Hog Outlook: Slow Cash Livestock Markets

US - Because of the holidays, cash livestock markets have been quiet in recent days, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown, University of Missouri.
calendar icon 5 January 2015
clock icon 3 minute read

Friday morning's pork cutout value was $83.77/cwt FOB the plants, down $3.37 from the week before, but up 76 cents from a year ago. Loins and bellies were lower this week. Ham prices were higher.

The national average negotiated carcass price for direct delivered hogs on the morning report today was $72.86/cwt, down 10 cents from last Friday and down $3.41 from a year ago.

The western corn belt and Iowa-Minnesota both averaged $72.95/cwt on 2 Decembers morning report. There was no negotiated carcass price reported this morning for the eastern corn belt.

Peoria had a top live price of $50/cwt. The top price Friday for interior Missouri live hogs was $53.50/cwt which is the same as the previous Friday.

This morning's average hog carcass price was only 87.0 per cent of the pork cutout value.

Hog slaughter this week totaled 1.998 million head, up 15.0 per cent from Christmas week and up 0.3 per cent from New Year's week last year. This is the first week since 22 February with hog slaughter above the year-ago level.

Since the first of December, barrow and gilt slaughter has been 1.2 per cent lower than implied by the heavy weight inventory in USDA's December Hogs and Pigs report.

Third quarter 2014 hog slaughter was down 7.6 per cent, due largely to high death loss last winter caused by the PED virus. If as expected, last summer's death loss from PED virus was modest, hog slaughter during the first quarter of 2015 could be equal to or above the year-ago level.

The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week, 286.9 pounds, was up 1.7 pounds from a week earlier and up 4.6 pounds from a year ago. That was the 91st consecutive week with weights above the year-earlier level.

For all of 2014, the Iowa-Minnesota slaughter weight series averaged a record 284.4 pounds, up 8.5 pounds from the year before.

The February lean hog futures contract closed today at $81.30/cwt, down 25 cents for the week. April hog futures ended the week at $83.50/cwt, down 70 cents from the week before. May hogs gained $1.00 this week to close at $88.70/cwt. The June contract ended the week at $92.00/cwt.

Corn futures were sharply lower this week. The March contract lost 19 cents this week to end at $3.9575 per bushel. May corn futures ended the week at $4.045 and July corn settled at $4.1125/bu.

Charlotte Rowney

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