At least another 6 months of losses expected for pork producers

A commodity analyst says more efficient sows have made efforts to tighten pig inventories a little more challenging.

Matt Herrington with the ag consulting firm World Perspectives tells Brownfield the latest USDA report suggests efforts to reduce the sow herd led to some surprising trends.

“The pigs per litter number was up over four percent and just absolutely obliterated the trend line that we usually use to forecast that,” he says.  “So effectively by culling out the older, less productive, less efficient sows, the industry’s got a whole lot more efficient and we still have more pigs out there than we need.”

He says ample pork supplies will likely mean deep losses for producers for the first six months of 2024 on top of low prices experienced this year.

“Low hog prices, high feed prices combined with inflation and labor cost increases, and everything else being more expensive, the hog sector is really seeing some financial losses,” he says.

Herrington expects serious herd liquidation and some farmers to exit the business before prices can get back to profitable levels in the second half of 2024.

Brownfield interviewed Herrington during the recent Michigan Ag Credit Conference in East Lansing.

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