Canada and the United States’ new vaccine mandates are creating a shortage of truck drivers and railroad staff, which is in turn affecting the import and export of pigs and feed.
According to reports, many weaned pigs can no longer be transported to Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas due to the lack of truckers. Many of the pigs shipped out of Manitoba and the providence are also unable to feed and process the surge of the animals domestically, according to the general manager of Manitoba Pork, Cam Dahl.
Transport shortages have in turn caused the price of feed to skyrocket. With the industry already finding feed more expensive, producers are left to look further abroad for more feed because it’s no longer available in Manitoba. “Operations that in the past normally produce all their own feed are having to go out and buy it at this point. And then, of course, things like soybean meal coming up out of the States is an important ingredient in making feed here in Manitoba, and that’s being constrained,” he said.
Truck shipments of soybean meal from the US to Manitoba are also being limited. Due to the drought last year, cattle feeders are now importing large amounts of corn and dried distillers’ grains from the United States. Corn has been shipped via rail, but there have been some delays along the way.
Looking at the balance between public health and protecting businesses, Dahl noted that it is a difficult thing, especially with producers saying they can no longer get feed, or their weanlings scheduled to be shipped to the U.S. with shipments being cancelled. “What is that balance and how do we achieve it? We need to work on that,” he said.