class of insecticides.

EZHOU, China

China raising pigs in high-rise buildings

China is constructing giant towers with dozens of stories to farm pigs, The New York Times reports, in a massive drive to get the country's animal supplies caught up with demand and stabilize prices in the country.

The small rural town of Ezhou in central China, for instance, constructed a behemoth 26-story pig tower with the goal of producing over a million pigs per year.

The animals' food is carried to the top floor via a conveyor belt. Feeding troughs then automatically dispense perfectly sized meals based on how mature the pigs are.

Other parts of the country are also resorting to building pig condos. For instance, a newly-constructed pig tower in the Yaji mountains was designed to breed over 1,200 pigs on each of its 12 floors, as The Guardian reported in November.


Brazil and U.S. via for world’s top corn exporter

In its monthly Grain: World Markets and Trade report, USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) indicated that, “Brazil 2022-23 corn exports (Oct-Sep) are forecast to equal those of the United States at 51 million tons on expanding production and strong exports in the second half of its 2021/22 marketing year (Mar 2022-Feb 2023).

Brazil corn exports have exceeded those of the U.S. only one other time, in the drought year of 2012-13. Since October 2022, Brazil has exported about 25 million tons of corn, far exceeding the same period in any prior year. In contrast, U.S. corn exports have been off to a slow start. Production in 2022-23 was smaller than initially forecast and logistical concerns on the Mississippi River in the months after harvest kept U.S. prices elevated and volumes low, especially as U.S. corn competed with competitively priced supplies from other exporters, according to Farm Policy News.


Invasive butterfly damages citrus trees

The lime swallowtail butterfly — an invasive species that hails from Asia and which has damaged citrus trees throughout the Caribbean for nearly 20 years — has reached Florida.

The butterfly’s various larval stages ravenously consume citrus foliage, which can expose fruit to too much sunlight, and weaken the tree. Last fall, residents in Key West found specimens on their backyard citrus trees, and the Dept. of Ag swept in.