Several market factors threaten to moderate pork profit prospects for the rest of 2003 and into 2004, says Purdue University agricultural economist Chris Hurt.

“Now the outlook is for modest losses this fall and winter, with some very small profits next spring and summer,” he says. “The negative market factors include the increased flow of hogs and pork from Canada, due to the restriction of (Canadian) beef imports, and higher corn and soybean meal prices than had been anticipated a few months ago.”

Last year, Canada supplied 5.9% of total U.S. hog slaughter. This year, that figure will be closer to 6.5%, with total live imports this summer at over 8% of U.S. hog slaughter, says Hurt.

Processed pork imports from Canada this year are up 16% through summer.

Hog numbers and pork supplies will be slightly higher than earlier forecast, based on the September Hogs and Pigs report. The breeding herd was down 3%, but the summer pig crop was only down 2%. Fall farrowings will only be off 1%, while winter intentions are unchanged, says Hurt.

Hurt projects fall live hog prices at $36-40/cwt., winter prices $1 higher and spring and summer 2004 prices at $39-44/cwt.