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Pork/Hogs: Continued lower dressed weights offset higher August slaughter numbers to reduce pork production fractionally compared with a year earlier. Third-quarter pork production is expected to be about 6.4 billion pounds, 1.8 percent lower than a year ago. Hog prices for the quarter are forecast at $69 per cwt on lackluster hog and pork demand. Fourth-quarter pork production is expected to increase 2.3 percent over the same period a year ago, with hog prices more than 7 percent lower, to $59 per cwt, compared with the same period of 2022. July pork exports increased more than 4 percent above same-period volumes of a year ago, although a higher-valued U.S. dollar exchange rate and foreign expectations of upcoming seasonally low pork prices likely cut into U.S. market share across Asia. Total 2023 exports are forecast at 6.8 billion pounds, up 7.2 percent from last year.
The United States Imported More Swine and Cattle in First-Half 2023 Than in Same Time Last Year
The United States primarily imports live swine from Canada and cattle from both Canada and Mexico. In the first 6 months of 2023, total swine imports reached 3.3 million head, almost 1 percent higher than the same period last year. Most live swine are imported as young pigs for finishing; that is, fed to slaughter weights and then processed in the United States. Imports of pigs for finishing were 2 percent lower year over year but 8 percent higher than the 5-year average, a trend since 2021 after the closure of slaughter facilities and a rise in costs to raise pigs in Canada. Plant closures likely also supported higher imports of hogs for immediate slaughter, which increased almost 12 percent in first-half 2023, a 50-percent increase over the 5-year average. Total first-half 2023 cattle imports were 953,000 head, an 11-percent increase over the same period last year. This is likely supported by tight cattle supplies in the United States and higher U.S. cattle prices year over year. Over the last 5 years, about 75 percent of imports were feeder cattle, 25 percent were cattle for immediate slaughter, and less than 1 percent were for breeding. In the first 6 months of 2023, about 687,000 head were feeder cattle, and 88 percent of them were Mexican origin. Imports of feeder cattle increased more than 19 percent year over year in the first half, but at below the 2018–22 average. However, the number of slaughter-ready cattle—of which 99 percent came from Canada—decreased nearly 5 percent from last year to about 259,000 head, yet it remains above the 5-year average.
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