Hog Outlook: December Hog Survey Reveals Drop in Swine Breeding Herd

US - USDA's December hog survey said the nation's swine breeding herd was down 1.1 per cent compared to a year ago and the market hog inventory is down 0.6 per cent, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown.
calendar icon 2 January 2014
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They said September-November farrowings were down 0.2 per cent and predict winter farrowings will be up 1.3 per cent and spring farrowings up 1.4 per cent. The market hog inventory is a bit smaller than the pre-release trade estimates, but farrowing intentions are a bit higher.

There was indication of the impact of PED virus with pigs per litter at 100.1 per cent of last fall. That was the smallest year-over-year increase in pigs per litter since the summer of 2003.

USDA's monthly Cold Storage report said there were 546 million pounds of frozen pork at the end of November. That was down 3.3 per cent from the month before and down 2.2 per cent from a year ago.

Testing data from the National Animal Health Laboratory Network says that as of December 15, the PED virus has been confirmed on 1,764 swine premises in 20 states. This is an increase of 119 locations from the week before. This was the third largest weekly increase after the two previous weeks. Iowa, North Carolina and Oklahoma account for 65.5 per cent of the cases. There is an unknown amount of double counting in this data.

Hog prices were steady to $2 lower this week. The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $75.32/cwt, down $1.64 from last Friday and down $5.08 from a year ago. The eastern corn belt carcass price averaged $76.40/cwt this morning while both the western corn belt and Iowa Minnesota averaged $72.94/cwt. Peoria had a live price top this morning of $51/cwt. Zumbrota, MN topped at $52/cwt. The top price for interior Missouri live hogs Friday was $55.75/cwt, unchanged from last Friday.

Friday morning's pork cutout value based on mandatory price reporting was $83.83/cwt FOB plants, down $3.58 from the week before, but up $2.27 from a year ago. This morning's hog prices averaged 89.8 per cent of the cutout value.

Hog slaughter this week totaled 1.843 million head, down 21.7 per cent from the week before, but up 4.5 per cent compared to the same week last year.

The average live weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 280.6 pounds, down 0.7 pound from a week earlier, but up 7.0 pounds from a year ago.

The February lean hog futures contract settled at $85.65/cwt today, down 60 cents from the previous Friday. April hog futures ended the week at $90.97/cwt, down 20 cents from the week before. May hogs gained 10 cents to close at $98.50. The June contract ended the week at $100.25/cwt.

March corn futures ended the week at $4.275 per bushel, down 6 cents from the week before. March soybean meal ended the week at $427.20/ton which was down $6.40 from the week before.

Further Reading

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