US pork producer Smithfield Foods has said that low hog prices in the third quarter would mean fewer hogs and higher prices in the future, helping to boost the company's earnings.

In January, the company warned that results for the third quarter to 26 January, would fall well below analysts' estimates due to low hog prices and a glut of meat on the market.

"We do expect the fourth quarter to improve rather dramatically," Joseph Luter, Smithfield's chairman, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

Luter said the low hog prices would force smaller, less-efficient producers out of business, leading to a decrease in hog numbers. Fewer hogs should lift meat prices and help Smithfield results in future, he said.