North American Herd is Cut Back Again (March 2010)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in March 2010 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 9 March 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

The latest figures from the USDA show that the breeding herd in both the US and Canada is down.

The Whole Hog reports that the North American breeding herd is down by four per cent on 2008 to 7.19 million head.

The total of all hogs and pigs is down by two per cent to 77.4 million.

However, the Whole Hog shows that the situation in the US is not quite such a sharp decline as it is in Canada.

The Canadian pig herd is continuing to be restructured.

The breeding herd is down and the hog inventories have hit a 12-year low.

On 1 January the number of hogs in Canada was 11.6 million down by 4.9 per cent on 2009.

The breeding herd is down by 4.3 per cent.

UK Responds to Weak Sterling

Following the Whole Hog's prediction at the end of last year that the figures for the UK breeding herd had turned a corner, the latest figures from Defra show a third consecutive increase in numbers.

The breeding herd numbers rose by 3.3 per cent to 365,000 in December.

The total number of pigs in the UK also rose – by 1.3 per cent to 3.8 million.

FAO Signals Livestock's Key Role

The Whole Hog reports that the FAO has recently published a study focussing on the growth in the global livestock sector.

The report shows how consumption of livestock products has grown in developing countries and in the face of this rising demand, livestock numbers have been forced up.

The FAO report calls for new rules for the global livestock sector to strengthen its development and ensure its sustainability, the Whole Hog says.

Price Cycle Gains Momentum

The Whole Hog's price cycle says there are warning signs over global pig prices.

US prices have moved up since Christmas and Canadian prices have started to follow suit.

There has also been some strengthening of European prices and the Whole Hog reports that there is starting to be a positive feeling following the credit crunch.

EU prices are firmer. Spain, the UK, the Netherlands and Slovenia have all shown positive price changes and Germany's prices are stable.

The prices across the EU are positive for February, although the Whole Hog warns that there could be an impact from the Euro zone currency changes.

Canadian Exporters' Olympian Performance

The 2009 export figures for Canada show just a two per cent drop despite the credit crisis, contraction in world trade and the cuts in the Canadian pig herd.

While Canada has lost large market share in Russia, China and Hong Kong, it has gained in the US, Australia, Taiwan and the Philippines.

The US pork exports were down in 2009, the Whole Hog reports.

The latest trade data shows a fall of 8.9 per cent for the year – down to 1.827 million tonnes.

However, US imports of pig meat showed an increase of 1.8 per cent to 356,710 tonnes.

Australia Continues to Face Trade Gap

The Whole Hog reports that the December figures for Australian trade continue to show a divergence between the growing imports and the falling exports.

While the December figures show a small increase in exports, the overall figure is a 15.6 per cent decline over the year. However, imports have risen by 16.6 per cent year on year.

The latest figures for Japan, showing the import date to November indicate a drop of 14.4 per cent. For November itself the fall was 17 per cent compared with November 2008, to 52,305 tonnes.

The Whole Hog says that the US showed a drop in exports to Japan, while Canada managed to maintain its position in the market.

South Korea could be one country hit by the effects of the earthquake in Chile. In 2009, Chile saw its exports of pig meat to South Korea rise by 35 per cent taking about 10 per cent of the market, the Whole Hog says.

March 2010

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