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Tyson to reduce hog breeding capacity

Tyson Foods has announced it will sell five hog farms and reduce its sow herd by nearly 30%, due to "high grain costs, lack of available capital and a reduction in pork demand."

Tyson, based in Springdale, Ark., has announced it will reduce its sow herd by 20,000 head from 70,000 as it sells five farms in Arkansas and Missouri at the loss of 76 jobs.

The sow slaughter will occur over 10 weeks, the company said. The latest cutbacks will reduce Tyson's sow herd by 28.6% and rank the company thirteenth in terms of pork production, according to Steve Kay, publisher of Cattle Buyers Weekly.

"Tyson's pork group farms are located too far away from it pork processing facilities in Iowa and Nebraska for the company to supply its own live hogs for slaughter. Given the heavy losses pork producers have faced this year, it doesn't make a lot of sense to raise hogs for a loss to then sell to a competitor," Kay said.

A Tyson spokesman stated: “While this is a difficult process, we believe it's necessary as we navigate through the challenging conditions facing the pork industry".

Last month Tyson's pork competitor Smithfield Foods said it was reducing its sow herd by another 3 percent, the third round of production cuts this year in an attempt to bring pork supply back in line with weakening demand.

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