Commercial hog slaughter in May was 9.285 million head, 8.7% larger than for the same month a year ago. Adjusted for the extra slaughter day, commercial slaughter in May was up 3.7% from a year ago, according to Daily Livestock Slaughter (DLR) analysts Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.

The monthly increase was quite significant, in fact it was the largest year over year increase since 2008.

Moreover, the big increase in slaughter combined with heavier market weights produced a 9.5% increase in total pork production.

“Indeed, at 1.927 billion pounds, this was the largest amount of pork ever produced for the month of May,” the authors note.

The slaughter data also showed that sow slaughter in May was up 4.6% from last year. But the analysts say it doesn’t signal sow liquidation. Sow slaughter the last three months has been down 2% from the same period a year ago. Lower sow slaughter and some gilt retention should result in a slow buildup of the sow herd – meaning producers appear to be headed toward modest expansion, the DLR authors explain.

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