Possibilities in Pork Production
By W. W. SHAY, In Charge Office of Swine Investigation
The possibilities of profit from the production in North Carolina of pork of a high quality are exceeded by those of no other state of which we have made a study. Peculiar circumstances of which advantage must be taken in order that the maximum of profit from business may be enjoyed, make this so.
There is a very pronounced and fairly regular seasonal trend of the price of hogs. This trend is caused by fluctuations in the supply, and supply is influenced by the season of the year. Owing to the usual severity of the winters in the corn belt not many pigs are farrowed at that time in that locality. As a result the supply of finished hogs decreases at a time of the year corresponding with the time when winter farrowed pigs are or should be ready for market, and owing to this decrease in the supply the price trend rises, reaching its crest for the year about September first as a rule.
A study of the average price of hogs for a period of five or more years will show the truth of this. The average difference in the Chicago price of hogs during the months of December and September taking a period of twenty years was: September $9.35, December $8.00 or $1.35 in favor of early marketing, therefore the proper marketing of North Carolina hogs takes into consideration this seasonal advantage over the corn belt hog.
But that is not the only price advantage the North Carolina hog of good quality has over the corn belt hog. Ninety-eight per cent of the hogs received at Chicago travel east, either on foot or as pork products, and for that reason the eastern market averages from 75 cents to $1.00 per hundred pounds higher than the Chicago market for similar hogs. Here then is a combined difference in price of over $2.00 per one hundred pounds in favor of the corn fed North Carolina hog.
Owing to the fact that the average yield of corn per acre in North Carolina is less than 25 bushels while the average per acre yield for Iowa is over 40 bushels there is a belief that corn cannot be raised as cheaply in this State as it can in Iowa, and that is true when the question is considered from a state-wide standpoint, but--on land of similar fertility and adaptability to the use of modern machinery, and there are thousands of acres of such land in North Carolina, owing to cheaper labor, less investment, and lower taxes, it is possible to raise a bushel of corn as cheaply in North Carolina as it can be raised in the corn belt.
The question immediately arises: Why then not raise more corn when the price is at present $1.25 per bushel? While it is true that at the present time, in many counties of the State the price of corn is $1.25 per bushel, there are other counties where it may be bought for considerably less than $1.00. Again it is the old question of supply and demand--in one county there is a shortage, in the other a surplus--and a material increase in the amount of corn produced in the county where the price is high would immediately result in a material drop in the price, and owing to the limited demand it would be difficult to dispose of the crop.
Owing to the fact that 51 per cent of all of the millions of hogs arriving at seven of the largest markets of the United States travel east, an increase in the number of hogs raised in North Carolina would not be followed by a serious price break providing they were sold at a time when the markets are not flooded with hogs from the corn belt.
We are not trying to prove that there is any profit in raising hogs on land that will not yield over fifteen or twenty bushels of corn per acre--there may be a way of making a decent living on such land--but it is not through raising hogs. The raising of hogs, however, and keeping on the farm much of the fertilizer value of such crops as are raised, will help to put such a farm on a paying basis.
Why, then, is not the production of corn fed hogs a profitable side line of North Carolina farming? Consider well before answering for during the last two years it has proven very satisfactory on over 200 farms where demonstrations have been conducted by The Extension Service and the results arrived at through the use of scales in weighing over 3,000 hogs and the feed eaten by them in twenty-two counties.
12,612,808 Acres Untilled Land in Eastern CarolinaThe 1920 census showed that there are in the 46 counties covered by this organization, 12,612,808 acres of land that aren't being cultivated. There are 3,180,732 acres that are being cultivated, which represents about one fourth of the total area under cultivation.
Wonderful Opportunity for SomebodyThe total value of the crops of Eastern Carolina will reveal what a wonderful opportunity there is here for new settlers. The total productivity of the land under cultivation, represents only a small portion of the wealth that is really here. There are millions of acres not producing that would produce in the same proportion as those acres that are producing. Thousands of acres of this land don't even need drainage. They are ready for the plow and can be had at a reasonable price.