Giant hog and pork producer Smithfield Foods Inc , posted a smaller-than-expected loss for the quarter as the high cost of feed battered its hog production unit, the nation's largest.

The hog unit lost nearly $171 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $129 million.

Overall pork profits were down, despite record profits on packaged meats.

While feed costs should moderate going forward, Smithfield said it would reduce its sow herd an additional 3 percent following a previous 10 percent reduction.

The Smithfield, Virginia-based company reported a loss of $78.8 million, or 55 cents per share, for the fourth quarter that ended May 3, compared with a year-ago profit of $2.4 million, or 2 cents per share

Revenue was $2.85 billion, compared with the year ago's $2.87 billion.

This year's quarterly results include a one-time gain of $13.1 million for foreign tax credits.

Wall Street analysts on average expected a 62-cent loss, according to Reuters estimates.

For the fiscal year, the company lost $190.3 million, or $1.35 per share, its first yearly loss since 1975.

Smithfield has warned that its hog unit would likely lose money for much of the current fiscal year, which began in May.

To cope, the company reduced its sow herd, closed plants, restructured operations, and negotiated new debt agreements.

(Reporting by Bob Burgdorfer, editing by Maureen Bavdek)