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Weekly Overview: Industry Beset by Uncertainties

15 October 2012, at 11:33pm

ANALYSIS - Despite a slight easing in the market situation recently, one industry expert estimates that 10 per cent of the Canadian sow herd looks at risk of liquidation. In Scotland, there were 12 per cent fewer sows recorded in the June census than 12 months previously. With high and volatile feed prices affecting producers across the globe, it is increasingly hard to see how meat supplies can be expanded to meet growing demand from the rising human population. The partial sow stalls ban is expected to reduce further the breeding herd in the European Union in the coming months and the threat of the spread of African Swine Fever from Russia to other countries just will not go away.

All pig-producing areas around the world are being battered by high grain prices and, equally challenging, extremely volatile pricing. In the latest Global Market Report, Bob Fraser of Genesus says that daily swings are matching what used to be close to annual swings.

In Canada, he says that there has been some tempering of feed prices recently but it has not been enough to offset the decline in hog prices.

As a result of these difficulties, he estimates that as much as 10 per cent of the Canadian sow herd could be in consideration for liquidation.

"Whether we end up with that much in fact liquidating remains to be seen but ultimately a 100,000-sow reduction appears plausible if not likely," he added.

There has been a 12.3 per cent drop in the Scottish breeding herd in 2012 compared with 2011 according to new figures from the June 2012 Scottish Agricultural Census. The category, 'sows in pig' saw a drop of 14.3 per cent compared to the year before.

With the partial sow stalls ban due to come into effect across the European Union in under three months, attempts are being made in Italy and Spain to push producers to comply with the new rules ahead of the deadline.

After a spell with no new reports of African Swine Fever (ASF) in Russia, the veterinary authority has confirmed another outbreak in Krasnodar.