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Hams down on the roller coaster price ride!

by 5m Editor
11 December 2004, at 12:00am

US Weekly Hog Outlook, 10th December 2004 - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glen Grimes and Ron Plain.

Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Hog prices have been on a roller coaster the last two weeks. Last week we set a record one-day high for this year and had $60 plus live hog prices for the first time in December. This week the market has been in a free fall with top live prices Friday at $8.00 to $10.00 per cwt below last Friday.

Along with the decline in live hog prices, pork products cut out declined $4.78 per cwt from December 7 to 8. This is the largest one-day decline in cut out in at least the last 6 years. The second largest decline was $3.37, which occurred last May from the 24th to 25th.

Even with this big decline in hog prices this week prices at the end of this week were still nearly 47% higher than a year earlier. But prices on Friday last week were about 84% above 12 months earlier.

The big decline in pork product prices was for hams. In fact, a significant portion of the decline in cut out from December 7 to 8 was due to lower ham prices. Loins with a 1/4" trim this Friday morning at $110.00 per cwt the same price as a week earlier. Boston butts with 1/4" trim were down $1.60 per cwt at $100.40 per cwt, 17-20 pound hams at $81.50 per cwt were down $18.50 and 14-16 pound bellies at $92.91 per cwt down $2.09 for the week.

Prices this Friday morning for live hogs at selected markets for tops were: Peoria $47.00 per cwt, St. Paul $50.00 per cwt, Sioux Falls $N/A per cwt and interior Missouri $51.00 per cwt.

Prices for 185 pound carcasses with 0.9-1.1" back fat, 6 square inch loin, 2" deep, weighted average by area were: western Cornbelt $72.97 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $72.32 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $72.95 per cwt and nation $72.77 per cwt.

Federally inspected slaughter since the 1st of October has been down about 1.8% from a year earlier. This supports the belief that the market inventories in the September Hogs and Pigs were quite accurate.

Hog weights would suggest we pulled marketings forward during September then slowed them down in October and November.

Live weight barrows and gilts set a new record high for each of the weeks ending November 27 and December 4. For the week ending December 4, live weights in Iowa and Minnesota for barrows and gilts were 1.1% above a year earlier.

Carcass weights for barrow and gilts nation wide at 199 pound average were a record high for weeks ending both November 20 and 27.

Gilt and sow slaughter data through last week continued to show no signs of breeding herd growth. However, remember with an average of over 3% productivity growth for the past five years we probably need to reduce herd size by 1.5 - 2% to hold pork production near long-term demand growth.

Slaughter this week under federal inspection was estimated at 2091 thousand head---down 2.7% from a year earlier.

5m Editor