Canadian pig numbers steady to lower
The mid-year Canadian swine inventory survey showed little change. The Canadian July 1 hog inventory was up 0.6 percent from a year earlier. During the first half of 2013, the Canadian pig crop totaled 13.948 million head, down 1.6 percent from 12 months earlier and the smallest for any six month period in over a decade. The long-term change in the Canadian pig crop is evident in the chart.
Fewer pigs born in Canada are likely to mean fewer pigs coming south. The combined U.S. and Canadian swine herd was up 0.1 percent at midyear with the combined breeding herd up 0.3 percent.
Retail pork prices reach new record level
Retail pork prices reached a new record of $3.63 per pound in July, largely due to strong demand for bacon and ham. On the other hand, pork chop prices were disappointing. Retail bacon prices have averaged above pork chops each month since May 2010. In June and July, for the first time this century, the average price of boneless pork chops was lower than boneless ham in the typical grocery store. Compared to 10 years ago, retail prices for bacon are up 60.8 percent, ham prices are up 34 percent, and pork chop prices are up 2.5 percent. In addition, pork chops haven’t kept up with steak prices. Choice boneless sirloin steak at retail is up 11 percent compared to 10 years ago.