Reduced Canadian Slaughter Capacity Expected to Drive Increased Hog Exports South

CANADA - Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food predicts increased exports of live hogs from Canada to the United States as Canadian slaughter capacity continues to re-adjust, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 11 May 2007
clock icon 3 minute read

The May hog market update, released last week, indicates growth of the Canadian swine herd during 2007 will be flat while Canadian live hog exports into the U.S. are expected to increase over 2006.

Provincial livestock economist Brad Marceniuk explains reduced slaughter at the Olymel plant in Red Deer from a year ago and declining slaughter numbers at the Mitchell's plant in Saskatoon have resulted in more Canadian hogs moving south.

Brad Marceniuk-Saskatchewan Agriculture and Food

Looking at recent stats from Stats Canada, the Stats Canada report indicated total inventory of hogs in Canada as of April 1, 2007 was down about three percent from a year ago.

Breaking that down, the market herd inventory was down about 3.3 percent from a year ago while the breeding herd was down about 1.5 percent from a year ago.

Looking at the Stats Canada data for 2007, based on the data, we thing Canadian hog production should be relatively flat from 2006 even with some small increases in productivity.

We have seen continued increases in live hog exports the U.S. in 2006 and early into 2007 and that's been a big reason why market herd inventory numbers have been reduced.

Marceniuk indicates, with the pending closure of the Mitchell's plant June 1, slaughter numbers will decline further in the short term and we can expect more live slaughter weight hogs to move south into to the U.S. in May and June.

He concedes it isn't clear how this reduced slaughter capacity in North America will affect hog prices however, he says, with reduced slaughter capacity, there's always the potential for downward pressure on prices so any increased slaughter capacity in North America would help reduce the problem.

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