USDA lowered its fourth-quarter pork production forecast by about 100 million pounds due to expectations of lower growth in hog weights. Although weights typically increase in the fourth quarter, a decline in the PEDv accession rate during the spring likely increased the availability of hogs for marketing in the fourth quarter.
Even though the March-May pig crop was more than 5 percent lower than a year earlier, the reported spring incidence of PEDv was lower than during the winter months. Relatively more pigs from higher spring survival rates are likely leaving less slack in the supply chain. Increased numbers of animals leaving nursery barns means that animals are pushed through finishing facilities faster, limiting weight gains relative to the spring and summer quarters. Fourth-quarter commercial pork production is expected to be almost 6 billion pounds, 5 percent below a year ago.
Average prices of live equivalent 51-52 percent hogs will likely average $68-$70 per cwt, almost 13 percent above a year ago.