US Breeding Herd Surges to 5 Year High (Oct 07)

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in October 2007 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.
calendar icon 5 October 2007
clock icon 4 minute read

The US breeding herd has surged to a five year high reaching 6.14 million head according to USDA figures in The Whole Hog.

This was one per cent up on last year and slightly up on the previous quarter.

The inventory of hogs and pigs was three per cent up on September last year at 64.6 million head.

The Whole Hog said that consumer demand for pork is up in the US, but production seems to be outstripping consumer demand. It says that a lot of pork is building up with no obvious place for it to go.

Disease Warning

The FAO has warned that with changes in food production there is a higher risk of animal diseases being transmitted to humans.

It warns in the Whole Hog that excessive concentration of animals in large scale industrial production units should be avoided. FAO has called on animal producers to apply basic biosecurity measures to avoid transmission of diseases.

Price Concerns

The Whole Hog recognised the downturn in the pig price cycle in August and the cycle has continued.

It said that in an unprecedented move at the IMS World Pork Conference Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, France, the Netherlands and the UK joined forces to issue a joint statement outlining the substantial losses being made by producers across the four continents.

However, the Whole Hog said that it could not see any gain without pain in the global market.

The rise in feed prices in the UK and continental Europe has increased production costs by 20 per cent and BPEX has called on retailers to support the supply chain.

However, The Whole Hog says that calling on supermarkets to cut their margins or raise their prices to consumers to account for rising feed costs is either naivety or desperation, and it warns that there will be more producers leaving the business.

Meanwhile the EU has seen its breeding herd start to shrink with large numbers of sows being offered for slaughter.

Export Surge

Live hog exports from Canada to the US have started to surge according to the Whole Hog.

Statistics Canada shows a rise of more than 10 per cent year on year.

Meanwhile, pork export from the US reduced, despite an increase to China.

July figures show a drop of 1.9 per cent on the previous month, but this was still up on a year ago.

In New Zealand, the rising grain prices are being seen as the final straw as feed costs are starting to make up between 60 to 70 per cent of production costs.

New Zealand wheat price, 2004 -2011
Source: New Zealand MAF, Situation and Outlook report 2007

South Korea's pork imports fell slightly in July compared to the previous month, but Chile manage to increase its exports to the country by more than 25 per cent and 65 per cent year on year.

For Australian pig farmers the impact of the prolonged drought, the strong dollar and record imports has them on the brink of ruin, the Whole Hog says.

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