March 6, 2008


Canada's beef and pork production to diminish in 2008



Canada's production of beef and pork is estimated to falter in 2008 as livestock inventories decline, reflective of high feed costs and low market prices, the USDA said.


In effect, Canadian imports of beef and pork are increasing, propelled further by the strong Canadian dollar.


Canada's red meat exports on the other hand are forecast to dwindle given last year's low slaughter numbers and competition in the international market.


Seen after mid-2005, Canada's cattle inventory has been declining, with the start of 2008 recording its third annual fall.


Statistics Canada reported that cattle farmers have 13.9 million head on their farms on January 1, 2008, down by 210,000 head, or 1.5 percent from the same period last year.


Beef production is forecast to fall in the range of 6 to 7 percent.


Observers said that Canada has not fully recovered since mad cow disease hit the country. Canadian beef and veal exports were reported to fall annually since 2004 despite surges in global markets.


Meanwhile, hog inventories plunged last year as strong Canadian dollar and high feed costs challenged producers. 


There were 14 million hogs on farms, down 6 percent from 2006 and 2.4 percent from 2007.


With low profitability prospects in 2008, industry analysts predict continuous reduction in the Canadian swine herd all throughout this year.


In late February 2008, the Canadian government announced a US$50-million programme to encourage producers to cull the national sow herd by 10 percent, or about 150,000 head.

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