Hog/Pork Sector: Background Information and Data

Since the fall of 2013, the spread of the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) in the U.S. hog sector has contributed to reduced market hog inventories and higher hog prices in early 2014, along with forecasts for lower pork production and continued higher prices later in 2014. PEDv is a coronavirus particularly lethal to pre-weaned piglets. The first U.S. case was formally diagnosed in May 2013 and, according to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, positive accessions of the disease continued through the fall, and accelerated early in 2014. Infection rates and subsequent piglet deaths have negative implications for pork production six months later—the typical grow-out period for slaughter hogs.

The potential effects of PEDv on pork production are first signaled by the pigs-per-litter statistic, published by USDA in the Quarterly Hogs and Pigs report. Pigs that do not survive past a given reference date are not included in the calculation. Because of the high mortality rate of very young piglets from PEDv, the March report showed a significantly lower average pigs-per-litter estimate for the December 2013-February 2014 pig crop, compared with the same period in previous years (see graph). The lower pigs-per-litter statistic resulted in a 2.8 percent lower December-February 2014 pig crop compared with 2013, which is expected to lead to lower pork supplies in the summer of 2014. USDA expects that overall pork production will be down slightly in 2014 relative to 2013, but will rebound in 2015.

ERS Information on the Hog/Pork Sector

Other USDA Information on the Hog/Pork Sector

USDA Information on PEDv