I’m in the camp of believing that expansion is occurring. I’m aware of several sow units beyond the planning and permitting stages that will be constructed this summer ranging in size from 1250 sows to 7500 sows. I’m also aware of several projects projected to move dirt in late summer with the goal of population with females 1 year from now.
The other big unknown if the impact of the removal of MCOOL regulations and the weak Canadian dollar on imports of weaned pigs. Pigs already in the US show up in the kept for market inventory but import intentions don’t show up in the farrowing intentions anywhere.
For the past 2 years, we’ve slowly been ramping up our imports of Canadian born pigs. For the week ending Mar. 26, 2016 US producers imported 103,353 pigs weighing 55 kg (110 lb) or less. Almost all of these pigs can be considered to be newly weaned. This is the largest weekly number since the week ending Feb. 13, 2010 when we imported 104,495 pigs in this weight category.
While the removal of MCOOL regulation has been a factor making it easier to import Canadian pigs, a primary driver has been price. The noon exchange rate for the Canadian dollar yesterday (April 5) was $1.3170 to the US dollar. The futures exchange rate for the Canadian dollar though next March remains at CA$1.31 per $US1.00.