Contraction of Canadian swine herd continues - GAIN

Apr 08, 2024

Contraction in the Canadian swine herd continues in 2024, according to a recent US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report. Higher than anticipated sow productivity in 2023 partially offset larger slaughter and export numbers with the beginning hog inventory down 140,000 head compared to 2023; comparatively, the Canadian herd contracted by 265,000 head from January 2022 to January 2023. Beginning sow stocks show a 2% reduction in the sow herd to begin 2024, representing the smallest January 1 sow numbers since 2015. The number of farms reporting hogs declined 2% compared to January 1, 2023, indicating that producers continue to exit the industry. As a signal of ongoing industry consolidation, the average number of animals on remaining operations increased slightly.

The fall in sow inventories is not equal across Canada for 2024. Canadian sow herd reduction has been driven by reductions in Eastern Canada, largely as a result of processing reductions, while Western
Canada saw a slight increase to their sow herd beginning in 2024. This occurred despite the fact that Olymel idled five sow barns located in Western Canada, removing an estimated 16,000 head from
production. Olymel’s restructuring has also impacted processing capacity in Eastern Canada where at the end of 2023, Olymel closed its Vallée-Jonction plant in Quebec. Despite the Olymel closure and
signalled reductions in purchasing, it appears that producers in Eastern Canada, especially Quebec, have been slower to reduce production, reportedly resulting in a backlog of market-ready hogs.

Sow productivity has likely also played a factor. Sow productivity reached a new high in 2023 based on the Statistics Canada pig crop data. Fewer disease issues likely factored strongly in this improved
productivity as PEDv control appears much improved. Sources indicate that strong productivity is also anticipated for 2024. As a result, FAS/Ottawa is raising the 2024 pig crop forecast to 29.4 million. This
would represent a two percent reduction compared to 2023. However, Quebec producers will remain under pressure to reduce production further. It is estimated that production in Quebec needs to be cut by
15% to adjust to reduced processing capacity. The Quebec herd in total was down 5% to begin 2024. Quebec and Ontario market hogs have been finding shackle space in the United States and if producers continue to see value in this trade flow, reduction efforts may be mitigated.

Source : The Pigsite
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