Pork producers appear to have dodged an impending return to the hog market crisis of ’98-’99, according to Chris Hurt, Purdue University Extension marketing specialist.

Even though depressed prices are still forecast for this fall and winter, by early spring prices could return to breakeven levels, says Hurt. Prices could rebound into the black by late spring and summer.

"If additional sow liquidation occurs this fall and winter, hog prices should be strong in the last half of 2003 and into 2004," he adds.

Hurt advises producers to continue raising hogs this fall provided they can cover variable or "out-of-pocket" costs. He notes producers should cull least-productive animals, keep market weights moderate and continue to evaluate long-term strategies.