US pork processing capacity recovering

Thursday, 11 June 2020

More pork processing capacity in the US is coming back online as plants slowly increase operations, according to the USDA.

The USDA announced this week that as of 9 June, pork facilities are functioning at 95% of their average capacity compared to 2019, as plants increase operations. This comes following President Trump’s executive order on the 28 April for meat plants to stay open. However, numerous reports suggest that US meat plants are still suffering with COVID-19 cases.

According to the National Pork Producers Council, pork processing capacity in the US at the beginning of May was down nearly 40%, as plants struggled with COVID-19 cases amongst factory staff. Pork production for April was down 11% year-on-year as a result.

Recently, US lean hog futures have fallen despite an increase in slaughter pace, as plants begin to tackle the backlog of pigs that built up during plant closures. The USDA’s estimated pig slaughter figure for the week ending 10 June stood at 1,339,000 head, up 7% from the week before but 6% below last year.

Hannah Clarke

Analyst - Livestock

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