From a quarterly survey of Canadian hog and pig operations, Statistics Canada reports the Canadian breeding herd remains nearly stable at 1.310 million head, slightly lower than the last quarter.  The Canadian breeding herd contracted by about 20% between 2005 and 2009, but has stayed nearly level since that time, reports Steve Meyer and Len Stein in the CME Group’s Daily Livestock Report (DLR).

 

The Canadian sow herd inventory has remained remarkably steady in recent years despite higher pork prices in North America. Expansion has been dampened by sharply higher feed prices and a stronger Canadian dollar that becomes a liability when it comes to shipping feeder pigs to the United States, according to the DLR.

 

Growth in Canadian pork production, as in the United States, has come not from herd expansion but from productivity gains. The Canadian survey pegged farrowings in the first two quarters of the year up 0.2% from the previous year.

 

The pig crop for the first quarter was reported at 7.265 million head, up 0.9% from the previous year. “The size of the pig crop vs. farrowing implies 10.25 pigs per litter in the latest reported quarter, 0.7% higher than the previous year. The growth in pigs per litter in Canada has lagged behind the United States, where pigs per litter are growing at near 2%. The farrowing size for the latest quarter was notably lower than what producer intentions indicated in the January survey,” the authors note.

 

The latest survey says April to June farrowings will increase by 2.3% from a year ago and farrowings for July to September are expected to decline 1.2%. Canada’s pig crop in the third and fourth quarter will likely be lower than in 2011.

 

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