Jim Long President – CEO Genesus Inc.
December 19, 2022
Last week we attended the Prairie Livestock Expo held in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The defacto Pork Congress for the Manitoba Pork Industry.
- The Manitoba hog industry has about 341,000 sows, with little change over the last five years.
- There are three major producer companies. HyLife, Maple Leaf Agri Farms, and Progressive Group.
Combined about 210,000 sows of Manitoba’s production. All three have hog slaughter capacity.
- The rest of the production is independent hands including Hutterite Colonies.
- A significant part of Manitoba’s production is exported as small pigs to the USA (80,000 a week approximately). There are few market hog exports.
- Consolidation in Manitoba has happened in the last decade as both HyLife and Maple Leaf have acquired significant-sized production groups. Maple Leaf purchased Puratone – HyLife purchased ProVista. Manitoba like the rest of the world the big get bigger.
- The Hutterite Colonies are mostly farrow to finish. They have large land bases and grow most if not all their feed needs. This past year has been good for the whole farm income. Have pigs, grow crops, put manure on land for fertilizer. Most Hutterite Colonies are excellent pig producers and coupled with the whole farm approach a model that has had a very successful 2023 as opposed to buying expensive feed.
- The Prairie Livestock Expo last week had a very good turnout despite tough travel conditions due to a snowstorm. It was the first event in three years as the other annual shows were shut down for COVID. There were lots of exhibitors this past week for the one-day event. It was so busy you wonder if two full days would not be warranted.
- As part of the event, there is a carcass competition with many producers entering hogs to find the best traits for eating attributes. A Genesus customer Woodland Colony entered a Genesus Jersey Red Duroc sired pig bred to a Genesus F-1. The pig came first of all who are supplying to Maple Leaf Foods plant in Brandon, Manitoba the largest slaughter plant in Canada. We congratulate Woodland a Genesus customer for over twenty years. This win comes off Genesus sweeping the Maple Leaf Foods – Lethbridge, Alberta Plant Awards were given out a few weeks back that had full program Genesus customers finish 1, 2, 3 as the best carcass quality. The pork that goes into the Lethbridge, Alberta plant has a brand name called Lethbridge Heritage which is considered the most premium pork in all of Canada. Genesus full program Jersey Red Duroc x Genesus Female customers are responsible for a high percentage of the pork that goes into this plant and premium pork brand.
- There is no net expansion in Manitoba. The sow herd is holding steady. The cost of buildings, feed costs, labor issues, etc., and more importantly the general lack of profitability is not conducive to having an industry grow. Manitoba goes sideways.
- A reflection of the financial challenges felt in the European Union swine industry is the latest inventory report from Lower Saxony one of the major swine-producing areas in Germany. From November 2021 to November 2022 the sow herd is down -16% to 359,800. The market inventory is down from 7.8 million to 7.1 million a -8.9% decrease. With the sow herd down -16% we would expect an even further decline in the market inventory going forward. We expect Europe’s market hog numbers to continue to plummet in 2023. Less pork = higher prices.
- Lean Hog Futures continue to gyrate up and down. Last Friday some future months jumped $4.00. Summer months at $1.06 range are still undervalued relative to what we see coming in 2023 for U.S. and global pork production, both going to be down. We expect lean hogs to reach $1.20.
The industry is not very buoyant right now. Losses continue currently when you factor in high feed prices. Both packers and producers are hurting. Some packers and producers losing millions upon millions. There is not much joy in Mudville. Despite this and maybe we are the boy who sees a pile of manure and thinks there is a Pony inside. Too optimistic? But despite this we see a total lack of supply coming in the next few months not only from pork but beef and poultry with the continued Avian Flu issues. We remain optimistic about real solid hog prices and good profitability. Maybe there is a Pony?
Never got a Pony for Christmas, but it was always a special day in our house. It was the only day of the year that we didn’t work on the farm. That in itself was special. But we had church and all the extended family got together. We weren’t prosperous when I was a child, but we felt wealthy. Growing up on the family farm we were around parents, brothers, grandparents, uncles, and aunts. Like most dynamics, this in itself had its challenges but I wouldn’t trade my upbringing for anything. It’s one of the great things of family farms. I am happy my family got to work and continues to work together. Christmas was and is about family time.
I expect many in farming have similar experiences and memories. Being a family farmer is being part of a special tribe no matter where you are in the world.
To all, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.