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September 15, 2022

Industry Snapshot: Canadian pork sector struggling with labour shortages

The market for Canadian hogs continues to struggle with productivity as many processing facilities fail to meet targets amidst sector wide labour shortages.

The country’s largest producers: Conestoga, Sofina, HyLife, Maple Leaf, Olymel and Aliments ASTA are harvesting upwards of 73,000 head per day short of 80,000 at max output with labour supply affecting nearly every producer. Facilities have been attempting to whether the productivity woes with increased overtime and line speeds.

Demand is benefitting from seasonally low prices which is expected to last well into fall with loin and rib primal cuts faring better than Boston butts. With summer vacations and travel schedules disrupting routine breakfast servings less trim is ending up with processors for bacon/sausage as more items hit the spot market.

U.S. exports remain profitable at $5-10 a head down from the 52-week rolling average at about $25-30 a head. Hogs moving south of the border have averaged 4,800 per week through August which compares to 3,600 over the same days last year, a net increase of about 1,200 head per week.

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