Canadian Sow Numbers Below Year-Ago Levels for 19th Consecutive Quarter

US - Statistics Canada this week released the results of their survey of the Canadian hog inventory, write Ron Plain and Glenn Grimes.
calendar icon 20 February 2010
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They said the 1 January inventory of sows in Canada was down 4.3 per cent and market hogs were down 4.5 per cent compared to a year ago. This was the 19th consecutive quarter with sow numbers below year-ago levels. They predicted Canadian farrowings would be down 4.5 per cent during the first quarter of 2010 and down 3.2 per cent during the second quarter.

US pork exports during 2009 totaled 4.126 billion pounds. Although exports were down 11.6 per cent compared to 2008, it was still the second highest year ever, 31.4 per cent more than during third place 2007. In total, 18 per cent of US pork was exported during 2009. Our four biggest foreign customers were Japan, Mexico, Canada and Hong Kong. The biggest increase in exports was to Mexico which purchased 225 million pounds more US pork in 2009 than in 2008. The biggest export decline last year was to China which purchased 285 million pounds less pork from the US than in 2008.

Pork imports last year totaled 0.834 billion pounds, up 0.2 per cent from 2008, but down 30 per cent compared to the record import year of 1987. Canada was the origin of 81.3 per cent of US pork imports last year with 9.8 per cent coming from Denmark and 3.2 per cent coming from Poland. Pork imports equaled 3.6 per cent of US production in 2009.

Live hog imports in 2009 were 6,364,553 head, down 31.9 per cent compared to 2008 and the lowest total since 2002. Feeder pig imports were down 25.8 per cent compared to 2008 and imports of other hogs were down 50.5 per cent.

USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated cutout value was $69.46/cwt, up $1.15 from the previous Thursday, and up $12.24 compared to the same day last year. Loins, bellies and hams were all higher while boston butt prices were lower this week than last.

Hog prices ended the week with little change from where they started. The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $63.37/cwt, 5 cents higher than the previous Friday. Regional average prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $63.19, western corn belt $64.50, and Iowa-Minnesota $64.20/cwt. The top hog price Friday at Sioux Falls was $48/cwt, down $2 for the week. Zumbrota, MN had a top of $48 on Friday and Peoria topped at $46/cwt. The interior Missouri top Friday was $45.25/cwt, $1.50 lower than the previous Friday.

This week’s hog slaughter is estimated to be 2.097 million head, down 2.3 per cent compared to the same week last year. Hog slaughter has been below year-earlier for each of the last 7 weeks.

The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending 6 February was 199 pounds, down 1 pound from the week before and down 3 pounds from the same week last year. Iowa-Minnesota live weights last week averaged 268.4 pounds, up 0.2 pounds compared to a year earlier.

The April lean hog futures contract ended the week at $69.62/cwt, up $1.42 from last Friday. The May contract settled at $76.12, up $1.17 for the week. June closed the week at $79.25/cwt and July ended at $78.90/cwt.

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