New year looks positive for U.S. livestock sector

Published on: Jan 4, 2014

There are a number of positive factors shaping up in the U.S. livestock sector for 2014. The latest numbers out of the U.S. Department of Agriculture show around a 5% decrease from Dec. 1 last year in cattle and calves on feed as well as a 3% decrease in placement numbers. That is the second lowest inventory since 1996, at a time of declining feed costs and improving pastures in much of the country. From August, the cost of feeding corn has dropped by a third.

In the pork sector, the latest numbers out of USDA show a near 1% dip in the all hogs and pigs inventory, again at a time when grain prices have moderated. This is on top of a recent downward trend in pigs per litter since August.

These latest numbers show that PEDV, or porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, is starting to play a role in the pork market and with it will likely come some market upside as well as some uncertainty at the farm level. PEDV is a virus that came to the U.S. hog industry from Asia.

Feedstuffs' Sarah Muirhead talks with veteran broadcaster Max Armstrong of WGN Radio about PEDV in the swine sector, renewable fuel standard and other related livestock industry issues.