The U.S. pig industry is looking at favorable odds to have a profitable year in 2014. A strong demand for bacon and expected lower feed prices are key reasons for a favorable financial outlook for U.S. pig producers in 2014, USDA livestock analyst Shayle Shagam said during a January 2 USDA broadcast.
Shagam noted that pork packers' profits are growing because demand for pork is growing. The demand for belly meat is particularly growing because of a high domestic demand for bacon. Export demands are also strong, he added.
Within the past 4-5 months, the USDA has seen producer returns for farrow-to-finish operators become positive, as well.
However, the health of U.S. pig herds remains a concern as the industry keeps its eye on porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV). The virus first appeared in the United States in 2013, has no known cure and can have up to a 100 percent mortality rate in piglets.