The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Feb. 20 that the spread of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) through the U.S. hog herd will “sharply limit” the supply of hogs compared to earlier expectations.
“Mortality rates due to PEDv have been highest among young piglets which have curtailed the growth in the number of pigs per litter and will likely slow expansion,” said Joseph Glauber, USDA’s chief economist.
At its annual Agricultural Outlook conference, the USDA said expansion in the U.S. red meat sector would remain slow due to the decline in cattle inventory.
“While cattle numbers have been trending down since the 1970s, the continued drought in the Southern Plains has resulted in large declines in the cattle herd,” Glauber said.
The USDA projected that U.S. steer prices would rise eight per cent in fiscal 2014 to a record $136 per hundredweight, while hog prices would fall two per cent. Prices for broilers were seen falling 2.2 per cent and milk prices rising six per cent.
USDA said meat and poultry prices would rise three to four per cent in 2014.
USDA lowered its FY 2014 forecast for exports of livestock, poultry and dairy to $31.6 billion, down $100 million from its November estimate.