Western Canadian Pork Producers Braced for Tight Winter Feed Supplies

Farmscape for August 11, 2021

Full Interview 4:51 Listen

The General Manager of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board expects Saskatchewan to go from the lowest cost region to feed pigs to the highest, as pork producers rely more heavily on imported feed this coming winter. Western Canada has suffered from a severe lack of rainfall this growing season. Mark Ferguson, the General Manager of Sask Pork, says Saskatchewan typically has enough feed wheat and feed barley that can be sourced locally to satisfy the need for feed and very rarely needs to import corn but this is probably one of those years where that will happen.

Clip-Ferguson-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board:
Hog farms are watching the feed situation very closely and especially the pricing on feed. It seems apparent the total quantity produced is going to be lower. We don’t know what the end quality is going to be yet but, depending on the grade, whether it ends up being feed or whether it goes into existing number one markets for food consumption, I think for what is left out there, we’re likely going to have a higher price. So imported product, and specifically corn, is probably going to be used this year in the hog sector.
I think we’ve already got some farms that are using some imported corn. The U.S. seems to have a decent crop on the way so that’s probably our saving grace on this. I think that the issue for hog producers is going to be can you live with the price the feed is available for?
When you’re importing product, you’re not feeding at the lowest cost in North America anymore. Often Saskatchewan producers do have the lowest cost feed and, when you’re on an import basis, you have the highest cost feed so, from a competitiveness standpoint it’s certainly not going to be good for Saskatchewan producers.

Ferguson says the drought is impacting a huge swath of Saskatchewan’s agricultural economy. Fortunately, he says, hog producers have had a good year in terms of price but, when we look at the forward prices and what feed prices are expected to be, its likely that the hog sector will be in negative margins this fall.

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