2009: Hog Producers Hope for a Better Year

by 5m Editor
21 November 2008, at 7:19am

CANADA - In the past two years, there has been a major downsizing in the Saskatchewan pork sector.

According to, the only hog slaughtering plant in the province closed in Saskatoon. Producers also had to deal with the impact of higher feed grain prices and the rising Canadian dollar. At times, losses were as high as $50 per head.

Producers still have to ship their animals to Brandon, Red Deer or the US, but there have been improvements in the other two areas. The Canadian dollar has dropped below the 80 cent US mark and feed barley prices are about half of what they were earlier this year.

The Chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board thinks producers are through the worst of it. Neil Ketilson anticipates next year will be better. However, he is still waiting to see how world economic problems are going to impact the pork market.

Dave Reiman is a grain analyst with Informa Economics. Speaking at the Sask Pork Industry Symposium on Wednesday in Saskatoon, he advised producers to pick their pricing points for feed grain and move when the market hits a dip. Reiman says it's okay to be reasonably patient right now. But as Saskatoon gets further into the winter, there is a risk that weather could play a factor. Even though grain production increased in 2008, Reiman says the global supply is still "relatively snug".

He goes on to say pork producers need to be flexible in their rations and be prepared to use feed peas or dried distillers' grain (DDG's) from ethanol production . . . if the prices warrant.