Shrinking Pork Supply - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Shrinking Pork Supply

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A worldwide pork shortage is expected to hit the grocery aisles next year. It's happening because of what's going on in the industry right now.

"You are seeing liquidation going on, you're seeing some more sows go to the market, your seeing pigs sold at a lighter weight," said owner of Grandview Farms, Tom Dittmer. "With $8 corn, that's ridiculously high."

Dittmer markets 150,000 to 200,000 pigs every year. But an historic drought has impacted corn and soybean crop, causing a surge in livestock feed prices.

"Corn is the gold standard for food," said Ben Dittmer, Tom's son. "Price of corn has gone up to $8 a bushel now, so that rolls over to the price of food." Tom Dittmer said that increases the cost per pig by $30 to $40.

Many hog farmers across the country have to figure out how to stay afloat -- continuing to feed all of their pigs may put some pork producers out of business.

"There's producers that are getting out. They just don't want to fight the battle anymore," Tom Dittmer said. He said Grandview Farms is committed to staying in business, even though the next few months look bleak.

In order to combat high feed costs, Dittmer has decided to market his pigs at a lighter weight.

"We normally sell at 280 pounds but we're now trying to sell maybe down to 260 pounds," he said. "There's producers selling pigs way below market weight because they don't want to feed them and lose the money, they just want to be done with it"

The markets show that it will be a tough winter for many pork producers. But the Dittmers plan to forge ahead.

"For us that want to stay in the business, there's a light at the end of the tunnel if we can get through the next 6 months," said Tom. His son with a similar outlook --

"It's scary but we can manage through it."