Pork producers and packers are bouncing back from recent rough times and low prices. The cutback in production has brought hog prices up from last year's average of $41.25 per hundredweight to the current price over $55. USDA Livestock Economist Shayle Shagam says there is still money to be made in the hog business.
"Currently with the hog prices producers are seeing, returns are positive," Shagam said. "Although there is expectation that these returns will be squeezed as grain prices rise."
Producers are wary of possibly rising feed prices and are indicating they intend to keep farrowings at or below last year for some time to come. Meanwhile Shagam says packers are also currently seeing profitability.
"We do have packer margins set to be favorable at this particular point," Shagam said. "That is being supported by relative high prices on a number of cuts; largely the tight supplies of bellies, which are strongly supporting bacon prices."