Strong Pork Export Demand Drives Up Live Hog Prices

by 5m Editor
10 August 2011, at 10:51am

US & CANADA - The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture credits strong export demand for pork for a substantial increase in North American live hogs prices over past couple of weeks, writes Bruce Cochrane.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture's weekly hog market update, released Monday, 8 August, shows significant improvement in live hog prices.

Livestock economist Brad Marceniuk reports strong export demand has helped push North America live hog prices to record levels.

Brad Marceniuk-Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture

Hog prices in Canada and the United States are up quite noticeably here over the last two weeks.

Both US and Canadian hog slaughter numbers over the last two months, they've been relatively close to year ago levels.

They've had a bit of a small increase however in the last two week or two we've seen some reductions in slaughter numbers.

This was likely due to the recent heat wave slowing animal growth and weight gains but overall the recent slaughter decline was positive for hog prices.

Both US pork cutout values and live hog prices have reached new record highs.

The Iowa/Minnesota daily average price reached US$106.30 per hundredweight while in western Canada the Maple Leaf Signature-3 price reached 190.31 per hundred kilograms.

The primary driving factor for the record North American hog prices and record pork cutout values has really been the strong pork exports with particularly strong demand coming from China and South Korea.

Mr Marceniuk points out feed wheat and barley prices in western Canada have trended upward since the beginning of the year and, while Canadian feed prices lag behind US corn prices, feed costs are at the upper long term range for hog producers.

He notes the slide in the value of the Canadian dollar has also helped improve returns for Canadian hog producers.

He says, with North American hog slaughter numbers and pork production close to year ago levels and not expected to change significantly over the next few months, hog prices will continue to be strongly influenced by pork export demand and, with uncertainty around the North American feed crop and potential for tightening supplies, producers will need to keep an eye on feed prices as we move into fall and winter.

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