66th NBS closes with a checkbook
By Jim Troyer
Date Modified: 09/25/2012 11:05 AM
A champion boar brought in more than $7,000 at Wednesday's breeding sale, which wrapped up the 66th National Barrow Show in Austin.
In the bidding in Crane Pavilion, the Reserve Champion Hampshire Boar and Class 1 winner from Dotson Hampshires of Cameron, Mo., swept past the $3,000 and $5,000 markers before coming to rest at $7,250.
Wherever one walked in the NBS area of the Mower County Fairgrounds, the staccato sound of auctioneer Kevin Wendt, of Ohio, or Dan Baker, of Indiana, could be heard.
Not all hogs on the long list brought in that kind of money or even topped the $1,000 mark. Some didn't sell at all.
"There a $400 floor," Daryl Boehm, of Racine, Minn., said. Owners will try to sell their hogs privately rather than settle for $400. We just don't have many of the small hog farms anymore and the price grain ($8 a bushel for corn) is high."
That theme can be heard from almost all sellers and buyers at the event.
"Look at that Yorkshire boar right there," said Jeff Styer, from Menomonie, Wis. "He weighs 300 pounds and would sell on the commercial hog market for 30 cents a pound, that's $90."
Styer came to Austin to buy a Yorkshire boar but said he would be a careful bidder: "I may go a thousand, but no more."
Joyce Hauser is from Grinnell, Iowa. "We just raise hogs as a hobby," she said. "My husband is a veterinarian and he really enjoys it."
The big dealers prefer to use artificial insemination rather than boars from farms, she noted. "That hurts."
That can work in reverse, however. Sharon McWhinney, of Show Pigs in Eaton, Ohio, has 70 sows at home and she was here to buy two boars, which she found. "Semen is sky high," she said.
At home, she's in charge of the farrowing house. "I just love it," she said. "It's like a big maternity hospital. I'm there if the sow gets tired. I pull out the piglets, and then I clean them up. I see that they get their shots.
"Pigs are the closest animals to us. They're smart. They're used to hunt truffles and bombs," she added.
Pigs are being considered effective recruits for sniffing out explosives.
McWhinney had just cleared her purchases with Dr. Steve Olson, of Austin Veterinary Clinic, who said he had found no health problems among the NBS hogs.
As for swine flu: "In my opinion, there's nothing more blown out of proportion," he said. "This has been going on for hundreds of years. It's only now that we have the tools to detect it. People should just use common sense."
Joe McKenna dropped into the Plager Building for a pork burger at the Mower County Pork Producers stand, which uses its proceeds to support 4-H activities.
McKenna is from Boone County in northern Illinois, where he has 25 Berkshire sows and five large Whites. He's a buyer and a walking NBS promotion.
"As good as the hogs are here, and they are terrific, it is really the people that it's all about," he said. "The pure-bred fraternity is about as friendly and hospitable as people can get."