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Swine industry numbers improve

StatsCan releases data from farms across country

By Jennifer Jackson

A lot can happen in five years.

From 2011 to 2016, Canada’s swine industry experienced growth as farmers increased the number of pigs on their farms and faced record-high market prices, according to a Statistics Canada report titled Production Efficiency and Prices Drive Trends in Livestock.

Stats Canada released the report May 24, 2017.

The number of pigs reported across Canada increased by 11.1 per cent to 14.1 million. The largest contributors to the total increase were operations housing 50 or more animals – these farms represented 99.7 per cent of the total herd in 2016.

The number of farms raising pigs increased from 7,371 in 2011, to 8,402 in 2016. Farms with fewer than 50 hogs were the largest contributor to this increase –these small farms increased from 2,912 in 2011, to 4,202 in 2016.

While swine numbers increased in 2016, previous years’ findings contrast this growth. From 2006 to 2011, the total number of pigs in Canada decreased by 15.7 per cent. This decrease was due to the industry’s low market prices, high feed prices, and disease outbreaks.

The increase in pigs raised Canada-wide over the recent years can be attributed to a variety of factors including pork demand and product values.

World pork consumption per capita rose 2.8 per cent from 2011 to 2016, thus creating demand. Since 2011, Canada has nearly quadrupled its total exports to China – while the U.S. remains as Canada’s largest swine trade partner.

Other notable swine industry changes from 2011 to 2016:

-          Across Canada in 2016, 590 farms showed $3 million or more in gross farm receipts, representing 7 per cent of all swine farms, 65.9 per cent of total farm revenue and 50.7 per cent of total pigs reported

-          56 per cent of farms that reported having over 50 pigs did not have any other livestock on farm

-          40.8 per cent of farms with fewer than 50 pigs, direct-market their products in local markets

-          Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba continue to produce the most pigs and in total represent 63.9 per cent of total swine farms and 81.1 per cent of total hogs

-          Quebec produces the most pigs and accounts for 32 per cent of Canada’s total production

-          Ontario represents the highest number of swine operations – nearly one-third of all farms in Canada

-          The largest provincial increase for number of hogs occurred in Manitoba; pig numbers increased 18.7 per cent from 2011 to 2016

While the number of large swine farms does not parallel the increased industry growth, swine producers are still able to increase their production to keep up with worldwide demand and market opportunities. has reached out to Statistics Canada for more trends regarding Canada’s swine industry. 

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