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Cash Hog Prices Mixed This Week

by 5m Editor
7 January 2006, at 12:00am

US Weekly Hog Outlook, 6th January 2006 - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.

Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Barrow and gilt weights continue to run at record high levels. For the week ending December 31, barrow and gilt weights in Iowa and Minnesota averaged 270.7 pounds, 0.2 pounds heavier than a week earlier.

The heaviest weekly average weight for barrows and gilts occurred the week ending November 26, 2005, at 271.5 pounds.

The heaviest weekly average carcass weight for barrows and gilts under Federal Inspection also occurred the week ending November 26, 2005 at 201 pounds.

Even though average weights dropped to year earlier levels in late July and August of this year, weights for the year through November averaged 0.76% heavier than 12 months earlier. One would think that these heavier weights would lower the percent lean of an average pork carcass, but the average percent lean of US pork this year is expected to be a record high.

The economic advantage of purchasing hogs at heavier weights will continue to provide the incentive to push hog weights higher. For producers, the cost is reduced by spreading the cost of feeder pigs over more pounds of pork will provide a reason for producers to keep pushing hogs to heavier weights. For packers, their costs are more per head than per pound of weight.

We keep hearing that we are getting the weights of some of the pork cuts too large. I am not convinced this is really occurring. If so, why do we not see consistently higher prices for lighter weight cuts.

Beef loins are more than double the size of pork loins, and I do not hear marketers or consumers complain about the size of beef loins. If one can reduce the size of a beef cut with a knife, it will also work with a pork cut. In fact, my wife and I share a large America's Cut just as we do with a Kansas City strip steak.

Feeder pig prices at United Producers Tel-o-auction this week were mixed compared to 2 weeks earlier. Light weight pigs were lower but 60-weight pigs were $2-5 higher than 14 days earlier. The prices at United by weight groups were: 40-50# pigs $129.50 per cwt, 60-70# $119.00-129.50 per cwt.

We continue to believe there is a strong probability that producers are building the breeding herd at a relatively slow rate. Slaughter is running some above expectations based on the December Hogs and Pigs Report. For the past 3 weeks, slaughter has been 4% above last year.

Cash hog prices were mixed this week. Weighted carcass prices this Friday morning were all lower than 7 days ago. The top cash prices for select markets were: Peoria $37.00 per cwt, St. Paul $41.50 per cwt, Sioux Falls $42.50 per cwt, interior Missouri $39.50 per cwt. The weighted average base carcass price Friday morning were: western Cornbelt $57.03 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $55.44 per cwt, Iowa and Minnesota $57.54 per cwt and nation $56.26 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 1,818 thousand head. Comparisons with last year to be meaningful needs to be the last 3 weeks which has been about 4% above 12 months earlier.

5m Editor