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Increased Competition for Hogs Expected
Created on Sep 10, 2018

Watch for more competition for hogs over the coming months, as expected increases in capacity at processing plants has not yet been met with increases in breeding stock in Ontario.


Year to date figures for Quebec and Ontario’s hog markets show no significant change from 2017 in the first two quarters. However, in the first few weeks of the third quarter we saw a 5.9 per cent increase in Ontario market hogs as compared to the same dates in 2017.


The latest sow herd data released by Statistics Canada shows a slight decrease in breeding stock in the first half of 2018 in Ontario, Quebec and throughout Canada. Longer term trends demonstrate that over the past three years, Ontario’s sow herd is maintaining size with no significant growth or loss. Quebec has seen four per cent growth since the beginning of 2015.


The steady size of Ontario’s hog inventory significantly contrasts with the province’s processing capacity following the closure of Quality Meats and Great Lakes Specialty Meats. These closures led processing capacity to shrink temporarily, but that has partially rebounded with the expansion of existing plants in both Ontario and Quebec.  Quebec’s processing capacity increased by approximately 8,000 hogs per week in 2017 with an additional capacity increase of 5,000 per week in Ontario. Slaughter capacity is expected to rise by another 4,000 to 5,000 hogs per week in Ontario by the end of 2018 and 10,000 hogs per week in Quebec in 2019.


Increased capacity in 2016 and 2017 lead to a decrease in exports and present market weight exports are already low. Considering all the factors above, along with sow herd volume trends and predicted capacity data, the marketing division is predicting a more competitive swine market in the coming quarter.


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