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Smithfield Cutting Sow Herd By Five Percent

by 5m Editor
21 February 2008, at 10:18am

VIRGINIA — America's biggest pork producer, Smithfield Foods, plans to reduce sow numbers by between 40,000 to 50,000 head. The four to five per cent cut in its breeding herd will to take out almost a million slaughter pigs out of production per year.

The company has already started to implement reduction and is phasing out some breeding units.

Larry Pope, Smithfield's President and Chief Executive Officer said that given the current economic conditions of the pig market the business could not continue its present strategy.

"Something has to change. Grain costs continue at record levels, with the potential of escalating, given the current US government policy favouring corn for ethanol. Today the economics are very challenging and we believe that these increased costs will translate eventually into still higher food costs for the American consumer," he added.

Smithfield believes that reducing its production capacity will improve the efficiencies of its operations. The company currently raises 18 million market finished pigs annually, with meat and pork product sales valued in the region of $12 billion.

5m Editor