Canadian and US pig inventories

On Wednesday the joint US and Canadian quarterly hog inventory report was released by USDA and Statistics Canada. The April 1 Canadian pig inventory was estimated at 12,020,000 pigs with 1,312,000 kept for breeding and 10.708 million kept for market. This compares to the March 1 USDA numbers for the US herd of 64.872 million pigs total inventory with 5.820 million breeding animals and 59,052 kept for market animals.

For the combined US/Canadian inventory, 81.6% of the breeding herd and 84.6% of the kept for market inventory is in the US. The majority of the 3% difference between the kept for market and breeding herd percentages reflects the movement of Canadian weaned pigs and feeder pigs to US finishing sites. Since January 1, 2012, US producers have imported an average of 92,275 weaned and feeder pigs per week. In 2011 we averaged 91,029 weaned and feeder pigs imported per week. In 2011, the US imported 4.81 million weaned and feeder pigs. This is down from the 6.61 million head peak in 2007 prior to the implementation of MCOOL.

This suggests that about 3.5% of the US barrow and gilt slaughter is born in Canada and transported to US finishing facilities. This isn’t a big number relative to daily/weekly/yearly US slaughter numbers. However, it represents a large percentage of pigs born in Canada, especially pigs from Manitoba where a majority of these pigs are born. Manitoba producers reported 8.728 million pigs born in the past 12 months.

On any given week, approximately 2/3 of the imported Canadian pigs originate in Manitoba. While I don’t have the exact numbers on-hand, this suggests about 3.2 million pigs born in Manitoba end up in the US, or something just over 1/3 of their pig crop ends up in US facilities. With this much pig movement to the US no wonder the Manitoba Pork Producers have a booth at the trade show in Minnesota, Iowa and the World Pork Expo.

Another number I routinely track from both the USDA and Canadian inventory numbers is the kept for market inventory per breeding animal. On March 1, US producers had 10.15 market animals per breeding animal, on April 1 Canadian producers has 8.16 and the combined North American number stood at 9.79. In 2000 the combined March/April number was 8.39 pigs.

The increase is due to both an increase in sale weights and improved reproductive efficiencies. The net consequence is the need for more grow-finish facilities. Several people have asked me if the boom in grow-finish facility construction this summer reflects an expanding breeding herd. My reply – maybe. For sure, a part of the expansion is the need for more space to account for this growing inventory.

The 69.782 million pigs in the North American kept for market inventory is up from 68.416 million in the same period last year and 68.144 million in 2010.

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