China exports key to North American hog sector profits

Chinese producers liquidated herds because of higher feed costs and now soaring pork prices are attracting imports

DES MOINES, Iowa — China watcher Dermot Hayes is betting on booming Chinese demand for imported pork, which should create good prices for hog farmers. Chinese government policies have created a production shortfall that the giant pork-eating nation can’t fill this year. “The market will be good this fall, that should stay around for a […] Read more

Charts showing meat cuts and brochures with marketing ideas are part of a campaign designed to put more Canadian pork on the barbecue.  |  File photo

Program touts domestic pork

Canada Pork campaign aims to reduce exports by promoting quality and providing food safety assurances

OTTAWA — One-third of all pork consumed in Canada is imported and the industry has created a program to encourage Canadians to eat domestic pork. Canadian farmers produce two million tonnes of pork a year, of which 1.15 million tonnes were exported in 2014. Another 193,400 tonnes were imported, mostly from the United States. “Canada […] Read more

Hog prices this summer will depend on how high packers can push wholesale pork prices. | File photo

Hog rally threatened, says analyst

Bouncing off a bottom feels great if the bounce keeps going, but some analysts haven’t changed their generally dim view of the longer-term hog market situation. “My sense is that it’s going to be a grind to get much higher here, but I’ve been humbled in the last month,” said Tyler Fulton, markets expert with […] Read more


Low feed prices and tight supply have fattened hog producers’ wallets but an increase in production could send prices down.  | File photo

Hog producers see profits, but tougher times ahead

U.S. production rebounding after PED | Analysts tell producers to increase management efficiency and prepare for tighter margins next year

Lower feed costs and higher hog prices mean this year should be one for the record books, says an industry official. However, there are signs that smaller margins are on the horizon. “I’ve been in the industry since 1975 and this is far and away the most profitable year we’ve had over that time period,” […] Read more

Canadian producers have been unable to fully capitalize on the shortage of hogs in the U.S. due to the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus because of the high cost of weanlings created by country of origin labelling.  |  File photo

Analyst warns of long-term damage of PED, COOL

Hog shortages | Economist says effects of disease and policy will hurt consumer demand

High prices for Manitoba weanlings are just one of the unintended consequences of country-of-origin labelling (COOL) for American farmers, says economist Al Mussell. But a general shrinking of demand for pork is the long-term consequence that helps nobody in the North American hog industry, including those who pushed for COOL. “Markets continue to adjust. What’s […] Read more


Hog industry analysts and producers are trying to get a fix on how prices and supply will develop in the unstable market.  |  File photo

Industry officials asking questions in wake of PED

Porcine epidemic diarrhea | Hog numbers and prices unstable

Hog prices continue to groan with uncertainty as the wrenches thrown by porcine epidemic diarrhea continue to clatter around inside the market’s gears. Will pig numbers and weights suddenly shrink, after holding up against expectations for months? Will PED come back, or is that problem fixed? Has the sky-high prices of spring and summer affected […] Read more

Jerrod Sutton, left, of the National Pork Board and Dallas Hockman of the National Pork Producers Council are reaching out to food processors to improve communication.  |  Ed White photo

Pork officials meet with decision makers in food sector

DES MOINES, Iowa — Skilled, well-financed and professional activist campaigns have pushed grocery and fast food chains to announce gestation stall bans. Those companies are also facing campaigns over antibiotics, sustainability and other animal welfare issues. But the U.S. National Pork Producers Council thinks it finally has a good shot at protecting farmers better in […] Read more

An episode of CTV’s W5 has put a spotlight on animal welfare and hog production in Canada.  |  File photo

Euthanasia in hog industry falls under scrutiny

Humane handling | In wake of TV documentary, industry officials look for methods more acceptable to consumers

Is it OK to kill piglets by banging their heads on concrete floors? Is it proper to kill a sow with a captive bolt gun? Is it humane to house pregnant sows in stalls? The answer to all three of those questions is “yes,” according to most livestock veterinarians. However, from the reaction to footage […] Read more


High feed prices may force producers to borrow more or throw in the towel, says the pork council president.  |  File photo

Feed supply, prices worry hog sector

Feed available after harvest | Demand from south of the border may drive feed exports

A task force of hog producers and federal government officials is being formed to address concerns over unaffordable feed that could drive some producers out of the business. Livestock feed prices have spiked because of recent drought-induced American reductions in corn crop estimates. The new forecast of 650 million bushels in ending stocks for 2012-13 […] Read more

A nice, innocuous explanation

This morning I watched a YouTube clip about American country-of-origin labelling. It’s a clean and clear explanation of COOL’s advantages to U.S. consumers. The material is well crafted and makes perfect sense at the consumer level, aimed as it is at a grocery buying target audience. There is reference to COOL labelling on meat from […] Read more