US pork producer Smithfield Foods has posted a sharp fall in quarterly earnings as a continued glut of meat on the market caused hog and pork prices to fall.

The Virginia-based company reported earnings for the fourth quarter to 27 April of US$5.1m, compared to $24.9m a year earlier.

Smithfield said rising pork prices and strong profits from beef would help future results.

During the fourth quarter, beef accounted for more than 60% of total earnings and 28% of total sales.

Revenue for the quarter was $1.95bn compared to $1.96bn a year earlier.