Biggest losers were the western provinces of Saskatchewan, with a 30%
reduction and Alberta with 24%. There were 11.6% fewer pigs in total, although
the number of breeding pigs fell by just 4.6%.
The figures also reflect
an increasing trend towards shipping weaned pigs or feeder pigs to the USA, with
finishing pigs over 60 kg down by 15%. However, following a record first quarter
for live exports, when an estimated 2.9 million pigs moved to the USA, the
second quarter numbers were put at 2.2 million by Statistics
The drop in breeding pig numbers was lower
than expected, bearing in mind the financial incentive to reduce the national
herd size provided by the federal Cull Breeding Swine programme.
Producers who depopulate breeding barns and agree to leave them empty
for three years qualify for payments of CAN$225 per culled animal.
the programme was launched in April, uptake was good and by July had passed
100,000 but, since then, interest seems to have been lower. Martin Rice,
executive director of the Canadian Pork Council, which administers the scheme,
believes the key element that has discouraged participation is the obligation to
leave the barn closed for three years.Less attractive
well, improved returns over the past few months through the commercial market
have made the $225 payout, with its conditions, less attractive," he says. He
notes that many producers are reducing their numbers without going through the
programme and without emptying entire barns or obligating themselves to leave
The objective of the programme is to reduce breeding stock
numbers by about 150,000 sows, or 10% of the national herd, but it seems likely
that the eventual figure will be nearer to 120,000.Human food
Carcasses from the culled animals have to be kept out of the human
food chain, both in the domestic and export markets. However, concerned about
the public reaction to destroying perfectly good pork, and in response to
producer comments, provincial pork organisations persuaded the federal
government to allow the meat to be donated to local food banks.
example, in Saskatchewan, about 2,000 sows were diverted from the cull programme
and processed to produce 500 thousand pounds of meat, which went to food banks
across the province as well as associated agencies.
The $440,000 cost of processing was borne by the provincial
government. Similar schemes have been initiated in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario
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