Ageing Infrastructure: Next Challenge for Pork Producers

CANADA - The general manager of Manitoba Pork Council says replacing aging infrastructure will be among the financial challenges facing pork producers over the next few years, according to Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 5 February 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Following three to four years of losses, a combination of increased demand for pork which has pushed up live hog prices and dramatically lower feed costs have improved the profitability of pork producers.

An update of the state of the pork industry will be among the topics discussed as part of the 2014 Manitoba Swine Seminar tomorrow and Thursday in Winnipeg.

Manitoba Pork Council general manager Andrew Dickson says, while producers are in a position to start recovering lost equity, there are still long term underlying financial issues to be dealt with including the need to replace aging infrastructure.

Andrew Dickson-Manitoba Pork Council

Our barns are probably on average 16 to 17 years old and we've got some that are in their 20s.

Issues become the ability to find property insurance to cover things like fire and mechanical break-down.

You become riskier so we to think about maintenance programs on farms, how to make sure that electrical equipment gets replaced where needed, proper repairs are made to things like light sockets so that we don't get arching and then causing fires.

The other point is and we've this in some places, roofs collapse because the rafters are old and they've rusted out and they can only take so much snow so at some point you've got to start replacing your basic structure and how do we do that and how do we finance it.

These are all issues that we need to start rethinking about.

Everything in the last four or five years has been about survival and now the issue is how do we move forward.

Mr Dickson says if these barns close and aren't replaced we'll lose productive capacity which will have an impact on the pork value chain all the way from the processors, through distribution and into retail.

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