Weekly Review: Smaller Pork Exports Bring Down Live Hog Demand

US - Weekly review of the US hog industry, written by Glenn Grimes and Ron Plain.
calendar icon 12 December 2009
clock icon 4 minute read

Demand at the consumer level is mixed for meats this year. Pork and turkey is up with pork up 2.6 per cent and turkey up 3.6 per cent for January-October compared to a year earlier. Beef demand at the consumer level is down 2.8 per cent and broiler demand is down 3.4 per cent for these ten months compared to 2008.

Both live hogs and live fed cattle demand for January-October is down. Live fed cattle demand is down 8.2 per cent and live hog demand is down five per cent.

Smaller pork exports are the major reason why live hog demand is down and pork demand is up at the consumer level. For fed cattle both exports and hotel and restaurant trade for beef are down.

It appears Russia is playing politics with trade. In mid week Russia barred import from several US packing plants. How much impact this will have on hog prices is not known, but probably not very much. For January-September Russia’s pork imports from the US amounted to 7.8 per cent of our exports or 1.4 per cent of our pork production. Hopefully Russia will continue to import at the January-September rate from pork plants in the US that are not barred from exporting to Russia.

Wholesale ham prices early this week were the highest priced pork wholesale cut. It has been a long time since that was the situation. The strong ham prices are due we believe to export and Christmas demand for hams. The demand for Christmas hams tends to disappear rather rapidly around the 10th of December.

Pork cutout this Thursday afternoon at $68.12 per cwt was up $4.70 per cwt from a week earlier. Loins at $77.20 per cwt were up $8.98 per cwt, Boston butts at $69.39 per cwt were up $5.97 per cwt, hams at $73.75 per cwt were up $6.42 per cwt, bellies at $71.54 per cwt were up $3.44 per cwt from seven days earlier.

Slaughter weights continue to get closer to a year earlier. For last week barrow and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota at 269.9 pounds up 0.4 pounds from a week earlier and up only 0.6 pounds from a year earlier. This 0.6 difference is the closest weights in Iowa-Minnesota have been to a year earlier since the week ending 31 January 2009.

Live barrow and gilt prices the Friday morning were steady to $2.00 per cwt higher compared to a week earlier. The weighted average negotiated carcass prices Friday morning were $2.51-2.76 per cwt higher compared to seven days earlier.

The top live prices Friday morning were: Peoria $36.00 per cwt, Zumbrota, Minnesota, $39.00 per cwt and interior Missouri $41.50 per cwt.

The weighted average negotiated carcass price of areas were: western Cornbelt $62.98 per cwt, eastern Cornbelt $59.32 per cwt, Iowa-Minnesota $62.97 per cwt, and nation $60.73 per cwt.

Feeder pig prices naturally last week were $3.00-$4.00 per head higher than a week earlier. Pigs weighing 10 pounds averaged $39.83 per head. Formula priced 10 pound pigs averaged $37.85 per head and negotiated 10 pound pigs averaged $41.09 per head. Pigs weighing 40 pounds averaged $44.31 per head, formula priced 40 pound pigs sold for $55.01 per head and spot or negotiated pigs sold for $43.14 per head.

Slaughter this week under Federal Inspection was estimated at 2213 thousand head down 5.3 per cent from twelve months earlier.

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