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Interest Builds Among Western Canadian Pork Processors in Expanded Production

16 April 2015
Manitoba Pork Council

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CANADA - The chair of Sask Pork says, despite indications that the US will produce considerably more pork this year than last, there is interest in western Canada in expanding production, writes Bruce Cochrane.

As anticipated the USDA's March Hogs and Pigs Report showed the US breeding herd has grown, although at a slower rate than expected but that, combined with lower losses from PED, means US production will increase this year dampening interest in the US in bringing on new production.

Florian Possberg, the chair of the Saskatchewan Pork Development Board, says there is a desire in western Canada to increase pork production.

Florian Possberg-Saskatchewan Pork Development Board

There's certainly interest from some of the processors to increase the numbers that they can access for slaughter and processing.

I think our Canadian packers are in a position with the weak Canadian dollar to be very competitive in the global market.

However if their plants are running under capacity that's a negative in terms of running their business profitably so I think we're seeing a lot of interest from some individual packers that would like more hogs to get closer to 100 percent capacity and so they're really beating the bush I think to try and see if they can get some interest in more hog production.

As well there's producers that had a very profitable year in 2014 and are in a better position to expand as well so there is some interest from some of the producers to look at expansion as well.

Possberg notes there are still facilities in western Canada that were shut down in 2008 and 2009 when the Canadian industry had a buy-out program to reduce supplies, so there is opportunity to bring these facilities back into production.

He says at this point there hasn't been a large interest in bringing on new production capacity.

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