Hog Outlook: 2015 Commercial Hog Slaughter Up

US - For 2015, US commercial hog slaughtered totaled roughly 115,391,900 million head. That was up 8 per cent from 2014 and the second highest year ever, after 2008. Don't be surprised if 2016 hog slaughter breaks the 2008 record, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown, Ag Economics, MU.
calendar icon 12 January 2016
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USDA estimates 2015 US meat production was 2.8 per cent higher than in 2014 and is forecasting a 2.7 per cent increase in production during 2016. That is much faster growth than for the population, thus meat prices are expected to decline. USDA expects a 1.6 per cent increase in pork production, a 4.3 per cent increase in beef production, a 1.8 per cent increase in broiler production and a 7.5 per cent increase in turkey production compared to 2015. They expect pork production to exceed beef production for the second year in a row.

In the January WASDE, USDA left their corn price forecast for the current marketing year unchanged at $3.65 per bushel plus or minus 30 cents. They reduced their forecast of the average soybean meal price by $10 to $310/ton plus or minus $20.

Pork exports were up 18.4 per cent in November compared to a year earlier thanks to strong sales to Mexico, Japan, China and Hong Kong. Pork imports were up 11.5 per cent. In November, exports equaled 20.7 per cent of US pork production while imports equaled 4.8 per cent of production. Imports of live hogs were up 25 per cent compared to November 2014.

The national negotiated barrow and gilt price on the morning report today was $48.99/cwt, up $1.22 from last Thursday morning. The western corn belt averaged $50.27/cwt this morning, up $1.75 cents from last Friday morning. Iowa-Minnesota also averaged $50.27/cwt, up $1.69 cents from last Thursday. There was no negotiated price quote this morning for the eastern corn belt.

The top price today in Peoria was $32/cwt, up $4 from last week. The top price Friday for interior Missouri live hogs was $33/cwt, the same as a week ago.

Friday morning's pork cutout value was $70.77/cwt FOB the plants. That is up $1.92 from the week before. Loin, ham and belly prices were each higher. This morning's national negotiated hog price was only 69.2 per cent of the cutout value.

This week's hog slaughter was 2.375 million head, up 17.2 per cent from last week which was low because of the New Years holiday and up 10.6 per cent from the same week last year.

The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 286.3 pounds, up 3.2 pounds from a week earlier, but down 1.4 pounds from a year ago. Iowa-Minnesota slaughter weights have been below the year-ago level for 40 of the last 41 weeks.

The February hog futures contract ended the week at $59.85/cwt, up 5 cents from the week before. April hogs lost 73 cents this week to close at $65.225/cwt. The June lean hog futures contract ended the week at $77.075/cwt, down 92 cents from the preceding week.

The March corn futures contracted settled at $3.53 per bushel today. That is down 6 cents from last Friday.

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