Hog market analyst Steve Meyer foresees an industry crunch this fall that could drive prices below $60 a hundredweight and last six to nine weeks.
Packers will be running their plants into overtime and Saturdays, putting a strain on equipment and staff, he predicts in an interview with Meatingplace Magazine.
He says the lack of slaughter capacity will probably prompt some farmers to keep their hogs longer, adding weight that will further pressure pork prices down.
Three plants are under construction, but won’t be ready until next year and 2018.
Prestage Farms plans to build a 650,000-square-foot hog processing facility in Iowa to process 10,000 hogs per day and produce 600 million pounds of pork annually starting in mid-2018.
Two other state-of-the-art plants are currently under construction in Coldwater, Mich., and Sioux City, Iowa, but they will not be operating until summer 2017.
One Ontario strategy, helped along by veterinarian Marty Misener of Millbank, is to export weaners to U.S. farmers.