USDA has lowered its 2008 price forecast for 51-52 percent lean barrows and gilts to a range of $41 to $44 per hundredweight live from last month's forecast of $44 to $47. It said hog prices could dip as low as $38 per hundredweight live by the fourth quarter of 2008. The projection was made in USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand report.

More pigs per litter in 2008 will result in higher hog slaughter numbers which will lead to the lower prices, according to USDA. The reduction in price forecast is due to a larger pig crop in the second half of 2007. The good news is that exports will continue to rise, according to USDA.

USDA raised its 2008 pork export forecast to 3.685 billion pounds from 3.180 billion pounds forecast in December and compared to an estimated 3.160 billion pounds exported in 2007.

USDA raised its 2008 pork production forecast to 22.7 billion pounds from 22.2 billion forecast in December. The report noted, however, that higher feed costs could limit weight gains through the year.

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