U.S. pork producers lost significant amounts of money in the first half of 2013 because of high feed costs – but that began to change in June for many reasons. Paragon Economics President Dr. Steve Meyer predicts prices will increase throughout 2014 because of reductions in the hog supply from the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. There was a small expansion in the breeding herd in USDA’s September Hogs and Pigs report – but Meyer says the pig numbers coming out of the report have been substantially less than what USDA said and around three-percent below what he expected for slaughter this fall.
Meyer says PEDV will be the big factor going forward as it continues to spread and cause large numbers of pig losses. If USDA takes three-percent of production off of 2014 – Meyer says that will be three-percent from where the numbers would have been – and also means supply levels next year will be at – or below – this year’s levels – meaning prices will be quite strong.