Pig Virus Impacting Pork Prices

By Jonathan Cooper | jcooper@kq2.com

Published 07/28 2014 08:57PM

Updated 07/29 2014 11:56AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Pork prices are on the way up, according to a new report from the Department of Agriculture.

The USDA says prices are up 12 percent over last year.

They say a virus called P.E.D.v. or Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus is playing a big part in the increase.

The disease first showed up last year.

"It mainly affects the small pigs. When the small pig gets it, its about 100 percent fatal," said Bob Kelly, with the University of Missouri Extension.

Kelly has monitored the disease in northwest Missouri.

"Before summer got here, we lost about six to seven million pigs so that shows up now at market time about five, five and a half months later as a decrease in supply," he said.

Kelly says during the summer months, the sun acts as a disinfectant and slows the spread of the disease.

"In talking with the pork producers just last week, they're fearful that we're gonna have another big outbreak as soon as winter gets here," Kelly said.

There is no vaccine to stop the disease right now.

Kelly says another outbreak would not only hurt the consumer, but the pork producers as well.

"Even if price goes up two to three percent, but you lose fifty percent of your pigs, it's going to be tough to be real profitable," he said.

The USDA also reports a drought is playing a part in the increase in food prices, but Kelly says consumers shouldn't be too worried.

"For the bulk of the country, drought doesn't exist," he said.

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