What is in this article?:
- Retail pork prices still rising due to PED virus
- Industry returned profitability in 2013
- Retail pork prices will keep rising to record highs this summer as the number of hogs going to market over the next several months will be lower than expected because of the PED virus.
Industry returned profitability in 2013
There was expectation that the nation's breeding herd was already in expansion, Hurt said. The industry had returned to profitability in the fall of 2013 as corn prices dropped sharply, and pork producers had earlier indicated they would farrow 2 percent more sows over the spring. The USDA, however, found that the breeding herd was down fractionally and that the spring farrowings were also down modestly.
Record-high retail beef prices have some consumers looking around the meat case for alternatives such as pork. In May, USDA estimated the average grocery store price of beef cuts at $5.91 per pound; the average cut of pork, on the other hand, was $4.10 per pound.
"Even though this was also a record pork price, it was $1.81 a pound lower than beef," Hurt noted.
He also said foreign consumers have been strong competitors for limited world supplies of pork.
"Losses from PEDv have been highly publicized since February, and this has seemingly contributed to aggressive foreign buying of pork in an attempt to avoid the summer pork shortages resulting from peak baby pig deaths last winter," he said.
As a result, prices for live hogs in the first half of 2014 averaged a record of about $80 per hundredweight, nearly 25 percent higher than the same period in the previous year.
"The full impact of smaller pork supplies will be felt this summer with new record-high hog and pork prices," Hurt said.
Third-quarter live hog prices are expected to average in the low-to mid-$90s before moderating in September and moving downward to the low-to mid-$70s for the final quarter of 2014.