Improved Pork Outlook Projected for 2009-2010

CANADA - The general manager of the Manitoba Pork Council is optimistic that live hog prices have bottomed out and have started the slow climb back, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 10 February 2009
clock icon 3 minute read

Over the past couple of years western Canadian pork producers have faced increasing feed costs, the sudden rise of the Canadian dollar and the continuing burden of dealing with government on issues like environmental control, trade and so on.

Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson says pork producers have used a variety of strategies to survive and, while we've probably hit the low of the low, it's going to be a slow crawl back.

Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council

A number of older operations have closed their doors simply because they feel that they're not competitive in terms of being as productive as some of their neighbors.

Producers continue to improve their productivity each year by one, two, three per cent.

They're a lot more careful about things like feed costs and managing them more.

In terms of use of things like antibiotics and feed additives and that sort of thing, producers are watching those very carefully in terms of trying to avoid expenditures where they can.

And, from a good husbandry perspective they've been looking at new techniques in how to manage the disease problem in their barns and in some cases they've made staff adjustments.

Some of the staff in some of these commercial operations are having to work longer hours and with more responsibilities.

Some managers are now working in the barns themselves directly where as in the past they might have spent more time managing other parts of the business.

Mr Dickson says producers have lost money for the last three years but 2009 will hopefully be a period of at least breaking even and then hopefully we can get into 2010 and make back some money and pay off the accumulated debt producers have incurred.

He says the outlook is better, pointing out, even in an economic recession people still eat.

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