Last week I was on the program for the Western Nutrition Conference in Winnipeg. Much of the meeting dealt with such topics as the intestinal tract biomass, how enzymes can improve availability of nutrients, standardized ileal digestible phosphorus and application of this value to ration formulation, etc. My topic was a lot simpler – feeder and drinkers for heavier weight slaughter pigs.
Good conference and good discussions with all of the nutritionists and feed industry suppliers at the meeting. One topic of discussion was the lack of expansion by Canadian producers. In the prairie provinces the moratorium on new facilities in Manitoba has been a severe limit to the industry. Now that there has been a slight easing in this moratorium the very high cost of construction is a limit. Our wean-finish facilities are currently costing about $325/space including land, well, road, utilities, legal fees, etc. Manitoba contacts tell me their costs are closer to $550 Canadian (over $400 US at the current exchange rate). Not a competitive situation when your market is directly linked to US slaughter pig prices.
In Ontario, the lack of slaughter capacity is the limit. Right now this province produces more pigs than they have slaughter capacity for with the majority of the excess going to Quebec processors, often at what Ontario producers feel is a discounted price. If you’ve paid any attention to the weekly Canadian live pig import numbers, slaughter pigs have been slowly climbing with these extra pigs mainly coming from Ontario. Obviously Ontario producers are hoping for a resolution of the M-COOL situation sooner than later. A lot of talk by these producers about the new Clemens Food Group plant in Michigan and what that might mean for their market access woes.
On another note, look for continued relatively low feed grain prices. Listening to a farm broadcaster at noon today who interviewed a local farmer who said he had a field of soybeans average 85 bu/a across the scale at the elevator. Sounds like soybean supplies (and soymeal) will be very good in this region this year with 50-60 bu/a reports very common so far. Corn harvest is just getting going good in the region and I haven’t heard many yield reports as yet but I expect many to be in the 180-220 bu/a range.
No reports from this region of mold associated quality problems with corn such as vomitoxin or fusarium mold. Given the lack of stress I think most nutritionists are looking for good feeding and milling quality from this years crop in this region.