Hog Outlook: Pork Retail Prices Down in February

US - February retail pork prices were the lowest since June, write Ron Plain and Scott Brown, Ag Economics, MU.
calendar icon 21 March 2016
clock icon 4 minute read

The average price of retail pork during February was $3.738 per pound. That was 5.5 cents lower than a month earlier and 20.3 cents lower than a year earlier. The average grocery store price of ham and pork chops was higher in February than January, but bacon prices were lower.

Both retailer margins and pork packer margins were tighter during February than in the previous four months.

The average live price for 51-52 per cent lean hogs was $46.61/cwt in February. That was up $6.27 from January and up 86 cents from February 2015. February hog prices were the highest since October.

USDA will release the results of their March hog inventory survey next Friday at 11 am central time. No big changes are expected in hog numbers relative to a year ago.

Cash hog prices were $1 to $2 lower this week than last week. The national negotiated barrow and gilt price averaged $59.83/cwt on the morning report today, down $1.98 from last Friday morning. The eastern corn belt averaged $59.75 on this morning's report. There were no regional negotiated price quotes this morning for the western corn belt or for Iowa-Minnesota.

The top price today at Peoria was $38/cwt, unchanged from last Friday. The top price for interior Missouri live hogs today was $41.25/cwt, down $1.50 from a week ago.

Friday morning's pork cutout value was $76.66/cwt FOB the plants. That is up $1.53 from the week before and up $9.14 from a year ago. Loin and belly prices were higher this week, hams lower.

The national negotiated hog price was 78.0 per cent of the cutout value.

Last week's hog slaughter was 2.187 million head, down 2.4 per cent from last week and down 2.3 per cent from the same week last year. Some large hog plants are dark for equipment changes. There will be reduced slaughter in the next several days for Good Friday on the 25th and Easter Monday on the 28th.

The average live slaughter weight of barrows and gilts in Iowa-Minnesota last week was 283.4 pounds, up 0.5 pound from the week before, but down 0.6 pound from a year ago.

Year-to-date hog slaughter is down 0.5 per cent and because of lighter slaughter weights, year-to-date pork production is down 1.3 per cent.

The April hog futures contract ended the week at $71.45/cwt, down 37.5 cents from the week before. May hogs gained 52.5 cents this week to close at $79.775/cwt. The June lean hog futures contract ended the week at $83.90/cwt, up 82.5 cents from the preceding week. July hogs closed at $82.875/cwt.

The May corn futures contract settled at $3.67 per bushel today. That is up 2 cents from last Friday. September corn ended the week at $3.7675 per bushel.

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