CME: Sept-Nov Hog Slaughter Higher Than Normal

US - On Friday's Hogs and Pigs report, we realize that slaughter is the only output measure that actually gets counted and is, thus, the ultimate measure of how many hogs exist, write Steve Meyer and Len Steiner.
calendar icon 4 January 2013
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It is also driven by the number of hogs born and surviving in some previous period. But differences between the two flows (pigs being born and pigs being slaughtered in a later time period) can be impacted by changes in the rates of flow.

We raise the question, of course, in light of USDA’s big revision in the March-May pig crop (+636,000 head) last week. We realize that September-November slaughter was higher than normal but prolonged summer heat likely pushed some pigs from slaughter in August to slaughter in September.

In addition, producers’ well-documented efforts to reduce feed expenditures by getting pigs to market earlier likely pulled pigs forward — including from December to November. The 636,000 head revision represents only 1.44 days worth of slaughter.

Was the number of pigs farrowed in the spring quarter really larger or did they just flow to slaughter differently? Part of that answer will lie in Dec-Feb slaughter relative to the June-August pig crop.

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