Live Hog Prices Expected to Continue to Improve

CANADA - An agricultural economist with the University of Missouri predicts continued improvement in live hog prices for the next several months, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 9 April 2010
clock icon 3 minute read

Live hog prices have improved dramatically over the past few weeks fueled by reduced North American hog production and reduced volumes of meat in storage.

University of Missouri agricultural economics professor Dr Ron Plain observes we're looking at the highest hog prices in 18 months and producers are actually finally turning a profit.

Dr Ron Plain

We saw producers here in the United States lose money for two and a half years, 10 consecutive quarters, and a little bit longer than that in Canada.

We've seen some moderation in feed costs and hog prices, we're probably today making somewhere around five to six dollars per head on hogs that are going to market.

The breeding herds in both the US and Canada are down and have been dropping for about two to two and a half years now which is why we're enjoying these higher prices.

The expectation is that we're going to continue to see the supply of hogs ready for market to stay tight seasonally.

We normally get the highest hog prices of the year during late spring and into summer so there's good reason to expect prices to continue to improve for the next several months.

Dr Plain expects domestic demand for pork in both Canada and the US to play a critical role in determining live hog prices however he notes the global economy hasn't been doing particularly well and suggests we'll need to see some economic growth to reduce unemployment if we're to see meat prices move higher.

He adds, while US pork exports were down in 2009 after 17 consecutive years of growth, exports are expected to increase this year.

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