Although producers have cut the sow herd and reduced the pig crop, pork production has not dropped as much as slaughter numbers. The carcass weights for barrows and gilts from February to April are more than 2 pounds heavier than a year ago. That means there’s 1 percent more pork produced per hog than last year.
The heavier weights are due to somewhat lower feed costs, producers’ reluctance to sell on a down market, as well as continued genetic progress toward bigger, leaner hogs. Since the mid 1950s, carcass weights have increased at an average rate of more than 1 pound per year.