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2009 Pork Exports Down Compared to 2008

by 5m Editor
13 February 2010, at 12:42pm

US - As was expected, the value of 2009 US pork exports was down sharply compared to 2008, write Ron Plain and Glenn Grimes in this week's review of the US hog industry.

Both the quantity of pork exported and the price per pound were lower in 2009. The total value of fresh, chilled and frozen pork exported by the US last year was $3.18 billion, down 16 per cent from 2008’s level. Despite the big decline, the value of pork exports in 2009 was the second highest ever. Since hog slaughter totaled 113.6 million head last year, pork exports equaled $28 per pig slaughtered. Increased pork exports is one of the keys to profitability in 2010. The agricultural trade data for 2009 was supposed to come out earlier this week but was delayed because of the weather. I will have additional information in next week’s report.

Packer margins tightened this week as the pork cutout value declined while hog prices were rising. USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated cutout value was $68.31/cwt, down 84 cents from the previous Thursday, but up $9.77 compared to the same day last year. Loins, bellies, hams and boston butts were all lower this week than last.

Hog prices ended the week higher. The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $63.39/cwt, $1.71 higher than the previous Friday, and $4.78/cwt higher than a year ago. Regional average prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $62.82, western corn belt $64.82, and Iowa-Minnesota $64.92/cwt. The top hog price Friday at Sioux Falls was $50/cwt, up $1.50 for the week. Zumbrota, MN had a top of $46 on Friday and Peoria topped at $43/cwt. The interior Missouri top Friday was $46.75/cwt, $2.25 higher than the previous Friday.

This week’s hog slaughter is estimated to be 2.161 million head, down 3.1 per cent compared to the same week last year. Hog slaughter has been below year-earlier for each of the last 6 weeks. During this period, hog slaughter was down 5.4 per cent compared to last year. USDA will probably revise their estimate of the December market hog inventory downward when the March Hogs and Pigs Report is issued. Since 1 December, slaughter of US raised barrows and gilts has been more than 2 per cent lower than expected.

The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending 30 January was 200 pounds, down 1 pound from the week before and down 2 pounds from the same week last year. Iowa-Minnesota live weights last week averaged 268.9 pounds, down 0.1 pounds compared to a year earlier.

The February lean hog futures contract ended the week at $67.45/cwt, up 75 cents from last Friday. Today the April contract settled at $68.20, up $1.48 for the week. May closed the week at $74.95/cwt, June ended at $78.05/cwt and July settled at $77.17/cwt.

Corn futures ended the week roughly 10 cents higher than last Friday.