Weekly Review: Pork Demand Takes Giant Leap

US - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 3 May 2008
clock icon 4 minute read

Demand for pork from January-March of this year was up slightly from a year earlier at the consumer level. However, demand for beef at the consumer level was down 3 percent from the same three months in 2007.

Demand for broilers for January-March was up 3.2 percent and turkey was up 7.7 percent from twelve months earlier.

Demand for live hogs for the first three months of 2008 was up a whopping 8.0 percent from the same months in 2007. For these three months, the demand for live fed cattle was up 0.2 percent from a year earlier. The large increase in live hog demand was due to the sharply higher pork exports in 2008 than in 2007. The stronger live fed cattle demand then consumer demand for beef was also largely a result of larger exports and smaller imports.

Live hog weights for barrows and gilts last week in Iowa-Minnesota at 264.6 pounds were down one pound from a week earlier and down 2.9 pounds from a year earlier. Average carcass weight for barrows and gilts finally dropped to a year earlier level for the week ending April 12th and 19th. Hopefully we will continue to see a bigger decline in weights than normal as we move from spring to summer.

On Tuesday, the Food, Safety and Inspection service, a branch of the USDA, announced they were notified last week that four pork plants will be ineligible to export pork to Russia because of violations of Russia’s drug tolerances. The futures market responded by being 200-290 points lower at the close then a day earlier. On Wednesday, the futures market rallied and on Thursday was $5.26 per cwt to $0.90 per cwt lower than the close on Friday, April 25th.

Sow and gilt slaughter continues to run well above a year earlier. Gilt slaughter since the 1st of March through the week ending April 26 has been up over 2 percent and sow slaughter through the week ending April 19th from March 1 has been up 11.9 percent from twelve months earlier. This data continues to indicate some sell-off of the breeding herd is occurring.

Pork product prices pushed higher again this week with the cut-out per 100 pounds of carcass at $74.38 per cwt Thursday afternoon up $2.17 per cwt from a week earlier. Loins were at $104.67 up $9.59 per cwt, Boston butts were at $77.96 up $0.18 per cwt, hams were at $54.20 down $6.73 per cwt and bellies were at $84.98 per cwt up $4.08 from seven days earlier.

Live hog prices Friday morning were up $3-4 per cwt compared to a week earlier. Weighted average negotiated carcass prices Friday morning were up $1.13-1.80 per cwt compared to seven days earlier.

The weighted average negotiated carcass prices were western Cornbelt $72.55 cwt, eastern Cornbelt $70.18 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $72.63 per cwt and nation $71.27 per cwt.

The top live hog prices at select markets were Peoria $45 per cwt, Zumbrota Minn. $51 per cwt and interior Missouri $52.75 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 2155 thousand head up 9.3 percent from a year earlier but down 4.3 percent from a week earlier.

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