Backlog in pork supply chain is on a slow path to recovery

An ag economist says the backlog of hogs in the pork production system, created by the processing shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic, is going to get worse before it gets better.   

Steve Meyer is with Kerns & Associates.  “That backlog of hogs stands at about 1.4 million head,” he says.  “It won’t get much worse in September, but, beginning in October if we can only run 95 percent, we’re going to add to that thing virtually every week.  And be close to up to 3 million head (backed up) by the end of the year.”

During a webinar on Tuesday, Meyer told pork producers if slaughter capacity can improve even slightly – it will help.  “Running at 97 or 98 percent will keep that number much more in hand,” he says.  “But it won’t allow us to catch up any in the fourth quarter because supplies are going to be so large.”

He says that sets up a pretty bleak outlook for hog prices through the end of the year, and he doesn’t anticipate significant improvement anytime soon.

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