Pork Commentary: Swine Canada Inventory Report

1 May 2012, at 8:24am

CANADA & US - Last week, Statistics Canada released its April 1st Canada Swine Inventory Report. The breeding inventory is real steady, in 2011 1.311 million in 2012, 1.312 million. That is a 100–head difference year–over–year – real steady, writes Jim Long.

The Canada market inventory was up year over year by about 200,000 head (2011: 10.519 million; 2012: 10.729 million).

Canada’s industry is in a holding pattern as profits have been limited by high feed prices, and a par Canadian dollar to US. Producers who grow their own feed are cash flowing quite well. High cost feed purchasing production systems are losing money. With the current high feed prices and current future lean hog futures, we expect some decrease in the breeding herd in the coming months primarily from feed purchasing companies.

Canada's live hog exports to the US in the first three months are steady.

Live Hog Exports to US
Year to date April 4, 2012 hogs (head)
0 2012 2011 % change
Barrows/gilts/sows 235,533 278,170 -15.3
Feeder pigs 1,293,049 1,265,723 2.2
Total 1,528,582 1,543,893 -1.0

The US in the past imported more than double the current rate. US Country of Origin Labeling and lower Canadian pig supply from a Canadian breeding herd 300,000 smaller than a few years ago had dramatically cut Canadian pig supply.

Canada’s weekly hog kill is year of date to April 14 -1.1 per cent lower (2012: 5.952 million; 2011: 5.990 million).


Canada’s breeding herd, US live exports and slaughter numbers have little change year over year. A small increase in market hog inventory from productivity gains. Canada’s production is not changing much anytime soon due to high feed prices, currency exchange rate but probably just as importantly very little long term optimism.

US – Canadian hog inventory

The US–Canadian report for April indicates the direction of the two interdependent countries inventory and supply.

US – Canadian hog inventory
Annual in March ('000 head)
0 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2012
as % of '11
All hogs and pigs 76,625 80,218 77,704 75,218 75,514 76,912 102
Kept for breeding 7,720 7,675 7,377 7,074 7,098 7,130 100
Market 68,904 72,544 70,328 68,144 68,416 69,782 102
Under 50 pounds 0 24,823 23,824 22,530 22,955 23,567 103
50-119 pounds 0 19,175 19,107 18,649 18,139 18,675 103
120-179 pounds 0 15,073 14,,473 14,083 14,562 14,750 101
180 pounds and over 0 13,473 12,925 12,883 12,760 12,780 100
Sows farrowed 3,730 3,876 3,766 3,595 3,551 3,586 101
Pig crop 34,431 36,340 36,024 34,838 35,067 35,947 103


US–Canada breeding herd has not significantly changed over the last year, and last two years. The total breeding herd is about 600,000 smaller than 2007; the decline from 2007 of financial losses and productivity increases.

The 2012 combined market hog inventory is two per cent higher than 2011 but still almost three million head smaller than in 2008. The increase in 2012 is truly a reflection of increased productivity from a steady breeding herd.

The combined pig crop for the quarter was up year over year three per cent (about 900,000). This is a big jump year over year and will mean more hogs in the last quarter of 2012.

Domino’s Pizza Stands up to Humane Society of United States

The shareholders of Domino’s Pizza strongly rejected a motion at their 2012 annual meeting that would require its suppliers to stop housing gestation sows in stalls. Only four per cent of the shareholders supported the motion. A massive rebuke to the Humane Society of the United States, says Mr Long; Domino’s spokesman Tim McIntyre says: “We rely on animal experts to determine the best way to raise an animal that is being used for food.“

The resounding defeat of the motion is a virtual slap in the face of the Humane Society of the United States, according to Mr Long. Their massive fund–raising efforts will continue as they push a thinly veiled attempt to create a vegan society. Every swine producer should not only thank Domino’s but eat their pizza. It is great to see an American company standing up to the righteous bullying tyranny of the Humane Society of the United States. There is hope. Mr Long added that several millenniums of human history of eating meat won't be stopped by a Washington lobby group.