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DJ Corn Prices May Temper Potential Rise In N Dakota Pig Numbers

by 5m Editor
8 March 2007, at 11:08am

BISMARCK, N.D. - Poor pork prices in Canada could push more pig production over the border into North Dakota, though the increase likely would be offset by higher corn prices stemming from the demand for ethanol.

Canadian hog producers are paring pig lots as feed and transportation costs increase, Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson said Tuesday. A strong Canadian dollar and a moratorium on pig farm development in Manitoba also work against pig producers north of the border, he said.

"What's going to happen is that Canada is going to produce fewer pigs," Johnson said. "The dollar exchange is going against them and a lot of their feed has historically come from us, so they are going to see higher transportation costs as a result.

"We will be one of those areas that should benefit from them producing fewer hogs, assuming demand remains the same," Johnson said.

The state's 420 hog producers are "seeing pretty favorable prices right now," said Charlotte Meier, executive director of the Regent-based North Dakota Pork Producers. But she said they are looking at the prospect of feed costs nearly doubling in the next year with the increased demand for ethanol.

"It's going to create a real shortage of corn," Meier said. Hog producers could pay as much as $4 a bushel for corn this year, up from $2.40 last year, she said.

Meier said soaring feed costs could cause smaller hog operations to shutter.

Johnson, who has supported more hog operations in North Dakota, said the state's hog producers would be among the hardest hit by the increased corn prices.

Source: Agriculture Online

5m Editor