USDA reduced the third-quarter pork production forecast due to lower than expected hog slaughter numbers in July. Third-quarter 2014 commercial pork production is expected to be 5.5 billion pounds, almost 3 percent below a year ago.
Lower availability of slaughter hogs was almost certainly due to Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea (PEDv). Pork producers are expected to offset a portion of the production loss from lower hog numbers by feeding surviving animals to heavier weights. Third-quarter dressed weights of slaughter hogs are expected to average more than 9 pounds above weights in the same period last year.
The reduction in the third-quarter pork production forecast that remained after accounting for higher expected dressed weights was more than offset by a small increase in expected fourth-quarter production. Fourth-quarter production is expected to be about 6 billion pounds, 4 percent below a year ago.
Taken together, adjustments to slaughter and dressed weights raise second-half 2014 pork production by 20 million pounds compared with forecasts published last month.