US Breeding Herd Down but Productivity Up (October 2008)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in October 2008 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 8 October 2008
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The US breeding herd has fallen by three per cent on last year and one per cent on the previous quarter.

However, despite the drop recorded by the USDA to 6.05 million head, the Whole Hog says that the US inventory of all pigs and hogs is up by two per cent from September 2007 and up by one per cent from June this year reaching 68.7 million.

The number of sows expected to farrow during September to November is down from 2007 and the decline will continue into 2009.

The Whole Hog reports that the latest news from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service shows that production in Brazil is expected to rise by three per cent next year.

This rise is a reflection of both a firm domestic demand and a rise in exports.

The report says that domestic consumption of pig meat in Brazil is forecast to remain stable during 2009, despite an increase in competition from beef and poultry.

The outlook for exports is a rise of about four per cent as shipments to non-traditional markets continue to expand.

Price Changes Face Slow Down

The Whole Hog's global pig price index shows an upward trend since early may - 20 consecutive weeks.

The main driving force is from the US, but Canada and Denmark are also above the world market average.

The Whole Hog says that in the next few weeks the relative position of country prices to the underlying trend will be crucial, as the market is affected by the global economic uncertainties.

Gloomy Forecasts for Australian Pig Market

The Australian pig meat industry under strain from the effects of a severe drought, which has increased grain prices on ones side and the strong dollar on another has forced up exports and created strong competition, the Whole Hog says.

The Australian pig inventory is expected to drop by two per cent next year and the high grain prices are expected to maintain the pressure on sow numbers.

Imports are expected to rise sharply next year, with the US taking an increasing share of the market.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that pork exports for July fell by 12.8 per cent in volume and 12.6 per cent in value compared to the previous year.

The slump, according to the Whole Hog, was due to a decrease in exports to New Zealand by more than 25 per cent and Singapore by more than 19 per cent.

In the EU prices have continued to rise through September, continuing the run of rising prices sine March.

While Greece is getting the highest prices, the UK has seen prices rise by more than 25 per cent year-on-year. Polish prices are 25 per cent higher and prices in Germany, Netherlands and Hungary are 20 per cent higher, the Whole Hog reports.

Canadian and US Pork Exports Up

The January-July pork exports for Canada rose by 9.4 per cent - 54,588 tonnes - compared to the same time last year, according to the Whole Hog.

Exports to Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and South Korea more than doubled, which exports to Russia rising by 36 per cent helped to boost Canadian Sales.

The Whole Hog says that the Canadian Pork Council is pressing the government to extend the Cull Breeding Swine programme.

In the US, pig meat exports reached 172,676 tonnes - 6.6 per cent less than June, but 95.1 per cent more than in July last year.

The Whole Hog shows that year to date exports to Japan, the US's largest market, are 23.8 per cent higher than last year.

During July, the US imported 28,761 tonnes of pork virtually the same as June but 18.2 per cent down on a year ago.

Imports Down to Japan and South Korea

The latest pig meat import figures to Japan show a drop of nine per cent between May and June but were up by 13.5 per cent year-on-year.

Imports from the US, Japan's largest pig meat trading partner, were down slightly on the previous month, but compared to June 2007 were up by 21 per cent, the Whole Hog reports.

In July, South Korea saw a dip in imports of 14.4 per cent compared to the previous month and this figure was also down compared to July last year.

The main reason was a dip in imports from the US, where the figures fell by 27.2 per cent, however, this was up by 18.4 per cent on the previous year.

While Canada saw a slide in export numbers to South Korea, Chile is seeing its exports to Korea rise.

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