CME: Canadian Hog and Pig Inventory Lower in 2010

US - Statistics Canada released on 27 April, the results of its quarterly survey of Canadian hog producing operations, writes Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 30 April 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

As expected, the survey continued to show that Canadian hog producers remain in a contraction mode, evidenced by lower hog inventories, a smaller sow herd and fewer pigs expected to come to market in the coming months.

Below are some of the highlights from this report:

  • The total inventory of hogs and pigs in Canada as of 1 April was 11.635 million head, 2.1 per cent lower than a year ago and 22.6 per cent lower than in April 2006. The most recent combined US and Canada hog inventories are now pegged at 75.623 million head, 2.7 per cent lower than a year ago.

  • The breeding herd in Canada continues to decline. The 1 April sow inventory was reported to be 1.304 million head, 81,000 head or 5.6 per cent lower than the previous year and an indication that Canadian hog producers remain very much in a liquidation mode. Canadian hog producers have steadily worked to reduce capacity and the breeding herd is currently 20 per cent smaller than five years ago. Indeed, as the chart to the right shows, the Canadian hog breeding herd is now back to where it was in April 1999, making for an entire lost decade for the industry. It has been quite a roller-coaster ride whereby producers invested heavily to expand, attracted by strong profits, good export markets and a favorable currency during 2000-2005, only to give it all back in the second half of the decade. The reduction in the Canadian breeding herd further amplifies the realities of a smaller production base in North America. The combined US and Canadian sow inventories are now estimated to be 7.064 million head, 4.2 per cent smaller than a year ago and 8 per cent smaller than in 2008. That kind of decline in the overall breeding herd helps explain the overall tight hog supplies we are currently seeing in the US market. Fewer Canadian feeder pigs are coming into the US these days, a reflection of the smaller Canadian sow herd, the strong Canadian dollar and, to a lesser extent, the new COOL (country of origin labeling) law. The overall pig crop in Canada for the period January - March was down 2.9 per cent compared to the previous year. During the period 4 January - 10 April, US imports of Canadian feeder pigs were about 1.3 million head, some 172,836 head or 11.9 per cent lower than the same period a year ago and 821,714 head or 38.8 per cent lower than in the first three months of 2008. Pork supplies in the US market are tight, and s smaller Canadian hog industry is part of the reason.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
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