Producers had 14.5 million hogs on their operations as of Jan. 1, 2006, 1.2 percent lower than the same date in 2005 and 2.8 percent down from the previous quarter.

 Although international exports of Canadian hogs, principally to the United States, rose a substantial 16.2 percent from the first quarter to the fourth quarter, exports were down 3.4 percent in 2005 compared with a year earlier. At the same time, births were down modestly as was domestic slaughter.

Hog prices were generally lower in 2005 than in 2004. However, producers benefited from low feed costs. These costs are expected to escalate following the Dec. 15, 2005 countervail duty on U.S. corn entering Canada. The moratorium on hog expansion in Quebec was lifted in December 2005.

The Daily (Canada)