Pork Packing Capacity Expected to Be Tight

CANADA - The SPI Marketing Group warns, while alliances with Canadian pork processors have cushioned most Saskatchewan hog producers from the worst effects of new US food labelling rules, slaughter capacity could get tight, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 6 November 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Since the introduction of mandatory US Country of Origin Labelling just over one month ago several US pork processors have stopped killing Canadian origin hogs.

SPI Marketing Group general manager Don Hrapchak says most Saskatchewan producers decided some time ago to solidify their contracts with Springhill in Neepawa, Maple Leaf in Brandon or Olymel in Red Deer and almost all have long term contracts so the impact of COOL has been limited.

Don Hrapchak-SPI Marketing Group

The role of Canadian packers and the capacity of our packers will be extremely important when we have situations such as holiday weeks or break downs.

In the past we've been able to utilize the large slaughter capacity of the United States to market our excess hogs when ever we've experienced problems in western Canada.

With the western Canadian packers basically processing at capacity at their levels, any hiccups will pose some major problems in trying to merchandise the hogs that we have available.

I especially problems arising this Christmas where many of the Canadian plants will be shut down for four to five days.

Those hogs have to come to market eventually and without the American opportunity it will pose some significant problems to western Canadian producers.

Hrapchak notes the Maple Leaf plant is operating at full double shift capacity, the Springhill plant is ramping up to full single shift capacity and the Olymel plant is also moving close to full single shift capacity, with labour being a one of the constraints.

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