Canada hog supply seen down slightly in 2013: Maple Leaf

Thu Sep 13, 2012 5:24pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canadian hog supplies should tighten only modestly in 2013, one of the country's biggest pork processors said on Thursday, even as farmers close their barns or struggle to stay afloat.

A severe drought in the United States has decimated crops, which has led to higher costs for feed grains and pushed North American hog farmers into steep losses.

"Obviously the challenge that we currently face is producers are exiting the business," Jason Manness, director of procurement at Maple Leaf Foods, told Reuters on Thursday. "We expect less hogs in 2013, but only marginally lower at this point in time."

Maple Leaf is the second-largest Canadian pork processor with weekly slaughter of about 90,000 hogs.

Canada's second-biggest hog farm operation, Big Sky Farms, entered receivership this week and another major hog farmer, Manitoba-based Puratone, received protection from creditors on Wednesday.

Both continue to operate, at least for the short term.

The country's largest hog farm operation, Manitoba-based HyLife, said on Thursday that it expects overall hog supplies to decrease, eventually pushing up prices.

"HyLife is also challenged but, together with our financial partners, remains confident and optimistic with regards to the future of our industry," the company said in a statement.   Continued...