US Swine Economics Report

Regular report by Ron Plain on the US Swine industry.
calendar icon 14 November 2006
clock icon 3 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

U.S. imports of pork during September were down 14.5% from 12 months earlier to the lowest total for any month since December 2001. January-September pork imports were down 1.5% compared to the same period last year with Canada accounting for all of the decline. Canadian hog slaughter has been running below year-earlier levels, thus it is not surprising that less pork is being shipped south. The strength of the Canadian dollar is making it difficult for Canadian hog producers to compete with U.S. producers.

U.S. pork exports during September totaled 219.631 million pounds (carcass weight equivalent). That was 12.6% of U.S. pork production during the month and 7.4% more pork than the U.S. exported in September 2005. The U.S. exported 14% of its pork production during the first 9 months of this year. During the same period, imports accounted for a little less than 5% of U.S. pork consumption.

Some time later this month, 2006 will become the 15th consecutive record year for U.S. pork exports.

U.S. pork exports would be up more but for a 7.9% decline in pork shipments to Japan. In 2002, 48% of U.S. pork exports went to Japan. Through September, only 34% of 2006 U.S. pork exports have been to Japan. The big growth markets for U.S. pork exports this year are Russia, Mexico and South Korea. These three countries account for all of the net increase in 2006 U.S. pork exports.

The number of live hogs imported from Canada during the first 9 months of this year was up 7% compared to January-September 2005 with 488,244 more feeder pigs being imported but 65,786 fewer hogs brought south. About 52% of the feeder pig imports are of pigs weighing less than 15 pounds. Live hog imports are on a pace to break the 2004 record of 8.5 million head imported.

Thanks in large part to the strength of pork exports, U.S. hog producers are enjoying the longest period of profitable prices in the last 40 years. U.S. pork exports were up 27% in 2004, 22% in 2005, and are expected to be up 10-12% when this year comes to an end.

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