Hog Outlook: September Pork Exports Higher Than a Year Ago

US - US pork imports during September were up 26.8 per cent compared to a year earlier, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown.
calendar icon 19 November 2013
clock icon 4 minute read

Most of the extra pork came from Canada. September pork exports were down 8.9 per cent due to big declines in shipments to Russia and South Korea. In total, 21.4 per cent of US pork production was exported during September while imports equaled 4.1 per cent of production. Over 20 per cent of US pork production has been exported every month since January 2011.

During the first nine months of the year, pork exports totaled 3.6 billion pounds, down 8.6 per cent compared to last year. January-September pork imports were up 8.3 per cent and totaled 646 million pounds. The number of hogs and pigs imported during September were down 9.6 per cent.

Testing data from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network says that as of November 3, the PED virus has been confirmed in 1,069 swine premises in 19 states. This is an increase of 90 locations from the week before. The number of new cases has set new records each of the last four weeks. There is an unknown amount of double counting in this data.

Hog prices were $3 to $4 lower this week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $78.85/cwt, down $3.16 from seven days ago but up $5.39 from a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota had a morning price average of $78.66/cwt. The western corn belt had a morning average of $78.58/cwt. The eastern corn belt had no morning price quote due to confidentiality rules. Peoria had a live price top this morning of $56/cwt. Zumbrota, MN topped out at $58/cwt. The top price for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $57.25/cwt, down $1.25 from the previous Friday.

Hog slaughter this week totaled 2.347 million head, up 2.5 per cent from the week before, but down 1.1 per cent compared to the same week last year. This was the thirteenth consecutive week with slaughter below the year-ago level and the seventeenth consecutive week with hog slaughter lower than expected based on the September hogs and pigs report. Since September 1, slaughter is 4.5 per cent below the forecast level.

Live weights in Iowa-Minnesota set a new record for the second consecutive week. The average barrow and gilt live weight in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 280.8 pounds, up 1.1 pounds from a week earlier and up 8.2 pounds from a year ago.

Friday morning's pork cutout value based on mandatory price reporting was $92.72/cwt FOB plants, down $1.55 from the week before, but up $5.42 from a year ago. Loin, ham and butt prices were lower this week, bellies higher. This morning's hog prices averaged 85.0 per cent of the cutout value. That is low enough that we should see increased Saturday hog slaughter.

Hog futures lost ground this week. The December lean hog futures contract settled at $85.90/cwt today, down $2.22 from the previous Friday. February hog futures ended the week at $90.27/cwt, down $1.80 from the week before. April hogs lost $1.25 to close at $92.45. June hogs settled at $98.65/cwt.

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