Canadian pig herd continues to grow
As at 1 July, the number of pigs on holdings in Canada rose for the fifth consecutive year to 14.1 million head, 2% up on the same period in 2016 and 12% higher than 1 July 2012, according to latest data from Statistics Canada.
Furthermore, the number of pig farms in Canada reported an increase of 1% on the year to 7,880. The breeding herd as at 1 July was 1% higher than the same period in 2016 at 1.3 million head. However, the majority of the overall increase was driven by a 4% rise in young pigs (23-53kg) to 2.5 million head. The number of piglets under 7kg as at 1 July also increased by 4% on the year to 1.9 million head. Slaughter pig (>54kg) numbers increased by 2% on the previous year, which would suggest a continued rise in slaughterings during the third quarter of the year.
The continuing growth of the Canadian pig herd has been achieved by improved profitability and as such the sector has continued to consolidate with farms becoming more intensive and specialised. Feed prices are currently relatively low, while pig prices are firm, again aiding with production efficiency. Over the past couple of years, Canadian pig prices have been supported somewhat by its strong export performance. During the first half of 2017, shipments of pig meat to China increased by 9% to 175.9 thousand tonnes, meaning China has now over taken the US to hold the largest share of Canadian exports. Exports of pig meat to other Asian markets such as Japan and the Philippines have also increased on the year from January – June, by 14% and 44% respectively.
The continued increase in Canadian pig meat output could lead to a larger exportable surplus for the nation. With Asian markets key for the UK and the EU a rise in Canadian production could lead to greater export competition.
Millie Askew, Senior Analyst
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