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US Swine Economics Report

by 5m Editor
24 February 2004, at 12:00am

Regular report by Ron Plain on the US Swine industry. The southward movement of large numbers of Canadian hogs should continue in 2004.

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Ron Plain
Ron Plain

The Canadian hog industry is continuing its rapid growth. Over the last 10 years, the Canadian swine breeding herd has increased by 506,000 head while the U.S. breeding herd has declined by 1.2 million head. A decade ago, the Canadian hog breeding herd was 15.6% as large as the U.S. breeding herd. At the start of 2004, the Canadian breeding herd was equal to 27.3% of the U.S. number.

The total Canadian hog inventory was down 0.4% on January 1, 2004 compared to a year earlier, but the number of sows in Canada was up 3.2%. The lower total inventory does not appear to be due to any cutback by Canadian hog producers. Rather, it is because of rapidly increasing exports of feeder pigs to the U.S. The January 1 Canadian inventory of pigs weighting less than 20 kilograms (44 pounds) was up 6.75% while the inventory of market hogs weighing more than 20 kg was down 4.6%. For all of 2003, Canada shipped 4.971 million feeder pigs to the U.S., 32.3% more than in 2002.

Statistics Canada reported that the number of sows farrowed in Canada during the fourth quarter of 2003 was up 9.1% compared to the final quarter of 2002. Farrowing intentions for the first two quarters of 2004 are up 6.8% and up 6.1%, respectively compared to a year earlier.

If one adds the Canadian numbers to USDA's inventory numbers, (this is an inexact calculation since Canada does it quarterly inventory surveys a month later than USDA) it looks like fall 2003 farrowings in the two countries were up 2.5%, winter farrowings are up 2.7% and spring farrowings will be up 0.4%. If these numbers are close to correct, 2004 U.S. hog slaughter should exceed 1999's record of 101.544 million hogs by more than a million head.

5m Editor