New virus threatens hog profits

IOWA - A newly activated virus sweeping through hog country is the wild card for continued pork profits, according to a veteran hog industry analyst.
calendar icon 11 June 2006
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U.S. pork exports and domestic demand also will play a role in determining if more than two years of hog profits will continue.

Glenn Grimes, an agricultural economist who is a professor emeritus at the University of Missouri and a consultant for the pork industry, said the impact of the virus, known as Porcine Circovirus Type 2, could throw a wrench into price projections for the hog market this year.

Circovirus can wipe out 30 percent to 40 percent of a hog herd, experts say, and cause losses of more than $7 a head.

If the virus hits Iowa hog producers in a big way, it could cut production. But for those who escape an outbreak, it could extend the string of 28 straight months of profits, according to Iowa State University Extension estimates.

If hog production does increase, the profitable run that Iowa hog producers have enjoyed could end in November, Steve Meyer, an economist at Paragon Economics, said Friday at the World Pork Expo.

Source: DesMoines Register
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