Last week the joint U.S. and Canadian quarterly hog inventory report was released by USDA and Statistics Canada. The April 1 Canadian pig inventory was estimated at 12,020,000 pigs with 1,312,000 kept for breeding and 10.708 million kept for market. This compares to the March 1 USDA numbers for the U.S. herd of 64.872 million pigs total inventory with 5.820 million breeding animals and 59,052 kept for market animals.

For the combined U.S./Canadian inventory, 81.6% of the breeding herd and 84.6% of the kept for market inventory is in the U.S. The majority of the 3% difference between the kept for market and breeding herd percentages reflects the movement of Canadian weaned pigs and feeder pigs to U.S. finishing sites. Since January 1, 2012, U.S. producers have imported an average of 92,275 weaned and feeder pigs per week. In 2011 we averaged 91,029 weaned and feeder pigs imported per week. In 2011, the U.S. imported 4.81 million weaned and feeder pigs. This is down from the 6.61 million head peak in 2007 prior to the implementation of MCOOL.

This suggests that about 3.5% of the U.S. barrow and gilt slaughter is born in Canada and transported to U.S. finishing facilities. This isn’t a big number relative to daily/weekly/yearly U.S. slaughter numbers. However, it represents a large percentage of pigs born in Canada, especially pigs from Manitoba where a majority of these pigs are born. Manitoba producers reported 8.728 million pigs born in the past 12 months.

On any given week, approximately 2/3 of the imported Canadian pigs originate in Manitoba. While I don’t have the exact numbers on-hand, this suggests about 3.2 million pigs born in Manitoba end up in the U.S., or something just over 1/3 of their pig crop ends up in U.S. facilities. With this much pig movement to the U.S. no wonder the Manitoba Pork Producers have a booth at the trade show in Minnesota, Iowa and the World Pork Expo.

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