By Bruce Cochrane
The chair of Sask Pork says the moratorium on new hog barn construction or expansion in Manitoba makes Saskatchewan the logical choice for expansion of western Canada's swine herd.
Bill 46, passed in Manitoba in 2011, extended a 2008 moratorium on new hog barn construction or expansion in eastern Manitoba to the entire province.
Florian Possberg, the chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says in western Canada there is excess hog slaughter capacity right now and interest among the processors in filling that capacity.
Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
What we've heard from Manitoba processors is that, number one, they would like to see expansion in Manitoba but their moratorium on hog expansion really did reduce the appetite there and make it impractical for any new barns.
As well there's certain restrictions on how you handle the byproduct, the manure.
In some cases they're asking for very high cost digesters that have questionable track record whether they're effective or not.
So if you can't produce new hogs in Manitoba you certainly can't go to northern Ontario, Saskatchewan is really the logical place to expand production and so there is interest in that, particularly from the processing side.
At this point there's still not a real appetite from producers to make the major commitments but obviously if profitability continues that will grow.
Possberg notes the U.S. midwest, the most significant hog production area in North America, is experiencing some real health problems.
He says we have a health advantage in the prairies, we have space, we have cropland that could utilize the manure for sustainable organic fertilizer and we have a significant supply of wheat, barley, peas and canola meal that go into feeding hogs.