Sow slaughter up, hog slaughter down, prices up

US - Federally Inspected (FI) hog slaughter posted a year-to-year decline in April. On a monthly basis, that was the first year-to-year decline since November 2002.
calendar icon 16 June 2003
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FI hog slaughter continued to be below the year prior in May. In recent weeks, FI sow slaughter has been running just slightly above a year ago, still, relative to the breeding hog inventory reported by USDA-NASS in the quarterly Hogs and Pigs report for May 1, 2003, the slaughter level indicated liquidation of sows but at a rate that is not as high as intended to occur earlier this year. Slaughter barrow and gilt prices in May were the strongest posted since 2001.

In the first quarter of this year, FI sow slaughter totaled 756 thousand head, about 3 percent larger than 2002’s. In April, sow slaughter was 2 percent larger than 2002’s and about 3 percent above the five-year average. On a weekly average basis, FI sow slaughter has been running about 2 percent above a year earlier during April through week ending May 24th (most recent data at the time). Based on sow slaughter, USDA’s quarterly Hogs and Pigs report for June 1 (to be released June 27th) is expected to show a year-to-year decline in the U.S. breeding herd of fully 4 percent.

In April, FI hog slaughter totaled 8.2 million head, a 1 percent decline from last year but still about 3 percent above the previous five-year average. FI barrow and gilt slaughter was down 1.2 percent in April, a decrease of 93 thousand head from 2002, but still nearly 6 percent above the previous five-year average. For the week ending May 24th, FI hog slaughter totaled 1.8 million head, 2.6 percent below the corresponding week in 2002. Slaughter estimates for May suggest hog slaughter was 2 to 3 percent lower than last year’s.

Average barrow and gilt prices received by producers (net prices) have been above $60.00 per cwt. (carcass weight basis) for several weeks. In recent weeks slaughter hog prices have been $10.00 to $15.00 per cwt. above the depressed levels of a year ago. Forecasts put slaughter for the balance of the year down 2 to 4 percent from a year ago, which should keep slaughter barrow and gilt prices above $60.00 at least into late summer. Prices could retreat during the fourth quarter of 2003, averaging in the mid $50’s per cwt.

Source: Livestock Marketing Information Center - 16th June 2003
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