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US Breeding Herd Growth Keeps Going (Jul 07)

by 5m Editor
5 July 2007, at 12:00am

By Chris Harris, Senior Editor, ThePigSite. Our snapshot of the ongoing global pig industry trends as reported in July 2007 Whole Hog Brief. To read the full detailed analysis including all the commentary and graphical data, subscribe to the publication.

The US breeding herd has increased by one per cent to 6.12 million head according to the June statistics from the USDA.

The Whole Hog said that it warned in January that the expansion of the US herd should be ringing alarm bells and it says now that the crash that follows too many hogs pursuing too little slaughter capacity and no ready export market could be looming.

The Whole Hog also reports that meat prices are strengthening in 2007, according to the FAO Food Outlook Report.

It says that the rise in feed prices and the strong demand from Japan and Hong Kong are helping to drive prices up around the world.

The FAO report shows that meat production in developing countries could grow by three per cent this year.

However, the Whole Hog also reports that the global pig price cycle slipped into the negative for two weeks at the end of June as prices soared and then plummeted in the US and slipped in Canada.

It warns that there are mixed messages coming from North America over prices but the trend is not optimistic.

UK Margins Squeezed

In the UK producer margins are being squeezed as high feed prices are being exacerbated by poor weather conditions. Producer margins are now down to the same level as 1998 and 1999.

Across Europe, the Whole Hog reports that pig producers are seeing a slump in prices, falling in June after the slight recovery in May. In June the prices were on average 8.3 per cent down on the same period in 2006.

Hopes for a long hot barbecue season to boost prices have also been dashed.

However, the Whole Hog also reports that the Greek industry is leading the way in the EU for organic pig meat production.

Exports Slide

In Canada exports fell in the first quarter of the year having seen record breaking success in 2006.

Sales to the US were down by 2.3 per cent in April and Canada still has problems selling into Japan, according to the Whole Hog.

At the same time US pork exports fell by four per cent in April compared to a year ago and by 11 per cent on March figures.

US exports to Canada and Japan saw a particularly sharp falls from March to April, sliding by 9.3 per cent and 14.5 per cent respectively.

At the same time, the Whole Hog shows that US pork imports are also down by 4.8 per cent year on year.

Japanese pork imports fell by 7.4 per cent in March from January and by 8.3 per cent over the year.

Meanwhile the South Korean import surge continues, with the May figures showing a rise of 8.3 per cent over April and 12.1 per cent up on a year ago.

However, Australian pig meat exports have dropped in April with Australian Bureau of Statistics showing them down by 17.6 per cent on March but up over the year by 5.6 per cent.