The USDA in February lowered its forecast for U.S. pork production in 2014, citing reports that indicate porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV) continues to spread. The latest projection was released in the February 10 World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report.

PEDV, which has been confirmed in 23 U.S. states, has been depleting herd sizes, as it can have a 100 percent mortality rate in piglets, and it takes affected farms months to return to normal production rates.

According to the February WASDE report, an estimated 23.4 billion pounds are expected to be produced in the United States in 2014, which is a drop from the 23.6 billion pounds forecast in the January WASDE report.

Along with the lower forecast for U.S. pork production comes an anticipated increase in pork prices. February projections for annual barrow and gilt prices are 61-65 cents per hundredweight, a 1-cent increase from the January projections.