Farmscape for August 8, 2023
|Full Interview 5:00||Listen|
The Saskatchewan Pork Development Board is calling on government to include help for feed grain users in any support programs being developed. Although hog prices have been strong, record high feed grain prices have squeezed profitability. Mark Ferguson, the general manager of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says many of the province’s farmers, are looking at their third year in a row with disappointing crops.
Quote-Mark Ferguson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
Since the summer of 2021 when this current drought first began our feed costs have increased by approximately 40 percent. Over the past two crop years many of our farms haven’t had a decent crop and our farms have been buying feed ingredients at record breaking prices.
Saskatchewan is typically on an export basis, meaning we have more feed grains produced than we usually use and so what we’ve had to do is resort to importing grain, primarily corn, which puts us at an extreme disadvantage in terms of our competitiveness. Earlier this year we were looking optimistically at the fall and the good crops that it looked like were coming and producers were counting down the days till new crop availability.
Even a month ago the situation looked a lot better then it does today with crop going backwards in this heat and no widespread rain in sight. The situation right now, it looks like we’re headed towards a third year in a row of for many farms without a crop and significantly reduced yields. We’re going to be relying on high priced outside feed and hog prices can’t support feed prices at the levels they appear to be headed into the fall. Another large factor in the markets is the war in Ukraine and the difficulties that that country has had exporting wheat from their region and even producing at the levels they used to. Those are having a big impact on cereal grain prices and it’s pulling everything else up with it.
Ferguson notes, Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister David Marit has initiated discussions with the federal government on AgriRecovery and this is an excellent first step. However, he stresses, it’s important that any programs being developed right now include support for feed grain users so they can make it through these difficult times.
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