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Despite Russian Ban North American Pork Producers Expected to Remain Profitable this Winter

18 August 2014, at 8:23am

CANADA- Despite Russia's ban on North American pork imports, Sask Pork remains confident the province's pork producers will be able to lock in profitable hog prices throughout the coming winter, writes Bruce Cochrane for Farmscape.

Russia has responded to sanctions imposed over the crisis in Ukraine by banning imports of meat, fish, milk and milk products and fruits and vegetables from Canada, the US, the European Union, Australia and Norway for a year.

Mark Ferguson, the manager of industry and policy analysis with Sask Pork, says prices have been strong this summer hitting historic highs in July and feed costs have remained manageable given last year's bumper crop and a good growing season this year.

Mark Ferguson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:

Everybody's cost of production is a little different but our projections show profitability is probably somewhere between $70 and $90 a hog currently so it's been a profitable summer and a profitable year for the entire industry and probably for the entire year we'll be looking at over a $50 a hog profit so its very good profits.

There's always a seasonal decline in hog prices as you move through the summer and into the fall months.

A lot of that is due to just a lower demand for meats as you move out of the barbecue season but there's also been the Russian decision to stop importing North American pork and so that's probably pushing prices down a little bit right now and also the cutout value is declining and so that's not helping prices.

There's a few things going on.

It's hard to point to any one factor right now for declining futures prices but we would always expect this to happen going into the fall.

Mr Ferguson says producers should be able to hedge profits through the winter months and he encourages everyone to try to lock in something that works.

He suggests keeping an eye on the PED situation in the US, the main reason the number of hogs slaughtered in North America is down so much from last year, because how the virus affects the industry this winter will have a big impact on prices.