First Quarter US Hog Slaughter, Pork Output New Record Highs

by 5m Editor
19 April 2004, at 12:00am

US - U.S. commercial hog slaughter in the first quarter hit an all-time high at 25.710 million head, eclipsing the previous high for that period at 25.579 million head registered in 1999.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday released its actual slaughter and meat production data for the week ended April 3. Based on the latest report and the previous weekly figures for the quarter, Glenn Grimes, agricultural economist at the University of Missouri, calculated the quarterly total production figures.

Grimes said commercial pork production during the quarter, at 5.141 billion pounds, also was a new record high. It was 5.65% above the first quarter 1999 output, with most of the increase due to heavier carcass weights. Pork production during the first quarter last year was 4.889 billion pounds and in 2002 was 4.689 billion.

Total hog and pig imports from Canada for the year through the week ended April 3 were up nearly 788,000 head from a year ago, an increase of nearly 50%. The number of these hogs shipped directly to slaughter was about 457,000 head above a year ago. Those included barrows and gilts plus sows and boars.

These year-to-date slaughter hog imports were about 323,000 head above the same period in 1999. In addition to the direct-to-slaughter imports were increased feeder pigs that arrived last summer and fall that reached slaughter weight during the first quarter.

The larger imports accounted for about half of the increase above what had been expected. Several university agricultural economists and industry analysts have said the balance of the increase came from understated domestic supplies, which were largely the result of improved productivity. That means more pigs per sow per year were born and saved, and producers did not reduce the breeding herd enough to offset the productivity gains, they said.

However, exceptional demand in both the domestic and international markets have so far absorbed the additional production and resulted in higher hog and wholesale pork prices, compared with a year ago.

Hog slaughter this week was estimated at 1.978 million head, compared with 1.973 million last week and 1.877 million a year ago. Year-to-date hog slaughter is estimated at 30.086 million head, up 1.6% from last year.

This week's combined meat production - for beef and veal, pork and lamb/mutton - was estimated at 831.5 million pounds, versus 812.4 million last week and 862.4 million a year-ago.

Source: eFeedLink - 19th April 2004

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