Majority of Hogs Under Contract to Maple Leaf Diverted from Saskatoon to be Processed in Manitoba

CANADA - Maple Leaf Foods reports the bulk of hogs currently processed at its Brandon slaughtering plant as well as those that will be diverted from Saskatoon will be processed in Manitoba, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 30 May 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

Last October Maple Leaf Foods announced plans to close its Mitchell's Gourmet Foods hog slaughtering plant in Saskatoon to make way for the eventual double shifting of its Brandon plant.

Tomorrow the Saskatoon facility will close permanently.

Maple Leaf director of procurement for Western Canada Jason Manness reports producers who had been delivering to Saskatoon and who have agreed to contract to Brandon will be accommodated using existing Manitoba capacity.

Jason Manness-Maple Leaf Foods

The Mitchell's plant has actually had a ramp down and so about two months ago the Mitchell's facility stepped down about a third of it's capacity and we transitioned those hogs into Brandon.

Now the last two thirds will be, as I indicated, shut down Thursday.

We will honor all contracts of course and move those pigs into Brandon.

Now many of the producers were offered long term opportunities into Brandon and a good solid half of them took those opportunities and signed contracts into Brandon and so the numbers are working fine.

We had some extra capacity in some of the slaughter facilities in Manitoba.

We custom kill at Springhill Farms in Neepawa and so we have an opportunity to ramp up some numbers there to facilitate some of these hogs.

As well we have some opportunity in Brandon to maximize what it's doing today, as well as our Marion Street Facility in Winnipeg and so the majority of the extra pigs will be processed here in Manitoba because of the extra capacity we had here.

Manness says there will be a slight increase in market hog shipments to the U.S. from Manitoba but the number won't be significantly larger than what was going south prior to the closure of the Mitchell's plant.

He notes he isn't certain where producers who decided to not renew with Maple Leaf will ship hogs but he expects most to move south with some going west to Olymel's Red Deer facility.

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