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Hog inventories

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The Daily

Thursday, April 24, 2008
First quarter 2008

Hog inventories are falling and farmers are leaving the industry, in the wake of high feed costs and soft slaughter prices, according to new data from the April 2008 Hog Survey.

Data show that the hog industry in Canada is in a state of transition, as the feed costs and slaughter prices, which have been prevalent in the hog market for some time, have squeezed profit margins to the limit.

As of April 1, 2008, Canada had almost one-fifth fewer (-19.3%) hog farmers than in April 2007. Of those still in business, a number had closed their barns or reduced their breeding herd, or both.

Farmers had an estimated 13.0 million hogs on their farms on April 1, down 1.7 million, or 11.7%, from the same date in 2007. This was the largest year-over-year drop in three decades, and the fifth consecutive quarterly decline in total hog inventories.

The number of sows fell 4.6% during this 12-month period.

With rising feed costs, many hog producers are shifting mainly to farrowing operations from the more traditional farrow-finish operations. This has led producers to export their hogs, mostly weaners, at a strong pace, principally to the United States.

Farmers exported an estimated 2.9 million hogs during the first three months of 2008, a 25.9% increase over the same period a year earlier. At the same time, the domestic slaughter of hogs in Canada slipped 1.1% compared with the first three months of 2007.

On February 25, 2008, the Government of Canada announced a cull breeding swine program aimed at reducing the size of the breeding herd. Further reductions in the hog breeding herd are anticipated across the country once the program is implemented.

Note: Revisions have been incorporated back to July 2007.

Available on CANSIM: table 003-0004, 003-0087 to 003-0090, 003-0092 and 003-0093.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3460.

The first quarter 2008 issue of Hog Statistics, Vol. 7, no. 2 (23-010-XWE, free), is now available on our website. From the Publication page, choose Free Internet publications, then Agriculture.

For more information, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-465-1991). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Yukman Cheung (613-951-9180;, Agriculture Division.

Tables. Table(s).