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High feed prices reduce Smithfield profit

Even though pork prices have been relatively high, Smithfield Foods Inc. did loose in its first quarter, as a result of the high feed prices and production costs.

Smithfield said it lost $12.6 million, or 9 cents a share, in the first quarter, hurt by hedging losses on feed-grain and live pig contracts and asset disposals from a joint venture in Spain. A year ago, the pork producer earned $54.6 million, or 41 cents a share.

Feed prices
Smithfield said it paid 39% more for corn and 33% more for soybean meal in the quarter compared with last year, making it more expensive to raise pigs. For the company's operations in Europe, it's even more expensive. Cash raising costs are $90 per hundredweight, making it harder to pass along those costs to consumers.

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