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Pork now second in meat consumption

The comeback of pork continued with it now being the second most produced meat in the U.S. Pork recently surpassed meat to land in second behind chicken. According to the USDA, pork production will climb this year to a record 23.91 billion-lbs., as per-capita consumption reaches the highest in five years. Beef output will drop 1.7% to 23.90 billion-lbs. Chicken will lead the category as it reaches its all-time high of 39.21 billion-lbs.

Pork output, hurt in recent years by a deadly virus that have wiped recently born livestock, in projected to increase 4.6% as breeding-sow herd had the largest increase for a three-month period in 17 years. The total hog population increased 2% to 66.05 million in the last year.

Hogs are also getting bigger as two years of large corn and soybean crops have made feed cheaper for farmers. The average pig for slaughter weighed 216 pounds last year with a record-high 222 pounds in May 2014.

For beef, cattle ranchers are still feeling the effect of a 2012 drought that has beef production headed for its lowest levels since 1993.