October hog slaughter less than expected

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Fourth-quarter 2013 production is forecast at 6.23 billion pounds, down fractionally from 2012 and a reduction from the September forecast. The reduction reflects a lower than expected pace of slaughter, which was well below projections in October as packers reduced Saturday slaughters during the month. Although it is expected that slaughter schedules will increase seasonally during the quarter, tight supplies of hogs may temper the size of slaughter during November and December.

The September 27 Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report indicated that producers intended to increase farrowings in both the last quarter of 2013 (September-November) and the first quarter of 2014 (December-February). Relatively high hog prices and moderating feed prices are likely to encourage producers to increase farrowings through 2014. However, the production forecasts for the first half of 2014 have been tempered by continuing reports of outbreaks of porcine epidemic diarrhea.

For 2014, pork production is forecast at almost 27.8 billion pounds, an increase of 2.6 percent.

Fourth-quarter prices of live equivalent 51-52 percent lean hogs are expected to be $63-$65 per cwt, more than 9 percent above a year ago. With growth in production in 2014, prices for the first and second quarters of 2014 are expected to average $59-$63 and $61-$67 per cwt, respectively, with the annual hog price averaging $59-$63 per cwt, about 6 percent below 2013.

Source: Livestock, Dairy and Poultry report



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