Hog inventories were up in all major hog producing provinces except in Quebec and Alberta, where the inventories were slightly down by 0.5 and 0.7 percent, respectively, from the same quarter in 2010.
The hog breeding herd appears to have stabilized after a steady decline that began in the second quarter of 2007 and continued up to the first quarter of 2010. As of April 1, 2011, sows inventory remained virtually unchanged at 1.3 million head, down only 0.2% from a year earlier, and down 5.1% from the same date in 2009. In addition, farmers anticipated no significant changes in the number of sows expected to farrow during the second and third quarters of 2011.
During the first quarter of 2011, approximately 5.5 million hogs were slaughtered in Canada, a decline of 2.8% from a year earlier. Slaughter in the Eastern provinces decreased by 3.3%, while that in the Western provinces went down by 2.0%.
An estimated 1.4 million hogs were exported during the quarter, down 3.6% from the same period in 2010. Exports by the Western provinces, which accounts for about three quarters of the total Canadian hog exports, went down by 7.4%. Exports by the Eastern provinces, however, increased by 8.7%.