Canada’s hog inventories as of July 1, 2009, totalled 12.1 million head, down from 12.98 million at the same time a year ago, but up slightly from the 11.88 million during the quarter ended April 1, 2009, figures released by Statistics Canada August 20 show.
The government agency said Canada’s hog inventories have been decreasing since 2006, following a period of investments in more efficient barns in the late 1980s and early years of 2000. The Canadian breeding herd, mainly sows and gilts, declined 4.6 per cent to almost 1.4 million head during the last year, Statistics Canada said.
As sows decrease so do the number of farrowings. Farrowing intentions for the third quarter of 2009 are down 4.1 per cent from the same period last year and are expected to be down 5.5 per cent for the fourth quarter.
Despite hog inventories decreasing since 2006, hog slaughter remains strong in 2009 as more weanling pigs were fed to slaughter weight in Canada rather than being exported to U. S. finishing operations. Domestic slaughter capacity increased, mainly on the Canadian Prairies.
During the first two quarters of 2009, hog producers nationally exported an estimated 3.3 million hogs, down 34.6 per cent from the same period last year. Weanling hogs are being shipped to feeders. Statistics Canada said that in the first and second quarters, hogs exported for slaughter were down 58.5 per cent and weanling hog exports were down 27.6 per cent from the same period a year ago.
Manitoba, the main exporting province, had a 32.4 per cent decrease in exports in the first and second quarters of 2009.