Poor margins force US pork plant shut downs

13-07-2009 | |
Poor margins force US pork plant shut downs

Several Smithfield Foods and Tyson production plants will shut down on Monday apparently because of poor margins and tight supplies of hogs, livestock sources said.

Tyson confirmed that its Columbus Junction plant will be closed and that some of its other pork plants will run at reduced levels next week. Smithfield Foods has not commented on daily plant operations.

The three plants have a combined daily hog slaughter capacity of about 43,000 head, or about 10% of the US total slaughter capacity, according to industry estimates.

Pork plants have been hurt by tight supplies of hogs and by slow pork sales, analysts and livestock dealers said. “We have had dismal cutout values. It is largely related to the worldwide recession,” said Ron Plain, agricultural economist at the University of Missouri. “Pork exports are doing very poorly and the U.S. economy is doing poorly. There is just not a lot of demand for high quality foods.”