Typical fall hog production pattern returning: StatsCan

Canada’s third-quarter hog inventories as of Oct. 1 are reported at 11.9 million head, down 0.8 per cent from the same date in 2009, according to Statistics Canada.

But total inventory is up 0.6 per cent from the second quarter, returning to a traditional fall production pattern, the federal statistics agency said in a release Thursday.

The estimated number of hog farms at Oct. 1, 2010 was 7,035, down 8.3 per cent from the same date one year ago.

The Canadian hog industry did not show any signs of expansion in the third quarter, as the breeding herd continued to decline. Canadian farms reported 1.3 million sows at Oct. 1, down 3.8 per cent from a year ago. Sow inventory declined 4.1 per cent in the West and 3.4 per cent in the East. The number of sows expected to farrow in the fourth quarter of 2010 and first quarter of 2011 is down 3.7 and 4.6 per cent respectively from the same period last year.

Despite the decreasing breeding herd, Quebec and Manitoba show an increase in total hog inventory from the same date a year ago, 0.9 and 5.2 per cent respectively.

The introduction of a new hogs classification grid in Quebec, toward heavier hog slaughter weights, has contributed to the inventory increase. In Manitoba, a contributing factor to the increase is that more weaners are being fed to slaughter weight instead of being exported.

Hog slaughter prices have strengthened in recent months after several years of decline. In spite of improving prices, domestic slaughter declined during the third quarter of 2010, falling 5.7 per cent to 5.2 million head from the same period in 2009.

Canadian hog exports have continued to decline since the third quarter of 2008. Third quarter 2010 hog exports were down 11.6 per cent from the same period a year earlier, at 1.3 million hogs. The major exporting provinces, Manitoba and Ontario, show a 17.9 per cent decrease and an eight per cent increase respectively, in exports from a year ago.

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