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Tyson Foods says pig virus to cut pork supply by 2-4 per cent

Published on Feb 1, 2014 3:15 AM

(Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc, the largest US meat processor, said on Friday it expects pork supplies to drop 2 to 4 per cent this fiscal year, raising wholesale prices, as a deadly pig virus spreads through the US hog belt.

Heavier hogs will offset some of the loss in headcount, Jim Lochner, Tyson's chief operating officer, said during a conference call after the company's quarterly earnings release.

Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv), a highly contagious and potentially fatal pig virus, has contributed to higher hog prices, which are beginning to eat into pork processors'profits. Average prices for live sows surged 28 per cent in the last year, according to USDA figures.

"I do want to emphasize information does come out fairly regularly ... and we're just staying on top of it region to region, producer to producer," Lochner said, referring to the spread of the disease.

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