Weekly Review: Opportunity Offered by Futures Market

US - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 5 September 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

The average loss for all independent producers of hogs for the period of October 2007 through July 2009 has been $16.98 per hog. This is a lower value than we had been using because of a misunderstanding of the price used by John Lawrence who produces the best data available as to profits or losses for producing hogs.

We have no information as to the losses of packers who slaughtered their own hogs. Assuming that packers used the futures market at the rate of independent producers, the losses for the total industry for October 2007 through July 2009 would amount to 3.592 billion dollars, down from 4.565 billion calculated earlier.

The losses in 1998 and 1999 amounted to $4.454 billion dollars. However, we are not through losing money for the current period with a high probability of losses for another 10 or 11 months than included in the October 2007 through July 2009 period. This cycle will be the biggest losses for hog production in a cycle in my working experience.

The futures market has offered the opportunity for much lower losses in the October 2007 through July 2009 period with the average loss of $6.10 per head for producers who market by using the other market formula contract used by packers. The price paid by this contract is determined by the futures market.

The total losses have been reduced also by producers using the other purchase agreement contract which is tied to feed price or uses a window -type contract. Thirteen per cent of the hogs were marketed with this contract and 9 per cent of the hogs were marketed using the other market contract.

Barrow and gilt weights in Iowa-Minnesota for last week at 267 pounds were down 0.2 pound from a week earlier but up 6.6 pounds from a year earlier. For the week ending 22 August, barrow and gilt carcass weights were five pounds above a year earlier. This means that the good growing weather and delayed marketings have hogs backed up about 3 days from a year earlier.

Sow slaughter for only the third weak this year was above a year earlier for the week ending 15 August and stayed above for the week ending 22 August. Gilt slaughter for the week ending 22 August was large. Maybe we have started some faster decline in the breeding herd.

After a good move up in pork product cutout last week, the cutout Thursday afternoon at $53.69 per cwt was down $4.88 per cwt from seven days earlier. Hams moved sharply higher for the last ten days of August but could not hold the more than $22 per cwt strength and lost $13.48 per cwt of the gain by Thursday afternoon, 4 September.

Loins at $64.32 per cwt Thursday afternoon were down $1.77 per cwt, Boston butts at $56.45 per cwt were down $5.38 per cwt, hams at $48.17 per cwt were down $4.39 per cwt, and bellies at $62.13 per cwt were up $2.52 per cwt from a week earlier.

Cash live hog prices Friday morning were $1 per cwt higher to $2 per cwt lower compared to seven days earlier. Weighted average negotiated carcass prices Friday morning were $0.52-2.96 per cwt higher compared to a week earlier.

Top live prices Friday morning were: Peoria $25 per cwt, Zumbrota, Minnesota, $31 per cwt and interior Missouri $33.50 per cwt. Weighted average negotiated carcass prices Friday morning by area were: western Cornbelt $47.98 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $45.09 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $49.86 per cwt and nation $47.29 per cwt.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 2,256 thousand head, up 10.1 per cent from a year earlier.

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