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Slaughter Weights Get Pulled Down By Summer Heat

by 5m Editor
14 August 2010, at 8:02am

US - Pork exports in June were up 22.9 per cent compared to a year earlier, writes Ron Plain.

Our two biggest foreign customers, Japan and Mexico, purchased 43 per cent and 30 per cent more US pork respectively than in June 2009. The big increase in exports was due more to a drop off in exports in the summer of 2009 when the swine flu scare was in the news than it does with exceptionally large exports in June of this year. In total, 19.9 per cent of US pork production during June was exported. Pork exports were also low during July and August 2009, so upcoming 2010 pork export data is likely to be well above year-ago when it is released.

Pork imports were up 13.1 per cent in June. Canada and Denmark shipped more pork to us and Poland less than in June 2009. June pork imports equaled 4.1 per cent of US production.

For the first six months of the year, pork imports were up 0.5 per cent and pork exports were up 7.9 per cent.

The number of hogs imported from Canada during June, 467,504 head, was down 12.5 per cent from a year earlier. Feeder pig imports were down 10.7 per cent while imports of slaughter hogs were down 19.9 per cent. This was the 27th consecutive month that swine imports were below year-earlier.

USDA's Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $89.78/cwt, down 85 cents from the previous Thursday. Hams and bellies were lower, but loins and butts were higher. Bellies averaged $1.4024 per pound, higher than any date prior to 3 August 2010.

The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $77.22/cwt, $3.17 lower than the previous Friday. Regional average prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $75.49, western corn belt $77.22, and Iowa-Minnesota $78.61/cwt. The top live hog price Friday was $56/cwt at Sioux Falls, $54 at Peoria, and $53 at Zumbrota. The interior Missouri live top Friday was $55/cwt, $3 lower than the previous Friday.

This week's hog slaughter totaled 2.056 million head, up 4.6 per cent from the week before but down 8.2 per cent compared to slaughter during the same week last year. Year-to-date, pork production is down 4.2 per cent.

Summer heat is pulling down slaughter weights. The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending 31 July was 197 pounds, down 1 pound from the week before and the same weight as a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weight last week averaged 266.8 pounds, down 1.0 pounds compared to a year earlier. This was the first week that Iowa-Minnesota weights averaged below year-ago since January.

USDA's August crop report estimated the national average corn yield at 165 bushels per acre and the crop at a record 13.365 billion bushels. USDA raised their forecast of corn exports by 100 million bushels and raised their price forecast for the marketing year to $3.50-4.10/bushel.