This year, hog slaughter is expected to exceed 117 million head; that’s up more than 8 million hogs from 2007’s record. Prior to 2007, packers had never killed 2.3 million hogs in a single week.
During the fourth quarter, there will be enough hogs on the market to keep slaughter plants running at full capacity. Anything to cause a problem for packer operations could lead to a huge drop in hog prices. A repeat of 1998, while not expected, is certainly possible.