In 2013, moderate increases in farrowings and continued strong productivity gains are expected to yield an annual U.S. pig meat production level that is about 2.3 percent above 2012 numbers, according to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture report.

Commercial pig meat production is expected to be 23.8 billion pounds. Higher estimates for average dressed weights as a result of lower feed costs contribute to the higher production forecast, according to the USDA. Hog prices in 2013 are expected to be $57–$61 per cwt, about 2.7 percent below 2012 numbers.

Foreign demand for U.S. pig meat products will continue to be an important market focus in 2013. Lower U.S. pig meat prices, together with continued global economic growth will, in all likelihood, support continued strong exports. Next year the USDA anticipates that 22.7 percent of commercial pig meat production will be exported, versus almost 23 percent in 2012. Total U.S. pig meat exports for 2013 are forecast at 5.4 billion pounds, about unchanged from expected 2012 numbers.

As is almost always the case, over two-thirds of U.S. exports in 2013 are expected to go to U.S. North American Free Trade Agreement partners, Canada and Mexico, and to Japan. Japan is expected to remain the number one foreign destination for U.S. pig meat exports in 2013.