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Hog Outlook: 60 Per Cent Fewer Farms with Pigs Than Five Years Ago

02 June 2014
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Ron Plain and Scott Brown of the University of Missouri comment on the new USDA agriculture census, Tyson's bid for Hillshire, the new Crop Progress report and the latest pork prices and weights.

The livestock data from USDA's latest Census of Agriculture were released this month. This comprehensive survey of all U.S. farms said that there were 2,109,303 farms in the U.S. in 2012. Of these, only 63,246 farms or 3.0 per cent had hogs. Of the 63,246 hog farms, 41,688 or 65.9 per cent had fewer than 25 hogs in inventory. There were 7,395 farms that had between 1,000 and 5,000 hogs. There were 3,008 farms which had 5,000 or more hogs. Compared to five years earlier, the number of farms with hogs was down 16.2 per cent. The average hog inventory in 2012 was 1,044 head per farm with hogs, up 16.2 per cent from the previous census.

The US economy shrank at an annual rate of one per cent during the first quarter. That is not an encouraging sign for meat demand.

Tyson Foods made a bid this week to buy Hillshire Brands for $6.8 billion. Hillshire Brands sells meat products under the labels Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and Hillshire Farms.

This week's USDA 'Crop Progress' report says that 88 per cent of corn acres were planted by 25 May. That is 15 points more than the week before, four points ahead of last year, and the same as the five-year average.

Cash hog prices this week were slightly higher after seven consecutive weeks of decline. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $106.39/cwt, up 49 cents from last Friday. There were no reported prices for the eastern corn belt or Iowa-Minnesota this morning. The western corn belt carcass price averaged $106.92/cwt this morning. Peoria had a top live price today of $74/cwt as did Zumbrota, MN. The top price Friday for interior Missouri live hogs was $77/cwt which was $2 higher than the previous Friday.

Friday morning's pork cut-out value was $114.19/cwt FOB the plants, down 47 cents from the week before. This morning's average hog carcass price equalled 93.2 per cent of the cut-out value.

Hog slaughter this week totalled 1.75 million head, down 1.3 per cent from the week before and down 6.6 per cent compared to last year.

The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 286.7 pounds. That was 0.8 pounds lighter than the week before, but 11.3 pounds heavier than a year ago. This is the biggest year-over-year increase in hog weights thus far this century.

The June lean hog futures contract today closed at $113.35/cwt, down $3.50 for the week. July hog futures ended the week at $120.47/cwt, down $3.25 from the week before. August hogs lost $2.15 this week to close at $124.80/cwt. The October contract ended the week at $105.85/cwt; December at $94.80/cwt.

Corn futures were lower this week. The July contract lost 12 cents this week to close at $4.66. The September contract ended the week at $4.58, down 18 cents from the previous Friday. December corn futures ended the week at $4.575/bu.

ThePigSite News Desk

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