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Sale of Saskatoon Hog Slaughtering Plant as Ongoing Concern Unlikely

by 5m Editor
16 November 2006, at 9:25am

CANADA - Farm-Scape: Episode 2237. Farm-Scape is a Wonderworks Canada production and is distributed courtesy of Manitoba Pork Council and Sask Pork.

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Farm-Scape, Episode 2237

The President of Maple Leaf Foods has told hog producers in Saskatchewan the sale of its hog slaughtering plant in Saskatoon as an ongoing concern is an unlikely possibility.

Last month Maple Leaf announced it will close its aging Saskatoon hog slaughtering plant as it focuses on double shifting its slaughter plant in Brandon.

Michael McCain, on hand yesterday in Saskatoon, blamed Maple Leaf's life threatening losses over the past two years on the rising value of the dollar combined with the fact that Canadian plant utilization is running at 64 percent compared to the mid 80 percent range for plants in the US.

He maintains two world class plants can handle 180 of the 197 thousand market hogs finished per week in western Canada with the smaller specialty plants capable of taking the balance.

If we concentrate on making sure that the two plants, or possibly three, that are that are announced today are functioning well, those two plants in Brandon and Red Deer, the industry can succeed.

We can compete world scale, we can compete with the Americans, we can compete with the Europeans, we can export, we can focus on the value add that is where the real success lies, we can compete against the US pork coming into Canada, we can compete.

But, if we keep allowing this to continue, then probably we'll continue to get more and more US pork coming into Canada, Canada will be less able to compete in the world markets and that cycle will go nothing but down hill.

McCain insists for Canada's processing sector to restore its economic viability, it must better balance primary processing capacity to available hog supply and available markets for meat.

He suggests it's imperative for older capacity in Canada to come out of the system while new and efficient capacity ramps up.

Staff Farmscape.Ca

5m Editor