Canadian Sow Herd Falls Again (March 2009)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in March 2009 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 19 March 2009
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The Canadian pig inventories are continuing to slide, according to the March issue of the Whole Hog.

The figures produced by Statistics Canada show the herd down by 10.2 per cent on 1 January to12.4 million head compared to January 2008 and 17 per cent down on January 2007.

The breeding herd numbers were down by seven per cent on December to 1.4 million head.

The Whole Hog says that last year was a difficult time for the Canadian industry with high feed prices, contracting slaughter industry and exchange rate pressures as well as problems with the US country of origin labelling regulations.

In the EU, the Whole Hog says that the Polish pig farming sector has been decimated.

The latest figures from the Polish Statistical Office show a 19.2 per cent fall in numbers - a drop of 3.37 million head to 14.24 million year on year.

The Whole Hog says that the decline is surprising because profitability of pig farming has increased considerably since the summer of 2008 with the fall in feed costs and an increase in slaughter prices.

Global Pig Prices Mark Time

The Whole Hog's price analysis shows that pig prices are still moving upwards, but it says that it would be incredible if the price cycle maintained its normal trend, in the face of the current global economic difficulties.

While Canadian prices are up year on year, but Danish and US prices are slowing. Prices could start falling before the predicted peak of July-August.

The Whole Hog's analysis of the BPEX review on pig production costs shows that the main driver in 2007 was feed costs helping overall production costs to rise by 12 per cent in the UK. In Europe, costs rose by an average 11 per cent with Italy having the highest production costs at 125.7p per kilo.

Outside of the EU, Canada and Brazil saw rises in production costs of 18 per cent and 21 per cent respectively.

However, EU pig producer prices have been stable over the last month, with the average price in February €134.43 per 100kg - down by 0.2 per cent on February 2008.

The Whole Hog says that the most significant increases in producer prices were in Eastern Europe.

Canadian and US Pork Exports Still Rising

Canadian pork exports are still increasing, with 2008 showing a 9.8 per cent rise compared to 2007. Canada exported 1,094,545 tonnes of pig meat - 97,503 tonnes more than in 2007.

The main reason for the increase was a rise in exports to Hong Kong and Taiwan, the Whole Hog says.

Russia also increased its Canadian pig meat imports but many of Canada's traditional markets saw declines.

US export are also still rising year on year, with the December 2008 figure, while down on November 20.6 per cent higher than in December 2007.

Japan took the most US pork, with 22.9 per cent of the total.

Australian and Japanese Imports Rise

The latest figures from Australia show a 16.8 per cent rise in pig meat imports - reaching 10,809 tonnes in November 2008.

Year on year the trend shows a 6.3 per cent rise with total imports reaching 115,243 tonnes.

At the same time, the Whole Hog shows that Australian pork exports are down by 16.5 per cent in November last year compared to November 2007.

The Whole Hog says that the figures show the pressure on the Australian industry produced by the drought with high grain and feed prices and also a strong Australian dollar.

In November last year, Japanese pork imports were down on October and also down by one per cent compared to November 2007.

However, the Whole Hog shows that the year to date figures for pork imports were 7.6 per cent higher at 748,943 tonnes.

Imports to South Korea for December last year were slightly up on the November figures, but 23.1 per cent lower than in December 2007.

The Whole Hog says that South Korea's pork imports remain low because of concerns over imports of pork from Chile with high dioxin levels.

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