Hog slaughter drops dramatically in April


With several pork processing plants closed throughout the United States and several others limiting operations, the country’s hog slaughter has seen a sharp decrease over the last 30 days.

According to National Hog Farmer, last week’s daily kill of 365,000 head was the lowest slaughter in a non-holiday week since 2014. The total of 1.995 million head represented an 11.3 percent drop from the previous week and 15 percent year-over-year drop.

The slaughter for the week ending April 25 was 442,660 head lower than expected and each week that ended in April has had the expected slaughter fall short by at least 93,000 hogs.

The nation’s have hog farmers are especially feeling the burden because projections said the slaughter over these three weeks in April would be an increase of about 4 percent from the previous year, not a decrease of close to 7 percent.

Additionally, National Hog Farmer reports that if packing plants continue to be severely disrupted, it may take months for the slaughter to catch up with the markers, leaving producers with too many hogs and processors with more hogs than they can handle. The last time the slaughter capacity was this far below desired marketings was in December of 1998.

The USDA has announced it has a program to assist with farmers and ranchers with depopulating.