2013 Weather Expected to Determine Fate of Pork Producers

CANADA - The general manager of Manitoba Pork Council says weather in the US corn belt this coming spring will be the factor that determines the challenges pork producers will face in the coming year, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 30 January 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

"The State of the Industry" will be discussed as part of Manitoba Swine Seminar 2013 slated for Wednesday and Thursday in Winnipeg.

Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson recalls 2012 looked good until about June when the impact of the drought on the US corn crop started driving up feed costs pushing producers into negative margins and many out of production.

Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council

This is going to be a weather year.

It's going to be absolutely critical to know what spring moisture conditions are when it comes to planting the US corn crop.

I just returned from a trade mission to Minnesota and Iowa in the past two weeks and all our conversations this past week have all been about the corn crop and what's going to happen this year.

Southern and western Iowa are very dry.

There's no reserves in many areas so this is going to present a real problem if we don't get timely rains in the spring and through the growing period all the way through to harvest in what we would consider late fall.

The other difficulty is there's very little carry-over of grain reserves.

It's not like it was 20 years ago when there were significant amounts of grain held in stock that could be released into the market place to deal with issues like droughts and so on so we're going to have some challenges trying to get feed costs back to a five year average like we've had over the past number of years.

Mr Dickson says to cope producers avoided capital expenditures, pulled pigs earlier resulting in slightly lower weights, tried to lock in summer prices, tried to get a handle on grain supplies and in some cases physically accepted grain in advance because of doubts over availability.

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