April Canadian Swine Breeding Herd Smaller

GLOBAL - Statistics Canada says the Canadian swine breeding herd was 5.8 per cent smaller on April 1 than a year earlier and their market hog inventory was down 1.6 per cent, write Ron Plain and Glenn Grimes in their weekly Hog Outlook report for 30 April.
calendar icon 4 May 2010
clock icon 4 minute read

They said first quarter farrowings in Canada were down 5.4 per cent and predicted the number of sows to farrow in the second quarter of 2010 would be down 2.1 per cent, and third quarter farrowings would be down 3.6 per cent. When combined with the USDA data, it looks like U.S-Canadian farrowings were down 4.0 per cent during the winter, and will be down 3.6 per cent this spring and down 2.7 per cent this summer.

The Canadian breeding herd has declined for 21 consecutive quarters and is 19.6 per cent smaller than on 1 January 2005. The rate of decline in the Canadian sow herd is more than double that of the US cutback. Pork producers in both countries have lost mountains of money in recent years with the Canadians hard hit by the strengthening of the Canadian dollar in recent months.

Pigs per litter have increased in Canada, but not as fast as in the US The first quarter of 2010 saw a Canadian average of 9.9 pigs per litter, up 0.7 per cent from the year before. They are 0.3 pigs/litter ahead of us, but the gap has been cut in half over the last 3 years.

Sow slaughter has dropped off since USDA released their encouraging March hog inventory report. The decline is due in part to fewer Canadian sows coming south for slaughter. Grimes’ gilt slaughter data is showing a high percentage of gilts in the barrow and gilt slaughter, implying the rate of gilt retention is still low.

USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $90.20/cwt, down $0.48 from the previous Thursday, but up $33.57 compared to the same day last year. Despite the decline in cutout value, loins, hams and pork bellies were all slightly higher this week. The lean hogs futures contracts are implying that the 2010 peak in hog prices will be in May. The key will be how consumers react when these higher pork prices hit the grocery store.

The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $82.48/cwt, $2.65 higher than the previous Friday. Regional average prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $82.50, western corn belt $82.45, and Iowa-Minnesota $82.42/cwt. The top live hog price Friday at Sioux Falls was $63/cwt, up $3.50 from the previous Friday. Peoria topped at $55 on Friday and Zumbrota, MN had a top price of $59. The interior Missouri live top Friday was $58/cwt, 75 cents higher than the previous Friday.

This week’s hog slaughter totaled 2.028 million head, down 2.2 per cent from the week before, and down 0.9 per cent compared to the same week last year.

The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending 17 April was 201 pounds, 1 pound lighter than a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weights last week averaged 269.9 pounds, up 0.6 pounds from the week before and up 0.4 pounds compared to a year earlier.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report on the Canadian pig herd from Statistics Canada by clicking here.
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