High feed prices led to a lot of red ink and a 5 percent increase in sow slaughter in 2008. However, when corn prices started to move lower last summer, sow slaughter also declined. Part of the decline is due to fewer U.S. sows being slaughtered and part is because fewer Canadian sows are coming south.
Over the last 20 weeks, U.S. sow slaughter was down 9.4 percent or 6,190 sows per week compared to the same period 12 months earlier. Canadian sow imports were down by more than 1,700 head per week. Lower sow slaughter is a strong indication that the breeding herd reduction is ending.