Pig producers hoping for a bumper corn crop in U.S. Midwest

Pork prices have risen and if sky-high feed prices come back to earth, then hard-hit 
producers may get ‘some profit back,’ says the head of the Manitoba Pork Council

Hog producers could see some relief from high feed costs this year, but not in time for summer, says the chair of the Manitoba Pork Council.

“All signs are for a record corn acreage to be sown in the U.S. this spring, which could really bring some relief to the feed grain prices this fall,” Karl Kynoch said at the council’s recent AGM.

“And any time corn comes down a couple dollars a bushel, that is huge for the bottom line and puts producers into profit margins a lot sooner.”

Corn may even drop below $6 per bushel by 2014, but the days of $2-a-bushel corn are gone for good, he added.

The situation is improving in the American Midwest this year following the worst drought in 50 years, that lowered production by 13 per cent. But spring rains have returned and so has optimism, said Kynoch.

“Right now we’re seeing a lot of moisture in the U.S.,” he said.

Two years of poor production in the U.S. pushed up corn prices and did further damage to the fortunes of Canadian pork producers, who had already been hit hard by the country-of-origin-labelling law and the 2009 H1N1 outbreak.

But there’s hope on the horizon for those producers who have managed to hang on, said Kynoch, who noted pig prices over the past year have been above the five-year average.

“If we can just lower the price of the feed grains and keep the meat prices up where they’ve been the past year… hopefully we’ll get some profit back,” he said.

About the author

Reporter

Shannon VanRaes is a journalist and photojournalist at the Manitoba Co-operator. She also writes a weekly urban affairs column for Metro Winnipeg, and has previously reported for the Winnipeg Sun, Outwords Magazine and the Portage Daily Graphic.

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