U.S. pork production in 2014 is forecast to increase by 2.3%, driven primarily by lower feed costs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook released Thursday.

USDA projects that commercial pork production will climb to 24 billion pounds in 2014. Farrowings are expected to rise modestly (almost 1% compared to 2013), accompanied by about a 1% increase in litter rates and higher average dressed weights (about 1% higher than 2013), which altogether are expected to set another pork production record in 2014.

“In 2014, projected production increases, together with higher net exports and moderately higher stock levels, leave the quantity of pork available for domestic disappearance about 1% higher than that expected in 2013,” the report indicated. Per capita retail pork consumption is pegged at 47.6 lb. per person, up almost 1% from 2013.

 

 

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Increased production combined with higher stocks and higher levels of pork available for consumption should hold 2014 average prices of 51-52% lean live weight equivalent hogs to $56-60/cwt., 1% lower than the average hog price forecast for 2013.

Retail prices for 2014 are projected to average $3.20 per pound, more than 3% below retail pork prices forecast for 2013.  

Pork exports are expected to rebound next year increasing almost 5% compared to 2013. First-quarter 2013 pork exports plummeted 15.6% on reduced shipments to Asia, Mexico and Russia. USDA projects that 2013 pork exports will likely fall almost 7% below the expected totals for 2012.

Exports in 2014 are forecast at 5.3 billion pounds, driven by attractive U.S. pork prices and strengthening global demand. U.S. pork imports for 2014 are expected to be about the same as 2013 when 800 million pounds were shipped.  

 

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