Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Pork on the verge of passing beef as second most produced meat by U.S. farmers

Because the hog industry has mostly recovered from a deadly virus and cattle ranchers are still trying to recover from the 2012 drought, pork is on the verge of passing beef as the second most produced meat in the U.S. behind poultry, Megan Durisin reports for Bloomberg. Pork output in 2015 will go up 4.6 percent, climbing "to a record 23.908 billion pounds, as per-capita consumption reaches the highest in five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Jan. 12." Beef output will drop 1.7 percent to a 22-year low of 23.901 billion, while chicken jumps to an all-time high of 39.206 billion pounds.

Ed Juhl, a farmer in Hudson, Iowa, who lost about 2,400 pigs to the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus in June, said his herd is now healthy and "he expects output by June will be back to its annual sales pace of 36,000 animals," Durisin writes. He said "with each passing week, the industry’s 'confidence that we’re going to increase pork supply is rapidly going up.'”

During the three months ending Dec. 1, the breeding-sow herd posted the biggest increase since 1998 and reached the largest in five years, Durisin writes. "The total hog population jumped 2 percent from a year earlier to 66.05 million, the most in five quarters. Demand for pork also is improving, especially with record-high beef forcing some consumers to seek cheaper meats."  (Read more)

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