Market News & Headlines >> Pork Producers Upbeat

The mood is upbeat at the Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City thanks to the much improved margins of recent months. While the extremely cold winter caused higher fuel prices for many, most producers were able to manage without major issues. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus is, of course, the top concern for these producers, but most are taking it in stride. It’s a nasty disease, but not the first producers have faced.

An update on PED indicates commercial vaccines are still months away. Even for a provisional approval, they have to go through several levels of proofing. Producers say they are having success in saving pigs by use of early weaning to remove piglets from the viral load of the infected farrowing barn. They also are seeing improvements through so-called feedback exposure of sows in order to build immunity. Hope is widespread that the impacts of the deadly virus will drop off as temperatures rise.

Needless to say, for those with hogs to sell, the very strong prices caused by PED losses are a boon. It’s unclear how PED might affect the expansion that clearly was underway in 2013. We are hearing of plenty of barns being built, but it is possible some producers will be a little cautious building into a disease epidemic.