This Week's US Hog Slaughter Largest In 5 Years; 2nd Biggest Ever

US - This week's U.S. hog slaughter was estimated at 2.225 million head, the largest in five years and second-biggest weekly figure ever.
calendar icon 22 December 2003
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The all-time high was set this same week in 1998 at nearly 2.265 million head.

Weekly hog slaughters during the fourth quarter have averaged nearly 3.4% above a year ago. This compares with expectations before the quarter began of approximately 1% below a year ago. Heavier carcass weights have added to total pork production, which for the quarter is up about 4.8% from a year ago.

Although this week's kill was about 40,000 head below the record week in 1998, estimated pork production was 15.8 million pounds, or 3.68%, above that of the record kill week.

Despite the unexpectedly large slaughters and pork production this quarter, prices are well above a year ago. This week a year ago, lean hog, or carcass prices, in Iowa/southern Minnesota averaged $40.68 per hundredweight. Based on the closing prices for the first four days this week and Friday's early-day report, lean values in that region this week should average about $47.90, up approximately 17.5% from a year ago. During this same week in 1998, carcass-based prices averaged only about $16.50.

Industry sources and market analysts credit the very high wholesale beef prices and reduced beef production as supportive for pork. They said the beef complex is largely responsible for keeping hog and pork prices from falling.

Combined meat output for the quarter to date is running about 4.4% below a year ago, with the increase in pork more than offset by reduced beef production.

Some also said growing U.S. population and expanded exports of U.S. pork are supportive factors for prices.

This week's estimated slaughters, combined meat production

U.S. cattle slaughter for the week was estimated at 634,000 head, compared with 620,000 a week ago and 650,000 a year ago. Year-to-date cattle slaughter is estimated at 34.022 million head, down 1.03% from a year ago.

Year-to-date hog slaughter is estimated at 96.791 million head, up 0.20% from a year ago.

This week's combined meat production - for beef and veal, pork and lamb/mutton - was estimated at 923.5 million pounds, versus last week's 896.5 million and the year-ago figure of 934.3 million pounds.

Combined meat production for the year to date is estimated at 44.909 billion pounds, down 1.33% from a year ago.

Broiler slaughter this week was estimated at 154.380 million head, compared with 153.501 million a week ago and 152.854 million a year ago.

Source: eFeedLink - 22nd December 2003

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