This fall looks to have high hog numbers

Falling slaughter weights suggest the U.S. hog industry is managing supply chain consequences from COVID-19. You can see the peak on May 15th, but then they plummet 4 percent.

Slaughter schedules were postponed due to the coronavirus spreading to pork processing facilities causing an animal back up. Because of that, hog numbers are expected to remain high for the rest of the year, as packing plant capacities continue to be monitored.

Economist Steve Meyer says that packing plant capacity is being reviewed one a week, but the number of operational shackle space will determine how many hogs are slaughtered every week this fall, now how many hogs are ready for slaughter. Even with all plants open, high hog numbers in the fourth quarter are very concerning.

According to Meyer, “Right now, I got some 2.65 and 2.7 million head weeks for the fourth quarter and I am not at all sure that we can accomplish that. Actually, my numbers are lower than what USDA’s actual inventories would imply. So, I’m very concerned about the fourth quarter.”