Trucker restrictions hit Manitoba hog industry

As soon as vaccine requirements were imposed on truckers crossing the border, shipments of Manitoba pigs and soymeal got cancelled.

"We're already hearing reports that shipments of weanlings have been cancelled because of a lack of trucks and drivers," Cam Dahl, general manager of Manitoba Pork Council, said in an interview.

"I've had reports of producers who were expecting B-trains of soymeal this week (finding out) they've been cancelled."

Much of southern Manitoba's weanling hog industry is based on shipping pigs to barns in southern Minnesota and Iowa. There aren't enough feeding spaces in the eastern Prairies to handle the millions of piglets Manitoba produces.

Manitoba hog producers also often rely on U.S. corn and soybean meal when local supplies are low or expensive, and right now they are both.

The vaccination requirements for all truckers crossing the border only affect about 10 percent of truckers, but that is enough to cause disruption because there was virtually no slack in the system.

"We already had a fragile system. We were already short trucks. We were already short drivers. To take a system that was already fragile and to pull out drivers and trucks from that is a problem," said Dahl.

Cull sows are also often shipped to U.S. packers, and those shipments are being disrupted.

The hog industry has been grappling with multiple issues. The pandemic has often caused slowdowns and some shutdowns of processors, trucks have often been hard to book and barn staff have occasionally been infected by COVID-19.

Restrictions at the border, in barns, for truckers and at processing plants have made pig marketing a more challenging task for the past two years.

Dahl is hoping governments can find a way to eliminate this new shortage of trucks and truckers.

"There's got to be a way to let the trucks cross the border," said Dahl, noting truckers have been hauling essential goods across the border for two years with few problems.

"We found ways to keep these movements flowing and we need to do so again," said Dahl.

Par : Ed White (20/01/2022)

Source : (The Western Producer)

Photo : Mark Stebnicki (