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Canadian Pig Herd Continuing to Increase

12 September 2016, at 12:00am

CANADA - The Statistics Canada Hog inventory has reported a 2 per cent increase in total pig numbers on 1 July 2016 compared to the previous year, with numbers now reaching 13.5 million head.

This is a continuing development, with a similar increase in herd size occurring in the year to 1 July 2015.

Growth in pig numbers and slaughterings is likely to continue, given that the breeding herd was up almost 1 per cent while piglet numbers were up by 2 per cent, helped by the ongoing increase in sow productivity.

Slaughter pig numbers were up by as much as 3 per cent, indicating higher pig slaughter in the third quarter. Thus the 1 per cent increase in Canadian pig slaughterings seen in the first eight months seems likely to continue.

Live exports of weaners to the United States inevitably impact on slaughterings in Canada. There was an increase in trade in the first quarter compared with a year earlier probably influenced by the repeal of Country of Origin Labelling (COOL) in December 2015, but it has since eased back.

The ongoing growth in the Canadian pig herd has been facilitated by increasing profitability. Feed cost have remained low while pig prices in the first seven months of 2016 averaged around 10 per cent higher relative to the same months of 2015.

This in turn has been facilitated by the strong export performance, with chilled and frozen volumes up by 10 per cent in the first seven months of 2016, boosted by a strong growth in exports to China, where demand is currently high.

The fall in the value of the Canadian dollar in relation to the US dollar has also boosted the competitiveness of Canadian product over its United States neighbour.

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