Demand For Pork Down on Previous Year

US Weekly Hog Outlook, 26th May 2006 - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 29 May 2006
clock icon 4 minute read
Ron Plain
Ron Plain

Demand for pork at the consumer level for January-April does not look good with a 6.2 percent loss from 12 months earlier based on preliminary data. The good news as to demand for the pork sector is live demand. For January-April, demand for live hogs shows a loss of only 2.9 percent. We say only because the industry enjoyed 15.2 percent growth in these four months of 2004 and 2005.

We expect to lose around 50 percent of the demand growth of 2004 and 2005 because the high protein diet fad has faded. The loss for these four months is less than 20 percent of the gains in 2004 and 2005.

The assistance live hog demand has received from the increase in pork exports so far in 2006 makes up about two thirds of the difference in loss of pork demand at the consumer level and loss at the live level for hogs.

Cold storage stocks on April 30th were up 3 percent from March 31, 2006 but down 8 percent from the end of April 2005. Belly stocks the 30th of April were down 1 percent from the end of March 2006 and down 25 percent from 12 months earlier.

Live slaughter barrow and gilt weights in Iowa-Minnesota for the week ending May 20 were below a year earlier for the first time since the week ending September 17, 2005. Remember this weight series is a sample and is subject to sample fluctuation. Therefore, weights may be back above year earlier levels this week. However, this is probably good news in that weights were two pounds per head higher at the end of April than a year earlier. So this data indicates marketings are relatively current.

Gilt slaughter since early March shows the same percentage gilts as a year earlier. Sow slaughter for this period is also very close to a year earlier. This data indicates hog producers are probably not changing the herd size very much in either direction. Any growth in the sow herd is quite slow based on this data.

Feeder pig prices this week at United Producers Tel-o-auction were a little lower for the 40-50 pound pigs but about $10.00 per cwt higher for the 60-70 pound pigs compared to 2 weeks earlier.

The prices by weight groups at United this week were: 40-50# $109.50-113.50 and 60-70# $110-113 per cwt. Pig prices at United are only $10-20 per cwt below a year earlier, which is better than we expected.

Cash hog prices came under pressure this week as packers attempted to improve margins. Friday morning top live prices were $2 to $3 lower per cwt than 7 days earlier. Weighted average negotiated carcass prices were $1.14 to $3.06 per cwt lower than Friday morning last week.

The top live prices for select markets were: Peoria $42 per cwt, St. Paul was not available, Sioux Falls was not available and interior Missouri $45.75 per cwt.

The weighted negotiated carcass prices by area Friday morning were: western Cornbelt $63.89 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $65.23 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $63.91 per cwt and nation $64.58 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 1,924 thousand head, down 0.8 percent from a year earlier.

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