High feed costs are expected to reduce the weights at which U.S. live hogs are marketed for slaughter for the remainder of 2011 and through 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's latest report.

Lower slaughter weights are forecast to marginally reduce pork production during this period; however, packer discounts for underweight animals are likely to limit producer incentives to reduce slaughter weights too sharply. The USDA is reflecting expectations for narrowing feed spreads in lower year-over-year estimated average dressed weights for the second half of 2011 and into 2012.

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Third-quarter commercial pork production is expected to be nearly 5.5 billion pounds, about 1% higher than 2010 numbers. Fourth-quarter pork production is anticipated to be 6.1 billion pounds, about 1% below 2010.