Thursday, March 17, 2011

Talk with Mainstream American Pig Genetics Expert


I'm about to sell a bunch of breeding stock to one of America's mainstream pig genetics suppliers.

When I say a bunch, I mean a bunch: multiple purebreds, crossbred F1 Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa x Berkshire sows, 75% Mangalitsa sows, etc. The full monty.

In America, there are a few meat-type breeds that produce pretty much all the pigs that go to market. This is an astonishing number of pigs - roughly 121 million pigs per year.

That 121,000,000 living, breathing sentient creatures, produced from a very narrow pool of genetics.

It is all possible due to semen.

Basically, a single boar can sire 1000 litters of pigs per year. It is possible to put superb boar on stud and have him produce approximately 12,000 pigs per year.

So a few days ago we had the mainstream pig genetics guy out to the farm to see the Mangalitsa pigs. His initial remarks:
  • Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa pigs are very fine boned. That is, their bones are very small. There's not much bones holding up all that fat. If this doesn't make sense to you, take a look at Babsi, and tell me if you think her bones look thick and heavy, considering all that fat they are holding up.
  • They aren't that deep-bodied. They are quite flat, like a leaf (look at European Wild Boar - typical killing tactic: flip them on their side, sit on them, they just can't get up before you stick them). Unlike pretty much all commodity pigs, Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa pigs (indeed, all the Mangalitsa breeds) are not round like a barrel.
  • They aren't as big as he thought they'd be. That is, small and very fatty.
  • Golly, they sure are fat!
It is going to be fascinating, over the next few years, to see what impact Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics have on American pork production.

Basically, once we sell the genetics to this Iowan, the genie is out the bottle. If you want to get some semen to radically improve your meat quality, you'll order it up and it will come. And you'll produce some amazing meat and fat.

Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics for everyone, at a reasonable price. That's how Iowans roll!

You want cheap food? Iowans deliver. America is the Saudi Arabia of pork because of Iowans, and the climate of Iowa. You probably don't understand this if you aren't in the food producing business - but basically, Iowa has some of the most productive soil on the planet. There's no better place to grow food (aka "corn and beans" = "corn and soybeans"). And Iowans are some of the most productive people on the planet. Food in Iowa is essentially free, hence pork is dirt cheap.

Now that we're letting the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa out of the bottle, the Spanish (and unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, Hungarians) best be quaking in their boots. Because if there's money to be made in extreme lard-type hogs, or even just lard-type hogs (produced from Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa crosses), Iowans are going to produce it, and very cheaply. Iowans have the absolute lowest cost of corn production in the developed world. And hence Iowans have a competitive advantage in pork. That's geography. There's no escaping it.

You don't believe me? Spend some time in Iowa. It will blow your mind.

In the recent past, 100 years ago, America dominated lard-type pork production. We can and will do it again. Even if I don't make a dime off it, it is going to happen, because of geography and climate.

Hence, "due to being firstest with the mostest" it won't be the Iberico breeds that improve American meat quality - because nobody has imported them to this hemisphere. It won't be Swabian-Hall or Meishan. It will be Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa (Hungarian "Fecskehas├║ mangalica") genetics.

It is odd to think that of all the things I've done in my life (I've been exceptionally productive), propagating the Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa is going to figure in my epitaph. My decade-long quantitative finance career probably won't make the epitaph.

Hear me now, believe me later: if you want to produce the best-tasting food in the 21rst century, and if you live in America, you will use Swallow-Bellied Mangalitsa genetics. Most likely, your semen will come from our mega-boars Hans or Franz, or pigs sired by them. Or perhaps from those lazy girly-boars living in Austria on the farm of Familie Wiesner, Michael and R├╝pli, who sired some of our initial litters.

2 comments:

Nacho said...

You sure are obsessed with Iberico pigs!

Once you get your hands on a 100% pure acorn fed Iberico pork raised in what should be it's natural environment, the holm/oak forest of Spain, you know you've reached heaven, there's nothing you can compare it to!

You can keep trying hard to bring it down and be in denial but Iberico pork taste, texture, color and their exceptional fat are already speaking for themselves. You are not going to lie to the people who have already tried PURE ACORN FED IBERICO.

Heath said...

Nacho,

You use the phrase "100% pure acorn fed Iberico pork" like it has some special meaning.

What does it mean? What genetics, age at slaughter, finishing diet, etc?

Would crossbred Iberico pigs, mostly raised in confinement (and put outside for a few months to eat acorns) count? the Spanish ones mentioned here, for instance?