Pork Commentary

Jim Long President – CEO Genesus Inc.


June 23, 2014

Ontario Pork Congress Report

Last week we were at the Ontario Pork Congress held annually in Stratford Ontario, Canada. Genesus Exhibited. The Ontario Industry comprises about 300,000 sows. There are only two production systems over 10,000 sows in Ontario and they are less than 20,000 each. The bulk of the production is owned and managed by independent farmers who have land producing their own feed and are in the hog farm that they own. The bulk of the Ontario Industry is owned and operated by Dutch origin families. They are good stockman and intense business people. Observations

  • Really happy producers. Making money and glad for it. Farrow to Finish profit currently about $100 per head. Never ever been this profitable.
  • Corn-Soybean crops are planted, growing and in good shape.
  • Producers are making money but Producers in business are survivors, been in it awhile and have seen miserable times. Interesting how many producers wonder when the sky will fall and our profitability disappear. Seems producers know current good time won’t last forever.
  •  There is no significant expansion going on in Ontario from what we can discern. Renovation to update older equipment, but little of the upgrades are related to new group sow housing renovations.
  •  Much talk of Quality Meat Packers bankruptcy. Quality a long time Ontario Packer doing about 30,000 hogs a week went bankrupt several weeks ago. Their Toronto plant is being dismantled their smaller one in Mitchell sits idle. There is talk of a buyer for Mitchell, time will tell. Quality when it went broke left producers short a little under 10 million. Many producers think they were pawns of the secured creditors. Their hogs were brought – pork was sold = producers not paid?
  •  The mismanagement of Quality and subsequent bankruptcy is magnified when their fate is compared to Ontario Packers. Conestoga Packers that just expanded and Sofia that has ramped up production. The demise of Quality is manna from heaven for Conestoga and Sofia. They get lots of hogs while gaining Retail Shelf space that Quality lost. It is one thing to buy the hogs but it’s another to sell the pork at a profit. Quality failed in a market environment where its primary competitors are thriving. Management – leadership was the deciding factor.
  • PED hit Ontario harder than any other part of Canada. But PED breaks are not nearly as prevalent as in the US industry. Evidence points to PED entering Ontario via Blood Plasma imported from USA then fed to Ontario pigs. PED losses in Canada are next to irrelevant, effecting total hog supply less than 1%. PED losses in the USA have increased Ontario hog values $30-50 per head due to lower US production and Canada’s pork free access to the US markets (vice-versa). PED market effects have been a huge money maker for Canada’s industry to the tune of 100’s of millions of dollars to the good. Shorting supply in an in-elastic industry reaps huge margin opportunities.
  • In Ontario the consolidation of swine genetic industry was evident. NO more Genetiporc, as PIC gobbled them up. Instead Topigs and Norsvin becoming one company Topigs-Norsvin. Of note the short term moniker for the new entity “Nopigs” seems to be sticking. As the “Nopigs” name was used by many at the Congress. Choice Genetics attempting to come out of bankruptcy had no exhibit. A year ago there was Danbred this year DNA. Fast, once a Canadian owned Genetic Company now a Canadian-Japanese owned company. Lots of changes. Like all industries consolidation, some makes sense such as PIC buying Genetiporc, others seem to be consolidation with no end-game.


  • US Cash hog prices are roaring higher, Friday US national lean price average $1.21/lb. with some hogs trading at $1.26/lb.
  • Last week the US marketed under 1.9 million hogs. About 80,000 less that the same week a year ago. Compound this with cattle marketings down 50,000 head last week from a year ago and you have total red meat supply cratered. Subsequently prices are sky rocketing.
  • We expect hog prices to keep strong through summer and fall. We note cash early weans last week averaged $76.75. These pigs will be December market hogs. A year ago same time early weans were just over $35 each. $50 difference. The difference – tight supply, strong lean hog futures and market optimism.
  • Final Note – This once in a generation profit is only for people who are in business now. People jumping in are already too late. Hog cycle has not disappeared.

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This post was written by Genesus