Potential rise in North Dakota pig numbers
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 pig 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.
Feed costs doubling
The state's 420 pig 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. Pig 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 pig operations to shutter. Johnson, who has supported more pig
operations in North Dakota, said the state's pig producers would be among the
hardest hit by the increased corn prices.
Dave Warner, a spokesman for
the National Pork Producers
Washington, D.C., said the nation's pig production soon could be cut by 15% with
higher feed costs. That would mean higher prices for pork products, he said.
"We're already seeing some higher production costs," Warner said.
Dakota, ranked 17th among the states in U.S. pig production, had 169,000 hogs as
of Dec. 1, up 12,000 from the previous year, the North Dakota Agricultural
Statistics Service said. The number of hogs in the United States as of Dec. 1
was 61.1 million, up 1 percent from a year ago.
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