Canadian Sow Herd Smaller in October Than June

US - Statistics Canada released their quarterly hog inventory numbers this week. They said the Canadian sow herd was 0.5 per cent smaller on 1 October than on 1 July and 3.7 per cent smaller than on 1 October 2009, writes Ron Plain.
calendar icon 30 October 2010
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The Canadian sow herd is the smallest since 1 July, 1999. The number of litters farrowed in Canada during the third quarter was down 4.5 per cent compared to July-September 2009. They are forecasting fourth quarter 2010 farrowings to be 3.7 per cent smaller than a year earlier and first quarter 2011 farrowings to be off by 4.6 per cent. The Canadian pig crop is roughly 25 per cent of the size of the US pig crop.

The amount of pork in cold storage at the end of September was up 9.6 per cent compared to the month before but down 19.5 per cent compared to 30 September 2009. Stocks increased by 37.2 million pounds during September which was 14.4 million pounds more than is typical for that month. Cutout values were still quite high during September, so it is a bit surprising to see an above average amount of pork going into frozen stocks.

USDA’s Thursday afternoon calculated pork cutout value was $73.75/cwt, down $3.01 from the previous Thursday. Loins, butts, hams and bellies were all lower. The pork cutout is ending October $12/cwt lower than it started the month.

Hog prices also were lower this week. The national weighted average carcass price for negotiated hogs Friday morning was $58.06/cwt, down $4.41/cwt from the previous Friday. Regional average prices on Friday morning were: eastern corn belt $58.21, western corn belt and Iowa-Minnesota both $57.91/cwt. The top live hog price Friday at Sioux Falls was $45.50/cwt. The top at Zumbrota was $4 and Peoria’s top was $41/cwt. The interior Missouri live top Friday was $44.50/cwt, down 75 cents from last Friday.

Given current feed costs, this week’s hog prices were too low to cover the average producer’s cost of production. The futures market implies red ink for the rest of 2010.

Hog slaughter totaled 2.311 million head this week, down 1.5 per cent from the week before but up 0.7 per cent compared to the same week last year. This week and last week are the only weeks so far this year with slaughter above 2.3 million hogs.

The average carcass weight of barrows and gilts slaughtered the week ending October 16 was 203 pounds, up 1 pound from the week before and 3 pounds heavier than a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota live weights for barrows and gilts last week was record high for the second week in a row averaging 275.3 pounds, up 5.4 pounds compared to a year earlier.

The December lean hog futures contract ended the week at $66.28/cwt, down $4.37 from the previous Friday. The February contract ended the week at $71.92/cwt and April settled at $75.95. December corn futures ended the week at $5.82/bushel, up 22 cents from the previous Friday. Both the May and July corn contracts ended the week above $6.00/bushel.

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