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Hog Markets 'Yo-Yo' to Continue in 2015

Although it’s been a quiet topic since jumping to Hawaii, the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) is still taking a toll on hog markets. The hog market yo-yo’ed throughout 2014, and we should expect that to continue into 2015 according to Ron Plain, agricultural economist for the University of Missouri Extension.

“We lost a lot of pigs to PED last winter,” Plain says. “Since pigs go to slaughter at 6 months of age, those death losses meant a short supply of hogs and pork in the summer, which resulted in record prices.”

PEDv, a deadly virus that killed millions of pigs last winter,  thrives in the winter, shorting hog supply and driving prices up, but it loses momentum in the summer (survives for 14 days in warm weather, 28 days in cold temperatures), helping hog slaughter numbers get back to normal and market prices to drop off. 

Plain says both cattle and hog slaughter weights are higher, another trend that will continue.

“Whenever supplies get tight and there aren’t many animals to slaughter and prices are high, farmers tend to feed them a little bit longer,” Plain says. “So that adds to the supply and moderates a bit the price we see in grocery stores because of that extra meat from each animal.”

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