Saskatchewan Sow Herd and Marketings Up Despite Challenges

CANADA - The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board reports that the provincial sow herd and marketings have increased, despite the challenges currently facing the province's pork producers, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 24 April 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Candian Statistics show, that as of January 1, 2007, Saskatchewan's sow herd had reached an historical milestone, hitting 133 thousand animals, three percent higher than the previos year's figures. During the same period producers marketed 2.6 million animals, an increase of 140 thousand pigs.

Sask Pork policy analyst Mark Ferguson says, considering the recent challenges in terms of local slaughter capacity, the increase has been something of a surprise.

Mark Ferguson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

Saskatchewan is becoming more reliant on interprovincial and international markets to sell their animals due to a reduction in the Saskatchewan slaughter.

The provinces slaughterings have dropped from about 970 thousand down to about 860 thousand animals and so we're becoming a lot more dependent on the packing plants in Manitoba and Alberta and also in the U.S.

The feeder pig exports are becoming a more important market. About 250 thousand feeder pigs were exported this past year and we also noted increases in the slaughter hog exports.

So there's a lot of structural changes happening in the industry right now and producers are responding by moving their pigs to other markets.

Ferguson notes, particularly in the last couple of months, Iowa and Minnesota corn prices have increased dramatically and, while wheat and barley prices in Saskatchewan have also gone up, they haven't increased as fast.

He suggests the growing gap between the corn price in the U.S. and the barley price in Saskatchewan has helped restore some of Saskatchewan's natural advantage in terms of feed.

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