As corn futures are flirting with $8 per bushel prices and projections of hog breakevens surge higher, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects U.S. pork supplies to increase both in 2012 and 2013. Total pork production for 2012 is forecast at 23.315 million pounds, some 540 million pounds or 2.4% higher than a year ago, according to Daily Livestock Report (www.dailylivestockreport.com) analysts Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

The forecast was slightly lower than the June estimate. USDA now is forecasting pork production for 2013 to be 23.697 billion pounds, 1.6% higher than a year ago. USDA shaved almost half a percentage point from its previous forecast, but will likely wait until the feed supply picture becomes clearer before being more aggressive in projecting pork supplies for next year.

Pork exports remain the big story as they now account for about 22% of U.S. pork production. The forecast is for pork exports in 2012 to be 5.404 billion pounds, 4.1% higher than a year ago. Exports are expected to be less than 1% higher in 2013, the analysts reported.