Frozen Pork Stocks in June Down from Month Ago

US - USDA's latest cold storage report said the stocks of frozen pork on 30 June were down eight per cent from the month before and down 29 per cent compared to a year earlier, writes Ron Plain.
calendar icon 2 August 2010
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Frozen pork stocks are at the lowest level since September 2005. Year-over-year, frozen stocks of beef were down 14 per cent, turkey was down 15 per cent, but chicken was up 2 per cent compared to 30 June 2009. Tight meat supplies are a big part of the strong livestock prices this summer.

Pork bellies in cold storage were down a whopping 54 per cent compared to 30 June 2009. Low belly stocks at the start of BLT season have pushed pork belly prices to the highest level since sometime before 1998, when my data series begins. USDA's Thursday afternoon wholesale pork price report said bellies were trading at $133.33/cwt, up $13.37 from the week before and $49.22 higher than a year ago. The calculated pork cutout value on Thursday was $89.38/cwt, up $3.87 from the previous Thursday. Loins, hams, butts and bellies were all higher this week.

The higher cutout value made possible the highest hog prices since mid May. The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $81.99/cwt, $4.35 higher than the previous Friday. Regional average prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $82.22, western corn belt $79.76, and Iowa-Minnesota $79.57/cwt. The top live hog price Friday was $58/cwt at Sioux Falls, $53 at Peoria, and $56.50 at Zumbrota. The interior Missouri live top Friday was $56.50/cwt, up $3 from the previous Friday.

This week's hog slaughter totaled 1.949 million head, down 0.3 per cent from the week before and down 7.3 per cent compared to slaughter during the same week last year. Since 1 June, barrow and gilt slaughter has been 4.3 per cent below last year and 1.6 per cent lower than indicated by the market hog inventory in the June hogs and pigs report. Year-to-date, pork production is down 4 per cent.

The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending 17 July was 199 pounds, unchanged from the week before and up 3 pounds compared to a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weights last week averaged 268.4 pounds, up 2.1 pounds compared to a year earlier. It's been hot and last summer was cool, but hog weights are still up.

The August lean hog futures contract ended the week at $85.82/cwt, up $2.60 from the previous Friday. The October contract settled at $79.02 up $2 for the week. December closed the week $1.05 higher at $75.40/cwt.

The September corn contracted ended the week at $3.92'6, up 22 cents from the previous Friday. September soybean meal futures gained $7.50 this week to settle at $297.90/ton.

This week the House ag committee passed legislation to renew for 5 years the mandatory price reporting law which is set to expire on 30 September. This legislation also adds mandatory wholesale pork price reporting by packers and pork export reporting to the law.

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