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Canadian hog herd drops in 2009 Q3

Hog inventories on Canadian farms declined 7.3 per cent between the third quarter of 2008 and the third quarter of 2009. The main factors in the decline were low market prices, the restructuring of farms and farm closures.

As of Oct. 1, Canadian farmers had 11.8 million hogs on their farms, down from 12.7 million on the same date last year. At the same time, the number of farms with hog operations fell 9.4 per cent, from 8,500 to 7,700.

Total hogs in Eastern Canada dropped 5.6 per cent between the two dates, to 6.99 million. Percentage-wise, Atlantic Canada’s herd saw the largest drop, 15.9 per cent, to 142,000.

Quebec’s and Ontario’s herds dropped five and six per cent, respectively, to 3.84 million and 3.02 million.

Western Canada’s hog herd dropped 9.5 per cent to 4.83 million, with Manitoba, the West’s largest hog-producing province, reducing its total hog herd 9.7 per cent to 2.41 million head.

Alberta and Saskatchewan herds dropped 8.2 and 12.2 per cent respectively, to 1.52 million and 790,000. British Columbia’s small hog herd shrank just 1.7 per cent to 113,000.

The total number of sows reported on Canadian farms reached 1.35 million, down 4.4 per cent from Oct. 1, 2008. The number of sows anticipated to farrow is expected to continue declining, according to the industry.

Hog producers exported about 1.6 million hogs during the third quarter of 2009, down 27.2 per cent from the same period last year. During the same period, domestic slaughter of hogs increased 5.9 per cent as slaughter capacity improved in some regions.

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